Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm Hanging In There

I haven't abandoned you.  I've just been dealing with some interesting issues in my life recently and its taken a toll on me.  It's a long story, so I hope you have some time to spare. 

One day this past February, I was sitting at work doing my normal stuff when all of a sudden I got so dizzy that I thought I was going to pass out.  Then my arms started tingling and my palms started sweating.  I had to call my husband to come and get me from work.  The next day I went to the doctor and she told me I had a middle-ear infection and prescribed antibiotics.  I took my antibiotics and everything seemed to be fine.  A week later I was sitting with my husband watching a basketball game on a Friday night.  I started having the dizzy spells, tingling, and sweating again.  Plus, I was feeling a tightness in my chest and I felt like I couldn't catch my breath.  I tried to ignore the symptoms, but it wouldn't let up.  I got concerned that perhaps I was having a heart attack, so I had my husband take me to the emergency room.  They did an EKG and a CT scan of my head and they didn't see anything.  The doctor said that I probably had vertigo and prescribed Dramamine.  I continued to have these dizzy spells on and off so I just kept taking the Dramamine.  This went on for a few months.  I was beginning to suspect that I was having anxiety attacks, but since I had never experienced anything like this before, I really wasn't sure.

In August I started having the dizzy spells, tingling, and sweating more frequently, but I just tried to ignore the symptoms.  One day I was driving home from work and the dizziness hit me so hard that I thought I was going to pass out.  I pulled into a parking lot and called my Mom so someone would know where I was if I actually passed out.  Then the tingling arms and sweaty palms started.  I also got a tightness in my chest and started having chest pains.  Once I got a little less dizzy, I drove to pick-up my husband and then I had him drive me straight to the ER.  They did another EKG and a chest x-ray, but they didn't see anything.  They decided to admit me so they could monitor my heart overnight.  I spent a very uncomfortable night in the hospital being monitored, trying to eat terrible hospital food, and having my blood drawn every few hours.  The next morning I had a consultation with a cardiologist.  He said he thought I was having anxiety attacks, but he wanted to be absolutely sure to rule out any underlying heart condition.  So, I had an echo cardiogram, wore a holter monitor for 24 hours, and had a PET scan.  After all those expensive tests, my cardiologist determined that there is nothing wrong with my heart and I have developed a panic disorder.

This is a very strange turn of events for me.  I'm a very calm person by nature.  I don't yell and scream and I don't get worked up over things.  It feels like such a betrayal by my body when all of a sudden I'm scared out of my mind, dizzy, sweaty, tingling, and thinking I'm going to die.  It makes absolutely no sense.  I could just be sitting there reading a book and everything is fine and the next minute I'm having an anxiety attack.  Even when I wasn't having an anxiety attack, it felt like my bones were being rattled all of the time.  You know how you feel when you get really gold and get the chills?  Well, that's how I felt every minute of the day.  It was very disconcerting.

So, my primary care doctor prescribed Paxil and Xanax.  I take a half a Paxil a day and a half a Xanax as needed for breakthrough anxiety attacks.  I'm finally getting to where I can function and my bones don't feel like they're being rattled.  I still have a breakthrough attack about once a week, but its nothing that a half a Xanax can't handle. 

I hate that I have to be medicated to function, but I know I'm not alone.  There are millions of people out there who suffer from anxiety disorders.  It runs in my family, so I guess I can't escape genetics.

So, to explain my absence:  I've been really distracted the last few months.  I've hardly taken any photos and I haven't taken the time to post on my blog.  I miss my blogger friends, I just needed to get my health sorted out before I could wrap my mind around anything else.

I'm feeling much better these days and I'm ready to get back into the swing of things.  So, please hang in there with me.  I love it when people stop by my blog and read my posts and check out my photographs.  I'll be stopping in to read other blog posts from my friends soon. 

Leave a comment if you'd like.  I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Feeling Blue

Yeah, I know I'm not posting often enough.  I've been going through a little funk lately.  It seems like all I do is work.  I have weekends off, but I spend those running errands, doing household chores, and maybe trying to spend a little quality time with my husband.  My week goes like this: 

Monday-Friday:  I'm up at 5:30 am to get ready for work.  I leave for work around 7 am and I get home at 6 pm.  Cameron and I try to figure out dinner, which takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.  After dinner has been prepared and eaten, maybe I watch some TV and do a load of laundry.  11 pm is bedtime and the process starts all over again. 

