Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sadly, many, many locations I scouted and used for photography are gone now. Bridges widened, houses demolished, crop land increased by a few feet, and then, poof, history disappears! Thank goodness for photos that remain. This location, on the edge of Shannon, is where I took some beautiful shots of Paige in 2011. It’s difficult to see in the bottom photo but there was a lush canopy of trees that met in the middle with grass below. A week ago I took the top, left photo with my phone and, then, Tuesday, the last trees were waiting to get hauled away. As a photographer, I’m especially sensitive to changes in my environment.

3 rectangle

Saturday was the first day that was nice enough to be on Apple Canyon Lake in a boat – and SO many property owners took advantage of that small window of opportunity. Paige giggled and teased and tossed grapes across the length of the boat into her Dad’s mouth. Most of them found their target. Here are a few shots from the day.


New Adventures

May 21, 2015

It has been so long since I posted an update, I had to relearn my blogging software a bit. I have been trying to decide how to best utilize my long-term blog since my photography business has slowed a bit and our travel life has increased. My plan is to update more about that and our family adventures, for now.

This past week I was very interested in the Galena Triathlon that has been running for the past 20 years. Last Saturday the athletes began with their swim at Nixon Beach. We were really interested since our daughter, Dawn, has been training for an upcoming triathlon in Davenport next month.

Last Monday, Molly, Jason and four of his friends came to Freeport hoping to get in the lake, ride the trails and hang out together before they started their summer jobs. Jim and I are so proud of our oldest grandson who just completed his freshman year at Fordham University. He brought friends that he has know since early grade school and despite awful weather, they managed to have fun. Tuesday was the best weather day so we headed to the lake, built a fire and they rode around the entire lake on our souped-up golf cart. Then, we headed down to the lake for a little fishing only to discover the marina closed and we were without bait. A few minutes later I secured wax worms from a veteran fisherman and we were in business. The sunshine felt so good that afternoon. Wednesday was terribly cold and rainy so Molly drove the group to Monroe – one of his friends has done very little travelling and Wisconsin was added to his newly extended list of states. We said goodbye to the group this morning around 8 am.


On Tuesday, my Highland friend, Jeanne and her husband, left for an extended trip to Canada and Oregon. I love to follow their trips on her retirement blog.

Today, we also got ready for a very brief visit from Dawn’s family who is flying to Germany tonight. They packed their suitcases into the Highlander so Jim could drive them to O’Hare and after a quick lunch, we said goodbye. Time for a little relaxation, knitting and dog walking. And, some camping this weekend at Apple Canyon Lake. Who says retirement is boring??


Last time I was in Iowa City Erin and I had such a great time hunting for real and fake pumpkins for their upcoming party. We had to check out JoAnns, of course, and Erin was like a kid in a candy store – oooing and ahing over all kinds of decor and fabric. She chose this Cloud9, organic fabric, that was designed exclusively for Joann’s stores. It’s such a nice weight and we both loved the color combination. The most important thing to Erin?? Dogs in the print. I have coordinating fabric for the leggings that I’ll work on next. I also have yarn for a dog that she wants me to knit – oh, and yarn for a scarf from The Knitting Shoppe in Iowa City.


3-2-1 Ribs

August 21, 2013

3-2-1 Rib Smoking was Jim’s project this past Saturday. I’m just learning about the fine points of BBQ but now know that the ribs are cooked unwrapped for three hours, wrapped in foil for two and then unwrapped for the final hour. This gives the meat time to soak in smoke during the first three hours, when most smoke is absorbed. During the wrapped period the ribs are steamed, making them more tender and loosening the meat from the bone. During the last hour the ribs are exposed to the dry, smoky heat again to form a surface crust. This crust is actually called BARK and it’s so yummy! The night prior to smoking, Jim rubbed the ribs with mustard and spices before wrapping them in foil. Being out on the deck with Jim for part of the long cooking time gave me the opportunity to knit in that beautiful weather and to observe this Hummingbird Moth in our back yard.

Jim used a ceramic cooker Dawn found for us at a neighbor’s garage sale in Iowa City. These cookers weight 400 pounds, so, Lars needed to take out some screws so we could lift it into the Highlander.




Bathroom Remodel

July 18, 2013

After reading The Pioneer Woman’s remodeling posts on her beautiful new blog, I feel quite unworthy to post these photos. That said, we are thrilled with our renovated bathroom. I’ll start with a couple of the wiring photos. I always needed an additional light over my dark shower and had also seen such lovely sconces over at Actually, I got most of my inspiration there. I originally wanted them at the ends of the vanity but the barely visible pocket door caused a problem. I searched for something affordable and loved some at Restoration Hardware but these from Lamps Plus are taller and the shades are glass instead of linen which seems quite important in the bathroom. The first step in the project was to paint the walls Gray Wisp by Benjamin Moore. After I finally hunted down the paint chip in Rockford, I purchased the paint from Sherwin-Williams in Freeport. Next, Heidi Stukenberg of Lily Field Furniture painted the oak vanity with chalk paint called Graphite by Annie Sloan. Love this so much I want my master vanity painted, toO!

Old Light Bar

Old Light Bar

Sconces from Lamps Plus

Today was just my day. I went to Twice as Nice Home with a mission and, this time, I scored – big time! I was actually looking for dessert plates to match my old, old punch cups from the Unicorn Restaurant. Find #1: 20 dessert plates for $15. They have one rectangle for dessert, one to fit the punch cup and one is an ash tray! How shockingly retro. Find #2: This sweet antique doll that was asking to go home with me and sit on the bed with Grandma’s quilt. She reminds me of the China Girl from Oz a little bit – can you think of a good name for her? Find #3: these hand-painted plates that were made in China. 20 dessert plates and seven dinner plates came home with me for $9.99. Leaves are so beautiful, aren’t they? Find #4: paper towel holder now holding the garden string that I’m fond of using to tie up my climbing roses. Find #5: a garden angel that matches my purple bird bath and candle holder. Find #6: this tray magazine holder. I’ve been sorting through everything in my house and was having such a tough time giving up some old Southern Living, Country Living, Midwest Living, Martha Stewart, etc. and now I don’t have to!








