Category Archives: Signatures

These Three Things

squinch1First Thing: I shot this photo of my pastor in his office and it turned out quite good if I do say so myself. He’s very photogenic as you can see but he was using a strategy that he says many celebrities use called squinching. I’ve never heard of it but he said that people who make a living in front of the camera know all about it. So I googled it and I found this video by photographer Peter Hurley. Check it out below.

iphone1Second Thing: We purchased the girl a new phone last week when she was home for fall break. She’s been known to to break the screen on her phone once or twice (or three or four) times so I threatened her with my flip phone – as in that’s what she’ll get if she breaks her new one. I’m still using the phone from three years ago, an iPhone 4 – at the time it was cutting edge. When Apple’s highly anticipated roll out of the iPhone 6 didn’t go as planned – as in it was totally unviewable for the first 20 minutes, it occurred to me that even the best tech people in the world have to deal with funky technical issues. It was probably embarrassing for Apple but we all did get a few chuckles out of it with articles like this –

Twitter reactions to Apple’s Livestream

It probably would have been funnier had I done this right after the livestream but – still a good Monday chuckle.

smashcake1Lastly, Third Thing: Little Benedict turned one year old a few weeks ago. His parents are very strict about what they feed this little man. All parents are with their first child. That all changes when the second kid comes around, which will happen in about six months for them. Anyway, Benedict has not eaten any processed sugar – yet – so I made him a healthy smash cake. The recipe is below.

What You Need:
– 5 ripe bananas
– 1/2 cup organic apple sauce
– 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp nutmeg
– 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 8 ounces cream cheese
– 1/2 cup concentrated apple juice

smashcake2What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Smash the bananas together and then mix in the apple sauce and vanilla extract and set aside. In another bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda together. Fold into the banana and apple sauce mix. Place in a loaf pan or in this case, I used individual disposable baking bowls. Bake for 25 minutes or until done.

For the icing, whip together the cream cheese and concentrated apple juice together until creamy.

smashcake5Some of the party guests said it was quite delicious and would be a great breakfast pastry sans the icing. Benedict ate about 1/4 of his piece but he did lick off all the icing.

smashcake3What a cute kid. Happy birthday!

 

What The Hackers Will See

snap93I wrote about Snap Chat before and it’s been reported recently that photos and videos from the app were hacked and are now in the possession of unscrupulous hackers.

It just goes to show that nothing placed online is sacred and nothing is ever deleted. It’s there forever. Young people are should know and be aware and if there is a doubt about how your content will reflect on you – just don’t do it.

There are times when I should take my own advice.

I knew that content on Snap Chat were never “deleted”, they are just renamed so that you can’t see them again but they’re still there – the FBI and hackers can still get to them. I wondered how secure my account really is from the beginning. I only have three “friends” on Snap Chat but when I made my first account, somehow a total stranger became one of my friends – and I have no idea how. An photo with a profanity laden message showed up and I was shocked – shocked. I asked the kids if they knew him and they didn’t. The girl said I made friends with the wrong person – but I didn’t mean to. I didn’t know how to delete him – and I just made a new account.

We’re not safe – the best thing to do in order to play with and still enjoy social media is to post things like this.

snap1No matter what he sends me, I love getting snaps from the boy.

snap2

Here is a screen shot of a video of Roommate John cleaning the table. I know it’s juvenile, but I had to laugh. I find the boys funny.

snap9They hung their clock over their sink and when I got this from the boy, asking us how we liked their handy work, all I could think was, “Wow, look how clean that sink is.” Impressive.

snap3

This is a video of them singing to someone called Tay Tay – oh right, it’s Taylor Swift gone pop.

snap4I was watching a video of the boy in the car and I asked him about it – this was his explanation.

snap5

I play on Snap Chat too. I like to send the kids things like this early in the morning. Well – it wasn’t that early, I was at work but to them it was the crack of dawn.

snap7

The boy sported new sunglasses, a gift from our neighbor. He’s so handsome.

snap8Really, really handsome. I tell you, he cracks me up.

