Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We all wait


until 3:25 p.m.

-August Break
-Erika

Innocent?

More like INSTANT!

I'm about to dust off my machine.

-Erika

Monday, August 30, 2010

The ride has began.

-Erika
-August Break

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer's Good-Bye

All signs are pointing to the fact that Summer's waving good-bye.  The sun dropped a little earlier last night.  Some old cartoons were played before the little ones got too cranky.  You could tell that the mosquitoes knew their days were numbered too.  They were on full attack mode; drinking from us with the gluttony of man on Death Row.  This morning, we woke up & realized that we're tagged with their unfortunate "Good-Bye" notes.

School starts tomorrow which is the loudest note of the Fat Lady's Song.  I'm spending tonight making the first of many packed lunches.  I'll be ironing some tiny clothes with a glass of wine perched on the board.  We'll be reviewing his list & adding emergency contact information to his book-bag.  Ears will be cleaned out & nails will be trimmed.  And finally, we'll sit around the table for homemade pie & ice cream.  It's Summer's Final dinner.  We've prepared all that we can.  We've talked it up & reassured as often as two parents are able.  The lump in my throat has disappeared, reappeared, & disappeared more times than Barbra Streisand's Farewell tour.  We've got nothing else to do but dole out hugs & say "Good-bye."

Good-bye, Summer.  You were good to us this year.  For the first time in my life & I can actually say, you'll be missed. 

-Erika
-August Break

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dirty Dishes Can Look Pretty Too.


-August Break

Erika

Friday, August 27, 2010

"It's Friday & I'm in Love" Ice Cream for Breakfast

In keeping with my quiet Internet week, I'll take you step-by-step through my Favorite for today.  Don't forget the links because I got a feeling you might want some.  It's just a feeling...

{toasting}

{churning}

{loving}

Happiness was mine this morning.  And it will be mine for lunch & dinner.  How can the day get any better?  

-August Break
-Erika


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Today was a good day.



-August Break
Erika

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday.


Inspired by this post.
-August Break

-Erika

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

He Really Wants to Help


The last time this room was cleared & paint cans were scattered, he was snuggling on top of my bladder.

August Break
-Erika

It's Odd That I Enjoy My Visits, Right?

Sincerely, I love visiting the dentist . . . like really, really look forward to it.

Tools Of The Trade


- Jill

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Who needs an Ice Cream Maker?



After reading this article & noticing that there were 7 recipes included, I decided to finally cash in some credit card points & pick one up.  It's sort of free & they've been piling up from my rental car trips.  Why not?

-August Break
Erika

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's Friday & I'm In Love: Back-to-School

Dear Erika -

So this isn't a "traditional" Friday post, but hear me out. In a week or so, your life will change pretty much forever. And in the tradition of being a good big sister - much better than the one I was growing up - let me offer some advice about back to school and what it will mean for you and the Boys, both from a parent's perspective and as a teacher's. If the list is too long, jump to the end for the "talking points."

Getting the Pretty Placed
My desk is kind of like my home away from home - it's filled will all sorts of crap
  • The first day will be brutal. Never underestimate how much sleep you will need the night before and how fleeting it will be. When you walk into the classroom, because I am assuming you will, be prepared for Cooper to let go. I'm serious . . . he will let go of your hand and walk away. And you will be there wondering what to do next. If you are like me, you will be inconsolably crying and trying to figure out if other people have noticed. They have and so has Cooper's teacher. The beauty of this is, she's seen it all before, but you still need to turn and walk out the door. Don't wait for Coop to turn around and wave like they do in the movies . . . it doesn't happen. 
  • That first afternoon? It might be brutal, too. He might not want to share what he did. He might not be that interested in school. He might not want to go back. But most likely, Coop will be tired as hell, so let him watch some Phineas and Ferb and be done with it. Because he's tired, that bedtime will come earlier than normal . . . and you will thank him when he goes to sleep. 
  • While he's in bed, you will have a shit-ton of paperwork to do. Fill out this form, read this crap, send back this copy but not that one . . . it's mind numbing, sweetie. However, his teacher probably went to a lot of trouble assembling that information in to one nice and tidy little packet. Return it to her the next day in the same nice and tidy little order. 
  • Speaking of his teacher, present and future, this person will see Cooper eight hours a day for five days a week. She only sees this side of him: the side that sits in a desk or plays with his new friends or won't stop talking no matter where she tries to move him. She doesn't see the Cooper who laughs at Becket's silly jokes or snuggles on the couch. Truthfully, that's fine because you don't see the Cooper she does. Some kids are different at school than they are at home, but don't think that he is the same in both places. 
  • At some point in his academic life, Coop will have a teacher who doesn't "get" him. He might come home and insist that his teacher hates him and nobody else gets in trouble and he's being picked on. Chances are he's 99.9% wrong. I've taught over 1,000 kids and can honestly say that I've never hated a single one. Sure, there were unmotivated ones or kids who just could have cared less where they were but actually hating a kid? Never happened. Kids sometimes can't figure out what is going wrong at school or what role they have in the situation, so they look at the adult and can't figure out why Mrs. So-and-so doesn't fix the problem right away like Mom does. That failure, real or imagined, gets translated as "she must hate me." Trust me, there are tons of kids I just didn't "get" . . . chances are they didn't "get" me either. 
  • If Coop is riding the bus, you know darn well what goes on when kids are on the bus. Nine times out of ten, the bus driver will keep the kindergarteners away from the "big" kids, but Cooper may hear words he never heard before. Then again, with me as an aunt, he's heard them all before . . . but nobody will be there to remind him that this type of language isn't acceptable from him.  
    Day 1
    The first day of school is exciting for everyone . . . but so tiring
     