Garden Angel



Oh, my, these two boys are growing into knockouts, aren’t they? Our photographic journey has included many stages, so far, but the session today was the best. So, so cooperative and full of great ideas for poses and those eyes and eye lashes. Wow, GQ here they come! Dad, Nathan, suggested getting out a fan – LOL! Seriously, to see how these kids change over a few year’s time is heart-warming. These aren’t your typical Christmasy, cutesy setups but they are perfect for Andrew & Jacob.

Jake & Andrew



In the Zone


I’m a little slow to become aware of the need to recycle everything. I just read that plastic grocery bags never break down in the environment and have been regulated in many places which then led me to look at how I clean and store things and make changes there. My latest change has been to always look at ways to re-purpose furniture that I own or that needs a new home. Enter Lily Field Furniture.

I have been watching Heidi’s Facebook posts since purchasing the cute turquoise piece; waiting for the right one to become available to hold our new TV. The size was right in every direction and appeared to be a quality, well-made piece of furniture. Now, it’s sitting in our “West Wing”, adding a beautiful design statement with its color and form. Seeing the inside label in the drawer made me do some further research into the rich history of White Furniture company of Mebane, NC. I learned that the company was started in 1881 and finally closed in 1993. This research led me to Bill Bamberger, a photographer known for documenting social issues, who shot over 350 rolls of film when the factory equipment was being dismantled. His images of the laid off workers are especially touching and emotional. I’d love to find a space just like that old factory to re purpose into my own photography studio with an abundance of natural light.

Fits TV Perfectly

Fits TV Perfectly

White Furniture Mebane NC

White Furniture Mebane NC

Lily Field Furniture

Dovetailed Drawer

Dovetailed Drawer

Lily Field Furniture

Thelma & Louise We Are Not – But We are going on a Road Trip! Betty & Nancy, my sister and I, are leaving this week for a huge road trip of about 5,000 miles. There will be no guns involved (or Brad Pitt) but it will be an adventure for both of us!

We have talked about it for a long time and finally started doing some serious planning last year. Our plan is to see lots of family from our newest great-great-nephew Micah in Des Moines to our older sister and brother-in-law in the Phoenix, AZ area. Our farthest destination is Scotts Valley, CA, to see our niece and her family. She has lived in CA forever but neither of us have been out there for a visit.

My planning included losing weight before the trip. I was worried about my back with all the car sitting and my energy level so last September I re-joined Weight Watchers. My goal was to lose 40 lbs before the trip or an average of 5 lb/month. I’m thrilled to say I will meet that goal before we leave.

Am I nervous about this trip –yes! There will be so much driving to get to these destinations and it’s hard to know how that will affect us. I’m still worried about my aching back so, have had regular massages during the last several months. We will be sharing a hotel room on several nights and there may be some sleeping issues?? I’ll be gone from Jim for over two weeks and that will be hard but, thank goodness, for Face Time! Andrew will help care for our dogs and for his Dad! Thank goodness for that! Since Jim is haphazard about putting away dishes I’m worried about finding my stuff when I get back.

Jim has a few concerns of his own about “me leaving him”. He has never, ever learned to use the “Tower of Terror.”

I”m uncharacteristically picky about the laundry and never, ever give him that chore to do. We will have a brief lesson before I leave and hope for the best.

Another planning aspect for me has been the technical equipment I’ll be toting – iPhone, notebook computer, video camera, all my SLR camera equipment and lenses and then there’s this little gem which is my latest geeky acquisition. It’s a mini stand for my iPhone so I can capture images and video of us along our route without seeing a wide angle, closeup version of my face – yikes!!
Gilf for iPhone
My travelling companion, Betty, is really looking for some respite time and that will be great for me, too. We will not be cleaning our houses, washing clothes, unloading the dishwasher OR working on client photography. Betty and I are best friends and we never run out of things to talk about.

Iowa City – watch Erin play softball
Des Moines – meet baby Micah and Mommy
Kansas City – visit niece, Debbie and her family AND see Jersey Boys
Norman, OK – rent a bike if there’s time and sleep
Santa Fe New Mexico – visit Georgia O’Keefe Museum
Laveen, AZ – drive Route 66 and stop in Sedona on the way to my sister, Diane’s house, in the Phoenix area
San Diego, CA – visit the ocean and dine oceanside
Scotts Valley, CA – stay with niece Denine and see great nephews and great-great nephews and possibly other cousins

Other hopes for the trip: visit new National Parks, eat at least one restaurant recommended by Guy Fieri on Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins, drive the Pacific Coast Highway, Exercise and lose weight. Relax in the hot tub. Listen to multiple audio books.

I’ve been thinking back to 1955 when the five of us took a similar road trip to California (my oldest sister was already gone by then). Then, we drove a 1948 Ford with no air conditioning cross country, through the Mojave Desert and were gone for a month. We visited Disney Land the year it opened! My mother was an avid vacation planner. We didn’t have much money but somehow she squeezed money out of their tight budget for this vacation. I wonder what the gas prices were then? Our wonderful Dad would have turned 100 years old this September. We often wonder how they stood travelling with three kids in a tight back seat like that.

This time we drive a super comfy Toyota Highlander and have excellent interstates to get us to our destinations fast. Let the adventure begin!