It’s all innocent fun, and I don’t worry about my kids putting inappropriate content online anymore. I know there’s a balance but social media is in our lives to stay. We just have to set boundaries for our kids. It can make parenting harder, but it’s life and they will thank you for it!

 

Life Through My iPhone

It’s time for another compelling edition of Life Through My iPhone – because my life is so compelling.

Here goes . . .

iphone01I purchased this skirt through a site that sells used clothing called twice.com. When I arrived I tried it on and though it was slightly snug, it fit. Then I think it was washed and I tried it on again – and I couldn’t get it past my knees. What the heck. I gave it to Jackie-girl and she gave it to her mom and then sent me this photo. Yep, I hate her.

She does look great in it though . . .

iphone1Our church is going through an expansion of our auditorium and I snapped this photo of some of my co-workers and volunteers in front of the unfinished staged. It’s not going to look like this much longer and I’m all about preserving the “during” as well as the “done” so I love this.

iphone3The husband was on a trip and ran into our doctor who he ended up flying to the west coast. What are the chances? He sent me this photo. I love it.

iphone4I was minding my own business when my brother sent me this photo of one of the most favorite things that my mother makes. It’s also a favorite of the girl. I immediately got so hungry that I went to the pantry and ate about 6 Oreo cookies. Why does he do this to me?

iphone5I was photographing a charity golf tournament a couple of weeks ago and these gentlemen bought me a drink. They were doing a little bit of drinking themselves. Anyway, they asked if they could buy me a beer and I said, no thanks, I don’t drink beer. So they asked me if they could buy me a glass of wine, and since there weren’t any wine glasses at that particular bar (yes, I hang out at sophisticated establishments), I declined again. But they insisted and asked me if I even drink alcohol. I said yes, I do so they insisted I have a crown and ginger, whatever that is. The bartender took sympathy on me and said I should get a crown and coke, I would like that better. I said alright, I’ve never had one before – and the jury is still out. Anyway, I thanked them and took this photo and they said, “Hey – a selfie!” Alrighty.

Anyway, they asked me where I was from – and the conversation continued to go downhill from there as you can imagine.

iphone6And I was exhausted from the encounter that I came home and took a nap, along with all of the other animals in the house.

Update: I read this post again and I realized that this could look like I had to take a nap from drinking a half a crown and coke (I could only finish half) but this was the day I cycled 50 miles – yes, 50 miles. It was the longest I’ve ridden and I was very proud of myself, and relieved to have gotten off the bike seat . . .

iphone7Our culinary school had a final test in at the end of another session and the staff was the benefit of some pretty awesome pancakes. I love it when they have a test. I gave them an A!

iphone8Another beautiful sky. It reminds me that God is always present – always.

iphone9They boy and I share a photostream and every once in a while one of his photos will pop up. I don’t know who these folks are though I love seeing him.

iphone10When we went to parents’ weekend at the girl’s school last weekend we stocked up on gas (as much as you can stock up). It was only $2.99, I haven’t seen that in a long time. It’s not that way here at home, we live in an expensive state. Not a political statement, only a very hard reality.

iphone11We try to stay at relatively clean hotels when we travel to see the kids but these sticker was on the headboard in our room and I wondered about it. I mean, it should be a given that they are clean right? Do we need a sticky note reminder?

Things that make you go hmmmm….

iphone12We took the girl on a drive in a national forest when we went to visit her and this was among many of the really beautiful vistas along the way.

jonny1This young man just asked out the love of his life and she said, YES! He’s been in love with her for about three years – yes, true. He came into the office to tell me and I was so excited for him that I took a snap chat and sent it to the kids. It was only afterward that I realized it looks like we were going out. Oh well, it’s why digital communication will never replace one on one conversations.

iphone13I took the dogs to the beach yesterday. It was so early that it was almost completely dark when we arrived. The days are getting shorter – and I needed a flashlight.

Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend. The girl is coming home for fall break, weeee! I’ll get some photos -

Opposites Makes Great Roommates

roommatesWhen the girl and I went to college orientation we were told by one of the housing ladies that high school friends make awful college roommates and thus, it’s discouraged. Since the girl didn’t know anyone who was going to the college, we had to just hold our breath and hoped for a good roommate. I told her many times that they didn’t have to best friends, just have to live together – I was trying to lower expectations. After all, we are all humans and as such, getting a random person as a roommate really is a crapshoot. And the fact that they are girls . . . and all that comes with being a teenage girl – well . . .

We walked into the room last weekend and were met by Roommate Danielle and her parents. Her mother immediately said, “We are so thankful that (Roommate) Danielle and (the girl) are roommates.” It was this and other things that she said about our girl that really made me so proud – and so relieved. Roommate Danielle then chimed in, “She’s the best roommate a girl can have!”

We met Roommate Danielle when the girl first moved in and she’s just adorable. She’s a cheerleader and with a cheerleader’s sunny disposition. She’s outgoing and talkative, the polar opposite of the girl in temperament. We left them on that day, wondering how¬† it was going to work out.

As it turns out, they like each other and the girl was rooting for Danielle more than the football team at the game.

So far so good – but I do have to laugh at how different they are. Here’s a great illustration.

rommates2This is Roommate Danielle’s side of the room. Notice all the fun colors and the patterns.

roommates1And here is the girl’s side of the room. Her favorite color is – gray. And there’s a can of anti-bacterial wipes on the desk.

This ladies and gentlemen, says it all . . .

Here’s to a great college year for both of them!

Phyllis The Chicken

chicken1A while back, a friend who will remain nameless decided she wanted to raise chickens.

“Chickens?” I say. Why not?

So she brought the little ones over so I could see and they were so cute but rascally and quick. I could barely catch them with my lens. This little fuzzy one had a crown of yellow feathers on its her head.

pepper2She was like a cute little chick-a-dee.

That’s probably because she is exactly that . . . chicken6

Now she’s grown and has a head of white plumed feathers and I shall name her Phyllis.

chicken7

I’ve never seen a chicken like Phyllis before, she had a better beautician than I do apparently.

chicken8 What a wild and fascinating looking creature. I bet she has no problem getting a date to the prom!

I don’t know if Phyllis actually lays eggs or if she just lives a life of luxury.

I think this week’s chicken theme will be an interesting one . . .

 

Happy Snap Chattering Class

snap0Technology continues to move forward and just when you figured out a new piece of software, a new app, a new phone, a watch:), or a new updated OS, something else innovative comes along and makes one feel totally uncool again.

That’s what Snap Chat has done for me. The boy loaded the app onto my phone and I tried using it a while but I didn’t really “get” it. It works like a short burst of communication and then the image and words disappear. I think it’s because it’s not permanent and therefore future employers can’t do a snap chat search and find your funny, weird or perhaps inappropriate messages that I think young kids like it so much. I’m all about saving memories so I figured out the only way that I can document the boy’s goofiness now is to take a screenshot of him whenever he sends me a Snap Chat.

Sometimes I’m successful in getting the image, sometimes I don’t. For some reason, working three fingers at the same time is difficult for me. I can be small motor skills challenged.

snap1He once sent me a Snap Chat that he was going to an aviation conference with Roommate John to which I said they looked like aviators. And yes, they are. So cute.

snap2Hehehe – we all have to pay our dues in college.

snap3The boy is drinking shakes and he tells me he’s lost 10 pounds from doing so. “Keep it up!” I tell him.

snap4I don’t know what this conversation was about but I did notice the kitchen behind him. Yes, I remember college too.

snap5BTW, you can also customize your snaps with filters. And you also have to make a silly face whenever you send one, it’s apparently Snap Chat protocol.

snap6Here he is acting as first officer for his friend’s simulator training. Whuddup Piss (it’s what they call him, I didn’t make it up)!

