Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Plastic Bag Overload

During my quest for anything entertaining today I found an interesting post on the Readymade blog. We typically use plastic bags as our trash bags in bathrooms and bedrooms but we have more than we need. Since we don't have a dog and the kitty litter tends to fall through the holes in many of the bags we're always looking for other means for use. This is by far the most creative I've seen!

Must Keep Eyes Open

This week is dragging. Like many people I am working this week while most are off enjoying the time with family, relaxing or cleaning up after the holidays. Every year I have the debate with myself - do I waste vacation time to escape the slowness of the last week in the year?

I am lucky to have a couple coworkers with me this week. However, I have nothing, nothing, nothing due. And no motivation to start anything else. My eyes are burning from hitting as many sites as possible (from different types of olive oil to neopets to yahoo games). My radio station isn't coming in very well either so I feel as though I am stuck in the cube of neverending boringness.

I am breaking up the day by reading the book our boss gave the team to read: The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse. Instead of instilling ethical behavior in me it makes me want to run screaming for the non-Corporate life. Depressing that people would take these actions and behave so selfishly (lots of discussion 'bout WorldCom, Tyco, HealthSouth, etc).

Urgh. I am anti-work today.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Future Vikings Player?

Jake with his Moore jersey.

Boys and their toys

Couple of photos of my sister's boys from our Christmas gathering on Saturday.

Alex opening his Robin costume from Aunt Holly, Uncle Pete and Cousin Jordan





Ryan with his gift from Grandpa Jim P & Gamma

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Holiday Sights


Our Christmas Lights after an icy rain


Our tree in the morning before dawn

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's a rebuilding year, right?

In years past the need to beat Green Bay has been strong. I spent most of my college years surrounded by Packer fans since many of my college roomies were from WI. We turned those games into bets for beer, head shaving and the like. I have since calmed down quite a bit but a loss like the one last night still leaves me dissappointed and frustrated.

I realize we have a new coach, a rookie quarterback and that the weather was hostile in Green Bay (when isn't it??) but really, we looked horrible. Not only did we fail to develop any sort of offense but the 'zone defense' wasn't exactly spot on. Although Antione Winfield once again showed the rest of the team how to actually play football. Granted, without a solid receiving core we have some issues but it's not like we don't have other play makers on the team. I don't expect MN teams to win every year and be fantasic all the time but his season has been really disappointing. I'm hoping next year pans out to be a team that can perform above 500 - and can beat Green Bay at least once.

Full disclosure - After feeling extremely frustrated during the first quarter I fell asleep off and on for the rest of the game.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Little Chef's


Ryan helping mom




Alex making cookies

6 days to go!

Only six more days until the holiday is upon us. At our house it really is an extended holiday, as is the norm I suppose. I headed to my parent's on Sunday to help frost cookies with my family (including the nephews). Pictures of this fun to be posted later tonight! Pete decided to stay home and relax. Too much family makes this boy a wee bit edgy and with what we have in store for this weekend he thought it best to sit and watch the Vikings lose yet another game.

This year we start celebrating on Saturday at my sister's house. Between the cookies we made on Sunday and the batch I am hauling from our house we will be full of butter and sugar! What a way to start the family filled weekend. The next day we will head to my in-laws for some serious noise time, whoops, I mean family time. With all eight grandchildren in attendance it can get a little crazy, especially when there are gifts to unwrap. Christmas Eve mass rounds out that day. The next day we head to the extended Whitcomb family gathering. One thing they don't prepare you for in couplehood is the constant juggling of family gatherings. If we go here, where do we need to go next year? And both Pete & I are pretty tight with our families so it makes it a bit of challenge. Oh well, this is a problem I should complain about????

I'll make sure to take a plethora of photos for posting after the weekend. There's nothing like pictures of kids with huge grins on their faces.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Pews

Pete & I headed to our church this morning to help with some cleaning. An attempt to keep costs in line. After about 3.5 hours and who knows how many pews later we left the church in a mad dash to reach the post office smelling like Murphy Oil Soap. I never realized how dirty our pews were until this morning. Our church is over 125 years old and our parish is about 1200 people. When you think about all the traffic that has gone through that place... I doubt I will look at pews the same again.

