Saturday, January 29, 2011

amongst friends #65


I thought it was bit funny that I had a hard time thinking of what I wanted to photograph for ‘cold’ being that I live in ALASKA!  But I did struggle. It may have been simply that it wasn’t my most creative week. It may be that I am so sick of cold at the moment and am in a bit of a winter-funk. Whatever it may be, I’m grateful to be moving on and one week closer to some warmer weather and some round the clock sunshine. 

Even though it’s cold here, it doesn’t stop my children from enjoying smoothies. This was a drive-through bought one. I’d much prefer they drink the ones I make at home but this one sure looked cute!

Jenny visited the beach on an apparently cold day, as there was no one there.

Justin is heading the wrong direction to avoid the cold. His picture was taken on his way to Pittsburgh, to visit his Father, at a pit-stop in West Virginia.

Debbie’s included this story with her picture- “First frost of the year always seems the coldest because I'm just not ever ready for winter to be knocking at my door!  I dreaded going out to start my car so I bundled up in a huge blanket, threw on my husband's sneakers and shuffled out to the car grumbling... It took several tries to open the car door because it had frozen shut and I was still trying desperately to hold the blanket closed (so the cold air wouldn't 'get me') with my other hand!  Still grumbling, I fumbled for the keys and started the car.  I looked up at the window and the beauty of the pattern of the frost on the windshield took my breath away.  I ran into the house, grabbed the camera and took a picture.  It was still cold and I was still unhappy about it, but at least I had a shot of the amazing work of art left on my window.  :) ”

Kelly said we should all try some of this Exotic Fruit Medley Sherbet sometime. It’s a mixture of Marula, Red Blush Orange and Cactus Pear flavors and she says it’s a staple item in her freezer. It sounds like some crazy flavors to me but I’m gonna look for some.

I really like this picture Janice sent in of her co-worker Jane Faulkner.  Jane is an RN in the local ER and she also ran the Iditarod last year. Rain, shine, cold or freezing she is out with her dogs.

Sheila sent in a picture of the refrigerator in the Pastoral Office at her church. She says she went into the freezer and to her surprise this is what she found. She said, “This is what I call a cold mess!”

Jocelyn sent in a sweet picture stating there is nothing like an ice cold Popsicle on a hot day. Growing up as a kid in Florida, I remember my mom sending us outside to have Popsicles too! :)

Sandy said her snow is already gone where she lives in the U.K. and the daffodils are poking up out of the soil.  She said they might get the odd bit of snow but nothing much so she looked in the freezer and decided to snap a picture of these shaped ice cubes. The first thing I thought of when I saw these is that Cali would love to play with some colored versions of these!

Rayma sent in a picture of Tessy, who loves the snow.

Jerri took this quirky picture of an ice machine. There is something about the colors in this photo; I just like it.

Linda sent in a cute photo of her little man Jimmy playing in the snow.

Stacie submitted a picture of what she calls ‘her poor little rocking chair’ collecting snow. She says it is way too cold outside to even try to enjoy anything outdoors. She said she is over it and ready for warm sunshine. I want to feel sorry for her, I really do. LOL

I happen to know Karen recently spent a few days at the beach. Her picture is a cold beer she enjoyed after taking her picture. Some weeks I don’t think I like all the photo submissions!  I’m just kidding; she knows how jealous I am!

Mady said her picture is of her sister Keston, wrapped up in what Mady calls her Mrs. Weasley scarf.  She said Keston has been sick off and on for the last few weeks and putting her personal clothes on Keston wasn’t the brightest idea, but she seems to be getting much better.  Keston, I hope you are feeling better and one day you are going to have so much fun getting your big sister to take the cutest pictures of you!

Renee’ sent a picture of ice on her windshield.  She said, “Yeah, it gets that cold in Florida.”  I remember how cold it felt living there. The cold is a wet cold and it cuts like a knife.

