Monthly Archives: March 2013

Click on the title of the blog post to view the entire entry.

***my open letter***

this is my open letter

to all the people

who blow off the lives of military personnel


they signed up for it.

i married a bartender


i had no idea what i was getting myself into

my husband started OCS (officer candidate school)

one week after we got married

i thought he was going to swab a deck

when he said he wanted to join the navy

17 years later

i can say

i have wondered

almost every single day

when i know he is flying

if it will be the last time i see him.

without question.

i look at his face.

i accept his kiss goodbye in the morning

pretending i am still asleep

and i wonder

is this the last time

i will see him

will this be the memory that i hold on to

for the rest of my life

when i tell my son about the wonderful parts of his dad

that he didn’t know

will this be the story i tell.

that is what i think

almost every single day

when he is flying.

as i typed this

i got his text


he is safe on deck.

and another day has been dodged.

but tomorrow i will think the same thing

as he kisses me goodbye.

will this be the last time?

i have lived in a constant state

of preparing for the worst

for as many years

as i have been married.

and so with that.

we might have signed up for it.

but we are still



so there i was doing my job

when i got photo bombed

by that guy

who is just a number to most.

to me he is the sweetest man on the planet

the love of my life.

and the man i hope returns to me every day.

and perhaps the man who moves too fast

for me to focus my lens on

when i have it set to S……

my crappy picture

still sums up who he is

and it makes me smile





i really like cheese


this is not

my real



***thank you!***

thank you to those of you who sampled the prb PhotoBoutique

at In The Spotlight


in Clovis!!



_PRB7600-2 copy

p.s.  i knew my Missy MWAC wand

that i earned from accosting her at WPPI

would come in handy!


***end of an era***

at the via-146 change of command

and retirement ceremony

CMDR Dan Baxter

takes one last walk around his jet


***photo op***

photo op

from the VFA 146 change of command



***surrounded by mess***

a story about me

when i was little

perhaps starting at age 5?

I used to have a recurring image

while awake

that upset me, intensely

i don’t think i ever told anyone about it

but my brain would kick into gear

and i couldn’t shut it off

it would take an eternity, it seemed, to distract myself

maybe it was only 5 minutes

i am not sure anymore

but it happened regularly

for a couple of years.

i would envision a mess

that kept growing and changing

like twigs or worms or ropes or branches?

the form was nameless

and it would surround and take over me

it felt like it was literally in my brain

i couldn’t close my eyes and hide from it

i couldn’t change my thoughts

i had no ctrl-alt-del

all would come to a stand still.

i hated it.

it scared me.

i wonder if it was a sign of stress?

i cannot go back now and understand why i would have this occur

i can only guess

but now, at age 40

i think i finally understand it to a certain extent

i think that i get overwhelmed by the chaos of my surroundings

now i am smart enough to know when it is time to protect myself from an overwhelming situation

when the music is too loud

when the phone rings while i am cooking and i just screen the call

when i say no, i cannot chaperone at elementary school functions

when the light shining in my eyes is too bright

i do all this to simplify my existence

but somethings i cannot control

a bad day with my filterless extroverted son

aggravating conversations

having a sudden onslaught of work dumped on me

fighting with the pharmacy

guilt over my mistakes from the past

when clients are not happy with my work

and i shut down emotionally

i physically need help

sometimes i cannot cope

i may not envision the mess anymore

but i think that is what it is….


i look like a normal person

and act like one most of the time

but i have distinct limitations

beyond the others i know

people don’t know that about me

i hide in my head and wait

for the mess to go away

before i can start talking again


when i told the doctor that i thought i had aspergers

and he disagreed

i probably should have shared this story.


***enough in-between***

torturing me with drab

enough with the in-between

gray overcast

leaves me flat

sun would be wonderful

i don’t have to guess

which emotion to feel


i could take a storm

with a beginning


and end

my progress bar slowly inching along

with hints and drama

giving a clue

a form of communication

about the emotion

that looms in the sky.

but gray overcast

perhaps a drop or two

at most

for days upon days

provides no solution

the size of the clouds

it kicks me off the roller coaster

and hides me in a room

with no door or windows

with little connection

to the outside

removing the emotion

flashbacks from 1989


torturing me with drab




***why my photo sucks, round 2***

becoming a better photographer is about experimentation

and let’s just say

after nearly 9 years of owning a digital SLR

i have experimented a lot.

perhaps you have to suck at something for quite a while to become marginally good at it.

