Monday, December 28, 2009

More Medical Crapstain

"I might just jump off a building
Free fall to the end
I might just jump off a building
So goodbye, my beautiful friend"

Can I just say that Christmas weekend sucked?  Yes, it did.  Todd worked all day Christmas Eve, all morning Christmas, all day Saturday, and early morning Sunday.  I spent Saturday and Sunday in the ER with Allie, so here come the medical bills, so I guess it's good that Todd had to work through the holiday. 

Allie, what to do with Allie?  She and one of her bff's sweet talked bff's mom into illegally signing the permission form for Allie to get her ear cartilege pierced.  Let me just say that people with diabetes (type 1 or 2) should NOT NOT NOT get cartilege pierced.  The infection was so horrific, Allie woke me at 6 Saturday morning and asked me to pull her earring out.  I stumbled into her bathroom and looked at the ear (it no longer resembled an ear).  I told her to get ready; we were going to the hospital. 

The kind and wonderful doctor at Banner Gateway ER drugged Allie with Vicodin, pulled out the earring and started treatment for the massive and astounding infection.  A nurse came in to give Al a ginormous shot in the butt--ouch!  (She got another one Sunday).  There was talk of admitting her, awaiting her white blood count.  It came back normal, so they let her go home, but told us to come back next day.  I got her Rx's filled (2 more antibiotics, more Vicodin) and the waiting began.  I was very scared she might lose the ear. 

The problem with high blood sugar and piercing cartilege is that there aren't many capillaries in cartilege to begin with, and in someone with high blood sugar (think thick and syrupy), it's even harder for the healing blood and meds to get to the area.  Is this child trying to kill herself, or me? 

So, we were supposed to go back to the ER today, but when we got there, we could instantly see there was at least an 8-hour wait.  We bailed, made an appointment for tomorrow with Al's ped, and I will watch the ear continually in case we need to go back to the ER tonight.  I know what to watch for in case it starts to spead into her jaw, etc. 

I'm so freaking tired.  Just so really very freaking tired.  I had a little nervous breakdown on the way home.  Ah, life is grand.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Medical Crapstain

This year (while only paying a third of our mortgage) we paid off my medical bills, which were in the thousands.  We have crap for insurance.  And we pay over $500/month for it.  And in July it's going up to over $600/month.  And the July after that, it will go up to over $700/month.  We will have been forced to cancel it long before then.

I just ordered Allie's type 1 diabetes supplies (including the insulin that keeps her alive) to the tune of $1,400 for a 3-month supply.  Luckily, she's still on her dad's insurance which is better than mine and Todd's.  But what will happen when she's out of school? 

Will she have to fork out $466 EVERY SINGLE MONTH to keep herself alive?  Is that the future kids with type 1 have to look forward to?  Will she find a job with great insurance?  

These are just a few of the things that keep me up at night, along with my difficulty-swallowing issue that's been going on for endless months now.  Did I mention I went to the doc for that?  He said it was probably from stress, and that I probably had acid reflux disease from the extreme stress as well. 

I broke down yesterday and started taking Prilosec (OMG I just turned 40 and I'm already on meds!) and guess what?  My stomach feels better already and it's marginally easier to swallow.  Can't wait to see how much better I feel after the 2-week course of proton pump inhibitors.  (Doesn't that sound cool?)

Now can they just come up with a cure for stress? 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Orange You Glad You Got Pictures?

I've been working on our pricing the last few weeks and came up what I think is a fantastic pricing structure.  I sent it to someone who inquired about my pricing.  She looked it over and a few days later, told me she didn't understand it...it didn't mention a disc full of printable images.  I told her that indeed I do not give a disc full of hi-res images so she can go have them printed somewhere of poor quality (like Costco or...eeeeeek...Wal Mart) and that, given the level of detail and attention I put into my work, were I to freely include a disc of hi-res images in my sitting fee, I would be making about $8/hour.  Sorry, cute people, but I can't afford to use $30,000 worth of equipment on $8/hour.  I did tell the inquirer that if she wanted "economy" photographs, there's someone on every corner who can offer that.  We are not, and do not ever want to be, the economy photographers.  Someone I know recently used one of those economy photographers (no, this does not offend me at all, I promise!  I know not everyone can afford custom photography...heck, I can't!), and I asked her how they turned out.  Her exact response:  "They're all dark."  There wasn't a single usable image.  Like I always say:  you get what you pay for.  We live and learn, and all that.  So, if you're one of the people who have told me you're saving up for a session with us, it might not take as long as you think...there are some fun changes coming in 2010!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Boobie Pinch - My First Mammogram!

I promised myself I would get a mammogram when I turned 40, even though I didn't want to.  I'd heard all the stories about how undelightfully uncomfortable it is, having the girls smooshed in a clamp and pinched to tarnation.   And of course, the fear of the doctors finding something bad made me leery as well (since I'm prone to excessive worry and dread). 

The finals of East Valley Idol was Saturday night.  I had donated a portrait session for The Breast Cancer Society, Inc. to auction off to raise money for their cause (and it is a great one).  One of Allie's bff's was one of the finalists, so our family went to watch her perform.  There was a mobile mammogram at the event and that is how I came to have my first mammogram. 

And let me tell you...

It was NOT bad at all!

The girls were firmly compressed, but not painfully so (even with my fibrous cysts, which have been extra tender lately).  It was over before I knew it and I giggled at my previous trepidation.  It was a PIECE OF CAKE!  I'm so glad I did it!  In 3 weeks I'll receive the report. 

If it's time for you to get a mammogram, take it from me (the biggest medical chicken on the PLANET)...it's the quickest and easiest thing you can imagine!  You'll be glad you did it! 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Allie Plays Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Watch to the end to see the "girl-fight" scene. teehee. GREAT job, Allie!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Forty OH! Forty!

I turned 40 yesterday.  It's weird.  I've been wondering for the past several years how I'd feel about this event.  At first I was looking forward to it.  Then, not so much.  Now that it's here?  I'm not sure yet.  I'll need to give it a few days (or weeks, or months) to get the feel of it. 

I do know it feels different physically.  I mean, not all of a sudden.  I didn't wake up yesterday morning wondering where the "thickness" in my body came from.  It's been settling in slowly over the past few years.  Looks like it's here to stay.  And guess what?  I don't care!  And guess what else?  It feels good to not care! 



I haven't figured out what 40 symbolizes to me, and it's important that I do.  Thirty symbolized the beginning of finally getting a few things figured out in my life (like relationships).  Thirty was good.  I don't know what 40 means to me just yet.  I hope it's something wonderful!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Plain Bugs Me

I'm really into stylizing right now in my business.  I really love editing that goes beyond just the basic blemish removal.  It takes more time, but to me, it's worth it.  Anway, here are some recent photos I took of an aspiring singer/dancer/actor named Tia.  She's amazing.  Seriously, folks, amazing!  She just won East Valley Idol at her school and is moving on to the finals this month.

This is the new line of "style" we're adding to our repertoire for 2010.  This sneak preview isn't going on my photog blog until January (but it is on facebook or else Tia would've hunted me down).  Enjoy!







Friday, November 27, 2009

I Love You Soooooo Much

This boy is so dang funny.  He cracks me up continually.  He was "talking" his Lego people a couple days ago and one was telling the other, "I love you sooooooo much!"  The shenanigans he gets into on a daily basis....   I've got to start writing them all down!



