Friday, September 30, 2011

friday five.

I now dedicate this Friday, and every future Friday, to the number Five. 
So that on Friday you'll read my Five and you'll feel alive. (Or not . . . I'm just a big fan of rhymes.) 
Each Friday you'll find a list of different things.
A gathering of thoughts, or items I find interesting. 
(Stop groaning in agony, the poem's ending now . . . lest you call me a crazy, rhyme-loving cow)

Sometimes I wish...
1. Michael never died. 
Or changed the color of his skin. 
Or hacked up his nose. 
Or strung out his hair. 
But mostly I wish he was still alive and singing songs that Jive. 
RIP Michael. I love you.

2. Punky Brewster still rocked the tv airwaves. 
In her neon mis-matching perfection.
Honing her pig-tailed style. 
Annoying the creepy old guy she lived with (did anyone else question that one?)
And making us join in the canned laughter with her slap-stick comedy act.

3. Crystal Pepsi was back. 
Called a Cola, but looking like carbonated water.
Confusing us with the strange non-cola taste.
Looking almost pure enough to be called healthy.
Having the coolest soda name ever! 

4. Bell-ward never happened. 
I'm not talking book 1, 2, or 3.
But the fourth atrocity that makes me vomit in my mouth.
The freaky child baby with man teeth. 
The bed braking you know what. 

5. Ice Ice Baby was still numero uno. 
When saying "word to your mother" made you cool.
You'd say "Stop" and I'd say "collaborate and listen"
And together we could bust out the running man and dance like crazy.

Ah...those were good times. Man, lets get outta here.
Word to yo' mother.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

reading update - time travel anyone?

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

My Take:
A book a day. That's the goal, at least. But lately I've been having a hard time finishing. I don't know if I'm getting pickier as a reader, or YA lit is kind of stinkin' it up. Either way, I needed a good read something fierce. And I found exactly that in Hourglass by Myra McEntire. 
This book hooked me from the start. The main character is quirky, funny, and full of personality. Her antics kept me turning page after page. I would say this is a character driven book, but I'd be doing the tension of the plot a injustice. Each plot turn had me on the edge of my seat, wishing I could read faster and faster. There was a complex weave of time-traveling subplots that came together almost seamlessly in the end. Basically, it's good stuff.

What they say it's about: 
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.
So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

You shouldn't read Hourglass if: 
You only pick up high fantasy paperbacks, and you haven't showered in over a week. If that's the case, Hourglass won't be the book to float your boat.
You're my Mom. There's kissing involved.  And since you couldn't stomach the first Twilight, I'm pretty sure you can't take Hourglass.
You're illiterate. For obvious reasons.

If you don't fall into any of the categories above, than this is the book for you.

Go Forth and Read!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

secret 8 of 100

I'm afraid of Goldfish.

Not the snack you find on aisle 10 at Walmart.  I'm talking about the squishy, slimy, living fish that swim around in the mucky tanks at Walmart...or any other pet store.

Honestly, I have an irrational fear of finding a belly up goldfish. The fear is so great and gripping that I avoid the pet corner of the Walmart at all costs. If you own goldfish, I probably avoid your house like the plague.
Maybe once a year I'll find myself in the general vicinity of the goldfish tanks at Walmart. My throat closes, my stomach churns, my eyes water, and my gag reflex kicks into gear. I can't even walk down the very aisle because of the paralysis that will seize my limbs. Sweat beads will form on my brown, and my breathing will grow shallow.

Ugh. They're horrid little creatures that should be banned, I say. Banned!

You see, on my fifteenth birthday, my mom and sisters gave me five goldfish. Margo, Margo, Margo, Margo and Margo. Great name, right?
I loved them and cherished my Margos and fed them ALL the time. Then, come spring, I had to go away on a short trip. Before I left for those couple days I was distraught with worry that my fishy friends would starve. So being a loving pet-caretaker, I dumped a plethora of fish food in their bowl so they could have a final feast before I left.

When I returned all five Margos were dead. White bloated bellies to the sky, in a swamp of brackish water.
(I just threw up in my mouth. I don't even know if I can finish this post).

