Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Happy List, Week 9

Macro Water Droplets

Happy List, Week 9

1. Days off. I had some unexpected days off this week and they were glorious. Spent just enough time being lazy and productive.

2.  Neighborhood Photo Flood. Wandered around The Ville with some Flooders and had a grand old time. It's really sad how the neighborhood has declined over the years. It'd be nice if it were revitalized some day back into its old glory.

3. New Mattress. I've had my mattress/box spring for at least 10 years and it was time to replace it. I took advantage of the President's Day Sale and came away with a supremely comfortable and surprisingly affordable bed. More than I had planned on spending but it will be worth it in the long run.

4. A Good Night's Sleep. Something that has been lacking for me - see above for one of the reasons contributing to a good night's sleep. Now if I could only train my body to sleep IN on day's off…

5. Shopping. Not usually on my happy list, I'm not really one of those gals that adores shopping. I like to hold on my money in general but sometimes necessity requires it. I found new bright teal sheets and a deep purple comforter to make up the new bed.

6. Non-Camera Time. It's been kind of nice to let my camera sit idle a little bit. But I better pick it up before the week runs away from me!

7. Regular posting. Between the Happy List, Throwback Thursday (on FB) and the Photo of the Week, I'm getting to be a regular poster on FB. And methinks I might have gained a few more readers. Welcome!

8. DVR. I've not really had while they've existed, but when I do, I love it. It's quite the handy thing. It allows me to not be a slave to TV schedules and that is a wonderful thing.

9. 3-Hour Guarantee. The company that I got my mattress from has a 3 hour delivery window. If your mattress isn't delivered within that window, your delivery is free. They didn't and it was. Score for me!

10. Bingo! RP & and I tried out a new bingo hall this past week up in North St Louis. It was a huge hall and I won! It was one of the more complex patterns and had I won by myself, I would've won a sizable prize! As is, I had to split the pot but I STILL WON! Plus, it was a near miss because someone called bingo on the number before and I was crestfallen, until it came back invalid. I'd forgotten what a rush it is to win!

Well… it's been quite the week. The lists are getting longer - I'd forgotten what a challenge it is to write these. But that's all part of the exercise…plus, I didn't have the best of circumstances for the start.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

8/52 - Photo Project 2014

It was a busy weekend… Photo Flood St. Louis had a partnership with STL250 so we got an all access pass to the weekend. Originally 3 events in 3 days, but weather spread it out over 4 days with a reschedule. It was a lot of photo taking and editing. Thusly, I didn't feel much like picking up the camera in the meanwhile.  That being said, there were amazing photo opportunities.

I think this one turned out quite well, don't you? I believe this one might be straight out of the camera (versus receiving editing in Ligthroom).

STL 250 Celebrations

Close runners up:

STL 250 Celebrations    STL 250 Celebrations

This upcoming week should be much quieter… which should allow me some photo opportunities on my own. Today ended up being beautiful weather wise. If tomorrow is the same, I may be out and about!

And one more just for fun: more experimenting with dancer blur:

STL 250 Celebrations

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Happy List, Week 8

Macro Water Droplets

Week 8…

1. Niche. A meal at this restaurant NEVER disappoints. This is why we celebrate major landmark birthdays there. YUM. Unexpected pairings always do well.

2. STL's 250th birthday. Via Photo Flood St. Louis, I've had an all access pass to the events this weekend. It's been educational and a lot of fun.

3. My fellow Flood-ians. I celebrated my 1 year anniversary with them on Sunday, shooting a Birthday Ball. Couldn't think of a better way to spend it.

4. South Park the Movie. It's been out for 15 years and it is STILL hysterical. Plus, I introduced a friend to it who had watched SP before but not the movie.

5. Friends. This is in general, but friends make my heart warm.

6. Roommate Bonding. We often have opposite schedules and can go days without seeing each other, but we are watching Olympics together when we can.

7. Expanding my horizons. Photographically at least. These above opportunities allowed me to stretch myself photographically in many ways. I look forward to continued opportunities.