Friday, November 20, 2009

Grocery Store Fight Over New Moon Mag

So I'm in line at the check out and you know how they have magazines there for you to get sucked in by while you wait?  I pick up a random holiday cooking magazine, and hidden behind it was a thick, chunky special edition mag of the New Moon characters and such.  I was so thrilled to see it, because, cheesey fan that I am, I wanted this issue, but it seemed to have sold out the minute it hit the racks. 

So, as I reach out to triumphantly pull the magazine from the rack, the "lady" behind me bumps my hand out of the way and snatches it!  She tucks it under her arm and smirks right at me! 

Oooooooh HUH UH.  So I say, "Seriously?  You saw me reaching for that!  Hand it over!"  She gives me the "psssh" sound and rolls her eyes.  Just then, the cashier asks me how I'm doing today and starts ringing my other items.  I act like I'm going to step forward to the debit machine, but instead I yell, "YAW!" and grab the magazine from under the wench-bag's arm and thrust it at the cashier, who's too dazed to take it from my hand.

Wench-bag, unwilling to just let go, grabs at me but I move forward and she falls on the floor.  I start to run away with the magazine, to pay for it on the other end of the store (after hiding for a while in the pickle aisle), but Wench-bag grabs me by the ankle and starts pulling my leg.  Just like I'm pulling yours!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Bird

I was driving home from Mesa the other day, and down the long, straight stretch of Ironwood, a bird flew into my windshield and stuck there!  It totally freaked me out, so I turned on the windshield wipers and the bird whipped off the side.  Next thing you know, I look in my rearview mirror and I see a cop car with it's lights on.  He gave me one quick "boop" of the siren and I pulled over to the side of the road. 

The officer stood, writing on a pad, outside my door.  He then handed me a ticket.  "What's this for?!" I asked. 

His reply:  "For flipping me the bird!" 

Just a little cheesey joke for your Thursday!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Jammie Weather!

Usually in the Valley of the (Blistering, Sweltering, Beat-You-Down-and-Torment-You) Sun, the weather doesn't cool off until Thanksgiving. Seriously, Thanksgiving. We might have a few cool days in the weeks before, but nothing permanent until T-day.

This year brought such a lovely surprise, though. The cool weather arrived almost 2 weeks early, and I am so skip-happy! Back in Virginia, I would call this "sweater weather." That was an appropriate name, because I would snuggle into a big cozy sweater and walk through the forest, kicking up leaves and smelling the smell of fall. It was the ideal time to be outdoors.

Here in the Brown Dirt, it's a slightly different story. There's nothing (other than the cool air itself) to lure me outside when I don't have to be. So, I pretty much live in my jammies and declare this lovely time of year: JAMMIE WEATHER!

Yesterday the doorbell buzzed (our new doorbell buzzes instead of chimes or rings; not sure how I feel about that yet...it's kinda 50's retro or something, so I might like it) and it was the mail lady. She had a "signature-required" package for Jennifer somebody. I told her there was no Jennifer somebody here. She thanked me and then looked over my jammies (it was about 2:30 p.m.) and said, "Sorry I woke you!"

Teehee.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Temple Prints Make Me Cry

Most of the time, when a customer inquires about a Temple print, she (or he, but mostly she) does so via email.  This morning, however, I got a phone call from a lovely older gentleman from Utah who wanted to purchase a framed Temple print for his son, who had served his mission here long ago.  After talking specifics about prints and frames and such, we talked about Utah and the weather, and this and that.  I really liked this very kind man and it was so nice talking to him.  I don't know why, but talking to this man brought me such a feeling of peace.  I am literally sitting here bawling right now and wanting very badly to get myself to the Temple and bask in the serenity and beauty within.  It's been a long time.  Far too long.

This is the print he wants, in case you were wondering, and just for the sake of statistics, when a woman orders, she usually (usually, but not always!) orders "Glowing" (the tall, black and white, very dramatic print), and men usually order the antiqued (below).  So now you know!


Image copyright Miller&Miller Photography (sandi miller)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In Honor of Veterans Day

I thought I would share a few memories from my time serving as a Russian linguist in the United States Air Force in honor of this day.

1989 Boot camp memories:  scared to death, missing home, developed an amazing respect for those who serve (especially in war), really liked my TI (training instructor aka "drill sgt") by the end (much surprise there), felt like I could do anything after it was over

'89-'90 DLI (Defense Language Institute, Monterey, CA):  hot GI's, beautiful scenery (not just the GI's), exploring, biking, learning Russian (from real Russians...some mean, some sweet as sugar), beaches, mountains, Big Sur, Carmel (a story-book town of ornamented cottages and vines); the Poker Run with my Army buddies (Steph, I miss you!); the freaking huge and scary earthquake that cracked walls in our building and took out streets and bridges in San Fran

1990 San Angelo, TX:  top secret training, getting in trouble with my buddy Nate in class (you big butt!), the lovely botanical garden, photographing a wedding (so pretty); driving to see my auntie and unc down in Corpus Christi

'90-'92 Misawa, Japan:  strange but amazing and fascinating; some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen; Rene and I regularly driving to Tokyo with the over-the-speed-limit warning bell chiming the whole way (10 hours!), Derek throwing Rene in a pile of trash in Tokyo, dancing in my BDU's (camoflage) to Bella Lugiosi's Dead while Mish got it on video, the fantastic music stores; Gretchen; undercover in-the-field work for the OSI (kinda like the CIA of the military); Laura and the Goth clan:  Ande, Marty, Nathan, JJ, Jose, Frosty, Danny; The Garage...dancing 'til 5 a.m.; clubbing in Tokyo; some of my favorite people:  Ross, Jimbo, Rich, Mish, Rene (I miss you, girl-ann!), Kim, Gretchen, Shane, Marty.  I'm so glad so many of you are still in my life!

1992 NSA (National Security Agency, Ft. Meade, MD):  the puzzle palace, getting lost several times in the building; Goth/techno clubbing from DC to Baltimore; almost overdosing on Ben & Jerry's and Cadbury Creme Eggs

Life in the millitary wasn't military 24/7.  My fondest memories aren't of my job, but rather the people with whom I served.  We shared events (can't talk about it; top secret...sorry!) and knowledge that bonded us closer together.  Sharing secrets does that, doesn't it?  And from that grew a personal bond and friendship that can't be described in civilian terms. 

To all who have served, still serve, and will serve:  THANK YOU

Without you, we'd all be speaking German, Russian, or Chinese.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gila Monster in My Bathtub

So I woke at 3 this morning because I heard something in my bathtub.  It's a very distinctive sound when something's moving in your bathtub...you know what I mean...that hollow-ish sound, and the scrapey-scratchy sound of the textured bottom. 

I lay there wondering what it could be.  A mouse?  A rattlesnake?  A GILA MONSTER?  (This is my brain at 3 a.m.)

Finally around 4, seeing that sleep had no plans of returning to finish out it's shift, I carefully approached the bathroom and turned on the light.  No mouse.  No rattlesnake.  No gila monster. 

Just a random sound (so I'm telling myself), my imagination, and 3-a.m. brain.

But it could've been a gila moster.  You just never know.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Happy Happy November! New Moon, Thanksgiving, Mooliki, Happy Things!

