Thursday, December 31, 2009

The year that was

I recap in data. I’m a data geek & I like having numbers. It’s easier for me to grasp than prose.

Statistics for 2009

Photos taken – 6089 (holy crap!)

Times I said “Leave your brother alone” – 4,988

Times I said “Back away from the TV” – 4,635

Times I said “What did I just say?”  - 4,631

Photos tagged – 365 (I only had one tag but I used it religiously)

Days I had Cheerios & coffee for breakfast – 361 (It’s not monotony. It’s regularity)

Nights I had to be medicated to sleep - 341

Meals planned - 260

Blog posts written - 228

Layouts scrapped – 178

Meals actually made from the plans - 157

Books read – 98 (missing my 100 book goal by 2)

Books reread – 63

Body Pump classes taken – 58

Audio books listened to - 36

Crochet projects finished – 14

Slices Di Carlos’ pizza eaten – 10 (I wish it were more)

Cats currently being fed by us - 7

Times my internet tower collapsed – 3

Fillings lost – 2

Bewb squishings – 1

Comments left on my blog – too many to easily count. Thank you all for being in my life this past year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Goals in 2010

It’s that time of year!

Well, actually I have ‘that time of year’ several times a year being Wiccan. I do goal setting on every Sabbat, the goals being subjectively tied to the occasion. For instance, Imbolc which is when you can start to see the coming of spring, things starting to grow; I’ll set a goal of growing my savings account X dollars by the Summer Equinox. Or Samhain when the dying year is fully obvious I’ll set a goal of banishing 50% of the caffeine in my diet by Imbolc (and so far I am succeeding! I’m down to a 25% caffine 75% decaf coffee mix & only drink 1 cola on weekends & only if we are out to eat)

I’m good at setting goals. Sometimes I even meet them.

My big goal this year is to take control of my photo processing workflow. My current system is somewhat redundant & when I took 800 photos a year it was not really a problem but at 6000 photos a year it’s out of hand. It’s time to suck it up and tag instead of the multiple folder insanity I have now. I’ve been using Lightroom almost exclusively for my editing for the past few months, but I import with Picasa out of habit and then sometimes I use PSPXs for editing since Lightroom can’t do texts. So starting Jan 1 all photos will be imported and tagged in Lightroom and kept in one monthly folder. I’ll try & tag my old photos as time allows but it’s not a goal, just a bonus.

My other goal I have already started on – to comment more on blogs, photos and layouts. That tends to go in waves with me, lots of commenting for a couple of weeks and then only commenting in specific places for a few weeks. I want to even that out a bit.

My last goal is to accept in my heart and in my life that veggies are not just a side dish. By Beltane I want to be having one veggie meal a week and at least one other that is as much meat as veg.  I like winter veggies better than summer ones so now is a good time for this. Right now meals are a meat, a carb and oh yeah, we need a veg, lets microwave a cup of frozen corn.  I need to put as much thought into them as I do to the main dish. I’ve been gathering recipes for a month now trying sort out what I know my family will eat versus what I can probably get them to try versus stuff that just won’t work at all at this time but I do want try once we’re further down this road.

So, do you do resolutions or have any goals for the coming year?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Post holiday

Yet still on vacation.

The weird limbo week of the year. Christmas is over. The new year is coming. Kids don’t have school but the new toys have lost some of their newness due to constant exposure. The fridge is full of leftovers.

(in my case the fridge is also full of meat that defrosted over night in chest freezer when Havoc left the lid up after getting some corn dogs. Only the top layer of stuff thawed, the bottom 2 racks are still solid but I need to find something to do with 14 chicken breasts in the next 2-3 days, plus make more ragu with the thawed short ribs and I guess we are having strip steak for dinner tomorrow)

Everyone is sort of waiting around for things to pick back up & normal life to start again.

I’m using the time to go through my photos this year (over 5000!) and get rid of the badly done ones, the blurry shots, the ones duplicated in multiple photos and the ‘shoot the object 15 times until you get the angle you want’ shots. Things I should have been more proactive about deleting when I imported them. That is one of my goals this year – better photo workflow.

