Sunday, December 29, 2013

Boom!

Oh hey, look! I can get one more post in before New Year. ;) That will bring my post count up to 48. *cough* haha

Obligatory Christmas morning picture (since I post one every year):


Don't let that picture fool you, I was sick. SIIIICCCCCCKKKKK. Ugh. I haven't had the flu that bad in at least eight years.

Meh.

I'm happy with the way the picture turned out, though! haha. We're cute for Christmas morning. There have been years were we look like homeless people. Anything better than that is a bonus.


Bekah got a Kindle Fire for Christmas. I have to say, I AM NOT IMPRESSED. What a waste of money. I should have told her to get a mini iPad. The Fire does not block the cloud books like the other Kindles do and if you put it in the kid mode it cripples the stupid thing. I hate it SO MUCH. The only way around the stupidity of the set up is to open her a new account. Ugh, no.

If you're listening, Amazon, until you fix this issue (which you haven't in the last two years according to the internet), I'm telling EVERYONE I come into contact with not to buy the Fire.

So yeah, that's my review. PASS ON THE KINDLE FIRE.


And that's pretty much it for me. Same, same around here.

Catch you in 2014.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Countdown to Christmas

Ho, ho, ho.

I feel like I don't have my act together for Christmas. I'm finished shopping for presents, though (thank you, Steven). I'm not sure why I feel so… I don't know, uneven?

Does that make sense? Can I use "uneven" to describe my inner scrambled feelings?

Eh. I did. So there.




I've been giving a lot of thought to bringing back the daily picture feature next year. I admit, I miss it. It's easier to blog when I have something to blog about. Having pictures helps because I can focus on the smaller, daily things.

2013 was so crazy I wouldn't have been able to keep up. Yet in retrospect, I kind of wish I had. This has been one of those transition years. Hopefully 2014 will be filled with monotony.

Well, not too much monotony.

I'd like to have my furniture. And perhaps decorate my own space. It's the small things.


Another thing that needs to change next year is my writing. BECAUSE. I have no idea what's wrong with me. It's like, I'm ready to kick some manuscript booty.

And then.

Sigh. Life happens.




I'll leave you with a post I made this week to Facebook. Last year ended with a diagnosis of my mom's leukemia. This year the news has been better.


***
Pathology came back on the (surprise!) tumor in Bekah's eyelid. It's benign. Inhale. Exhale.

I didn't mention this publicly, but when she had her chalazion removed two weeks ago, the doctor found a fibrous tumor. It was in his words, "shocking." Um, yes. And, "A lucky coincidence that she had to have eyelid surgery so the tumor was caught before it turned cancerous."

Also, she has another small chalazion starting (again!) which has caused her to lose a chunk of eyelashes. But I have to say, as long as she doesn't have cancer, I can put up with this.
***

I need/ want/ desire/ pray that 2014 is filled with blessings.

We're starting a new place in life. A NEW LIFE, from the bottom up. New job, new state, new house… new everything.

Here's to 2014.

Friday, December 6, 2013

My Little Pirate

I have tried to write several blog posts now. They always end up way too heavy and introspective.

Ugh. I guess that's what kind of mood I'm in. ;)

Anyhoo.

Lots of stuff happening around here because life waits for no one! This was the fun I had this week.






Bekah had her chalazion removed from her eyelid. It was traumatic (for her), but ended up being a blessing in disguise.

The anesthesiologist agreed not to put her IV in until she was asleep. She was freaked already, but add the huge IV needle and it was a no go. She batted her blues at him and he caved. LOL!

This conversation happened right before they came and got her:

Bekah: When are they going to put me out?
Me: When they wheel you back, they'll put a mask on you and you won't remember anything.
Bekah: Not even you?!
Me: No, you won't remember the surgery. You'll remember me.
Bekah: Oh, good. Because I prefer to remember you.
Me: I prefer you remember me too.



I'm glad that's over. PHEW! She's doing well and went back to school today without this eyepatch:




The eyepatch was fun (for me and Steven!) while it lasted. Steven called her One-Eye Willy for an entire day.

