Monday, December 31, 2012


...and upward 
to 2013

I'm not even sure how to dive into this post so I'm just going to go feet first.
Did you choose a word for 2012?
 I did. 
It was BECOME. 
It's funny, when the word came to me, it was with good intentions that I wanted to do right by that word. I had goals but in hind sight I had no plans to achieve them. There was always something that came up. Usually life...everyday life, work, family, chores, this, that and the other. I knew by...ohhhhh- February that this might not be the word I should have!  I got to thinking, these words are like New Years Resolutions and I stopped making those years ago because it seemed like I was always setting myself up for failure. PISH...who wants to do THAT year after year? 
But then,
 I became a MONARCH MAMA... 31 amazing Monarch Butterflies. 
Ok, so it wasn't EXACTLY what I had intended when I chose my word but somehow it soothed my ego. I became THE BEST steward to these creatures and learned more than I could ever hope raising these beauties.
 I became a much stronger woman due to life changing events with my mom. 
I just flew back from Florida for the second time to pick my mom up and settle her in back home after her hospital stay. I can say that she ate like nobody's business while I was there. There is still such a long road ahead for her. I wish I could wave a magic wand & make everything ok. I decompressed yesterday & for the first time in several weeks I didn't feel like my head was in a fog. I've had such compassion and love guiding me through this day to day. Frankie soothes my soul & has helped heal my broken heart. I've had so much support on over on IG. There is just this amazing, creative spirit of community over there.
My word for 2013 came like lighting before I headed back to Fl. 
There was NO doubt about it... 

And let me tell you...I intend to do JUST that!

I was showing Frankie the idea I had for a bracelet and he lead me to the garage...
...he actually had the letter punch kit I needed! I squealed in disbelief. He showed me how to do it... I messed a few washers up but finally did it!

I secretly left the finished bracelet on my mom's nightstand table so she could see this word

I think there is still a place in 2013 for my old word-I'm open minded & ready to receive anything that will help me become a bigger and better person.
 Big changes are coming next year.
Austin's graduating high school and will be off starting his new life adventure. My son, Justin, got stationed to Korea and is ready for his new far off adventures. My daughter Jamie and her fiance, Brian, may or not get married in 2013, but they're I am happy.
I know there are going to be some challenging times ahead...I'm the forever optimist but, I'm throwing in a dash of realism for good measure. I refuse to be defeated!
 I get knocked down, but I get back up again...ooohhh that's a song (squirrel moment!)
Thank you all for being such a special part of my life here in blogging land.
I look forward to another year here with you all, learning and growing and inspiring.
Happy New Year friends! 
Happy (2013) Snapping

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Scavenger Hunt...

...12-23-12 e-dition
Oh my...I woke up with a revelation this morning after my recent life altering event.
But I'll be blogging about that more tomorrow.
For now, decided today I want to play over at Ashely's

This was especially difficult to visualize just yesterday...
but photography, my fake snow,
 candy canes & playing with toys
 is pure and complete joy.

Frankie found this sweet, hot tangled mess of a nest 
as he cut down a bush a few weeks ago. 

Enough said

Uhhhhh....that would be a nice Jewish girl (that grew up Christmas) 
who likes to play with holiday
GUILTY as charged!

 Beautiful sea glass from my "sis" in Canada!

Ahhhh....This felt good today...really good
Merry Christmas for those of you celebrating. Hug your loved ones extra tight.
Happy (holiday) snapping!
P.S. Blogger is being all weird today...Not sure what's going on but I've had to edit this post several 
times as the layout keeps changing after I hit publish. Whatever, I don't have patience to try and fix it 
I'm done.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


...waiting for the found part

This is not a feel good post nor happy in any way so I am giving you fair warning to look away now.
I took this selfie several years ago for National Depression Screening Day, which takes place in Oct. I battled with depression 20+ years ago and digging myself out of that pit has largely shaped who I am today. 
My mother,
decided she would take her life
she survived.
She didn't try to go quietly
she will have scars on her wrists that will either make her stronger or defeat her purpose to live.
The signs were subtle, but there.
Being so far away and not being able to see the physical changes is hind sight.
I flew across the country to be with her and my dad. 
My brother and I had to do what NO child should have to do...or see
I hope one day the images of what I witnessed will not creep into my sleep.
I lost my mother that day, in more ways than I can count. 
I miss how our days intertwined and I haven't dared to fully grasp what I've lost, what our family lost that day in hopes that she finds her own way out that pit of ugly darkness.  
If you are still here reading this, I only ask one thing...
Please, check on an elder 
note any weight change & loss of appetite, the need to give things away, mood changes, withdrawal from family and friends...
Like a cancer, depression is not picky or selective and will take over anyone, at any age, at any given time.
The holidays can be especially difficult.

