Holiday Beauty

A Community Christmas

On December 5th Velma had a community dinner and Christmas Parade.   

Velma Christmas Parade-1-3

This is the first town I've lived in that does a community dinner.   It's nice I think communities need secular get togethers. 

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Small town America --  It was a good evening. 

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I haven't been shooting much. I'm finally almost finished with everything I need to finish.  Then I'm finished with portraiture for now.   

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This post will be more pictures than words.  I need to write a couple of semester tests.   

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Community is important.  Perhaps that's what our large urban areas are lacking, a sense of community.   In an effort to combat segregation we have a society that has taken to busing kids across big towns into giant high schools.  This is a nice effort to also facilitate education with highly qualified teachers, but I think society needs more K-12 schools where kids grow up together instead of being separated by grade levels at grade level schools.  I think we lose community that way.  There is nothing wrong with community.  I almost think we live in a system so desperate for equality - and fairness that we have become increasingly more and more unfair to children and youth.  

Wedding -1

So while I sat down to write about community - I return to the issue of education.  But small town America is important.  Community can exist within large towns but it has to be built and fostered.   

Velma Christmas Parade-1-9

I won a door prize too!  

Velma Christmas Parade-1

Next up the Christmas Parade.  

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What I love about Christmas is that it is for the kids, but it is also good for us adults to remember the joys of childhood.  

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It was a nice parade.  I am not a huge fan of Christmas parades but they are pretty popular in Oklahoma.  Coming from Northern Nebraska we had Christmas programs at the school but I don't think the weather was very agreeable for Christmas programs.   

Velma Christmas  Parade -1-12

But parades and events are going on all over small town America right now.   I hope you made it to your local event. 


Velma's Super Summer Celebration

Velma had a "Super Summer Celebration" on June 26-27th and it culminated with a fireworks display on Saturday night which I attended.  It gave me the opportunity to try to shoot fireworks properly using the tripod.   

Velma Fireworks -Super Summer Celebration-1-4

Before the show started I was on the lookout for stars.  

Fireworks at Velma -Jupiter and Venus-1

I didn't run in the 5K (because it's too hot to run in ANY 5K) and I had a morning portrait session.  

Fireworks at Velma -1

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays.  I've always loved the fireworks.  

Fireworks at Velma -1-2

Do you know what I'm tired of?  I'm tired of reading the drama on the internet.  People upset about issues that don't pertain to them and rallying around people and situations that they are only involved in as keyboard warriors.   

Velma Fireworks -Super Summer Celebration-1

Issues aside I spend more time reading about cameras, photography and camera gear.   But this lens seems to process slower than the Tokina 11-16 that I'm used to for night shooting.  I used the Tamron 15-30 f/2.8 for these images.  

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I played with exposure length but I believe these are 30 second exposures at around f11.  

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I am planning on going to another fireworks display this weekend to try this out again. 

Velma Fireworks -Super Summer Celebration-1-3
I'm pretty impressed with the Tamron 15-30.  

Fireworks at Velma --1
I was recently "defriended" and even blocked by a chick who I thought was a friend of mine.  Since high school even (like, omg).   I don't know why, I guess because I posted the wrong meme?  Its funny because I genuinely liked this person,  but since I'm old enough to "not care" that much about it. It is more of an annoyance.  We even have kids in the same grades and she, too is a photographer.    Ah, I will never understand people or their motives.  I'm 38 years old and this is not high school and I'm not a confrontative type person.   This is why I blog, I have an outlet to write about things that bother me or interest me without being the soundboard for the internet.    This is why I don't get the people who randomly defriend people because they disagree with politics.  

Fireworks at Velma --1-3

The definition of a bigot is someone who is intolerant of others beliefs and yet this word - bigot- is thrown around like it is the worst insult imaginable.  It's not.  You can be intolerant of anothers views and still respect them as a person. You can still be friends with people you disagree with politically.  I do not voice my opinions on religion and politics as often as I could because I understand there is a certain tact and diplomacy about being an independent mind who does not jump on every sensational, clickbait bandwagon shoved into our faces.   

