I Went to Law School For This?

Finding Balance While Losing One's Mind -- OR -- Where In My Contract Is The Part About Having To Pull My Own Kids' Teeth? -- OR -- Do You Want Me To Pull This Car Over Right Now? -- OR -- Just a Minute - I'm On The Phone!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Haven't Posted Here In A VERY Long Time

Hey friends and fans. It just occurred to me that I haven't posted anything here in several years, since I established my newer blog at Typepad. Please visit me at: FeeFiFoto Blog, and thanks for dropping in here.

Monday, October 15, 2007





In Case You've Been Getting Lonely

In case you've been missing me the past few days, I've been putting my blogger boot camp training into action on a new blog dedicated to my personalized gift web site, FeeFiFoto.com. Visit me there at: http://feefifoto.typepad.com/feefifoto/. Eventually I'll transition to the new blog exclusively, but for now I'm maintaining two bases until I can get this place painted and on the market.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My House Is A Shrine To My Family

HomepagepicturedsThe Kinder Studio has come up with a way to flatter our kids and recognize their artistic accomplishments in a way any parent can appreciate:

"As parents, we strongly believe that children's art, however crude or fabulous, deserves appreciation. We also know how challenging it can be to show the proper respect for each and every creation while maintaining some semblance of grown-up home decor.

After layers of tattered paintings and drawings threatened to take over our walls, we got the idea to turn our favorites into digital files which could then be reproduced as easy-to-frame prints."

When I bought FeeFiFoto last year I thought it would be fun to sell personalized gifts, but I never anticipated picking up anything for myself because I see my kids all the time anyway. I designed a photo calendar just to see how the site worked, and a photo handbag as a conversation starter, and discovered a warm feeling I hadn't expected from looking at things with pictures of my own kids, similar to the feeling I get when I hear the greeting my daughter recorded on our voice mail.

Turns out that the personalized photo items mesh well with my home decor theme of "shrine to my children." I've framed drawings and paintings; I even framed the papers on which each of them first printed their own names. Nearly every room in our home is decorated with:

a pastel,


a self portrait,

Dsc00897_edited or a map of the United States my son drew free hand from memory in thefourth grade. No kidding -- by the time they finish sixth grade kids at his school map the entire world from memory.

Mona_lisa Here's one more just for fun. Can you figure out who this person is? Take a guess, and then click on her to see if you're right. Go ahead -- I'll wait.


My most unusual mementos/artworks, are each kid's first Jack O'Lantern. It might sound peculiar but actually it was ridiculously simple although, admittedly, inadvertent. After my son's first Halloween I couldn't stand throwing away that cute little pumpkin with his lopsided smile, so I popped it in the freezer and forgot about it. Nine months later I found it to be almost entirely freeze dried; I put the pumpkin in a very low oven, turned the oven off and left the pumpkin in there overnight. The next morning the little fella was dry and firm. I did the same thing for my daughter's first pumpkin, and they both occupy a place of honor in the dining room.

Monday, October 8, 2007

At Least It Tires Her Out


Scene 1: Autumn, one acre property entered via steep, 180 foot driveway
Scene 2: Autumn, interior

Set Decoration:
Well over two hundred (200) trees

Cast of Characters:
One (1) Mom (hereinafter referred to as "Mom"), one (1) medium sized puppy (hereinafter referred to as "Pup")

One (1) push broom

One (1) belt, one (1) six foot (6') leash

Leaves fall from trees, forming a creeping glacier of leafage all the way down the driveway.

Mom: "Hey Pup! Let's go clear the driveway."

Pup: "Arf!"

Mom attaches leash (see above) to Pup's collar, threads leash handle through belt and puts on belt. Pup and Mom are now literally joined at the hip. Mom picks up broom and begins gathering leaves from corners of the driveway and pushing them in piles down toward the street.

Pup, meanwhile, trots in circles around Mom, tangling Mom and broom in leash.

Mom: "Watch out, pup."

Pup: "Yarp!"

Mom continues to clear a path on the driveway, pushing more piles of leafage toward curb. Pup trots along beside broom, hopping in and out of leaf piles and scattering leaves.

Mom: "Cool it!"

Pup: "Rowf!"

Mom continues sweeping leaves, as Pup prospects in leaf stacks for interesting sticks and treasures.

Mom: "You're not making this any easier."

Pup: "Woof!"

Scene 2:
Mom in bathtub, Pup in personalized puppy enclosure.

Mom: "Aahhh."

Pup: *sigh*

Sure The Kids Are Cute, But Have You Seen Our Dog?

Dsc00820_edited_2Cute puppy, huh? I carry a small clutch made by FeeFiFoto that has a picture of our dog, a Tibetan Terrier
named Violet, on each side. My kids are cute too, but I hesitate to put their photos on a purse, not only for security reasons but also for reasons of practicality. First, the kids will change: teeth are lost and replaced, hair is shorter or longer, fashions evolve. Not that I carry the same handbag year after year, but if I put the kids' picture on a purse it'll obsolesce as soon as I drive it off the parking lot.