Only one more gift to purchase for the Christmas season. Still no snow on the ground. Just over a week way from Christmas and not a touch of white, unless you count the 'ski' hills. I read about Honda's new hydrogen car this morning (coming in 2008) and started to seriously think about buying one when my beloved Corolla finally kicks the bucket. The Honda isn't priced yet though so I fear it would be some serious sticker shock. But the idea of not emitting anything but water is tempting. I am shocked at how easily people I work with toss recycleable items in the trash, mostly soda cans and bottles. I understand some people think I am odd for picking through the trash but seriously, how hard is it to walk 25 yards to the recycling bin??? Yeesh. No one is that busy at his/her desk to get up and take care of it, think of it as an excuse to get away from your desk for a couple of minutes. I would like to leave this world in good condition for my children and extended family. I am saddened when I see trash piles heaped and little in the recycling bins. I know I have ranted about this topic before so I'll step off my soap box and give it a rest.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

One thing I love

My job can be tedious from time to time. I have content experts I work with but for the most part I work by myself drafting training materials and synthesizing information. But today, I got to do something I love. Present. There are few things in my life that give the same level of energy as getting up in front of a crowd of people and educating them on a topic. I love, love, love it. It's like a high. And I don't get to do it nearly as much as I would like. Granted, once the session is done, it feels a lot like coming down off a high. I am tired, a little out of it and hoping for the next fix. Which looks like it will come on Monday!

I have been told that public speaking is often a person's biggest fear. This boggles my mind, not that I think people who feel that way are wrong, just that even when I am nervous, once I get going in the session, everything else goes away. Whatever I was worried about disappears. I don't see what is happening behind me, only with the people in front of me and on my presentation.

Oh well, back to my dreary desk with no windows. Can't wait to experience the high again on Monday.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Has it really been that long?

Omigosh. I just realized how long it has been since I logged on... time has flown the last couple of weeks, although nothing really exciting is happening. Just the general business of life. Most of my photo shoots for the holidays wrapped up the first week in December. It was pretty fun to have to lug my gear around for the last few weeks and spend some time with friends. You'll have to check out the whitcombcreative site soon as I hope to add some new material.

Holiday cards were created and sent out. Jordan thinks we're mad to make our cards every year but despite all the work, Pete and I enjoy making them as you can be sure no one else has a card like this one. We just ordered our client cards last night and this year we are using one of my recent photos of a holiday ornament. Hopefully this will drum up a bit of new business for both of us.

My insomnia seems to have returned but my asthma has lessened. According to my doctor, he doesn't know if one leads to the other... Urgh. Last night was a particularly rough night. If I get angry I'm pretty much done for and I was pissed when I woke up at 4am. I know it just makes it worse, it's like I can't shut off the switch in my brain, even when I try to distract myself by thinking of spaces where I feel peace. I just don't know how long I can last with only 5 hours of sleep at night.

I am itching to be done with school. Only one more class left. This time I swear I am not going back. I admit I might take a art class here or there but I am not paying another dime for a 14 week course.

We still don't have any snow in the Twin Cities. Seems so odd to be driving to work in the rain on December 12th. Hopefully this will turn out to be a white Christmas.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Human Body

We know so little about ourselves don't we. And I don't mean emotionally (that's a whole other post for another day). I mean doctor's and medical specialists still know relatively little about why our body reacts to certain things. While in a stats class in grad school my prof illustrated risk analysis by discussing how doctor's have to assess conditions of their patients and make decisions about what might be the potential issue and hence a course of action. Because we are such complex beings, our prof said that often times the doctor is really looking at 5 different things and trying to determine which is the best course of action. And then, take into consideration that many human beings have a hard time describing what the ailment looks/feels like.