8. Musical Theatre nerd-ery. One of the ice dancing teams skated to "Les Miserables" One Day More. I spent several minutes with the roommate and friends on FB debating which version of Les Mis it was and ultimately proving it to myself and others via iTunes music sampling. Boom!

Okay, that's it. It's not that it's been a bad week, but I'm going to start repeating myself soon if I don't watch out. Hopefully more next week!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

7/52 - Photo Project 2014

This week was a low photo taking week. A snowy Sunday. A few pretty sunrises. And St. Louis celebrating its 250th birthday.

This is the winner for the week - the most unique way to light a pipe, yes?

Well That's One Way To Light It

Runners up:

Sunrise    Snowy Pip

With events today, Tuesday and Saturday, I should have an embarrassment of riches for Week 8.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Happy List, Week 7

Macro Water Droplets

Okay… here goes:

1. The Olympics. I really do enjoy the Olympics and the Winter version has one of my favorite sports: figure skating.

2. Olympic commentary. I have a friend on FB who literally does a play by play on the Olympics and she is witty, sarcastic and truthful. It really makes watching the Olympics all the more fun. RC, thanks for making the Olympics far more entertaining.

3. The Opening Ceremonies. Wow… just wow. No one'll top Beijing's opening ceremonies but the technology available and how it was used was very nicely done. I was impressed by the technology use and technical aspects more than I was of the artistic components.

4. Blogiversary. Still in awe that I've been doing the blog thing for 6 years. I'm glad I started it and that I've kept it up despite all the work craziness before and after my transition away from freelancing.

5. Snow. I know that this winter has been one of the harsher ones in years, but snow is still magical when it comes down in big fat flakes and you don't have to drive in it… right away.

6. A completely lazy day off. I did just about nothing on my Monday off. It was wonderful.

7. Sherlock. This show is really especially brilliant and stars two wonderful actors, Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch. I love that I can never guess what will happen next on the show. The unhappy part? Only 3 episodes a season.

8. Live Bingo. I finally found more friends who play bingo. It's SO much fun! Don't know what's better - the people watching or waiting to see if you win.

9. The power of words. It's been awhile since I wrote a really wordy post (Happy Lists not counting) and apparently it had an impact on those who read it. That pleases me.

10. Body Butter. Normally I do not prefer heavy lotions but in this very dry winter, they are very welcome.

Okay… I think that's it. More next week!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Tommy - The Best Dog Ever

This post is dedicated to the best puppy I/we have ever had. It's long, full of pictures and definitely might make you tear up. You have been warned.

Thomas "Dewey" was born on May 19, 2000 and became a part of our family that August. He was one of four in a litter - and was nicknamed "Dewey" because he had a dew claw - a distinguishing feature in his litter. We met all 4 of the litter at the breeders house and became enchanted with all of them - this was our first foray with Cairn Terriers. Later, the breeders brought the biggest one, "Bruiser" and "Dewey" over to our house to play. They played and played and played and eventually like every puppy, they wore out abruptly.  But instead of us making the choice, "Dewey" made the choice for us. He chose mom, in the cutest way ever:

Luckily for Tom, my parents own their own business, so he came to work with them. Luckily for them, he was a pup of few barks. Tom only barked a handful of times in his life - unlike our other Cairn who barks if a leaf falls. He often spent time on my mom's desk, by her computer. Even as an adult dog, he didn't seem to mind when I put him back up there for 'old time's sake'.

Favorite toys when he was younger included empty yogurt containers and small, stuffed toys, often as big as he was. He was given the shelf that had previously held my books - now it held his toys. What was special about Tom and his toys is that he would occasionally go over to his shelf and carefully select a toy and go and play with it. We never did get him to put them back on the shelf...

Soon, Tommy grew out of his puppyhood/puppy coat and into his handsome adult coat. He also became obsessed with tennis balls. I don't really have a great picture of it but he used to hold a tennis ball between his paws and just kind of mouth it. Not lick it, not denude it of its fuzz, just hold it in his mouth. We called it "meditating".

That wasn't his only unique trait. He loved sleeping on his side or his back - none of our other dogs really enjoyed sleeping like that. He would curl up next to a dresser, or near the arm of the couch, or in his favorite orange chair. It was really adorable. 