Can you believe 2009 is almost over?  I have to say, I'm glad.  It's been a weird year.  Lots and lots of things happened this year.  It's definitely been one of those times for reevaluation and change.  I shed a lot, and I mean a LOT of tears this year.  Yet here I sit, exactly on the path I know I'm supposed to be on.  When the haze of chaos clears and the view is sharp and in focus and it's good, that is a happy thing. 

18 days 'til NEW MOON.  Can you STAND IT

24 days 'til Thanksgiving Dinner!  I'm salivating already!

And now, as a treat for you, you should go check out my Irish friend, Barry's art.  He is amazing amazing amazing.  Click this > http://mooliki.blogspot.com/

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween?! Random!

Halloween completely snuck up on me this year; I didn't even decorate my blog. I've just been quite busy. Lots of print orders coming in for Christmas...lots of Temple prints being requested, some prints from the "art for your wall" section of our site, and apparently a big hit for Christmas this year will be boudoir books from wives to hubbies. Great idea! It sure beats a new tie! 

We have nothing spooky planned for Halloween night, but today we are attending an ASU graduation luncheon at My Florist Cafe (I browsed the menu online and it looks sooooo yummmy!).  A client we did grad shots for earlier this month invited us and we are also doing her family's photos this weekend while they are in town.  To top it off, they've invited us to stay at their 7-bedroom house (holy moly!) in Maryland when we go back East in May.  I love it when clients become friends! 

Have the BEST HALLOWEEN!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Running In the Hood

Would it be retarded of me to drive back to my old neighborhood to run? I ran Tuesday and today through this new place we call "home(ish)" and it's just not a happy place to run. Too closed-in, tight-cornered or something. Or, it could be the rottweiler around the corner that's never on a leash and always sitting by the sidewalk. Who knows. But at least i'm running again. I promised myself i wouldn't do what i did last year and only give myself 30 days to train for the 10K at London's Run. Last year's 10K went well (and by well, I mean I didn't have a heart attack), but I'm sure it will go better with a little more preparation. So, here I am. Preparing. Oooh-rah (don't tell the Air Force I just said that).

The End.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Coin-operated Boy [Not That I Want One...]

...but really, you just have to love The Dresden Dolls!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Photography Thoughts and Rants

Rants can sometimes be offensive (and sometimes people will TATTLE on you) so if you don't like rants, divert your eyes, because here it comes!

Oh my holy freaking crapstain are there ENOUGH untrained photographers saturating the market to make you flipping throw up, or what? Their pics all look the same, so you may be confused about the actual number of them out there. THERE ARE FREAKING GAZILLIONS. But you don't know this, because all their photos LOOK THE SAME! They are all shooting the same consumer (not pro) level camera. They all edit the same way (dull and lifeless). They all. Look. the Same. You can find them pretty easily, because they will give you your digital files on a disc! For no extra charge! That may sound appealing to you as a consumer, but that very ethically WRONG and unprofessional practice is HURTING the photography industry. BADLY! It's taking a centuries-old profession and turning it into a freaking circus. Ohhhh I could just pop a vein over it!

Note added Nov. 2:  Not only is it hurting the photographer's market, it's also hurting business for professional print houses.  One of them (I won't say who, but you know who you are!) has even stooped so low as to start selling to end-users under a new name.  It's what they have to do to survive, I know, but guess who forced them into that corner?  That's right! 

And now, on a happier note, I have a lot of portrait sessions on my calendar and a couple of weddings booked as well and this makes me happy.  Just busy enough to not feel guilty about the time taken from my little guy, and busy enough to have the things I want.  I am on the right track, doing it the right way.  People have been saying wonderful things about my work, like, "Sandi, you are the best around, seriously!" and "OMG! So beautiful!" and the like. And this makes me happy. I work my ever-loving BUTT off to make sure my work is unique and high-quality. Let me tell you. And so it just BURNS that very same butt when I see all the untrained, lame photographers out there screwing around with what I hold dear and sacred. Oops, guess I wasn't quite done ranting. 

Okay, another happy note to end this post: I used the pic below on my new business cards. Isn't that the cutest photo ever?


Miller&Miller Photography

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Swimming Toward the Shore

There's an analogy I use re: getting through difficult times.

Picture yourself far out in the ocean. The waves are ginormously huge and they pull you under and toss you for loops. Just when you think you're going to drown, there's a moment's break in the turmoil and you swim like mad toward the shore. You get a little distance, then the waves build again, pulling you under once more. You have moments when you just let the violence carry you under, but those little moments of resurfacing keep coming, and each time, you swim a little further toward the shore. Eventually, you arrive on land: exhausted, spent, tattered and worn. But you're there! You made it. Despite the waves tossing and pulling you repeatedly along the way, you survived the turbulent journey.

I am on shore. I may be draped in seaweed, but I have arrived. I'm a different person. Not sure yet if that's good or not, but like the Chinese leader of that cult I hung out with for year always used to say: "Not good, not bad. Just IS."

And here. I. Am.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Napping at 7 p.m.

is not a good thing. Just so you know. Because then you could wake up at 10:30 p.m. and be wide awake the entire night and wind up a tad Zombified the next day.

I'm just saying.

Joe Legas vs. Jose Illegal (Boy did this hit home!)

A friend sent me this last week. For those of you who pay yourselves under the table and think the rest of us can live on what's left after all our deductions and expenses (like medical care) are taken out, READ ON!

Here is an example of why hiring illegal aliens is not economically productive for the United States.

You have two families: "Joe Legal" and "Jose Illegal". Both families have two parents, two children, and live in California. Joe Legal works in construction, has a Social Security Number and makes $25.00 perhour with taxes deducted. Jose Illegal also works in construction, has NO Social Security Number, and gets paid $15.00 cash "under the table".

Ready? Now pay attention... Joe Legal:$25.00 per hour x 40 hours = $1000 .00 per week, or $52,000.00 per year.Now take 30% away for state and federal tax; Joe Legal now has $31,231.00.

Jose Illegal: $15.00 per hour x 40 hours = $600.00 per week, or $31,200.00 per year. Jose Illegal pays no taxes. Jose Illegal now has $31,200.00.

Joe Legal pays medical and dental insurance with limited coverage for his family at $600.00 per month, or $7,200.00 per year. Joe Legal now has $24,031.00.

Jose Illegal has full medical and dental coverage through the state and local clinics at a cost of $0.00 per year. Jose Illegal still has $31,200.00.

Joe Legal makes too much money and is not eligible for food stamps or welfare. Joe $500.00 per month for food, or $6,000.00 per year. Joe Legal now has $18,031.00.

Jose Illegal has no documented income and is eligible for food stamps and welfare. Jose Illegal still has $31,200.00.

Joe Legal pays rent of $1,200.00 per month, or $14,400.00 per year. Joe Legal now has $9,631.00.

Jose Illegal receives a $500.00 per month federal rent subsidy. Jose Illegal pays $500.00 per month, or $6,000.00 per year. Jose Illegal still has $25,200.00.

Joe Legal pays $200.00 per month, or $2,400.00 for insurance. Joe Legal now has $7,231.00.

Jose Illegal says, "We don't need no stinkin' insurance!" and still has $25,200.00.

Joe Legal has to make his $7,231.00 stretch to p ay utilities, gasoline, etc.

