Last year,
I resolved to book at least one paying photography job
in 2010
(and not screw it up.)

Instead of one,
I booked a few.

I still have a lot to learn,
and room to grow.

I hope I always do.

And my resolution
for this coming year
is to dream.
Beyond my ability.
To not be afraid
to jump
even if doing so means I will inevitably fall.


My resolve is
to really dive into my photography.

To work hard to build a future
in which I can
make a living

I'd like to lose a few pounds.
Be a better wife.
A more patient mother.
Shop a little less.
Craft a little more.
But really...

I want to be a photographer.

So 2011 will be about
doing whatever it is I can
to make that happen.
Shooting like crazy.
Support and patience from my wonderful amazing without-you-nothing-in-life-would-be-possible-or-worthwhile husband.
Friends and family
to be my test subjects.

I guess Dr. Frankenfurter said it best,
"Don't dream it, be it."

Which is precisely what I intend to do.

And to those of you
who have played an integral role
in my life this past year
(you know who you are)

Thank You.

For loving me.
Inspiring me.
For being my friends.
And for always
being honest.

Happy New Year, friends.



While DRL
the girls
and I
were staying at my mom's place
Elena and Gramma
a very unique
bird feeder.

The ingredients consisted
of three items.

1 Pine Cone: Large.
1 Jar Peanut Butter: Chunky.
1 Plate of Bird Seed: Seedy Variety.

 Isn't it purty?
And now,
the seeds.

The birds were very happy.

So was Gramma.



Little Folks

That is what Santa brought me for Christmas this year.
And since the days after Christmas
are seemingly filled with
bragging, boasting, exclaiming proudly
what you got from jolly ol Saint Nick,
I suppose
it wouldn't be
in very good holiday spirit
for me not to share.

28 fat quarters
of Anna Maria Horner
Little Folks

in the following photos
by color.

isn't it?

what to DO with all of it.


I also received
fabulous yard
of Anna's new line
Innocent Crush
I need ideas for this,




Monday Mourning

Even though it is really Tuesday
is my first day back to work
since leaving Austin
on the 20th.

I am not exactly
per se
I am sitting at my desk right now
and Elena
sleep in.

I  haven't even started the coffee yet.

I have a pile of faxes to get through.
Voicemails to return.
A military base to visit
and laundry to do.


It is good to be home.
But I already miss home

And yes,
even snow.

I once heard that
you must
at least once in your life
spread your wings and fly
and only then can you truly understand
where your roots are.

But then
more recently
I heard
you must have roots
for those wings to work.

I think both are true.
I am grateful for this opportunity in Texas
and the amazing weather
and I feel remarkably blessed
to have the people
in Minnesconsin
in my life.

And the rest of you spread out all over
the US
who also
make up my tribe.

I hope your Christmas
was merry
and bright.

And that your new year
is filled
pounds lost
clutter cleaned
time donated
money saved
vacations taken
and other resolutions
that may or may not
be kept.

Thank you
for you.

And for being
so very much
a part
of me.



Stella's Year in Review: Director's Cut

I have never blogged video before.
I barely shoot video.

But I thought
seeing as it is Christmas
that I would try something new.

So rather than writing 
a sappy letter 
to my daughter who can't even read
chronicling the first
year of her precious

I would make 
an iMovie of it


Happy Birthday,

I love you in more ways
than I can count.

always, too.

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind always be at your back
and may the winds of destiny carry you aloft to dance amongst the stars.


*Editor's Note: The original version of this video played along to Bob Dylan's "Forever Young." Sony Music Entertainment decided that was not savvy (even though the song came from my iTunes library via a CD I purchased) so I had to add a "Pre-Loaded" song from YouTube.  Stella was very excited when I played the Nutcracker March.  Maybe I birthed a baby ballerina after all....


A Festivus Miracle

I was feeling a little

I couldn't quite figure out why.
Then I did a little

wouldn't you know it,
I suddenly feel 
put back together again.

It's a festivus miracle!


PS: Happy Birthday, dear Stella.
PPS: You are only one.  You cannot read.


The Airing of the Grievances

As is a Festivus tradition
here, via this blog,
in no particular order
I shall air my grievances.

I shall
in the spirit of Festivus
call out those
who have annoyed me
over the course of the past year.

And if you made the list
then I ask that
in the Spirit of Christmas
you forgive me my grievances
and give me a gift anyway.

