Monday, June 30, 2008

Daisies...


As if I needed even more of a reason to play around taking pictures...our daisies started blooming this weekend. I LOVE daisies. They just make me happy. Their shining little faces, bright and clean, ready to soak up the sun. The first few blooms on our bush are always the nicest...before the bugs discover that they exist! I was playing around in Photoshop again (imagine that) and came up with this photo using a technique outlined in this book. I thought it turned out kinda nice. A little secret gardenish.

And it's a daisy....so it makes me happy.


peace

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fun with Photos...

A lot has been happening in my photography world as of late. Our friends Shannon and Allen asked if I would be interested in being the photographer at their wedding in early July! I was honored and excited about the proposal, but have been nervous as heck preparing to make sure I shoot and preserve their memories in the best way possible. My friend Jenny and my cousin Amy, both talented and experienced photographers, have been great resources.

Having an occasion as important as someone's wedding helped me "justify" a couple of new purchases that I've been wanting to make. (I do love a good reason to internet shop!) A new lens and external flash will help me better capture the moment "in camera". A new memory card will give me plenty of room to shoot lots and lots of photos in the larger RAW format. And a new external hard drive insures I have plenty of memory with which to work! (A purchase we've been looking to make for several months being as ALL of our photos are digital and our 4 year old computer is starting to show it's age! I feel much more at ease knowing if my trusty old Dell decides to say goodnight, all our photos are safe!)

Thanks to a good friend and fellow amature photographer, I have an old version of Photoshop with which to process my RAW files. After a bit of reading and watching over Jenny's shoulder today while she was processing wedding photos from a shoot she did a couple weeks ago, I've got the basics down of what to DO with my files once I get them out of the camera. Up till this point I've simply downloaded and used as is. The good part of that is it has made me work really hard to get good, sometimes even great photos "in camera". The more exciting side of working in RAW and learning to use the many tools in Photoshop means I'll have more options when it comes to artistic alterations to those photos.

So here's today's play time lesson: using fill flash with outdoor photos to soften harsh shadows sometimes created by bright daylight. The girls were more than happy to help me out. Imagine my surprise, and pride, when I opened up this file to find a perfectly bell shaped histogram...no adjustments needed. I think I might be getting the hang of this!


Two weeks and counting till the big day! I'll be happily shooting between now and then in preparation.


peace

Wow...

This post marks the 200th rambling on this here blog! I can't believe that much time has passed since that January morning in 2005 when I took the leap and started this little spot. It's been kinda like raising a child. At first it was new and exciting, yet I was unsure of what to say. What was ok? What were thoughts better left unsaid? How should I "dress" my new baby? There was such a steep learning curve at first I was overwhelmed with possibilities.

Then I seemed to find a new comfort with my little spot and it was all happy and joyful...like those post baby, pre-adolescent years. Photos, musing, life was so happy. And in reflection, my life has been blessed with happiness. As I browsed back through the past 199 posts I've relived the excitement of so many of life's joys. Like announcing that I was pregnant with Brea, Lexi's first day of school, and many, many, many, many photos of our family adventures.

As with all undertakings and children, there were those awkward, rebellious, adolescent moments when really, all I wanted to do was bitch. To point out how stupid and unfair the world is at times. And while those posts may sound whiny, childish, and irrational, I'm not going apologize for them. They are a great form of therapy and allow an outlet that before blogging I didn't have. Instead of simply internalizing my anger and fear...a habit that I know is not the healthiest...I get it all out in the open where it can dissipate, dilute, and eventually become such a small part of the whole, it's not longer an issue.

I feel like my relationship with this little spot at the moment has hit it's 30s in a way. I'm comfortable in what it is. I'm past the experimental teenage years and waving farewell to the years of searching and uncertainty that's often part of life in the 20s. I enjoy writing each and every post; happy, sad, or frustrated. I take pictures with blogging in mind. I make a point to pay attention to details of every day events so I can write about it at a later time to share with whoever should stop by for a read. I find joy in knowing I've inspired others in my life to start their own little spots (see the blog links to the right). I'm thankful that this space allows friends and family near and far to keep up with what's going on in our house and, to some extent, get a little peek into some of my most personal thoughts. The ability to sit down, read past posts, and to know (I hope) that I (and more importantly my girls) will be able to do so for years and years to come brings so much meaning and pride to the time and words I write on these "pages."

