Category Archives: looking back

Favorite Shots – part 3

20130610-DSC_0002“Look, Mom!” I never know what I’m going to find when I turn around .  And that’s one of the reasons for this blog– to capture a bit of kidlife while I can.  One day I’ll be turning around to see a fiancee. Maybe they’ll be neatly packaged like this for old time’s sake.



I know this shot isn’t technically great but it captured such a sugar-rush moment. A dozen-donuts- a- piece challenge.



Remember this failed experiment? Mckenna took the ridiculous amount of sugar found in soda and stirred it into plain water. This did not convince the kids how unhealthy it is.



Sheer and utter misery. Sogginess on parade day.



And I caught it all on film.

Because I’m such a good mom.



Sometimes I like to try the opposite of what’s usually shot and see what happens.

This isn’t my favorite framing, but I like the idea. It’s a technique to explore later.




I love.




I do not love.



This is what summer smells like.



 I hope this expression remains in his repertoire forever.

It’s what makes Tristan, Tristan.



You know how hard it is to capture teenage guys?




It’s the blue. It’s the red. It’s the era before he turns the corner and the little boy is lost in a manly jawline.



No jawline here. SO far from jawline.



This is not a picture of the Mckenna I know. But it is a great expression for a photo.



This is the Mckenna I know, with her best friend, Lea.



And I think this shot encompasses what my blog is all about in a nutshell.

Thanks for reviewing 2013 with me.

Especially those of you who stuck around when nothing was popping up on your screen. I think 2014 is going to be a  year just fine for popping.

Favorite Shots 2013 – part 2


Neither one of these guys is very happy to have their picture taken, so I was extra glad to get this shot.



I just love the way the snow is gently falling. I remember this day because the girls were FREEZING but willing to sacrifice for the sake of beauty.



After the party. Tired. Are they ever too tired to play video games? I remember saying, “Make your ‘after the party’ face.”



What? Just par for the course around here. “What in the world” is our catch phrase.



 Beauty shot.  It was a dull, left-over day. I was so happy to find this bit of happiness.



I had to include this because the girl below did it…



 She has a bit of mischief in her, can you tell?



I’m not sure how much longer I’ll find a Buzz Lightyear overlooking a town in my backyard….



But I hope this doesn’t disappear forever.



Beauty shot.



This was Tristan’s day. The butterflies couldn’t get enough of him.



Cheers! I just want to eat up those little cheekies.



Unbridled exuberance. Summer! Or just a warm day! In Canada!



I love everything about this shot. The colors, the composition, capturing a simple act, and the expression on his face.



 I had to include this because of the light shining out of his eyes. This is who I see in my heart.


Every Kid Should Do This

Aim a camera at some flowers in grandma’s yard and chances are you’ll catch a bug.


No bug.




No bug.




No bug.

Is an inchworm a bug?

If it were in your path about eye level and you suddenly saw it just before it  hit your face, would you think, “EW, a BUG!”

Or would you thinik, “EW, a WORM!”

That’s the true test.

There is one bug that every kid should get to know…


Can you tell what it is?


You need a jar…


And it definitely needs to be night time.


You need patience..


Or an impatient thwack will do.


You need a brother.


And you need a mom who knows how to shoot lightening bugs at night.

Poor, unfortunate boys.


Catching lightening bugs is one of my favorite childhood memories. Mostly because we always forgot about that particular delight until around June when we’d see that telltale glow hovering about some foliage and then our little brains would ignite–

“Oh, yeah!  LIGHTENING BUGS!”  And just like that, we were off to hunt a jar. Garages were a good place to grow empty jars.

If I could go back, I might just pick a lightening bug night. Our hands would be sticky from the ice cream truck.  Guaranteed, we would be barefoot.  Locusts would be humming from the trees and June bugs would be flying drunkenly under the street lights.  We could play until after dark and everybody’s backyard was our own– no fences.

Innocence still reigned.

Kansas was a good place to grow little kids.

Time Can Be So Cruel

Or should I say, “Kids Can Be So Cruel”.

My kids have this insane knowledge of computer procedures that leaves me mystified.

I can be stymied by the simplest procedure, hand it to them, and click-click, it’s done.


One day I woke up with a surprise screensaver greeting me….