Because of Tom's un-terrier like demeanor, Mom pursued a Therapy Dog certification with him when he was 2. They were a team for 10 solid years, charming sick children and adults recovering from accidents alike at several medical facilities across the Metro Area. 

Tom also had TONS of tricks in his arsenal. He "dunked" tennis balls in a low hoop, he brought mom tissues when she sneezed, he himself sneezed on command, predicted the weather, "read" and jumped through a "hoop of fire". He caught cheerios in midair, he fist (paw)-bumped and also did "high five" as well as dancing. His trick arsenal was absolutely endless. I could go on and on and on.


Tom wasn't without health issues during his life with us, he had pancreatitis twice and an episode of leptospirosis, but all in all, he was a pretty healthy pup. We'd noticed him slowing down a little and startling but wrote it off as him (sadly) getting older. That is why the morning of Halloween 2012 caught us by surprise.

In regular nightly routine, Tom goes out one last time when dad hits the hay around 1:00am and then snuggles up against Mom to sleep for the night. At 4:00am that Halloween morning, Tom fell off my parents bed. Mom woke up and got him back up on the bed, but didn't really notice anything was wrong. Later on that morning, she noticed that his rear legs weren't behaving and that perhaps something was wrong. She called the vet who referred her to the Emergency vet out in Chesterfield.

Later that day or the next day, Tom was officially diagnosed with a brain tumor and put on a regimen of prednisone to help reduced the swelling. We were given lots of options including radiation but ultimately decided that we loved him too much to put him through that torture and would only go the palliative route. This of course meant that his time with us was to be short, and thusly we treasured each and every day.

Days passed, then weeks and then months. Thanks to the prednisone, he actually regained the use of his legs, only having as slight limp from time to time or he'd be slightly unsteady when standing still. The one year anniversary of his diagnosis came and went. It was about then that he started making the decline again, but thankfully it was gradual and not as noticeable. 

Around Thanskgiving of 2013, we realized that Tom's body may be seriously failing him once again but he still seemed "all there" mentally. Christmas passed and then New Year's. None of us wanted to make the decision. We were waiting for him to make it for us by showing us that he was in pain, or unhappy. 

Shortly after New Year's, Tom declined even further and we decided it was time. Surrounded by those who loved him, he crossed the Rainbow Bridge on January 8, 2014. He was 13 years and 7 months old and it was one of the hardest things we'd ever done. The loss of a pet is terrible, but the loss of a pet who was SO much more than that hurt even more. Considering the bond he had with my mom, she lost a son, as did my dad. And I lost a brother. 

I want to borrow the words of a card that was sent to us about our loss of Tom. This card outright made me cry because it is written in the POV of the dog and it just hit home. Hard.

"In Dog Years…

I know you have fought so hard to keep me and struggled to let me go, but the time has come for me to meet my maker and see the world from the other side. My purpose here is complete. I lived my life by example, the way I was designed to live. Showing joy and trust, acceptance and loyalty, simplicity and unconditional love. Remember all of these things I have taught you.

I am so grateful for the life we shared, the feeling of pure joy just being together. There were so many moments that I wished for time to stand still. These moments are forever embedded in my heart.

It was always your job to provide and care for me and my gratitude is endless. Your final decision to end my suffering was a wonderful blessing and your final gift to me.  I felt the comfort of your touch as I took my last breath and felt the hand of my Creator as I was welcomed into heaven.

Heaven is such a wonderful place and is all that was promised. I have been restored and feel like a small pup again. I will always be in your heart and you will always be in mine. 

Until we meet again…"

I'm tearing up again, copying these words down because they are SO true. We never wanted to let him go. Ever.

But instead of simply mourning his loss (and I miss him ever single day and look forward to the day when it is less painful), I want to remember the good things. I want to remember the gentle kisses that he gave to us, how he delicately crunched cheerios and lettuce with equal fervor and how much he adored his tennis balls. I want to remember how many lives he touched and how generous he was with his love. I want to remember all of his amazing tricks. I want to remember how he would snuggle into one' neck when carrying him back in from the exerpen. I want to remember his delicate little burps shortly after inhaling his dinner. I want to remember him being able to hear the sound of a knife through a banana and then be immediately right there for his morning banana strings. I want to remember him as the "Brindle Bullet" running down the hallway after a tennis ball or around the house when he had the "zooms". I want to remember how he cuddled with me.