Anyway. My mom made ME flush each fish down the drain. Sympathetic much? I think not. After watching them go, and then cleaning up the mucky dead-fish tank, I swear the stank of dead Margo-fish clung to me like a special-Erin aroma for days. I couldn't get it out of my nostrils.

So you see why I can't stand fish. That is my secret. Goldfish make me vomit.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

writing inspiration - Demi Lovato

iTunes and I have an agreement. They email me once a week with inspiring new songs and I buy them. I used to think I was special this way, but I'm pretty sure that they email everybody. Either way, I drop a lot of moola on music.
I used to just buy music for my Aerobics class, to keep it fresh while we're toning our buns. But in the last few years I started a new collection of inspiring songs. These songs, a range of slow to fast, quirky to moody, romantic to angry, help me in a lot of ways.

1. If I'm not in the mood to write, sometimes I just need to listen to a given playlist and the inspiration comes. To help, I've downloaded my "book playlist" onto my iPhone so I can listen to my music anytime, anywhere. Mostly this is in the car when I can belt it like a gospel singer. Call me Gladys Knight.

2. If I'm struggling with a particular scene, I'll find a song that best represents the scene. Then I'll listen to it again, and again, and again. Until I'm sick of the song. Then I write the scene. Sometimes it's awesome.

3. If I'm having a hard time capturing a character's mod, then I'll listen to a moody song. I've found that Demi Lovato's recent album, Unbroken, and her last one, Forget Me.

The right song can do wonders for my writing. My playlist right now is:

1. Secrets - One Republic
2. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - U2
3. Heartless - Kris Allen
4. Fix a Heart - Demi Lovato
5. Calling All the Monsters - China Anne McClain
6. Candles - Hey Monday
7. Fix You - Cold Play
8. Your Love is My Drug - Ke$ha
9. Catch Me - Demi Lovato
10. Last Kiss - Taylor Swift
11. Polaroids - Shawn Colvin
11. Wedding Day - Rosie Thomas
12. Collide (Acoustic Version) - Howie Day

Do you have a favorite song or playlist that helps you write? If so, let me know. I could always drop another Washington or two.

Monday, September 26, 2011

secret 7 of 100

I am a hermit. 

I know you're rolling your eyes at this secret, but it's true. Kind of.

I think if I'm classifying the type of hermit I am, I would be a bear-like hermit. Because there are times in my life I hibernate and times when I'm out foraging (so to speak). It's not that I'm rubbing my nose on the dirt searching for food or anything, I just go through periods of super social-ness and times when I'm the complete opposite. Like, live in my cave house and don't open the windows type of opposite.

(I like to think that if I really am like a bear, I might be cuddly like this one. Add a Diet Coke.)

When I'm social I like to:
1. Go to the Olive Garden. This is, without a doubt, my favorite restaurant. You may hate it. (Especially if you're a certain hairy friend of mine). But know that I love it. LOVE it!
2. Buy shoes. Anywhere. Anytime. Anywhere. I LOVE me some shoes!
3. Go to the Water Garden Cinema. It may not be your first movie theater choice, but it's mine because there are almost always empty seats, the popcorn is cheap, and everybody knows my name. Maybe they should change the theater name to Cheers. (I'm just kidding about the last line. I don't know if they know my name.)

When I'm hibernating, I like to: 
1. Go to the Pleasant Grove Library. This is one of my favorite places on earth because every one here does know my maybe they should be called Cheers. I love that they order my books. And even when I don't want to go anywhere else, I'll go here to get my book and read.
2. Read. I usually love to do this after I do #1. But I guess that's kind of a "duh" answer.
3. Write. Notice that reading comes first on this list. I think that's because at heart I'm a reader first. But when I'm not reading, I do try to write a little of my own fiction.

Does that make me sound completely crazy? Or do you get what I'm saying?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

aerobics, pee, and karma.

I started teaching aerobics when I was 18. Which as you might guess, was in the not so distant past

Snort...fine you haters, stop rolling your eyes. It was awhile ago.

