How I procrastinate, or deal with the blues.

I must be feeling a bit down.  That last post included the word “tight” twice with copious pictures of Paul working on the outbuilding, and yet, I let that golden opportunity pass.  Tight?  Golden? … aye, my heart’s just not in it.  So much for my reputation as the internet source for home improvement porn.

As I try to rev up for this year’s Mardi Gras season (we’re still working the Devo theme, despite Will’s ever-changing cast of character requests: Spider, Cowboy, Knight, and Luke Skywalker), I’m attempting to clean out my Aperture folder and properly archive and organize the photographs.  But you know?  It’s way more fun to play around studiously learn Photoshop techniques.

Remember Kate’s New Year Tai Chi?  Where she is terribly lit in intense direct sun?  The moves are so classically Kate that I wanted to see if I could improve the quality of some of the pictures.  Work with the captured moment, so to speak.

Here are the originals:

Then I decided to try and soften the harsh light and overall brightness of the image.  I played with curves, brightness, dodge and burn, and levels.  What I should have done was used one set of commands that I liked and then just applied the actions to the rest.  I didn’t.  I just went all willy-nilly and did whatver I liked as the mood struck.  Don’t expect anything earth-moving.

Yeah, I know.  Is that all?  Then, because I’m reading all of these artsy books about black and white photography, I decided to play around some more.

I think I like these last ones best.

Here’s hoping I get around to backing them up before Mardi Gras!

Art & Photography
Mi Familia

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Birthday wishes, three ways.

Will: “Mommy, can we just skip your birthday and go to mine because I want to be 6 and I want you to NEVER BE ANY OLDER THAN RIGHT NOW.”

Kate: (on the actual birthday) “It’s CHRISTMAS!  Yeah, Santa!”

Kate: (on day after birthday) “It’s your birthday, Mommy!  Santa’s coming!”

Me: (to Paul) “It’s my birthday, are you going to pamper me today?”

Paul: “Sure.  But I don’t think we have any in your size.”


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Counting birthdays in hex is totally the way to go.

I’m 21 today!!  (In hex.)  Good thing, too, because I recently heard this exchange among my Schweitzer group:

“What did he look like?”

“Oh, you know… tall, brown hair, middle age… like, in his late 20s/early 30s.”

Phew!  Good to know hex puts me squarely in the early age category!  Although I am young and so thrilled to finally be able to buy booze, I am going for a low-key celebration.  So for all you peeps ready to take me out drinking on the town, here are some things I won’t be doing today, on my birthday:

— I will not be putting gifts in my children’s shoes in celebration of Epiphany (although the cat may leave one in mine.)

— I will not see the parade in the French Quarter to kick off the start of Carnival Season.

— I will not be taken out to a Fancy Dinner (although I may serve a mediocre one to my family.  Readers are encouraged to send easy recipes to this culinary-challenged woman, with the understanding that I can barely boil water.)

— I will not be rudely awoken from an afternoon nap.

— I will not be lavished seduced with presents (although I will probably be given a hidden gift from my mother-in-law and sung to by my parents).

— Our household will not relocate to Disney-developed Celebration, Florida, even though Casa Latino, one of the country’s largest Hispanic and minority owned real estate offices, is moving there from New England (how strange is that?!)

— I will not be bothered if I decide to eat frozen cookie dough in lieu of not having Fancy Dinner.

— It will not be judged careless if I decide to catch up on random websites and enjoy things like these portraits, these lights, these light cords, these knitted curiosities, and these paper illustrations.

— No one will bother me if I want to play Momma-razzi all night with my camera.  Smile, kids!

Thank you for all the birthday well-wishes!

UPDATE: A big whoops for forgetting the hat tip to laloca, for pointing out the knitting curiosities.  I’d say that they made my day, but considering how many people I’ve shown them to and how it’s still up in my browser, I think making my week is much more appropriate.  I guess I’m in a bit of a twisted funk??

Family Photos
Mi Familia
Special Family Moments

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New Tai Chi Move

Carry berries to mountain and wish HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Family Photos

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Egg nog won’t cut it.

Dear Santa,

When you visit us this year, could you bring something to help me gain the patience I need to deal with my kids non-stop for the next two weeks?  I admit I’ve made some dumb moves (agreeing to teach last minute, for one) that have me thinking about all the other things I’m suppose to be doing… which means that I’m frustrated and not focused on being a Mom right now.  With Paul still working his 18 jobs around the clock and the house in complete chaos, I’m just not in a good place, you know?   Could you bring something to chill that out a little bit?

Oh, and I’m totally cool with pharmaceuticals, if that’s the way you want to go.

Just looking for that Christmas high,


This post is a Monday Mission. This week’s Mission is to write a post in the style of a letter to Santa.


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The Mommy and the Study

(Writ in the style of “The Piggy in the Puddle” — my favorite children’s story to read out loud.)

See the Mommy.
See her study.
See the Mommy in the middle of her silly little study.
See her cruddy, see her bloody
in the fuddy, duddy, study.
See her muddy, down and ruddy, in the silly little study.

See the Daddy,
chummy-tummy, chummy-tummy, chummy-tummy.
“Don’t you get all crummy, dummy, Mummy, Mummy, Mummy!
You are much to smart and sassy to be in the down and ruddies.
Research is oofy, research is poofy, research is oh-so oofy-poofy!
What you need is lots of HOPE.
But the Mommy answered, “oofy-poofy, oofy-poofy, NOPE!”

See her Babies.
Cutey-tooty, cutey-tooty, cutey-tooty.
“Just stop that writing – lighting, nighting, fighting, miting, citing!
You are much too Mommy Dearest not to be so often near us.
Research is willy, research is nilly, research is oh-so willy-nilly.
What you need is lots of HOPE.”
But the Mommy answered, “willy-nilly, willy-nilly, NOPE.”