This has all come back to me as I have been battling a 'breathing issue' for the last year and a half. I often yawn excessively and can't take a deep breath. I know I have experienced this two other times in my life but in both instances the issue didn't last more than 2 weeks. I finally went to see a doctor in June of 2005. After chest xrays, a TB test (family members are carriers), a pulmonary test and a quick lesson in diaphragmatic breathing they told me they didn't know what was wrong. So I dealt with it, spent the last 12+ months trying to work on my breathing and finally went in to see a new doctor in September. She sent me to a lung specialist (who is actually my insomnia doctor too). This is where it gets interesting. All preliminary tests come back normal, oxygen in blood is fine. I even ran the TC 10 Mile and didn't have a problem. Some of this I attribute to the fact that I have been learning how to live like this for nearly 2 years... Anyway, my doctor decided to do an asthma test since that and allergies are the two things left to check of the list - before they decide it is psychosomatic. I did the asthma test the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and got the call yesterday on results. Turns out I have asthma but it is non-specific. And they want to see me again in six months.

Non-specific, eh? Can't tell what causes it, could it be the environment?, food?, stress? Who knows?!?! My hubby isn't too happy with them waiting for another six months to see me again. He's concerned because he sees how this affects me when it gets really bad (I do tend to get lethargic and very, very edgy). I don't know how I feel about it. Yes, I would like some answers but I also realize how little we know about how our body works. And sometimes I feel that western medicine does stop short when they don't take into consideration how the mind is such a powerful force.

I guess I will just continue to try and find the balance in my life and hope for the best!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thunderstorms

Lightening, Thunder and Rain. On November 28th in Minnesota. And there are still people out there who don't believe global warming is a hoax. Come up here and let me tell you this isn't normal.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I've been tagged!

Per Carrie

1. What is your dream vacation?
Heading to a warm beach and sitting with a bunch of brain candy books beside me.
2. First music album you owned?
INXS
3. Song you sing in the shower?
I usually daydream in the shower or plan for the days events in my head. Pretty lame I know...
4. First dream job when you were a child?
Lawyer
5. Worst job you've ever had?
Hmmm...some of my past employers might read this. I plead the 5th.
6. Favorite spice?
Can Basil be a spice? Otherwise, ginger is another favorite.
7. Old TV show you wish you had on DVD?
Fantasy Island. I never go to see it as a kid.
8. Favorite game to play?
Monopoly
9. Least favorite color?
neon anything (amen Carrie - I'm with ya!)
10. Worst song ever?
Just one? How about anything by Mariah Carey?

Day Two

Yesterday was my first day without the beloved java bean. I had an asthma test yesterday so I couldn't drink any coffee prior to the exam. Since we are hoping to have a child in the not too distant future I thought I might as well get it over with and deal with the headaches now. Pete thinks I'm crazy, that I should have eased myself off my addiction, but much like when I quit smoking, if I don't do it full board I will slip back into the habit. I'm a cold turkey kind of quitter.

So far this morning it doesn't seem too horrible for Day Two. However, it hasn't really hit me and I expect by 9am I will be dealing with a headache and considering running to the cafeteria to get a tall non-fat vanilla latte. Hmmm...doesn't that sound good?

On a totally unrelated matter... If anyone needs any more proof that global warming is really a problem need not look any further. How many of us living in this great state, remember heading into the last weekend in November with NO snow on the ground. Granted, there was snow down south two weeks ago but that has since disappeared. How am I to get in the holiday spirit without any snow on the ground? Mind you, I am not a huge fan of the winter dragging on but I fear we will have a brown holiday season. As a native Minnesotan that doesn't sit too well with me...especially when I consider the underlying cause of the weather changes. It blows my mind that I just saw yet another car manufacturer (out of where, Detroit did you say??) put out their 'largest vehicle yet'. Pulease. Why, why, why do we need to drive automobiles that emit that much pollution and burn up that many resources?? Full disclosure here: my husband owns an SUV. Which I hope we can get rid of soon. He says he needs is for hauling 'stuff'. Yet, when we have to haul anything larger than 3x3 we have to rent a trailer. Hmmm... but he needs it for camping. I've seen small vehicles packed well enough to take all your gear camping and then some.

