Saturday, February 28, 2009

Photo #28 (compilation)

Can you believe today is the last day of February?
Where did the month go?

I started this project 28 days ago,
as a way to keep me busy shooting with my camera
during the bleak winter month of February.

Marty probably won't miss this whole have-to-post-everyday thing...
"Honey, I know it's midnight. I have to get this post up. Just go to bed without me!"
not the healthiest words for a budding marriage.

But I will miss it.
And because of it, I'll still be posting often.
Because this blog has truly become my journal (albeit, slightly censored).
Thanks for following along with me :)

My last photo is a compilation of the photos I've taken this month.
(By the way, have you ever combined all the pictures you've taken in a month onto one page?
I totally recommend it!
The whole time, you'll be going, "What? I did that this month? Seriously?!")

So, this is my February 2009:

Happy Weekend!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Photo #27 (and "be inspired.")

Dear me.

Whenever I'm lacking photographic inspiration, I take a look at your blogs. Artsy, practical, crafty, whatever. I skim, and click, and poke, until an idea pops into my brain. Your blogs are therapy for my thirsty mind. So thank you :)

Today at Photojojo, I came across another incredible resource: the photographic dictionary. It's a collection of random words and photographs to accompany them... but the photographs reinterpret the words, usually from an entirely different perspective. Poke around and see what I mean.

It's really beautiful, and it makes me think about how I can see words differently, or look at something from a different perspective.

For example...


Eh, maybe it needs some work. But regardless, you get the idea :*)


stay tuned for tomorrow's photo-a-day wrap up. it's sure to blow your socks off.

actually, I have no idea what I'll be posting about tomorrow.
hopefully, it will be of sock-blowing-off proportions.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Photo #26

No comment today. I'm going to sleep!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Photo #25 (and ash wednesday humiliation)

We're nearing the end of this photo-a-day journey. I've learned that (1) there's not too much to photograph in Chicago, in the dead of winter, and (2) that last statement shows I have little appreciation for beauty in anything, unless it's green, flowering, and bathed in golden sunshine. Pitiful. But more on that at the end of the month.

*slightly embarrassing story alert*

I grew up attending a non-denominational Bible church. Meaning, we weren't associated with a particular denomination. I was unfamiliar with many of the practices of the broader church (confession, the celebration of lent, first communion, etc.). In other words, although my parents never discouraged it, the strict observation of lent was never practiced in our household.

In other words, I thought that most restaurants had "Fish-Fry Fridays" because perch just happened to go on sale that day.

So, one cold February Wednesday, imagine my confusion when one of the girls on my hockey team shows up to practice with a giant smudge on her forehead. I mean, come on. It looked ridiculous. What's the natural thing to say to her?

(You can see where this is going.)

"Um. You have something on your forehead."

Thankfully, I don't remember her response. I do remember wanting to melt into the floor, pronto.


*Marty took this, SOOC. Nice, huh?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

give yourself away.

Nathan, a friend of ours, recently returned from a 6-month stay in Cambodia. He was there working with Hagar International. The organization's mission statement: "Restoring abused, exploited, and abandoned women and children to life in all its fullness through quality holistic healing, community reintegration and social entrepreneurship."

Nathan is just a college student. He's a business major, and he wants to serve other people. So he went to Cambodia, slept in a flooded house, ate bugs, and hand washed his clothes for six months. He couldn't communicate with his host family, he was isolated, and during those six months, he was spiritually, physically, and emotionally challenged.

But he helped people. He showed them love. He taught women who had been neglected, abused, trafficked, and ignored how to survive on their own. He used his knowledge to help others live better, more fulfilling lives. He showed them who Jesus was.

Nathan used what he knew to help other people.

His story challenges me.

How am I doing the same?

P.S. One way Hagar helps women is by providing them with employment.
To take a peek at some of the things that these talented ladies are producing, click here.

Also, here's a video Dateline produced. It reveals some of the gross injustices that Hagar is fighting against.

