Friday, December 31, 2010

Photo Friday Challenge-"Best of 2010"

Apparently, I jumped the gun when I did my "Best Of" list the other day. Why didn't I see that comin'? For lots of great entries you can toddle on over to this site.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

And Now She Can Vote

And buy porn. And lottery tickets. And join the military. And get married. And all kinds of other things without her parents' permission. My baby turned eighteen today. And while I could sit around and wax and wane about my mixed bag of emotions that constantly race between pride and sadness, I shall shut my pie hole and just enjoy the moment.
The highlight of the day? The ceremonial (and painful) piercing of the belly button. (Sorry about the blur. Somebody wouldn't be still.)

Oy vey. All I can say is it's better than a tattoo that she might later regret.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A White Christms

For maybe the third or fourth time in my life we had a white Christmas around these parts. It's something that happens every ten or fifteen years here. And while I am normally not fond of ANY kind of winter weather, I have to grudgingly admit it was beautiful. It didn't hurt that we spent the morning in the somewhat isolated countryside at my brother in law's house.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Thrill A Minute

Hula is on vacation this week, whereas vacation equals exciting adventures such as taking down Christmas decorations, cleaning house and cleaning and reorganizing the pantry.

Hula thinks she needs to plan a little Caribbean action next year. Oh, wait! She did! Although it might not be nearly as exciting as those six bags of elbow macaroni she discovered today in the pantry.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Favorites

I'm in the process of trying to organize some photos, and after sifting through dozens and dozens of them I decided to try to compile a list of my favorites from the past year. Since I take so many it's easy to forget what I have. I had a good time stumbling across ones I had forgotten and reviewing others I keep handy for photo contests and the like. I had a little trouble picking just ten because most of them are so personal for me, but I finally narrowed it down. It helped to motivate me for next year, but most of all it allowed me to see my progress in recent months. I have so much to learn.

If you have one of these you like best, shout it out. I'd love to know which ones you like. I'm always surprised at the emotions that certain images provoke in different people. And to my fellow shutterbugs--Happy shooting in 2011.

10. I keep expecting a little elf to show up in this one.

9. Bokeh, bokeh, bokeh. Love the bokeh in this one.

8. The spirit of these girls just makes me smile. From the inside out.

7. A young woman who didn't realize her own beauty.

6. One of 2,000 bridal shoot pictures of this beautiful young woman. I wore us both out shooting that day.5. This spells serenity to me.

4. This one speaks volumes about the personality of Teen Angel and her buddies.

3. Oh, little dragonfly, you made my day when you sat still for so long.

2. My favorite picture of Teen Angel. I put it on the front of the coffee table book we made from her senior pictures. My baby isn't a baby anymore. Waaaaa.

1. And my favorite of the year. I get a little misty every time I look at it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

My wish for you this Christmas season is that you are not alone, that you are with someone you love and that you are loved. And I hope you have serenity, joy and hope in the new year. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hula's Holiday Favorites-The Children's Christmas Pageant

Is there anything cuter? I think not. We had our children's pageant at church Sunday night, and it was the most entertaining thirty minutes I've had in ages. I love the enthusiasm of the children, the spontaneity and those crazy little things that go wonderfully wrong. Those programs always evoke such warm memories of Teen Angel's early years and even my own school and church programs so many years ago. Because I attended a small church, I got to be an angel three years in a row, which was right up my alley. The acting part, not the being an angel part. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of Sunday night's program.

The animals.

The shepherds.

The singing kings.

The angels.

And everything in between.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More On The Whole Music Thing

The other day when I professed my love for Do They Know It’s Christmas, my Louisiana friend, Madd Maxx, started a little email banter between us that may or may not have included someone accusing someone else of not having good taste in music. And it may or may not have included an ugly accusation about Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. And then there was the whole Britney Spears jab, so Maxx, being the attorney he is, felt obligated to defend himself.

Have I ever mentioned he’s an attorney? No? Well, he is. He attended and graduated from law school after becoming a pharmacist. Dadgum overachiever. Anyhoo, he’s never been short on words, and I can say that because I haven’t either. In fact, you should know that he and I would probably run a close race in the category of who most had the phrases “out of seat too much” and “talks too much” on the conduct section of our grade school report cards. Our friendship is based upon the ability to tease, joke, gossip and verbally debate.