Scott’s picture is living proof of the cold we deal with in Alaska.  . He sent a self-portrait. It was 39 below on the day he took this photo. I asked him if it was messy as his beard thawed. He said “not really but it cools your coffee quickly.”  He looks amazing good in this picture because had it been me, I am sure my face would have been scrunched up in anguish!  I am curious as to what he will find to photograph for fruit this week. In the village he is in, I am wondering if they can even get fresh fruit there. We’ll see.

Mady’s Momma commented the other day that it might make the most sense to give myself a deadline of posting the collage by the time the next one is due. I think I am going with it. It has always been my hope to get them posted by Sunday night or Monday afternoon at the latest but we have several contributors that often struggle to get them to me by then. Once my week begins it starts to go downhill.  And by Tuesday, my schedule is a hectic mess of shuttling one girl or another to one place or three. It doesn’t slow down again until Friday night. So, my new goal is to get the collage up as soon as possible but no later than Saturday night. I would still like all photos sent by Sunday night. If you can’t get it to me, be sure to let me know you will be sending something so I don’t post without you.  :)

This coming week, the theme is Fruit and after that comes Heritage, Recycle, and then Love.  I am excited about the coming themes. How about you?  If you've never joined in and would like to, please do. We’d love to have you.  I think once you give it a try, you’ll find you like it. I know I enjoy searching for my weekly contributions. And I love seeing everyone’s ideas and visions.  I’m looking forward to your fruity pictures this week.  Cheers!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Favorite

I have decided to post a favorite song to share every Friday. If you have one to share too, leave a comment and tell us about it.  With my last post, a few people shared a song or two and they were good. I enjoyed them.

This song is one of my all-time favorite songs!

Those that know me fairly well will know I am a passionate person- about all things. I think this song is a love story, about two people who are passionate about the things they love. For her, it's him. For him, it's the sea.  I also think you can not always change who you love. There is a reason for all things and sometimes you just have to go with it. Tell me your most favorite song. Come on, share!

Grandma was Painting the Heaven's Again

This morning, as Cali and I left the driveway, we noticed the skies were painted with vibrant pinks and oranges. I said to Cali, "Grandma is painting again, should we go to the beach and have a look?" Of course, if we did, it would make her a little late for school but you know what, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

We didn't stay for long but we captured a few photos for our memory's canvas. Some moments one just shouldn't pass up!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Standing on the Risers

That's what she said to me. "Mom, it's my first time standing on the risers! I don't have to sit in the chairs, I'm on the RISERS!"  It's so funny what matters to a kindergartner. I looked at her and just grinned. I was truly so happy for my baby-the little one. She has finally hit the big time and she was over-the-moon!

I've been to many kindergarten shows, obviously with two older sisters, I'd seen many, many shows before hers. This one though, it was sweet. They mentioned at the beginning that it was partially student created and definitely student driven.  Of course, in our house we hear that and groan. Sometimes that is pure torture to a parents ears.

In this case however, it was sweet and pleasant.  The songs were short and simple. The kids were accompanied by soft music, not singing alone, loud and obnoxiously. The transitions flowed. There was dancing, nothing too extravagant. Just happy little people doing some fun movements that made everyone smile for a minute.

And then, we were done. I think the entire event from beginning to end  was less than 45 minutes. There was wonderful artwork to see before we left which we could then take home to share with friends and family.

 There was day...

...and there was night.

And there was a whole lot of Cali and every other amazing kinder to admire.

I am so proud of my girl. Cali has been so fortunate this first year of elementary school.  I was part of the hiring committee for her kindergarten teacher.

 I loved her then and I adore her now. She is everything I thought she'd be and more.  Mostly, because she gets these kids. She cares about what makes them tick. She knows how important it is to finally be standing on the risers.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thinking...'Bout my Favorites.

Did you know I rarely listen to music anymore?  Most often songs remind me of a memory and that makes me sad or melancholy. I don't like things that make me feel that way so I just avoid music. Now I can listen to music with my kids, the happy kind and be happy and that is good. But when they aren't with me, well then I'm thinking about them being away from me. See, viscous cycle. (For the record, I don't watch sappy movies either.)