Me: We should watch Goonies tomorrow. It will be fun!
Bekah: No!
Steven: How about Pirates of the Carribean? Yar!!!!
Bekah (laughing): You guys are so mean!
Me: Don't laugh if you think we're mean.
Bekah (laughing harder): I can't help it.

Also notice the space between her teeth. If you scroll down to the Halloween picts it wasn't there. That palate spacer did its job FAST. I was impressed. Braces should go on next week. Poor, Bekah. She's not looking forward to that either.



Friday, November 1, 2013

Time Flies

I wasn't going to write until I was ready. There's been too much on my mind, not enough time to properly give it any voice, and honestly, I'm just bone tired most of the time.



It's been a difficult few months living without my husband. The separation is ALMOST at an end. So close I can practically touch it. And I'm giddy.

This single mom gig is… well… I really appreciate the single parents who have to go it alone. I really don't know how they do it. Yes, I have lived several times without my husband for extended periods of time. Almost every military spouse has done the same. But I always know that there is an end at some point. It's what keeps me going most days.





I live a life in which I have no control. For a control freak like me, that's difficult.

Steven retires from the Marine Corps in two months. That means the paycheck ends. I try not to think about that because I'm confident that a new job is just a matter of time. Still, some days my stomach rebels at the idea that we don't have it locked on. That my safety net is missing.

Add to that the fact that I've been without my "things" for over five months. You never have a full appreciation for what you hold of value until it's gone. I mean, it's weird, I have a couch to sit on and a table to eat at, but it's not my couch or my table and after a few months of that the nomad mentality starts to rot my brain.

I hate limbo.




There's been a lot of crazy things to deal with all by my myself. Oddly, all of them revolve around Bekah.

She has a chalazion in her eyelid that we've been seeing a doctor about for going on three months. Finally (LONG story in itself) we got in to see the opthamologist and now we're trying another round of steroids. I really hope that it gets rid of it because surgery is the last option. Either way, it's going to be several months of care and I have to take her in for an appointment every two weeks.

And then there are her teeth. She has adult teeth cutting out the roots of other adult teeth. ARG. People, really, this has to happen now? When you retire from the military orthodontic care lapses for a year. A YEAR. So whatever the lovely procedures we're going to be required to do is all out of pocket.

Not that I'm not going to pay it because… Hello, the girl needs teeth. ;)



It's just too much to handle sometimes. Especially without backup.

AND THEN Seth comes home last night with a massive project that is due right before Thanksgiving. I'm sure at any other time I would have reacted like: eh, cool, we'll get it done. But not this time. I read the paper and started to tear up. It's just too much.

Is it no wonder that I still haven't finished the manuscript I started in January? I've been trying to give myself a break about that. At times I think it's taking me a pathetic amount of time. But then, I have to pull myself away and look at reality. I simply can not do everything. Something has to give a little. In this case, I guess it's my writing.

And if it's not obvious, I'm certainly not participating in NaNo this year. As it is I can barely manage to shower (haha). So I don't need anything more on my plate, thankyouverymuch. I do wish you all luck.

That is why I've been quiet on the internet. It probably won't change in the next month. If I make it to December, or perhaps January, things should quiet down. I hope.


Until then, I wish you all the best. I'll see you when I see you.


Halloween Costumes 2013
The Hulk and Lagoona Blue, daughter of the Kraken.











Thursday, September 26, 2013

Five Thing Thursday


My mom is on my case to write a blog post.

Which. I totally want to. I just don’t have a single thing to say. My mind is kind of awash with NOTHING. And I looked through my pictures of the last month to see if anything might have been interesting? Um, nope.

I honestly don’t know why my life isn’t exciting, it’s certainly busy enough. I’m so exhausted I’ve been going to bed at 9pm nearly every night.

[Insert lame, old joke here.]

Then I thought: Well, if I have nothing to talk about, I can ramble for a bit. And maybe throw up some random pictures. You know, make it look like I put some thought into the post.

*snicker*

I bring to you: Five Thing Friday Thursday (because you all know if I don’t manage to post today, it might never happen!)