So thank-you blog world for this little spot. And thank you to all of you who have read, commented, and taken the time to share this little spot in cyber-space with me.

Cheers to the next 200 ramblings!


peace

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I can only hope...

that in 50 years, Scott and I are lucky enough to be the players in a similar scene. It gave me so much joy watching this couple from across the restaurant this evening. I just couldn't resist snapping a photo of them as they were sharing a sweet treat after their meal. (I'm so glad I always have a camera in my purse just for unexpected moments like this!)

Obviously so comfortable in each other's presence that few words needed to be spoken. Their gentle gestures towards one another said it all. A life full of love I believe they have lived.


peace

Fortunes...

Sometimes it freaks me out how timely a fortune cookie's message can be. Yesterday I had a few hours of kid free time and decided to hit the local Thai restaurant for lunch. My fortune made me stop and take a deep breath.


How did that little cookie know I was on the cusp of starting a new adventure? Coincidence...or something more? Pondering.


peace

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tagged...

I've seen these "tags" played out on other people's blogs, but have never been tagged myself. As of today that has changed. A childhood friend, Krista, tagged me the other day. I think some of these have specific rules. This one seems to be pretty open to interpretation. From Krista's post I assume I should list 3 answers under each heading and tag 4 people. Here goes!

My joys:
*My family.
*Friendships that nurture the many parts of my being.
*Yoga & cycling.

My fears:
*Loosing a loved one.
*Dying while my girls are young.
*Settling for "less" because I didn't have the courage to take a risk.

My goals:
*To raise strong, confident, compassionate women.
*To position myself professionally in a way that will allow me to make a modest living, doing what I love, under my own terms.
*To promote goodness, love, compassion, and peace in the world around me.

My current obsessions/collections:
*RAGBRAI!!!
*Yoga, healthy, wellness, and how to create a place for myself professionally while staying true to and nurturing who am I while providing for my family.
*My life according to the internet. (Blogs-both writing and reading; facebook; etc.) A subtopic here is the world of "professional" blogging and how people make a living from what they write and if I would ever pursue that endeavor or if taking that step would change my relationship to what I feel free to share here on my little site. More discussion on this topic may be seen in coming weeks.
*And because I'm a bit over-obsessed lately...photography and the process of creating through artistic endeavors.

Random surprising facts about me:
*When taking the Meyers Briggs personality quiz, I did not score ONE point in the extrovert category. Amazing to others (not so much myself), I'm all I.
*Growing up I attending not one, but two "one room" school houses. Our buildings had more than one room, but one teacher (and an assistant) taught the whole school, kindergarten through 6th grade, mainly in one room.
*I have hopes to add some new art to my body...ink...tattoos. (Yes Mom, it's true.)


Answering these isn't as easy as it seems at first glance!

And so now I tag...

Monica (Because I'm missing you while you're hangin' for a week in Indy.)
Laura (So you have something new to post so you can share your blog address with me!)
Megan (Because I'm sure you don't have enough to write about after your trip to Chicago.)
Nikki (Because the years and the distance between us is starting to melt away each time I get to read a little more about you and your family.)

...you're it!


peace

Monday, June 23, 2008

Art Camp...

Friday night we ventured out to the "Art Factory", where Lexi had been attending camp, to view the end of camp art show and performance. This was the first year Lexi has been able to attend this 2 week camp put on by the Grinnell Arts Council. She had a blast.

Every day she got to do painting,


and sculpture.


A small stage in the art barn is where the kids showed off their music and theater skills.


Art and friends. For Lexi, there couldn't be a more perfect combination.


It was a beautiful evening, so while I was keeping Brea occupied out on the lawn during some of the theater performances, I took the opportunity to make a little art myself. Too bad I only had my point and shoot along. Next time I'll know better!

Thank you to the many teachers and volunteers that put in offered their time, patience, and creativity! Lexi can't wait for camp next year.


peace

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sometimes I wonder...

What was I thinking?