He feels as if I publicly criticized him on the World Wide Web for his music choices and is therefore deserving of a public rebuttal. Now, being the fair minded person I am and given my love of free speech (Heck, I’ll even defend Rush Limbaugh’s right to dirty up the airwaves.), I am more than willing to present to my kind and gracious readers his picks for the best Christmas music. And I’ll even let you be the judge of his taste in music.

His first pick? Jim Croce.

I see he played the sentimental favorite card with this one. I mean who doesn’t like Jim Croce. I’ll admit it’s an excellent song, but going the whole beautiful voice but died too young route was a little obvious, Maxx. Still, a wonderful choice.

His next pick? Tom Petty.

Nothing screams Christmas like Tom Petty. Maxx darlin’, your 80’s roots are showing.

And finally, in what I’m guessing is his response to my satirical choice of Britney Spears’ Christmas song as a top pick, he chose Billy Squire as quote “An all time great retro Christmas song AND video”. In the interest of keepin’ it real, I will admit to having the best of Billy Squire in my CD collection. I actually listened to this song on my way to work today.

Hmmm. There you have it folks. Listen. Enjoy. Comment away. Maxx thrives on verbal feedback. He’s all about the words, remember? And if you don’t believe me, ask him about that time the fourth grade teacher tied him to a chair with a jump rope. As for me, I’m off to wrap some packages.

Oh, and Maxx? I see your Billy Squire and raise you with The Waitresses.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Catch Up Tuesday

Because catch-up Monday didn’t happen as planned. And frankly, catch-up Tuesday was in danger for a little while. I’ll refrain from saying how fast this month has flown because that will make me sound like I’m getting old, but goodness, December has mown me down like a set of shears in the hands of an Army barber. December is the busiest month for me at work, with five large projects to plan and execute, and when you add the usual holiday hustle and grind, it makes for a very busy Hula. I finished up the last big project at work today, and my shopping is finally finished, so things should smooth out somewhat now. There is a lot to catch up on though.

The company I work for picked up canned goods at nine area schools last week in the food drive we do in the schools. When it was all said and done we had collected more than 22,000 pounds of food, and I’m proud to say I made it through the whole event this year without bursting into tears once. I don’t think it’s because I’ve gotten control of my emotions. I think it’s just the menopause. I’m low on estrogen. I had to put a lip waxing schedule into my Blackberry.

Except for that kidney stone that Mama J. passed last week, we’ve all managed to stay healthy lately, which is an accomplishment in this family. I did schedule an emergency appointment at the dermatologist for Teen Angel because of this funky leprosy looking rash on her feet and legs. The doctor at the walk in clinic a few weeks ago diagnosed it as Henoch Schonlie Purpura (say that three times fast), which is basically a harmless rash that is caused by a virus and will eventually go away without treatment. Except it hasn’t gone away. It’s worse than ever and now it itches. Initially, I thought she had just gotten into some kind of weed in the yard. Then I got scared that we had bedbugs and frantically searched her mattress for any sign of vermin. All I found were a couple of cereal crumbs and some sock fuzz. We finally ended up at the doctor where his diagnosis relieved us. Until now. So it’s off to the dermatologist tomorrow for Miss Scratches A Lot. Thank goodness it’s not swimsuit season.

Speaking of swimming, the fence around the pool is finished, and the man cave/garage is about 90% complete, with no thanks to some very lazy sheet rock finishers, thank you. Grandma was slow, but she wasn’t as slow as those guys. Geez. I’ll post full pictures of the project soon. We’re down to installing some plumbing and the finishing touches, but we have to wait on the concrete guy to stain the concrete floor, and he can’t get to it for two weeks, so we’re kind of at a lull. They’re going to have to get on the stick ‘cause Hubby and the boys have a poker game scheduled for that room in January. And a certain Hula Girl just might have a sleepover with her Bunco pals soon after that.

My Christmas shopping is done. Praise Jesus! Santa is coming to our house in the form of Amazon this year. Every day a box arrives for me at work from UPS, and I keep stacking them up to wrap.