The other day I was listening to something on the internet and started thinking about favorite songs. I need to get past this 'music makes me sad' thing so I decided to share a song with you, and then you share one with me. See how it works?  Who knows, we might find some new favorites. And in the meantime, I'm gonna dig up some tunes that I used to love (and a few I like now) and embrace it!

Here is my first one. One of my all time favorites and while it makes me long for the past a little, if I crank it real loud, and sing real loud too... It makes me smile. 

I sums me up in a nut shell. Now tell me one of your favorites. I'm gonna look it up!

Friday, January 21, 2011

amongst friends #64


Well, I have yet again, increased my tardiness in posting. Pretty soon, I will be posting two at a time. L I’ve got some work to do on this computer evidently. Each time I think I’ve got my problems solved, I find out how wrong I am. Grrr. Technically I wasn’t able to start working on it until Wednesday so I guess I am only two days in. Thanks goodness Kelly was able to get the collage created.

Did you expect when you heard this theme that so many people would send pictures of pets? I think, based on the photos we have this week, we all have a few things to learn from our four-legged furry friends.

Of course that may not include the children, I think they have it down pat.
Say hello to out newcomer Linda. She sent in a picture of her little man and he is by far the most relaxed of anyone or anything I’ve seen this week. I’d say if you can sleep on the arm of the couch you seriously have no worries. We are glad you are here Linda. Great picture! **I forgot to include that Linda lives in Kansas. I'll get that right next time. :)

Renee said Red (her big guy) was enjoying the Florida sunshine after the long cold snap. Apparently, they were in the 30’s most of the week.

I am feeling her pain (maybe a little more). We hit 27 below this past week. The girls and I spent a lot of time keeping our fire burning! When it gets that cold, a fire is not only relaxing it is comforting and almost necessary!

It seems Jenny had the same idea we did and while I’m not sure how low their temps got in Alabama, I know a cozy night by the fire is relaxing at almost any winter temps!

Kelly said she likes to do Sodoku puzzles to relax. She said she’s been doing them for years but hasn’t managed to pass the medium level.

Rayma said this is Baby Girls’ day EVERYDAY. Relaxing! See, I’m telling you; we all have to learn from this!

Jocelyn’s picture is very sweet. It was taken 2 years ago on their family vacation. She said “ I always find it relaxing under an umbrella at the beach listening to the ocean, with the cool ocean-breeze blowing.”

Sandy’s says she wishes she could relax with as much abandonment as Pepper, her dog. Sandy, I wish I could too!

Janice said her most favorite way to relax is on the beach in Maui. Playing, swimming, beach combing, sitting......From sunrise, to sunset. This picture reminds me of a painting. I love it!

Jerri's picture is of her tub at home. I think if I had a tub like that I would have to be drug out of it.

Karen had a relaxing lunch at the Crab Shack on Gandy. Did you know I used to live in Florida? Something about this picture makes me miss it so much.

Stacie sent in a beautiful picture also. It was taken at Center Hill Lake in Tennessee. She took it when it was warmer and said she and John spend all their time there when the weather is good. They love it there!

John sent in a picture of Oz. He is relaxing in his hoodie. He says Oz was exhausted that day, most likely after visiting his Mom and Dad’s house and hanging out with all their dogs. This is usually the end result after a visit.

Mady says her idea of relaxation involves pajamas, new books, and lots of tea. She says she is looking forward to reading some Lewis Carroll (: I really like close-up shots. And I loved this idea. Great job Mady!

Sheila sent in a picture of her mom with Yoshi and Violet relaxing after her Mom’s eye surgery. They are kissing because her Mom is feeling better. Sheila, I love this photo. It is a sweet photo of your momma!

Justin and Obi (his dog) went to spend the weekend with his Mother in Sarasota and Obi seemed to claim his Mother's Steelers blanket as his own. He looks pretty relaxed!

I mention Debbie’s picture last because I love the story behind it. If you know me well, you first know I love a good story. And you would also be well aware that I have a intense fascination for the history and stories of my elders.