The scene:
  • Beautiful weather.
  • Casual weekend without any plans.
  • A burning desire to have a social gathering.

The planets align, so we throw together a last minute fiesta in the back yard. We invite a few close friends, give them assignments as what to bring for the fajita bar, ready the yard and house, and get cookin'. I LOVE to host gatherings at our house...especially backyard gatherings. Our house is small but our yard is big, shaded, relatively private, and has plenty of space and play options to occupy the kiddos. I'm in my prime all day doing this and that getting ready for the arrival of our guests. By 6:00 when guests are set to arrive I'm all fancied up, apron on, and ready for a fiesta!

We chat, we laugh, we eat, we drink. Kids play. It's perfect. Being as I've not eaten well all day because I've been running on the adrenaline of preparations, simply forgetting to sit down and put food in my belly, the margaritas start going to my head fast. I'm feeling good. Everyone is having fun. The food is delicious.

The sun starts to dip, the bugs come out, kiddos start to yawn. We clean up and plans are made to move part of the party to a local establishment once kids are bedded down for the night. An hour after we part, we're back together again, new place, new drinks, same fun.

And then this is where I get all crazy. Tequila, gin and tonics, Fat Tire. Let's just say ample drinks are consumed. Sometimes I just get a wild hair and throw all caution to the wind. Yes, I'm well aware of what's ahead, but I get caught up in the fun, apparently turning off my common sense for the night. At some point I'm pretty sure I become that annoying drunk friend who is now SUPER social and outgoing, the alter ego of my normal more reserved, sober self.

Before we know it, the bar is closing down and we're (a fav gal pal of mine who came into town to hang for the night...and to snuggle my girlies) hoofin' back to my house to rustle up whatever yummy goodies we can find to fill our grumbly bellies. It doesn't take us long to scarf down a few snacks and make our way to bed to pass out...it's approximately 2:15 am. Fun was had by all.

Morning comes and reality rises with the sun. Kiddos start waking up at 6:30. My very loving and kind husband keeps the little one occupied while the oldest goes to snuggle Miss Marie. Thankfully she goes back to sleep allowing Miss Marie a couple more hours rest. After a brief stumble to the wizzer (that one's for you Carlos), I nestle myself down in bed for a couple extra hours.

8:30, the sun is shining bright, the birds are singing. I'm now awake and the guilt is starting to settle in for the day. My normal responsible self has returned and it's scolding the crazy girl from last night. My left temple is knocking, my mouth full of cotton, my tummy lets out an unhappy rumble. After laying in bed for 20 minutes holding silent conversations with myself about sleep vs. domestic duties, I get up for a glass of water and to make some coffee. The slow hazy day of "hung-over" begins. I promised homemade waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for breakfast.

Thankfully, this scene only plays out once or twice a year. Every time I say "I'll never do that again!", but apparently it's kinda like the pain of child birth. Given enough time, we forget the pain. Thankfully my family is content to spend a lazy day at home, catering to mommy's less than normal energy level. I'm the hardest on myself. It bothers me that I didn't ride today. It bothers me that I wasted a day recovering with a super busy week ahead, instead of doing last night's dishes. Silly, silly girl.

But alas, it's summer, and a lazy Sunday afternoon is perfect for moments like this.

A hammock, two blondies in their swimmin' suits, the sun, and watermelon juice dripping down our chins. Life doesn't get much sweeter than that...even on hazy "hung-over" days.

It was a fun night...


peace

Friday, June 20, 2008

Freaky...

I saw this posted on a friend's myspace page and thought I'd give it a shot. Basically you type in your full given name (maiden for married ladies) and you get this report. I know these things are totally coincidence for the most part...but it's kinda freaky how some of the numbers that show up in my profile are definitely numbers to which I am drawn....3, 7, 9. Weird regardless of how you look at it.

Give it a try yourself at: www.paulsadowski.com/Numbers.asp
(I assume it's a "clean" sight. Didn't see anything that made me think otherwise!)

You entered: Jennifer Jean Reitz

There are 17 letters in your name.
Those 17 letters total to 90
There are 7 vowels and 10 consonants in your name.

