Saturday, August 31, 2013

Crap. We have a ghost.

I hate it when that happens.

Someone get the ghost spray. Maybe Zoe (bottom right) will chase it away.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

He's not dead. He just stinks.

Early this morning, I asked Kat to please feed and water the rodents. It's a job she doesn't like to do.

But, hey, since she wanted to keep a couple mice, she has to help. It's only fair.

I thought I'd jump in the shower before it was time to leave for school. It took only 8 seconds in the shower before I heard:


I initially ignored it. I was washing my hair and trying to relax with the rosemary and mint scent of the shampoo. 


I ignored it again. What could be so important?

4 seconds later, I feel a cold draft that could only mean the door to my bathroom was now open.

Rinsing the shampoo out of my hair, I hear again:

"MOM! I think Jeff is DEAD! Hurry! I poked him and he didn't move and he kinda STINKS! HURRY!"

Jeff's not going anywhere. He's a mouse and I'm not rushing my shampoo and conditioner routine.

"Just feed the other mice and the rats and I'll be out in a minute."


I said nothing.

The door to the bathroom slammed shut.

Jeff the mouse is a pain in my ass. He was originally going to be fed to the snake along with his cousin/brother, Edward. But, no...they were too cute to be fed to the snake.

Kat wanted to keep them and I'll admit for the first twelve hours she did an excellent job of keeping them clean and content. Despite many warnings, she wanted to keep the cage in her room.

Jeff escaped from his cage the first night and that threw Kat into a full blown anxiety attack.

I found him later in my scraproom with all the other mice except that he was on the floor. He looked up at me like he was saying, "Yeah, here I am. What are YOU going to do about it?", and then he ran off.

In my attempt to multi-task, I asked Jeff to pose with my white balance cards so I could practice batch editing.

I caught the little brat and put him back in the cage with Edward. That evening, Katrina decided the mice were too loud to be in her room (duh! she had been warned a million times) and I should keep them in the scraproom with my other "collection" of mice.

So, Jeff and Edward ended up with the other mice. I wanted to keep all the boys in one cage but, NO. Jeff wanted to fight with the other boys. He had to go in his own cage. You can tell by the shortness of his tail that the other boys fought back.

One morning as I was checking on the mice, I noticed that Edward was dead. Not only was he dead, but the boys had eaten his head. It was nowhere to be found. No, I didn't take a picture. I was dumbfounded that mice could eat bone.

For the last few months, I've been stuck cleaning an extra cage and feeling guilty because Jeff is by himself. The guilt feeling doesn't last long, though, because I occasionally put him in with the other boys to see if he's willing to kiss and make up.

He's not. He's more than happy to try and kick their asses all at the same time. His tail gets a little shorter and his face a little more red each time.

So, this morning when Kat screamed that Jeff was dead, I'll admit I was slightly relieved.

I finished getting dressed and went into the scraproom to check on the dead mouse.

I opened the cage door and the little guy came right out from underneath his wheel to greet me.

"Where's my Cheerio, bitch?"

He wasn't dead and I will admit I was relieved. I know. I just contradicted myself from a couple sentences above.

I gave him his Cheerio and when I got back from dropping Kat off at school, I cleaned his cage.

He wasn't dead after all. He was just really stinky.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Practice, practice, practice

I've been messing around with my camera. I'm always trying to improve so I've started taking some on-line classes at

I'm happy to report that so far, I pretty much knew everything they've told me, I just didn't know if it was "right". It's nice to be able to validate myself. Ha!

The class that I'm taking now is on composition. My exercise yesterday was to take some photos practicing some of the composition "rules" and take them in black and white.

I didn't go far. I stayed right in my front yard. It was interesting to discover that dead cacti make the best subjects.

I love the texture and the eerie looking quality they have, especially in black and white. Let me know what you think, please!

This is my favorite one. I love the texture and the dead "fingers" reaching out.

This is part of a pack rat's nest that sits next to my driveway. I just love the texture of the dried up prickly pear (that's the sponge looking thing on the right) and the pine cones up on the top.

Here is the same pack rat's next. I just stepped back a little.

Most of these photos I purposely underexposed. I felt it added to the dark and spooky feeling.

This one was left at a regular exposure. I like this one because it reminds me of a vulture for some reason.

This one didn't turn out quite how I wanted. I really wanted to get those dried up stripes in the pads to show up well. One thing I do like about it is how it looks so flat against the earth. It looks like it's been hammered into the ground.

