Friday, May 29, 2009

My World In Photos

I've decided to share my world with my blogging friends. I took photos of my immediate environment this morning - from my PC to the window that I look out of every few minutes, to the dog sleeping on the floor beside me, and to the dog hanging out in my kids' old pack and play.

This is my world on a daily basis. Some days it is very uninspiring and other days it's just like a well-worn shoe. Today, I guess you could say I was feeling the well-worn shoe version.

My computer monitor, not exciting but there it is.

Ruby in her pen.

The window that I gaze out to see what's going on in the neighborhood.

The old fella, who does this the entire day. No wonder he's got to shed 4-5 pounds. C'mom Freckles, get up and get moving....

Some artwork my kids made for me years ago that I just don't have the heart to take down yet... But, I will have to when I repaint my office. Please note the ugly sponge wall painting job. It really was "in" when I did it!

So, there you have the guided tour of my office highlights. Thanks for joining me on this little journey.

This weekend will be filled with three graduation parties and some planting of flowers, and on Sunday I will be going out to dinner with seven of my childhood girlfriends. We are trying to get together every couple of months.

What will you be doing this weekend and will your weather cooperate with your plans?? Please share if you have a moment.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Just the 8 - Jon and Kate, Not So Great

I have been a fan of Jon and Kate Plus 8 since it first aired. I have not always been pleased with how Kate has treated Jon in front of the entire world but always figured/hoped they had some sort of off-screen agreement about her verbal abuse (wishful thinking on my part).

The recent turn of events has really bothered me tremendously. I have to say that while I don't dislike Kate, I think she's slow in seeing what all of this fame has done to the family and how it has really molded her. Jon expressed his feelings at the end of the last season. He clearly did not want to continue with the show. He indicated in no uncertain terms that wanted his old life back but Kate seemed very much excited about anticipating the next season. Obviously, there were already problems back then, as Kate mentioned in last evening's episode that things hadn't been right for the last six months - this would take the start of their problems back to around Christmas time.

I think Kate missed Jon's sort of call for help at that point. I think Kate really got caught up in all that goes with fortunate and fame. Jon was already experiencing some of the pitfalls of this and he was telling her that he really couldn't handle it anymore. She needed to step back and listen for a moment, something she really has a hard time doing.

I am keeping up all hopes that the show will just end now and they can start to rebuild what they once had. The kids need them both equally in their lives.

Any other fans out there have any opinions? Do you think their marriage can be saved?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Who Gets A Cold In May!!!!

Yup, I have a head/chest cold and it's in the 80s outside. I got through the last two winters of snow, cold, sleet, ice, and hail with not a single cold (only one sinus infection) and here it is practically summer and I'm sneezing and coughing all over my keyboard - go figure.... Thank goodness nobody else uses my PC.

The kids were both involved with an Ultimate Frisbee tournament this weekend. I didn't make it to the tournament yesterday because of a certain 7 lb 7 oz ball of hair and teeth. Since she's not old enough to hold "it" for more than an hour or two, leaving her at home for what turned out to be a 14 hour day for my husband and kids was totally out of the question. So I spent Saturday, when I wasn't sneezing or coughing up a lung, being chewed upon by Ruby....

Doesn't she look sweet?

I don't recall purchasing an aardvark....

Things will be great once she learns she will have nobody to play with if she keeps biting us. Meanwhile, I am taking suggestions for suitable substitutions for our arms, hands, and feet.. Anyone, anyone??

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


None of us, not even him, saw this coming...

He is a good man and he has been our pastor for five years. I always assumed (and I think he did too) that he would be in our parish for the next, oh 30 years until he retired. I also assumed he'd be around to bury me....

However, he stunned us with the news this weekend that he is now being transferred from our parish to become pastor of another parish and also vicar of one of the counties in our archdiocese. You could hear the collective gasp in the congregation when he made his announcement and we could hear him getting choked up. They are moving him up to bigger and better things, however he is leaving the people he has come to love and count on. He doesn't want to go but realizes he has to and has asked for our prayers for this new journey of his. He came the year my daughter was confirmed. He was there to congratulate her on her full scholarship to high school. He was there when my son was confirmed and he was there to watch them both graduate from grade school.

He is also my kids' first-ever boss. Both of my kids have had the privilege of working at the rectory and he and my daughter have gotten into some fairly heated discussions over who she will marry and whether or not he will allow an outdoor wedding (frowned upon in the Catholic church). He is like a mother hen and matchmaker all rolled up in one - constantly putting out suggestions for possible dates for my daughter. He's like another dad. He's been wonderful to both of my children. He's tried so hard to make our parish feel once again like a community - something the previous pastor didn't even bother to try doing.