I’m all for shopping local and supporting the local guy, but I just didn’t have time to trek from store to store this year, so I opted to actually get gifts under the tree and took the easy way out. And holy cow was it wonderful. I could totally shop from home from now on.

My next purchase? Is for me. After a year of saving, I finally have enough for this:

Oh, holy mother of Mabel, I can’t wait. Nothing makes me happier than getting a little gold Nikon box in the mail. Well, except for Matthew McConaughey showing up on my doorstep unannounced. Without his shirt. I’ll pause right here so Hubby can roll his eyes. You know, like he did while waiting for me to finish up Christmas shopping in JC Penney’s the other night.

Hubby gets the prize for the oddest Christmas present this year. He wants this Yeti thing that is attached to the back of a tree and looks from the front as if Bigfoot is peering from behind the tree. He wants to put it on the tree closest to the pool. Yes. He really does. I’m not even joking. This one is even worse than that big John Wayne statue he had when we first got married. Or the phone that quacked like a duck. Teen Angel is on board with this, too, so being outnumbered I gave in. It’s gonna look reeeal nice out there in the backyard. Every time I look at its picture in the catalog the leg lamp scene from A Christmas Story rolls through my head. Fra-gee-lay! If anyone asks what that thing is, I’m going to tell them it’s Italian.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hula's Holiday Favorites-"Elf Yourself"

Ooh, who doesn't love to Elf Yourself? I had almost forgotten about this little Office Max marketing fun until Mrs. Scrubbs sent me one of her, Super Cop and Special Delivery yesterday. Ho, ho, ho, can the Hula-gen's breakdance or what?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Word of the Day-"Overwhelm"

Pronunciation: \ˌō-vər-ˈhwelm, -ˈwelm\

Origin: Middle English.

First known use: 14th century.

Definition: 1: upset, overthrow
2a : to cover over completely : submerge b : to overcome by superior force or numbers c : to overpower in thought or feeling

Used in a sentence: "As Hula wedged into one of the few good seats at Teen Angel's choir concert, she was immediately overwhelmed by the Frito feet of the young man sitting beside her."

As in overwhelmed for an hour and five minutes. Sister Mercy, next time I'll just sit in the back.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm Just Full of Myself Today

So my good ragin' cajun friend, Madd Maxx, down in Louisiana, took me to task for my love of that eighties hit Do They Know It's Christmas. And while I'd like to take the high road and ignore his obvious lack of musical taste, I'm gonna go with my first instinct, and pick something for my next musical selection that I know he'll really appreciate. Enjoy, Maxx, and tell the wife and kids Goober says, "Hey!'

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Things Hula Loves-"Do They Know It's Christmas"

Sure, I like lots of other Christmas music, but this is one of my favorites. Throughout the month of December I can generally be busted belting out "Feed the World" while driving to and from work on any given morning. I'm not sure if I love it because the message is still relavant today or if it brings back warm memories of big hair, fingerless gloves and ripped up sweatshirts. I don't care what anyone says, George Michael is still one of the hottest gay men around, and look, Bono really does have eyes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Look Ma, No Wheels!

We got a little Special Delivery time during Thanksgiving, and that boy is growin' like a weed in sunshine. He's big enough to get into all sorts of things now, and he likes to play, play, play.

And he's proof that one of the best toys for children (and grandmas) is still a cardboard box.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Fence

Sometimes when I'm taking pictures I get fixated on one item and end up with 200 odd pictures of that item because I couldn't stop playing with angles and lighting. Like this fence around a tiny chapel at a local tourist destination.

The chapel and the rest of the grounds around it, including a fabulous restaurant, are just covered in beautiful Christmas lights this time of year, and frankly, I got the seat of my britches and coat very dirty clamoring around on the ground taking pictures of the decorations while we were waiting for our table.

Antique iron fences are one of my favorite things, and I love, love, love this replica because of the crosses on top of the spindles.

There are now about three dozen people in western Kentucky who are wondering who that crazy lady on the ground at Patti's was last weekend.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Where in the world has Hula been the past week?