My palo verde tree that sits right at the street. I did underexpose this shot.

This is my second favorite. It's basil. This one was also underexposed. I love the black leaves and the way the tiny growth in the middle looks like it's reaching out for food.

Well, at least that's the way it looks to me.

Let me know what you think, please!! I appreciate all your comments.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

We could all learn a thing or two from Spongebob

"Why is it when Spongebob comes on Blake knows when to say, "ooooooooohh"? lol."

This was a message to me on my Facebook wall from my oldest daughter, Ashley. The old one, not Kat.

I could only respond with, ":blush:"

She doesn't like Spongebob and told me she didn't like Blake watching Spongebob because it would make him stupid. But now I caught her watching Spongebob because she wouldn't have asked me that question unless she was watching. Right? Right!

I have 4 other kids in the afternoon here after school. If I had told them they couldn't watch Spongebob until after Blake left, there would have been some sort of mutiny.

Besides, is Dora really a better option? She walks around the forest ALONE with a monkey (that probably has rabies) sometimes crossing raging rivers and cutting through dangerous thorny bushes. If that wasn't scary enough, she has this crazy fox chasing her and trying to steal her stuff.

Dora is scary. And she screams. I don't care what anyone says. Don't even get me started on Max and Ruby. Where the hell are their parents and why is Ruby always cooking something or giving Max a bath?

Spongebob is awesome and I'm going to tell you why.

1.) First of all, he has an incredible work ethic.

He goes to work every single stinkin' day and NEVER complains about it. He loves his job. He is dedicated and he goes over and above his normal duties.

He also holds the Krusty Krab burger secret close to his heart and will never reveal it for any reason.

2.) He does his best and never gives up.


I don't know if Spongebob will ever learn to drive, but he keeps trying. Spongebob is scared of driving and knows he sucks at it but he keeps pushing ahead and trying to learn. He never gives up.

3.) He is dedicated to his friends and kind to others.

Spongebob loves his friends. He is always there for them through thick and thin. He will do anything to help a friend and even a stranger.

 One year, he even brought Christmas and the spirit of giving to Bikini Bottom.

4). He is kind to animals.

Spongebob has a pet snail named Gary. He loves Gary and there are many scenes of him playing with Gary, feeding Gary and just being appreciative of his presence.

Spongebob loves to go jelly fishing. Any jelly fish he captures, he immediately releases. He is a friend to the environment and to animals. He is respectful of the delicate, beautiful and yet sometimes dangerous nature of the jelly fish.

5.) He can write some rockin' tunes.

Go ahead and just try to sit next to a campfire without humming the Campfire song.

Or, go ahead and eat a pizza without singing the Krusty Krab Pizza song.

You can't do it, can you?

6.) He's just an all around happy guy.

Spongebob finds delight in little things. Maybe it's playing in a box with his best friend, Patrick or seeing a giant jelly fish. Whatever it is, Spongebob is happy with what he has or what he can make with his wild imagination.

7.) He loves his family.

Spongebob lives on his own but he still loves and respects his parents. He may not always agree with his parents' suggestions, but he listens to them. Occasionally, we see Spongebob also at his Grandmother's home eating cookies and loving her, too.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. As I was searching for pictures of Spongebob, I came across other bloggers who felt the same way.

So, my dear readers, these are just some of the reasons why I love Spongebob and won't immediately flip the channel to something else when Blake is around. He has a lot to learn.

Actually, I think all of us do.

Be nice to your friends and family today and every day.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Spa Day

As soon as they got home from school, Kat asked if she could fill up a bucket of water for her and Tori to soak their feet. It wasn't cold enough so they asked for ice.

To make it extra fancy, I added lemon oil and then later eucalyptus oil.

I asked them if they'd like some refreshing water and they both said, "YES!"

I then tried charging them $50.00 because it was so fancy but they said that instead of paying me, I could take their picture.

We shook on it and the deal was made.

Later, we poured the water into the rose bush. We live in Arizona and we always have to conserve water.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Math is a luxury we can barely afford

Trent needed a calculator for his math class. Of course, it wasn't just any calculator.

We were told to purchase him a TI-84 graphing calculator. It would be around $100.00.

$100 for a stupid calculator?

It's 2013. Why the hell do calculators cost anywhere near $100?

We have computers that can do all this fancy stuff, don't we?

I have an app that can tell me exactly how far I walk, at what speed, at what elevation and how many calories I burn according to my weight on that particular day.