Saturday and Sunday:  I try to get a little sleep to make up for the sleep deprivation I've suffered through all week.  I don't sleep well when I know an alarm clock is going to wake me.  I wake up repeatedly throughout the night and look at the stupid clock.  Saturday mornings I balance the checkbook, pay some bills, and run errands.  Saturday evenings I usually go to church and out to dinner with my hubby and maybe some friends.  After dinner, maybe we go over our friends' house to play cards or watch a movie, or we go home and watch a movie.  Sundays are spent doing laundry, cleaning house, and cutting grass. 

I feel like in a week that has 7 days, I only get Saturday night to have any fun.  I don't expect to be entertained constantly, but shouldn't I have more than a few hours each week to have fun?  I spend about 12 1/2 hours of each day getting ready to go to work, working, and driving to and from work.  I get about 4-5 hours each evening to myself, and those usually don't involve too many fun activities. 

I think one of my biggest problems is that I haven't had an opportunity to take any photos.  It's been well over 90 degrees with high humidity in Kentucky for most of the summer.  You can have a heat stroke very quickly, so I haven't been spending much time outdoors. 

Another one of my problems is that I always need to have something to look forward to, like an upcoming vacation, and I don't have that right now.  We usually go on vacation in February, but we've been saving up to buy a car.  If/when we find a car to purchase, we probably won't be able to afford a vacation after that expense.  That depresses me more than I can even express.  I live for our annual vacation, even though we usually just go visit relatives in Arizona.  I love to travel. 

I know that I have many blessings in my life.  I'm grateful for all the Lord has given me.  I just wish that I had some exciting plans to look forward to.  That is what seems to help me get through the day-to-day chores of every day life.  If I have something to plan and a trip to look forward to, then I'm a happy girl. 

We've been struggling to find a reasonably-priced used car.  The car market is ridiculous right now.  People want way too much for cars that are older with high mileage.  We need a dependable, somewhat fuel efficient, four-door sedan, with air conditioning.  Car shopping has not been an enjoyable experience thus far.  With the way the market is right now, I don't think it will get any better.

I feel like I spend so much time working that I don't get to enjoy life.  Is life really supposed to be this way?

Blue Bird on a Fence

Blue Bird Watching Me
Right now I feel about as blue as this bird.  I know its a temporary thing.  I'll get over it.  I just need something fun in my life.  The Kentucky State Fair is coming up next week, so that should be fun.  Plus, my husband's birthday is on Friday.  I'm sure we'll do something fun this weekend to celebrate.  I just really wish I had a vacation planned.  Besides loving the Lord and my family, traveling and taking photos of beautiful places is what brings peace and joy in my life.  I could really use some of that right now. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Wedding Photography

Yes, I know its been a few weeks since my last post.  Its been really busy for me the last few weeks.  Between weddings, graduations, household chores, work, groceries, and life's every day obstacles, it feels like I've hardly had time to breathe.  Please hang in here with me.  I promise not to desert you, even if it takes me a couple of weeks to put up a new post.  I like to try and put up a post at least once a week, but as you've gathered, that doesn't usually work out so well for me. 

On May 6th I photographed a wedding for my brother-in-law's cousin, Angie.  It was only my 2nd time photographing a wedding and I was extremely nervous.  I also photographed the bridal shower, the wedding rehearsal, and I followed the bride the entire day of the wedding.  It was a lot of fun and a lot of work.  I took over 1400 photos and it took me several days to sort through and edit them.  I'm always of the mindset that I'd rather take too many shots of the same pose than risk taking only one or two shots of a pose and someone blinks or moves and the shot is ruined.  All in all I think the photos turned out pretty good and the bride and her mother were pleased, so that's the most important thing.

Usually, after I take photos, I upload them to my laptop and then I back them up to a 1.5TB external hard drive.  I especially want to make sure that the portraits and wedding photos I do for people are protected.  I noticed that the hard drive on my laptop was almost completely full, so I decided that I would backup my external hard drive online with Carbonite so that I could delete most of the photos off my laptop.  My external hard drive is hooked up to an older desktop and networked wirelessly to my laptop.  After I paid for and downloaded the Carbonite software to my desktop, I quickly found out that you can't backup an external hard drive with Carbonite.  After a stressful call to tech support, this fact was confirmed.  So, after some discussion with my husband, I ended up buying a new 1.5TB desktop computer.  Now I can safely upload the photos onto the desktop and back them up on the Carbonite online software.  So, buyer can't back up an external hard drive with Carbonite. 

These are the wedding photos of Angie and Joel.