What your first name means:
Welsh, English, Arthurian Legend:Female-Fair one. Variant of Guinevere. In Arthurian Mythology Guinevere was Arthur's queen.
Cornish Female Fair and yielding. Variant of Guinevere.
Celtic Female White wave.

Your number is: 9
The characteristics of #9 are: Humanitarian, giving nature, selflessness, obligations, creative expression.

The expression or destiny for #9: The expression that you exhibit is represented by the number 9. Your talents center in humanistic interests and approaches. You like to help others as you were intended to be the 'big brother or big sister' type. You operate best when you follow your feelings and sense of compassion, and allow yourself to be sensitive to the needs of others. You work well with people, and have the potential to inspire. This suggests that you could successfully teach or counsel. Creative ability, imagination and artistic talent (often latent) of the highest order are present in this expression. It's possible that you're not using or developing all of these capabilities at this time. Some of your talents may have been used at an earlier time in your life, and some may still be latent. Be aware of your capabilities, so that you can make use of them at appropriate times.

If you are able to achieve the potential of your natural expression in this life, you are capable of much human understanding and have a lot to give to others. Your personal ambitions are likely to be maintained in a very positive perspective, never losing sight of an interest in people, and a sympathetic, tolerant, broad-minded and compassionate point of view. You are quite idealistic, and disappointed at the lack of perfection in the world. You have a strong awareness of your own feeling as well as those of others. Friendships, affection, and love are extremely important.

Undeveloped or ignored, the negative side of the 9 expression can be very selfish and self-centered. If you do not actively involve yourself with work that benefits others, you may tend to express just the opposite characteristics. It is your role to be very involved with other people and their needs, but it may be difficult for you achieve this role. Aloofness, lack of involvement, and a lack of sensitivity mark the low road of this expression.

Your Soul Urge number is: 3
A Soul Urge number of 3 means: With the Soul Urge number 3 your desire in life is personal expression, and generally enjoying life to its fullest. You want to participate in an active social life and enjoy a large circle of friends. You want to be in the limelight, expressing your artistic or intellectual talents. Word skills may be your thing; speaking, writing, acting, singing. In a positive sense, the 3 energy is friendly, outgoing and always very social.

You have a decidedly upbeat attitude that is rarely discouraged; a good mental and emotional balance.

The 3 Soul Urge gives intuitive insight, thus, very high creative and inspirational tendencies. The truly outstanding trait shown by the 3 Soul Urge is that of self-expression, regardless of the field of endeavor.

On the negative side, you may at times become too easygoing and too optimistic, tending to scatter forces and accomplish very little. Often, the excessive 3 energy produces non-stop talkers. Everyone has faults, but the 3 soul urge doesn't appreciate having these pointed out.

Your Inner Dream number is: 6
An Inner Dream number of 6 means: You dream of guiding and fostering the perfect family in the perfect home. You crave the devotion from offspring and a loving spouse. You picture yourself in the center of a successful domestic unit.


Being an optimist, and somewhat of a mystic believer, I'd like to think some of this is more than mere coincidence.


peace

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Freedom...

I've been waiting for this day for 3 weeks. (The earliest I could get in when I made the appointment!) As of 2:30, I have short hair once again! I'm so glad I went through with it, because even as of this morning I was having doubts. AND I'm so glad I finally wised up and waited to let Mary Beth at Expressions to do it. (Normally I decide I want my hair cut and go someplace that will do it NOW, resulting in a less than good hair cut which leads me to just let it grow out again. 3 weeks was a LONG wait for my normal spur of the moment hair decision personality.) It was obviously the right choice as this is possibly the BEST haircut I've ever had. (I tipped well!)


It feels awesome. Short, but long enough to feel feminine without much work. Plus...

it's still long enough to tuck behind my ears....

creating a look from the front NOT that much different than with it in a pony. But oh this is so much better! It's way cute from the back too...I just couldn't get a good picture of myself from that angle!

Even though I was expecting (and ready for) a lot of hair to come off, it was still a bit of a shock to see chunks of my hair some 6-7 inches in length fall into my lap and onto the floor! HOLY COW that was A LOT of hair!