I have an app that can tell me what music is playing in the background. It gives me the artist, the album title and the song name with a link to buy it on

I have an app that can calculate the calories, fat, carbs, vitamins, minerals of everything I eat that day and then predict what I'll weigh in 5 weeks.

All of these apps were free.

Isn't there an app that can do all this graphing calculator stuff for $1.49? I'd even be willing to pay $4.99 for such an app.

So, we go to three different stores on Sunday looking for this calculator. No one has the calculator. In fact, I'm told at one store that a lady just bought 15 of those calculators and they're sold out and would not be getting anymore in for awhile.

We end up at Staples (the fourth store) and they only have the super duper TI-84 Silver Classic 456-2187BXI model (I added extra numbers to make it sound fancier) with awesome color screen.

Really? We need to see our numbers in colors?

They have two of these models left. One in blue and one in hot pink. $150.00.

I ask if they price match and they do. So, we walk out of Staples with the blue super duper TI-84 Silver Classic 456-2187BXI model (that I added extra numbers to make it sound fancier) with awesome color screen for $119.

I also paid the extra $10 insurance in case he loses it or drops and breaks it.

Which bring me to my next point about this calculator...

Is a 12 year old really responsible enough for this expensive electronic?

My son forgets to brush his teeth if I don't tell him.

I don't know if I would want to walk around with such an expensive item in my backpack all freakin' day long.

They don't get lockers so he has to carry 47 pounds of paper on his back and try not to squish his lunch while removing items and placing them back for each class. At lunch, he still has to carry his backpack and be responsible for it and it's contents (including that blue super duper TI-84 Silver Classic 456-2187BXI model (that I added extra numbers to make it sound fancier) with awesome color screen for $119) while he eats lunch and whatever he does for break. At PE, his backpack sits unattended on a bench because it doesn't fit in a locker.

Before he left for school today, he showed me how he could write, "hi" on his calculator.

That's just awesome.

I asked him if he had brushed his teeth.

Without saying a word, he got up and went to the bathroom to take care of that issue, taking his
blue super duper TI-84 Silver Classic 456-2187BXI model (that I added extra numbers to make it sound fancier) with awesome color screen for $119 with him.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Aztec Dancing, a Birthday Party and Puppies

aka, what could make a better Saturday?

Katrina was invited to a birthday party where a group of Aztec dancers would be performing.

As soon as we got there, Katrina realized that she had forgotten her goggles. We never had goggles when we were kids and went swimming. We had no choice but to get used to the chlorine burn, but kids today....

I had to rush home and get Kat's goggles for her delicate little eyes and while I was there, I picked up my camera. I had carried it with me everywhere this morning because I'm trying to practice for this big event I have coming up. More about that another day.

Anyway, I'm glad I had my camera when I got back because the dancers were already starting. I asked if I could take pictures and they said, "yeah".

So, I did....

This was a challenge for me because some of them were hiding in the shade. I had to mess around with the auto exposure lock or whatever those buttons are called on the back of my camera. I think this is the best of the bunch and it's still very dark. Damn complicated camera.
I must have taken 87,000 pictures of this woman. I thought she was so beautiful. She probably got sick of my camera pointed her way. 
 Yeah, see...she did. Told ya.

They made the kids get up and dance, too. Most of them did except for my neighbor's kid, Alexander. He hid behind me and offered to give me some photo tips.

"I can give you some photo tips, Ms. Heather"
I told him that I appreciated the offer and asked if he knew a good way to take a picture where some of your subjects are in direct light while others are in the shade. He didn't know so I kept messing around on my own.

They wanted me to dance but I quickly came up with the excuse, "Oh, I can't. I'm the photographer." I was surprised at how naturally that came to me. The group had their own photographer but my excuse wasn't questioned. Perhaps they thought I came with the birthday party. 

Oh my gosh, my mother is here and taking pictures of me.

And this is when Kat caught me taking her picture. She was too into the dancing to notice before.

I really admire those woman for carrying all that weight on their head and dancing. Last year, my friend, Rita, colored my hair a little bit and I thought I was going to have a panic attack from the weight of the foil. I could hardly hold my head up and I kept having visions of my neck snapping and dying right there in her chair. I barely made it without much complaining. She is a lot younger than me so I didn't want to make her think I was weak and old so I kept my head held up high.

I was so relieved, though, when that foil came out.

