31 December 2010

holiday sinfulness

holiday sinfulness

Here's what kept me busy December 23-24. I gave it all away so don't bother to beg. Besides, it's not very becoming of you. ;o)

If you'd like to know what everything is, I listed them on flickr. Clicking the image will get you there.

In other news (from more then a week ago), we attended a going away party for a friend who left Christmas Day to study in India for six months! I've included her travel blog in my links if you care to explore (sans a plane trip to India).

30 December 2010



I added a few more. And yes, I'm aware of how stupid January is. I thought I'd make an attempt at drawing with one of those brush pens, but I obviously should've practiced before jumping right in.

Naturally, Kensi was my model for this page. I love my little calendar girl... ;o)

29 December 2010



I put a few more months up on flickr. The year will be over before you know it!

28 December 2010



I couldn't share this before Christmas, but I spent most of my free time in December working on a 2011 calendar for my hubby. I'm still not finished though. I have two months to complete before the first of the year. Every year he seems to put off buying a calendar for work until March. So, which of us is the bigger procrastinator? Ha!

But, he loved it saying "it's funny, sexy, fantastic-just like her..." Ain't that sweet? I would've throw retarded into the mix, but I'm less p.c. than he is.

24 December 2010

family portrait with old milwaukee and cactus

family portrait with schlitz

Front row: Brother, Grampa, Sister. Back row: Great-grampa, me being held by Dad, and obviously unhappy. He probably just plucked me off that cactus. Whoever took this shot was pretty proud of that cactus because it gets as much photo real estate as Great-grampa.

My first year of life was Great-grampa's last and I've been told that when he became bed-ridden, we kept each other company. He would pull up his knees so I could sit on his stomach and do whatever babies do to entertain the elderly. In turn, he would speak Norwegian to me.


I'm pretty decked out actually. This may be from my baptism. I never liked water and still can't swim. That's probably the reason I'm crying. And check out the Old Milwaukee can! Remember when you had to open cans with can openers? Yes, I'm that old. 

23 December 2010

christmas 1957

christmas 1957

Looks like it was a musical Christmas this year! L to R: My Uncle Donnie, Great-grandpa Julius, handing Donnie a trumpet; Uncle Ronnie, playing a Mickey Mouse guitar; and Mom and Dad on xylophone. Newlyweds of two months! Mom still a teenager donning her poodle skirt. The following Christmas, Dad would be in the Air Force, my brother would be born, and they'd be living in Florida. My sister came less than a year later. Mom and Dad still teenagers! Common sense kicked in and they waited until they were in their twenties before I came along.

This explains why there's always been five generations alive at any given time on our family. Often with two or more great-great-grandparents! Currently both my Grandmothers are alive, and I have three great- nieces or -nephews. That puts me in the middle generation, doesn't it? Yes, my sons are old enough to make me a grandparent...but let's not go there just yet.

I may or may not get another post up before the holiday hits, if not I hope each of you is surrounded with love this Christmas...

21 December 2010

the lake is gonna drain at that angle

the lake is gonna drain at that angle

Once again, Gramma doing her thing. Seated on the rock, is her father-in-law, my Great-Grandpa Julius. I think the dog is Ginger. I would venture to guess that they're minnow fishing as when I was little we would use bamboo poles like this, and great-grampa doesn't appear to using anything bigger than a worm for bait.

Ginger better hope they have no plans for musky fishing.

It looks like whoever took the photo this day, was the one holding the beer.

20 December 2010

the revling's


Gramma cooked three meals a day for Grampa, their three kids and a farmhard. Every Monday was wash day. Clothes were on the line in 20º F weather. Saturday was baking day. Her kitchen was (is) no bigger than most people's bathroom, but every Saturday the counters were overflowing with fresh bread, one or two types of cookies, and once in a while, my favorite...doughnuts!

I posted several photos now of her fishing. She absolutely loved it! Probably would go still if her walker could get her down to a creek. I recall Mom waking me and my sister up, in what seemed like the middle of the night, so we could get up and go fishing with Gramma and Great-gramma. Four generations of gals out of the shore eating cheddar cheese sandwiches. If anyone got a bite, Great-gramma would mosey up to you and throw her line practically right on top of yours. What a character!