Well, Hula has been planning, organizing and standing in below freezing weather for two days hawking green beans. And corn. And fruit cocktail. I’ve been leading the charge on a food drive, and Great Gertie, I hope the next time I get the wild idea to do an outdoor fundraiser it’s in warmer weather. Actually, it was great fun, even if I did have to scrape the frost out from under my toenails two nights in a row. It’s been a frenzied, overwhelming week but very rewarding. I have to admit I could use a little relaxation though.

The company I work for hosts a community lighting display each Christmas season, and we collect canned goods and food each night of the display at the local park. We usually generate about 30,000 pounds of food and between $25,000 and $30,000 dollars for local food pantries each Christmas. A couple of years ago we added a School Challenge (more on that next week) that significantly boosted our donations, and this year I wanted to add a component that would involve local businesses. Every idea I came up with prior to Thanksgiving just wasn’t feasible because of logistical issues. In the end, we parked a semi at the local hospitals, which are two of this community’s largest employers, and for two days urged hospital employees and the public to “Stuff the Truck” with canned goods and cash. It was kind of a last minute idea since Hula’s brain was a little slow to churn this season, but it all came together nicely, thanks to the support of a lot of good folks, and in the end our truck was nearly full with close to 10,000 pounds of goodies for the food pantries.

Our temperatures have been below freezing the past few days, so standing in the cold at 5:45am for live radio and TV interviews and throughout the day and into the evening was not so comfortable. Now, I grew up in the country where there’s no shame in a good pair of coveralls, so I updated my coverall situation before the drive started Wednesday when I realized how cold it was going to be. The only problem was that the adult sizes were so over sized I had to buy an extra large in the boys department. They fit fine, except I’m apparently four inches taller than the average prepubescent boy, so I wore high water britches for two days. They kept me from freezing though. I figure I’ll sew some kind of funky material onto the bottom of them now and make a real fashion statement when I’m stomping around in the woods taking nature photos this winter.

Every part of me exposed to the elements is chapped, and I was so busy this week I missed a few meals, unless of course you count Tropical Skittles from the hospital vending machine as a meal, but that ended up being a very good thing. Very good because it prompted me to think yesterday in the middle of a chilly moment before sunrise, about what it’s really like to be cold and homeless without a coat, and hungry with little or no food. Hula is a very lucky gal. I have a warm home, plenty to eat and a great job. I also have about four coats in my closet. Standing in the cold for a couple of long days is nothing compared to what some folks deal with every day. It really wasn’t much of a sacrifice for me to stand outside hawking canned goods for two days. In fact, I was warm with Christmas spirit when I watched my coworkers scurry around with forklifts last night unloading pallet after pallet of food in the company warehouse. The reason behind the season is alive and well in my heart this week folks, and now I’m off for a little rest before I start gathering canned goods from kids next week.

Right after I fling a little chili at the Project Graduation fundraiser at Teen Angel’s school tonight. Ha! The fun never ends around here.

Photo Friday Challenge-"Tranquil"

Whew! I could use some tranquility right about now.

For the other great entries go here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Photo Friday Challenge-"Chill"

From the great ice storm of February 2009. It makes me shiver just thinking about it.

You can find the other entries here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Okay, it's not a good picture because I took it with my phone but......done!

Somebody pass me a margarita and some bon bons. Preferably caramel.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

See Hula. See Hula's head. See Hula's head spin.

So, the float materials arrived….AT 3PM! So the third of my four days to build the float are gone. I have one day. ONE day. Although I’m not sure I have the strength to work on it tomorrow after the heart attack I got from the float company at 1:30pm today. I called to find out the tracking number on my shipment since it hadn’t arrived yet, and frankly, my colon was starting to twinge in various places between my navel and THERE. It kinked into a big knot when the customer service representative told me the computer was indicating they had used ground shipping instead of Fed-Ex and then promptly sent me to a dead end voicemail extension I had specifically asked not to be sent to. After I picked my head up off the floor, put it back on and redialed, I found someone who understood the verbal enema that was about to take place, did some checking and reassured me it had been sent Fed-Ex and would arrive by 3pm. It did, and now it sits in our warehouse awaiting my hands. As daddy says, it’s gonna be all arseholes and elbows tomorrow.