On with my story: 
One day during class, a woman complained of all the jumping jacks and jump rope exercises. She asked if we could do less, or none at all.
Being a huge fan of jump rope and it's body toning benefits, I couldn't figure out why she didn't like the activity. Maybe she was just having a lazy day. I've had a few of those. I could sympathize.
I asked her if she was having a hard time breathing. She said breathing wasn't the problem. It was peeing.
"Peeing?" I asked, unsure if I heard her correctly.
She nodded and explained that since having her last baby, jumping made her feel as if she might pee her pants.
Not having kids of my own, I couldn't figure out why having a baby would make you feel like you might pee. I told her we were almost finished and it was probably just a sensation thing. She should try to continue with the class. No pain no gain, right?
Apparently I was wrong. A minute later she bolted from the room leaving a puddle in her wake.

I felt like the most awful teacher ever.

Flash forward a few years after I had three kids of my own. 

After teaching a exceptionally challenging workout routine I decided to stop by the store on the way home. I pushed the cart up and down the aisles, as my toddler swung his legs, kicking me in the stomach.
"Henry," I stopped in my tracks beside the frozen foods. "Stop kicking me. It hurts Mommy."
He looked at my face, then at where he was kicking...then he looked a little lower. (Side Note: I sweat A LOT!) 

"Momma!" He squealed. "You peed your pants. You peed, you peed, you peed. Georgie look, Momma peed."
I tried to shush him, but he wouldn't stop. That kid chose that exact moment to holler like he'd never hollered before. "Momma peed!" he yelled until every adult in a three aisle range was made aware of my body sweat issue.

I decided right then that it was karma because I made that poor lady jump till she peed. I guess in life sometimes things come back to bite you in the butt. That's all.

(Side note: Oh, and if you're thinking my sweatiness was more than sweat, I'll deny it till I die.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

writing inspiration - one step forward, two steps back

Remember that half-cool, slightly-creepy music video where Paula Abdul danced on the roof tops with an animated cat? Kind of random walk down memory lane, but it's the message of the song that makes my point today. 
Before Paula's gyrating dance with a feline came to mind, I was thinking about my writing style. To this day I've written 5 1/2 books. None of which are published. That fact gets me super frustrated.
I like to write, but my problem is I get stuck in the thick of it. Once I finish writing a book I know it needs to be edited but I'm not sure where to start and what to do. And what if what I change actually makes the book worse?
I worry so much that eventually I put the book down and start on a new one. Hence the 5 1/2 unpublished books. Frustration to the max.

The other day as I was venting to my awesome friend and writing buddy, Peggy Eddleman, I was growing more and more irritated by the moment because in the two years that I've written 5 1/2 books, she's written two. And polished one to perfection. I thought to myself, why the heck can't I do that? Why can't I just polish one of the five?
Near closet to pulling my hair out the epiphany hit: I CAN!
I just need to take a couple steps back. If I'm sick of what I'm working on currently maybe I should take a look at one of the old five books.
That night, I picked one and read the entire thing. I'm not going to lie...some parts weres so bad it made me cringe with embarassment, but other scenes were friggin' awesome. Awesome to the point that I seriously wondered if I'd actually written it.

Now that it's been so long since I cracked that book open, I'm able to look at it with a fresh perspective. I've been editing it and re-writing scenes, and I hope to have it polished in the next month. I can't believe that I had to take a couple steps back to figure out what I need to work on. But it's like Paula Abdul says, sometimes you need to take "one step forward," and then "two steps back," to get where you need to be. 

Thanks Paula for your inspiration...and the creepy can-dancing vid.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

remember my doughnut craze?

Here's a mini post for the day...I'll post more later. But I couldn't resist telling you that BEYOND GLAZE (the exact place I posted about three posts ago) is having a sale! You can buy their gift certificates for dang cheap. Just go here:

Luv me!

Monday, September 19, 2011

secret 6 of 100

When Mark asked me to marry him (for the second time...the first is another story all together) I said yes. Obviously. But my secret is I wasn't entirely sure I should say yes. In fact, I almost wondered if I should say no. His family and my family were gathered around and it was Christmas Eve and I couldn't help but be caught up in the romance of it all. You know I'm such a Love-nut. And I loved him more than anyone or anything.

