Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Head of the Household

This is my husband...

He's a pretty cool dude most of the time...and the head of our household (or so I let him think).
I like to think we complement each other pretty well...after almost 21 years of marriage we seem to have figured out some semblance of daily life that works for us both.

Oh, we still have our moments...and because he is the only male in a house of women, he probably has a rougher time than me understanding everything that happens in our world. Right after we first got married, a dear friend of ours came by our house right in the middle of a newlywed squabble...He could immediately tell from the tension in the air and the puffiness of my face what he had interrupted. Mindful of stepping on anyone's toes, he said what he had come to say but towards the end of the conversation slipped in his own thoughts on marriage. He said that he realized after so many years of marriage to his own wife that when he first married her, he didn't really "love" her. He further explained that true love was what he had for her in the present tense...a history and a future built together through shared life experiences...he said that husbands and wives have to LEARN to love each other. The fruits of that labor were well worth the effort he said...and he left. I understood what he was saying then but there was no way as a newlywed, I could really "get" it...I didn't have the perspective for it. I surely do now.

Instead of letting our differences drive us apart, most of the time we choose to step back and honor each other's individuality.
I'm literature...He's sports

I'm a spender...He's a saver

I say, "We'll discuss whether or not you can go to the party"...He says "NO"

I have "pie in the sky" plans and ideas....He wants to see the budget for the plan and wants to know who's going to pay for it.

I could visit NYC 100 times and love it everytime...He says "Been there, done that...too crowded"

I love the theatre, dance and musicals...He loves football and golf.

I LOVE cats...He HATES them.

Politics frustrates me...He is a staunch Republican.

Despite our differences I like to think we work well together because I keep him a little on the silly and lighthearted side, and he keeps me grounded. But, the thing that makes me love him the most is his love and dedication to us, his family. I have no doubt that my husband loves me for who I am. I realize that there are many women in this world who cannot honestly say that. I aggravate him to death and I might as well be speaking in tongues when I try to explain how I "feel" about something...but he still loves me anyway. He pretends he envisions a traditional home like Mr. Banks described in Mary Poppins...where upon arriving home from work, his dinner is waiting for him and the "heirs of his dominion" are scrubbed, adequately fed, ready for patting on the head and sending off to bed. But, secretly, I think he would have our realistic CHAOS no other way.

I also have no doubt that he loves our daughters. Like me, he struggles to give each of them what she needs. Each has her own distinct personality, and walking the thin line between lifting one up and bringing another down is sometimes perilous and takes a lot of concentration. But, he does it.

He himself grew up in a home of only boys...the drama, the tears, the communication gaps, the mascara didn't exist for him growing up. During his childhood a disagreement was settled many times by an actual physical scuffle. His mother once told me that she returned home from the emergency room with one son just in time to load another in the car and head right back. This method of conflict resolution doesn't work well with girls...although I've sometimes wondered if we should try it! In spite of this, his daughters know they can count on him. They know he will protect them. They know he loves them unconditionally.

Our daughters also know their father is a truly good person in a world where truly good people are few and far between. Most people in today's world have a hidden agenda, and they are willing to use others to successfully accomplish their agenda. My girls and I know that the head of our household is not that kind of person. He is who he is. He doesn't sugar coat it. If you ask his opinion, he's going to give it to you...straight out. He's not mean...just the facts. In a world of double meanings, sarcasm, hidden agendas and hurtful comments, it is refreshing to be around him.

Now, don't get me wrong. Our home is not any stretch of the imagination. We have problems just like every other family in the world...but I happen to believe that's the way it's supposed to be.

This picture of my hubby is now one of my favorites because he is in his pajama pants, sweatshirt and baseball cap and he's reading. He's relaxing in our bed doing something that he enjoys doing just for himself and for pleasure...and he feels free to do just that. This is home to me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reagan's Walk

The youngest and I looked for squirrels again today. I just have to say that never in my life have I ever experienced such squirrel squeamishness. We actually saw 2 or 3 today but they were running as if there was a great prairie fire approaching. (Just for the record, we do not live on a prairie.)

I told Reagan at one point as we were walking through the pasture behind our house that if we weren't looking for squirrels, we would probably see 100 of them! She thought that was very funny as a matter of fact! Her 5 year-old mind was envisioning 100 squirrels running around like the scene from the modern day version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp. "Daddy, I want a sucwirrel!!" demands Veruca Salt.

The youngest did notice the birds though...she even thoughtfully commented that they were probably too far up for me to photograph...

Since the sun was out this afternoon, the birds did seem to be flying a little more....more movement. Watching the birds and assuming that they are anticipating Spring made me wish for Spring...on Jan. 14 no doubt...oh boy, am I in trouble.

We did see a lot of squirrel nests...the youngest has learned to point them out now that she knows what those wads of sticks and twigs are...

When the squirrels wouldn't cooperate, we headed off down the street and found a fine specimen of "Pompous Grass." Now, I just LOVE Pompous Grass. How can you not? How can a person not love something so common as grass...that has a name like POMPOUS! Look at the grass! It stands up shouting, "Look at me! I am sooooo sassy! And, you need to see me!" Pompous Grass I'm sure is not its scientific or even proper name, but I don't reminds me of a feather on the top of some lady's hat...a snooty lady with her nose in the air...I like this grass...It's just sooooo silly!

On our way back home from our walk my youngest pointed out the sunset....she said, "Now there's what you need to take a picture of, Mommy! Just look at that sunset!" Needless to say the fire in the sky was much more impressive to her than any sassy grass!