To really get the full impact you have to imagine this in 8×10, grinning over the whole household.

The only reason I mind is because I don’t know how to change it, and it’s a constant reminder that jowls define my current style.  As Joan Cusack commented in Grosse Pointe Blank when asked about her highschool reunion:

“It was just as if everyone had swelled.”  I love that line. If you don’t get it, let me give you a visual aid:






I’ve been greeted by My Eighties Self every day this month. It’s starting to freak me out. Plus, I forget about it when somebody comes over and then it’s too late to explain. What must they think?!?

It’s mocking me. I can feel it behind my back as I make muffins and fry bacon.

Somebody please tell me how to make it go away!!!!


A’fore the Mast

What is a daddy…


Without a photo-bombing daddy’s girl?


I remember when she was three and called her mashed potatoes and gravy a swimming pool.

I remember when she played in mud puddles in the backyard with plastic farm animals.


Now she works at a real barn, with the real thing.


She has hopes and dreams of a horse of her own…


And a jar started.


But this week she found out that there’s been a setback in saving up for a horse.

The braces she needs will cost more than our car.

We once  taught her how to walk, and drink from a sippy cup.

Now we’ll teach her how to navigate the tricky waters of wait, not yet,  when, and  if .


It won’t be long until she’s out from under our care and navigating on her own.

Hopefully, she and her perfectly straight teeth will stop in the home port often.

Land, ho!

What Not to Do in New York

Thirty years ago.  California.  Monica was the first person I met in the youth group at our church.

She got married and moved away and we never saw each other again.

But then, she saw my blog. Blogs are like detectives that find lost people.


Fast forward to 2012 and the opposite coast…

“Let’s duplicate the same picture!” I said.

“Do we have to wear our bathing suits?”  said Monica.

I’d forgotten how funny she was.

She planned to come up to Canada to visit but could only make it as far as New York. Why didn’t I come down?

Why not, indeed?


She even helped me to do my top 3 things in New York…

1) See a Broadway musical.


2) Hail a cab…

This move stopped two cabs. One was even on the opposite side of the street and did a u-turn across traffic to try to get there first.

(It’s incredible how conspicuous you feel doing this for the first time.

I think it’s because we are taught not to step out in the street and wave at strange cars.)


3)  Take a bad picture with New York’s finest: the NYPD.

I realize this isn’t on everyone’s bucket list, but neither are most of my must-do’s.

These guys are as friendly as you think they are and ready to save your life…

Or your shoes. Monica fell victim to the heel-eating grate while trying to take our picture and had to be rescued and coached on how to stand on the cross-bars.

These New York policeman know everything.


 Times Square was happy to see me.


Each city has a pulse of it’s own. This is not LA, it has to be New York.


Do you ever get the feeling that somebody’s watching you?


I would have shown you what we had for dinner but nobody actually knows what we ate.

It was so dark we had to grab a candle to read the menu.

Whatever we ate, it was gourmet.


We did the normal things like  1) Grand Central Station…


2) Watch horses drink from city watering troughs (aren’t you glad they have those?)….


3) Find Balto’s statue…


4) Central Park…


5) And take pictures from the top of a bridge to erase 10 years from our age. You know, all those things most tourists do on a typical 24 hour New York visit.

But I think my favorite thing of all was just striding to the lilt and meter of the New York streets.

I only have one warning about this great city:

You know how they say New Yorkers are friendly and helpful– Don’t try to buy personal care products when a friendly and helpful male employee is stocking the shelves.  Monica and I turned the corner of the pharmacy aisle and saw the floor littered with boxes that we had to tip-toe around. As we tried to squeeze past unnoticed, we shared an “of-course” glance.  I  scanned the shelves quickly to do a grab-and-run, but it was too late.

“What are you looking for?” Mr. Helpful said, as if he were hired for his expertise in this particular field.

“Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” is what I said while carrying on a fierce internal dialogue. Really? Really-really? You really expect me to discuss this with you?

“What do you recommend?”

I’m kidding. I did not say that. The only appropriate response I could think of was,

“I want the smallest package possible to fit in my suitcase.”

We were directed to a choice of two and left as quickly as we could.

Those New Yorkers, they are the most helpful folks in the world.