Here we go:

*Line Whiners.  It's the holidays, folks.  You're going to have to stand in line.  Yes, there should probably be more than two employees at Gap's cash wrap three days before Saint Nick slides his fast ass down your chimney, but when there are only two overworked, underpaid, smiling employees behind that massive counter and you are forced to stand in a line that meanders nearly out the door, quit your bitching!  We're all, you know, the restivus, waiting too.  Just like you are.  Maybe you could take these extra few moments to ponder what it is you are buying, and maybe even decide that you can, in fact, live without it.  Put it back.  Nay, throw it back thus forcing a Gap employee to spend hours folding and re-folding unwanted merchandise further preventing him/her from assisting customers who wish to actually purchase something and are, quite frankly, sick of standing next to your complaining self in the line-that-just-won't-end.

*Express Lane Item Counters. Please. Pleeeeeeeeazzze.  In the name of all that is Holy: Stop counting how many items people have in their carts.  And, if they happen to have more than 10, please keep it to yourself.  Sometimes, people are in a hurry.  Sometimes they have a Yoga class to get to. Or a last minute bank deposit to make. Or need to get home to a baby with an erupting molar and an ear infection.  Or they are just plain rude and don't really care that they are in the express lane.  Or maybe, they just don't bother actually counting each and every item in their shopping cart.  Maybe they eyeball and think to themselves, "Eh, that looks about right." Regardless, it really is none of your business. The line will eventually move, you'll pay for your items, and be on your merry way.  Just in time to leave your cart behind my car and cut grandma off on your way out of the parking lot.

*The Biggest Loser.  First, I love you. I do. I watch you every single season, and will continue to do so as long as there are overweight people wanting to lose weight on TV is Bob.  That being said, would you get rid of the gratuitous infomercial bits not-so-conspicuously placed in the middle of the show?  After seven seasons (or is it eight?) I know that gum will curb my cravings for dessert and other sweets.  I know that Jenni-O Turkey is a much healthier option than beef.  And I get it: Vegetables!!  Fruit!!  Leave the commercials for the two minutes I look forward to fast-forwarding through and show me more Bob.  And Jillian, too for that matter.  I'm not picky...

*Spammers.  Correction: People Who Respond To Spammers.  Please.  Let this blog post serve as the Idiot's Guide On How NOT to Fall For Email Fraud.  Step One: Enable "Junk" filter on email server.  Step Two: Do not open any emails that your email is smart enough to send to your junk mailbox.  Peruse the messages, give a good once-over.  You know, make sure you didn't need that coupon from Amazon.com or J.Crew.  And then press "DELETE." Step Three: If you didn't quite understand Step Two and actually read the email read the following information VERY CAREFULLY:  You did not win an obscene amount of money due to the death of a foreign dignitary.  You are not their sole heir.  You will not receive the money once you send a small sum to a bank account in Nigeria.  Secondly, no one that you have zero recollection of giving your personal (as opposed to professional) email address to is going to send you "A Very Important Business Proposition for You!" Also, Hotmail/GMail/Yahoo is not contacting you for your email address and password so that they can ensure your account is secure.  They actually have your email address.  They own the rights to it, remember?  Your email ends @hotmail/gmail/yahoo.com?  That means they know who you are.  Second, if they are going to send you an email alert, they wouldn't be dumb enough to funnel it into your junk mail filter.  In the off chance I am wrong about this, heed the following: In the address line, it won't say, "Windows Live Team" {windowslivetomjones@yahoo.com}  It won't say this, ever.  Not even once. So don't respond with your email and password.  Pretty please?  With common sense on top? Step Four: Repeat steps 1-4 as often as necessary.

*LOLers.  If I've said it once I've said it a million times, LOL does, in fact, mean "laugh out loud."  Which stands to reason, then, that if you are using the addage you did, literally, laugh.  Out loud.  Audibly.  It is not a placeholder for "I don't know what else to say." Or "Imagine something funny written here."  Allow me to be perfectly clear, I myself utilize these three offending letters at times.  I have typed "LOL."  When I have laughed.  Out loud.  Audibly.  Otherwise, I stick to the old wisdom that if you don't have anything to say, don't LOL.

*Homophobes.  No further explanation needed.

*Overhead Bin Stuffers.  Your suitcase is beautiful.  Gorgeous.  One of a kind, even.  But it belongs in the overhead compartment.  Alone.  Without your laptop.  And your purse. And your plastic shopping bag of goodies that you couldn't live without and just had to buy before you boarded the plane to some fabulous vacation you can't really afford but you're going on anyway.  Those things? They belong under your seat.  So that my suitcase, once I finally get on the plane, has somewhere to go.  Unless you're in the bulkhead.  Without kids.  Or the need for any extra space whatsoever.  Because you are evil.  In this case, you can put your purse in the overhead compartment.  And listen to a tiny cramped baby scream in the seat behind you for the ENTIRE PLANE RIDE.