There are many dark days ahead.
is all I have
working on
wishing on a


 My mother...
Sally Ann

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rush, Hurry...

Holy Holidays Batman...Chanukah starts in a few you think I'm ready?
Where's my paper bag to breath in...
inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale...
It's crazy this time of year. is being all weird right now so I can't buy buy buy....
inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale...
So what is one to do while we wait? 
Edit, edit, edit!
I'm a Chanukah girl now, but I grew up Christmas...I never tire of the sights, sounds, smells of Christmas. So I got out my fake snow...and played! WHEEE.....
Off to see if Amazon is done being pesty...
Happy (candy cane) snapping!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The empty...

Well, the last of my butterflies flew off in a flurry today. No long goodbyes or even a photo op...He'd been cooped up in a pop up butterfly tent because of rain-The skies cleared at noon, I raced home from work to set him loose & the minute he latched onto my fingers...poof...gone...
just like that
I brought the chrysalis inside about 10 days ago because it was just too cold out and rain was coming.

He is handsome though. I thought it was fitting to use Kim Klassen's Cherished Scripted texture. I did cherish my time with each of the critters & looked forward to setting each butterfly go. I don't think the adventure has ended though...not by a long shot!
Happy (butterfly dreaming) snapping!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Buh Bye...

You've been swell!
You were FULL of fun and adventure...

...wonder and beauty

...and miracles!

...22 little miracles to be exact! (1 still pending!)

It there are such things as butterfly angels...we have a few more among us.

You reminded me of great classic songs...

You've left me more than grateful and heartfelt.
And now...
as we tear off another page of the calendar,
 We get to have fun, fun, fun, with winter!
Happy (candy cane) snapping!

Monday, November 26, 2012



I've decided to play over at Stasha's
She is so fun, has the cutest little J, Big Max & visiting friend.
Today we are sharing 10 i-phone photos...

*What I'm reading...
...Amazing book btw

...I LOVE beads in fall decorations

*I dream of Frankie & I visiting Paris I drew this

*Sugar-free cream puffs I made for my MIL on Thanksgiving

*The "real" cream puffs I made for Frankie the day after Thanksgiving!

*My last, sweet critter, aka "the mystery critter" before morphing into it's chrysalis
*Mystery critter cause we don't know if it's a male or female!

*The mystery critter today...see the wings forming!!??
*It will emerge in the coming days!

*Remember 2 days ago when I was grumpy?
*This is why I LOVE selfies!

Danbo wanted to watch this beauty emerge.

The last little lady I let go the day before Thanksgiving!
Isn't she purty?

And there you have it...10 photos from my i-phone.
Now...I have to go read or cyber shopping or...I another piece of pumpkin pie!
Happy(whatever makes you happy) snapping!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm here... stay

Unlike my beauties who are off into the world, I like it here. Granted I don't run contests, or have patience to give tutorials but, like you Roban, I like the written word and sometimes I have a lot to say ...even if I am the only one that actually reads it!
 I was sort of in a odd funk yesterday-I blame it on the extra holiday yummies I've been devouring, like pie for breakfast!
 I read and re-read each of your comments yesterday. You are truly amazing women on speaking your minds & I appreciate all that you had to say. As I get older, I'm finding that I surround myself with like minds, such as yourselves who just tell it like it is!
 I find it hysterical that 3 of us ran out of space at the same time. At any rate, I'm paying the $2.49 a month so I can keep my small piece of the blogging world to write, dream, hope, vent, share and tell stories with my photos.
As some of you stated, IG does have it's place, and I'm happy to have it until I figure out what's up with "Matilda" because when it comes right down to it, I have such a deep need for shooting life and what goes on around me. No matter the medium. 
It's all a balancing act, some days we are just a little better at the balancing part.
So, to dear blogging friends...
thank you for being you!

Happy (insert high fives all around) snapping!

I'm being featured here:
Geri does some really awesome mixed media work along with iphone wonders!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

the problem is...