Jose Illegal has to make his $25,200.00 stretch to pay utilities, gasoline, and what he sends out of the country every month.

Joe Legal now works overtime on Saturdays or gets a part time job after work.

Jose Illegal has nights and weekends off to enjoy with his family.

Joe Legal's and Jose Illegal's children both attend the same school. Joe Legal pays for his children's lunches while Jose Illegal's children get a government sponsored breakfast and lunch. Jose Illegal's children have an after school ESL program. Joe Legal's children go home.

Joe Legal and Jose Illegal both enjoy the same police and fire services, but Joe paid for them and Jose did not pay.

Do you get it, now? If you vote for or support any politician that supports illegal aliens you are part of the problem! It's getting way PAST time to take a stand for America and Americans!

[ Thank you, Linda S. for sending that! ]

Sunday, October 18, 2009

3 Years

Three years ago today I took my daughter for a three-day stay at Phoenix Children's Hospital where we learned to test her blood sugar, count carbs in meals, calculate insulin ratios, and draw up and inject my daughter with insulin every time she ate.

Three years ago today I learned what fear really is.

Three years ago today I fell apart and still don't have all the pieces.

Three years ago today I learned my kid is one of the most positive people I know.

Three years.

Type 1 diabetes: all we can do is continue to fight you. Someday we will win.

Monday, October 12, 2009

All I Ever Have: Redemption Songs



Old pirates, yes, they rob i;
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took i
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the and of the almighty.
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly.
Wont you help to sing
These songs of freedom? -
cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look? ooh!
Some say its just a part of it:
Weve got to fulfil de book.

Wont you help to sing
These songs of freedom? -
cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.
---
/guitar break/
---
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our mind.
Wo! have no fear for atomic energy,
cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say its just a part of it:
Weve got to fulfil de book.
Wont you help to sing
Dese songs of freedom? -
cause all I ever had:
Redemption songs -
All I ever had:
Redemption songs:
These songs of freedom,
Songs of freedom.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

Okay, the auto start on that movie preview got annoying so I removed it. But I want to see that movie. Not because it looks fantastic (and they stole ideas from Anne Rice); just because it's about vampires. My fellow clan. Bwa.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Heart Dragonflies

(I posted this on the photog blog, too. Totally cheating with a twin post!)

One of my favorite things about living in Japan was that there were dragonflies in great abundance. I love love love dragonflies! Yesterday Todd yelled for me to come out back--there was a beautiful dragonfly on our wall. I yelled, "Nobody move!" and ran for the camera. Todd and I both took several shots. Here are few....





Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Whatever Doesn't Kill You..."

"I believe whatever doesn’t kill you, simply makes you…stranger" --Joker


I'm with Joker on that. I've known people who come out of difficulties stronger and better, but I don't find myself fitting into that cliche. Each event puts me a little further behind the curtain. And there are fewer and fewer people I'm willing or able to let backstage into my strange little world.

But in the end, I'm okay with that.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's a Love/Dread Thing

Well, it's here again...October.


I love it.


I dread it.


I love it for that piece of Virginia that lives in my heart: fall days, gigantic ancient trees adorned with bright orangeyellowred leaves, wearing big fluffy sweaters (me, not the trees), walking in the cool crisp air and for the solitude of mountain forests. I love it for Todd's birthday on the 16th and the gratitude I feel that he is in my life and is my lighthouse.


I dread it for having another 8 weeks left of hot days on the desert floor of Arizona. I dread it for October 18th, the anniversary of our lives being turned over by Allie's type 1 diabetes diagnosis. And this year I dread it for the 21st: the day our house is auctioned, taking another little piece of me with it.



Sunday, September 27, 2009

Name that

.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow,... a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

across the universe

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Waiting For This Moment to Arise (Blackbird)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nightmare Removed

I have removed this post since my nightmares are offensive to some. Have a nice day!

Monday, September 14, 2009

12:53 a.m.

I knew it was coming. Why it happened last night at 12:53, I have no idea. Maybe because everyone was asleep and I didn't want them to have to see it. Or, maybe it's because on Sunday afternoon we found the Notice of Trustee's Sale on our door. October 21 is our offical auction date.

I finally had my little breakdown over losing our house. It's been simmering and finally came to a full boil. I have to admit, I feel a lot better (thank you for the encouragement, Ms. McQuay).

Now maybe I'll be able to swallow food and water without choking. I've lost 4 pounds. Stress is a fantastic diet.

Let the packing begin! Onward and upward and all that crap.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Oh, Farts!

That's what my mom says when she does something stupid. I'm borrowing it from her today, since the phrase came to mind when I realized just this very minute that I have photog club tomorrow at my house and I haven't started cleaning and the carpets need shampooing. I guess I'll be dragging the steam cleaner around today. Oh joyfulness. It's just what I was hoping to do on a fine Friday morning.

So, it's 9/11. Last year I posted my memories from that awful day--the "where were you thing," so this year I'm not going to do that. I just want to take a moment to remember the sense of pride in our country and the feeling of unity that evolved after that day in 2001. I remember caring about every single person, individually, in our nation. I remember hurting for the families who had lost loved ones in the attacks. I remember feeling intense admiration for the people on board flight 93 who attacked the terrorists on board. Those passengers are my heros.

Last night at Costco, a young man was walking around proudly in his Air Force ROTC uniform. I high-5'ed him. It did my heart good to see a young person show pride in our military. I'm very grateful for all those serving today.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Truth About Barak Obama

I know I've told you guys you HAVE to read Marinka's blog, Motherhood in NYC. Just check out her post on the Pres. Totally freaking hilarious!

http://www.motherhoodinnyc.com/2009/09/happy-first-day-of-school-children.html

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

President Obama's Speech to School Children (and other things)

Oooooh, what a hot topic! Since last week, I've heard some parents weren't going to let their kids go to school today because they didin't want them to hear President Obama's speech. I've heard that he was going to use his speech to promote socialism, get kids to take the census, and other things.

I told my kids to go, listen closely, and report back. I wanted to know what he had to say to the children of this country in these turbulent times.

Then I heard the speech would be posted online. I read the speech (you can read it here) this morning. Here are my thoughts.

First, I thought the speech was well written and completely appropriate. He said things that I have said to my own kids myself: hard work is just that--hard! but it's worth it. Education is vital. Don't let failure hold you back. Keep trying! I'm grateful for that message from the leader of our country. What's sad is that it needs to be said at all. Our country is in desperate shape. I see many kids around me who do feel discouraged by the economy and lack of jobs, who sit in front of video games all day long and never pick up a book. I worry about them and their futures.

What I find interesting is the reaction people have had to Mr. Obama's speech (before even reading it). I'm not a fan of President Obama. I didn't vote for him, didn't agree with his national security ideas, or many of his other policies. What does this reaction to his speech from a large part of the public say? That there's a general mistrust of our President? Seemingly so.

I stood outside and listened as my elderly neighbor, with tears in her eyes, expressed her fear of socilized medicine. Her husband, a cancer survivor, isn't doing so well at the moment and she fears losing their private insurance, then being cast aside by socialist health care and left to die. There is a lot of fear in this country right now. I don't like it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Next Edward Cullen?