Here is what Debbie had to say. "This is my dearest friend Stan. I've been going out to the homestead to visit him every Sunday for over 13 years. He went to Harvard and got a geology degree, was a pilot in the army in the 30's, a pioneer of our state- came up here in the 40's because he'd always wanted to see Alaska so he listed Alaska as his home state when he enlisted!, opened the first burger/sundae shop in Nome, was a prospector in the Brooks Range, an engineer in the army corps of engineers in Fairbanks, moved to Kenai and opened up Kenai Corners, a building supply shop where Paridosos now stands, ran a greenhouse on Strawberry road, was borough Mayor, and on and on. He said everything he'd ever done, he'd never tried before and to not ever let that stop you. Enjoy every minute. Don't ever get old. And most importantly, RELAX it'll still be there 10 min from now! This is Stan, taking in the last remaining rays of warm sunshine this fall, enjoying every minute :)

So, now having 2 ½ days to get your pictures in, hopefully you kept up from last week and remembered this week’s theme was COLD. Next week is FRUIT and after that we have HERITAGE. Let’s get snapping! J And thanks for sticking with me through my never-ending delays.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

amongst friends #63

You really MUST do yourself a favor and click this photo twice. There are some details you won't want to miss!

Did anyone actually look up the definition for Critter?

The Free Dictionary has this-
1. A living creature.
2. A domestic animal, especially a cow, horse, or mule.
3. A person.

I must say I was a little curious at the beginning of the week as to what we would see t his week. I was in no way prepared for the eclectic group of photos we received.

There were many struggles this week, both in picture taking and delivering, which would be my excuse for this ever-late posting.

The funniest story goes to Rayma.  She actually doesn’t even have a picture this week, when I asked if she was sending one she sent this explanation. It was too cute not to tell. She wrote “I had an opportunity to take a picture of a squirrel crossing sign but I forgot after the policeman stopped me and scolded me for not using my turn signal in his town…said if I was from there I would’ve gotten a ticket…I was trying to find the original diner that made fried pickles popular J so to answer your question, probably not.  (We hope you avoid the cops this week and find something relaxing to photograph!)

The saddest story goes to Debbie who ended up in the hospital Friday night (thanks to her smart and loving husband) with appendicitis. Fortunately they removed it in time and she is on the mend.  Honestly, I didn’t even ask her for a photo and rightly should have as I KNOW she has some cool animal pictures, but…I was afraid I would cause her to be doing thing she shouldn’t be. So, on that note, Debbie, I hope you are feeling better and we will look for another awesome photo from you this week.

Now, even though we are flirting with next week’s deadline and mulling our way through one dilemma after another, I must say, this collage will go on the books as a favorite for me. There are some really cool pictures here you flat out don’t see everyday.

I will start with Renee’s because it arrived in my inbox first.  She found this little pug abandoned. In her words, she was in the right place at the right time. I am guessing that pug is saying the same thing! I know how much my Aunt loves her 4-legged friends and I am certain this vision-challenged, partially deaf little fellow will be forever loved.

Jenny’s came next with the description, my critters or as I like to call it, my pet cemetery.
I received this picture via Kelly and when we chatted, we agree, it seems unusual that Jenny has such a collection. J I would love to know how she ended up with them.

Justin’s picture was probably the one that showed up next. It is crazy cool if you ask me. But what is even crazier is that he bent down to take that picture. And what is craziest yet is that his girlfriend had the job of holding the Rubbermaid container while he did it. Can you just imagine if that thing went nuts while he took the picture?  I am not sure I could have reacted fast enough to close the container over it. In fact, if that had flown in my house, I would have been outside, certainly not inside taking a photo!

Mady’s picture came next. Isn’t it sweet? See, I told you she takes cool pictures!  She said this is her pet rabbit, Beau.  She and her sister each have Jersey Wooly rabbits, and she says from most angles they just look like balls of fluff. According to Mady, Beau is a bit of a spaz and freaks out about most anything. She says it’s a miracle he stayed still long enough to get this shot.  I think he looks adorable and I would defiantly let him in my house!