Photo #24


Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Langston Hughes

Monday, February 23, 2009

Photo #23 (an an unassociated, but beautiful, poem)

As freedom is a breakfastfood

as freedom is a breakfastfood
or truth can live with right and wrong
or molehills are from mountains made
-long enough and just so long
will being pay the rent of seem
and genius please the talentgang
and water most encourage flame

as hatracks into peachtrees grow
or hopes dance best on bald men's hair
and every finger is a toe
and any courage is a fear
-long enough and just so long
will the impure think all things pure
and hornets wail by children stung

or as the seeing are the blind
and robins never welcome spring
nor flatfolk prove their world is round
nor dingsters die at break of dong
and common's rare and millstones float
-long enough and just so long
tomorrow will not be too late

worms are the words but joy's the voice
down shall go which and up come who
breasts will be breasts and thighs will be thighs
deeds cannot dream what dreams can do
-time is a tree (this life one leaf)
but love is the sky and i am for you
just so long and long enough

ee cummings

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Photo #22

He's owned it for five years.

But just today, I learned how to drive my husband's stick shift car:

It went well (or at least, better than the first time I tried to learn...). We drove around a parking lot in circles, jerking haphazardly whenever I let the clutch out too fast.

Slowly, I got the hang of it.

I haven't gone in reverse, or tried starting up on a hill, or even got the car moving inside of twenty seconds yet.

But if we ever drive his car out to the middle of nowhere, and he breaks his leg into a million pieces, I can now get us to the hospital without having to ditch the car and drag him there on foot.

Mission accomplished :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Photo #21

This weekend, my brother is playing in the Illinois AAA state hockey tournament. Since this is the real deal, we are now attending each game armed with this:

That's right. It's an air horn. Appropriate for blowing when goals are scored, penalty shots are stopped, and even when refs make terrible calls (a family member whom I hold particularly dear to my heart may or may not have been the person who, after a particularly terrible call, walked down to the glass and blew it straight at the ref's head).

Actually, the above airhorn is fairly wimpy. We plan to buy a bigger one for tonight's game. I'll let you know how it goes...

(also, rest assured: no one will be pointing the big guy anywhere near the referee's head. We want them on our side, remember?)

Friday, February 20, 2009

music to my ears

Happy Friday, dear bloggy friends :*)

There's something I'd like to share with you that has singlehandedly salvaged a potentially miserable day
(me + minimal sleep last night = cranky, pouty mess).

While editing, I'm listening to the playlist on Ethereal (a beautiful blog created by Georgia and her twin sister).
It's a soft, mellow, soothing set of songs, and it's elevating my brain above its foggy, befuddled, sleep-deprived state.

Hope your weekend is off to a lovely start!

P.S. The image above is SOOC (straight out of camera), taken with my point and shoot.
I'm going to start blogging more SOOC shots, both for the sake of improving my technical skills,
and to practice the exercise of humility :-)

Photo #20

Time to wrap up this little mini-series. I've done a terribly poor job of portraying the Midwest, so for all you west coast readers, you'll just have to come visit and see for yourself.

Today's photos will need some explaining. But without further ado...


Culver's is home to some of the most amazing food on the planet. (For those of you who have eaten there, you now know that I maintain the culinary standards of a fifth grader.) Basically, you can get burgers, fries, and the most deliciously creamy custard at gems like this along the highway, all the way through Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnisota. I'm fairly certain that Culver's can only be found in the Midwest (anyone know otherwise?).

And come on. Where else can you find a fast food restaurant that serves fresh Walleye sandwiches?

Pretty Ugly

Pictured above is a toll plaza, commonly found throughout the state of Illinois.

*Caution. Rant ahead.*

Ahh. Open Road Tolling. Can you believe it? Now, Illinois residents no longer have to wait in lines to pay ridiculous amounts of money to a tollway company that isn't even owned by the state of Illinois. No, no, none of that silly line-waiting business for us. Instead, our ex-governor erected costly overpasses that allow you to drive through unhindered, while your money is effortlessly and painlessly extracted from your bank account. It's like you're practically not even paying a toll anymore. Almost.

Oh, but wait. It gets better. See the blue sign in the picture? Yeah. That place where it says, "South Beloit Plaza"? Hmm. It used to read, "Governor Rod Blagojevich." Until he got himself impeached last month.

I've never seen tollway signs changed overnight. Guess there's a first time for everything...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Photo #19

Next up in our Midwest series:


The sprawling Minneapolis skyline...