God has big plans for this man but, sadly, being with us is not part that plan anymore. While we didn't always agree with all of the changes he brought to our parish, we never wished for him to leave.

He'll leave us on June 15, two days after we close up the parish carnival - a tradition he started three years ago. What will we do now?????

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What Kind Of Mother Would Allow This

While preparing a totally different blog entry for today's post, I came upon some old photos taken with an old point-and-shoot digital camera. When I saw these photos, I was taken back to about 3-4 years ago when they were taken, at a time when my daughter was still somewhat taller than her baby brother. Things in height land have taken a dramatic turn and he is now about 7 inches taller than her. Anyway, I do recall this skirmish taking place and rather than yell, scream, and threaten to take away Playstation for a decade, I did what any other mother would do and grabbed the camera so that I could remember this

and this

and even this

A lot of us try to capture the cute things our kids do

But how many of us are willing to stand by and watch one child overpower another just for the sake of a photograph?

I know at least one mom who would!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Featuring A Bit Of Bokeh Today

Miz Booshay first introduced me to the term bokeh on a guest post she did for Pioneer Woman a long time ago. Since that day, I have always strived to get bokeh in my photos. Every now and then I meet with success.

Here are my most recent bokeh photos. I also used the picture of my son on my photo blog but I thought my son's face was worth being featured a couple of times. Plus, his posing for me was part of his Mother's Day gift to me. I then photographed our little neighbor buddy who is always willing to share his smile with us. My kids think he looks like Bobby Brady on the Brady Bunch.

I will try to get some bokeh photos with the new puppy soon, however I will wait until I am assured that I will retain all ten of my fingers. She is biting at EVERYTHING, including my camera lens when she sees it!!!!

So, what an upset American Idol was last night!!! Kris was in the bottom three so many times and here he has gone on to the final round between him and Adam. I was so sad to see Danny Gokey get the boot last night. I wanted the final round to be between him and Adam but I guess it serves me right for only casting one vote the night before for Adam. It was the first time I have ever voted on AI and just last night I realized I could have voted for Danny too - I could possibly have been the one vote that swayed things in his direction. What if it was only one vote that separated him from Kris, what if...... I could possibly have changed the entire course of events.

I take consolation in the fact that he is probably going to to do very well for himself despite not being this year's American Idol.

How about Jon and Kate of "Jon and Kate Plus 8" fame? I am so saddened by the latest turn of events. I am really the eternal optimist and will deny any negative "rumors" that I hear, especially when it involves people that I know and people from TV shows that I enjoy watching. I feel badly for both of them and for the eight kids. You hope fame won't change people but in the long run it seems to change just about everybody it touches.... so sad. Glad my daughter gave up her dreams of acting - I didn't want her going to Hollywood anyway.

The countdown to the end of the school year is really winding down now. The kids (and mom) cannot wait to be rid of homework and activity schedules, even if it is only for a few short 8 weeks. I think all us moms deep down inside enjoy those first 6-7 weeks of summer with our kids around us, it's just that last 2 weeks or so with them that really bites...... when we start humming the tune "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" in our heads and begin to salivate whenever we see school supply commercials. My daughter has a full-time babysitting job to look forward to so she will be working from 8 to 3:30 Mon, Tues, Wed, and Friday at babysitting and then one or two evenings a week at our church's rectory. My son will work at the rectory one or two nights a week and possibly caddy at a local golf course. Vacation is still up in the air.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Some Days It's Just Not In The Cards/Dad Vail Regatta

Life has a tendency to get in the way of my critical blogging time. Thankfully, it's mostly good things that take up my precious time so I'm not complaining at all. Today is Mother's Day and I wish all of the best to the moms who happen by my blog today. We are having the most glorious of weather on the east coast today. Aside from a little extra wind, the temps are wonderful, the sun is shining, and I'm loving hearing the sounds of lawn mowers and hedge trimmers whirring in the background. We have all of our windows open today and I'm washing and hosing down the screens. When my husband asked what I wanted for a Mother's Day present, I said that I didn't want anything bought. I asked that if all four of us could, over the next few weeks, get the house spring cleaned, I'd be such a happy camper. It seems I will be getting what I wanted in the coming days and I am really psyched about that.

