Monthly Archives: July 2008

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this is not a figment of my photoshop imagination….

I swear I did not intentionally under expose this photo or add vignette or do ANYTHING to this to make it look more ominous. This is literally the view from my desk just before our second of 6 storms yesterday!!! It was only this dark for a moment – long enough to grab my camera. As soon as it started to rain it got a little bit brighter.

Please note I did not even convert this to black and white…..

During the same storm I braved the lightning and took this from the front porch.

Here’s to the rain. We really needed it!

happy birthday sweety!

My blog post is two days late. But we were very busy on Sunday. Ian got to celebrate his birthday for the first time in three years! The past two occurred while he was on deployment. So we spent the day at Busch Gardens. Now I will admit this would not be the first place I would jump into for a celebration seeing as I have a terrible motion sickness issue. I can get ill get ill on a flight simulator… and not one of those that actually moves like at a museum. No, the real ones are just movies in a mock-up cockpit that is solidly mounted to the floor. Oh, and I have that pesky fear-of-heights thing. BUT it was not my birthday. And, whatever a roller coaster can do to ones body to cause a thrill does not even phase the fighter pilot. So, to Busch Gardens we went.

Now this is not great photography, people. I brought my little point and shoot. But I captured some lovely self portraits to demonstrate how much I loved the Gondola.

This next photo demonstrates where I would NOT be going. Ever. Again.

But we still had a lot of fun. The boys rode the rides and I brought my book. I braved that wild rapids ride and got utterly soaked. We watched some GREAT shows. Evan really enjoyed the Pet Shenanigans.

All in all it was a good time.

The only problem? I fell in and I couldn’t get out…..

Happy Birthday, Ian!!

on the subject of weird coincidences….

ok, since I have already been thinking of odd coincidences….. here is a good one for you.

THIS is a photo I never envisioned I would have taken……

Yes, the pertinent part of this photo that I am referring to is the fact that it is my husband and son along with Ian’s brother, Brian and his family (minus Max. Where are you hiding?? aha! I see your foot!) along side the USS Elrod and its former XO, the husband of my good friend Eileen (whose kids photos you will see scattered around my site) while it was in port for a diplomacy visit in Amsterdam for a couple of days……

I have a hard time wrapping my brain around that one, too. And, I was there.

Brian and Nicole generously welcomed Matt and his Elrod friends into their home for a lovely 4th of July cookout. We may have lacked fireworks seeing as we were in the Netherlands, but I wasn’t complaining. With a 10:30 pm sunset in Amsterdam, I could have sat on Brian and Nicole’s garden terrace all night if someone hadn’t told me it was finally time to go to bed at 1 am. The next day Matt was kind enough to give us a personal tour of the ship.

There’s Max! Silly me!

Oh, and just so you know, Greenpeace had a message. I had the wrong lens for capturing it but I will try.

see. i really don’t believe in coincidences.

I always keep my eyes open when I am in the airport. You just never know when you might run into someone you know while you are making that flight connection! That is the theory, at least. Right? You always hear those great stories from other people. But with all my traveling in the past years it never actually happened. I may run into someone I know in the Norfolk airport but that isn’t exactly exotic. Shoot. We saw Jeny when we left town. I don’t even count that. Isn’t she always flying off somewhere these days??

So would you know when it actually happened to me, it pretty much hit me upside the head when I wasn’t paying any attention at all? Our flight landed at O’Hare – my personal opinion is that O’Hare is the WORST airport EVER to land at internationally. My eye twitches just thinking of it. Just ask me about my harrowing story returning from Singapore where I had to CLIMB the baggage conveyor to snatch my bag, sail through customs, catch the tram and cheat my way to the front of the security line and then beg and plead my way through, and then run flailing with bag, rolling bag, and computer still in hand to my gate. Could the international terminal be ANY FURTHER AWAY???????? Could the baggage return have been any more of a mess? I made that flight with about one minute to spare but after traveling that far there was NO WAY I was going to miss my flight to MN. But I digress. Anyhow, we were turning that corner from security in Terminal One to go look for our gate amidst a heinously LOOOOONG layover when I hear this familiar voice speaking to us. I look over and it is none other than Daniel. I mean. What are the chances???? Sure enough he and his wife, Maria and baby son were also waiting for their delayed flight. How wonderful that we not only got to run into them, but that we all had a chance to spend some relaxing time chatting.

I must say a word about the additional bizarreness of it all. You have to know how we met Daniel to really see how crazy this is. We were going on our second holiday season in Meridian, MS back in 1998. Yes, you read it right. Mississippi. Bet you didn’t even know the Navy had a base in land-locked Meridian. Due to mechanical problems with the jet our time in Meridian was extended WAY longer than we had ever expected during this second and third phase of Ian’s flight school. Life was far from peachy. Always in the state of thinking we may move, I found myself taking crappy jobs as our time in Meridian was supposed to be limited– you know, video store, gas station, assorted fun NEX odd jobs just to make some cash and hope the time would pass faster. It was hard to commit passed next week. Anyhow, by this time we were irritable and crusty. Most people are in Meridian for ONE year and we were there for almost two. The holiday party was located on base during one of my shifts at work. Ian went with a couple of student friends. He ran into this guy – who was clearly NOT in the Navy (the facial hair was the first big clue) and he started chatting with him. His name was Daniel. It turns out Daniel was a biology student doing an internship with the Seabees. He grew up in St. Louis Park – one suburb away from my Minnetonka, graduated the same year as me and had a best friend who had been in school with me since the 7th grade (quite ironically, one of those junior high crushes that sparked the name of this blog. shhhh. don’t tell). In addition, Daniel went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for his undergraduate work. He frequented this little bar on State Street that was famous for the real tree right in the middle of it, called Paul’s Club. Ok, so Ian and I were bartenders at this place and actually had our wedding reception there. If I have ever chatted with you about being the world’s WORST cocktail waitress? that is the job I am referring to. Chances are that we had served Daniel a cocktail or two at some point in time and never even ‘met’. Or chances are Ian served the drink and I was sitting and pouting about my sucky job and chatting with the door checker while I was supposed to be serving drinks and picking up glassware for the bartenders who made way more money than I did. Either way, crazy coincidence.

