Looking Through The Lens

(It wasn’t an outright question so much as a raised eyebrow of disbelief. But you see…) 

There is a shift that my brain makes when taking pictures, where it goes from what catches the attention of the naked eye to what can be captured through the camera lens.

Some times the shift is hard to make.

It takes more concentration than I have if I’m talking or multitasking so I don’t often take many pictures in a group of people. Instead I make the shift most often when I’m on my own.

When there is no one to tell me to hurry up (except the dogs and they never mind if I fall behind) and nothing to distract me. Then when my focus shifts I can find hundreds of tiny details and shapes that I want to try and capture.

I fiddle with my camera as I experiment with the best ways for it to help me catch the possibility I see in my mind.

I bless the digital camera gods as I snap and review, fiddle and adjust, and snap some more.

Once I’ve started looking through the lens everything seems photogenic if I can just catch the right light, angle, focus, background…

When it comes time to review pictures on the computer there are more misses in my captures than keepers.

And many pictures like these geometric shapes that caught my eye…

…still look just like the rabbit poop and dried corn leaves that they really are.

(And that, Honey, is why I took a picture of rabbit poop.)


Happy New Year!

I lay in the bed, covers chilled from John’s hasty exit, gathering my courage to face the first morning of the new year, thinking it was a good thing I’m not one of those that sees signs in everything.

Ivy had rushed into our room waking us up with a full volume news bulletin on the state of the carpet upstairs. I will spare you the details of the mess in the girls room. Just let me say that it required two adults using a roll of paper towels, a scoop shovel, rubber boots, three plastic grocery bags, a trip to the store for supplies and a steam cleaner to get rid of it.

The dogs must have been having a New Year’s Eve bash of their own last night because clearly one of them is not feeling well.

This morning was not what one would call an auspicious start to the new year, but as I said, I refuse to prescribe to such things as signs and omens. And after all, this year has no where to go but up!

Here’s to a new year; it’s certain to be full of messes and likely to be worth it!

John, Jessie and girls

This frighteningly accurate portrayal of my family was taken by my Aunt Helen.

Happy New Year!

Saved by the Poop

I’m a chronic wallet loser.

My wallet is small and I spend at least half my life wondering where it is and then finding it tucked into some “convenient” crevice or lost under the car seat. It’s been mentioned to me (in what I like to think of as more of a loving manner and less of a what-kind-of-moron-are-you manner) that I should carry a purse instead, so that it wouldn’t be able to hide on my so easily.  But I’ve never liked carrying purses. Not only do I fill them with stuff that I don’t need to carry around but then I have to  carry it around. And while it’s true that I lose my small pocket-sized wallet on a regular basis, it usually turns up somewhere on the property. Purses, in my brief experiment with them, get left behind in other places – much worse.

This time, my wallet had been gone for over a month and I was starting to worry. Not about identity theft or the fact that my check cards could be in the hands of an unsavory character. No, I was worried that I was going to have the face the music and head to the DMV for a new driver’s license. Visions of long lines, crabby government employees, crabby children, inconvenient hours and most of all, a crabby me, were dancing in my head. But even my fear of the DMV was slowly getting overcome by the inconvenience of not having a wallet (which is not as hard as it seems, so long as you know where you husband’s wallet is) and I set a deadline. I decided that if the snowbanks melted in the driveway and my wallet wasn’t to be found frozen at the bottom that, I would have to start to replace things. Which means, of course, the DMV. Things were looking dire indeed.

Then today I was scrummaging around the house looking for baby wipes. It was either find the wipes or get the bathtub going.  And I didn’t really have time to bathe the baby before we headed out the door.  So I was checking everywhere. Everywhere eventually included the diaper bag.  Some of you would have, perhaps, checked your diaper bags earlier but this is my diaper bag and it’s usually not worth bothering with when it comes to finding actual useful items.

Diaper bags fall securely into the “bags I don’t want to carry” category. Over the years I have learned that those molded pockets in the door of the truck work great for holding a few diapers, as does my jacket pocket. A box of wipes really just fits better loose on the floor of the truck than crammed in the top of a diaper bag getting in the way of the actual diapers, and children suffer no ill effects from a drive home in nothing but a diaper if things have gone seriously awry. Not to say that I don’t use my diaper bag, I just don’t use it unless I have to.  Now, after six years of use, it’s zipper doesn’t close, a mouse chewed a hole in it, the strap has a large knot tied in it because the plastic doohickey that held it all together broke and it rarely leaves the house, much less gets packed with the variety of useful items I see in other mothers’ diaper bags. So, you can imagine my surprise when I opened it up to find that it did indeed have a package of wipes, a single diaper and when, on a sudden flash of inspiration, I looked in the front pocket – my wallet!

Saved from the DMV by a poopy diaper!


