Monday, June 25, 2012


My older daughters are off to summer camp—one glorious week of swimming, arts-and-crafting, playing outdoor games, hiking, and singing around the fire . . . without any nagging parents telling them to clean their rooms or annoying little sisters trailing after them.

Have fun, girls!

Dinner last night: chicken parmigiana, spaghetti

Exactly four years ago:

Friday, June 22, 2012


Now you are a very decent flower,
A reticent flower,
A curiously clear-cut, candid flower,
Standing beside clean doorways,
Friendly to a house-cat and a pair of spectacles,
Making poetry out of a bit of moonlight
And a hundred or two sharp blossoms.
—Amy Lowell

Dinner last night: baked potatoes with various toppings

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012


We had three sunny days in a row. Temperatures reached 72°, people! That's probably parka-wearing weather for some of you, but for us, it's time to put on the swimsuits and go play in the sprinklers.

 We Alaskans have learned to enjoy the sun while we've got it. Yesterday: 72°. Today: 52°. I wish I was joking. We woke up this morning to rain. Oh, well . . . there's always storytime at the library.

Dinner last night: carnitas

Exactly four years ago:

Monday, June 18, 2012


My friend asked me to take her daughter's senior pictures. WHAT? Are you kidding me? My first instinct was to scream NO WAY and run. Senior portraits are a major deal. They sit on parents' mantels and hang on grandparents' walls for decades. Everyone sees them. They represent a person's entire adolescence.

Against all better judgment, I agreed to a photo shoot . . . on one condition: my friend must form a back-up plan, and I provided her the name and number of a professional photographer who specializes in portraiture. I prepared her for the likely scenario in which my photography attempts go horribly wrong and her teenager spends two days locked in her room crying and sobbing about how everyone else will have beautiful pictures in the yearbook, while hers is just a snapshot missing her head.

We settled on a date in late July, which gives me a little over a month to figure out how I'm going to pull this off. I'm researching and thinking and worrying and planning. My mind is filled with all things photographic. I vacillate wildly from cheerful declarations of "I can do this!" to thoughts of suicide.

Thank goodness, my eldest daughter is home all day on summer vacation. I can drag her outside and use her as my test subject.

Here is my first attempt, with no tripod or light reflector. I was just using a hand-held camera and trying out a couple locations and poses. I quickly learned that one needs to be careful of the ghost hand appearing out of nowhere.

Despite the smile, my daughter was annoyed with me because she didn't have a chance to put on makeup or even comb her hair. I assured her that these photos are merely for me to practice and learn from . . .

. . . and to post on my blog for everyone to analyze and give me feedback. Smile!

Dinner last night: crockpot cream cheese chicken

Exactly four years ago:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dog Day Afternoon

We took the dogs with us to the beach, and boy howdy, did they have fun.

Daisy ran around like she was 20 pounds lighter. She was bound and determined to keep up with our 5-month-old puppy, Lupine.

Of course, when we returned home, Daisy lapsed into a coma and slept for 14 hours straight.

Those dogs sprinted. They jumped through the air. They wrestled and rolled. You couldn't tell the difference between them and my human children.

Lupine didn't know what to think of all the seaweed laying about on the sand, but she made sure to shake it and drag it around until it was dead.

I would have thoroughly enjoyed myself at the beach without the dogs, but I must admit that Daisy and Lupine transformed what would have been a nice time into an even lovelier day. There's something about frolicking beagles that makes me smile.

Dinner last night: orange chicken over fried rice

Exactly four years ago:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bishop's Beach

When we set out for the beach, the sun was shining brightly. We were ready for a tropical morning at the Alaskan shore.

By the time we arrived, clouds had settled in and the sky was solidly overcast. But chilly weather doesn't stop us from enjoying the outdoors. What are we? Texans?

The girls were ready to go wading, but I convinced them to stay out of the water.

They decided to dig in the wet sand, instead.

Is there anything cuter than a kid missing her front tooth?
The dirty hands, not so much.

Dinner last night: spaghetti and meatballs, garlic toast, green salad, corn

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Real Summer

Our eldest daughter has played competitive soccer for years, which has involved indoor training throughout the winter and summers devoted to team practices, games, and tournaments. Since she starts high school in the fall, she wanted to take this summer off, and our family couldn't be happier about her decision. We actually have time now to do things together, like . . .

. . . skip rocks, and . . .

. . . wade across the river, and . . .

. . . drag sticks along the boardwalk, and . . . 

. . . blow bubbles, and . . .

. . . just hang out.

This is going to be the best summer ever!

Dinner last night: chicken enchiladas, refried beans, corn

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Time Keeps on Slippin'

With last week's celebration of my daughter's twelfth birthday, May came to an official close. I survived Birthday Month. Four cakes later, and I am still standing. Barbie cakes for the twins, carrot cake for the husband, and . . .

. . . not that you can tell from this picture, but
that's a cake in the shape of an ice skate.
Hey, I never claimed to be the Cake Boss.

Who cares what it looks like,
as long as it tastes good, right?

Dinner last night: manicotti

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