I can't wait to see how it feels on a ride...no more stashing away all that hair under my helmet! Mary Beth and I already talking about "pinking" options for RAGBRAI! (Marie...hope your ready to assist!)

Now, if only I could so easily fix that gap in my teeth!


peace

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lunch...

Summer has officially arrived! (Thanks to the farmer's market.)

This is quite possibly my favorite food sight ever...a big plate of beautiful fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, a grind of salt and pepper, splashes of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and some warm crusty bread. I picked these beautiful yellow tomatoes up at the farmers market yesterday and couldn't wait for lunch time to roll around today.

And yes...that is a beer in the back ground.

Life is good.


peace

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Like Night and Day...

Sometimes I wonder how 2 little girls, conceived by the same parents, grown in the same womb, and basically raised in the same environment, can be so different. Of course, they started out a bit on the opposite ends of the spectrum: 1 fall baby, 1 spring baby (exactly 6 months apart...okay 4 years, 6 months); 1 born during the evening hours, the other during the morning hours (almost exactly 12 hours apart); both with brown eyes and blonde hair, but 1 with straight hair, 1 with curly hair. Two little girls, 2 little individuals!

One example of their different personalities that makes Scott and I laugh:

Lexi's baby doll...
Fully clothed. Even when she was little she kept each doll painstakingly accessorized.

And then there's Brea's baby doll...
Naked as the day it was born (theoretically). Give her a doll, a Barbie, anything with clothes, and the first thing she does is strip them down to nothing but their birthday suits.

Too funny.



Lexi and I made our first visit to the pool on Tuesday afternoon. Opportunities to do so have been few with the cooler than normal, wet, rainy weather that's been hitting Iowa for the past 2 weeks. The water was a little cooler than I normally like for a dip, so I opted for some reading time while Lexi splashed away. And now I have the sunburn to prove our visit. Yes, I know, sunscreen is for adults too. What can I say...one of my less than intelligent/healthy habits.


peace

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blogging X2...

Two blogs?

What do I need with 2 blogs?

I know, it seems crazy. I mean, don't I have a hard enough time keeping one up to date at times?

A few months back I started a yoga blog. I wasn't sure what form it would take.
  • Strictly business?
  • About my personal practice?
  • A blend of the two extremes?
Then I started thinking...if it's just about my personal practice, why can't I just write about it here? Why would I need a separate blog? Well after taking a break, I've fired up the Happy Daisy Yoga blog again. Here's my thinking...

This is my blog. The spot where I share all sorts of things. Personal thoughts. Family activities. Photography. All sorts of things. I could post every day, several times a day, about all sorts of topics if I just sat down and wrote. This blog has been a great therapeutic place. A place to proudly show off my family. An adventure that helps to feed my creative side and the need to create. A place I have come to develop and hone my writing style. (Who'd of guessed I like to write?) It's my spot. And while yoga is part of who I am, I just feel like I want a separate, dedicated yoga space right now.

Happy Daisy Yoga is that space. It helps me THINK about my yoga, both on and off the mat. Maintaining Happy Daisy will, I hope, help me to continue bridging the gap between the work I do on the mat, with the applications of yoga in my day to day existence off the mat. It gives me one more level of accountability and a place to explore the greater world of yoga while hopefully building a network with other yogis. Some of my posts there will be about personal growth. Some professional. But it will be all yoga, all the time.

So, if you just want to catch up with me and fam, here we will be. If you're interested in my journey on the path of yoga, hop over to Happy Daisy. Either way, thanks for reading!




This morning Brea was determined to help me unload the dishwasher...NOW. I tried explaining that she just needed to wait a minute or two until I was ready to assist. Apparently I wasn't working fast enough for her. So, she just started making a pile on the floor. Darn stubborn little shit!

Next on her list: "Us go grocery tore now." I'm just lucky she can't get into the car by herself or I might find her backing out of the driveway by the time I get this posted!


peace

Monday, June 9, 2008

And Now I Remember...

Why I find the business world so frustrating!

We're going on 8 weeks into the job search for Scott. It's not a walk in the park on many levels, but I find how the business world operates to be the most frustrating part of the whole ordeal!