I shot Chaz's senior pics yesterday (if you want to see more, go to http://millermillerphotography.blogspot.com/ ). I love making pics of people because I see them differently through the lens and also during the editing process. In Chaz, I saw Edward Cullen (not to downplay Robert Pattinson; I think he's a great Edward). Don't you think?


And just for fun, here's a little video clip of some of his other pics. (low res versin for storage purposes).






image copyright miller&miller photography

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Sister

I don't have a biological sister. I should have, but she died during delivery in an ambulance on the way to the hospital in 1965. Her name would've been Jennifer. I have visited her grave, seen the child-sized headstone. I've wondered what she would've looked like and whether we'd have been close. All my life I've longed for her. I see other sisters...sharing secrets, hopes, fears, recipes, trials, fun, adventures. And I realize that I do have sisters. I have found them along the way. We have shared secrets, hopes, fears, recipes, trials, fun and adventures. And they hold me up now. We may not have been born of the same blood, but our bond is undeniable. To my sisters, old and new: I love you all. You make my heart complete.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Daily Struggle to Swallow

I forgot to mention this, but in addition to my back/neck/head pain, I am also having the worst time swallowing. Even something as simple as water has me choking. It's like my swallowing mechanism is somehow broken. When I swallow (food or liquid), it either goes up toward my sinuses or down my windpipe. It's freaking me out.

So I looked up the symptoms and found either MS or anxiety. We already know it's anxiety, right? But don't worry, if this group of symptoms keeps up after the storm has passed, I will delay seeing a doctor as long as I can and finally give in. But I think all the symptoms will pass after we move and I get the nervous breakdown over with, don't you?

UPDATE: I just looked at my throat in the mirror (finally, right?) and can see this lump back there. It's about the size of a pea--no wonder I can't swallow properly! Anyone know what that might be?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Storm's a Brewin'

Warning: If I had a pressure gauge, it would be almost to the red. This blog could be a very unpleasant place in very near future. There are dark things boiling up inside. I will try to give warning for those of you who don't want to be caught in the hurricane.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pain

So I've been having some insane headaches the past couple months. It starts with constriction in my spine. Soon the pain travels up into my head where it sometimes burns like a Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial gone horribly wrong, and other times it alternates between intense but dull pain and throbbing travelling pain. It's often blinding and sometimes makes me nauseated.

I woke at 3:30 yesterday morning because I could no longer sleep through the pain. I could barely think, it hurt so intensely. My kind and dear husband drove me to Dr. Mike (a trip to Dr. Mike usually fixes me right up in one session). I left feeling better, but not completely put back together. The pain continued throughout the day, cycling from mild to moderate.

So as I lay in bed last night, I started having anxiety attacks. They centered around someone else living in my house. I just can't seem to let go. This is my house. This is our home. And the thought of someone else living in it hurts my heart. And apparently my head.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Lars and the Real Girl

When my friend Aimes asked me if I wanted to watch a movie about a guy with a blow-up doll called Lars and the Real Girl I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first. She quickly informed me (knowing where my mind would go, but let's face it--anyone's mind would've gone there) that the movie isn't about that. It's PG-13.

I have to tell you, I really liked this movie. A lot, even! I will be vague so as to not spoil it for you should you decide to watch it. What I loved about this movie most is that there's weird psychology involved, which fascinates me (and sometimes horrifies me, but not in this case). And how the townspeople all came together to support this man's healing was really touching, if not supremely weird.

So, if you're looking for something to watch and feel in the mood for something a little different, I recommend this movie. Ryan Gosling did an amazing job playing this character!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Do Yourself a Favor - Watch This Video!

Turn up the sound. Focus on the boy in the red shirt (sorry, sister, your 15 minutes will have to wait). This makes me smile. Just what I needed after last week! You go, boy!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dear Ms. McQuay

Hi Amy! I'm glad I called you out, because you sound super cool! Please do keep lurking :o) Or, chat once in a while if you have a minute. I love that you're into immunology; I would love to pick your brain.

Thank you for the lovely compliments on my photography; it means the world to me.

Sorry you've had to hear me whine about losing our house; I'm a winer. (You probably figured that out already though...Harvard and all.)

Anyhow...nice to meet you! I'm jealous you live in one of the most lovely pieces of these United States and I am stuck here in Brown Dirt. I have been to Harvard (to gawk, not to study) and was overcome with awe in it's beauty. My first husband had just broken my camera, so I didn't get any pics.

But I ramble, so now I will stop since my daughter is begging for me to take her for a haircut. She's quite persistent!

Sorry I scared you with that last post title! hehe; we Sagittarians like to scare the crap outta people, it's in our star code or something like that

:oP

sandi

Calling Ms McQuay

Who are you? I notice you noticing me. Just curious.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dear President Obama

Dear President Obama,

Please be informed that your plan to save people's homes is not working. My husband's income has gone down $12,000 in the last 2 years and another $6,000 so far this year. He hasn't had a raise in 3 and a half years and his piece rate stopped at the beginning of this year, just so you understand the story. (Sidenote to you cute people who thought Todd was a partner in the business: he isn't, and never has been. He doesn't even get benefits. But you are cute to think it was the 3 of them; don't worry, everyone else thought so, too, including me when I first met Todd).

When we saw deep financial trouble approaching, we called our mortgage company and informed them of such and asked ONLY for a refinance to the going interest rate which would have reduced our mortgage payment enough for us to scrape by. They refused, because we "have no equity in our home." Of course we have no equity in our home. We bought it for $252K and it's now worth about $100K.

So, we fell behind on our mortgage payments. After a couple months, we applied for a loan modification according to your new plan, Mr. Obama. We hoped the mortgage company would reduce our principal to the value of the home, since we are older than most people who have bought their first home and thus closer to retirement and relying on equity in our home to retire on (which would never happen at this point the way the market fell), as that was part of your plan.

After several months and multiple times repeating the entire modification application process, we finally received a modification offer from the bank.

They would oh so very graciously tack our late payments onto the end of our mortgage (increasing our principal rather than decreasing it) and lower our interest rate, reducing our payment by a very small amount--not enough to allow us to keep our home.

Meanwhile, because it's summer and my husband does air conditioning for a living, his paychecks have gone up (but only every third week, when he's on call and works over 80 hours in that particular week). Once the weather cools, that every third week decent paycheck will be gone. No long-term solution there.

My photography business is slllllooooow, since photography is a luxury item and most people don't have money for luxury items right now. Plus there are seemingly 5 million other "photographers" (who can't even tell you what a lighting ratio is, or how to control ambient light while using a strobe) out there giving away their "snapshots" for free.

If I were to go out and get a "regular" job, I would probably make about $8/hour, ALL of which would be paid to a child care provider to watch my 3-year-old child.

What has become of our great country? Your plan, sir, is not working. The bank is auctioning our home on October 6th. They will sell it to some strangers (who don't give a crap about my baby's footprints in the concrete) for most likely around $100K.

I am sick over this. Just sick.

Sincerely,
sandi miller

San Tan Valley, AZ

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Suicide Girl

This is a true story.

One day, Todd was driving to a job, and a woman was in the middle of the road trying to jump in front of cars. Todd slowed down to avoid her. As he drove slowly by her, he looked into her hollow eyes.

I wonder if she had just lost her house and spent the afternoon looking at crappy ones that she knows she'll have to cram her family into, all the while mourning the loss of her own.

If so, I can relate. I pretty much feel like throwing myself in front of a car right now.