The Dress

The Back of the Dress

The Bride and Bridesmaids

The Bride and the Fussy Flower Girl
Kids are so funny.  This is my niece, Raelee.  She is 2 (soon to be 3).  At the rehearsal dinner she informed us that she WAS NOT going to walk with her cousin, Dallas (the ring-bearer), in the wedding and she WAS NOT going to have her photo taken.  She also said she WAS NOT going to throw flower petals on the ground.  She lived up to her word at the rehearsal dinner and had to be carried through the rehearsal.  She also had to be carried through the pre-wedding rehearsal.  However, minutes before the ceremony, the bride (Angie) made a deal with Raelee.  If Raelee would walk with Dallas in the wedding, Angie would do the chicken dance with her at the reception.  Much to our amazement, Raelee walked hand-in-hand with Dallas through the aisle, down the stairs, and stood next to her mom, Wendy, who was one of the bridesmaids.  She DID NOT throw any petals on the ground.  If she accidentally dropped a petal, she would stop and pick it up and put it back in her basket.  She stood next to her mom for a few minutes, then she decided she was bored and wanted to visit with the bride's father, Timmy.  She sat on his lap for a while, then she got down and untied his shoes and then tried to tie them back for him.  She would turn over her basket and dump the flower petals on the ground.  Then she would gather them up and put them back in the basket.  After a while, she walked up the stairs and went to sit with my mom (grandma).  She didn't cry and although she wandered off the plan a bit, she was so cute that no one minded the diversion from the plan.  One thing she would not budge on is photos (as evidenced by this photo above).  She DID NOT want her photo taken and made a huge fuss about it.  This is actually one of my favorite photos from the entire photo shoot.  We all couldn't help but smile at Raelee's refusal to cooperate for the photos.  You'll notice her absence in the remaining photos.  And yes, the bride did live up to her promise and did the chicken dance.  Raelee refused to dance.  As they say, kids will be kids.      

The Groom and the Groomsmen

The Wedding Party

The Bride and Groom at the top of the Stairs

Angie and Joel

The Ring

The Kiss

A Peck on the Bride's Cheek

A Kiss Under Cover

Mr. and Mrs. Rhea

Angie and Joel by the Lake
Angie and Joel - Unity

This past weekend I photographed my cousin, Nicole's wedding.  After I finish editing those photos, I'll put up a few shots of those as well.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Last Legal Form of Descrimination

In this country it is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their race, religion, sex, age, disability, or sexual orientation.  However, it is still perfectly legal to discriminate against someone because of their weight.  How is this possible?  Why are overweight people excluded from the protection of the law? 

I was reading a blog post last week from Shrinking Kenz where she discussed how she and her mother were publicly humiliated by Southwest Airlines employees because of their weight. 

Nothing will tear down an overweight person like publicly making fun of or drawing attention to our weight.  A Southwest Airlines employee in Phoenix, Arizona publicly humiliated me in front of hundreds of other passengers.  I was so mortified by the experience that I never reported it or even discussed it with anyone.  After reading Kenz's post about her experience, I think its time I talked about my experience.

A few years ago, my husband and I traveled via Southwest Airlines from Louisville, Kentucky to Phoenix, Arizona.  We travel to Arizona every year to visit family in Tucson.  Before travelling, I looked up Southwest Airlines policy about overweight passengers.  Their policy essentially states that if your hips will fit in the seat with the armrests down, then you don't need to purchase another seat.  My hips fit in the seat, but the seat belts don't always fit and I sometimes need a seat belt extension.  I had flown from Louisville to Phoenix with no problems.  However, while we were waiting for our return flight from Phoenix to Louisville, the end of my vacation turned into a nightmare.