OK. Now that I've gotten that out of my system. I hope everyone has a delightful Thanksgiving holiday and all those traveling have a safe trip.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

You want me to pay how much?

Cars. How I wish I could control public transit and make it go where I wanted to on my whim. The damage on my lovely auto will run nearly $1200. Turns out my starter was staying on and eventually melted the wiring harness, not to mentioned drained the brand-spanking new battery. Not what I wanted to hear before heading into the gift buying season. Hopefully this will take care of any issues, my ride will be fully functional and it will last another five years. Urgh.

On a more positive note, I entered five photos into a salon last night. My organization 'supports' a camera club that meets once a month. Last night was the second meeting I attended.

This is only the second time I have ever had my work judged. I am sensitive about my work. I don't have the highest level of confidence and always feel like a fraud. It was a big step for me to take in my work and let it be judged by 15 virtual strangers. Two of my photos were 'selected' and I was happy to feel myself responding positively to the feedback the group provided on the other three. I could see where they were going.

AND my name was drawn out of the hat for a month long 'showing' of my work in one of our buildings. I need to present 6 photos and 3 will be selected. They have already 'chosen' one, a personal family favorite I displayed last night. It's very exciting and validating. Instead of being scared about showing my work I hopethis will build my confidence, help me become both technically strong and more creative/free in my work. Then I can leave corporate America forever!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Smoke & Movies

So, my car has been acting up quite a bit as of late. It doesn't want to start all the time and this morning it was really making a stink about moving out of the garage. It made some sort of noise that even brought Pete out of the house into the garage for a looksee (or a hearsee in this case). He wasn't sure what it was so asked that I let him know if it quit by the time I got to work. It made the rattling noise all the way to work, which is luckily only 2.5 miles. I parked the car and it continued to 'sputter'. I have never experienced this before. So, of course I called my omniscient husband to get his advice. After turning the car on and off a couple of times it started smoking. At first I thought it was just the heat that comes off cars. And then I got out - as fast as I could. Grabbed my purse and keys and got away from the car. The thing was SMOKING!! And it smelled like an electrical fire. All I could think of was a movie scene where the dumb chick was standing near her car when it exploded. OK. I admit I tend to overdramatize things but seriously... if you have never seen an electrical fire in your car wouldn't you move too?

In the meantime, someone who was going to park near me moved his car. Because of the impending explosion in the car? Who knows, he was the least of my worries this morning. What irks me the most is that I have quite a bit of money left to pay off on this wonderful 1999 automobile. Hopefully the 3 year extended warranty I bought at the time of purchase will cover this business. I really don't want to buy another car with the debt hanging over my head. Maybe we'll just have to get used to driving one automobile. Only working 2.5 miles from home I could figure out a way to get up and walk to work every morning. Sounds like I should be able to do it anyway, why have I been driving? Because I overschedule myself like a madwoman and have something going on nearly every night of the week.

Hmmm...maybe it's a sign I should stop driving so much. It's been an exciting morning to say the least!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Only in the Midwest





The difference between these photos is 10 miles. Only in the Midwest can you go from nearly 80' on Wednesday to 6-12 inches of snow. Took these on my way to my parent's house on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wheel of Fortune

Per Carrie


You are The Wheel of Fortune


Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of
intoxication with success


The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. You are lucky in all things that you do and happy with the things that come to you. Be careful that success does not go to your head however. Sometimes luck can change.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ghosts and Goblins

We had nearly 100 trick or treaters last night! I know we would have hit over 100 if we hadn't RUN OUT OF CANDY. I had a sinking feeling at 7pm when I started to see the bottom of the candy bowl and by 7:45 I was handing out less and less as the kids came to the door. Pete had the idea of counting this year so we could gauge how many to expect for next year. We are, apparently, a destination neighborhood for families. We're off main roads and have many cul-de-sacs so it's perfect for trick/treating.

Our first kids came around 5:45 and were the boys from across the street. I love these two as they remind me a lot of my sister's boys. I'm glad they were our first guests this year. We saw some good costumes and many with their jackets on as it was very cold for the little ones. Pete's favorite: snowmobiler (of course). Holly's favorite: Native American princess (she was adorable!!).