*Wikileaks.  Couldn't you have leaked some information that actually would have been helpful to the general public?  Like who shot JR?  Whether Kim Kardashian's ass is real? Barry O's birth certificate?  The names of countries in the world who would destroy us if given the opportunity and/or weapons necessary to do so?  Or given the removal of foreign aid in the form of American dollars?  Why Iceland is green and Greenland is ice?  Why people can't use blinkers?  Did the Mayans know the outcome of the 2012 election?  Did they predict Sarah Palin as victorious?  Is that why their calendar ends that year?

*That's What She Said-ers. Myself included.  Can this phrase be done now?  I'd like to stop using it, but it's just so hard.  (that's what she said.)

Okay, friends.

That's it.
That's all I've got.
This year, anyway.

Did I touch on yours?
Or did I leave something out?

Oh yeah,
I did!

*Readers who refuse to comment.

I kid, I kid.
Sort of.




I promised to write,
I know.

And I haven't.

But I will.
From now on.

Mean it.

I am at my mom's house, presently.
The internet is a little sluggish.
So there might not be as many photos as you're used to.

The airing of the grievances will happen tomorrow.
So be prepared.

For now,
all I have to offer are some photos
showcasing the view
from the hotel DRL and I stayed in
on Saturday night.

We Pricelined
for the first time ever
and as I typed in the price we wanted to pay
for a four star hotel
in downtown Minneapolis
I kept hearing
William Shatner
call me
"Namby Pamby."

So I went lower.
And we got an amazing deal.
Thanks, Bill.




Later this afternoon                                                                                                  *photo courtesy of google images
I will head to the airport
and board a plane
headed for Minneapolis.

A few short hours later
I will crawl into bed
with Elena
and squeeze her.


In the morning
I will hold my baby.
Who is about to turn

I will kiss her bald head.
And squeeze her, too.
Just not quite as tight.
She's still fragile, you know.

And I'll sit at the counter at my mother's house
..quiet, warm, comfortable...
and listen to my eldest tell stories of the past two weeks.

Two weeks in Minnesota.
With her cousins.
And her bff, Audrey.

The Children's Museum.
Gramma's house.
The YMC(me)A.

And I'll smile.

Bigger than I've smiled in the time
since they left Texas.

I can't wait to be home for the holidays.

To see snow.

And yes,
I am even excited to freeze
my tuckus

I promise to blog while I'm on vacation.
I've packed the laptop.
And the camera.

There'll be plenty to read about,

I promise to write it.

And if you
are fortunate enough to be home
for your holidays
be warm.
And travel safely.

And if you cannot make it home
this year
that home
is wherever in the world
you are.

you see,
will always come to you
at Christmastime.

is the magic of this season.



Holiday Bokeh

This ornament
on a giant evergreen
in the gorgeous lobby
of the Driskill Hotel
in downtown Austin.

I love everything about it
so naturally
I thought I should share.

Here is another one:

I hope you have an amazing Thursday.




I may have mentioned that Dayna and I
got new tattoos on Saturday.

A little shop called
True Blue Tattoo
on sixth and Red River
in downtown Austin.

Or "dirty sixth" as it's called.

We chose our tattoo artist,
because of her amazing ability
to create beautiful
beyond belief


The rose on her business card?
It's a tattoo.

Dayna went first.
Because she is braver than I am.
Which is to say that she was afraid she would chicken out
if she had to watch me go first.

as it happens,
she would have.
As I screamed.
And cried.
And cussed like a sailor.

More on that later.

But Dayna was a champ.

Even though it did hurt.
At least a little.
Cara did an awesome job.
Dayna's phoenix looks stunning.

Once she was done
it was my turn.

I have a low back tattoo, see.
And I haven't loved it for quite some time.
I have been thinking of ways to add on to it
make it look less like a "tramp stamp"
and a little more like a tattoo.
Like art.
Like something that held some meaning
and looked

I told this to Cara.
That I wanted birds.
Maybe some flowers, too.

And this
after an hour of twitching
and cussing
is what she created using
my vague description of what I wanted
and her ridiculous tattoo prowess:
The tribal design was the existing tattoo
the outlined parts are Cara's addition.

I will go back in three weeks to add shading
and lots
and lots


Tattoos might not be your thing
and that's okay.

But this tattoo
is a big deal
to me.
Each bird
represents one of my girls,


while simultaneously being a tribute
to both my grandmother Helen and her love of Cardinals
and to Lucinda and her birdie.

Yesterday was my Gramma's birthday.
Or rather it would have been.

Sunday is the anniversary of Cooper's death.

And next Thursday is Stella's 1st birthday.

When the tattoo was finished
it was difficult for me not to cry.

Because this one
more than any of my others
very much.

Which makes the pain
so very worth it.