A Roller Coaster of Emotions

This has been a trying week. Two children drowned in our neighborhood. One was revived and will fully recover; the other did not make it. She was only 5. This has weighed heavily on my heart all week; I cannot contain the tears when I think of the parents' grief. They were at their new house preparing it to move into. The children slipped out back. I am so grateful one of them was able to survive. I wish both had been able to be revived, but things don't always work out the way we hope. After two days on life support, little Rachel's organs were donated and saved the lives of 5 other children. Out of tragedy springs hope and renewal. Just like Christ who suffered unthinkable suffering for us, so that we could be renewed.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
-Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle I, 1733

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weird Things to Worry the Mind

Todd has to park his work truck in the back yard behind the gate or else things get stolen from it. The past week has been dedicated to worrying about Todd's truck getting broken into once we move and don't have a gate to pull through anymore.

Happy worrying! It's gotta end soon, right?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Perimenopause

Okay, ladies...or at least those of you who are still living in the pre-perimenopausal bliss of youth. This is a wake-up call. If you see perimenopause approaching, RUN! Run like hell, because let me tell you, it ain't pretty.

In the last few months, I have:

  • been broken out like a hormonally raging teenager
  • had dull and lifeless hair
  • had more mood swings than a hippie playground (whatever that means)
  • suffered constant weird food cravings
  • gained 10 more pounds

Did you catch all that? Because if not, read it again, and carefully. And if you see perimenopause approaching, RUN! Run like hell, because let me tell you, it ain't pretty.

It's like PMS, injected with steroids, mixed with pregnancy and puberty all rolled into one. Hell, anyone?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Like Organizing People

I just realized something about myself and I'm maybe a tad fascinated by it. Or not really, but maybe more surprised that it's something I only just realized.

I like to organize people. I do. I like to get them together and organize them into something: a group, a club, a class.

Evidence? In the 2.5 years we've been in our neighborhood, I've started a blockwatch, a Hash House Harriers group, I've taught photography workshops, and now I've just started a photography club. Oh and I group-itized Castlegate Marketplace. And there's probably a thing or two I'm leaving out.

Isn't that funny? I wonder what that means? And I wonder what will be next?

Monday, August 17, 2009

What More Could I Want?

I know I've said this before; several times, even, but do you know that I married the greatest guy on the entire planet? I really did. I thank God for him daily. How he puts up with me and my complicated self, I will never know. This man drives me around in the car if I'm bored or anxious. He holds me when I'm scared or sad. He doesn't complain if the house is messy or flat-out dirty. If dinner doesn't get made, he'll make it himself, all the while cheerful and smiling. If my cooking sucks, he'll eat it anyway, and if it turns out great, he makes sure I know. He scratches my back and purrs like a big ole tiger when I scratch his head. He snuggles. He snores. He farts. He treats my 2 kids from a previous as if they had been born to him. He helps out so much with our little guy. He gives me directions when I'm lost (that's pretty often) and makes fun of me afterwards. He still finds me desirable even though I've gained 18 lbs since we got married. He jiggles my jelly belly and teases me about it. He whips my butt at Quiddler and sometimes even at Scrabble. He takes me camping. He smooshes big, ugly bugs when I'm too whimpish to do it myself. If I'm drowning in my own bad attitude, he gently reminds me of the good things in life. He forgives those who do him wrong.

We may have lost our house, but we have each other. Todd is my companion not only for life on this Earth, but for all Eternity and I am so grateful for that; words cannot suffice.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Do You Feel Like 1959?

Just wanted to share one of my favorite songs of all time with you. Because I like you. Yes, you!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Home

Arizona has grown on me (slowly...oh so very slowly) in the six years I've been here. One thing I can't seem to warm up to is the brown dirt and lack of abundant lush, thick, swaying-in-the-breeze greenery I love so much back home in Virginia. So, when we bought our house, Todd and I made a vow that our backyard would be as lush and colorful as the hot Arizona sun would allow.

We planted vitex (which look like butterfly bushes back in VA) and bright green ground cover that becomes blanketed with tiny white flowers in spring. We planted a bright red bottle brush bush and their twin plants (can't think of their names off hand). We planted jonquil bulbs that electrify the landscape in late winter, and a crepe myrtle (also an old fave from home). Our snail vine grows up one of the columns of the patio, so lush and thick and bursting with strange purple flowers that seem to love the intense heat. We even planted a lilac, but it's not big enough to bloom yet. We'll be gone before it has the chance. There are even citrus and pomegranate and donut peaches, but we'll never reap their harvest.

It will all die while it sits empty waiting for someone to move in. In honor of it's memory and the love we put into our backyard (and didn't even get to finish), here is a bee on Todd's bottle brush. I will miss you, bottle brush. There's a back story to that bottle brush, but I'll save that memory just for Todd and me.

copyright Miller&Miller Photography

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Girls' Night Out!

If you're considering seeing the movie, Julie & Julia, but are on the fence about it, I have to say go for it! It was such a cute movie; I really enjoyed every minute of it. And so of course, today I had to find the blog that started the whole thing. Here it is if you're interested. It's very good reading: http://blogs.salon.com/0001399/

My girl Tiff took a little group of us out for eats last night before the movie. We ate at a brewery that I think was called BJ's? Anyway, it was super delish! I recommend that place, too. It was right next to Krispy Kreme, and although before we went into BJ's I admit I was fantasizing about a KK with chocolate sprinkles, but by the time we came out, I was so full (their draft root beer is divine, by the way) all I could do was look at the glowing Krispy Kreme sign and groan. (Next time, KK, I promise!)

Thanks, Tiff...that was a night MUCH needed; I had a blast! Love you!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sure to Get a Giggle

If you've ever checked out the list of blogs I stalk, and were put off by the one called GoFugYourself, do not let the name scare you! It's a blog about (mostly bad) fashion written by a very witty fashionista. Here's a great one to start with; it CRACKED me UP even in the midst of my foreclosure depression. Go see --> http://gofugyourself.celebuzz.com/go_fug_yourself/2009/08/fug-fug_pow.html

Scratching My Head

'My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it.' -Barack Obama

Okay, i know i said i was through with politics, (Mitt Romney in 2012!) but i just ran across that quote and couldn't resist putting it on here.

I find it so so so so so very interesting that there's already sooooo much talk about the 2012 election. It's in the news continually, it's dicussed on talk shows on tv and the radio.

So interesting. So very interesting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Worst Performance of My Life

Last night was my sil, Erin's 40th surprise birthday party. I had some trepidations about going, given the state I've been in since we got our foreclosure date. But I thought I would be able to hold it together at least for a little while.

Nope.

I got there, saw all the smiling happy people and burst into flames. I sat in an inconspicuous spot on the loveseat and tried to plaster on a smile. Didn't work. The tears started coming, so I jumped up and retreated to the den, where a group of my nephews had crashed the computer so severely it said "contact technical support." I perused the pages of an atlas and read about Mount Everest. I tried not to think about moving into a rental house with sterile white walls and zero character.

Allie asked me when we'd be able to buy another house. I sadly had to tell her it wouldn't be during her lifetime in our home. She'll be 16 this December. She'll probably own a house of her own before we do again. I hate that my kids have no place to look back on as "home."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Something To Be ExCiTEd About! Death: The High Cost of Living

I could SCREAM right now. SCREAM!