Fireworks at Velma --1-4

 


February 27th Snow

So, the news said it would snow today.  I got up and took the kid to school, I didn't really believe it would snow.  I went home, medicated my asthma and fell asleep after my morning kid drop off and woke up at 10:30 am to a text telling me that everyone was getting picked up from school and school would be dismissed at 11:30am.   I knew that since it was 10:30 am and snowing hard that it would take me at least an hour to make the twenty two mile drive to the school.  I looked out the window and could see the snow coming down.   I went the route with the gravel road for about 10 miles but as I was turning my car kept going.  I am very thankful for the three or four trucks that stopped and the men who lifted my car from where it was high centered over the ditch.  I drove home last weekend in ice from the OKC area and certainly wasn't eager to repeat that white knuckle experience (no, I didn't take any photos... because that was very stressful).  

February 27 snow-5855

I called my Son's bus driver and found out her route so I could meet her further up the road.  

February 27 snow-5864

I had good timing I didn't have to wait on the bus long. I made it a few miles past my parents' house to meet him.  

February 27 snow-5866

I don't remember having snow this late in February before.  It will be March on Sunday!  

February 27 snow-5865

I enjoy snow. I don't enjoy driving/sliding on snow.  

February 27 snow-5869

Yay for the school bus. I wasn't waiting more than a couple of minutes, but of course my accident slowed me down.  

February 27 snow-5870

We headed back to the gravel road to go home.  We met a couple of trucks one which apparently got stuck at the corner when he tried to turn. 

February 27 snow- woodpile-5906

We stopped by to check on  my Dad and he had the wood fire burning... 

February 27 snow- Cardinal-5887

I could not believe I got these shots, because birds do not like to be photographed. 

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They really don't.  

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Well, I knew it wasn't meant to be...

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So we didn't stay long, but now were on our way back home. 

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The squirrel...  was sitting there.  So we stopped.  

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It doesn't feel like it's almost spring. 

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I was taking my time.  I was actually dreading turning the corner at the end of the road where I slid off the first time.  

February 27 snow-5924

We haven't had very much snow this year.   

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I spent the afternoon messing with these pictures, working on laundry and not doing that much else.  

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Why am I listening to Christmas music?  Probably because my playlist made it to Christmas music.  

February 27 snow-5940

These cows are also probably looking forward to Spring.  Isn't it about time for Daylight Savings Time again?  Can it hurry? I like my longer days-- yes I know the days are the same length but I'm not a morning person so come on, give me my illusion.  I also know the sun doesn't really set and rise.  

February 27 snow-5944

Moove along, nothing to see here...

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Desolate winter scenery... needs to be replaced with greenery.  Oh. I must have a poetic soul.  

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Home sweet home...  

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Pumpkin and Sister were ready to go out for a break. 

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Pumpkin likes the snow, Sister is a little bit smarter than Pumpkin I think.  She reluctantly went out in the snow. 

February 27 snow-5978

It's about time to go in...  and we did. I went out a couple of hours later to feed the chickens.  They escaped their warmth and came out to eat a little. 

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They were eating cracked corn, but you probably don't care.  

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That's all for tonight. I kind of wish the stars would come out because I'd like to see what a starlit snowy night would look like.  So, tomorrow we finish February with more wintry weather. 


Must Love Dogs...

So I was thinking of criteria for screening potential clients who are willing to work with my vision and immediately this movie title popped into my head.  Must Love Dogs.   Because...  how can you not love dogs.  

Dogs playing in the snow-1-11

"Happiness is a warm puppy."
Charles M. Schulz

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"Okay Dad, I'll go get it."  

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Hub was playing catch the snowball with Pumpkin, it was great.  

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This post will have a lot of images on it, for the few minutes they were outside in the snow. 

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Yes she caught that snowball. 

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"Dogs got personality. Personality goes a long way."  ~Quentin Tarantino  

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"Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate." -Quote 

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“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.”
—Aldous Huxley 
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"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself."
—Josh Billings 
Yorkie in the snow -reedit-1
Moka in the snow.  
Moka vs Pumpkin-1
 I love this shot!  
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If you want to play in the snow, they want to play in the snow.  Take them outside!  
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Yumi likes her Christmas sweater but she does not like the snow. 
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"You've got to be kidding me Dad."  

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 Little Miss Yumi was shivering and I was getting cold, so it was time to go inside and warm up.   I hope you had a wonderful snowday here in Oklahoma.   I know I did.   