My friend Dayna was here over the weekend.
We had a lot of fun.

We drank.
We hot tubbed.
We got tattooed.

But we didn't make any bad decisions.

I guess that means we're officially adults?

While Dayna was here,
having a margarita on the rooftop patio
of a bar on Austin's famous "dirty" 6th Street,
Minnesota was getting record
amounts of snow.

So much snow
that the roof of the Metrodome collapsed.

Which really is fine,
since the Vikings season was over already.

And also because no one was hurt
of course.

But I digress.

I'll post more photos of our crazy weekend tomorrow.
Apparently I've run out of free storage space on Google/blogger.
Which means I now have to pay
to have this blog
that you come to read everyday.

So once again,
and now more than ever,
thank you for your "subscription."



All Wrapped Up

This holiday season
is going to be a handmade one 
for many who are receiving gifts from me.

Lucinda's little boy is no exception.
I was packaging his gift to be shipped
and realized I have no Christmas wrapping paper.

Lucinda loves fabric as much as I do.
She loves handmade, too.
So much that she has her own Etsy shop
showcasing wonderful things she has made.
(If you have last minute gift buying to do: Check her shop out here)
Given her love of fabric
of craft
and my absence of pretty paper
and ribbon....

I decided to wrap bean's gift
in fabric.
Anna Maria Horner's 
Innocent Crush
fabric to be precise.  

 And what kind of present would it be
if it didn't have a bow?

The gift is for bean.
The packaging is for you, Luc.

Rip the seams.
Use the fabric as you wish.

Merry Making.
Happy Handmade.



The Big Bang

I am sick of my hair. 
Bored with it.
I've thought about getting extensions.

Too expensive. 
I'd rather spend the money on a tattoo.
Or camera lens.
Or surgery to repair my dog's broken leg.

So I thought about dying it red.

erin go bragh

But I have olive skin.
Greek skin does not mix with Irish hair.

My recent obsession:
I am too indecisive to make this big of a decision
all by myself.

So, dear readers
vote now.
What say you?

Cut 'em?
Take the bobby-pin outta your hair and wisen up?
Meh..you look great either way?
Who cares, give away another hat?


With the scissors ready,

PS: Speaking of hat giveaways: Mis, please contact me to claim your prize.



Last night I had the pleasure
of hanging out with my dear friend
(and former fantastic, amazing, beautiful bride)

She was over to sort through some wedding photos.
The select few I've had the chance to edit.
And then re-edit
since my computer kind of 
crapped out on me halfway through
forcing me to start from scratch.

As we were perusing the photos
I realized that I am 
with the photos of her and Josef
in the woods
near the Blanco River.
of them.

I could look at her wedding photos for hours.

I already have.

Well, I could look at them for hours more.

I am tickled that you love your photos.
I am honored to have been a part of your day.



Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

With the help of random.org
and their random number generator
the winner is....

drumroll please....



Shoot me an email with your address to claim your prize!

Thanks to all for playing.



This Day Will Go Down in Infamy....

Today is National Pearl Harbor Rememberance Day.

It is also my friend Tony's birthday.
And the last day to enter to win
this hat.

Enter here.

Good luck!



New Years: Resolved

This year,
I resolved to take more photos of myself.
to allow more photos of myself to either be taken
or to be shared with others.

I rarely find myself on the lens side of the camera
so I have to find other opportunities to fulfill my resolution.

I model my own hats.
I pose in my bathroom mirror.

it's funny,
but in all of my favorite photos of myself
my Nikon is hiding half my face.

Maybe that's my "bad side."
Or maybe I like the way my camera looks
better than my own reflection.

Either way,
I'm happy that I can
live up to my resolution.

And I am happy
that I finally took a photo
of just myself
sans camera
that I actually like.

No funny actions.
No comic book effect.
No black and white to hide the hideous unevenness of my skin.
Just me.
Okay, fine.
And a little Benefit lip stain,
some glass beads from Melissa's honeymoon
and a fabulous hat
that I
you know
just sort of
picked up.



Sunday Sewing

I decided to make Elena a Christmas dress this year.
Because I can't ever find anything at the stores that I just love
or, if I do
I am not willing to spend the kind of money that
such designs demand.

I am thrilled with the final product.
I hope it fits her.
And I hope it fits her sister in a couple years.

As I was photographing the dress
I hung it on the blinds in my living room.
I was adjusting the settings on my camera to make up for
the backlit setup
and wound up with this photo in the process:
Beware the floating holiday dress.

I also made a dress for my niece.
As a Christmas gift.
It should fit her this summer
when it is warm enough
in Minnesota
for little girls to wear dresses
without tights.
I hope she loves it,

Happy Sunday!

PS: Don't forget to enter the giveaway!!