The Jolly Sort of Hope pt 1.

Ever since I started dating my husband, the last Sunday before Christmas was always one of my favorite days. His mom and step father host a party that is filled with family and food and children. Santa even comes to personally give all the little children their “early drop-offs.” Everyone gets a chance to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they wish for and/or have their photo taken. For as long as I have been married ( 16years) there has never ever been a shortage of small children in this family. They are the joy of Christmas for me. How wonderful it must feel to be able to host such an event! Sadly this year, for the first time in my life with my husband, I couldn’t even make it to the end of the night. Thank you RSD.

Normally we arrive way before everyone else and stay way past everyone else. It’s time we don’t often get to spend with some of the people at the party. Plus I always felt like I needed to help my MIL as much as I or my family could that day. It’s a huge undertaking for one person. But I’m sure worth every moment once you see the smiles on the children’s faces as they see Santa come down the stairs. Last year I positioned myself perfectly to take pictures of just that. The little children as Santa arrived. Sheer Christmas magic!!

This year I photographed the event with my broken 18-105mm lens. The focus doesn’t always focus and the zoom doesn’t always zoom.  Challenging at best. Like many of my mentors, I don’t shoot with flash. Indoor lighting and I are not the best of friends. That being said, I’m not too terribly disappointed with the results. It can sometimes be like a mini press conference when the children hop on Santa’s lap. But I did get most of the kids as they sat on the guy in the red suit’s lap. Some didn’t stay long enough for my fickle lens. Some did. Some families looked at other people who said “say Cheese” and  sadly you can’t go back and get a do-over.

So as my BFF has been heard to say to her 2 boys ” you get what you get and you don’t get upset.” ~ In any event, I hope no one get’s upset. My in law’s Christmas party never fails to help make me jolly. Holidays are about families and love.

Merry (after) Christmas!

The Sort of Hope Who Should

I should be shopping. I should be wrapping. I should be writing Thank You notes. I should be talking to my brother. I should be petting my dog. I should brush the cat. I should strip the beds. ( oh their embarrassment!) I should dust. I should be scrubbing the shower. I should phone a friend. I should take out the trash. I should sort the mail. I should be baking Christmas Cookies. I should be editing photos. I should be putting laundry away. I should be *doing* laundry. 

I should not be writing a blog. 

I should figure out why this is typing in blue….  stockingswerehungIf memory serves, my younger sister Rachel emailed that cartoon to me back before I even had a fb acct. ( now that’s a long time ago.) It  just never gets old for me. Must be the balls 😉

Though my most recent photo session with Kevin of Soul Imagery looks more New Year’s Eve than Christmas, I still felt like sharing it with my favorite Christmas cartoon. I get so excited when I see his name on my messenger list. That part feels a bit like Christmas. I love to see the results of our work together.  Just got 2 more photos back from the day we spent at Adrienne’s Inn at Center Park. Still hoping to get to shoot there again~hopefully while I still have these long locks!

Hope” But if you’re thinking

about my baby,

it don’t matter

if you’re

black or white    ~ Black or White, Michael Jackson

Hope

I should go to bed. 😉

http://soulimagery.zenfolio.com/portraits/h4f081874#h4f081874

The Sort of Hope Who $u<k$ at Basketball

Basketball moves fast. Very fast. Much faster then my broken lens and I were prepared to handle.

Natalia just started her High School cheering season for basketball and I thought I’d give basketball photography a go.

HAHAHAHA. Ya, no.

Indoor lighting + bad lens + fast moving sport = disaster.

However, never being one to back down from a challenge, I am going to learn how to do this by the end of the season. Not master it, mind you ( though that would be amazing, wouldn’t it? ) I am going to learn it. Goal = set.

I came home that night and spent the evening reading everything I could find on what I was doing wrong , and some of what I had done right. Bearing in mind that much of my challenge is a faulty lens.

Many thanks to my secret helper who sent me all the reading I did that night. I won’t disappoint you. I’ll get this.

Normally, I ‘d be much too vain to post photos that I’d consider anything less than good. This time, though, I thought it would be in my best interest to post my baseline. Then I can look back in a month or two and see how far I’d come. I will admit that the majority of what I shot that night was unusable. I was able to salvage a few good shots. Some of which I shared here.

I know my lens won’t fix itself so it’s up to me to do the best I can with the handicap of the broken lens.

I figure, in a way, my camera and I are a bit alike. We both have handicaps that I have to learn how to work around. And so far, though at times they both frustrate the dickens out of me, neither one has really managed to get the best of me. Yet.

Game on.