  • Let's say that you need to contact Coop's teacher. Find out from her what her preferred method of contact is. If it's email, use it but don't abuse it. If it's by phone, don't expect an immediate response, but if she doesn't call back in 26 hours, call again. If it's in writing, for god's sake, make sure you write it on a clean sheet of paper . . . not on the back of a Target receipt. You really don't want to be that parent. Trust me. 
  • Probably right before Thanksgiving, you will need to have your first parent-teacher conference. Undoubtedly, they are the most nerve-wracking thing you will have to do in a long time (hell, they even put PAP smears to shame). You'll feel like you are ten and being called down by Sister Mary Margaret for something you know damn well you didn't do. Here's a little secret: as much as parents dislike conferences, teachers dislike them even more. At least 25% of our appointments don't show up, even though reminders were sent home on numerous occasions. Probably that same amount of parents never even bothered to make an appointment . . . and those are the parents we really wanted to see. So sign up for a conference, be on time, smile and ask questions, and leave Becks at home. As cute as he is (and he is cute), the conference isn't any place for him.
  • If you want to get his teacher a small present for Christmas, please stick to this list: gift cards, gift cards, gift cards. Don't buy a candle (too many to count) or a Christmas decoration (too many to count) or send in homemade cookies (she might have an issue eating homemade food from students . . . many of us do). Buy a gift card, pop that baby in an actual card, and attach it to a small ornament. If you insist on buying a present, you can never go wrong with books. Think about what Cooper has brought home and buy a book along those themes. But go with the gift card.
  • At the end of the school year, and it comes way way too fast, sit down with Cooper and ask him what he liked doing best. Write it down for you to keep, and then write his teacher a letter thanking her for everything she did this year. All too often, teachers feel as if the world is out to get them. We turn on the television and every day it is the same: teachers and education suck. Really, we don't, but we get it. However, every teacher worth his or her salt wants to make a difference for the better for students. And all too often, we don't think we are. These kinds of letters are few and far between, but they are probably the most cherished gift any teacher will ever receive. I couldn't tell you what Christmas present "Michelle" gave me, but I can quote you the "thank-you" letter she wrote me word for word some five years later. So,write that thank you letter and include what made the year special for Coop (and you).
    Olive Helps Pack
    Olive thought she was going to school . . . she's going on a trip soon, but not in a suitcase
     So, to recap with the talking points:
    • First day: let him go (and don't wear mascara).
    • First afternoon: give in on the television a little.
    • That evening: do your paperwork and send it back immediately.
    • Home Cooper is different from School Cooper . . . repeat.
    • Mrs. So-and-so is probably not a meanie; she just has 26 other children who need some TLC, too.
    • Bus = bad language and behavior, but he'll be fine.
    • Find out how you should contact the teacher and stick with that method. 
    • Parent-teacher conferences aren't fun for anybody.
    • Presents? Gift cards. 
    • When you reach the end,  write a sincere thank you to the teacher. It might just make her year.
    That's it . . . I'm sure I forgot something, but you know how to reach me and I'll tell you the truth, completely unvarnished. I don't envy you that first day. The Girls never saw me cry, but I don't remember being led from the door, wiping the snot from the tip of my nose. Yup, I was that mom. So not cool.

