Guessing Game

Gone are the days of “Mommy, can I pleeeeease have a sleepover?”

Now I go to bed long before my kids do, and usually long before they get home.  I often don’t have any idea who is sleeping in my house until I come downstairs and find clues:

IMG_1777Don’t be fooled by how neatly these are laid out.  The cleaning lady lined them up before I snapped the photo.

This is more typically how I find them:

Shoes-2I usually recognize my own kids’ shoes, and from there it’s a guessing game.  The number of pairs usually indicates how many people are asleep somewhere upstairs, in a tent in the backyard, or sometimes draped across furniture in the family room.

It’s not always just shoes:


I recognize my daughter’s shoes (though I already accounted for her flip flops in the picture before this one), and they only have one friend who is a former Chaparral High School Senior, but whom the pants belong to is anyone’s guess.  If I didn’t know better, I’d think the rapture struck our house, and this was all that was left of my little angels.

As I walked through the house this week snapping photos of random shoes and clothing I found lying about in the early mornings, it occurred to me that someday I will miss these reminders that I have loved ones (and a rotating assortment of their beloved friends) sleeping nearby.


In the Air

Karlie-In-the-AirCapture Your 365: January 15: In the Air

I cheated a bit on this one.  January 15’s photo prompt was “In the Air.”  I took a photo I had previously taken of Karlie dancing, and had a little fun in Photoshop with my new Wacom pen and tablet.  I borrowed the earth and space image from the internet since I don’t anticipate a trip to space any time soon.

On a Plate


One of this week’s photo prompts was titled “In a Bowl.”  I haven’t had anything interesting turn up in a bowl lately, so I decided to modify the assignment to “On a Plate,” (though technically I guess these are on a cookie sheet!).

I usually fold up my tent and head upstairs by about 9:00.  I read, I talk to Brian on the phone, etc., before going to sleep by 10:30 or 11:00.  Shaylie tends to be more of a night owl, and she’s up to all sorts of shenanigans after I go to bed.  Often it’s shenanigans of the baking variety, and I will come downstairs at 5:30 a.m. to find freshly baked brownies, cookies, fudge, and even the occasional pie sitting on the counter.  It’s always a surprise, and I still can’t get used to the idea of someone baking in what I consider the wee hours of the night.

This morning, when I awoke to freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (with a few rat-like bites taken out with a chocolate-covered fork) I decided this nocturnal bake-fest should be documented in my Capture Your 365 project.

I snagged one of the cookies for my lunch after taking the photos, and, as always, it was delicious!   It’s kind of nice having my own bakery elf running around in the night, leaving tasty surprises for me to find in the mooring.


Capture Your 365: January 14: Yummy

I’m a little behind on my photos, but I’m reminding myself that I don’t HAVE to take one every single day, and I don’t have to do every assignment on the day it is assigned.  I like keeping the ideas in the back of my mind and letting the photo opportunity present itself later, or finding the inspiration to make an opportunity happen.

Tuesday’s assignment was “Yummy.”  I didn’t take any yummy photos on Tuesday, but I filed the idea away, and tonight when I went to dinner with Kathy I realized I had the perfect occasion to photograph something more meaningful than just “yummy” food.

Kathy and I are creatures of habit when it comes to food.  Our friendship began with a play date for our two oldest daughters almost 15 years ago.  We enjoyed a lunch of pasta and brownies with ice cream.  It was simple, tasty, and something both the girls and the moms enjoyed.  So we had it again the next time.  And the next.  And the next.  It became a weekly tradition for many years, and we still try to have pasta and brownies together with our daughters (we now have five between us) whenever we can.

As the girls got older, Kathy and I decided we needed some grown up time occasionally and started going out to dinner, just the two of us.  One of the first restaurants we visited together was Aiyara, a delicious Thai restaurant in Temecula.  So we had it again the next time.  And the next.  And the next.  We order the same three dishes and the same two glasses of wine every time we go.  We keep saying that one day we will branch out and order something different, or even got to a different restaurant, but we just love Aiyara so much.