17w 16w 15w 14w 13w 12w 11w 10w 9w 8w 7w 6w 5w 4w 3w 2w 1w

The Dewy Sort of Hope

“I must go seek some dew-drops here

And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear”

~ William Shakespeare

{Cowslip= primrose. Primrose = pretty little flowers <-for some of you guys. Thank you google 😉 }

just one drop

Couldn’t decide if 2 was better than 1.

My pictures~

For numbers of dew drops~

Or just in general ?

Sunrise behind the dew

(Some photographers can make drops of water sparkle like diamonds… I’m not one of those photographers…… yet. )

3…2….1…

My Philadelphia Freedom is all but mine!

Treatment day is almost here.

Had a terrific day today, all because I am forgetful old lady ;}

Went out for dinner with my girlfriend last night and left my glasses in the restaurant. This is the 2nd time that I have done this now. She told me she is going to get me the ‘chain’ for around my neck to hang my glasses from like the older ladies wear. I’m really *not* that bad, am I? I fear the answer.

Picked up my son and daughter and her BFF to go retrieve said glasses which happened to be at a shopping center also. Provided some entertainment. Nick tried on mens running pants which make a suitable double for “yoga pants for men.” Nick is blessed with a big booty. He is proud of it, as well he should be. Hours of endless pitching went into that thing.

Had a blast with the kids.

 

Today was also the first day of hunting season in our county, which is why the kids were still off of school. Not sure hunting of what ( I don’t hunt) but looks like these turkeys weren’t taking any chances, caught them running across the road today headed into a nearby field. Or maybe they were just grateful to be around for one more year.

Realized I have been spending far too much time alone and sitting. Needed to shake things up a bit, so when we got home and the girls wanted to play photo shoot,  I knew I couldn’t say no. Though it was far too tempting to do just that and crawl into my chair. I figured it would be at least 2 weeks until I could play again , so off we went to find a spot. Should preface this by saying it is about 30 degrees tops here. The body really want to sit at home, but the brain knows I need to be moving. So move I did.

Natalia was wearing a gown that I wore to 2 proms in 1985 and later lent to my high school best friend to wear to her junior prom in 1986. She isn’t with us any more so the dress means even more to me now.  It was really special for me to see my daughter wear it. I hope Beth would be proud of the work we did today. I still miss her every day.

 

We were out around the golden hour- magic lighting. It truly was magic. Sadly, upon review, Miss Natalia was not pleased with herself today, but I was. I feel like the love that these two best friends share for each other is so apparent in their photos. Reminds me of the friendship I had with Beth so very many years ago.

If you are lucky enough to have a best friend that you love too, do me a favor and tell them- today.. because you just never know.

Was hoping to have the pics from the photos that I did ‘on the other side of the lens’ to share before I left for my treatment but, sadly, I don’t have them just yet. Should give me something to look forward to when I get back, though!

In the meantime…. as I have come to say~

” I’ll catch you on the flip side of the K” my new Blog Buds.

*\O/* if you are the praying sort, please throw one up for me, if not, your good thoughts are appreciated as well.

Thursday, 7am.

HERE I COME MY PHILLY FREEDOM.

 

 

The HDR’ed Sort of Hope

*9 Days until my next treatment!*

My Philly Freedom is rapidly approaching!!

The last 2 weeks before treatment are truly the most difficult. The anticipation of knowing that relief is only mere moments away. That soon, very soon the muscle spasms will settle down again, the pain will go from off the charts to manageable, noises will no longer send me reeling, I won’t be unbearable to live with any more and I can start contributing to the world again. 9 more days. RSD really is a monster. But I consider myself one of the lucky ones. At least I get some relief for a small period of time. It’s better than none, ever.

Anyway, after that shoot with my daughter it became all too apparent to me that my lenses really do need a good cleaning.

Shooting on a dusty, sandy, dirty baseball field eventually does catch up with you, it would seem.

Now to find a period of time that I am willing to part with my lenses. Isn’t that like sending back an appendage? A part of yourself? And who do you trust to clean your babies?

And what would I do if I didn’t have a camera? That’s the way I settle myself down. Calm my nerves, distract my disease…

Where do YOU send your lenses to be cleaned/ cared for?

I  got to get out a few days ago, then I played with some HDR.

Fun!

This song (below) is stuck in my head. When I get a song stuck in my head I go to this website below and find another more annoying one to get stuck there. Now you can too! ( you can thank me later!)

PS- It’s soon time for me to start collecting new POWER SONGS for me to fill my iPod with before my treatment. Start thinking of your favorites!

Get Rid of That Song

The Sort of Hope Who Has a Lovely Daughter

“Saying you don’t look good in a hat is like saying you don’t look good in shoes!” (author unknown)

Whiskers on Kittens

Here are a few of *my favorite things* !  Well, favorite old cell phone photos, that is.