Rise Above This

I will Rise Above This .  Yesterday stunk, like all day ruined- hurt, angry and awful.  I was upset. I cried more than once, I couldn't sleep all night.  It was a day that I allowed someone else's crappy attitude and ignorance to shape my emotions.  If someone says "I don't mean to be rude and hateful"  You totally know that's their intention and you should just not read any further or interact with that kind of individual.  I also learned that I will be trusting my instincts and screening my clientele much closer.  I will no longer book without an actual real conversation. So if I'm blogging from an honest perspective about the industry of photography then I should continue to do so in case I help someone else.  1. I will be taking control of production to print aspect of my business (to prevent this from happening again).   

Snowy December 27th -1-3

Of course it's upsetting to read someone say "I'm so disappointed in you."  But, it can make you angry when you truly believe that it an unjust perception.  But, I cannot control the wind, weather and people's perceptions. I'm also not diappointed in myself, or the shoot.  I'm sad that someone didn't think that their own family was as beautiful as I perceived them to be during the shoot, that is what is disheartening.  I haven't photographed anyone and felt that didn't have some beautiful qualities, the point is finding the beauty despite the flaws.   Nothing in life is perfect.  I'm far more of an artist than I am a people person.  It's amazing how quickly someone who initially struck you as beautiful can turn ugly in your eyes.  I've had more than one client that I could see was super critical about their children (not this shoot but a few others that I've done) - during the shoot and I know that I will be forever booked or busy if they decide to seek out my business again.   

Daddy's Firewood Pile -1-2

Some people will never be able to find beauty in negative spaces....  

So I psychoanalyze and reanalyze people and why they may act the way the do and why I may react the way that I do.  I know it is when I let a disc leave my house I have no control to teach someone that the crop and printing company effects how their prints come out.  IT is frustrating even as a photographer to realize that certain sizes must be resized or cropped differently and that is part of the technical aspects of photography that you must explain or teach to clientele or else they just don't understand.  

Daddy's Firewood Pile -1

And hate me now if it keeps you alright.  

So I'm refunding the clients money.  1. Because they weren't satisfied (even if I was).  and 2. Because I would never provide this person a second shoot or do any type of work for them (if I'm not happy I would easily offer to reshoot for free).  So it is the right thing to do even if I spent my time (an hour drive there and back) and three to four hours of editing and over delivering on images (I gave 60 images instead of the guaranteed 20).  I will no longer be providing clients with more images than I guarantee because of this and I will not be giving discs so they can print themselves.  I will have control of the entire process and refuse to have my work messed up because of a print kiosk or website.  

I am not all about the money. I don't WANT MY photography or my vision gracing the walls of someone who doesn't appreciate it. They don't deserve ME or my time, talent or effort.   So a 99% satisfaction rate isn't bad at all now is it?  So they say for one bad experience you need ten positive ones.   

So resolutions are I will not do shooting at anyone's home/ranch without references (safety issues, ladies).  I will take control of my business from production to print.  I am an artist above all and cannot work in a factory setting.   

But it snowed today!  So I went out and did what I love...  

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I love the snow.  LOVE it when it is snowing.  So, I got dressed and made my husband go drive me around in the snow!   The world offered me a gift and I had a better day!  

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I appreciate the community that I live in this year.  I've met and done a lot of business in this small town.  I like Velma.   

Snowy December 27th -1

How can you not love a beautiful snowy day.  It cleans the air and paints the world with it's soft, white blanket.   

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A negative experience is how you create change in your life.   Because you want to learn from things that hurt you.  You change.  So, I as a relatively new *busy* portrait photographer am beginning to understand the inflexibility that many others have.   You have to be inflexible or people will take advantage of your good will.  

Christmas Tree Covered in snow-1

As I said yesterday, I didn't get into photography for this.  I love photography for its sacred geometry, for this amazing technical knowlege that I'm mastering, I love photography for allowing me to see how beautiful the world is every day.  When I know not everyone takes the time to find beauty in the obscure.   I am a writer and I will write my opinions and feelings, because if you can't find your voice or the power to write or use your words and opinions along with the courage to share them, then what do you have in this world?  And if my experiences help one, just one person, than it is worth it.  

"I'm sick of complaining about a beautiful life..."

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Christmas Day 2014

So, my Christmas photos wouldn't load all 67 photos.  So Christmas evening has been the great 2014 file purge and transfer and I had to work with my lightroom so I can continue to access all of those photos.  But, it was a good Christmas.   

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This was only part of my purge.  Don't worry none of the files are gone.   

Christmas Day 2015 -1

Christmas Dinner; courtesy of my Mother.  I'm just appreciative that I only cook Thanksgiving.  