    Love,
    Jill

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    A shit-ton of records.

    I decided to pull off & visit some antique stores after my final training on Wednesday. I was in Wabash, IN & I passed the most beautiful store front. It was an old drug store on a corner lot. I knew it used to be a drug store because the huge stain glass windows declared it. Lovely glass that wrapped the entire store front. The letters were spelled in shades of bottle green. Old chairs & school desks were lined out front. And two old men were holding up the door frame chatting about some town gossip. I walked up to Jack's Antiques & knew I'd either be out quickly or I'd be inside the shop for hours. Jack, I'm assuming it was Jack, told me I had 4 levels of antiques to sift through. And the floor right above me was home to over a million records. He bid me good-bye & off I went.

    I had to be careful because this wasn't the normal antique store. There weren't booths or carefully designed rooms that I'm used to from the dozens of stores I visited in the past. But there were broken tables & bookcases holding everything from napkins to coffee cups. Memorial plates to license plates. Halloween decorations to tattered Santas. Nothing had a price on it & everything was seconds away from turning to dust. I saw a sign pointing to the basement & decided to skip that level. Quite frankly, I was frightened. The basement was dark & moldy looking. But then I saw the handwritten sign pointing upstairs to the records.

    I took the stairs with extreme care. Some of the steps felt soft, but I had old movie posters to keep my attention. Amadeus, Fox & the Hound, & Love Me Tender called me up those stairs. When I cleared the landing, I saw more records than I ever could have imagined. Some in sleeves & others were just piled up. Big ones & little ones. Not alphabetized, just stacked all over the place. This building that housed millions of "antiques" was also clearly an antique. I counted three baby pools full of brown & stale rain water. I lost count of the number of trash cans with the same type of water. The walls were damaged by years of leakage. Plasters had crumbled away to the studs. The vinyl floors were peeling up in spots. I knew I had to take some pictures to remember this place, but I was still a little frightened. I figured Jack wasn't making the climb. I'm in my mid-thirties & had a dangerous trip. But what if Jack had a son? I kept thinking some crazed man that had never seen a CD let alone an iPod lived in one of the rooms. I kept thinking he was going to be pissed at me for taking pictures. Pissed because this thing I wore around my neck was going to steal the souls of his records. I was afraid I'd get trapped in one of the rooms. Afraid that the floor would buckle beneath me. Afraid the years of dust & mold would coat my skin & send me home with some mysterious disease. Afraid that this imaginary crazed son would corner me in a room & I'd have no choice but to become his wife: the Future Queen of Vinyl. So I took 5 pictures, finished my exploration, & got the hell out.

    Jack was extremely sweet & pleasant. He told me that people are always coming in to sell things. They bring him junk. He turns away more & more people each week. He told me to be safe if I ever came back to Wabash & used their bike trails. I guess I look like the kind of woman that rides a bike, because I never mentioned riding a bike.  I would have taken his picture, but a stray dog was walking in the street.  And Jack did everything he could to save it.  Before the dog took his attention, I told him I have friends that love records & he said for me to tell them about his place.

    You've been told.





    -Erika
    August Break

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    Summer Is Near Its End

    I spent a whole day at school today just trying to get ready for the new kids coming through my door in two weeks. It felt kind of good to be back . . . until I realized it was 5 PM, and I had been there since 9 AM.

    Fallen


    August Break

    - Jill

    PS - This is my favorite photo from the photo walk that I took in July. It's something about the feather amidst the gravel.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    SSK & K2Tog Are Back.


    There was a time when I couldn't imagine not knitting one stitch in 24 hours.  How could I go all day & not push the needle through a loop?  How could I not wrap the wool around & pop it out?  But I felt this coldness coming.   I tried to avoid the chill because I truly love knitting.  I started new projects hoping they would reignite my passion.  Complicated cables, luscious yarns, beautiful end products.  But it was a losing battle.  My boredom won.  And I was forced to look at a sad pile of yarn.  Still I'd return to the yarn because knits & purls were a part of my everyday life.  And then one day, I was tired & didn't glance at my projects.  I felt a little guilty that day.  The next day, I reached for the project & laid it beside me on the couch.  But I didn't touch it.  And then those days began to stretch into weeks.  The guilt slid away & I became a woman who used to knit.