10,000 hours?  i have heard that from Malcolm?

have you heard that figure?

and sometimes even after you are marginally good

you can still suck at it for various reasons.

so with that

i will explore the reasons that


my work still sucks.


this is a continuation of a series i started several years ago.

it is time to reinstate this prb classic

why did i stop?

distraction, probably.

that dreaded ADHD.

anyhow, i digress.

my first example of round 2 follows

and i assure that i will re-post some of my gems from the original round

of ‘why my photo sucks’

in the future.



my photo sucks because i was too lazy to get off my butt

and move closer to the subject.


i sat there during the CVW-2

change of command

and retirement ceremony

in the BACK ROW

of the VFA-86 hangar

with my 70-200 mm lens


and snapped from my chair.

my exposure was totally off

over-exposed by about a stop

and had to pull back the blacks in photoshop.

blown sky totally unrecoverable.

terrible composition

terrible exposure.

sometimes i am embarrassed to look like the paparazzi.

yes, i was self-conscious

but i wanted to take a picture of my sweet husband

flying in the formation


when your lens is bigger than your head

and you aren’t being paid to take pictures

it can feel a little goofy

there is no way to just…. blend.

oh well.

there it is

in all its glory

my first sucky photo of round 2.

ian is the ‘slot’ by the way

the bottom of the diamond formation.


edited to add on 3/21

i think it is fantastic

that WPPI left me thinking about 10,000 hours

just like Artifact Uprising

i just discovered their blog today

hm….  seems like a clue for me

as i have clearly stated

i don’t believe in coincidences


My photographic pet peeve of the day

Since I am a pissy
Cynical person many of my waking hours
I decided it is only fitting
To post my photographic pet peeves.
I am taking a break from editing
130 images in 4 hours.
Not even half way.
Totally spent and cross-eyed
I sit down to my ‘Foodie Handbook’
Thoughts of dinner
Only to be completely annoyed
By a back-focused image.
I pick every little bit of myself
My pictures
My light
My editing
My quality
Apart. All day long.
And I look at a crap image that got
And it makes me angry.
how about if we focus on the SUBJECT next time.


***today this is perfection***

as i snapped the shutter

today this is perfection

i had so much going thru my head

when i took this image

the crap people do

because of jealousy

if i had the strength that i have now

moving overseas

what a transition

it is hard to move anywhere

but across an ocean

without the safety line of a home on the other end

and living out of a suitcase for 3 months

takes a toll

it is too bad that i can still feel my anger

when i see this image

because it is perfection.

it should have been the most exciting time of my life.

and so i learn

the frustration of a photographer

is that i can never see my images for what they are

i will always remember

the emotion

unrelated or not

that swirled in my head

as i snapped the shutter


***from the 23rd floor***

i have learned many things in the past week

in fact, i had a crazy great week

one of the things i learned definitively

about las vegas

is that it is significantly better

from the 23rd floor

it was only my second visit

the first visit was fun

i met up with my longtime brother marianne drenthe

but i felt like vegas owned me

with their $13 drinks

and their slot machines that slole my $20 in two not-very-fun minutes

this time i went with my husband

on our first night

we ate at Twist

on the 23rd floor of the Mandarin Oriental.

Oh, such a wonderful twist of the past

considering we stayed at the Mardarin Oriental Singapore

during one of the more memorable port visits during Ian’s deployments.

But I digress

i really do have a point here…..

I sat right next to the window

overlooking the strip

and i felt a little like Rose flying on the Titanic

before it sank, of course.

and ate food that made me giggle

i took a bite and with each bite the food morphed and changed flavors

it was something i had only read about.

flavorful foams

and little delicacies

one after another

it was theater in the form of food.

but when we were on course 5 or so… i can’t recall

the sommelier brought out wine that i had tasted while in Santorini

from a vineyard that i have been trying to find

first while i lived in germany with no success

and then while living in california with no success??

that is when i cried.


i sat from my chair on the 23rd floor

looked out among the Americana down below

that i had judged

as a fake Times Square

i looked down upon the McDonalds

and the droves of people ambling along going to who-knows-where

and dreamed of my two years in Europe.

I had asked the girl from Essex

WHY she would come HERE?

but suddenly i had floated away from all of it

on the 23rd floor.

 I am someone who often appreciates the memories of a place

better than the actual experience.

too busy before the trip to create antipation

too hung up in details to actually take it in and relax.

Right then and there

i realized how fortunate i felt to be having that experience.

a mere ride up an escalator took me to a totally different continent.


i walked around in a cloud for 24 hours after that meal.

and continued to live in the moment for the next two days


on the last morning of our visit i waited for a little time to pass

before heading to my final classroom

and i played with my lensbaby.

I hadn’t spent much time looking out the window.

What a surprise

for me to realize i could see that mcdonalds

and that 23rd floor….

right from my room.

i think i will be contemplating

this picture

for years to come.

_PRB6856 copy

***drank the Georges Seurat juice?***

did i drink the Georges Seurat juice

by accident?

i am not used to these sorts of skies

we normally see solid colors

in the central valley



that is it.



i have been doing portraits

for many years

but i have decided that from now on

i will mostly do


it is an important distinction

because i believe that my calling

falls in the gray spaces

and fuzzy lines

and when i play by the rules

i overlook those hidden alcoves


i have actually added a new category

to my art website


and so it is official



***collapsing into roots***


***last saturday***

last saturday

heading away

just the two of us

what an incredible extended weekend

i ate food that made me giggle

i drank wine that made me cry

i learned lessons from artists

who educated, inspired, and openly shared

ultimately i learned

the value

of embracing powerful vibes