...i'm outta free space
I can't even upload a photo to go along with this post. I went back & deleted older entries thinking that would ease the congestion of the virtual storage space~but that didn't help. It's not about the $2.49 I'll be charged a month for 25GB of storage-it's about time and energy I have to keep going here. 
Not that I don't love having you all stop by...
Ok...IG might have something to do with it-I mean can you blame me? The iphone has taken the burden off when and where you can shoot & edit. I know iphone-ography could never replace what DSLR's can do-but I have some serious things to consider...
*Matilda-I know I need to send my 60D back to Canon. I'm so discouraged when I download my pics to the computer and I am not getting the images I expect this camera to put out. There are focus malfunctions that just take the fun out of photography. I know it's pricey to send it back to the factory-so I'm considering the cost.

*I'm at that weird place (again) of what do I really want to do with photography. 
  Any creative ideas are being buried, smothered & generally put on the back burner to simmer because work, time, energy, holidays, procrastination & whatever else I can think up.
I'm always in a vicious circle, like a dog chasing it's tail
round and round and round...
 It sort of comes back to the issues mentioned above...either that of I must have a serious lack of whatever it is necessary to make everything that needs to be done vs. everything I want to do come to fruition. 

So, there you have it...
a conundrum

what to do...
what to do...

Happy (problem solving) snapping

Monday, November 19, 2012

And so... begins

*Frankie and I do Thanksgiving. It's going to be small family affair. The good news is that everyone we know has someplace to go for the holiday. I'm off this week so I started preparing for the feast. It's not Thanksgiving unless there's stuffing and home made cranberry sauce on the table. This is a long way from the canned stuff I adored as a kid! My secret is a large orange peel, and a squeeze from the orange, a small lemon peel, a splash of Merlot the sauce is cooling a small dash of salt and a quick grind from the pepper grinder...seriously. I love that everyone that comes gets their request made and is lovingly waiting for them when they sit to eat.
I'd love to hear your favorite dish and/or memory for the holiday.
Happy (feasting) snapping!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


...i am here

I think sometimes we mom's get so caught up taking the pictures and being behind the camera, that we forget us! I want my kids to always remember me as a smiling, happy, go-lucky woman that loved them and the life she lived!
i am here
Happy (selfie) shooting!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On the job...
That certainly describes this Monarch Journey I've been on.  Seems I wasn't quite prepared for the arrival of these critters & all the details needed to raise them. But, I'm committed to their survival so I read and researched and now I feel like I'm sort of an unofficial official on raising Monarchs!

Right before a butterfly emerges they go from that beautiful jade green, to black, to clear. At this point if you want to watch a butterfly emerge, you can not take your eyes off of it for one'd miss it happens that fast!

The newly emerged butterfly hangs onto the chrysalis for dear life for at least an hour. Their wings will unfurl and fill with fluid. After that hour they slowly start to crawl up anything that's near. When they are ready to just know. At the same token, when they're not ready to go they just hang out!

Theres' actually one on my head too.

The difference between the male and the female are the two dark spots on the males lower wings.


I'm happy to announce that so far 11 males and 12 females have emerged & have been set free to continue on their own journey. There are 8 chrysalis left and a few of those will be emerging in a day or so. I have one caterpillar left who just did it's "J" hang and will be emerging hopefully in about 2 weeks. The temps are cooler now and that has a lot to do with how fast they emerge. Life is quickly returning to B.B. (Before Butterflies!) Today, I realized just how much time and energy I've put into this venture. The rewards are priceless and outweigh every penny spent and every lost moment of sleep and worry. I've been able to hold every butterfly and say my goodbyes as they go free. 
My heart is full knowing that in some small way, and with a little luck, I've helped kept this amazing going.
Happy (butterfly) Snapping

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Nature Nerd (that's me)...

...weighs in

It's a sign from one of my critters...

...I'm sure of it!

Happy (nature) shooting!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It started with...