Pretty Ugly

A "bar motel," off the main street of some highway town between Eau Clair and Madison. Um, sweet dreams?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Photo #18 (and a new sub-series)

On our 6-hour road trip to Minnesota last weekend, I had quite a bit of time to think. As we drove through the flat, unexciting farmland of Illinois, and then moved on to the flat, unexciting farmland of Wisconsin, I let myself drift back to the summer of 2006, when my cousins and I took a different kind of road trip. That trip was a 14-day jaunt across Europe, and from our bus windows, we saw unbelievable, extraordinary sights.

Quite different from Midwest farmland.

But come on, I told myself. There has to be something good about the Midwest. I mean, farmers are important! And Chicago and the Twin Cities are pretty cool. And we have nice sunsets. And our pizza rocks the planet... and on and on.

Thus, my new series:

The Midwest: Pretty, and Pretty Ugly

I'll be posting two pictures a day, for the next few days, on the good and the bad of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. If you're from the Midwest, feel free to agree or disagree as you see fit (notice, I'm not including Indiana this time around. For one thing, I didn't visit there. For another thing, I'd have way too much material to work with. I mean, seriously. Hoosiers and NASCAR? Don't get me started...)

And now, without further ado, today's shots.


A farm's silhouette, against a gorgeous sunset. Beautiful, huh?

Pretty ugly:

Dear me. Europe has fortress cities and castles alongside the highway.* We have... giant-sized chili cans. Nice :)

*Please note that I am in no way promoting Europe over the U.S.
America is the most incredible country in the world, as far as I'm concerned.
But giant chili silos? Remarkable, really!

confectionary genius

My new thing these days? Cupcakes.
For real, some of these little beauties are so stinkin' simple, and yet absolutely incredible!
(...Others are ridiculously complicated-looking.
You can actually do this kind of stuff with sugar and flour?)

The pictures are linked to the websites I grabbed them from.
Click away, and enter a world of confectionary whimsy :)

And finally, ice cream cone cupcakes. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??
Have any of you ever made these before? I think I had them at a birthday party as a kid (and actually, I don't think I liked them. They were too dry or something... My six-year-old self obviously didn't appreciate the aesthetic perfection of such a beautiful creation.)

*My photo of the day is still coming, by the way. I had some technical difficulties last night (i.e., I was totally exhausted). Had I attempted to start a blog post, my words would have been nonsensical, and it would have ended with me snoozing on the keyboard. And probably drooling. So, three cheers for a good night's sleep ;)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Photo #17

Remember when that bridge collapsed in Minnesota awhile back? This is the bridge that they built to replace it.

I traveled over the old 35W bridge at least 6 times a week, a few years back when I lived in Minnesota. It was rickety, and always under construction, it seemed. Traffic crawled across that bridge during rush-hour

This past weekend was the first time I had been back to Minnesota since the bridge collapsed. It was surreal...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Live your life!

I just came across this post, from Sarah Q's funky-fresh photography blog that I recently discovered. It's beautiful, and just the thing to cure a bad case of Monday blues! Here's one of my favorite lines:

So many people (my past self included) think that the good life starts when you get PAST all the obstacles. In reality, though, the obstacles ARE life. And whether or not life is good is completely up to you.

Good stuff, right?! So... happy live-in-the-moment Monday!

Photo #16

I thought we were going to Minnesota to watch a hockey game, go shopping, and drink coffee... but it just so happened that we took our trip the weekend my beauuutiful sister got engaged!

Steve proposed on Valentine's Day (Anna's favorite holiday), and the ring...? A heart-shaped diamond. Absolutely perfect, if you know my sister ;)

You'll be seeing more of these two around here in the weeks to come!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Photo #15

Pictures from our weekend trip, coming soon. Until then, enjoy your Sunday :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Love Day (and photo #14)

Happy hearts day, everyone! Hope your lovey-dovey Saturday is filled with lots of hugs and smooches (if you don't have a significant other, that's ok; smooch your dog instead!).

I wish I had time to go crazy with buttons and doileys and construction paper. If I did, I'd make a bunch of heart-shaped valentines, and figure out a way to distribute them via the internet, to friends like you... Alas, I'm not that crafty, and thus I doubt you'd want anything handmade from me! So imagine that I'm sending you a Martha-Stewart-esque valentine, with your name on it, straight from my heart :)

Here's the card I'm giving my husband (*storebought* *cough*):
Maybe Hallmark came up with it, but I mean absolutely every word they said :)

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the greatest love of all, on this lovey-dovey day:

"For God loved the world so much, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16)

That, my friends, is the greatest love of all, better than love from a best friend, or a parent, or even a husband. Don't miss out on that kind of lovin'! Get to know God's love :)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Photo #13 (and favorite things...)