This is the same sunset...just from a different angle, about 15 minutes later and with a different camera setting that took the shadows off the picture and played on the colors in the sky....WOW!

Maybe we'll see the squirrels tomorrow....and, maybe not.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Need a Drink

Our cats don't have a water bowl. They prefer to drink their water fresh from the tap.

When they are thirsty, usually first thing in the morning, as soon as they come inside and the last thing before bedtime, they jump up on the bathroom counter and wait for me or one of the girls to turn on the water.

The water stream has to be just right though...not too much because it sprays them in the face...and not too little because that just takes too much time and energy. They also ALWAYS jump up on my sink...not Ed's. It may have something to do with how he yells in that gruff sounding man voice, "Hayah, Get out of here, cat!" whenever he catches them in the act.

Just the right water pressure is especially important to the cats' efficient tongues. They need to be able to get as much water as possible in a short amount of time...making sure no unnecessary water touches them before Ed comes in and scares them away.

Uh-Oh is the best at it...He can gingerly step into the sink, balance on the sides of the bowl, and drink his fill of water without getting any extra water on his paws, face, body or tips of his fur...he is a cat after all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sugar and Spice Photoshopped

Because I was shooting into the sun as it set early this evening, this original photo was cast in a yellow haze without much color to stand-out. I deepened the color saturation and and lightened the shadows for this effect. I love the way her red shoes catch your eye because of their bright contrast to everything else in this picture. An extra surprise after photoshopping this photo was the rainbow effect across my daughters behind that was not visible to me when I was shooting, nor in the original photo.

Sugar and Spice

My firstborn is the brunette in each of these shots with the white jersey and #18 on the back. She is an exquisite beauty, multi-talented, smart as a whip...

and LOVES to "slide tackle" her opposing teammates on the soccer field!!

Parents of daughters spend a lot of time teaching their little princesses how to share, to act like little ladies... and specifically not to butt things with their heads...

Then, our daughters go out on a soccer field and we yell, "GET HER!!" "TAKE HER OUT!!" "DON'T LET HER PUSH YOU LIKE THAT!"

Sugar and spice...and everything nice

That's what little girls are made of :):)

Monday, January 11, 2010


My youngest and I were looking for squirrels again this afternoon. We walked, we stood silently and listened, and we walked some more. Not only did we not see any squirrels, but we did not see ANYTHING. It was as if all the little critters in the woods had sent out a warning call...they remembered us from yesterday!

As our fingers turned red from the cold we finally heard some shuffling in the leaves. We stood very still and I readied my camera, trying to focus on the distant spot that I estimated the sound was coming from. Any idea how hard it is for a 5 year old to stand still??

About the time I looked through my zoom lens and saw this image, my youngest yelled, "Mama, it's just Beneigt!!!"

Beneigt has a smug almost scary look on his face like he's responsible for the absence of animals in our backyard woods!! As a matter of fact, the slant of his yellow eyes kinda gives me the creeps now that I think about it, even though in real life he's about as unscary as a cat can be!

Day 3 - Sunset in the Mississippi Pines

Yesterday was a busy Sunday at our house. Aside from the normal Sunday morning activities of Sunday School, church and then lunch, I had a meeting at 2:00 that lasted until 4:30 and then had to be back at church by 5:30 for Children's Choir (which I direct), church again at 7 and then eating dinner out with some of our friends. Needless to say, it was almost 9 by the time we got home!! This is what always happens to me when I make a plan for our family to start going to bed on time! We did all make it to bed by 10:15 somehow; I was able to get my 365 Project photo uploaded to Shutter Sisters but didn't get it uploaded here due to my pesky husband sitting in the bed telling me I couldn't expect everyone else to go to bed if I wasn't willing to do the same. I hate it when he's right!

Anyway, between 4:30 and 5:30 yesterday afternoon I bundled up and headed outside with my camera to see what I could find for my Day 3 image. The sun was beginning to set outside so that sunshine glow was all over the woods behind our house. Even though I didn't plan to take my pictures at that time, I thought it might make for a really cool shot. Usually there are any number of squirrels jumping from pine tree to pine tree and it's a lot of fun to sit on the deck or by the pool and watch them. My goal for yesterday was to take some pictures of them.

For the record, squirrels are not very cooperative. It was almost as if from the time I walked outside, word spread that I was on the prowl..."Here she comes! Don't anybody move!" The two that I did spook ran so fast that my poor camera could not even begin to focus on them through the tree branches by the time they moved out of range again.

I don't usually walk within the trees because of sneaky snakes who like to hide under all the leaves. I imagine hundreds of them all curled up together like an Indiana Jones movie, just waiting on me to put my foot down. In South Mississippi we have no shortage of copperheads and water mocassins and I am HORRIFIED that I will step on one. I've heard entirely too many stories to the contrary. (It, of course, never occurred to me yesterday that any snake outside in 17 degree weather would be a frozen snake!). The final straw of my squirrel watch was when I spooked a poor little bunny rabbit who took off like lightning almost right under my feet. I'm not sure who was freaked out the most, her or me!!

Anyway, I decided then and there to save the squirrels for another day and look up into the tops of the trees...the sky was a vivid blue...interesting for a cold winter day...the pine trees mixed with oaks in our backyard contrasted against that blue with their browns and greens...not to mention the sunset glow, especially off of the green of the pine trees.

I'm just now getting brave enough to take my camera off the automatic setting...but I knew yesterday that I wanted the natural light...not an artificial light produced by a flash. Here is my favorite picture from those shots and the one I used for Day 3 of the Shutter Sisters 365 Project. Nice huh?