But the next day when I woke up to stare at that shiny diamond attached to my left ring-finger, I wondered if I made the right choice. It's not that I didn't want to marry the man. I just wondered if he really was "the one". My stomach clenched that I possibly said "yes" a little to hastily. I'd answered before I'd prayed about it...before the earth quaked beneath my feet because he was, indeed, "the one."

If I was wrong, how would I turn around and tell my family that I'd made a mistake? A small greedy part of me wondered if I would have to give back the sparkly diamond? Dang it all.

That morning I rolled out of bed on to my knees and prayed. I prayed so fervently to God that he would let me know Mark was meant for me. And you know what happened? A whole lot of nothing! Days passed, and I prayed and prayed again. I would pray silently while we were together and loudly when we were apart. I loved him so much and I wanted him to be mine. But I also wanted that earth-shattering confirmation that YES he was the one.
Time passed and before I knew it, it was my wedding day. That morning as I put on my make-up and curled my hair, I said one last prayer. I told God that if Mark was the wrong one then he better stop me from going through with the wedding because I loved Mark more than life itself and I wanted him and no one else.

Well, you know what happened? In the middle of the ceremony I got my answer. Mark's gaze met mine and in that moment I could see all the times that I'd received an answer to my prayer. All the times I knew we were perfect for each other. All the times God had really answered my prayers.

He was mine and I was a happy girl...even if I didn't know he was "the one" when I said yes.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

worst and most epic photography fail ever.

The title of the post should be enough to clue you in on how utterly embarrassing the following story really is. I only share it because my sensor broke years ago. I'm not disillusioned enough to think that the readers of this blog believe I'm anything short of a train wreck. And that's on a good day.
Today, sadly, wasn't so good.
I was scheduled to shoot a wedding in Salt Lake City at 3:00pm. Because my favorite lens is in the shop, I planned just enough time to stop by Pictureline to pick up a replacement lens. (No I didn't snag a doughnut...what with time being of the essence and all that jazz.) Per my usual crazed schedule, I found myself running ten minutes late. I kissed the kids good bye, hopped in the mini (van...not mini-cooper), and headed to Draper to pick up the lens. I rushed in, grabbed the lens, and continued on my way to SLC. When I pulled into the parking garage I was feeling snazzy because I, the amazing photog that I am, was ten minutes early! I wanted the garage attendant to give me a woot woot, but he wasn't feeling it.

I opened the side door of my van to take out my gear. Right then, the woot woot rushed out of me. And I wanted to cry. I, the not-so-amazing-photog-that-I-am, realized with a sudden sickening gut-twist that I had left my camera at home.
Yes, my freaking camera! As in, the very tool I need to actually be a photographer. As in, my life!
Brilliant, Erin. Way to rock that wedding. And not only had I left my camera at home, but I also left the lens that I use during 90% of wedding day.

So after a minor heart-attack, I realized not all was lost. I had randomly shoved a second camera body in the bottom of my camera bag. Until Karly, my awesome-life-saving-super-fly-assistant, brought my camera and lens, I used the back-up and made due with the lenses I had. In the end, the day turned out to be amazing. And oddly enough, I think that today I snagged some of my most favorite wedding pictures ever! Even it today was also one of my most embarrassing days ever.

Friday, September 16, 2011

doughnut craze.

I've never been a doughnut lover. But every time I go to Pictureline in Draper, I'm strangely tempted by the doughnut shop that sits just around the corner. The shop, Beyond Glaze, suits its name perfectly. They sell glazed doughnut creations that could be considered art. Each tempting delight in the store will make your mouth water...except for maybe the "maple and bacon" signature doughnut. I'm adventurous when it comes to sampling doughnuts, but not insane. And in case you're wondering, yes the maple bacon doughnut has actual bits of bacon on it's maple frosted top. Moving past that doughnut, I broke down and bought a half-dozen others. It was such a hard choice. Which only means next time I'm at Pictureline, you can be sure I'll go to Beyond Glaze too.
These yummy treats are a little on the pricey side, but totally worth it. I bit each one of my half-dozen and couldn't decide which was my favorite. And no, I didn't get any weird looks when I brought home a box of bite-marked doughnuts. That's kind of how my family rolls. And consider this post fair warning that if you stop by my house and there's a treat out, there may or may not be a bite out of it.