Hey Monica, next time you’re in, say, Barbados and can’t make it up to Canada, give me a call!

I Wish I Would Have Written This Post…

I just read a great post by Joyce, please stop by and enjoy!  While Davy Jones was just a little before my time, everything else she describes brought me right back to 1974. I’d go back for a day, would you?

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore


  I was born-n-raised in Kansas.  This is not Kansas, but the sight of it stirs up some dormant longing for wide horizons and rolling wheat grass.


The kids begged to be driven to the city pool so I used the opportunity to climb up the surrounding embankment and photograph what was on the other side.

Them swimming on one side, me wandering on the ridge.

It was really a bike path ridge.


 An old lady biked past first.  I could see the question in her eyes.


What’s so great about a dandelion? she was thinking.

Next was on old man.  He smiled heartily and said something in French.

I laughed and mumbled French sounding syllables that I hoped passed for a friendly reply.


Next was a teenager with low-slung pants.  He stared stoically ahead.

 I could tell he was curious, but it’s against the teen-age code to indicate any interest whatsoever. You’ll be stoned.

There shall be no piquing of curiosity. None!


 I bet they never guessed they’d run into a lady shooting weeds and dead branches.

I never guessed I’d be in Canada doing it.

Maybe I’ve watched too many fugitive movies, but I did have the slightest anxiety that someone from that farmhouse would see me and my long lens hovering about and send out some dogs.

Now, how would that play when the kids got tired of swimming?

Guys? GUYS. Where’s mom?



Woe is Me

Notice anything in particular about this photo?


I’m calling it: Death of a Coffee Mug


But this isn’t just the death of a mug, it’s the death of a $25 mug.


If you’re thinking, “Anyone who spends $25 on a coffee mug is just asking for it to break”, I hear ya’. I had that exact thought when I was perusing the gift shop on our last day in New York.  I wanted something special to remember our trip by. I hate shopping in overpriced gift shops, but this time I was willing to splurge. This trip was a lifesaver for me. Why, is a long story with twists and surprise endings, knee jerk reactions and tortuous suspense. Maybe I’ll tell you some time.


But you didn’t come here for a story.


You came here to see 6 ways to shoot a coffee mug to death.

Witty writing and tortuous suspense can be had in a myriad of places, I’m here to give you what no one else will.

(You’ll thank me later.)


The Mug made it exactly one year before breaking.

I don’t know what to do now. Every morning that I curled my hands around that mug was a reminder of our life-saving trip to The Whiteface Lodge.


I may have just come up with the perfect solution!

We’ll just have to make a yearly trip back there to keep stocked up.



He Was a Poet and I Didn’t Know It!

My mom just sent me an email with a poem my granddad had written. I had no idea he was a writer! He passed away several years ago but as soon as I read these words I was brought right back to his witty, playful personality. I’m so glad I have this to remember him by:


I’m Fine Thank You

There is nothing the matter with me,

I’m as healthy as can be.

I have arthritis in both knees,

And when I talk, I talk with a wheeze.

My pulse is weak and my blood is thin,

But I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.


Arch supports I have for my feet,

Or I couldn’t go out and walk the street,

Sleep is denied me night after night,

But every morning I find I’m all right.

My memory is failing, my head’s in a spin,

But I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.


The moral to this, as my tale I unfold—-

That for you and me who are growing old,

It’s better to say,”I’m fine” with a grin,

Than to let folks know the shape we are in.


How do I know that my youth is all spent?

Well, my get up and go, has “got up and went.”

But I really don’t mind, when I think with a grin,

Of all the grand places my “get up” has been.


Old age is golden, I’ve heard it said,

But, sometimes I wonder, as I get into bed,

With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup,

My eyes on the table until I wake up,

Ere sleep overtakes me, I say to myself,

“Is there anything else I could lay on the shelf?”


When I was young my slippers were red,

I could kick my heels up over my head.

When I got older my slippers were blue,

But still I could dance the whole night through,

Now I am old, my slippers are black,

I walk to the store, and puff my way back.


I get up in the morning and dust off my wits,

And pick up the paper to read the “Obits,”

If my name is still missing I know I’m not dead,

So I have a good breakfast, and just like I said,

“I’m fine as can be!” — though you’re nodding your head.