Death: The High Cost of Living is IN PRODUCTION! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Suddenly I am alive again.

Neil Gaiman, I love love love you. I've been saying for years...YEARS! that The Sandman series needed to be made into a series of movies. Death was a spin-off, you could say, of The Sandman series. I have the books, and the art galleries (including the Death gallery) and will never ever part with them.

Oh my oh my oh my. I cannot contain myself!

"To see a world in a grain of sand...." --William Blake

I think my favorite plant in our backyard is our snail flower vine. Here are some pics of the snail flower, errr...at least my interpretation of them. I dig grain.


Poo

And I'm not talking about Winnie.

Bryce has been potty trained (or at least in the process) for a few months now. But sometimes he seems to just get lazy. He couldn't be bothered with walking 25 feet to get his cute green frog potty, so he just lets loose wherever he may be.

Other times, the backdoor is closer, so he opens it and pees off the patio. A few days ago he came back inside and backed up to me with his butt sticking out. "I pooed," he informed me. I knit my eyebrows and said, "Where?"

"Outside," Bryce said, very matter-of-factly.

I looked.

Sure enough, on the large black wipe-your-feet rug at the backdoor was a nice pile of poo. So fun to clean up from carpet.

Don't even get me started on the diarrhea trail from the living room through the family room and down the hall. Or the time he peed on my pillow because he didn't want to miss 5 seconds of Diego.

:o\

Thursday, August 6, 2009

You Are All Uninvited

Sorry to have to cancel, but my 40th birthday party is off. I know, I know, I've been talking about it for 2 years. The excitement is gone. I just can't bring myself to celebrate in a rental.

No offense to renters.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Fear a Day

I get a word a day emails. I haven't looked at the words in a long time. I love words; I just have too much other crap on my mind. A Word a Day has morphed into A Fear a Day.

Today I'm afraid the rental we'll move into will go into foreclosure and we'll have to move again. And again. And again.

I hate being a renter. It's like staying with relatives; I can't fully relax in someone else's house.

President Obama, your "plan" isn't working. Just thought I'd mention that.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Am Not a Fighter

For some reason, people think I'm tough. Maybe because I've lived through so much...growing up in a violent family, my father's suicide, "assault" at age 13, my absent mother throughout my teens, bad relationships, the list goes on.

But losing my home is beating me. I can't seem to find the strength to get through it. Others have born it and moved on. I can't seem to shake the depression, even with the help of pharmaceuticals. Every little detail draws me down: the snail vine growing up the patio column. It will die when we leave. We can't really take it with us; what's the point in planting on rental property?

I'm sinking in stress. Already I'm worried about how many push-pin holes Allie will put in the walls of her rented bedroom, despite my asking her not to.

I will miss my fluffy brown carpet in our bedroom.

Weird little thoughts like that, all day long.

All day long.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Okay, Seriously?

Todd was on call Mother's Day weekend. Todd was on call Father's Day weekend. Any time we get invited to do anything FUN, TODD IS ON CALL and we have to miss it. So, I just realized that TODD IS ON CALL for Ward Campout weekend, so we get to miss that, too. The kids will be sooooo bummed. We got to go last year and had a blast!

Okay, just had to GRIPE since that's about all I do lately.

GRIPE!

I Don't Exist If You Don't See Me

Remember that old Sisters of Mercy song? Prolly not, huh? Well, it was a good one. And that's what's running through my head today as I struggle more and more with losing our home.

On a plus side, my mom has been sympathetic and kind through this whole ordeal. She has no money, but said that if she did, she would give us her last penny if it would help us keep our house. And I know she would (not that I would let her). Because in the end, no matter how much she disapproves of me, or how much we get angry with each other, blood is thicker than water. At least, back home it is. Not so much here in AZ.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

As I Lay Dying

That's a band, in case you didn't know, but that's kinda how I feel right now, so....

We found out yesterday that it's just not possible for us to keep our house. I did my best to let that roll off me. I held it together until today.

Today I looked at my house as if looking at it for the last time. The plants and trees Todd and I so carefully chose, the extra slab of concrete out back, surrounded by vitex trees and boulders--my little patio paradise. My bay window in the front "vampire" room, the bay wall/French door in the master bedroom (we like having a door to the outside in our bedroom; it's a must). The knotty cherry cabinets in the kitchen, the granite island (with NO sink...great space for making pizza). Everything about this house Todd and I carefully selected.

We drove out every weekend while it was being built. I peed in the backyard on one of those trips. We photographed every step of the process (no, not the peeing); it was like watching a baby grow.

This is my home and I don't want to leave it. Bryce's little footprints are stamped in the concrete patio outside our bedroom door.

Unfortunately, when Todd's piece rate stopped back in January, so did our ability to pay our mortgage. We applied for a modification, but the banks don't want to cooperate. They would prefer we wind up on the street. Then they'll sell our house to some stranger for $150,000 less than we owe on it.

Todd works so hard. All for nothing.

All for nothing.

Goodbye, home. I loved you so much. I felt safe here on our little corner. I loved seeing the kids getting off the bus at our corner in the afternoons. I will miss that, too. I will miss everything about you. I hope your new family will love you as much as I did.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vacation in Greer, AZ

I love Greer, AZ. It's so dang pretty...gorgeous, really! God's country and all that. We went up there Thursday to stay in the Anderson family cabin (my bil's family's) and came back Sunday. I really didn't want to come back! It was 52 degrees Sunday afternoon when we left. When we got back home to the desert floor, it was 111! Yeeeee haw! Anyhow, here's a few pics:





Sheep's Crossing:


NE of Globe, on the ride up:




Feeding fish at Greer Lodge:



Goose and ducks at Greer Lodge:






Deer in the yard:


Monday, July 13, 2009

My Dark Passenger

The first time I heard the phrase, "dark passenger," an eerie feeling came over me. I totally related. My dark passenger is always there; I'm never not aware of it. But there are times when I become the passenger and the darkness takes the wheel. I become the unwilling passenger, tunneling through a very dark place. I'm strapped in, doors locked. No escape. It can last a day, a week, a month. It's a descent into hell. While I'm there, I don't sleep well. When I do sleep, I wake with a jolt, struggling to take a breath.

The past few days the dark passenger has been away. But I can feel it creeping closer. I dread it's return.

Do you have a dark passenger?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Little Stink!

Don't let this cute face fool ya, this guy can be a little handful. I am so so so so exhausted! I get kicked, hit, jumped on and otherwise attacked in various manners ALL DAY LONG by this little tornado every single day.

But I love him, of course; he has me wrapped around his little finger. He makes me laugh daily, in between pounces. He steals my iPod and plays games on it (and downloads new ones when I'm not watching!).

He's really sweet, too. If he tells me to do something and I do it, he says, "Good job!" which just cracks me up. Funny guy!


Monday, June 29, 2009

Riparian Preserve and Other Stuff

Todd, Bryce and I went to the Riparian Preserve (near Greenfield and Guadalupe) over the weekend to check it out. It was a nice place with TONS of dragonflies (my favorite creature) and varieties of birds. It was hotter than Hades, the humidity has been high...have you noticed? It's like Monsoon Season is approaching and bringing the hot, moist 112 degree nastiness with it. We were all drenched and gross after about an hour of perusing the place. Anyhow, here are a few pics from the happy event:


Monday, June 22, 2009

My iPod Addict


So, for marketing purposes and other business related purposes, I got an iTouch (great for having a portfolio of your work to show on the fly!), not to mention keeping your contacts list in, etc.
So anyway, of course, you can download tons and tons of games and other apps, many of the free.
Bryce discovered preschool games and will not let go of my iPod. If it's out of his sight, he'll yell, "Where's my iPod?" ROFL!