Jerri took her critter picture outside her Mom’s house. I am wondering if they are friendly.  They are very tropical looking and remind me so much of Florida!

Sheila’s picture is by far the most creative take on our theme. I love this picture and I can’t even imagine where she found these. If these were just hanging around in her stuff, I would love to see what other vintage things she has. I haven’t seen pet rocks in a long time!

Kelly’s picture is another crazy one. I was with her when she was making eyes at this grasshopper. While they are quite pretty to photograph, they have way too much jump in them for me to ever get that close!

Sandy’s spider picture is really cool. You really have to double click (or go to my blog if you are viewing this on facebook) to see how beautiful this spider is. I would have liked getting photos of her. I know you are scratching your head about now but I do have a fascination with spiders and many of them are quite lovely. I think because they do so many great things in the way of controlling other bad insects, they don’t bother me. Go figure. Great picture Sandy!

My picture is the one I felt fit this theme the least but I couldn’t find the picture of my awesomely cool cat I wanted to use and I ran out of time. So, I used this moose picture because you rarely have the opportunity to get moose pictures like I did the day I took these. Besides, even though she is a big one, she is still a critter.

Janice sent this funny little ditty with her picture. 3 Ling Cod,,, 3 Ling cod,,,  see how they swim,,,  J
She said her daughter and husband caught these this past summer while fishing in Seward, AK. She also said they are some strange looking…but great tasting little critters.

Jocelyn said this was ‘all she had’ for critter. I am thinking it’s pretty darn cool. I am wondering where it was taken. When I first saw it I couldn’t help but be amazed she was able to catch such a shot. It wasn’t until tonight that I realized it might have been at a sanctuary or zoo. So Jocelyn…?

I saved Karen’s for last because she and I had actually discussed the definition for critter.  She wasn’t really sure what she would send in.  Because I can see the date on the photo I know when she took it. Talk about right place, right time.
I love everything about this picture. I really do. In fact, I think I am going to frame it and hang it on my wall in my ocean bathroom. I can do that ‘cause she’s my Aunt and I know she won’t mind.

So what do you think about this week’s photos? Sometime soon, I like to hear your thoughts. It’s part of what I love about amongst friends; the stories behind the photos- the thoughts about them. So if you have time, leave a comment, let me know. And for those of you who aren’t joining in yet but are thinking about it. Please do. We’d love to see your perspective too!

Next week is relaxation ( 3 days from now really!). Then we have cold, fruit and heritage. Now get busy!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

amongst friends #62


Well, this would be my second try writing a little about our Celebration collage this week. In fact, if I make it through this, I may just do a celebratory happy dance myself!  J

I had every intention of getting this done earlier this evening when I realized that I couldn’t edit the collage. You see, my computer is broke again! I am currently using Cori’s. Well now I’m not but I was at the time. Anyway, you are getting the picture I’m sure. 

I worked on my computer a bit more tonight and decided to give it a go. So far so good. (Of course, like I said, this is my second attempt.)

We still have several people out this week although some of them have changed. I am hoping everyone gets back around to it soon.  We also added a new player this week. Welcome Mady. She is only 15. She is a fabulous photographer (I’ve seen many photos on her Mom’s blog) and I think you will enjoy her pictures. She is also about to embark on a 365-photo project, which is journaling, a photo a day for one year. Good luck Mady and we are glad you are here!  

Mady’s picture this week is one of their many vintage Shiny Brite ornaments, retired to the Rubber-maid bins today until next Christmas.  It's a beautiful photo and I am incredibly jealous you have your Christmas things put away already!  :)

Kelly said her photo was the best she could do. She fell asleep on the couch with her dog who was deathly afraid of all the fireworks in the neighborhood. They woke up at 11:55pm, just in time to take a picture of the TV with the ball dropping at 12:00.