snap7Then the other day I began to get quite a few snaps from him and I though I was glad to see him, in the back of my mind, I wondered what was up. He said he was hungry. I told him to cook something and he sent me the above. I never said our conversations were stimulating.

snap8He was dressed in layers and I asked him if he was cold. He said the above – and I said, hmmmm…mom radar going up.

snap9I asked if he was ok and he said he was. Look at Roommate Kyle, so serious. Kyle is almost two years ahead of his roommates in the aviation program and in addition to being really smart, he also studies a lot. Hopefully he’s rubbing off on the rest of them and I also hope he’s recovered from the blistering from our trip to San Juan.

snap13Aha, now we know what’s really behind all the snaps. Poor boy.

snap11This is when I texted him. Snaps will only allow short messages to be posted, I had a lot of medical advice to give him so I sent him a list of things for him to do to help recover from his fever. This explains the sweater vest on top of flannel.

snap10And apparently they are also doing crafts.

snap12This was random, but I’m glad he has friends, after all, he’s stuck in North Dakota. Hi Myz!

snap15These two are going star gazing. How cute is that?

snap14This isn’t the best way to communicate but can be fun. It is a little frustrating when the image disappears so quickly, sometimes my mind hasn’t even comprehended what I’m looking at before it disappears. I’ve also missed a lot of screen shots because my fingers can’t work the camera fast enough. But I’ll do it because I get to see what he’s up to in real time. It’s actually neat.

Happy Snap Chatting you happy Snap Chatterers out there!

Yikes, She Says

princess1The husband was looking through some photos for the boy and found the above. This was the girl’s five year old birthday party. We had a princess dress up tea party and I invited a bunch of her little friends. We had a dress up session along with a runway show. It’s funny at even at five years old, she was so shy that she refused to walk the runway even when all her little friends were hamming it up.

After the show, she was the guest of honor at a tea party where they tasted different little sandwiches and drank tea of our flowered tea cups. I’m going to have to dig out those photos.

It was my last chance to get her into a princess dress and crown. It was so cute at the time, but I look back now and I think of how different she is now.

transformationtuesdaySee what I mean? Us moms, we’re just crazy aren’t we? Ha!

princess2I sent her the photo and as her dad and I fawned over the pic, she said, “Yikes.”

Not that’s more like her:)

Down Memory Lane

today1Today is my day off of work. It’s not totally a day off – I still do some things here or there, send emails, troubleshoot a website issue, talk to my office mate who just came home from vacation, and text another office mate who would probably prefer not to hear from me since my day off from the office is his day off from me.

Anyway . . .

One project I’ve been meaning to do is to backup and organize my photos. I did (finally) order another external hard drive to store my gazillions and gazillions of photos. I manage a backup plan that is redundant in multiple ways at work because a few years ago, we had the equivalent of the China syndrome meltdown and I never, ever want that to happen again and so we out of an abundance of caution (and so that I can sleep at night), I check, recheck, and triple check the backup email confirmations almost every day.

But the cobbler’s kids have no shoes – and since keeping my photos in multiple sd cards that I sling around in my camera bag is not a good idea – I decided that I needed at least get some sandals on my feet. Oh what a bad analogy…

I was going through my photo archives and I get distracted by photo like the above. It was a night out with Japanese tappenyaki and the girl’s friends. How fleeting these moments, le sigh.

today2This was a day to Washington DC on Veteran’s Day last year. It’s so touching to be in the nation’s capital on these holidays.

today3And I continued to go through the archives because I can’t help myself. This was the draft for one of a half a million horse shows. I’m sad to know that this won’t happen again – ever.

today4This was last November 1, 2013, at a University of North Dakota hockey game. We’re going again in a couple of months to see the boy, almost a year later. Look at that girl – sassy.

today5This was taken the day before the hockey game, at Neighbor Theresa’s house. I guess we went to the Halloween party, then got on a plane to North Dakota the next day? We must have been busy – no wonder I have no memory of it. Thank goodness for digital photography.

today6And going back to a day before that – on October 30, 2013. Apparently we were at a field hockey game, then went to a party at Neighbor Theresa’s, then got on a plane and went to a hockey game in North Dakota.