I would love to hear what everyone did for Mother's Day. If you have a chance, let me know what you did today, what was done for you, or what your favorite part of the day was. Or, you can just tell us what your Mother's Day dinner was. My husband and I picked up our dinner earlier today. All he has to do is throw it into our oven for about a half hour. We are having Bobby Chez homemade lump crab cakes, lobster mashed potatoes, and stir-fry veggies!!! For dessert, we are having Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia and Coffee Heath Bar Crunch ice cream!! It doesn't get much better than that!!!

So, if you have time, please share your day with me.

I do have some pics to share. Yesterday, we went to the Dad Vail Regatta to watch my niece coxswain for St. Joseph's University Womens Crew. It was so much fun and very exciting. Also racing were teams from Michigan, Wisconsin, California, and Tennessee among others. Here are some photos I took.

Also, Action News was on hand to chat with the crew team. They interviewed my niece (pink baseball cap)! Here is the very short news clip.


Happy Mother's Day to everybody!

Please share the highlight (s) of your special day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Heart Faces - Constructive Feedback

The first photo is my SOOC.

In the second photo, I removed the color cast (so-so result), fixed some facial blemishes, increased the contrast about 18%, and ran unsharp mask at 68%.

My son is not the easiest subject for me. He's hard to pin down and hard to get to smile for the camera. However, he did oblige me a few weeks ago, however after giving me an ample 25 nanoseconds to take pictures, the "smiley session" came to an abrupt end. I was so disappointed when the best shot I had of him came out a bit blurry. I know how to remove color cast but I'm not always happy with the results. I really need to make this photo pop as I would love to frame it.

Can anybody tell me how to improve this in PS CS4?

Let the constructive criticism flow!!!! I don't have the photo EXIF data on this one and I'm not quite sure where to find it when I don't have the photo uploaded to Flickr. I apologize for that. I know I had my ISO set at 400 but I don't the other stuff.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Skywatch Friday, Finally A Sky Worth Capturing

After nine days straight of rain, tonight, at about 7PM, I was able to see clearer skies. I was certain I would have NOTHING to enter this week just as I had nothing to enter last week.

Be sure to head on over to Skywatch Friday and you will be amazed at the skies you will see from all around the world!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Hats Off To You at I Heart Faces

Here is my kids entry!

Here is my adult entry!

Be sure to check out all of the other fantastic "lids" at I Heart Faces!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

MIA Blogger

I find it difficult to blog sometimes. My life, while I love it, is not very exciting. I prefer a calm life and am thankful every day for what I've been blessed with. This week I was very busy with work which is such a great thing. For a good portion of 2008, I feared that I would possibly have to go back outside the walks of my home to get a job. There wasn't a lot of transcription work for a while but around December/January the work volume began to pick up which was great news for me. However, since my work volume increased, my available blogging time decreased. I do hope to do more than one post a week and maybe with the nice weather, I'll come up with some stuff to blog about.

Let's see what happened.... Well, April ended and May began. I spent a week working with a puppy who loves nothing better than to sink her 5000 razor-sharp baby teeth into your flesh, your hair, the paper towel you are cleaning her pee/poop up with, and your clothing. My week was basically filled with the early stages of training Ruby to be a bit more civil and we have a long way to go!!!

My son's 1 year old Xbox360 suffered the "Red Ring of Death" so I'm seeing more of him as his usual 1 1/2 hour nightly stint in the basement has ended. (Microsoft requested that he ship it back to them and they are either going to repair or replace it. I'm not sure which). He's bummed and I ended up a bit bummed for him but what was really cool is that he now tackles the tech phone calls regarding his Xbox so he found out all of the info, printed off the return label, and filled out all of the necessary forms. When he got this Xbox, I told him that he would be responsible for contacting all tech support people as I am totally clueless when it comes to this new gaming system. He's learned a lot and while hesitant the very first time to call microsoft when he couldn't get an wireless connection, he is now a pro at handling these phone calls.

Lastly, we had a cousins reunion last night and I got to see several of my cousins that I had not seen in years. While obviously I didn't take the group shots (because I am in them), I did take the other photos that I am not in.

My cousin's granddaughter.

My cousin, brother-in-law, and my brother.

My sister....I used to bug the heck out of her when I was little. Face it, when you are 18 and dating and you have an 8 year old sister who checks out all of your dates and stands on their feet, it can be annoying - not to mention having to share a bedroom with said little sister. However, my sister started liking me when she was about 21. We are now friends...

Most of the first cousins - my other brother was missing.

My brother and his wife.

Cousins and their spouses.