I try to watch my language in front of the kids, and I’m getting better at avoiding most of those taboo words… except for sometimes. Sometimes things slip out that shouldn’t and while Ivy never was much interested in any of the slip-ups Clara has an uncanny ear for them. While this is, of course, never good I do maintain that there are situations in which those words are, if not appropriate, at least capable of giving some measure of relief and satisfaction to a bad situation.
For instance lets say you were working out, and that the baby was happily bouncing away her in doorway, bouncer, thingy for the entire time. When you finish up and go to release her from her jumpy prison you are all smiles because you are so happy that she was so happy while you actually got a chance to do something for your self  and then you see it – The Accident.  The Accident that came running down both legs and puddled on the floor.

“Oh fiddlesticks!”

Nope, that just doesn’t cut it for me in a situation like that. Nor does “Darn!” really convey the complete feeling of dismay that is appropriate when the discovery is made that at least part of the reason she was such a content baby was that she was learning how to finger paint – with the portion of The Accident that came up her back.  And when you discover that the rest of the reason she was so happy was because of the fun she was having  squishing and smearing of mess between her toes…

Well other words just might come out – hypothetically of course.

And hypothetically if an older child is near by you might just hear, “What is shit Mom? What is shit?”

Did I Just Say What I Thought I Said? II

In today’s edition of “Did I Just Say What I Thought I Said?” we have a phrase which, in addition to being one of those things that:

A) shouldn’t have to be said in the first place,

B) shouldn’t have to be said by me and

C) that yelling out an open window of the house does not at all improve,

it also, sadly, is something we have addressed before.


Don’t poop in the yard!!!

The worst part of this is, of course, the aftermath.

Moving the perpetrator (or should I say poopetrator?) to the toilet.

Yard clean up.

The lengthy explanation to answer the ever present “WHY?” question.

My explanation was going so well I was starting to worry that Clara was never going to poop outside again. Which, given that I would like to take them camping, might not be great thing for the long run. So we talked about acceptable times and places to poop outdoors.

Finally a poop free girl headed back outside with Ivy as they walked through the door I heard:

“Me poop outside in hole. Me go do that.”

Now I’m sorta worried about the sandbox.

The Plastic Bag

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not always up to speed on world events, nation wide trends and pop culture. While I might cruise a political blog or two, I don’t usually make it to a regular news website, and hardly turn on the radio for music anymore much less news. Fortunately my friends know this and are kind enough to do things like call me and tell me if a tornado is on it’s way over as well as other happenings less life threatening but still important.

One of those news items that has filtered it’s way into my cozy life under this rock is that there is a growing trend to ban plastic bags. Madison (unsurprisingly) is on the anti-plastic bag bandwagon with a recycling program and thoughts of banning plastic bags altogether.  I could pontificate on the pros and cons of this as well as the ridiculousness of passing mandates with fines that no one is going to attempt to enforce, but I’ll spare you all. Instead I’ll share an incident  in which a grocery store plastic bag was the hero of the day.

This morning just after breakfast the girls took a bath together and life was good.

Then Clara pooped in the bathtub and full chaos set in.

Ivy jumped from the bathtub ran through the bathroom and into the kitchen yelling.

I removed Clara from the tub and as I was debating the best method of cleaning it up…

…Clara promptly pooped on the bathroom floor.

Ivy showed up freezing and wrapped herself in a towel, but not before dragging it through poop.

Clara, after being cleaned up from the bathroom floor incident escaped to the kitchen. (How you ask? Well I was up to my elbows in a bathtub full of fecal matter that’s how.)

Ivy watches and reports back with “MOM! Clara pooped in the kitchen… It’s really big and nasty!”

I finally got the tub cleaned and threw the girls back in aaannd the super pooper struck again.

Re-clean bathtub.

Put girls in.

Clean girls.

Clean bathroom floor.

Look in kitchen.

Wonder if there is any way someone else is going to clean up the “big and nasty” on the floor.

While I stall Clara starts attempting to leave the bathtub.

Now in a panic with visions of poop footprints all through the house I run for the pantry and grab The Plastic Bag.

Me, a lot of paper towels, some cleaning stuff and The Plastic Bag clean up the “big and nasty” in record time.

I curse our stupid kitchen floor with stupid cracks between all the stupid fake boards the entire time.

I throw a knot in The Plastic Bag toss it out into the mudroom just in time to catch Clara jumping out of the tub.

While drying her off I find more poop on her, or the floor, or me, it is unclear where it came from but the end result is the same…

… clean more stuff, again.

Finally I get the girls dressed and out of the way.

To do this I teach them how to be all American by giving them the computer, an armchair, a bag of popcorn and a cartoon to watch.

I clean more, mop floors, do laundry.

I pick up The Plastic Bag on my way out to do chores and swing by the garbage.

My point:

It takes a pooptastrophe for me to mop my floors and the plastic bag is not necessarily the epitomy of all evil.