...a notion
That really spells trouble right there...I'm sure If Frankie was standing behind me as I type this he'd be shaking his head "yes" vigorously!
~Pour yourself a cup of your favorite beverage and I'll tell you my tale~
 About 4 years ago, I became wildly fascinated with the migration of  Monarch butterflies. Thousands trek from Mexico to the East Coast every year. We've only had one year where they flit and fluttered like mad before the numbers dwindled drastically. I started following a web site monarch and watched and learned. Then, three years ago, I decided to plant my own milkweed to hopefully attract the adult Monarch.
*Milkweed is the only plant that adult Monarchs will lay their eggs on. It's also the only plant that once the larvae hatches will eat. Basically, I watered and killed the aphids that suck the nectar out of the plant for 3 years. 
Boring, but necessary, and as I looked under a leaf for the gazillionth time, I spied the 1st egg! I think I hyperventilated googling images to make sure, 100% sure, that that's what I was looking at. That was 4 weeks ago.
 * Each time I went out to check the plant, more larvae appeared.  The vicious Santa Ana's flared up & I had to bring this huge potted milkweed plant to my back patio that is better protected from the winds. I rearranged everything to accommodate this plant! I figured I was already vested & felt as though I was gifted as their steward, so I enlisted Frankie's help to clamp a tarp against the railing.  As the number of larvae grew and as some would wander off, I asked Frankie, to please build an enclosure. He built an amazing 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 ft. butterfly habitat from PVC. We hot glued white tulle onto the pipe & now they were as safe as possible from the winds AND the birds. 
Soon we had 40 larvae. 
They pretty much eat and poop. 
*They eat and eat and eat! They eat so much & so fast I was running out of milkweed. In a near panic I called nursery after nursery to see if they carried the plant. Thank goodness for Green Arrow! So far, I'm several trips and 8 plants in ($7.99 ea!) The Santa Ana's were still whipping about and I would lay in bed worrying about those critters as much as I worried about my roof blowing off. One night, around 1 a.m. I went out to check on them & to make sure that the covering I had placed over the habitat was holding. Sure enough, it had blown off & I had to find a way to secure it. Everyone was safe!  So you see,  I was busy, busy, busy, and so much of my attention was focused on these babies that were growing faster and faster. I was still researching to try & stay ahead of them so I knew what to expect next! 
* I was tickled pink once I knew there was enough food and the winds had died down. I looked forward to sitting and playing with and learning about these amazing creatures after work. The larvae shed 4 times and go through 5 instars (stages between molting) then climb away from the milkweed to secure & attach themselves to get ready to pupate. 
My "babies" are getting fatter and plumper!


*Oh he's ready!
After awhile, the feeding frenzy slowed way down and the critters started making their way to the top of the habitat. Once there, they pretty much don't move for a few days, & attach themselves with a "silk button."


...the magic really starts to happen. The larvae do a "J" hang and will stay like this for another few days and if you are lucky, you can actually watch as they shed the outside skin for the last time & emerge as this beautiful chrysalis.  Sadly, nature isn't as beautiful and perfect as we'd like it to be and thhis little guy didn't pupate successfully. I've also had to educate myself on all the things that can go wrong with Monarchs. They have a hard time out in nature. Besides parasites that can harm the caterpillar, I've lost 4 chrysalis to the Tachinid Fly that uses the caterpillar as a host to do its own pupating. The first one was devastating.  I had to further read about how to destroy the chrysalis humanely. I had to get a real backbone to even deal with the next 3. A few days ago, I cleaned the habitat, took out what I suspected as infected milkweed, found the fly larvae, and hoped that the rest of the chrysalis were not infected. Normally, the caterpillars crawl away from the plant to go J hang, two guys decided not to... So I've had to learn how to re-hang the chrysalis otherwise I'd have deformed butterflies.

I've had to secure 2! I've found a chrysalis under an outdoor chair and under a fern-like plant.
I found this guy 2 days ago wandering about...
 *He's the only caterpillar left.

This... where we're at today.
I call the habitat the napping house now. It's filled with 30 healthy looking chrysalis. 
You can definitely see the wings forming on this one! 
Now, we sit...
...and wait.
They'll stay like this for about 12-14 days. The temps here have been cold and hot so
 I'm scared and excited about watching the butterflies emerge. I know that deformities can happen. What makes these butterflies so special is that they are 4th generation. These are the ones that will fly to Mexico to start the whole process over again. That's why I've been so neurotic passionate about making sure these survive!
We have about 4-6 days before the first ones start to emerge.
I could NOT have done this without Frankie...he's my hero and has urged me along through the good and not so good times with this venture.
For my peeps on IG, thank you for your support & welcomed comments and hope I have not inundated you with pics. I'm really trying to curb my enthusiasm, at the same time draw you in so that you can enjoy the journey with me.
It's been such a fabulous learning experience and it's not over yet!
To be continued...
Happy (butterfly) snapping!