Gramma also taught Sunday school and at the end of every school season, she took all her kids on an overnight camping trip. By that I mean, pitched a big tent on a friend's land with a beautiful stream, and go from kid to kid helping them put hooks in their worms. That evening, she built a fire to cook the fish over, which turned into the night's campfire. I don't recall there being a boy- or girl-scouts when I was growing up in central Wisconsin, so I'm sure this is as close as many of these kids came to that experience.


Grampa. Dairy farmer, carpenter, veteran. Built the dining set he's sitting at. After 30-40 years, the set was moved to my parents' kitchen where it sat another 30-40. When Grampa was done for the day, building something, milking cows or plowing a field, this table saw many a card game. Canasta, sheep-head, crazy eight if a grandchild was included. I remember my Grandparents watching Hee Haw and The Lawrence Welk Show, but not much else. They would just as soon sit around playing cards. My two uncles included. Occasional my other Great-gramma who lived across the street would join them and make a late night of it. 8 or 9 o'clock even!

All five of those hooligans liked their beer too! But this story would get pretty long if I open that can of worms. ;o)

19 December 2010

no, that's not a t-shirt

no, that's not a t-shirt.

Grampa, sporting a serious farmer's tan. In the days before sun screen and melanoma were common words in our summer vocabulary.

I dedicated today to Christmas cookie production! I only baked the apple cookies, but have five more types in the freezer. I thought the apple ones might freeze better baked. I'll have to store them in the (freezing) porch as I finish them. Gramma always gives out containers of cookies for Christmas too. I tried not baking any of her "regulars" except I am making her caramel cookies. They are one of my favorites and are always one of the first kinds to disappear.

I'd like to attempt some candy too but I have dog walking duties again this week. My intentions may be overreaching. The road to Christmas...is paved with broken candy canes.

18 December 2010

goatee vs. van dyke

goatee vs. van dyke

I haven't posted any vintage family photos in a while so I thought I'd take this holiday week to share some more (before we head back "home" and return the photo albums).

Gramma and Grampa are up to their usual shenanigans here. In the barnyard, where all the best shenanigans take place. A while ago, I posted this shot of Grampa, taken at the same time. I would've assumed Gramma took the first shot, but then I'm left to wonder who took this one.

Guess I could ask her this week.

15 December 2010

...to all.

...to all.

I've become predictable in that when sunlight hits snow, I will put the star filter on my lensbaby and go overboard. Click the image to take you to several more shots.

This is one of my favorites from last year.

Consider this your Christmas card this year. Allowing you to save me the postage will be your gift to me.

UPDATE: This week's Sticky Finger gallery (which I view on occasion but rarely join in) was Sparkle. Since I had already posted a appropriate addition, I thought "what the heck?"

13 December 2010

bathroom p.o.v. hers/his

bathroom p.o.v. hers/his

Thought I'd share two views from my toilet. Hers and his.

No, I didn't actually take the shots while sitting on it. That would be such a Greg move. I had the 50mm lens on so I had to back up into the tub to get the male perspective. If I could've backed up any more, you'd see the framed photo on my toilet tank of John Lennon with guitar, taken (stealthily) at a filming of Hard Days Night.

10 December 2010



The neighbor girls decided Cam would make a good horse.

Cam went to the vet yesterday for shots and came back with a clean bill of health! I've been telling people he's something like 13-15 years old, when they ask. We don't really celebrate cat birthdays around here so it's easy for those years slip by without notice. Turns out, he is now 16 1/2 years old! I'd be more aware if he were asking to borrow the car.

09 December 2010

road rage

road rage

Leftover Halloween shot. Here's another...

I've had a cold all week. Which did not keep me from my duties as a friend's dog walker. Although, I am glad he returned today because handling two large dogs while trying to blow your nose, is a job better suited to some hindu god.

06 December 2010

cam & isaac

old man
old man

young man
young man

Now that there's snow on the ground, the cats want to be indoors 23 hours out of the day. There's still the desire to go out, but it's usually a trip from the back door to the front. So far they've only used the litter box once since venturing in, so I can't complain there.