I can't wait until next year!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Crafty Carvers




We had a great day yesterday. The weather was beautiful! Although we were inside for most of the day. Over twenty pumpkins were carved by the family. Mostly by the kids. Adults spend most of the time helping the kids cut off the top and clean out the guts. Then we pick through and pull out the seeds for baking. This year we didn't have enough time to bake the seeds due to the delicious dinner and homemade bundt cake. Yummy!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Manual Labor

We're off to help clean up the church grounds today. To help keep costs down they have asked for volunteers to rake, weed, lay down mulch and who knows what else. Considering how long it has taken me to get my gardens ready for the snow/frozen tundra we could be there for a while.

Jordan is coming with us today and isn't looking forward to this one bit. I was thinking the other day as I raked some leaves that she has lived her life in a townhome (at her mom's) - where someone else takes care of the lawn/snow removal. Until we moved into our house, she never had then chance to do any type work. I swore I would never say this but here I go. When I was her age... I was mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, etc. And for Pete, he bailed hay and worked for his buddy's uncle making 3 bucks an hour hauling cement blocks. Ahhh....character. Should be good experience for her, eh? Are we the bad parents? Probably, but neither Pete or I feel you can learn a whole lot from sitting on your tush in front of the TV. Poor kid.

I am actually looking forward to it. I like seeing the 'progress' from cleaning up gardens and preparing for spring/fall. I'm sure that will wear off after a few hours of work and my hands/back and shoulders will be sore tomorrow but it's a good king of sore.

Tomorrow is pumpkin carving day at my in-laws. I'll be sure to take many photos of the kids in various stages of carving :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Heavy Lids and Old Age

Boy am I feeling old this morning. The show last night was fantastic. The Hold Steady played to a sold out audience and I can attest to the fact that it made them happy. The lead singer, originally from the Twin Cities, was just stoked to have sold out a venue he began going to 20 years ago. As a Twin Cities music fan I understand. How cool would it be to think of yourself with bands like The Replacements, Husker Du, Soul Asylum, The Jayhawks and Atmosphere, just to name a few. I really am blessed to live in a city with a music scene that continues to generate creative tunes. Ahh... as the girls of That Dog sing... Minnneeaapolis, Minnneeapolis.

Nonetheless, as I move on in years one thing has become increasingly apparent. My bed time is early!! I typically head to bed somewhere between 10pm & 11pm. Last night the show ended at 12:45am. I am a bit tired this morning. Getting home at 1:30am and rising at 6am...(yawn)...my eyes are burning and I didn't even drink! At least I have learned that a hangover at work is no fun. Ok, it took me a while to learn that one :)

It was great to be back at the venue. I started going to shows there in 1991 when I started college. I've seen some great acts (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Fishbone, Primus, Sugar, The Pixies, The Jayhawks), renovations, fights (one last night too), many a drunk patron (many last night) all within the dark black walls with black and white tiled floors. What's not to love about First Ave? I'm waxing nostalgic for my days of youth when I would go see shows once, if not twice, a week. Yes, I've slowed down and have different priorities. But last night reminded me of one of the reasons WHY I love living in this city and how much I enjoy punk rock music.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Free of Firewalls

I have really been dragging today. Not sure if it was the glass of wine last night or the lack of work on my desk but I can't seem to wake up for the life of me. I'm having one of those days where I am REALLY unmotivated and all that sounds good is a nice long nap. (yawn)

Plans for the evening include an opportunity to see one heckuva good band at First Ave. I'm meeting up with some pals to see The Hold Steady. If you haven't checked them out I highly recommend them. For those of you from the Twin Cities you know the lead singer from his days with Lifter Puller.