If you haven't been to Beyond Glaze, you should make a trek over soon. I'm certain you'll become an instant fan. My kids were. And they've been bothering non-stop to go back and buy more.

Question of the Day:
For all you Writers out there, what's your favorite writing treat to eat while you're tapping away on those keys? Mine is usually M&Ms and Diet Coke, but I might trade it out for a doughnut from Beyond Glaze.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

agent stalking.

I go to a handful of conferences every year. Sometimes I get lucky (git yer mind outta the gutter)...I meant sometimes I'm lucky because I get to be the conference photographer. Which is a position that's not without perks. For example:

Perk #1 People hate me. When I turn my big lens on someone they look away or make a face. That makes me feel awesome. I love it when people avoid me at all costs. (Cue Nacho Libre voice) It is the best!

Perk #2 I flash people...and not just with my camera. My camera hangs from a fashionable neck strap that rubs across my side and front when I sling my camera around. It's a common everyday thing that I never think about much. That is, until last year at this conference. I brought a whole new approach to really understanding the genre. (The genre being romance. Think: heaving bosoms and bodice rippers. No, that's not exactly what I like to write...but maybe after what happened last year I should re-think it.) You can read about that here

Perk #3  I stalk people. And when I say people, I really mean agents. The thing is, being the photographer is like having an all access pass. Kind of. Usually the conference board that I'm working for wants me to take lots of pics of the VIP guests, like agents and editors. In the event they are not offended by the camera or my style of flashing, I usually get to spend some time talking with them. And when I say talking, I really mean stalking.

Basically it's an ok gig all around.

In October I'm going to attend the Utah Romance Writers of America-Heart of the West Conference. Man, that's a mouth full. The conference is going to be awesome because some pretty amazing agents are coming. Agents that I'll be stalking with my big massive camera and heaving bosoms. Want to come too? If you do, go to this link. Mention that I sent you over and they may waive the late fee! And then if you go you can come and stalk and flash and be hated just like me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

if they don't get together it ain't a romance.

At one of the first writing conferences I attended I heard Lynn Kurland speak about Romance in Fiction. To this day, it was the very best conference address I've heard on the subject. And believe me, I've been to quite a few writing conferences and heard more than I ever wanted on the subject. Lynn knew what she was talking about...after all, she is the queen bee when it comes to writing epically amazing love stories. Basically she said that a romance isn't a romance unless the boy and the girl end up together. If they don't then it's a tragedy.
Simple as that.
Frankly, I agree. If I pick a book up off the library shelf and it's labeled a romance, I expect that by the end of the novel the little lady will end up with her big strapping man. (ha ha...oh wait, I meant if I pick up the harlequin. Snort. That's really not my type of book, but you get my point.)
The story should play out as such: girl meets boy, girl and boy have issues that keep them apart, and then at the end girl and boy get together.
Yes, there should be some kissing.
And yes, their romance should be something that makes my heart jump in my chest. 
If the story follows the same pattern but at the end has some dramatic event like girl gets hit by a truck and dies, then the story is a TRAGEDY!
Which means, I don't want to see it, or read about it.

Which means, last night when my good friend Tracey dragged me to see One Day, I expected a romance.
But what I got was TRAGEDY!

And that, sums up why today I'm so stinking angry I could spit.

Monday, September 12, 2011

secret 5 of 100

I once gave a student an A on an assignment because I was embarrassed.