What's sad is that he uses it better than i do! Little stinker!

Friday, June 5, 2009

New Moon Trailer

Did you see the trailer for New Moon on the MTV Movie Awards? If not, here it be:


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Disneyland Story--Part 1

Oooookay; here we go. This first set of pics is from our hotel and the Disney District (shopping area right outside Disneyland and California Adventure). The pics from inside Disneyland are still on my little point and shoot camera since I had no intention of lugging the big dog around the park.

Okay, so...

This first pic us just chillin' by a fountain on the District. By the way, I detest (REALLY detest) crowds and waiting in line. So, we did 5 days at Disney and stayed in the Disney Grand California Resort and Spa (a heavenly adventure in itself) and took our time doing little bits of Disneyland and California Adventure at a time, rather than trying to rush it all in within a day or two. It was very nice that way.



Catal and Uva Bar have the BEST food, House of Blues came in second (Pulled pork bbq sandwich and sweet potato fries--heavenly!). Jazz Kitchen Express...gross. Sorry, but hydrogenated oil just gets an instant thumbs down from me.


Zoots being Zoots in front of yet another fountain. I love love love all the fountains on the District.


More of the district. The weather was nice, but we rarely had any blue skies, hence the white yukky skies in most of the pics. hehe




Allie, doing her thing (shopping).



Todd and Bryce had fun running around and dancing to the ever-playing music on the district. Oh, the pizza at Naples is good.



This is part of the lobby at the Disney Grand:


Our room overlooked the District (I wouldn't have it any other way!) and from our balcony every night we watched the fireworks:

which were great!


More pics coming soon...!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Disneyland Pics

I finally uploaded pics from Disneyland from one of the cameras. Guess I need to get some pics on here, huh?

Okay, okay...this week, I sorta promise!


http://millermillerphotography.blogspot.com

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Friday!

today might be a good day to check my photog blog! http://millermillerphotography.blogspot.com

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Winning and Losing

It's good to win, but sometimes it's okay to lose, too. Like weight. I'm trying to lose weight. I want to lose 5 lbs. in 2 weeks (make that 11 days). We're taking the kids on a little trip. I can't say where, in case they read this, and I really want it to be a surprise. This is our "we're losing it all, so let's take a vacation!" trip. More on that later. Just know I'm smiling. And thinking of Depression glass.





Am I digressing? Of course! It's me...what else would you expect?





Anyway, my mom has been an antique collector and refinisher most of her life. She's amazingly talented at it. She has a breathtakingly beautiful China cabinet with intricate scroll work and dragon heads and it is FILLED with Depression and other antique glass. I borrowed this pic from Glass Menagerie http://www.glassmenagerie.com/ . My mom has most of the pieces in this picture:








Which leads me to my mom. As most of you know, my dear friends, Mom and I have had a tumultuous relationship. We have gone weeks without speaking. We have offended and taken offense. But all that is neither here nor there. She is my mom. And some day I will lose her.

And right now that's making me sad. Just thought I'd say.


http://mypicturesofyou.com/

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

.

Saturday was Bryce's 3rd birthday! Todd was on call and had to work alllll day (suckage!) but Bryce waited patiently for his birthday party that evening. He got a blow-up pool (hehe...cute), a tricycle (also cute and old-timey) and other random things. We pigged out on cake, ice cream and pizza. It was a happy day! I love you, my smoochable cuteness!






Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hotties vs. Power tools


I was driving to northeast Mesa to pick Allie up from a friend's house last Saturday and was listening to NPR's show, "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" I love that show. Anyway, one of the items that had been in the news that week was the finding that when men look at tools, the same part of their brain is stimulated as when they look at pictures of scantily clad women.
Just think of the implications of that!
Can't get your man in the mood? Slip a tool catalogue on the nightstand! Or better yet, strap on a toolbelt! Carry a hammer around, slung provocatively over your shoulder.
Not married? Can't get the guy to commit? Buy him some tools! Competing with another woman for a hot guy's attention? Start wearing tight fitting t-shirts with tool logos on the front...double whammy!
Ohhh yes, ladies. I think this new information could be very useful for us. Very useful indeed!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Psychos Need Not Apply


I don't post rants very often (do i?) but i just have to get this off my chest. This is a story about Dick, short for Richard.


So the other day on Facebook, I put up this profile picture: I took it myself, while sitting in the front seat of our car after we had climbed in from walking around Florence taking pictures together as a family. We've ALL done that--turned the camera around and taken our own picture. We don't expect it to be a fantastic serious picture for the love of Heaven!
So we get home, I upload all the photos of our family, and then come across this one. I thought the crazy light coming in from the car window made some wild hilights and shadows and liked the contrast and thought it would be a fun pic in black and white. I spent less than 5 minutes converting it to b&w and pumping up the contrast a little more for the dramatic effect. I didn't care that hilights were blown, didn't care what I looked like; just thought it was a fun picture. Not something I would print out and hang on the wall, but who gives a flip...it's a FACEBOOK PROFILE PIC...not my entry for portrait of the year, for !#$%* sake!

So, less than 30 minutes after posting it, I get a message in my fb inbox from Dick, short for Richard. It was a snide and serious critique of my FACEBOOK PROFILE PICTURE. It was beyond ridiculous and I was instantly annoyed. Dick was trying so hard to use terminology that he thought was accurate photography lingo, and yet failing miserably. He tried to guess what lens I had used to take the photo--also way off. He told me the focal length I had "chosen" made my nose look big. (It's actually the blown hilights that makes my nose/eye area look off, and NOT the focal length).

He's one of those ppl who just annoy the crap out of me anyway, because he's a pompous ass, passive-aggressive, and changes his story to make it seem like he was right all along no matter what the issue. (Sidenote: My sweet friend, Angie, had just commented that she liked the picture which cracked me up since Dick had just given his ridiculous critique and that made me laugh even harder since he was taking himself so seriously, AND Angie's compliment of the photo really seemed to anger him, which was kinda spooky).

A few messages went back and forth between us and I finally told him I had to defriend him and cease all communication (which i have had to do with him in the past when he professed he had had a crush on me several years before...gross! SO don't need that kind of drama, especially from a married man!). He lied about the crush in front of his wife, by the way, during this recent exchange. But that's standard for him...change the story to give himself the best possible outcome.

So why has this whole thing been bugging me so much the last few days? It's simple: it has nothing to do with Dick's bizarre and anal critique of my photo. It has to do with the fact that when I got that friend request from him on fb, I didn't want to accept it, KNEW I should've just ignored it, but like the huge-sap-who-doesn't-like-to-hurt-anyone's-feelings that I am, I went against my better judgement and accepted it. People, trust your instincts and look out for your own peace of mind!

I'm just glad he's out of my life again, hopefully once and for all. I don't like crazy people who don't know they're crazy. They put me on edge. I just can't help it.



Thank you for letting me rant. I feel better already!