I’m also assembling my 2009 365 photo book, which I finally chose a look for 2 weeks ago. And I’m trying to get list together of 10-12 things to photograph monthly for my 2010 project

The other thing I am doing this week is trying to go off of Lunesta, which I have been taking nightly since November 2006. It’s been sporadic lately in it’s effectiveness & I figure why spend $50 a month on something that isn’t working. Last week I went 4 nights in a row without it & got some sleep, not 6-7 solid hours but 6 sporadic hours. I took it for 2 nights & have been 2 more nights now without it. Apart from the terrible anxiety I had last night it’s been going well. I’ve also cut the caffeine in my diet by 75% & am now taking Kava at night, along with chamomile tea. We’ll see how it goes.

What are you up to this last week of 2009?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Weekly Winners – holiday edition


If you are a regular reader of my blog you may recognize some of these from earlier in the week.

I experimented with bokeh


There were close ups of fudge


Early morning on the solstice


Sugar cookies were baked

making cookies-11

Nestled all snug in their bed


Another experiment with bokeh & lighting.

xmas eve-12

I hope everyone had a happy holiday season! Thanks for stopping by!

For more Weekly Winners, please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Scrapbook Saturday

Some more Journal Your Christmas pages







I have the 24th done except for editing the photos, so I am as caught up as I have been all month.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

From these guys and the rest of us!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

why I don’t do photo cards

I gave up on getting a photo of both boys together where they are not being unreasonably goofy, out of focus or half out of the shot. I accept not looking at the camera and not smiling at the same time, but not the rest.

This year I thought “What about the dinos? What about the clones?” They can reasonably be expected to stay in the frame, not shove one another around, make fart jokes and maybe even look at the camera.

or not.

The goal was a balanced shot with dinos & clones focused in the foreground and a bokeh tree in the background.

Not quite balanced & some confusion about looking at the camera, but a good start


Apparently three of them thought the camera was above them


They have found the camera but Greenie is out of focus and again there is a balance issue


Greenie decides to leave the shot entirely


Maybe some solo photos




Knock it off you guys!


one more shot


Seriously. I can’t even get inanimate objects to all look at the camera.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cookies, Jeebus

We are perhaps overstocked in the cookie department.

We have/had 4 dozen of these (they were made this weekend and I haven’t recounted what is left)


Yesterday morning the boys & I got together with my friend Mel & her kids and made 8 dozen of these, which we split between us


Last night DH made 4 dozen of these (some of which he took into work for his coworkers)


Oh, and Monday he made this



Here is the problem.

It’s just us this Christmas. No one is visiting. We are going no where. Just us and the sugar.

Until New Year’s Eve when we are having a party.

But that is 8 days from now.

8 days!

I’m thinking of taking bets on whether there are any cookies left for the party

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Solstice!

Today we celebrate the Light’s return.

I’d had plans to get up & take a photo of the sunrise this morning. But those plans were made before we had 20 inches of snow dropped on us.  Due to topography issues, in order to get a decent sunrise photo that did not include telephone poles, electric wires, cedar trees blocking the horizon, guide wires or my internet providing blight on the landscape, I would have to be standing in the middle of the area in this photo here, facing east, which is to the right.

dec 19 snow-35

And I don’t own boots that cover my legs above my knees so that wasn’t happening this morning.

A photo from the 18th will have to do. I wasn’t sure what prompted me to take a sunrise photo that morning while waiting for the kids’ bus but apparently the Divine was giving me some help.


We will be doing our Welcome Sun ritual tonight, which involves turning off every light in the house and eating supper by candlelight while talking about what life was like before electricity, when the length of sunlight directed how your day was spent & how people waited for this longest night to come, about the idea of the sun fading & dying and then being reborn, of days finally starting to grow longer & the hope of spring to come. There is a short prayer of thanksgiving for the rebirth of the sun after dinner and then the boys get to run through the house turning on every light and shouting Welcome Sun!

Merry Yule everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Weekly Winners – snow storm edition

Here in the Mid-Atlantic region we have a plethora of snow. It started snowing around 6pm Friday night and continued for over 24 hours.