05 December 2010

in three months time...

in three months time...

Sorry if my diptychs are too wide for your screen. I'm grabbing the link from flickr and the medium size isn't cutting it for me. Anyhoo, the right side of this photo is what we're looking at now for the next, oh...four months. I really do love having the extra living space the remainder of the year. But living for a few years in southern California and a small island off Japan taught me that waiting for warmth and sunshine makes you appreciate it that much more when it arrives.

Remind me of this come March, ok?

03 December 2010



The day we planted spring bulbs on Nigel's grave and placed his headstone, blackbirds flew overhead by the thousands. We stood there for a solid fifteen minutes with our necks craned back...

02 December 2010

just a month behind in posting now...

just a month behind in posting now...

I did not do these for a job, nor do I have young children in the house. Sometimes just a creative outlet is needed. So why not a delicious one! The spiders are homemade truffles including legs made from chocolate melted and drawn into row upon row of V's, then snipped apart when dried. The webs are melted white "chips". (I see they don't call them chocolate anymore, which I'm on board with since I never understood how they deserved that title in the first place.) You have to work fast with melted white chips. It's overly runny if too warm, and thickens up fast as it cools. Things can get messy.

I just pretend the spiders were slipped a few mickeys.

28 November 2010

checking the cones

checking the cones

Hope you had a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving! We gorged ourselves with a few of our favorite people. I don't have any photos to share of the actual day as I was occupied playing host. Stayed a bit too busy to pick up a camera.

Things slowed down considerably though on Saturday when Joel invited us over for a kiln firing. Good weather for sitting four feet from a 2500º oven. With Kensi sitting on my lap though, my rear stayed pretty chilly. (It's best to rotate every fifteen minutes or so.) This shot is of Joel while removing a brick to peak inside.

Of this set, my husband and I shared camera duties.

24 November 2010

why it's called fall



I don't think the neighbors mind when I feature their children on my blog. Especially since I only have six viewers. The photo I posted yesterday of Kensi reminded me that I'd had this similar shot of Lizzy.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving Day tomorrow! Unless you're reading this from some foreign land, then just have a wonderful Day! I have much prep work in front of me yet, and shouldn't even be taking time to post. But I thrive on procrastination. Come December 24th, I will be only a third finished with my Christmas shopping.

Will probably sneak in a post that day though.

23 November 2010

doing impressions

doing impressions

While I was raking one day, I glanced over at Kensi who was relaxing on the lawn and witnessed this. Luckily, she remained lethargic, allowing me to go get the camera.

I just realized this photo marks my 2,500th image posted on flickr. Cue the sleeping timpanist...

20 November 2010

18 lbs. of trouble

18 lbs. of trouble

Isaac isn't that much trouble really. Compared to Cam, he should be sainted.

19 November 2010

cornflakes and milk

such humiliation
Cam was under the impression that I swept the back patio for his leisure. Instead, it was a trap to humiliate. Check out that expression. "Man, the shit I put up with for a meal."

but i'm cute!
He got some fun out of it though.

this is MY moment, dog.
Then Kensi had to come along and ruin everything. "Seriously dog, can I ever have the spotlight without your interference?"

Dog: "Nope."

18 November 2010

since 1846

since 1846

Several miles down the road from my small town sits one quite a bit smaller. I can't help thinking I may see Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Fiff coming out of this store when I drive by. Only Cooksville is much too small even to warrant a police department.

I was amused by the two signs posted in the store window here that read as follows:

We Do Not Sell Gas on Mondays! (state law)


Please be adviced that on Thursday 8/12/10 @ 4:30 p.m. the Evansville Ambulance Crew observed a large Mountain lion/Cougar carrying a dead (rabbit?) crossing the road in front of the ambulance. The Cougar was sighted on 138 just north of Cooksville where the sharp corner towards the East occur. Any ?'s - Call Karla xxx-5526

If you click the image, taking you to flickr, you can see a second photo, showing you where the one gas pump sits...

17 November 2010

the look, the feel...

the look, the feel...