    But yesterday, it happened.  I've flirted with knitting in the past couple weeks.  Warm stolen glances.  A stitch here & a purl there.   Remember the scene in Cast Away when Helen Hunt & Tom Hanks run to each other in the rain?  Yesterday, I ran to my knitting.  Not in the rain of course because I was using wool.  I fell into the couch & got lost in the charts of Cerisara.  I'd love to say that I'll have a new cardigan for Fall, but I'm not new to this game.  Take a peek at my basket of projects.  There are more half finished projects than I care to admit.  I've been forced to recognize that any romance flickers & fizzles.  I'm just hoping the next fizzle holds out until at least one project is completed.

    -Erika
    August Break

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    Reflection

    August Break
    -Erika

    Sunday, August 15, 2010

    The New Normal

    The Girls moved back to Philadelphia yesterday for their second year at Temple. They took two new beds, two new (to them) dressers, our old couch, and tons of thrift store goodness. Our bodies ache and are bruised in places you might not realize could bruise. This morning, the new normal of being a twosome again, sets in . . . Dave and I will miss them more than they will ever know.

    Orange Juice For Two


    August Break (kind of)

    - Jill

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Fleeting.

    This never happens.  Him walking.  And if he walks, he never holds your hand.  He doesn't run.  He's usually hanging on your leg sobbing that you aren't holding him.  And he never holds your hand.  During this walk, Mark even noted this rare moment.  I think you can actually see Mark's smile lines busting a few new creases.

    And within seconds, the moment was gone.

    But there is a bright side: he was walking on his own without a single tear.

    -Erika

    August Break.

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    The Day After Margaritaville

    Last night we went to our first Jimmy Buffett concert . . . and today we are paying for it.

    Cracking Paint


    August Break

    - Jill

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    Just Because

    A while back, Dave and I bought tickets for two concerts: Pearl Jam for him and Kings of Leon for me. He loves Pearl Jam and has never seen them. I love Kings of Leon and had seen them three times in the past. Pearl Jam rocked; Kings of Leon canceled due to a "throat infection." Last night, they came back . . . and I was happy. If you've only ever heard "Sex On Fire" or "Use Somebody," please have a listen. Most of their stuff isn't like that (thankfully). This is my favorite song, one that I can and happily sing at the top of my lungs.



    - Jill (plus, I have a little crush on the drummer . . . and yes, my husband knows)

    Glimpse of breakfast



    August Break
    -Erika

    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    Running With Scissors

    The $200 IKEA Scissors


    August Break . . . and a crappy Internet connection prevented me from posting this two hours ago. I think we're ditching Vonage this week and going with our cell phones.

    - Jill

    hi. {Messages from my city}

    {While I love the "art of living" windows I've been seeing on Flickr, this is more my kind of window message}



    -Erika
    August Break

    Saturday, August 7, 2010

    Pinpoint.



    August Break
    -Erika

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    "It's Friday & I'm in Love" The importance of a blog

    I asked Jill yesterday that if she had a Favorite to please blog it on Friday. I had nothing. No products that I can't live without. No songs that I haven't already shared. I was all favorited out. But then last night, it happened! A favorite popped up & had to be blog. I discovered why I like having a blog. There are good reasons to blog & I'll share them.

    The number one reason is pretty obvious, but it isn't my favorite today.  Sure, having a blog is great for your voice. It's a great way to make faraway family member feel like they live an inch closer. You can ramble & ramble until your fingers ache from typing. It's like having the best conversation ever because it's only what you want to say (deep down we're all a little selfish). No interruptions from kids which means you don't have to backtrack to your point. Backtracking always lessens the importance. You don't have to watch boredom develop on your friends' faces. Nothing. You get to rant or rave with wild dance moves & no one tells you to stop. Don't like what you're reading? Click off the page. Fire off a nasty comment. Fine. Blogging is good for your voice, but it still isn't my favorite reason for this blog.  I'm sure this will change on any given day, but archiving is my favorite reason today.

    I'd say most blog for the voice, but archiving is sorely overlooked. Have a favorite song?  Post it. There will come a day when dinner prep needs a good soundtrack.  Have a favorite shop? Share it & then you can find it easily when it's gift giving season. Recipe that needs to go into the rotation? Type it up! It's irritating when you can't remember why your favorite Quinoa recipes is. I spent two days ago typing a variety of phrases into google: quinoa recipes, quinoa lemon, quinoa 1/4t cayene pepper, easy quinoa salad, quinoae, ugh where the fuck is that yummy quinoa recipe. I finally found it under Lemony Quinoa.  See?  I'll never have to search again.