I was sitting in a crowded area at the boarding gate in Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.  My husband and I were chatting about our vacation when a thin blond woman approached me.  She was a Southwest employee.  She stood over me and then bent over and peered down at me like I was a child.  Then she announced in front of everyone "You will probably have to buy another seat because you won't fit in just one seat."  I WAS MORTIFIED!  I tried to be calm and I said, "I fit in the seat.  I flew out here a week ago on Southwest and I didn't have a problem."  This didn't appease her.  Her response was, "That doesn't matter.  It is MY determination on whether or not you will fit in the seat.  I get to decide if you need another seat or not."  Then she began telling me that I would have to pre-board so that she could see if I fit in the seat or not.  I told her again that I didn't have a problem when I flew out the previous week and I knew I fit in the seat, but she kept telling me it was "her decision" on whether or not I could fit in the seat.  It didn't matter what had happened the previous week.  At this point I was crying because I was so embarrassed.  She just kept lecturing me about how "she" had to make the decision if I needed another seat and it didn't matter what had happened the previous week.  The she made me get up in front of everyone and walk on the plane with her so she could "see for herself" if I fit in the seat.  After meeting HER requirements, she didn't even apologize for humiliating me in front of all of the other passengers.  I cried the entire flight home.  All 4 hours of it.  I was so humiliated.  I was just devastated.  (Also, it turns out after reading a follow up post by Kenz, a Southwest representative told her that if you were allowed to fly without purchasing a second seat on a flight, then they couldn't require you to purchase an additional seat on a return flight.  Apparently, the employees at Southwest aren't even familiar with the company policies and they make their own determinations based on their own biases about overweight people.) 

What made the situation even worse is that everyone looked at me as they got on the plane.  There was a very large man sitting at the gate with us and she NEVER SAID A WORD TO HIM.  He was much taller than me and much rounder than me, but she never approached him about having to purchase another seat. 

It wouldn't have been so devastating if she had approached me quietly and asked me to come to the ticket counter or to step aside somewhere to discuss the situation.  Instead, she leered over me like she was disciplining a child and her voice got louder every time I tried to explain that I had flown out the week before with no problems.  It was the most humiliating experience of my life.  I was so upset by the ordeal that I couldn't even work up the nerve to call and report her behavior.  I just wanted to forget about it.  The only problem is I HAVE NEVER FORGOTTEN ABOUT IT.

I'm not trying to get anything from Southwest by posting this.  I'm just trying to bring awareness to the last legal form of discrimination in this country: weight discrimination.  It happens every day in this country and its time for it to stop.  Obese people have feelings too. 

I know that there are jobs that I didn't get because people made assumptions about my work ethic based on my weight.  Or maybe they just don't like fat people.  You can see the look on their face and know that no matter how qualified you are for the position, YOU WILL NEVER GET THE JOB.  And unless they say "You aren't going to get this job because you are fat", there is no way to prove they are disciriminating against you.  And even if they did say that to you, technically the law doesn't cover weight-based discrimination.  You can only hope to get it covered under the disability discrimination law, and that is probably unlikely to happen.  

I know this happens to people every day in this country.  Its not okay to discriminate against people because they have a disability.  Its not okay to make fun of people who have an alcohol or drug addiction.  Why is it still okay to make fun of someone who has an endocrine disorder or a food addiction?  Food addiction is the same as a drug or alcohol addiction.  People overeat to soothe emotional pain.  If you make fun of an overweight person or lecture them about their weight, all that happens is that they turn to eating to soothe the emotional pain they are feeling.  It is my opinion that a food addiction may be worse than a drug or alcohol addiction.  With drugs and alcohol, you can quit them completely.  You can't just quit eating.  Imagine being a drug addict and someone telling you to only take 3 hits a day.  Could you stop at 3?  Well, that is what a compulsive over eater has to deal with.  A compulsive over eater can't just stop eating completely.  They have to try and limit themselves to 3 small meals a day.  If you factor in a thyroid disease like hypothyroidism, which slows down your metabolism (which I have), and an endocrine disorder like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which makes your metabolism almost non-existent and turns food directly into fat (which I also have), and then you add in someone who eats to soothe pain, then you have an obese person.  As an adult, I've learned to eat healthier foods in small portions, but because of my thyroid disease and PCOS, it still makes losing weight very difficult for me.  Please take a moment and click on the links above about these diseases and educate yourself about what other conditions may factor into keeping someone obese. 

Please stop making fun of or telling jokes about overweight or obese people.  It is hurtful and humiliating to them.  It is just another form of bullying and discrimination.  We are people too.  We deserve the respect that everyone else is afforded. 

I know that there are people who are discriminated against because of their race or sexual orientation despite the existing laws to protect them, but it is generally not socially acceptable to do these types of things.  People frown on it and therefore it doesn't happen as often.  However, it seems that it is still socially acceptable to make fun of fat people because its their own fault, right?  Well, it isn't always their fault.  And even if they are overweight because of a food addiction, you don't know what has happened in their lives to cause them to turn to food to soothe the emotional pain they feel.  Don't just assume that obese people are lazy and eat all day.  That may not be the case at all.  And even if it is, they may be depressed or emotionally hurting and that is the reason why they eat.  Help them, don't hurt them by making fun of them, cracking jokes about fat people, or singling them out in front of hundreds of people in a crowded room.