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No photos from our Christmas morning at my house, because we are all barely awake and it would be pointless.   My Dad got a new chainsaw for Christmas.  

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My Sister's little dog is lost in the papers.  

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My favorite brother.  

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My youngest got silly masks; which the cat mask absolutely terrifies our other cats.   I'm in the cat mask, we were taking silly selfies.  

Christmas Day 2015 -1-6

Merry Christmas.  I came home and napped and then my husband and I watched a movie and now my kids are watching a movie, its time for bed.  I hope you all had a wonderful day, with family or friends. I'm relieved that it's over and am ready for 2015. 

 

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Christmas Eve 2014

So in my life well documented, here are some images of Christmas Eve 2014. 

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Here is my darling Yumi Monster, who does like the sweater but wasn't too thrilled about the Santa hat.  

Christmas Eve 2014-1

Pumkin just decided to sit down under the tree.  We can't have presents directly under the tree or Pumpkin would have opened them all and carried them around the house or hidden them under my bed.  

Christmas Eve 2014 -Dogs-1

Ozzie says "Merry Christmas"  

Christmas Eve 2014 -Moon-1-4

Yumi again.  Still wasn't quite into my idea of a Christmas photoshoot.  

Christmas Eve 2014 -Moki -1-2

Moki decided to lay down -  I also gave her cheese (one of her favorite words).  They know "outside, cheese, bacon, and bath" - just a few words from their Doggy vocabulary.  

Christmas Eve 2014 -Moki -1

The cats would have none of it.  

Christmas Eve 2014 -Oreo Bon Bons -1

Last night I made the candy; Oreo Bon Bons, Candied Pecans, and Covered Pretzels.  

Christmas Eve 2014 -Christmas Cookies-1

I used a diferent sugar cookie recipe, but wasn't impressed.  

Christmas Eve 2014 -Christmas Cookies-1-2

I sure do like those Christmas cookies....

Christmas Eve 2014 -Haystack cookies -1

Also, haystack cookies!  Which apparently lots of people call "no-bake cookies"-  they're wrong.  

Christmas Eve 2014 -Moon-1-2

We finally left to go to my parents' house for Christmas Eve dinner and our one present that we open...and I noticed how clear the sky was as the sun was setting. 

Christmas Eve 2014 -Mom's house-1-5

Which was pretty neat; but I had to go inside and eat dinner.  

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I love Mom's tree, the tinsel, the old decorations that she's had my whole life.  

Christmas Eve 2014 -Mom's house-1

Christmas Eve 2014 -Mom's house-1-3

So it's time to eat and open gifts which we will repeat tomorrow.  

Christmas Eve 2014 -Mom's house-1-2

I was the person who passed out the gifts, that's not usually my job.  

Christmas Eve 2014 -Christmas Cookies-1-4

My husband and I got a electric ice cream maker..  which will be much easier than buying  ice and using salt with the other machine.  So we will have ice cream this evening. 

Christmas Eve 2014 -Dogs-1-2

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays! I hope everyone has a wonderful day today.   I hope my kids sleep long enough so I can actually fall asleep for a few hours!   


Talimena Scenic Drive Fall 2013

We went to the Choctaw Nation Hospital yesterday. I took my sister for her appointment.  While I was waiting I got up the courage to get my flu shot.  Now, I'm the person who doesn't like going to the doctor, I rarely go even for preventative care. One of my last visits was when I actually had the flu.  So, I thought a flu shot might be a good idea. 

Ouachita Forest-5934
I'd volunteered to make the drive yesterday mainly because I knew I could probably get a short drive to the mountains in and get to photograph the colorful array of leaves.   I didn't realize that immediately after the flu shot I'd have a massive asthma attack.  

Talimena Scenic Drive in the Fall 2013-5919
It was a short drive, about an hour after the vaccination I felt like I was burning up and sweating despite it only being sixty degrees out and taking Tylenol in the parkinglot of the hospital. 

Talimena Scenic Drive in the Fall -5884
I love the colors of the fall. I know that soon they'll be gone. After about another half an hour of shooting I was feeling sick at my stomach and thinking that the 200 mile drive home would be an incredibly long one.  I pretty much have a fear of needles that has excluded me from the piercing and tattooing fun that many have.  I also avoid doctors, they like needles too much for my liking. 

A Single Leaf-5939
A single leaf shows the beauty of an entire forest, it's as powerful as the distant landscape you can see from the mountaintop.  