We can't forget about the drummer. The drummer always gets stuck in the back. I know this because Trent is a drummer and I can never get a decent picture of him during his school concerts. I think I'm going to ask if I can hang out on stage next time.

oh, and before we went to the party, Katrina fell in love with this puppy at Petsmart. I'm going to make it a small picture because it's totally out of focus. 

I'm really cute, but I poop everywhere 24/7

So that's my day. What did you do?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Don't be a dumb bird


The crosswalk was only five feet away. If he had only tried to cross on the brightly colored yellow/gold lines, he would be safe today.

Thank you to the Sheryl the Crossing Guard for helping me do this safely.


Thanks for looking. :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

More pictures of camping

I took so many pictures, I thought I'd just make a separate post.

If you keep bugging the kids, eventually they'll give in and let you take their pictures.

 Kat in the tent.

Trent fireside.

 Kat was amazed at the size of the trees.

 Trent on breakfast duty.

 Kat actually WANTED me to take pictures of her here.

 Here, too.

 Kat found a green pine cone and was totally enthralled with it.

 There was a giant rock that at any minute of the day, you could find someone sitting on. 

 They were like giant lizards soaking up the sun.

and Trent received 47 kajillion awards.

The end.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The elephant in the room

I was tricked into camping. I didn't want to go.

I didn't want to have to hold my breath when I went to the bathroom because of the smell.

I didn't want to have to use a lantern in the middle of the night to walk to the bathroom. I knew there would be bears watching me.

I wanted to be able to take a shower.

I was told that I had to go. That there was a special pin waiting for me and that all the moms were going.

There was no pin and there were only a couple moms.

Even the food sucked. For breakfast, the boys chose Dinosaur Egg oatmeal and for lunch there was Ramen. DRY Ramen.

We did bring our own food so I was able to eat something not so gross.

Katrina cried bawled twenty minutes after we got there because she realized she had forgotten her shoes. All she had were flip flops. Lucky for her, she was able to wear my shoes. Unfortunately for me, all I had were bright orange Crocs that I brought on the chance that maybe I could use them in a nice hot shower. As I mentioned before, there was no shower.

I spent the weekend in Crocs and socks. Yep. I looked like a total idiot. I even stopped to explain to the other boys in the troop what had happened and that they were not to make fun of me. They said that they hadn't even noticed the Crocs. Yeah, ok.

There were hikes and trips to the top of the mountain to look at the city view. I didn't go because, you know, Crocs and socks don't make the best hiking shoes and what if I had to run from a bear?

At one point, I did make it down a hill, across a log or two and over a small stream. I took a few pictures and then turned back. The kids and Erik went ahead and I went back to camp alone.

I did discover that the monopod for my camera made an excellent walking stick and an even better "stop snoring" stick. The second night, Kat slept next to me while Erik and Trent slept on the other end of the tent. I had no way of nudging Erik to stop snoring.

I quickly discovered that all I had to do was extend my monopod to it's fullest length and just poke until I felt something soft and squishy.

The snoring stopped but that's when the laughing started.

I couldn't control myself. It was 1 am and here I am in the middle of the woods poking some part of Erik with a big stick to try to get him to stop snoring. I thought it was so funny. Maybe it was the thin mountain air, or the possibility that I could die any second from a bear attack but I couldn't stop laughing until the three of the woke up and told me to shut up.

But, even with all of this stuff going on, I was able to get this picture:

I was able to control the back lighting! No! That's not really what I saw. I'll admit, at first I was excited about that but when I took a second look I saw true happiness. It's something we haven't had in awhile.

What could be better than that? The kids together and smiling. Not "fake smile for the camera" smiles, but real smiles.  I can't even remember the last time that happened.

The kids and I have been stressed about school starting, about our financial woes and especially about Ashley, Garrett and Blake moving to Texas.

I'm sure I'll pay the price for this, but the elephant in our tiny room is Ashley and Blake.

It was just last week when Ashley, Garrett and Blake came over for a little photo shoot. For weeks, Katrina has been asking every time we see Blake if this will be the last time. I told her that she would know for sure when the last time would be because I would tell her.

I thought we would have another chance after this to see Blake, Ashley and Garrett before they left. Unfortunately, this was the last time.

I said something that upset Ashley and she, well, let's say she "raged". I don't think she realized it, but she made Katrina cry from her outburst. Ashley was so upset with me that she didn't even want to let me take pictures of Blake with Kat and Trent. I didn't realize this until later when she scolded Garrett for allowing it to happen.