In the 10 years since we graduated college I feel like the business world has become so impersonal, and it's never been more apparent to me than during this last year while we've gone through the job search process...twice. It's not a job for which businesses are looking for a good person, it's a position with which they fill with the most "qualified" candidate. It's not about people, it's about a system to keep things as efficient as possible. It's about doing more with less. It's about THE FUCKING BOTTOM LINE.

I'm finally over the fact that one will probably never receive any acknowledgment of one's existence from 90% of the places to which one applies. Gone are the days when you walk in with a paper resume in hand and actually TALK to a person face to face to express your interest in a job. It's all electronic submission, electronic correspondence. It's not personal, it's business.

What bothers me most, and maybe it's because in my line of work it's all personal and very rarely just about the business, is the lack of compassion that companies/managers/whoever show AFTER an interview when they have decided that you are not the qualified candidate for which they are looking. If you're lucky you'll get "the letter", or in today's world "the email". Mass generated rejection for those who are not being offered the position. Apparently it's effective and efficient on the business end. On the applicants end it sucks because it shuts the door for any feedback, suggestions, constructive criticism that may help you in your next pursuit.

Then there is the simple "no contact" approach. Seriously! Scott has had interviews after which, even with multiple follow-ups, he never hears another word from the company. What the hell? The last time I checked businesses, especially those who need PEOPLE to purchase their products/services, need PEOPLE to work for them. Guess what? People have feelings. People talk. And in my opinion, this is the WORST business practice ever! Not only will we not ever consider those business again for potential employment (or recommend you as an employer), BUT we may consider taking our business else where and recommend to our friends that they do the same.

If you're lucky enough to get a job, the job stability stress doesn't seem to stop there. So it seems, gone are the days of job security and company loyalism. Apparently it's easier and cheaper to simply replace someone who may not be quite the "right fit" than to invest the time and energy to help that person develop the skills professionally necessary. I know it's not possible in every instance, but my guess is 95% of the time, it would be money and time well spent. Personally the investment of that time and energy makes sense to me, a win-win situation. Not only have you stroked someone's ego and helped them find success, but you've set the foundation for company loyalty from that employee which I truly believe has further reaching fingers than businesses consider.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I just don't understand business AT ALL, and hence why I choose not to be in that world. Maybe I'm naive to think living in a small town, in the midwest, living a good, honest life means something in the job market these days. Maybe I need to get my head out of the clouds and get with the times. But I don't think that's the answer. Maybe the business world should stop and remember why they are in business in the first place. It's because of PEOPLE.

End of rant.


peace

Mushroom Villages...

Iowa has seen A LOT of rain over the past week. Our yard is a world of little mushroom villages everywhere you look. We've been lucky not to have any flooding here in our little town, though others in the state are dealing with water, water everywhere.

My flower beds are busting at the seems with foliage and soon to pop flowers. Unfortunately the weeds also like all this rain!

peace

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Today on the trail...

A doe (a deer, a female deer...)

A chipmunk

A fox (this one was a real treat!)

A family of geese (those little babies are so fuzzy and cute)

I started training in a new set of gears. RAGBRAI this year is going to be hilly and I'm determined not to bitch about my lack of granny gears! You can catch a preview of this year's ride on Brian Duffy's blog. Sounds like a bit of a challenge...but manageable.


peace

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Crashing...

The past 2 1/2 weeks are somewhat of a blur. A great trip to Ord, NE to hang with the Bengstons was followed by a very short, busy week back at home. Then it was off to Chicagoland for my conference. 3 days of yoga, good food, and great company and I return home just in time to spend a somewhat busy, but very enjoyable day with Scott celebrating our 13th year of marriage. Today I'm kinda crashing.

My body and my brain have had enough. They're ready for a rest. I'm still processing so much of what has occurred these past 2 weeks...especially the conference. It's like my brain is trying to figure out a filing system to get (and keep) all this new info in order while at the same time trying to put it to use. Not to mention learning new things always sparks the fire to explore MORE. Let's just say, I've got a busy little brain right now.

I hope to find the time and the words to share my experiences soon. Until then, enjoy this little peek at the pre-session going ons in one of my classes from last week.


peace