This is the Tommy I choose to remember. This is the Tommy who I love. This is the Tommy I miss. 

I love you, Tom. We told you this often, but it was totally true: You are the Best Dog Ever. And you can never be replaced. It was always going to be too soon. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

6 Years Strong...

I've had this blog now for 6 years, today. 764 posts later, it certainly has morphed from a generic showcase blog for the occasionally fun photo to a home for my photography and occasionally for things about my life. I do often wish I could change the name of it, but I've had it for so long, it is too late to change it now. It was certainly an inspired choice back then, but now it seems less applicable to the current use!

I thought about recapping the last year, but we're still so close to my wrap up from 2013, that I wouldn't want to bore you with repetition.

Instead, I'll present you some of my favorite images from the last year:

Garden Glow at MoBot    Macro Mobot September    Chalk Festival    Olympic National Park - Fawn    17/52 - Photo Project 2013/ Macro MoBot April    Late March Snow    Circus Flora - Artist's Day    Photo Call  

And a few from this year:

Beautiful Morning   February Snow 2014

I think I have more posts in the hopper, so keep checking back for more! 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

6/52 - Photo Project 2014

Well, this was a 'quiet' week, but when we had a snow mid-week, I ventured out to Forest Park.

I tried going places I haven't been before since the wind had already blown the snow off of places I usually frequent.

This gem was gotten in a place where I very nearly got stuck but it was totally worth it. I took about a dozen photos in the park and actual had intended to get the snow-covered tree by itself. Thankfully I also took this shot and loved it even more when I "developed" it.

February Snow 2014

There really is no runner up to this one - clear favorite!

Hopefully this next week will provide new opportunities and fun options. Work has been keeping me busy. I carry my camera every day but it hasn't really gotten much exercise lately.

A very important anniversary is coming up - new post tomorrow!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Happy List, Week 6

Macro Water Droplets

Okay, let's try this week on for size.

1. A good group. I was on jury duty this past week and I had a good group of peers. When not allowed to be in court yet and not allowed to deliberate, we made the best of it and played Pictionary. A thoroughly enjoyable time.

2. Laundry. It's basic, an annoyance and necessary. I finally had the opportunity to do laundry on Saturday after over two weeks.

3. Past life. Thankful for my past life which allows me to have more than enough clothing to get through almost a month with no day off.

4. Book Club. One of my PFSTL friends created a book club and we had our first meeting this week. It was lots of fun and I look forward to future books/meetings.

5. Walgreens. When I got re-infected with a cold, their medicine does the trick, for sure.

6. A good dinner. It was the roommate's birthday in week 6, so we went out to a fancy dinner in celebration. Her one request: bread pudding. Done! Both of us got to experience a new to us restaurant too.

7. Clearance rack at DSW. I was in the need of a little retail therapy to get me out of a funk, so I browsed the clearance bins at DSW. Luckily, I have small feet and had lots to choose from.  Found two pair of cute shoes!

I think that's it. It was a better week but a quiet one. Sometimes quiet is good. :)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

5/52 - Photo Project 2014

This might be totally pre-emptive, but since it's kind of raining cats and dogs out, I don't foresee me taking awesome pics today. Therefore I default to an actually awesome picture taken the other day.

This was taken early in the morning, around 7am. The colors were beautiful and I missed the good stuff… but I managed to catch this shot. By the time I went upstairs to get my keys and back down, the colors were gone.

Still smarting from the loss of the great sunset on Sunday… this'll do for now.

Beautiful Morning

I'm itching for new sunset/sunrise opportunities. They're often beautiful and fleeting. I think I found a new place to catch sunsets but the last time I tried to catch one, the clouds came in. :-\

I spent a majority of this week in Jury Duty and did not get out until 5:30 or 6:30pm, well past sunset. :(