Happy Friday, bloggy friends!

The weather has reverted back to it's normal Chicago-in-February state (and Old Man Winter is chuckling that so many of us were faked out by that brief taste of spring. Suckers...). All of this means that outdoor shooting is pretty miserable these days... but that's ok. Indoor shooting, to the rescue!

Without further ado, here's a photographic list of some of the things I'm lovin' right now (a.k.a., anything within reach when I had my camera in my hand. Hey, blogs are about honesty, right?!).

This baby notebook stays by my side all day long. It holds my lists: books to read, things to do, verses to memorize, goals to remember, pictures to take, etc... And it reminds me that I need to go back to Venice one day.

This is my miracle tea-pot. I call it that, because Marty found it in a dumpster, unbroken and absolutely beautiful. (Please don't ask what my husband was doing in a dumpster....)

Our recent food obsession: edamame beans from Trader Joe's. These things are the bomb dot com. (Sarah introduced them to me. Sarah is cool, and she's going to be starting an awesome food blog. Really soon. *hint*hint*)

Freshly-bought yarn, for my latest knitting project. (I like to knit in small bursts, about a week at a time, spread out through the winter. I don't touch the stuff in the summer. Too wooly.)

This weekend, we're taking a road trip to Minnesota; I'm going to drink Dunn Brothers coffee until I slip into a caffeinated coma, hang out with my baby sister, and do some rather serious shopping (because here's a little-known fact about the frigid state of Minnesota: there's no sales tax on clothes! *cue Hallelujah chorus*).

Have a happy weekend...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Photo #11

The competition ;)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Photo #10

I took a walk today, and brought my wellies along, so I could prance around in the mud:

I just wanted to be outside (we Chicagoans have to take advantage of balmy weather in February, while we can). "Nature" has been devoid of color for over three months now, so even dead stalks of prairie grass look good. Humph.

And maybe a new shoot location? So shabby chic ;)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Photo #9

Real hockey = Skating on an outdoor rink:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Photo #8

It's been an absolutely beautiful weekend here in Chicago. Lately, it's been too cold to even stand outside for more than a few minutes, which makes 50 degrees feel like bikini-beach weather (seriously, my polka-dot flip-flops looked tempting today).

It probably won't last. We'll probably be back down to sub-zero, freeze-your-nostrils temps by next week. But, so what? I'm happy with this slice of spring that we got to taste, even if it was just a sliver...

So what did I do in honor of this gorgeous weather? I went for a run (outside), washed the car (outside), and watched the sunset with my best friend...

...outside :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Photo #7

The sun came out today...

happy weekend :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Photo #6

Recent studies have shown that some high-fructose corn syrups contain high levels of mercury (i.e., absolutely toxic to your brain). And HF corn syrup happens to be the #1 ingredient in chocolate syrup, which also happens to be my husband's absolute favorite...


(Marty's reaction, after I told him we had to throw out his beloved chocolate syrup.)

BTW, this photo was shot via in-camera B&W, after I read this article about the concept. Good stuff!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Photo #5

Spilled Starbucks (never a good thing)...

And a bonus photo: This pic may seem nondescript...

...but that piece of paper means that, as of today, I'm officially open for business :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Smitten mittens...

Alright. Quick break from the photo-a-day stuff:

Over at Bolsa Chica, Monica is posting some super cute Valentine's Day ideas. I was looking them over tonight, and came across this amaaazingly adorable idea that she mentioned: mittens made for holding hands. Here's a picture, courtesy of CocoKnits:

Super-cute, right?!

So I mention this amazing idea to my husband and brother, who both just happened to be in the room at the time.

Their reaction? They burst out laughing.

Luke: "Any guy who wears that thing with his girlfriend is a TOOLBOX."

Marty: "Yeah. Total TOOL."

Luke: "Look at that picture. The guy's not laughing. He's crying!!!"

So apparently, if I knit this mitten and force my husband to wear it, I'm completely disgracing his manhood.

Who knew?