    And I'm using the archiving benefits of blogging today.  Once a year, I screw up two things.  It's a habit I can't break.  Two things that I've been doing for about 14 years.  Two things that drive me so insane because I know it's coming & I also know that I'll forgot about it.    They both occur at the OBGYN which makes the irritation extra icky.  The slap of forgetfulness stings a little more than wondering when daylight savings starts or ends (I forget that too).  The first thing I forget to do every year is to sit close enough to the edge of the table.  And then I have to squirm closer to the edge which can never be done gracefully in a paper robe.  If men had to do that wiggle just once they'd figure out a way to make periods disappear.  And the second thing I forget is to remember the date of my last period.  I could blame this forgetting on my edge-sitting squirm.  Maybe it's being nervous about having your inside scraped with a stick.  I hate that sound.  Maybe it's the freezing jelly that can never be warmed enough.   Really, who loves to visit their OB?  But the date of my last period should be painless.  Every year when they ask me, I look as confused as the first time I put that robe on backwards.  Actually calling it a robe is silly, but no one has ever called it a "paper vest".  I still have no idea why it went on backwards.  But the OB asks rain or shine, "What was the date of your last period?"  And I start to stammer.  I stumble to find the date & ask for a calendar.  Trying desperately to remember.  I never do.  It's a test I really don't want to fail.  Clearly the calendar is a stall tactic.  If I could see my chart, I'm sure that "She's a Guesser" is written in big red letters next to the "Last Period" section.  So today, I'm using my blog for good.  Today is the date of my last period.

    And that's why every woman should have a blog.

    -Erika

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    Tonight, he got the popsicle


    -Erika
    August Break

    Why Toy Story 3 Kind of Sucked For Me

    This summer has been weird, just plain weird. We got out of school a little on the late side of June (apparently, snow and ice are uncommon in northeastern Pennsylvania), but that's not very weird. I made a list of what to do for the summer, but that is not very weird either. However, it's been weird having the Girls home for the summer. When you see Erika's photos, they inevitably have images of the Boys playing or doing something fun or learning about life. My photos? Pretty much devoid of such cuteness because I have 19-year-olds. Getting them to pose for a photo or let me take a quick snapshot is an exercise in negotiation skills that any union boss in the 1950s would be proud of.

    So, that weird summer, the one in which I am in a new phase of motherhood - and one that I don't know if I completely grasp as of yet - is about to come to an end. We have been all consumed by apartment shopping as of late. What do you need? What have we got in the attic? Where can we find a cheap dresser? Who's bringing the pots and pans? Remember that list I created? Fuck it . . . half of it won't get done now.

    Bun-Bun and Sara


    On August 14th, the Girls will be moving into their first apartment in Philadelphia. They are living in a converted warehouse that is full of modern amenities, ones that make a slightly paranoid mother feel good about her children living in the middle of one of the countries largest cities. They will be taking our couch, their Mimi's silverware, some Salvation Army pots and pans, a rescued kitten (who really, really has been kind of fun to have), and a whole assortment of "things necessary for modern life" with them. But they are leaving Bun-Bun and Sara at home. And that makes me a little sad.

    Bun-Bun and Sara were their constant companions when they were little. Jordan couldn't get to sleep without rubbing Bun-Bun's ear on her cheek. Sara and Shelby snuggled tightly in bed every night. If we left Bun-Bun and Sara at a grandparent's house, then we turned around to get them. Once after I washed Bun-Bun, the dryer was set too high, and the rattle inside melted a little. It didn't sound right, and Jordan was distraught . . . so Bun-Bun had an "emergency rattle transplant" with Shelby's Mousie (clearly not the preferred stuffie). At our mom's house, we had her stitch up Bun-Bun's ear, and she thought she would "help" by adding some stuffing to Bun-Bun's middle . . . mistake. Jordan shrieked that Mimi had "ruined" Bun-Bun, so Mom had to remove the stuffing and make things right. Shelby named Sara when she was about 15-months and spent hours talking to her. Sara has that plastic-rubber face that is impossible to clean . . . but her five-o'clock shadow never got in the way of being snuggle worthy.

    Ragged But Loved


    So, come August 14, the U-Haul will be loaded with all sorts of crap, but I'm pretty sure that Bun-Bun and Sara will be staying put. They will eventually make their way to the attic with the other toys that were cherished a long, long time ago. And that's alright. We all go through it eventually. Cooper will lose interest in his train blanket, Erika. He'll put it aside for something else like a skateboard, which he can't exactly cuddle . . . but if you don't wash it, you can occasionally still snuggle with it and remember when you were actually relevant in your children's lives.