But yummy doesn’t just mean the deliciousness of the Thai silk salad, yellow curry scallops, pad thai noodles, and Chateau St. Michelle Riesling.  More importantly, it’s the comfort and friendship that is associated with those yummy foods.  Honestly I could go just about anywhere and eat just about anything with Kathy and it would be yummy, because what’s really yummy, and truly priceless, is our friendship.



An Encouraging Word

Capture Your 365: January 13: An Encouraging Word

Words hold the power to inspire us, encourage us, comfort us, and challenge us. Bring words to your daily photography to capture your mood, your activities, or fill in when you feel uninspired.

If you are following along with Ali Edwards’ One Little Word Challenge, photographing your word in different settings and in different ways can help you stay focused on your word.

After reading today’s challenge, I started flipping through a magazine, hoping I might find my One Little Word–Freedom.  Sure enough, there was a full page ad the upcoming movie, Mandela, with the word freedom in it.  I photographed the ad, then tweaked it in photoshop to make my word stand out.  Then I couldn’t resist adding a quote from the top of the ad, since it encompasses my Freedom from Fear theme.


In Good Hands

In-Good-HandsCapture Your 365–January 11–In Good Hands

This is a view of my own hand that I see all day every day.  I wanted to capture both hands, but quickly discovered that taking a photo of your own hands, even with a tripod, is tricky stuff.  So I settled for just one.  I see my hands on the computer keyboard all day at work, and then I come home and place them on my own beloved Apple keyboard.  I like to think that at work my customers are in good hands; and as a die-hard “Apple Fan Girl,” I’ve always believed that having an Apple product in hand is a good thing!


A Doorway

Capture Your 365 January 10:  Photograph A Doorway

For the last several months, I’ve been including cats in my paintings.  Which is strange, because I’m not really a cat person.  But they keep appearing in nearly all my recent artwork.  Now they are appearing at my door.  And all over my yard.  It started when some new neighbors moved in next door.  I came home from work, and Karlie was giggling hysterically at the back door as a cat tried to push its way into our house.  Later that evening, we heard constant meowing, and thought it was the backdoor cat calling to us.  Turns out it was a different cat, who had gotten locked in our garage when I came home!  In the pre-dawn hours of the next morning, Karlie was awakened by the sounds of copulating cats outside her window!  Since then, every time I look outside, I see at least one of three cats in our yard:  a brown striped one, an orangey one, and a white one.  Recently I discovered that there are at least two of the orangey ones, as they were both lounging in our yard together.  And this morning… two brown stripy ones!

Today’s Capture Your 365 photo assignment was to photograph a doorway.  This is a photo of the doorway to my backyard, with one of the two brown stripy cats trying to con his way inside.  I literally had to close the door in his face to keep him out.  A-Doorway

Where I Stand

I’m trying to get back into photography this year, and have joined a group called Capture Your 365.  It’s 365 days of photo inspiration, with random assignments every day.  I don’t think I will do it every day, but I’m hoping that having the daily inspiration will help get me going more often.  January 9’s photo assignment was called Where I Stand:

Look down at your feet right now. They tell a story. The shoes you have on, the socks you’ve chosen, or the bare feet you see. They show who you are at this very moment.

Step into good light. Look down and photograph what you see. Add extra details if you want, include elements of your environment, or keep it clean and simple.

While standing in the shower this morning, I realized that this is a view I see every morning, and it’s one of my favorite things to do.  I love standing in the shower under a deluge of hot water.  I often stand there for a long time just relishing the relaxing feeling–it’s the closest I ever come to meditating I think.  If I weren’t usually in a hurry to get somewhere, or worrying about how much water I am wasting, I could stand there for at least 20 minutes, gently rocking back and forth under the warm spray.  This morning I broke my reverie to jump out of the shower and grab my camera.  Where-I-Stand