I screwed up and downloaded a template that totally messed up the layout I had going on here, and in the process lost my header, links and a few other settings I didn't intend to delete. But, in the process, I figure out how to keep a larger photo yet move other settings into a side bar. Somehow, my layout editor completely disappeared forcing me to nitpick my way through html (as that's the only way I know how to go about it). Frankly, I don't have time for this little distraction, so please just bare with me until I get a header back. Or send me some how-to tips.

Meanwhile, here's a pretty sky to hold you over.

13 November 2010



It appears our new Intel processor-based Mac doesn't play well with my older Adobe software. That's just great. So I'll need to ask Santa for a boatload of cash for Christmas so that this machine is more than a mere $2000 web surfer. Guess I should've listened to my off spring and bought a pc for 1/4 the price and downloaded all the software illegally. Damn my guilt (and addiction to Apple computers).

Meanwhile, I was going through some cds this morning, looking for pix I took this summer of a retro dining set we have. We had it at our garage sale but it didn't sell, so I was going to post it on craigslist. (You may recall, I need some cash.) I haven't found those photos yet, but I came across this image I threw together using nine shots of my parents' backyard. Here it is a bit larger. (Notice Nigel there in the first frame? Aww. My little man.) The red building is my Dad's workshop, beyond that, my Mom's parents home. Scroll to the far right and you'll see my cousin. (He's younger than I am, so that house wasn't there when I was growing up.) My Dad built their house himself (along with the many carpenters in our family) before I was born. 1960, I believe, and it cost him a year's wages. $5000. Kind of remarkable when you consider what I just paid for this damn Mac.

I should also mention there's finally a deck off the patio door on this side of the house. Only took Dad 50 years to get around to.

Probably would've cost him $12 in material in 1960.

09 November 2010


Today, I'm promoting some tools of the pottery trade from my pal, Joel Socwell. Joel is a designer turned engineer, who studied geology, and dabbles in pottery. (Overachiever, perhaps?) He lives on 60(-something) acres in southern Wisconsin and has built his own wood-fire kiln on his property. Nothing like sitting around a hot kiln on a cold evening, downing a few bottles of wine. Although, he's been entirely too busy working two jobs to build any pots this year. So selfish. I need to remind him that sleep is for the weak.

He also owns a few laser-etching tools. Hence his ability and desire to create pottery stamps.

In a semi-related matter, we went up to my parents' hunting land last weekend to plant dwarf iris and cyclamen bulbs on Nigel's grave. And we also placed a headstone, which Joel had kindly laser etched for us. Free of charge. The least I can do is urge you to buy some pottery stamps. Would make a great Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah gift for the potter in your life!

Because who doesn't know at least a dozen, right?

I wonder if these would work for wax seals too... Perhaps you could ask Joel!

08 November 2010

hey you, comear. wanna buy a house?

Since I'm still not up to speed here in the photo department, I thought I would share a link to some property a close friend of mine has for sale. Due to the current economy, they've already dropped the price twice since putting it on the market. Making it quite a bargain if you ask me. It's a hundred year-old farmhouse on nearly ten acres, but I know he has personally put thousands of hours into updating it. If I had a nickle for every time he said, "I can't this weekend, I've gotta work on the house..." I'd be a looking at a 2% commission.

I should give credit to his ex too as she's an artist and put many wonderful touches into the details. One kitchen wall is completely hand done in broken mosaic tiles. It's absolutely beautiful.

I was told that at least one viewer was turned off by the basement. Homes this old did not consider a basement living space. This was the day of root cellars to store your carrots and potatoes, canning shelves and basic access to pipes and electrical. Watch one episode of Holmes on Homes, and you'll quickly find out newer isn't always better. But it's a buyer's market out there right now with far too much competition, so people can turn their nose up over the slightest detail.

So...I just wanted to point the place out to the three of you reading this. Maybe you know of someone looking for a hobby farm in southern Wisconsin and can send them the link.

Stay tuned for my next post when I'll be promoting another friend's online business! It's phantom kitty bump month!