    - Jill

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010

    Thorn In My Side*

    The Internet is an amazing place. You can translate just about any amount of text from English into another language - even Klingon. You can look up the #1 single on the date that you were born. You can even find a calculator to tell you how many days have passed between events. I know, I know . . . I could do this by myself, but quite frankly, why would I want to? Today marks my 6940 day married to my husband; translation . . . 19 years.

    He Wears It Every Day


    Maybe it doesn't seem like a lot, but I happen to think it is a rather big deal. We got engaged when we were 20, pregnant with what we thought was one child. Surprise . . . there are two kids! Good job! And yet, we got married anyway, and here's the kicker, we stayed married. I'm not saying it was easy - not by a long shot.

    If the Girls come home in a few months to drop the same bit of "good news" on us that we did with our parents, I don't know how I would react. Seriously, who gets married at 21 and has people look at them thinking, "Those kids are going to make it." A good percentage of the folks at our wedding probably thought the exact opposite, but I guess Dave and I just figured we could make it work. And after 6939 days, I think I might be ready to admit that I was right.

    At the Chateau Champlain


    I love you honey . . . thanks for the past 6940 days (and the new bag)! Here's looking at another 14, 940 plus days!

    - Jill

    * I always consider "Thorn In My Side" by The Eurythmics to be our song. It was the first song on our "mix tape" that I played at our reception

    Thanks


    Thank you all for the kind words yesterday. 
    oxoxo

    Thanks for the reminder, Keli! I decided to take an August Break too. 
    How hard could it be when stretched between two sisters?

    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    Slump-a-Dump

    7:12

    July has felt slumpy.  It isn't a full fledged depression.  You know the kind.  You wake up one day & your eyes are covered with dark glasses.  The kind of glasses that don't let in any joy, happiness, or really any type of emotion.  And then without warning, you fall asleep.  You wake up, begin your day, and sometime around lunch you realize that the glasses fell off.  Sunlight hits your eyes again & life is good.  A slump is slumpier.  You feel like you're tittering on the edge of normalcy & depression, but somehow you've remained balanced on the edge.  But the depression is also looming off that edge.  Waving at you.  Telling you it's fine to jump cause he'll catch you.

    I usually look through my end of month photos & are comforted that the days have unfolded beautifully.  The days were captured for what they were.  Some were important & marked by occasions.  Others were important because they were marked by nothing but ordinary goodness.  But July's Month didn't do it for me.  I can look at the photos & say, "Hell yes those are good photos."  That's a confidence I have & really always have.  I know that I can produce a good photo.  I can stand next to them with ease.  Not saying that I'm the best, but I'm saying that I have a talent.  My problem with the July mosaic was that I'm not feeling the importance of capturing those days.

    When I decided to run head first into photography it was for the sole purpose to capture every moment of our family life.  To edit the photos in the manner of how it appeared in my head.  To prove that making pizzas can be just as memorable as a graduation.  And looking at July, I again can say that I've accomplished that.  But it didn't have the same impact that it had from January to June.  It just didn't feel enough.  I started to ask myself daily, "Is this it?"  Some days, I only took the pictures to fulfill my 365 duties and it wasn't satisfying at all.  And that sort of frightens me.  I want it to be enough.  For the past 6 months it was enough.  More satisfying than I could have ever imagined.  And I need to find my way back there.  That doesn't mean going backwards to find it, but it does mean that I might have to work on a different path.  I have no idea what that means or where that will take me.

    This phantom tugging became a nagging bitch during my last work trip.  Spending four hours alone in the car can turn a marginally happy woman with a slight issue into a raving lunatic by the time you reach your appointment.   I decided to finally pick up "The Artist's Way".  I'm only into the first chapter, but I already can feel the importance of the book.  For the next 12 weeks, I thought "Why not give it a try?"  What's it going to hurt?   Maybe I'll shake out slump of this on my own.  I'm not sure if the book will even help.  But why not?

    Don't feel bad for me.  That's not the point of this post.  I'm assuming that slumps even out.  I know that I'll find my way.  And I'm not depressed.  Promise.  You'll know that.    I just need to figure out what I want from photography.  I'm not giving up on my 365 or the Flickr projects I've started.  Even though July didn't feel as passionate as the past couple months, photography still excites me like no other hobby.  I just felt like I should rant a little.   

    -Erika