Butterfly Feeding on a Flower

Somewhere inside the cocoon of weight there is a butterfly waiting to emerge in every obese person.  Please help them to find that butterfly. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject.  Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me

Today is my 36th birthday.  This morning I woke up, took a shower, and got ready for work as usual.  As I was getting ready to leave to go to work, I stepped in the bathroom to grab my glasses and took a glance in the mirror.  I've been pretty fortunate in that I've escaped the crows feet around the eyes that plague my family (so far, anyway), but there are two visible signs that I am aging:  1) Random gray hairs are appearing on my head; and 2) I seem to be losing collagen under my eyes so they look sunken in.  Its pretty depressing overall.  I was lamenting the fact that I was losing collagen under my eyes this morning and Cameron replies, "Well you should have went to COLLEGE N you wouldn't have that problem."  Ha ha, very funny honey.  Then he suggested that if it bothered me I should get Botox.  I'm just not an artificial kind of girl and I can't see myself getting injections of Botchulism in my face.  It just doesn't seem like a good idea. 

I know that aging is going to happen and I think in the scheme of things, the bags under my eyes should be the thing about my body that worries me the least.  However, having been an overweight person for most of my life, I always felt like my only presentable bodily asset was my face.  So, of course you can understand my displeasure at seeing my youth fade away.  I have learned to accept myself as I am as I've gotten older, but I still always want to look my best.  Oh well, vanity is pointless, I guess.  I should concentrate on more important things like family, friends, Jesus, and serving others.  Those are the really important things in life.  Not the silly bags under my eyes or my graying hair. 

It's been a crazy couple of months for me.  There have been family birthdays, the Kentucky Derby, parties, showers, and a wedding.  Last weekend I photographed my 2nd wedding.  I was very nervous because I always want to get the best photos possible.  I took over 1400 photos, which is a bit excessive, but that's what I do.  I always want to make sure I have multiple shots of the same pose in case someone blinks or frowns or moves or something.  The mother of the bride and I took a preliminary look at the photos on Saturday and they look good.  I'm pleased with how they turned out.  I hope to put up a few of the shots once I have finished sorting and editing the photos, which may be in a week or two.

In the mean time, I'm going to post a few photos from my road trip last summer.  These are photos I took in the great state of Arizona. 

Fire-damaged Tree in the Catalina Mountains
In 2003 or 2004 (I can't remember for sure), there was a very large fire in the Catalina Mountains that burned acres and acres of forest and completely destroyed the little town of Summerhaven on top of Mount Lemmon.  Summerhaven is beginning to rebound and the trees are growing again, but here and there you still see these trees that were ravaged by that devastating fire.

Wet Plant after a Rain Shower in Madera Canyon

Ski Valley on Mount Lemmon

Mountain Stream in Madera Canyon

Stream in Madera Canyon

Rocky Waterfall on Mount Lemmon

These photos were taken in Madera Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains to the south of Tucson and in Summerhaven on Mount Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north of Tucson.  Tucson is generally pretty dry and you don't see many running streams or rivers unless there is a pretty heavy monsoon rain.  However, you can often find running streams in the mountain ranges surrounding Tucson.  When I lived there, going into the Catalina Mountains was almost like going back to Kentucky for a little while.  It always made me homesick, but I love every moment up in the mountains.  Cameron and I used to go up the Catalina Mountain Highway and stop at look-out vistas and have picnics at different scenic views.  We still do that when we go back to visit every year.  I have lots of fond memories of Arizona.  You should visit Arizona if you ever get a chance.  It's beautiful there!

Until we meet again, thanks for visiting and leave a comment.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Yes, I'm Still Alive

I've been crazy-busy lately, but I'm hoping to post some photos in the next few days.  I just photographed a wedding over the weekend and as soon as I sort through them all, I'll get some up here.

Right now I'm reading a new book suggested by my friend, Lauren.  It's called "It Sucked and then I Cried."  I just started reading it today, but its a memoir from a fellow blogger, Heather B. Armstrong.  I'll let you know how it is after I've finished reading it.

Please stand by for new photos and more of my meaningless rambling coming soon to a blog near you .... 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Back to Colorado

It's springtime here in Kentucky.  It's my favorite time of the year.  As I drive to and from work I see trees blooming in white, pink, purple, and yellow.  It's gorgeous!  Hopefully, it won't rain too much this weekend and I'll be able to get out and get some photographs before the blooms are replaced with various shades of green foliage.  Yesterday it rained ALL day in Louisville.  Today the sun is making a reappearance, but I have so much to do that it is unlikely that I'll have time to take any photos.  I've got a severe case of spring fever right now and I'm itching to be outside in the lovely spring weather.  That is if it will stop raining on the weekends!