For a brief stint I taught high school English. (Yeah yeah, I'm the worst speller. I put commas all over the place, and my grammar smacks...exactly why I don't teach English any longer.)
When I was pregnant, I taught senior English in Hawaii and I happened to have a drool problem. You would think these two facts don't necessarily go hand in hand, but you'll soon see that you are wrong.
When I was preggers with Ted-O, I would wake up in a puddle (or lake) of drool. I drooled when I ate, and spat when I talked. Frankly, it was gross.
One afternoon my students were completing a worksheet. I walked through the classroom glancing over their shoulders and monitoring their work like a good teacher. When I came to Bob (not his actual name, but for privacy reasons I have to censor something now and then) I leaned over his shoulder to look at his work. I could see he was struggling with a problem half way down the page. I pointed at the question and explained it in further detail. As I was finishing up my expert explanation, showing my prowess as a high school teacher, a massive glob of saliva-tinged loogie plopped down and landed right in the middle of his paper.
He jerked back, his face screwed into a sickened expression.
Frozen in my own horrified stupor, it took me a moment to process that the gooey yellowish blob on his assignment just came from my mouth. My own freaking mouth!
"Eww, Miss," Bob started to say.
I snatched his paper away faster than I could spit again. "You just earned an A."
He blinked at me and back to the spot where his marred paper no longer lay. "Right on. You can spit on me any day."
"Keep quiet Bob," I hissed, "Or I just might."

Keeping my word, I marked an A in my grade book. And Bob never brought up the loogie-attack ever again. But now you know that I'm the type of teacher that spits on students' work!

Friday, September 09, 2011

writing inspiration - something about a ring.

I love LOVE. I love reading about Love and though I'm not published ( day, one day) I love writing about Love. Frankly, if there isn't a romance plot line in a novel you have to prod me to read it. As the saying goes, Love makes the world go round.
I suppose this is why I'm so drawn to shooting weddings. The euphoria that surrounds a couple madly-in-love, about to take the plunge and vow their lives together is an addictive feeling. Though my feet are usually beat when I return home from a wedding, I have a smile plastered on my face and I'm often in the mood to pull out LoLa (my laptop) and go at it for awhile.
In fact, since I started really shooting weddings four years ago, I've written six novels. All with a strong romance plot line. And since I spend all day editing photos, sometimes just seeing a photo will inspire me to write.
I shot this photo at a wedding a week ago. Every time I look at it, my fingers start itching to get LoLa back from the Mac store where she's receiving a needed face lift. There's something about this ring that makes my heart fall in love again and again. As soon as LoLa returns I'm off to writer-land again where I can polish the chapters of my latest novel.

Ah, love true love...

Thursday, September 08, 2011


Panning is a photographic technique that refers to the movement of the camera as it captures the image of a subject. While a subject is in motion (this can be anything from a car, to a person, or an animal) the camera follows that motion while snapping a shot. The exposure of the image is set at a long enough time to show the movement of the camera in the foreground or background of the image, but not necessarily on the subject.

If that sounds a little like photog mumbo jumbo to you, then here's the simple explanation. Basically you take a picture of something moving. And instead of holding still while taking the picture, you track the target of your picture with your camera. That way, everything else in the image should look blurry and your target should look sharp...or pretty close to it.

So what I'm saying is, this panning technique can be pretty tricky.

Some tips for panning:
1. Shoot in a manual setting so your shutter speed can be a little slower. (1/60-1/125) This will add even more blur to your movement...thus making your picture even awesomer. (It's a word, peeps. Trust me.)

2. Take a lot of photos. A Pulitzer prize winning photographer once told me, "If you want one great picture, then throw away 999." That pretty much sums up my style of shooting. Shoot lots, then throw away the crap.

3. Try a panning shot on a faster moving subject to get even better blur.

Here's a panning shot I took in Hawaii. The couple were spinning in a circle, so as they came around toward me I arced the camera as I took the picture. I love the blur in her limbs and hair!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

school picture idea.

I don't like school photos. No. That's not quite it.
I loathe, detest, abhor, shudder-at-the-thought-of, completely-gag-when-I-look-at, HATE school photos. They're bland. They lack personality. And sometimes...if you're lucky, there's a mirror and a nicely posed child with a fist under his chin. Blech.

So this year I was inspired by a little photo I saw on Pinterest. If you're unsure what that is, email me and I'll fill you in. Basically Pinterest = best time suck ever!
This year I let the kids decide what they wanted in their picture. A favorite toy. A back pack. It was up to them. Then after the shoot, I mcjiggered a little somethin' somethin' in Photoshop. And voila! School pictures with personality and pizazz. (Can you tell I'm big on alliteration?)