Anyhow, Daniel quickly became our favorite friend in Meridian as he totally understood our sense of humor and vice versa. We felt sorry for the Jewish boy living on a base in Mississippi. He felt sorry for the couple that was living amongst some of the strangest people around. He was our ray of grounded normalcy in a sea of twisted oddity. We may have gone completely insane without his sound presence. Together we cooked many a meal (what else do you do in Meridian??), he taught us to make some awesome salad dressing, became Roger’s dog whisperer, was an integral part of team BTO, and almost made it to Vicksburg with us…. Oh well. We had the T shirt. That was back when Mongo was our vehicle of choice even with its rusted out chaff holes. Oh, the memories. We were crushed when it was time for him to move. Luckily we left only a month and a half later.

All these years have passed and we have always planned to get together with Daniel again. But we moved to Virginia and then California and then back to Virginia. He moved to Vermont. It is not so easy to hook up again. We have kept in distant touch over the years. I will never forget getting a letter that was written on an old typewriter in the mail. Who – other than Daniel – would do that??? But I really never imaged that we would run into each other again at O’Hare. While I was jet-lagged and totally out of it. In fact, it is so hazy, if I didn’t have the photos to prove it I may wonder if it actually happened????

Daniel and Maria – it was soooo wonderful to see you and that adorable baby boy. :-) Give baby S a big smooch from me.

the dramatic life of a newborn

I am an artsy photographer. I like drama. Drama is stomach-dropping excitement during all the twists and turns of life. I imagine it would be so DULL without it. I may lose my mind during the emotional dips on the roller coaster (as I totally admit I do NOT handle stress very well. Ian. I know. Stop snickering under your breath) but without those bumpy points how can I possibly grasp the beauty of the high points?? Because in the end, typically it is the HIGH points that have the long term impact and NOT the scrapes and bumps along the way. How could I ever live a life where each day resembles the day before?? I married an aviator. Life is dramatic whether I like it or not.

It makes me ponder this drama as I share a couple of hours with a pure newborn. Sure, it seems that a newborn lives in a pretty basic world — a cycle of meals, diaper changes, and sleep — How can those things EVER lead to drama? I realize that when they come through my doors I — quite possibly — get to introduce that sweet baby to the fun of drama for the very first time in their brand new life. Birth? you might say? No, that is not drama. That is trauma. As the parent of a previously newborn baby, I know full well that it was my intention to fulfill EVERY SINGLE NEED of that itty bitty helpless baby. Not a whimper slipped by without immediate food, a snuggle, some sort of reassurance. But a photo shoot? Baby strips down and is supposed to relax into sleep? Take the pacifier out?? Act as a show pony for a bunch of adults with silly ideas?? A photo shoot has the ups and downs and ups and downs of the dramatic roller coaster of life. Reel them in, push them back out, reel them back in, push them back out. Out of control — waiting for the next high after the low. For the very first time baby’s needs are not the bright light of priority. Pleasant expressions, poses, contentment are now the goal. Manipulation is used to encourage these things. Even the most even-tempered of babies do not necessarily respond the way a parent may expect during the dramatic ride on their first roller coaster. In in the end all is content after the end of the shoot. Back to mommies arms. Snuggle back in – to be poked and prodded some other time. Maybe tomorrow? With the pediatrician???

Welcome to the world, kid! Whoop! (mental image: bride is told ‘welcome to the Navy!’ as she is whoopped in the behind with the sword) smirk. 😉

by the way, baby Tolin.  You were FABULOUS my dear.

i am home.

i am home from my trip to Amsterdam and Paris – fighting jet lag – and attempting to get caught up around the house before i dive back into work again.  Back to phone calls, emails, schedules, and editing TOMORROW.  For today I am playing with the fabulous photos I took while I was away.  Of course, this is a mere sampling of what i can do in a fabulous location with a fabulous camera.  I took no less than 30 gb of photos while i was away…..  i am not sure if my blog could handle that large of a post!!!!

a few from Paris.  You might recognize some of the landmarks….

and then the amazing Amsterdam.  which i adore.  i might have to move there.

and finally, Utrect, NL

ahhhh! Paris!

Greetings from France!  I am on the Paris leg of my vacation in Europe.  Amsterdam is a wonderful place and completely my speed.  Paris is beautiful and rather surreal to see for the first time.  I am not sure if all those famous photos do it justice.  I will be brief because I am leaving my room here in just a moment but I will add a couple of photos for now.

Evan with his cousin, David.

And of course the amazing Tour Eiffel.