If I can get a clear weekend or even a few hours on a sunny weekday, then you will soon see some photos of the spring foliage of Kentucky.

In the mean time, here are some more photos of Colorado from my road trip last summer for your enjoyment.

Mountain Lake and Green Hills

Colorado Landscape

Colorado Log Cabin

Colorado Log Cabin in Black & White

Thanks for stopping by.  Please leave a comment.  I'd love to hear what you think of my photos and my blog posts!

Thursday, April 07, 2011


Our final destination on our road trip across the USA last year was Tucson, Arizona.  My husband, Cameron (aka Eric to his family and co-workers), is from Arizona.  I lived there with Cameron for about 2 years before we moved back to Kentucky to be near my family.  If you don't know the story of how I met my husband, just click here

I love Arizona and I miss it dearly when I'm not there.  If I could only convince my family to move there with me, I'd go back there in a moment's notice without hesitation.  Of course, if I moved back to Arizona, then I'd miss Kentucky (as was the case when I lived in Arizona).  I'm caught between the love of two cities about 1800 miles apart from one another. 

Each year my husband and I travel to Arizona to visit his parents and his brother, who live in Tucson.  Every year we talk about going to California to visit my sister-in-law, but we always go to Arizona.  I think both of us get a little homesick for Tucson, so it always wins out.

One of my favorite things about Arizona is the sunsets.  When the sun sets behind the mountains and the skies light up in pinks, oranges, and reds, it is just spectacular.  The only sunset that can compare is when the sun sets over the ocean (at least that is my opinion - I'm sure you may have your own choice of the most beautiful sunset).  Here are just a few of some of my favorite Arizona sunset moments:

Sunset Looking at the Santa Rita Mountains

The Santa Rita Mountains are at the southern edge of the city of Tucson.  The city is surrounded by four mountain ranges.  The Santa Catalina Mountains to the north, the Rincon Mountains to the east, the Tucson Mountains to the West, and the Santa Rita Mountains to the south.  When I took this photo, I was at a scenic lookout on the Santa Catalina Mountains looking south.

Sunset in Northern Arizona

I took this photo in northeastern Arizona.  We had just left Colorado and I think we were driving west on Highway 160 somewhere near Red Mesa, Arizona.

Sunset over the Mountains in Northern Arizona

I think this photo was also taken somewhere on Highway 160.  We were driving west to get to Highway 191, which goes south to I-40.

Sunset over Tucson with a Storm Moving In

In Tucson, from July to September, the monsoon rains come in every day sometime around 5 pm (sometimes later).  This photo was taken from my mother-in-law's backyard (facing northwest) as a summer monsoon storm was moving in. 

Storm Clouds Spilling Over the Rincon Mountains

These clouds were just amazing!  I could literally watch the storm moving in from the east and spilling over the top of the Rincon Mountains (looking east).  The sun was setting to the west and the effect was spectacular!

Stormy Sunset with a Rainbow
This photo was also taken from my mother-in-law's backyard, looking northeast.  The sun was setting and storm was moving in.  You could feel the humidity in the air and hear the thunder rumbling.  Rainbows are a fairly common occurrence in the desert because you have such a clear view for miles and miles as the sun sets.

We are hoping to get back to Arizona this fall.  We typically go in February, but since I had just started working again, we didn't think it would be advisable to take a vacation.  These photos make me nostalgic and I hope we can get back to Arizona soon. 

I'll be posting more photos of my home-away-from-home, Tucson, Arizona, in my upcoming blog entries. 

Thanks for stopping by!  Please leave a comment.  I love to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Red Mountain Pass

Before I got distracted by life, I was telling you about my summer drive across the country.  We had just started talking about the Red Mountain Pass in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.  The pass is located on US 550 (aka Million Dollar Highway).  I suspect that it might be called the Million Dollar Highway because if you are afraid of heights and narrow roads, it would probably take someone paying you a million dollars to drive this road.  When I sat down to plan our route, I had no idea what I was getting us into by deciding to take US 550 through Colorado.  I only knew that I wanted to take a scenic drive and according to the map I got from AAA, US 550 is a scenic route.  I believe "scenic route" might be an understatement.

