Wednesday, December 31, 2008


These trees were given to me by my mom.  In fact, all of the classy Christmas decorations I own were given to me by my mom.

I will remember this year as "The Year of Many Firsts".  

The first year that I started to feel better about losing my mom.  I don't mean that I forgot her, or that I don't grieve for her still, but I don't have the deep sadness I used to.

The first year that I have ever owned a dog.  Ever.  She is a lot of work, and fills the house with black hair, but I wouldn't trade her for anything.  She has brought so much to our family.  She has been one of the best decisions we've made - and we don't make positive choices too often!

The first year I haven't worked full time since I was 22.  My part time job from home has become pretty part time, about 8 - 10 hours a month, so I was able to start my photography business.  Have I made any sales?  Taken any photos for money?  Have a website?  No, but that doesn't mean I haven't started something!  2009 will be the first year I make money from it!!

The first year I've regularly volunteered in the kid's classroom's.  I'm teaching art.  Poor kids.

The first year that I peed in our SECOND BATHROOM!  The toilet is in.  We don't have a vanity, sink, shower, door, woodwork or tile, but the toilet works.  That's all that really matters in this household.

We're having a quiet evening at home tonight with neighbors.  We won't make it till midnight, but it doesn't bother me at all.  This is also the first year I've been able to catch up on my sleep - why would I stop now?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I always thought I looked younger than my little brother until I saw this photo.

Basie needs to be walked about four times a day.  Somehow, this "family" pet has become my main responsibility as I do most of the walks.  I don't really mind the midday walks - it's the crack of dawn walks that bug me.  My favorite time to walk her is at night, though.  We've had a ton of snow lately and there is that bright, crisp coldness outside at night.  

Tonight I recruited Harrison to come with me.  He is so full of energy now that school is out.  Ella is having a friend over for a sleepover and that just jacks him up even more, so I pulled him out into the darkness with the enticement of my camera.  I told him that he could take as many photos as he wanted.  He loved it.  This one of me, above, completely caught me off guard when I was downloading the images.  I don't even remember him aiming at me.  

Just when I thought I was getting better at Photoshop, I can't figure out how to "airbrush" all my smile wrinkles away!  This embarrassing moment is meant to kick me in the ass to brush up on my skills.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow day

I have been in a terrible mood for a few days now - it really doesn't mix with the whole Christmas spirit thing.  I wouldn't care, but I have kids - little kids who CANNOT wait till December 25th.  Today was the first day of their holiday break.  They'll be home for two whole weeks which means that I will not be on holiday break.  I took the kids, and some friends, sledding.  I wasn't really looking forward to it, but knew it would be much appreciated.

I was right.  Basie ran like crazy for two whole hours.  I think she went up and down the hill about 50 times at full speed.  The kids separated into two camps - the avid sledders and the fort builders.  It was so fun to watch them laughing.  I actually forgot about all the stuff that's been bugging me lately.  It was like I was on an island - an emotional winter wonderland!

I don't have photos because a large storm was expected and I didn't want my camera to get wet, but I wish I had risked it.  Ella tried snowboarding on her friend's board.  She did great.  The mom of this friend started the snowboarding lessons program up at a resort in Park City three years ago.  She is a great teacher - she had Ella going down the hill immediately.  She fell.  Everyone who snowboards falls, but she got back up and kept on going.  

I'm so glad that my kids get to grow up here.  The opportunities for experiencing wonderful things are endless.  All it needs are more lakes.  Without salt.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


When we first moved to Utah, four years ago, we would make it a point to explore a new canyon or resort, each weekend that first summer.  Sundance Resort quickly became our favorite spot.  We love going up there and just hiking around.  Several times that I've been up there, there has been this incredibly cool red truck in the parking lot.  It's even been featured in the catalog.  It might not be the same truck, but I like to think it is.  

A new neighbor moved in about two years ago.  We haven't really gotten to know her.  She has a huge, friendly dog and an active lifestyle - lots of comings and goings.  Every once in awhile there is this great red pickup parked in front of her house that closely resembles the Sundance truck.  It's been there about six or seven times, and I've always wanted to take a picture of it.  

Last week I forgot to worry about what she might think of me standing in front of her house with a camera, and shot away.  This is one of the images I took.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Everything all at once

The kids have started piano lessons this fall.  They had their first recital last week.  Harry played "Up on the Housetop" and Ella charmed us with "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas".  

When my mom was alive, I would talk with her at least once a week and fill her in on every detail of our life.  She was intensely interested in the silliest things, like the paint color I chose for the nursery or the idiosyncrasies of one of my co-workers.  My dad is a bit different.  He usually dominates the conversation with details of his social life (he is down to one girlfriend) and the latest scores he received playing golf.  After about 30 minutes, he'll finally ask, "So, how are things with you?"  By this time, I am tired of being on the phone and usually just give him a cursory overview.   Since he doesn't want to hear it all, I'll just write it down.

There is so much going on right now.  It's overwhelming and exciting, but hard work and exasperating all at the same time.  Christmas is taking somewhat of a back seat.  We've got so many construction projects going on that it doesn't allow for cookie-baking and/or craft projects.  The downstairs office and bath we are adding is fifty percent done.  The bathroom is painted, but doesn't have any fixtures.  The office has become our bedroom.  We moved down here last week and I just use the adjoining "bathroom" as a dressing room/Christmas present hiding spot.  Our old bedroom has become Ella's.  I've been painting for a week.  She picked the colors - three pink walls, one brown.  Polka dots as accents.  Purple and brown on the pink walls - purple and pink on the brown wall.  It is done and looks great.  It is definitely a girl's room.  Harrison is staying in the kid's old room and we'll repaint over the school break.  He doesn't know what he wants.  I'm just trying to keep him from painting everything navy, gray and black - like Star Wars.

I haven't been getting too many hours at my little assistant job.  I was supposed to get about 8 - 10 a week, but it's become about 8 - 10 a month.  This has, however, offered me the opportunity to get more serious about trying to become a professional photographer.  It's one of the "overwhelming" parts of what has been going on, but also the most exciting.  I haven't felt this positive about anything in a long time.

Basie has become more and more an integral part of things.  She is such a people dog.  Has to be near us all the time and has the greatest expressions.  After all the illnesses, and a bit of poor behavior, at the beginning - we are all thrilled that she is with us.  We don't have a fenced yard so I walk her about 3 - 4 times a day.  I have started meeting all the dog people in the neighborhood.  I also have a new appreciation for my neighborhood.  I love looking at all the architecture.

We always seem to get ourselves into too much, but it usually works in the end.  Mom would be fretting for us so much - I guess it's better she doesn't know.  

Last Saturday was three years.