Early Saturday Havoc tried to get some shoveling done but there was too much coming down


When it slowed up around 2pm he went back out (in a dry coat) to snow that almost reached his waist


Mayhem has always been a bit dubious about snow. (I have pictures of him at 12 months old in the snow with this expression)



He just doesn’t manage well in it


There were 19.5 inches in my yard at 4:15pm Saturday


The view from the kitchen door


For more weekly winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Scrapbook Saturday

I‘ve gotten some more Journal Your Christmas layouts done. I’m missing days 14, 15, 16 & 19 but have plans to do 14 & 19 today. I’m still working on ideas for variations on 15 & 16.








This one has a pic of last year’s breakfast which I’ll update after Christmas


Friday, December 18, 2009


It is what I was looking forward to the most when the boys started school.

I’d missed silence over the past 7 years. There had been so very very little of it. Just an hour or so here and there, maybe a couple of hours if DH took the boys into town for lunch every few weeks.

I love silence.

To just be alone with your thoughts without the constant droning of the daily background noises.

The TV, the radio, the video games, and the people, talking louder to be heard over all the other noises. Havoc cannot just be silent. He must speak. He must say something, make some sound, sing some song, all day long. And if all else fail he can torment his brother into arguing with him.

I spent August imaging those long stretches of silence that would soon be mine. 8 hours a day with no Lego Star Wars, no Boomerang, no “MOOOOOMMMMM!!! HE HIT ME!!!”. Just the sound of air moving around the house.

And it was wonderful! Everything I had hoped it would be!. It was early November before I started to feel like listening to music for a couple hours while I worked.

It has grown from a couple hours of music to most of the day now. My craving for silence has been met & fulfilled. I’m now happy to listen to Christmas music and random stuff on my mp3 player.

It’s a good thing I am ready for noise again in my life.

Today is the last day of school until Jan 4th.

I expect I will be ready for silence again then.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ahead of the game for once!

It only took me a month but for once I am prepared for teacher gifts! No last minute box of chocolate & Wal Mart gift card in a 99 cent bag this year! The gift that says “I stopped on my way to school today to get this.”

Thanks to advanced planning I’m giving a bag of M&Ms, an ornament & a Target gift card in a decorative bucket!

Yeah, I’m awesome!

And they are wrapped!

I made these guys over a couple of weeks (slowest crocheter ever!)


They can be tree ornaments or just holiday knick knacks

Then I gathered my stuff in a Target run Monday


And assembled the buckets yesterday


Now if they can just arrive in one piece at school today.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Made in China

Somehow, through a convoluted chain of topics including McDonald’s Happy Meals, the 1950’s, astronomy, Douglas Adams and paleontology, the boys & I ended up discussing where babies come from while driving home from tae kwon do.

I know. How could I not see this coming?

Havoc knows he was born by c-section “Because I was sitting up” but is not entirely sure what that means except that the doctor had to help & it is not usually how babies are born. He knows there is a cord attached to them, but seems to think that women have a bunch of cords in the uterus and a baby just attaches itself to whichever is closest when it decides it wants to be born. Sort of like a bungee cord I suppose.

Mayhem has little idea about any of it, though he knows he was born differently than his brother was. (He was a VBAC) According to him babies grow in the mom’s belly & then are born, the end. He seems to think that all the babies a woman is going have just sort of hang out in a woman’s belly & get big & are born when they want to. “Havoc is older because he decided to be born first” he says. But he wanted more details about how this birth thing works this time.

The word of the day is VA.GI.NA.

Babies grow in the uterus and then come out through the

Except I am speaking to a boy in the third row of a mini van, while the radio is playing and his brother, in the second row, is talking so he only hears some of it and after a few moments he asks:

“But what if there were ninja’s around?”

Because he thought I said babies come out from China.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Weekly Winners – week 50


I was in the mood to bake some Christmas cookies this week but I wasn’t sure what kind.

So I called my baking posse together to brainstorm


They had definite ideas about what I should make DSC_6751

That’s the thing most people don’t know about dinos


They love well made baked goods


And Thor slept through it all


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom. Thanks for stopping by