From Denver, we took Highway 285 southwest to Highway 50.  We took Highway 50 west and then we took Highway 550 South.  The drive up until that point had been winding through lovely mountains and valleys in Colorado.  I'm not fond of driving through mountains, so my husband drove while I snapped photos from the passenger seat.  We had just driven through a lovely town called Ouray when we started ascending the Red Mountain Pass.  The road quickly became very narrow, winding up steep slopes with no guardrail.  I was terrified, but also mystified by the beauty surrounding me.  It had started to rain a bit, which made the drive that much more unnerving.  The speed limit on most of this section of the highway is 15 miles per hour.  My husband had started the ascent at 25 miles per hour.  I told him to SLOW DOWN.  He said, "I can't look away from the road or we'll die!  Tell me when we're doing the speed limit."  He slowed down and I kept an eye on the speedometer for him.  There were no guardrails and no shoulder.  If you went past the yellow line, you would be tumbling down the mountainside.  As the car would round a steep turn, I would feel like I was falling out of the car.  My heart was racing, but the whole time I just kept snapping photos.  The roadway goes up to over 11,000 feet.  The mountain peaks are over 14,000 feet.  It was late July, but there were still traces of snow on some of the peaks.  As we ascended, it got cooler and cooler.  As we neared the summit of the roadway, my husband was complaining that it was cold and I needed to roll up the window.  I told him to turn the heater on because there was NO WAY I was going to try and photograph these mountains through the window.   

The beauty was so wondrous that my eyes were tearing up just looking around.  The luscious green mountainsides were so beautiful.  There were waterfalls and mountain streams all along the roadway.  Then we came to a mountain peak that actually has portions that are red in color and I understood the name "Red Mountain Pass."  I only wish it had been a clear day with plenty of sunshine.  I don't think my photos do the scenery justice, but here they are.  They are still a bit dark even after I lightened them up.  Despite the dark tones, I hope they can convey some of the beauty of this harrowing drive.  I've also included a link in my title that will take you to photos of someone else's journey up the Red Mountain Pass.  They went on a clear day and the photos are gorgeous.

Here is my view of the Red Mountain Pass on that rainy day....

Green Mountain Slope

The San Juan Mountains

Rocky Mountainside

Small Waterfall Cascading Down the Mountainside

The Red Mountain

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Monday, April 04, 2011


Have you ever had one of those days where you just can't your brain in work mode?  I can't seem to focus today.  I didn't sleep very well last night, so that may have something to do with my scatterbrainitis. 

I know its been a while since I posted.  I stay so busy with work and then trying to cram household chores and fun in weekends that go by so fast I hardly remember they existed at all.  I was laid-off from my job for a year and I was re-hired last November.  I enjoy working, but I sometimes miss the days where all I did was read a good novel and do laundry.  Now, I try and do at least a load of laundry each night when I get home from work.  I don't always get a chance to do a load every night, so then I spend all day Sunday washing clothes.  The saying is true ... a woman's work is NEVER done!  

I haven't even had a chance to get outside and get some spring photos.  Yesterday would have been a perfect day for outdoor photos, but instead I spent the day cleaning out my closet, baking bread, and making baked spaghetti with homemade pasta sauce.  Oh yeah...and doing laundry.  Let's not leave that out.  I think it is supposed to storm next weekend.  I hope the weather forecast is wrong.  Tonight we will be having severe thunderstorms in Kentucky.  After work tomorrow I have to go to the grocery store and Wednesday night I have Bible study.  Good grief!  It's no wonder I'm scatterbrained.  I just hope I can find a moment for some photography before all of the spring blooms disappear!

Here are some of previous year's blooms for your viewing pleasure. 

Purple Beauty

Yellow Lilly

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I've got a weird situation and I need some input.  Let me begin by saying that I have a disease called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which can cause severe hormone imbalances.  Sometimes these hormone imbalances can make me very emotional, sad, angry, crying for no reason, etc.  Because of this, I can't always tell if my response to a situation is a justified response or an act of hormone treason.  This is where you come in.  I'll explain the situation and perhaps you can help me sort it out. 