Oranges and yellows in the fall -5899
Millions and millions of leaves dotting the forest creating one big show of color. 

Talimena Scenic Drive-6004
I really do love this place, but by the time I got here I was ready to turn around and get off the mountain to go home and find my bed. Which I've been in all day with a fever.  But the real flu was 104 degree fever for nearly a week and one day of misery is a trade off (I hope).  

Talimena Scenic Drive-5967
This was the first time I've been to Talimena drive and it was heavy with traffic. It actually annoyed me, I love it because it's incredibly beautiful and empty, and peaceful. It's an out of the way place. 

Leaves -5902
So beautiful.  

Would You Go With Me-5895
I need someone who wants to go hiking with me in this forest.  Someone slower than me, in case of bears.   

Write Your Name on the Top of The World-5872
Humans instinctively have a desire to write their existence down.  We scratch our names into nature, trees, and rock to show where we have been. This blog is much of the same; I was here.  

The Oklahoma Ouachitas -5868
What a view.  I was excited to take the wide angle lens up on the mountain top.  

Near Talihina Oklahoma-5890
The green of summer is lovely, the fire that comes before the ice is also enchanting.  

Photosynthesis-5923
It's one thing to look at the forest from the highway, it is another thing to walk into the trees. 

Blanketing the ground in death-5944
They lay there in death. 

It's okay to lay down -5952
Photography is like teaching, you can't be afraid to get down on the level that you need to be to reach the audience you want.  You can't be afraid of what others think of you while you're on the ground with your camera.  It is not always comfortable when you're seeking the perspective that you want your audience to see, but you do it anyways because you know it will be just what you want.  

 


White Christmas 2012

We began our Christmas with my family on Christmas Eve.   We always go to my Mom and Dad's on Christmas eve.  We open one gift on Christmas eve, and the rest are for Christmas morning.  When I was a kid we used to stay up really late playing board games on Christmas eve and we had a big dinner and sometimes we made homemade ice cream.   Justin and his cash

My youngest, opening a roll of dollar bills -  he had $50, which of course is a great present for an 11 year old.  I don't remember Christmas gifts like that as a kid?  His Aunt spoils him.  

1980
I love the old decorations on my Mom's Christmas tree, they've been on there my whole life some of them.  I was three when this was new.  We celebrate Christmas eve and return on Christmas morning after we open our own gifts at home.    

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My oldest holding her little cousin.  

We had a snowstorm this Christmas.  Woke up Christmas morning with the weather advisories and was entirely skeptical about snow (I believe it when I see the white stuff hitting the ground).   Well, by 10:30 am it was snowing.  Not a Christmas Eve Blizzard as we had in 2010, but a full blown Christmas Day snowstorm.  White Christmas in Oklahoma. Oklahoma where we could easily have a 70 degree Christmas and celebrate in shorts.  

Christmas Morning
The magical moments before the kids are wake when the presents are all ready to go.  When you get to walk in and see their surprise and excitement.  That's what I love about being a Mom on Christmas.  

Christmas from Mom

Of course I still love getting Christmas presents from Mom!  This year it was a purple tool kit of my very own and a necklace among other little things.  Christmas from Mom is always the best it doesn't matter if you're six or 35.  

First Christmas in New House

So we opened our gifts and immediately had frustration with transferring Xbox accounts for my oldest son's gift.  Of course technology and passwords and logins have to complicate our lives. We've moved from unwrapping toys strapped in like they are fragile explosives about to detonate -and you must be prepared with wire clippers and screw drivers to release them from their cardboard Chinese prison to, electronics issues. Electronic issues of epic proportions where it would be easier to get into a speakeasy in 1925 than log into the system.  Microsoft needs to do some serious work on setting up family memberships on Xbox Live.  Everyone must have a separate email connected to a "Gamer Tag" and if microsoft autogenerates said email address (that you don't ever use) it is incredibly difficult to figure out how to fix it.   

White Christmas in Velma Oklahoma 2012
We finally left for Christmas at Mom's.  White Christmas.  Snowing on mainstreet in Velma Oklahoma on Christmas day.  The roads were icy and empty, our journey was short.  

Christmas Snow in Stephens County Oklahoma
Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go.  No, not actually. It's actually over the cattle guards and through the open range to Grandmother's house we go.  