Did a photo shoot for my friend Jenny's business on Sunday. She is hoping to have a spread in Working Mother later this year. She has had quite the year and I hope this pans out for her as it would be great national press for her business. She just launched it recently (Pete is doing the design work) so keep your fingers crossed! And who knows, you might see Pete and I in a magazine along with some of the others who have helped get this business going. Will keep you posted!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Flakes

Fall always seems to short. The leaves blow off the trees far too early, leaving only the bare branches to stare at for the next several months. Ahhh...Counting the days to spring. I realized today as I watch the snow fly that I forgot to put the scraper in my car. I just didn't want to admit that we would see snow this soon.

It's not that I don't enjoy the snow. As a hardy Minnesotan, I have been reared to appreciate the opportunity to make snow angels and towering snow forts that last for days when the temps work in your favor. I think if I didn't have to drive in the snow I might look forward to the falling temps and precipitation. Remember when we looked forward to making piles of snow and disturbing the smooth white cover to make a snow-family? Heck, I remember in college when the Halloween blizzard hit what fun we had walking down the deserted streets of Minneapolis with 31 inches of snow on the ground, making snowpeople outside our dorm and letting all the other 'worries' go by the wayside while we enjoyed the chance to take advantage of the time.

As an adult I find myself hunkering down and eating far, far too much (which I also do in the summer, BTW), reading tons of books and generally not poking my face out of my house unless I really have to go somewhere.

My husband, on the other hand, feels the opposite. Since he is his own personal heater, he LOVES the cold weather and can't wait to get on his snowmobile to travel from point to point. While I have attempted to join him and some of our good friends and family in this activity it just doesn't do it for me. The bouncing around, worrying about going to the bathroom, much less the fact that I don't drive like a maniac. Nope, give me my hot apple cider and a book and you can tool away on that gas guzzling, oil burning machine. I'll see you when you get back.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Shifting Gears

After becoming quite addicted to reading blogs friends I have decided to shift gears adjust the focus this blog. It initially started out as a platform to share my photography attempts, but since Pete developed our website I find that I direct interested clients there. So... since I have friends both near and far with whom I like to keep in contact, I'm going to move the direction of this forum to updates on the family and such.

Welcome to the new and improved blog!!

I wish with the inaugural post for this fashion I had more to say. The Whitcomb house continues to be a flurry of activity. I recently bought a new set of lights to help build my photography business. With the holidays approaching I've booked quite a few sessions with existing clients. My prices are quite low so that makes me attractive and I'm willing to come to clients homes when kids are involved - also a big selling point since sometimes those little ones can be a challenge. Hopefully gas prices will continue to stay low or I'm going to have to reconsider my pricing structure :)

Jordan got a cool haircut and color done in the not too distant past. Since she is with us this weekend I'll try to snap a few photos and post them so you may see her in her red-headed glory. She looks quite good in her Minnesota Gopher gear.

This year she passed me in both height and shoe size. It went by so fast I didn't even get to borrow any of her shoes! She still has the metabolism I dream of and can fit into all the clothing I pass her way (as long as it isn't pastel!). Urgh. The curses of getting old. I wish for the days when I could eat anything I desired and not gain any weight. Despite training and running the Twin Cities 10 mile I didn't drop any weight. Seems like in order to keep up with my metabolism I need to be moving ALL the time. Kinda hard to do when you have a job that requires you to be on the computer for 6 out of the 8 hours. Oh well.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Time flies when you are finishing up your degree. It has taken me six whole years to complete my masters and I can't believe I am done. No more papers, no more group presentations, no more weekend work with people who I become extremely close to in a 14 week period... I don't think it will seem real until I walk up and receive my temporary diploma. I didn't want for undergraduate and this has taken me a lllloooonnnngggg time to complete so I am going to milk it for all it is worth and celebrate again on Saturday!

I honestly don't know what to do with all the extra time. Perhaps I will finally focus my energy on the photography business and see if I can make a go at it. At least as a side business. Follow in the footsteps of my friends Carrie and Kim who hold down jobs while fulfilling the creative need through their art.

Friday, March 31, 2006

New Site

Great news! Pete created his website. He had the great idea of sharing a site and tested his web publishing skills.

It's not built with flash so no bells and whistles (how very Pete, eh?). Check it out at Whitcomb Creative.