Now they all stood by her research,
Right beside the murky research.
And they looked into the ‘search,
What a messy, murky, murch!

There was Mommy, cruddy and bloody,
getting beat up by her study.
She was reading, she was writing,
she was drinking to be wired.
She was listening, she was talking,
she was very very tired.

Said the Daddy,
Mummy-Mommy, you have made me very proud.

Said the Babies,
Mommy-Mummy, you are a sun behind a cloud.

Said the Mommy,
I thank you, but for this I am avowed.

See the Mommy and her study
with her family in a huddy.
They are loving, they are listening,
to the very daunting study.

Said the Mommy,
“Oofy-poofy, willy-nilly, oofy-poofy…
Indeed,” said tired Mommy,
“I think we lack in hope.”

But Daddy and the Babies answered,
“Oofy-poofy — NOPE!”

This post is a Monday Mission, to write a post in the style of a children’s story, as inspired by The Painted Maypole.

I’ve been feeling uninspired lately and needed to remind myself of a few things.

Family Stories

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Holiday Fat

After 16 plus years of being a strict vegetarian (only occasionally would he even eat Lucky Charms), Paul began to eat meat again around the time that Kate was born.

Having already given up vegetarianism a few months before (uncontrollable anemia during my pregnancy was the catalyst — that, and I’d already re-introduced the entryway drug, fish, into my diet when we moved to New Orleans), I didn’t think that there would be a huge change in our eating habits. After all, I was eating meat again and it didn’t seem like a big change.

But Paul. Wow, Paul. When that boy fell off the wagon, he fell off HARD. Now, his life is neatly summed up in this xkcd chart:

Paul is the bacon-cook of the house (I showed no talent for this particular skill early on and formally resigned those duties), so the 1% of the time Paul cooks, it’s bacon. He cooks a pound of it in a pot (“it’s the way they did it in the Grand Canyon”) and then proceeds to eat the entire pot, using a spatula to scoop out any missed crumbles at the bottom.

The upside to this is that now I have ideas on what to get him for Christmas. I thought that I was on track for a non-cholesterol-raising holiday. Then we had this (censored) conversation this morning:

“So, I think the present that I want to give you is going to go down in price after Christmas. How do you feel about exchanging presents later?”

“When I asked you to play a Wii, I wasn’t suggesting you buy anything.”

[Side note: Did I mention that Paul likes to search my computer for signs of what I’m trying to get him for Christmas?]

“[edited] Fine, then. No presents for you, gift spoiler.”

He completely spoiled my surprise, but how can I not have something special for him on Christmas morning? Something more exciting than the socks that currently represent the sum total of what Paul will receive from his loving wife and children. Then it occurred to me: I can bestow upon my favorite meat-eater the gift of bacon! Here are some bacon ideas I’ve found.

Uncle Oinker’s Bacon Mints. “Just for the sheer joy of handing someone a bacon flavored mint!”

Bacon Scented Bacon Print Tuxedo. “You can get married in bacon, get confirmed in bacon or go to the Oscars in bacon!”

Bacon Flavored Toothpicks. “Arm yourself with invigorating pig freshness and the confidence that you can take on the world.”

Maple Bacon Morning Coffee. “Reminiscent of a hearty Saturday morning breakfast around the table, this sweet, savory coffee delights the senses with the smell and taste of home!”

Bacon Air Freshner. “Put one up in the family room and everyone will have a sudden craving for a BLT.”

Bacon Strips Bandaids. “Bacon Strips are cut to look like small slabs of bacon.”

Maple Bacon Lollipops. “The salty chunks of bacon make a delicious and unique counterpoint to the subtle sweetness of the maple, and oh, yeah- you’ll be eating an oh-my-god bacon lollipop!”

Bacon Floss. “Now you can improve your dental hygiene while enjoying the amazing flavor of crispy fried bacon. Is there anything bacon can’t improve?”

Bacon Wallet. “Sleek, yet meaty.”

Bacon Gift-wrap. “Start wrapping in style!”

A Chocolate bar of Bacon. “Rub your thumb over the chocolate bar to release the aromas of smoked applewood bacon flirting with deep milk chocolate.”

Wake-n-Bacon. “This clock gently wakes you up with the mouthwatering aroma of bacon, just like waking up on a Sunday morning to the smell of Mom cooking breakfast. Unless you’re Jewish.”

And of course, a variety of Bacon-of-the-Month-Clubs. Including one offered through The Grateful Plate and one through The Pig Next Door.

Just in case you get bacon overload and aren’t sure what to do with it all, you can always make Bacon Soap.

Finally, if this just isn’t enough and you need more bacon-inspired recipes, products, or advice, you can turn to Mr. Bacon Pants (Alejna, this one is for you) at

Mi Familia

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Just ’cause I love it

h/t: Kate Harding

UPDATE: Stacy, you rock! YOU TOTALLY NAILED IT! Who can resist that catchy beat?


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Palin Punk’d

Maybe she would have caught on earlier if she could see France from her house?

I haven’t been privvy to many calls between heads of state and potential heads of other states… but even if you forgave her missing the incorrect names of various Canadian officials, wouldn’t you start to get suspicious when the conversation decends into wife hotness, porn tapes, and dead animals?


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Over Dinner

2008_10_10-katesingsfreirejacques (mp3)

This is very typical dinner conversation in our household. Kate chatters on and on about something, Will sweetly pipes up and does exactly what we ask of Kate, Kate tries her best to do the same (sounding like she’s providing back-up for Ozzy Osbourne), and then forgets what she is doing and starts talking about climbing mountains and eating monkeys.

Our Dynamic Duo. A little blurry, but you’ll get the idea…


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