03 November 2010

foto-free fednesday

Our laptop's logic board decided to call it quits almost two weeks ago. We still have a antiquated Mac G4 that I got back online to do some computer shopping, but for the most part, it's happy to just receive attention when we need to use our equally ancient scanner.

So, we purchased a shiny new MacBook Pro (yay!), and our computer guy managed to transfer over our programs and data. At first glance, that is. Today I tried opening PotatoChop and Bridge and it's telling me I've got some errors and I should reinstall the software. (ugh.)

QuickBooks is working just fine. Thanks a lot, unknowing-being-keeping-me-from-doing-fun-things.

So, for now, I'll just forge ahead on virtual paper-shuffling and fill every compact flash card in the house until I can share photos with you again.

Wish me luck...

28 October 2010



Edgerton had it's annual book festival this weekend, so the author of The Polar Express (and Jumanji) arrived via 1913 steam engine. The train was at the depot about 18 hours before Chris Van Allsburg appeared however, so I'm sure it was just a matter of him sneaking on then stepping off. I took these shots the night before his appearance. Friday we had a bright, beautiful full moon and it was my intent to go down to the depot to capture a few long exposure shots. Except they had set up this massive lighting unit, similar to four stadium lights, for safety reasons. Still got some dramatic shots in. Plus shorter exposures allowed the steam to show, so I'm happy.

The next day, for Mr. Van Allsburg's arrival, it was raining. My husband and I didn't go back as we think it would've been a crowd of parents and toddlers with umbrellas. Wrong kind of drama.

22 October 2010

not if i eat you first!


not if i eat you first!

A friend of mine helped me paint the exterior of our shop this week, and yesterday I was back helping out at Cupcakes-a-go-go. But, I managed to get in some baking of my own. Halloween cookies! Aren't these skeletons "to die for"? I'm really happy with the way they turned out. My husband and I caught some special on hgtv about decorating your house for Halloween, when they showed these cookies for a few seconds. Knowing I'd never remember how they frosted them, I backed up, hit pause, and ran for my camera for a reference shot. If you're interested, I use Alton Brown's sugar cookie recipe. These turned out so darn adorable though, I wish I'd have made a double batch because the amount only allows for four skeletons, four ghosts, five cats, and six bats.

I'm guessing they'll be gone by the 31st. Boooo......

17 October 2010

seasonal attire

seasonal attire

Did you miss me? Or more importantly, Kensi?

Our taxes are finally finished so I can now return to blogging (um, wasting time) guilt-free. Although with the amount of tax we had to pay, I should really find a way to make some money off this photography addiction I clearly have. Would you pay to have someone come to your home for a pet portrait? I think that's something I'd enjoy doing. Not sure if this economy is really crying out for a pet photographer. But then, it isn't looking for much of anything, so there's that argument.

24 September 2010


Ever see the episode of I Dream of Jeannie where Major Nelson gets shot out of a canon? Me either. I'm going to take some time off to write and create it, replacing the characters with hamsters.

I will return when my sanity does. Don't come looking for me...

21 September 2010

mini chocolate sea salt caramel cupcakes

mini chocolate sea salt caramel

The reason I've been a bit occupied this past week. I helped out again at Cupcakes-a-go-go with an order for 13,100+ mini cupcakes! Flavors included chocolate sea salt caramel, shown here, s'mores (with handmade toasted marshmallow cream-yum), bourbon pecan pie, and vanilla. All from scratch, ten people, two shifts, seven days. I was scheduled to serve at the event Monday evening too, but they asked me to come in that morning because they weren't quite done frosting, so I didn't get to photograph the event as I had hoped. Only a few final shots of finishing touches before being boxed up and trucked off. But I'm sure it looked quite similar to when we made 6,000 minis for the same company last March. So, you can just view those photos and double up the amount in your head.

16 September 2010

tugging, rolling

tugging on the camera strap
frozen grape

"Baby" pix of Nigel. Pretty adorable, huh. We fed him frozen grapes as treats for about a year before we heard of the hazards. Never seemed to affect him, but we stopped for fear his next grape might be his last. A shame though as he loved chasing those little balls around before eating them.