Franki and her Uncle Ed
My little Cousin (and big cousin) got snowed in next door, so we had a big family for Christmas.  It was great having little Miss and her Brother here for Christmas.  She got along pretty well with her Great Uncle!  

 

Franki and Umi
She loved carrying around my tiny puppy who celebrated Christmas with us.  Umi, the Coyote as I call her.  

Christmas Dinner
Christmas dinner is ready!  But before we eat, we had to go four wheeling out in the pastures along the trails...which reminds me I need to start running soon.  

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 It was cold! Snowing and the wind was really blowing in our fairly short ride around the pastures. 

Christmas Snow in Oklahoma 2012
The horses were out in the snow, they didn't seem to mind.   

Christmas snow and horse
It was a nice Christmas,  I love a White Christmas. 

Baby's First Christmas
It was the first time in many years that we got to enjoy a "Baby's First Christmas." So special, I'm glad the cousins were snowed in (they probably weren't).  

Testing the Mag
I was recruited to photograph the spark.  Now, Mom, I know you read my posts. Right click on this photo and save it and show it to Daddy.  So much easier than email.  Yeah, I've killed two birds with one stone in this Christmas post.   

Cat watching presents be opened
So Merry Catmas to all of you. I hope you all enjoyed your family and friends and now let's get on to 2013.  

 

 

 


Twas' The Day After Christmas...

Perhaps because I can't create perfection in my physical world  (I type this as I cook dinner and attempt to clean the house). I seek to create perfection in a digital world.  Photography is a way to create a perfect world out of a world filled with imperfections.  Maybe, that is what compels us in our holiday celebrations.  The endless barrage of Elf on the Shelf photos from hyper mother's of small children competing to show their unique and creative ability to create that holiday magic for their children.  By the way the Elf thing is cute, I wish it had been around a few years earlier.   I think anyone with four and five year olds would love it. 

Merry Christmas 2012

The photo above is my Christmas trees, the large tree was "re-fluffed" in honor of the holidays. It is my "Catmas" tree, while the small tree is the "Christmas Tree" not to be destroyed by my five felines. Yes, five.  I'm the crazy cat lady you've been told about (not Hoarders crazy though).   


I haven't updated here, besides battling a chest cold (again).  I thought I recovered but discovered that four wheeling in a Christmas Day blizzard and sitting in a house heated with wood probably hasn't helped my ridiculously pitiful lungs.   Tomorrow that changes, the central heat and air people will be coming to visit and rework our duct work and install a new unit.  Because the 1970s something unit is dead and gone.  One of the problems of being me, it seems is to live in houses where the heaters like to go out and not work.  So, maybe this new unit will cure that problem for a long time!  

Christmas 2012

This is your obligatory photo of the gifts under the "Catmas" tree on early, early Christmas morning, while the children were all snug in their beds. Not a creature was stirring (except my teenage daughter who was forced to try to sleep and wait for Santa to work her magic).   

Umi the Yorkshire Terrier
I don't think I've introduced you to Umi (Japanese name)- Umi is our new Yorkshire Terrier puppy.  

After our sweet little Tashi was hit by a car, we went ahead and purchased a new Yorkshire Terrier puppy.  

Umi and Cubby
Yes, she's in a sweater.   

It is healing having a new pet. It's not the same.  Their personalities are totally different, yet there is another little furry creature who follows me around the house now.  

Cat in the Presents
This cat is my Christmas cat, she won't leave the tree alone (even though it has been taken down now).  She watched the presents be unwrapped.  She opened them.  

Now that our mass celebration of consumerism is over.  I'm sure you are all rushing to the post-Christmas deals that you can "only get once a year." Everyone says (vast generalization) that "Christmas is about giving." Yet, we all wait to recieve, we want to see what everyone else gives us.  Maybe its a judgement on how much everyone else "values" us.  My most memorable Christmas is one that I got the least, I don't remember being disappointed. I remember that we didn't have much that year so what I "got" mattered.  I have more to write about Christmas though!  I'm not finished.

Coyote and Steve
Laying on my brother on Christmas eve and yawning.   

Christmas this year was nice.   I hope everyone elses' was too. I have more photos. Of course, I do, it's Christmas, doesn't everyone take a thousand photos and share them.  It's one time a year where we are all obligated to share our happiness.  I love Christmas, but it is still stressful being a Mom at Christmas, always so much work to try to make sure the kids are happy.   That's what is fun about it, knowing your kids have this day that is magical, and filled with excitement.