1. The biggest change around here is the kids started school! Woop woop. It leaves several hours for me to get things done. Although, three less than Arkansas. That’s taken a bit of getting used to. And trust me, I feel every second when I look at my ever growing To Do list.

This year the kids have uniforms. That did not go over well (mostly with the boy). And whoever said that uniforms cut the morning drama is a liar. Don’t believe them. It’s not true. If you have a girl, you will ALWAYS have drama. ‘Nuff said.

But that’s not the most difficult part. They have three colors for their shirts: blue, white and yellow. Seth refuses to wear blue (I mean, of course he does. Why would he be EASY?). And let's not talk about yellow, he says that's not an option.

We’re a month into school and Seth has already stained three of his five white shirts to the point they’re not wearable. I can’t save them with bleach. We’re talking ketchup on the sleeve, peeps. How does one do that exactly?!

Now I have to buy more white shirts this weekend, because OMG, you should hear the blue shirt whining going on.

If this keeps up, it’s going to be expensive.





2. There is a big ass spider outside my backdoor that has a body the size of a quarter. It is very disturbing. Every time I open it to let Yuki out I cringe.

It makes me miss my husband.

Why, you ask does a spider make me miss him?  Well, you learn to adjust for the big things. I can handle him not being here, in general, because I expected him not to be. But I never planned on a spider big enough to eat my face, it’s then I start to miss him and his ability to squash things.






3.  I’m Twittering again. Yeah, I know. I have zero idea why. Twitter aggravates my anxiety. It’s something about the constantly scrolling updates. It makes me live in a constant state of: WHAT. IS. HAPPENING. NOW?

That’s difficult. But. I’ve been doing pretty well with it on this go. Better than the blog. So maybe my thoughts are dwindling to 140 characters? ;)




4.  Bekah had a school project (a timeline of her life). We put it together last weekend. O. M. G. Can I just tell you, I am NOT a crafter. This was made abundantly clear by my questionable skills in the gluing area. I won’t tell you specifically what is wrong with that timeline, but let’s just say, I made some huge flubs and rather than reprinting the pictures and starting from scratch Bekah’s timeline varies slightly from the real deal.






5.  I guess the upside to going to bed so early every night is that I get some great hours in working on my manuscript in the morning. I’m still not in love with this one yet, but I’m closer. I can feel myself wanting to like it, at least.

Honestly, I just want it finished. It’s time for something new. Maybe something moody and depressing. Killing people in this one didn’t quite hit that ‘need.’ 

*wink*


Thursday, August 22, 2013

And So It Goes...

School starts next week and this makes for one happy mama!!! There's been a lot going on around here: trips to visit museums, places to eat, toys to buy. I can't wait for silence.

Of course, in two weeks I'm going to miss the turkeys and want them home again. LOL!


Enjoying the last few lazy afternoons.

The big thing that happened this week was the girl had a birthday. It was fun, if low key. We went to dinner and that was pretty much it.

She wanted fancy cupcakes instead of a cake. They were really good. But. I totally goofed on the candles. I thought I had some, so I didn't buy a new box when she asked. Turns out they were nowhere to be found. I may not ever live down the fact she didn't get to make a wish.

Bekah's 9th Birthday Dinner
On the agenda: I have have to get cracking on my current manuscript.

Monday, people. MONDAY. It's hanging over my head, and honestly, I just want to finish it before I get too frustrated. And then I can put it aside for a while. Why does that feel like a relief?

So yeah, life is trudging on. Soon I shall have time to give semi-consistant updates.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Kauai

Ack! I need to get the blog back on track. :)

Where have I been? Wellllll...

The kids and I drove to my parents house in CA. We celebrated my mom's 60th birthday with a family party. And then....

Steven flew in and my entire family went to Kauai for a week.

Woo Hoo!

It was super fun. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for taking us (all 18 of us!).

We had a blast! Even though some douche stole my credit card during the week we were there and had a grand ol' time in New Jersey charging the heck out of it. Yeah, it's not that much fun being on vacation without plastic, let me tell ya.