Today I got to get out and take a few new pictures of things. These, however, are NOT those shots. 🙂

These are simply a few of my favorite cell phone pictures that I found in my phone gallery. I have an Android HTC  6.0 (the 7th new / refurbished one so far this year, remember?)

Anyway, don’t ask me what sort of camera it has, because all I know is it works.

Sometimes.

(There are no photos of whiskers on kittens, though. My apologizes to the feline frenzied.)

 

*LESS THAN 2 WEEKS TIL MY PHILLY FREEDOM! Next Treatment is 11 days away! *

The Shady Maple-d Sort of Hope

**16 Days til my Philadelphia Freedom!

Today marks one of my favorite days. It’s how the James Girls kick of the holiday season. Dawn breaks and Dad throws us all in the car. We then head to the place where cholesterol parties and desserts dance, otherwise known as The Shady Maple Smorgasbord.

Dad is the only male allowed and girls may only join provided they are of the James lineage and only under the stipulation that they have reached high school age, as it is often times a rated PG-13 ( at best) function. {*refer to an earlier blog entry about my obsession with balls. This obsession seems to just flourish around the holidays as balls are found around every corner and my sisters really feed into my obsession.} This year we welcomed my Natalia into the sisterhood.

The ride to Shady Maple is beautiful. It’s all country views. Cows, farms, green fields. Endless blue skies today.

Veteran’s Day was observed today for some schools today so it was a bit more crowded than our normal breakfasting/ shopping excursion. Mom seemed a bit disturbed by it but dad didn’t seem to mind. 

Little Sister Rachel>-> who will not be pleased that I posted this with Mom who shocked us all with this outlandish behavior. Mom is ever the lady.>–>

^Holly , the big sister with Dad. Holly is a poser. Dad, The Marine and proud Veteran, never stops eating long enough to partake of such shenanigans. Eating is serious business for a Marine. Many a time he has regaled us with the tales of having to eat maggots out of his helmet along with his food and therefore he is always just grateful for food in general. Daddy is delightful at dinner. 😀

During breakfast Holive entertained us all ( as usual) in the way that only Holly can. Which won’t be funny to anyone else so I won’t attempt to try to relive it. Suffice it to say,   Holly is fascinated by the most mundane little things and can make just about anything funny. Today it was a collapsible brush. Who knew such a cheap thing could provide such entertainment?

After we got our feed on, we headed to the gift shops to spend what my dad calls “all of our egg money” , which is dad speak for all the money we saved all year for this very day.

^ HOPE is the thing with feathers. ( Emily Dickinson fans ? )

Holly found a HOPE ornament with a ball in the O.  SCORE.  Posed in front of some fuzzy white and red balls for me, too!

.. and the winner of the strangest thing I saw all all day goes to this piece of blown glass poo… I mean slug. (Apologies to slugs everywhere).

We laugh, we eat, we shop.We laugh some more.  This close to my next treatment, it’s going to take me at least 3 days to recover from our excursion, but I don’t mind. Today not only signifies the beginning of the holiday season for me, it also reminds me how lucky I am. I’ve got sisters. Great, beautiful, kind sisters and I still have both my parents. Sadly, I don’t spend enough time with either of my sisters or my mom and dad, which is really quite a shame. But the time I do spend with them is always filled with laughter and love. And for that I truly grateful.

My fav jam from the ride! You gals “made my day”.  ❤

The Sort of Hope Who Knows You’re Visual

When it comes to my kids, I know that if they could get out of reading  by watching something or looking at the pictures, I know they would skip the read and chose the visual in a heartbeat. They don’t share my love of reading. I know that it’s more in human nature to look at pictures than it is to read. Especially men. Men are supposedly more visual. Or wait, don’t you men try to have us believe the opposite sometimes ? “I was just reading the articles, I swear?”  (~ c’mon , you *know* what I mean…)

The cold is sometimes challenging for me.  Rapid change in weather shifts wreak havoc on my system. I haven’t been able to get out much lately and do any new shooting, but I don’t want my new blog world friends to forget that I am actually an aspiring photographer, too. Not just a sick person. So… here are some of my older favorites that I have liked along the way.

I don’t want you to get bored with me just yet. Though I haven’t started participating in any WordPress.com weekly challenges just yet, I was in a photography group on Facebook for a while that I just loved. That group ran similar challenges. Some of these are shots from those challenges. It was the first actual work I did as a non-sports photographer. (other than the constant photography of my own daughter.)

And finally, I’m no Phil Lanoue,( http://phillanoue.com) but I did have just one awesome chance meeting with a very hungry red-tailed hawk last year at a final fall Berkshire game of Nick’s.

Thanks for reading, or even just looking at the pictures.  😉