blue bird

Taylor gave this bird to me, and it is very special. Well, I have two - and they're both special. She's been on a search for a particular bird, a very rare and special bird that has a particular meaning to her. These are similar, but not the right color - therefore, she gave them to me (since I also love birds). For some reason, I feel special because she passed them on to me. It might mean nothing to her (except for that she's getting rid of extra birds!) but to me, they are a connection to her. We don't see each other often, and she's dear to me, so knowing how special these birds are makes me feel closer by having them near.

I have tried to photograph them a million times. Tonight, I got it right.



I'm Taking the 30 Day Challenge

I'd been contemplating the purchase of a copy of Wii Fit for six months (having starting to covet it during the impossible Christmas shopping season) before learning about the newer and seemingly more popular fitness game EA Sports Active. Now, my motivation for purchasing a fitness-centric title was driven completely by my desire to find a game with an adequate workout capable of burning some calories - so I was excited to hear that EA Sports active was recieving higher ratings than Wii fit for intensity and results. Additionally, it is cheaper and doesn't require the Wii Balance Board for use. Happy with what I was reading, I went out to my local Gamestop and picked up the game.

From EA:

Designed around the standard Wii Remote/Nunchuck tethered controller configuration, EA SPORTS Active's interactive fitness program is more focused on physical activities than previous 'fitness' titles for the Wii, but still challenges you to have fun while developing a more healthy lifestyle. Separated into the three sections of workout, nutrition, lifestyle, and other activity, the user's experience begins with a pep talk from Bob Greene which quickly transitions into the beginnings of action as players set up profiles, choose a virtual personal trainer and enter baseline data like age, weight, gender, fitness goals, etc. Although the nutrition, lifestyle, and other activity sections add a holistic element facilitated by a mix of surveys and data input, building fitness through physical activity is the driving force behind EA SPORTS Active and as such the meat of the content resides in the workout section. Here players will find dozens of themed strength training and cardio workouts which can be customized as you choose and linked into circuit traning routines. These routines are introduced and monitored by your personal trainer, and allow for ongoing player motivation via real-time feedback on your workout form, an approximation of calories burned and the ability to adjust levels of exercise intensity.
Getting started with the game was really simple. The leg band fits easily to hold the nunchuck, and upon startup of the game, you're prompted to begin your 30 day challenge immediately - well, after choosing your avatar.

I did my first full workout yesterday, and my second today. I'm doing the 30 day challenge on medium/intermediate (there's easy/medium/hard). My first workout included running/walking, lunges, boxing drills, bicep curls, shoulder curls, and inline skating. Today's workout included some of yesterday's drills and a few change outs, including tennis, tougher lunges and different shoulder exercises. Now that I'm finished with my second day, I can say that I'm really loving the workout experience EA Sports Active has to offer. Not only am I hurting, but my workout was intensified from yesterday's workout (adding calories burned), and I know I can't cheat the system. The game's workout journal tracks my progress, rates my performance, and updates me on what I can expect for tomorrow's workout.

Let me say this: I hate running. With a passion. In earlier years I have been more fit than I am now, and I hated it then, too. I feel it has something to do with my treetrunk legs and the lack of speed and agility they provide. That being said, when I saw the track in front of me on the screen...I cringed with memories (you know, the smell of rubber, the pins and needle legs because Mr. Webster "doesn't think it is too cold to run on the track", and the bi-yearly stress and embarrassment that accompanied The Mile). I will do anything to get out of it. But, I tried it. And it wasn't terrible.

My only concern thusfar is the inconvenience of the nunchuck's cord. Twice, while running, I've unstrapped the leg strap when the nunchuck cord slipped under the velcro. I also managed to nearly strangle myself with the cord while doing the shoulder presses. I've been advised that there's a wireless nunchuck, but I'm hesitant to spend another $30 on Wii hardware.

Oh, and I almost forgot - the Drummer is doing the 30 Day Challenge as well! He's also on day 2 and feeling the burn. (And his avatar is cute. )

I desire a fitness regimine that will help me to get to a more comfortable weight and fitness level. I've toyed with the idea of a gym membership of and on, but I don't enjoy flashing my sweat and sharing equipment with other people. And, let's face it - the idea of preparing and then driving to the gym is less than appealing. I'm hoping that the positive experience I've had so far with EA Sports Active will push me to continue, adding workouts along the way. Getting the experience of a personal trainer and a multi-terrain workout from my living room is truly a fantastic perk of technology. Let's hope I can stick with it!



Four-legged Lonliness

I'm having what I imagine most women go through when their friends and family start having children - when they are either unprepared or unable to have their own. My sadness, however, isn't caused by my lack of human spawn.

It's caused by my lack of a four-legged one.

I grew up with a dog. We always had one - from my first puppy, a rambunctious beagle named Augie, to Sassy, our cocker spaniel, and then Boogie, the cocker spaniel/labrador/golden retriever mix who lived out the most important years of my life with me. (He has since passed.) Now, in between those dogs were countless fish and parakeets - our house was a house where pets were.
If you're a person who grew up with a pet; had one around most of your life, you'll understand what I'm getting at here. A dog is like a family member. He/she must be loved, paid attention to, fed, disciplined and cared for much like any human. In return, a dog provides unrelenting, non-stop unconditional love that surrounds you and hugs tight even when all the humans in your life let you down. A flapping tongue loving eyes are always there to greet you.
(I'm writing this mostly about dogs because that's what I've had most often; cats are also similar in their contribution to life. I'm slightly jaded because I had to leave my one and only cat, an orange tabby named Legolas, behind when I moved to California. He was truly one of a kind, and I miss him so very much. )
Human relationships take work. They feel stressful and while they are rewarding generally, they are painful. This is accentuated for someone like me, a sort of outcasted socially awkward girl who'd rather work on whatever project she has than spend a night out with acquaintances and people she doesn't know.

I have a less than ideal relationship with any of my family members (aside from the Drummer), and that's something that's both environmental and locale. I don't get to exercise unconditional love, and I don't get to receive it often, either.

My heart hurts for a companion who doesn't talk, change, or need me to listen to their problems. A friend who simply needs to be fed, and requires me to move my myself out of a depressed mood to walk him to the dog park. A warm body that curls up next to me and doesn't get sick of it.

Now, you may ask, what is keeping me from adding this furry family member to our current household?

Because the landlord says so.

We love our apartment. We love our landlord. And it is currently driving me insane. I get it - rental owners want to keep any pet related damage at bay - but do they realize what kind of damage a three year old can do with a sharpie and a toy truck? Kids are far more destructive than a small breed dog. It's silly.

And well, now is not the time for the Drummer and I to be looking for another apartment. I'm trying to be positive, thinking toward the not-so-distant future when we make bigger decisions about where we live. Because the next time we move? No pets is a no go.



Pet Photos!

I'm currently offering $50 sitting/processing fee (prints purchased separately at cost) for pet portraits! What does that include?

  • 1.5 hours of shooting time, at your home or a park where you feel comfortable
  • Your post processed images on DVD for virtual use, and access to my proofing lab for printing your choice of sizes!
Please contact me right away if you're interested in working with me to create some lovely memories of your pet! Please pass this message on to any other pet owners in your life as well!



...and then they kicked some *#&

Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining, in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasions from without and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us;

For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;

For imposing taxes on us without our consent;

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;

For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offenses;

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies;

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments;

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrection among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in our attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity; and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

[Signed by] JOHN HANCOCK [President]

New Hampshire

Massachusetts Bay

Rhode Island


New York

New Jersey



CHARLES CARROLL of Carrollton.


North Carolina

South Carolina





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