Been busy at the bakery this week. Keeps me from sitting around the house missing my little guy, but I worry too about Kensi home alone now. She seems a little mellower since he's gone. We're trying to walk her more often to visit "friends" in the neighborhood. And when the girls next door get home from school, she likes to be apart of whatever activity they're doing outside. Just one of the girls.

10 September 2010



Nigel is gone. We still have to travel north to bury him, so I'm sure there are a few tears yet to shed. The void here in the house is already apparent. Even a sleeping pug cannot be ignored.

Kensi hasn't noticed he's missing yet. I think she'll catch on when I next leave the house, as he was her backup for cuddling. She's going to have to turn to Isaac now.

She's not really sad here as her brother was still with us on this day. Pugs are notorious for having eye boogers.

To all of you who have called, emailed, and left messages through various ways expressing your concern and well-wishes to our little family; I thank you so much. It's been a very shitty week to say the least. But the eight and a half years prior well made up for it.

09 September 2010

good night, little man.

Our pug, Nigel (the first one out the door and doing all the wiggling here) is being put down tomorrow. He has been plagued with chronic ear infections for longer than I care to remember. Earlier this year, the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine ran tests and recommended surgery to completely remove one ear canal. The blockage was already substantial, and damage was starting in his other ear. A pattern started to form that each time things were looking bright and he was off meds a little while, symptoms would reappear. Nigel already has diabetes, is blind and has hyperthyroidism. We couldn't make an argument for allowing him to lose his hearing as well. Our personal vet agreed. He said there were additional complications to this surgery that could add to Nigel's list of health issues. So, we filled our medicine cabinet and crossed our fingers.

This strategy lasted us approximately seven months.

The infection that started in his ear then traveled to his jaw. He started showing difficulty while eating the middle of last week. Meds were not helping this time, and considering he loves eating, it was never too hard to get him to take them. Now he couldn't take solids and refused to eat anything I pureed with the bitter taste of pills. From there, it didn't take long to see the deterioration. His equilibrium was also failing, although he still knew the layout of our house and yard. As you can see in this video, he now needs direction to get out the door. His little head tilts to the left so he circles in that direction in the yard. We've kidded that he could be a Nascar driver, except that he takes a pit stop every 20 seconds. He's fairly content on the leash and trusting of whoever's on the other end to take him where he needs to go. Although, he's been putting on the breaks more and more there too. Stopping, turning left. The pain killers causing his butt to hang low to the ground when he pees...

This clip was shot Monday, September 6th. We were still on the fence about putting him down, but changes occurred day by day. Now, when his pain medicine wears off, he whimpers, and turns down food as simple as chicken broth. He'll take 2-3 laps, turn away crying, then loses the location of the bowl. The bad times now outnumber the good. There's no turning back for him, and we see no point in allowing the pain to become intolerable.

We'd hate for him to leave us having lost his wiggle completely.

07 September 2010

a grand day out

a grand day out

We spent almost two hours on a gorgeous Labor Day at the dog park. Probably for me more than Nigel. Kensi allowed us about twenty seconds of her time to pose for a picture with her brother.

My husband captured this shot while I played pug wrangler.

06 September 2010

this pug's life

this pug's life

Nigel's health is going down hill so I've been doing little other than worry about him. He's having difficulty eating due to jaw pain so he's not receiving the medicine he's suppose to take. Eating is just about his favorite thing to do(!) so there isn't a whole lot of joy in his life right now. He still likes walks so we're bumping those up to two or three a day. I'm trying to face the inevitable. Still it's hard. He's only 8 1/2. Thought he'd be around a bit longer than that.

This photo was taken in my parents' back yard in late July.

I should also mention today is my folk's 53rd wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary, you wacky kids. Sorry for putting you second in my thoughts right now. Love you.

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fly over country, United States
this blog is my "live" photo album of sorts. occasionally, i'll throw in some art i've done or some work of my husband's as he's an artist as well. we have a nice yard in a quiet neighborhood with two pugs and a cat, all black. which most of my photos will attest too. ;) i'd love to hear from you, but happy for you to just browse. hope you find something to make you smile. b.