Justin said he celebrated a nice quiet New Year with some Family Guy and Bacardi.

When Karen’s photo arrived in my email I may have spewed a little coffee on my computer screen as I teared up from laughter. She said “This is how old people celebrate!”

Jerri’s New Year display is cute. I hope it was fun!

Stacie said her photo is she and her husband with friends toasting the New Year at the midnight hour.  I like this one!

I always enjoy the lovely comments Debbie includes with her photos. For this one, she said “Each glass for every one of us is a joyful celebration of the coming new year.  Here's to 2011, we raise our glass to you!”

I found Sheila’s comment super sweet as well. She said, “This is a picture of my mother at her 80th birthday party. She is celebrating with her grandsons Erine, Markus and Erine's wife Brooke. I am still celebrating because she will be 82 on January 5, 2011.”   Sheila I hope you are celebrating this day for a long time to come!

Jocelyn sent us a photo of what she called one of the best celebrations of her life! Her wedding day! I didn’t think of this when I was considering my photo but I have to agree, a definite day of celebration not to be outdone by many.

Jenny took her picture before she started the celebration!

And my picture, well it’s the after-math of our annual New Year’s Celebration. And I must say it’s the cleanest the house has ever been following the confetti explosion. There is usually a barrage of silly string as well. I got lucky this year!

Rayma's picture is of her husband Mike. She says he loves Tennessee!  Maybe it was a winning season!

Sandy's photo is a Christmas time photo- Celebrating family! 

Well, that ties up our Celebration collage however my wish for all of you this year-2011 is that it brings you many, many reasons to celebrate. Keep you heart and eyes open and I am sure you will find occasions to cheer all year long!

Next week the theme is Critters. Keep your camera handy and start clicking. I can’t wait to see what you find.  After that we have relaxation, cold, then  fruit.


Sunday, January 02, 2011

Out With the Old, Wishes for New

This post came a tad bit late because things were just not working out for us.

Here in the Holmes House, we've had a rough couple weeks. Tensions have been high and telling you of stressful situations would be an understatement.

New Years Eve, I came up with a plan. I gave each girl two small pieces of paper. On one they were to write anything about 2010 they would like to let go of. If there was anything they were carrying in their heart they no longer wanted there, they were to write it down. On the other paper they were to write any wishes they had for 2011.

I envisioned taking these to the beach right near our house prior to our New Year's Eve party. While we were shopping for party food, we popped our papers into balloons at the store and asked them to blow them up. They were silver and shiny. Perfect for New Year's.

Then we found out Scott was barely going to make it home in time for our party and our day turned a bit upside down. We never made it to the beach. The party was a success the first morning of 2011, our balloons were no more. They were lying on the floor of the kitchen with no life to them at all.

So, new plan, we'd go get new balloons (the kids opted for colorful this time) and get it done on the 1st day of the New Year but...we had friends that had spent the night and they stayed most of the day. By the time they left if was pretty dark (4:00 pm ) and I didn't think we'd get good pictures by the time we went to get more balloons.

That brings us to today, where we finally made it to the beach. It was still late but I was determined to get this done prior to school starting back up again. It took forever to get the balloons filled today. I think they lady at the store was stalling for time- it must have been almost time for her to leave. Since one thing I'd wished for for 2011 was more patience, I had to bite my tongue! the 30 minutes or more I was in the store, the sun went down, way down!

Finally we made it to the beach, kind of dark and VERY windy and cold. Such is Alaska life.

I imagine we will do this again next year. I could sense it was a positive moment for the girls, writing those things down. We all needed it!  Scott even decided to join us and jotted down his own list today before we left for the store.

Cali counted us down, 3...2...1! We let go! And all that stress and frustration was flying away! Thank goodness.  Dreams for the New Year were swirling above us.

I am looking forward to this New Year. There are things I'd like to accomplish, prepare and enjoy! And I wish for only peace and happiness (oh and patience! :). For you too!

Blessings to all of you in 2011!

And only for the sake of showing you what I am blessed with...what makes me smile...