The picture isn't even that good. Both kids were extremely upset and were holding back tears.

As I was taking this picture, I had to tell Kat and Trent that this was the last time we'd see Blake for a long time.

So, you see now that the picture of the two of them smiling on the camping trip is even more precious to me because of their real smiles.

For a brief second, I caught happiness.

And the elephant in the very tiny room is now just a fraction smaller.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Shrimp is just an excuse to eat horseradish

My local grocery store has shrimp on sale. It was $7.99 for cooked jumbo shrimp and $5.99 for raw jumbo shrimp.

I bought a pound of raw and 4 pieces of the cooked. I was hungry and wanted a snack. Yeah, the butcher looked at me strangely but I don't care.

As I was eating my one cooked shrimp on the way home from the grocery store (I was hungry. Don't judge), I noticed it had no taste. It was actually kind of gross.

When I got home, I made a quick batch of cocktail sauce to eat the remaining three shrimpies. It was sooo much better.

So, I came to this conclusion...

Shrimp is just an excuse to eat horseradish and/or butter & garlic.

Erik and I ate that pound of shrimp that evening. I broiled them in garlic/butter sauce, we dipped them in cocktail sauce and then I sent him to the store for two more pounds. :blush:

It's ok to admit it. Shrimp by themselves suck. But, when you add butter, garlic and horseradish, they are awesome and you can eat three pounds in one evening.

Friday, August 09, 2013

I bet you thought I was joking

but I wasn't.

I take every opportunity for cake.

There was a birthday going on and we needed had no choice but to celebrate. It was also the first day of school, but let's talk cake and discuss school another day.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner were served cake, ice cream and whipped cream for surviving their first year.  There were several rounds of singing "Happy Birthday". After all, we are celebrating triplets here.

I sent cake home with Ellenor and Tori to share with Roxy and Mr. Nibbles. I even sent home an extra piece in case their dad was confused about the cake and thought it was for him and ate the mouse cake. I know how Erik is with cake and I wanted to make sure Roxy and Mr. Nibbles got to celebrate.

It was soon discovered that mice (at least my mice) don't really like cake or ice cream. They went crazy for the whipped cream. You never know when you may need this information, so just tuck it away deep inside your brain somewhere.

Ellenor ended up throwing her ice cream out. She decided that she couldn't eat the ice cream with the chocolate chip chunks because it reminded her of the mouse poop. Sometime during the celebration, one of the mice decided to poop near the ice cream.

I kinda don't blame her as it was pretty gross.

Afterwards, Tori suggested that her mom should have made little party hats for the mice. What a great idea!! I can't believe I missed out on that photo opportunity.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Time for cake!

Happy Birthday Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Roxy and Mr. ?? (I forget his name but will come back and fill it in later) Nibbles!

Did you remember that it's their birthday? I did!

Heck, it's an excuse for cake, right? Anytime I can find an excuse for cake, I use it. Oh, and ice cream. You can't have birthday cake without ice cream.

It was 3 days after Spots the snake wouldn't eat "that white mouse that was eventually named Snowflake" that she became a pet.

Special Snowflake ($1.59) was a very special mouse.

$30.00 later in a cage, food, toys and bedding, Snowflake is one happy gal.

What we didn't know about Spots the snake is that she is a hard core Pro-Lifer. "That white mouse that was eventually named Snowflake" was heavily pregnant with  7 (that's right 7) mice. She gave birth overnight on 8/08/12 to 5 boys and 2 girls.

We watched them go from pinkies to fuzzy little sausages. I always liked the way Snowflake stacked them.

Snowflake was an AWESOME mom!! I had warned the kids that mice were known to eat some of their babies. She never did.  She was always nursing them except for when we came into the room and was hopeful we had Cheerios. As she got up to move towards the cage door, baby mice would fall off one by one. They'd land on their backs and their little legs would wave around and you could hear their little squeaks. But Mom Snowflake was on a mission for Cheerios.

After she was full of Cheerios, she'd go back to settle down and either nurse some more or give them all one giant group hug.

Once they were old enough to wean, we separated the boys from the girls and found homes for 3 of them.

Unfortunately, Flutter, Mr. Squirmy and Snowflake herself have passed on to greener pastures. They hang out with Liberty and some of the other mousies, kitties, dogs and other animals we have loved.

Ok, I'm off to get cake. Have a great day everyone!! 

oh, and ice cream, too.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...