On the other hand, I didn't come back with any "treasures" I regret buying. Silver lining! haha

The adventures were documented on Instagram under the hashtag #familytripklausman. For some reason the web instagram won't show the hashtags, so that link is the best I can do. ;)

Then I drove home to Las Vegas, signed the kids up for school, edited a single day's photos and promptly went to sleep. Thus inducing my zombie coma that I've been in for the last week. I did pick out a few pictures for this post. It's the extent of my post-vacation work.

Anyhoodle.

Next week I need to start getting back on track. I have a half written book that is taunting me.















Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Swimming!

We made it across the United States! Woo Hoo. Party!

This week has been a lot of "great we're here, now we have to get settled." Like visiting the DMV today. (Don't want to talk about that, I'm still traumatized. Gulp.)

And in a few days I'll be off again on another adventure! haha.

The kids are tired of running around. As a reward, if they're good, in the afternoon they do a lot of this:








Monday, June 17, 2013

Waxing Philosophical

It's Monday morning and I have a lot to say.

Hum...

You know what's interesting? I find that the crazier my life gets (and it's just about as chaotic as it comes right now), the more focused I am.

I've always accomplished more under stress. ;)

This was what was fundamentally wrong with the first part of this year. I had lots of time and nothing I particularly had to do. It made me lazy.

I'm not saying I didn't enjoy my naps and long hours of reading. I totally did.

*grin*

But it comes to a point where I couldn't see any progress, and now my time is wrapped up in things I must do, instead of things I want to do.

My brain needs something to keep it steady. I need to create so that I can bring order to my life. My time becomes micromanaged. I squeeze in any and all available minutes to writing and photography.

And it feels amazing.



Here's where I wax philosophical about photography.

Durning these moments of squeezing in time, I do a lot of thinking regarding craft. I think about how I can improve, where I see things are going off the rails, and I plot how I can start to learn new and better ways of doing things.

I study people I admire and ask myself: What is it about this that you love?

It's not about copying. Usually it's only a tiny piece that they do so well that I'm attracted to. And then I can make myself learn that technique and incorporate it into my style of work.

I'm speaking on photography today, but I do this with writing as well.

Don't be afraid to try something different. You will fail. A lot. But the rewards are so worth it.



This morning I was futzing around online, studying pictures, and I started to notice a lot of photographers saying that they only shoot with natural light.

I questioned: Why are they limiting their potential?

Using natural light can be amazing. Especially when you don't photograph the subject flat (light straight onto the face/body).

Shadows are what tell the story of your subject.


This was taken first thing this morning using natural light, in my office, when this punk woke up.

And, no, he's barely worn a shirt all summer. I make him put one on when we leave the house, but it comes off immediately when he steps indoors. Apparently, clothing is restrictive.

Anyway.



Why are photographers scared of learning how to use a flash? It boggles my mind.

Because using light sources helps you to create a stylistic shot. You take complete control of your vision if you control the elements.

Remember when I wrote that I wanted to learn how to use my flash? That blog post is embarrassing. I knew NOTHING about flash at that point. Ugh. Those pictures are awful. I only linked it because I think it's important to be honest about where you are in the process.

I don't think people are generally honest with themselves.

So I own that embarrassing post because I had to start somewhere.



I set up a tiny demonstration this morning to show what I mean about controlling the light and your shot.



This is straight out of camera (SOOC). This is what the picture looks like before I placed the flash.

This photograph was taken about 9am. There's barely any sun coming in that window. It's strongest in that room about 1pm.

In this picture, the black is slightly falling off the histogram in the bottom right corner. The rest of the detail is firmly within my histogram (albeit, clumped to the left. ha).

Getting a decent light on his face would have meant that the window and the room behind would have been blown out (white) and the bottom left corner still would have fell off the histogram. But it also would have meant that everything in the foreground would have been an even light.

[If I'd thought this through one more step, I would have taken that exact picture for demonstration. It would be something similar to this.]

It would have been fine to use only natural light. It just wouldn't have matched my vision.

VISION IS EVERYTHING.

This is what it looks like after I placed my flash (same settings, SOOC):




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