I have a best friend, Angie.  We've been friends since we were 12 years old.  We see one another just about every weekend and we attend one another's birthdays, parties, holidays, etc.  Angie is a stay-at-home Mom and I recently started working again after being laid off for a year.  During my lay-off, I reconnected with a friend from high school, Tiffney.  Tiffney is also a stay-at-home Mom.  Last summer I had a party and I re-introduced Angie & Tiffney to one another.  They had met previously when we were teenagers, but had not remained in-touch.  Angie & Tiffney started conversing via Facebook and they've quickly become friends.  I think it's great that they are becoming close.  However, since I now work and have very little free time, I feel left out.  I see them making plans to go shopping or have lunch and I feel like I'm losing my friends.  I realize that I work and I can't always go with them, but it would be nice if they asked me if I could come with them.  Even if they go on a day when I usually work, I could ask for a vacation day and spend some time with my two good friends.  But, as I said, they don't even ask me.  It wouldn't bother me so much, but they post their plans on Facebook for all the world to see and I feel left out.

Today, this situation became even more hurtful for me.  I have another former high school friend, Dana.  Dana and I have spoken a little on Facebook, but due to some past confusion about the nature of our friendship and whether or not I was a good friend to her, we don't talk that often.  Dana's opinion is that I didn't listen to her and help her with her problems when we were teenagers.  I have a different memory of this situation.  I remember that Dana would not open up about her problems.  I tried talking to her about things, but she wouldn't discuss them with me.  I also was unable to attend Dana's wedding because I moved out of town and I could not afford to return for her wedding at the time.  I don't think she's ever forgiven me for not being there.  I apologized profusely for missing her wedding, but it was unavoidable at the time.  To sum it up, Dana and I are cordial, but we don't talk often and we don't spend time with one another.

Dana is a talented baker and she designs birthday cakes.  Angie has had Dana make cakes for her daughters' birthdays.  This past Sunday, Angie's daughter Macie turned 1.  Dana made a cake for the party.  She arrived to setup the cake a few moments before I arrived at the party.  I arrived after she had left and did not get a moment to speak to her.  Apparently, that was plenty of time for her to reconnect as friends with Angie and Tiffney. 

This morning I signed on to Facebook to see if I had gotten any emails and I see that Angie, Tiffney, and Dana are now making plans to go shopping together.  I felt like someone slapped me in the face.  Is it wrong for me to feel so left out?  I'm really confused about this.  I feel so hurt.  I feel like I'm losing my friends.  Am I overreacting?  Any advice would be much appreciated.

I took the photo below at a wedding shoot.  I saw them sitting there chatting away and it reminded me of the many fun, interesting, heartfelt, funny, touching conversations I've had with my friends over the years.

Friends Chatting in the Garden

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Monday, February 07, 2011


This past summer my husband, Cameron, and I took a drive across country.  We took a very scenic route through the mountains of Colorado.  There was beauty everywhere you looked.  It was breathtaking and at times, terrifying.  In my next post I'll tell you about the most terrifying driving experience I've ever had.  This terrifying even took place on the Red Mountain Pass in Colorado.  Never have I seen such beauty and been so scared simultaneously.  I can feel my heart racing just thinking about it.

The first two photos shown below were taken on the Red Mountain Pass on Highway 550 just south of Ouray, Colorado.  It was late July, but the mountains in this region are so tall that they still had some snow on them.  There were lots of little streams and waterfalls on the mountains.

The third photo shown is of a Lake Reserve in Colorado.  It was a pretty large reserve and there looked to be lots of recreation activities in this area.  We didn't stop to play, but continued on our journey.

The fourth photo shown is a windy little stream that went through pastureland in Colorado. 

The last photo is a small lake in the mountains of Colorado.

Overall it was an amazingly spectacular journey and I hope to someday take the trip again.

Muddy Mountain Stream

Mountain Waterfall

Colorado Water Reserve

Colorado Stream

Colorado Mountain Lake
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Thursday, February 03, 2011

What's Up With Colorado?

When I say "What's Up With Colorado?", I mean it in a totally good way.  This past summer my husband and I took a road trip across the U.S.  We wanted to take the most scenic route we could from Louisville, Kentucky to Tucson, Arizona.  I got out a map of the U.S. and used a highlighter to plan our trip.  I chose State Highways that took us through the Rocky Mountains.  It was one of the most scenic and beautiful drives I've ever been on.  Evergreen forests on top of mountains, grassy hillsides with running streams, cattle and horses grazing in fields, blue skies dotted with puffy white clouds.  You could see God's artistic beauty all around.  My next few posts will highlight the photos I took in Colorado.

 Grassy Plains & Evergreen Peaks

Rolling Fields 

Green Hillside

In my next post I will highlight some of the mountain streams and lakes.  I enjoyed our road trip through Colorado immensely.  If you are looking to see some stunning views, this is the road trip to take. 

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more photos taken in the Colorado Rocky Mountains!