Monday, February 28, 2011

Bust out the horns

In a recent conversation with someone I greatly respect, I heard a term that I fell in love with.  He was talking about having a sit down with someone who he had been...well...tied up in controversy with...and referred to it as "Sitting down to dinner with the Devil".  Suffice it to say, the controversy between them was not a small one.

This idea got me thinking about what I would say if I sat down to dinner with my devils.  Uhmmmmmmmmmm...yeah I can't post most of it here.

There's more than one person who's caused controversy in my life, especially recently.  Saying that I dislike people who put ripples in my pond is an understatement.  I like to imagine a Louisville slugger to the temples of those who fuck with my family or me.  Unfortunately, there are laws against things like that and I'm too cute to go to jail.

Sitting down to dinner with the devil...what would I serve...sarcasm and something with lots of carbs in it, & a side of bland watered-down tasteless beer.

So I spent the day today, while doing other things, thinking of what I would say if er rather when I sit down with the devil...any of the many in my life.

Now if you read here much, you know I skipped school on the day where they taught you how to hold your tongue.  I have; however, spent the last 5+ years being groomed by attorneys, counselors, and judges to bite my tongue (sometimes to the point of bleeding...literally) for the greater good.  Yes the "greater good" which is contained comfortably and happily within the 4 walls of our home...though I truly believe that there have been instances where NOT holding my tongue would have been far more productive.

I've been called calloused, confrontational, and combative.  To those statements I say:  Yes, Yes and FUCK Yes!  I mean face it, I only have 2 cheeks so you take more than 2 blows and I say the gloves come off!  But devils are devils and it's not always that easy.  You can only avoid confrontation for so long.


This... ... is ridiculous.

Therefore, in light of it's ridiculousity ('s a word! ok maybe not...)

I am declaring tomorrow, March 2nd...National Abby Day!  That's right!  Beers and spicy food all around!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

2 kinds of hot

Ok for starters, have you ever picked up something of your husband's when gathering the dirty laundry...realized it smelled fabulously like him...and found yourself huffing it like Lindsay Lohan in a bathroom stall with a bottle of nail polish remover?
Cuz I just did it.

*Stands up*
My name is Abby and I'm addicted to the way my husband smells.

I would also like to note that I'm blessed with a guy who I can honestly say I have never once noticed smelling guys do when they're all icky and stinky.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

PCness & Hick Groceries

So it's been a while.  I've tossed ya some bones in the form of effortless rewritten posts from my photoblog and such but t'is time to get down and dirty and make time for myself and my mindless drivel again.

I know, I know, but please...try to contain your excitement.  You're only embarrassing yourself ;)
I'm kidding.

So life, as I mentioned recently, has been insaaaaaaaaaaaaane here!  I know I volunteered for this mom/wife/ruler-of-the-world job but holy's kicking my every loving ass lately!  Sleep is for pussies to start off with.  We, and when I say we I mean me because face it, I'm the mama...finally got my Moose sleeping through the night only to be jungle fucked less than 2 weeks later by molars cutting.  Not only are we not sleeping through the night, we're not sleeping more than 40 minutes at a time.  He also does not seem to understand the concept of "you've already had tylenol...tough it out and go back to sleep".

I shit you not, I was at the pharmacy yesterday and the pharmacist...the pharmacist...the fucking professional drug giver outer guy...tells me to scrap the orajel, scrap the tylenol and just "rub Jack Daniels on his gums" because that's what he did.  He continues to say and I fucking quote:  "I have 8 kids and did it with all of them and not a single one of them turned out retarded."

I lost it.  I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pee myself like we moms all did in our 3rd trimester...just a tinkle...ya know, when we sneezed...or laughed...or stood up too hard.  Hrm.  For starters I was not aware that Jack Daniels could cause retardation.  Well...maybe it can...I, have to be honest though...I don't really have any recollection of those nights so, ya know. I guess this entire scene was one of 2 awesome quick reminders of the hillbilly area I live in.
So much for political correctness, professionalism, and uh just being appropriate at the work place in general. My 60 something pharm just said to booze up my kid and no worries he won't turn into a ritard.  Awesome.  You can't make this shit up!

Once I got myself together enough to pay for our very last round of Moosey reflux meds *triumphant trumpets sounding* I grabbed a small list of groceries, said hi to the freezer dept stocker guy with the jail house tats that loves my boobies so much, and hit the front to get the hellfire out of there.

If a pharmacist talking about slow mentality and alcohol wasn't good enough, I managed into the anti-pc queen's line.  This little old lady is a hoot.  She's always got something funny and off color to say and this was definitely no exception to that rule!  I toss stuff up on the counter one thing at a time...and eventually a guy that I would say was in his 40's comes up behind me.  He smiles a little, and I notice thing cuz that's what I do; notice his tattoos:  American flag, Eagle, Bulldog, clover, and Viking.

I get that many people would think He has!  But to someone with some tattoo experience those are story tellers and personality hints.
American Flag: pride in country aka good ole boy
Eagle:  Pride in country and strength aka gun owner right wing
Bulldog:  USMC former military aka good ole boy pride in country and self and can probably kick some serious ass
Clover:  this could mean a lot of things but clover+viking=proud of being white.

I shit you not.  Do your homework if you don't believe me.