Alright, I got it.

today7And two days before that, on October 28, 2013, we apparently were at another field hockey game – and it looks like we won!

today9On October 23, 2013, five days before the field hockey marathon, I snapped this at church.

We have the best worship team – no doubt about it.

today91A few days before that, on October 19, 2013, I was at the sister’s funeral. In this photo is Dianne and Barb, two people who I couldn’t even imagine would also pass away eight months later.

today92Before that we had the first show of the year that would be the girl’s last show year on the B Team on October 13, 2013. We knew we would have to travel to the sister’s funeral in a week so this was a little bit bittersweet.

today94One day before the show, on October 12, 2013, there was homecoming. So normal, and so wonderful to see these photos again.

today97This was October 4, 2013. I was in Georgia to help settle the sister’s funeral arrangements after she passed away the day before. Harmon here, my nephew, is talking to his aunt’s partner, Ralph. It was the first time I had met him, and he was charming and funny and Harmon really liked him a lot. Ralph has since passed away. What a difference a year makes.

today99A few days before that, on September 29, 2013, we were at our favorite winery, enjoying the afternoon, listening to our friends perform.

today001They are fantastic entertainers.

today992And life was so normal.

I think I’ll stop now with the walk down memory lane. Last fall was apparently full of a lifetime of change. This backup project is going to be quite a trip down memory lane. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Life Through My iPhone

iphone9We were out with some friends for dinner a couple of weeks ago and this is one of my favorite photos of the hubby and I. Look at the view behind us! It was fantastic.

iphone8I had the opportunity once to ride on this boat. I didn’t go and I can’t remember the reason why. You’re not suppose to have regrets in your life – but here’s one of mine.

iphone7I let Ella out last night at about 1:30 AM and when she didn’t come back in about 15 minutes, I took a flashlight and went looking for her. I found her in some bushes in the back yard, possibly eating something. I then went back to bed and dreamed that she ate some snake eggs.

It will be a challenge to get through today without falling asleep.

iphone6Our boy sent us this photo a couple of weeks ago. He’s flying this airplane this semester and he’s very excited. Good for him!

iphone93The girl came home again last weekend and we were all so happy to see her. However I do get nervous about a young girl driving three hours back and forth by herself every weekend. I want to her settle in slowly to school but every time she comes home for the weekend, she spends less time making connecting with her community there.

She does say that she and her roommate are getting along well. I’m relieved.

iphone94I’m trying to learn how to cook for just two people. Obviously, I’m not quite there yet. This shrimp and rice recipe is one of our favorites and I made a ton of it but was able to have quite a bit left over for a few more meals.

I’ll post the recipe soon, you’ll love it!

iphone95A friend of our wrote this book and gave me an advance copy. Ella the dog ate the book last week and tore out page 57. The husband and I thought that meant we should read it together which we did. I texted the book’s author, my friend Michael, this photo of the mangled book and he never texted back. The next day he said, “I got this weird text last night, did you really send it?”

I owed up to it and had to explain to him that his book was eaten. Good thing he doesn’t offend easily.

I bet you’re happy with your life after seeing how exciting mine is!

Happy Wednesday!

Our San Juan Vacation

vacation4What’s it like to go on vacation with the boy & the girl and their friends? Well . . . let me tell you.

It was a really fun vacation. Mind you, we didn’t to do everything we wanted to do. The husband and I are saving those things for when we go back without the kids . . . it’s one of the benefits of being empty nesters!

So we’re planning this vacation last spring – in front of Sydney-girl so naturally we asked if she wanted to come along. Naturally she said yes and then naturally when the boy found out that Sydney-girl was coming, he asked if Roommate Kyle could come too. This is when I thought perhaps I had misspoke – again. An expensive vacation for four just turned into an expensive vacation for six – naturally!