It's an easy project.
1. Snap the picture.
2. Load the picture in Photoshop or another photo editing software that allows you to place text on the image.
3. Using varying fonts, type info about your kid at that age.
4. Flatten your image (if you used layers) and save a new copy so as not to save over the original file.
5. Print. If you live in Utah County go to Pro Digital Photos. They're great and I use them for a lot of my family pictures.

Here are a few samples of what I made:

bread butt.

The other day while I was making the typical PB&J lunch for my two youngest kids, I found myself out of bread. Luckily I keep a back-up loaf in the freezer. I pulled it out and thawed the first four pieces. When I started spreading the PB on the butt of the loaf, Teddy said, "I don't want that piece."
That was new. Up until that very moment I thought Teddy loved the end piece. He didn't protest the day before, or the day before that.
"I thought you liked the butt piece," I said.
"Not anymore. I don't like the butt."
I sighed. This new opinion of his had recently outed tomatoes and cucumbers too. I worried for a brief moment that he might become as fickle an eater as one of my friend's kids that will only eat toast and salmon. 
Ruby pulled herself up on the stool beside him and said very matter-of-factly, "I like butt."

And right then all my worries were washed away with laughter. 

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


I am guilty of procrastinating. Everything. Basically if I have something to do I'll wait until the very last minute to do it. Having said that, you'd think I didn't ever get anything done. Right?
Not so. See I have a theory. It is the theory of over-procrastination equals mass-production.

When I have a lot to do and I'm down to the last minute, I usually work faster and more efficiently. I get a lot more done. For example, when I have seven shoots to edit in less than a week, a chapter to write for my writing group, kids' appointments to attend, and a filthy house to clean; I actually end the week with a five of the seven shoots completed, a half-chapter written, an extra book read (because I cracked under the pressure and I de-stress by reading), only one appointment forgotten for the kids, and a semi-clean house.

If I compare that to any other normal non-stress week, I'd say my completed total isn't too shabby. I may have not finished everything I needed, but at least I did more than I usually would.

And so what I'm saying is procrastination creates an environment where you can be more productive than if you were sitting at home doing nothing. Therefore, I deem this the week of procrastinating!

Go Forth and Procrastinate., am I way off base here, or do you procrastinate too?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Secret 4 of 100

My first grade my teacher, Mrs. Vial, a horribly old woman with wretched, decaying breath and hair that resembled a white mushroom, hated me. She hated my wiggly body and constant chatter. She hated me so much she gave me recess detention. While all the other kids frolicked and played out on the school grounds I was stuck in her stuffy classroom, inhaling her horrid, dragon breath.
Towards the end of the play period, Mrs. Vial told me to stay inside while she gathered the class. Then she left. I remained in my seat until I couldn't take it any longer. I'm not sure what possessed me to go to the back of the room where all the students' brown lunch bags were lined up and clearly named. But I found myself back there, right in front of Lila McCormnack's bag. Maybe it was because she gloated that her mother had packed a massive bag of Skittles in her lunch. My mom only packed healthy gross things like a whole wheat sandwich, a banana, and carrot sticks. Bleh. For all I knew, Lila could've been Mrs. Vial's offspring because she was an equally detestable girl. But there I was, thinking about Lila's Skittles.
I knew at any moment the class would be returning. No doubt Lila, the first-grade cow that she was, would say something snide about my recess banishment. So in a moment of needing to rebel and fight back, I tore open Lila's lunch sack, ripped open the Skittles bag, and shoved my hand in to withdraw as many little sweets my fingers could possibly hold. With the same fervor, I munched and chomped and chewed those  skittles with guilty glee as I returned to my seat.

Moments later, the class returned. No one noticed the torn lunch bag, or the skittle dribble on my cheek. And when the folly was discovered at lunch, I promptly denied having any part of the Skittle snatching. Though I'm sure Mrs. Vial didn't believe me because I received detention after school and at recess for the next week. But to this day, I never admitted my guilt.

But I'm turning over a new leaf. I'm no longer stealing Skittles from first graders....(disclaimer: this doesn't apply to my own kids during the month of October). There you have it. My secret is I was a Skittle thief.