Dsc00879The second reason comes from pure public relations. I carry a photo handbag partly to promote FeeFiFoto, and it's astonishing how much attention this puppy purse generates. Especially when Violet's with me, people look at the purse and then at the dog and then back to the
purse and their faces light up. Seems hokey, but the joint appearance of the dog and the purse with a picture of the dog makes people smile. And somehow, no matter how cute your kids are, photos of them never seem to have the same effect. Even if the dog's not with me people still comment on the bag, and charming them is a slam dunk when I say that's not just any dog on my purse -- it's my dog.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Unusual Ways Of Looking At Usual Things


When your business involves photographs you regularly witness astonishingly creative approaches to the same old square or rectangular format.

When I had portraits taken of my kids I'd baffle the photographers by insisting on keeping the unusual photos like this one:

Bennettfingers_5The woman who took this shot had her finger on delete, but I stopped her; this photo shows the essence of my son when he was six months old, with the fingers in the mouth and the little smile behind them. I once insisted on a portrait of my daughter taken from the back.

Here are some more unusual photos I found while browsing the net:

"The following shots are all of moving subjects where the photographer has made the choice to set their camera to capture the movement as blur rather than freezing it. This is in all cases by choosing (or letting the camera choose) a ’slow’ shutter speed (although by slow you’ll see that the speeds (noted under each image) vary from anything from 1/30 second to up to 40 minutes)."

MovingPhoto by Sara Heinrichs - Exposure Time: 20 seconds

MovementPhoto by Mr Bones - No exposure settings supplied

Movement-BlurPhoto by Amnemona - No exposure settings given

BlurPhoto by Ben McLeod - Shutter Speed - 8 seconds

BlurredPhoto by WisDoc - Shutter Speed - 1/30

Urban-BlurPhoto by Wam Mosely - Shutter speed - 4/5 of a second


...And one of my own. Taken at Disney World, shutter speed I-Have-No-Idea, while riding in a slowly moving pedicab. In case you can't tell, it's a plain old plant.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Next Time Read The Recipe FIRST

My kids are rather adventurous eaters, and who am I to deny them their favorites? Of course, one of their favorites is McDonald's and I deny that all the time, but still -- I suppose you could say I indulge them when their requests are healthy. Anyway, they're particularly fond of an Italian white bean soup they order every time we eat at a particular restaurant (they also like the chocolate shell this place puts on top of ice cream; consequently they refer to this restaurant as "Gold Brick"). The owner graciously gave me a list of ingredients but no measurements or instructions because he figured, correctly, that I'd rarely need to produce a bathtub full of soup; I knew I could figure it out.

Yesterday I put a package of white beans in a huge pot to soak overnight. This morning I drained the water, replaced it with chicken broth, and simmered the pot on the stove for an hour.

This afternoon, after looking up a white bean soup recipe on the internet, I strained the broth into a bowl, filled the pot with water, and put it back on the stove so the beans could cook correctly.


If I did everything perfectly the first time life would hold no surprises.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Bet These People Don't Get Many Girl Scout Cookies

Holy Smokes!! How do you think they get up their driveway in the winter?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Get The Door...

This is my week to bring the "healthy morning snack" to Cleo's second grade class. Yesterday we brought three colors of grapes, and today I promised pizza (I'm setting the bar kind of high, I guess). Pizza was especially appropriate because yesterday they surveyed each other and made graphs showing everyone's favorite topping, so I knew I'd be a hero by 10:15 am.


Did you know that most pizza places don't open until 10 or 11? I didn't either.

I called Domino's at 7.30 am and got a recording about business hours. An hour later I called again from my cell phone and got a recording about placing orders, but nobody ever picked up the phone. Meanwhile I drove to the nearest Domino's, which is just off the university campus, figuring hey, college students keep odd hours and eat pizza for all meals, so of course a Domino's next to a college campus would be open.

The sign on the door said they opened at 10.00.

Uh oh.

A little background here: for some reason I seem to drop the ball when it comes to Cleo more than with Robey, or maybe I just feel that way because she takes things much more seriously than he does. She nearly ran away from home this summer when she missed the High School Musical 2 Premier Party Sleepover Extravaganza Wingding, because we were on a trip I'd planned ten months earlier, before she'd even heard of High School Musical. Consequently, if I had to switch the pizza snack to Thursday and bring bagels and cream cheese today, I was going to have lots of splainin'
to do.

I borrowed a yellow pages from a drugstore and began calling every pizza place I could find; only one person answered the phone and he said he could cook it but didn't know how to take my order so I'd have to call back later and speak to an order-taker (okay, this didn't make a lot of sense to me either, but he was very gracious, so I just thanked him and let it go).

Despair set in and I began preparing my speech about how two days really don't amount to much and sometimes things just don't work out as you'd planned, as I headed back to my car to drive to a bagel place.

Just as I put the key in the ignition a little car parked next to me and out came: SUPERMAN! Okay, not really -- it was the Domino's guy.

What a trooper he was. He set up for fifteen minutes and then raced through preparing four pizzas: two cheese, one pepperoni and one sausage, because that selection most closely reflected the previous day's survey results. I was out of there and on my way by 9.50.

The pizzas were an enormous hit and for one day, at least, I was the World's Best Mom in the eyes of 24 second graders and one pixie.

For future reference, you can order from Domino's as much as a month in advance.