In any case, the four of us flew down to Puerto Rico and the next day, Sydney-girl joined us from Maryland and Roommate Kyle flew in from Colorado to join us. Because the kids were with us, we thought we should actually do things, rather than just sit at the poolside bar and drink mojitos – which was my preference.

So we all went to Old San Juan for dinner and to explore.

vacation1The boys were really excited to be there and as always they continued to entertain.

vacation2The boy really wanted to eat at this restaurant quite badly – can you blame them for not letting us in?

vacation3And this? I don’t know what this is.

vacation6We were looking for this place, La Barrachina. It was recommended by the concierge at the hotel and it is where the pina colada was invented. He then gave us coupons for six free pina coladas – it was a done deal, we made our reservations.

vacation5On the way there we did some exploring and some shopping. We found this cool store with a courtyard and the girls were going to give me an impromptu performance with these instruments but suddenly got shy and then decided against it. I think that cute boy standing by the corner had something to do with it . . .

vacation8What do you buy your dad for a souvenir when you are in San Juan?

Why cigars of course.

vacation9Roommate Kyle decided he was going to do some bargaining. He said he read somewhere that it was expected. He bargained the store owner down to – the same price he would have paid had he not bargained. All of us laughed so hard, but Kyle did save the tax on the purchase – about $1.50.

Great job Kyle!

vacation7A toast to celebrate a successful bargain!

vacation91Over the next few days the kids participated in a variety of water sports while the husband and I sat at the hotel water bar. Ha!

Here the girls were going out to the ocean on their jet ski and being helped by “the cutest Puerto Rican boy” on the beach. I must be old but I didn’t think tattoos and scruffy beards were attractive and I told them I didn’t see any cute boys. I’m not a 18 year old girl anymore.

The cute Puerto Rican boy apparently told the girl that she was the most amazing and beautiful girl that he’s ever seen. I agree with that but I was more concerned that they ran out of gas while they were out in the ocean. In any case it caused a lot of giggling for the next two days.

vacation92We also went stand up paddleboarding at Condado, a lagoon not too far from our hotel. I admit – I don’t get the sport except for yoga boarding which sounds like a lot of fun. It must be a challenge to balance yoga poses on a board that is bobbing in the water. BTW, the girl who checked us in said they are looking for a yoga board instructor. She said all the yoga teachers she spoke to were afraid of the water. There’s an employment opportunity for all of you out there! The girl as trying to talk me into taking the job. She said we could totally move there and make a living. In our dreams girl, in our dreams . . .

vacation93We visited both the old Spanish forts in San Juan, La Cristobal and El Morro. I showed you some photos from inside the forts a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to show you this iguana. Iguanas were everywhere but this old guy must have been from the Jurassic period.

vacation94Look at him – what a fascinating creature.

vacation95I’m a “field trip” mom, when kids get tired, hungry, hot, or cold on a trip, they tend to get disinterested. And when they get disinterested, it’s not fun for the chaperones. This can apply to big kids as well as little elementary school kids. These kids are big – and can actually carry their own waters. But they didn’t. I carried the waters and the sun screen in my camera bag and because of that, I asked them to pose for group shots.

They owed me.

Isn’t this one cool?

vacation98And this one is neat too if I do say so myself.

vacation97And this one – don’t fall kids! It’s a long way down.

vacation99Smile!

vacation001Enough Mamma! she says. The boys just kept walking . . .

vacation992Ok, fine. To the dungeons with you!

I have the power.

vacation994They stopped to take their own photos.

vacation995And they don’t mind posing for the ones they wanted.

vacation997We explored the forts until we were exhausted and at this point we decided to go back to the hotel.

vacation999. . . where the pool beckoned.

This is already long – and if you made it this far, thank you. There were a couple of things we wanted to do but ran out of time (and money). One was a tour of a bioluminescent bay and the other was a hike through the rain forest. There is always next time!

One other thing we did? We went to the cock fights – yes, we did. I may or may not write about that experience. I’m still trying to recover from it.

We did have fun though – and buenos dias! until next time.