So he compliments my pastey pale red headed son on his cuteness, and compliments my tattoos while I'm unloading the cart and when my Moose drops my keys on the ground he picks them up for me and definitely made note of the Ruger keychain.

Back to the cashier who has now realized that my tortillas are not ringing up.
Frustration ensues quickly because, "These tor-tilla things (yes she pronounced the L sounds) don't have a price...who the hell stocked these and forgot to scan them in?!"
She's obviously flustered by the line now forming.  So I step in and say that I'm sure they were $2.09 and that I buy the same ones every 2 weeks when I shop.  She said she had to have someone check it...and calls over the intercom for someone to "Come to the front to get a price from the Mexican aisle".

I'll admit it.  At first I didn't see that statement as being weird.
Then the guy behind me gigglesnorted.
I looked up and said, "what?"
He says, "The Mexican aisle...don't they have one of those at Home Depot too?"

Holy shit!  He just said that OUTLOUD!
The little old lady heard him and it was all over, she goes on a rant!

"Was that not right?  Can't I say Mexican aisle...I mean it's full of Mexican food right?  Do I need to say Hispanic aisle or Spanish aisle...We used to be able to say that stuff, its food not like I'm making fun of people who are Mexican...I mean they eat that kind of food right?  That's why it's called Mexican food, cuz they eat it!  It's not like we're selling Mexicans out of that aisle...."

Now I'm laughing, the guy behind me is laughing, the kid bagging for us with the crappy dagger tattoo on his arm from the local crappy tattoo joint is laughing, the guy at the back of the line who was very tall and lanky and appeared to be a scholar of some sort...was decidedly NOT laughing.

It wasn't so much her political incorrectness that had me in stitches as much as it was the fact that she realized the error of her non-pc statement and decided to lecture us all on how stupid it is to have to watch what you say and in the process of doing so, became ever increasingly more offensive with each statement she made.
Well, that combined with my recent discussion of non-medicinal ways to dose your children without resulting in them running around in a helmet and eating crayons from a lunch box.

As I booked it out to my 1994 rusted out red diesel pick up with the door latched shut with twine (no, it's not my daily driver), I realized that you don't get this sort of fun in the city or even the burbs for that matter.  This sort of shit is something I don't want to miss out on if and when this impending move of doom ever actually occurs.  My roots are in small town USA and I can't imagine not having the crazy cat lady's house 2 doors down with weeds that she calls "her flowers"...or the old guy 3 blocks over who claims that his Halloween display is festive when everyone else sees that the figures hanging from the trees are uh somewhat inappropriate...or the guy just outside of town who has an arsenal in his basement that rivals Ft. Hood...or the the vacant beat up unlived in properties that people respect and don't break into a steal things from because...out here we might use terms that not everyone likes and we might say retarded in a manner other than directed but damn it, there's a level of respect for things that while unique to the rural parts of the US and completely foreign to anyone in our core.  You can't get this stuff if you don't live out here and you can't imagine not having it if you've been here for very long.

I sent my husband out for some Jack Daniels.  Don't worry, it's for me not the baby ;)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A day in the life...

A day in the life of the Mom/Photographer is not easy, boring, or without some sort of drama.  To be fair, with 3 girls between the ages of 6 and 9, some days the drama tops out at full on Miley Cyrus (minus the bong...of course).  That being said, the term 'rewarding' does not begin to cover it.  I'm blessed with 4 amazing kids, a husband who works some long hours, a beautiful and very old home full of history (albeit too small for 6 of us and only MOSTLY renovated), a dog I love to love and a cat I love to hate.  I run my own business, I just finished a novel, and I secretly control the United Nations from my dirt floor cellar.  Ok, that last bit might be a slight fabrication.

The question was recently posed to me, how do I do it all.  So I thought, maybe it's time to show the world what a day in the life of a mom-tographer is really like.  

A Day in the Life of a Mom-tographer

I took my camera for a spin in my world.  Most days, it doesn't leave my side but 99% of the photos I shoot never make it to my site, my blog, facebook...gets bombarded but even that doesn't get even half of what I shoot. Could I make a blog post about being a stay at home mom who runs a photo business something interesting?  Lets see!

I drag my ass out of bed around 7:30.  I know.  It doesn't sound that rough, but consider this:  I try to get time with my husband in the evening, this puts me to bed (and sleeping *wink wink*) around 11 most nights.  I sleep approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours at a time IF I'M LUCKY because my beautiful, wonderful, son whom I love...does not sleep well or even close to through the night.  The cursed alarm wakes me, I wake the kids, and hunt down my dear friend "extra strong brew" and my Canon lens mug...because I'm a photo geek.

Once the sand is cleared from my eyes, I grab my camera.  Despite the lack of hurricane chasing and traveling in my life these past few years; I still embrace my documentary training.  My camera is within arms reach 90% of the day.  This means there are some seriously ridiculous and stupid photos of crap no one wants to see.    My household might not be thrilling to everyone, but documenting my life with my family is important to me and provides me with constant challenges as an artist.  You try shooting within the 4 walls of your home every day for 2 years straight and tell me how interesting your photographs are!  Keeping it creative is a fun and constant battle...that I win.  Most of the time.

Set the camera down and get breakfast started!  It's amazing what color and light can do to create interesting images from things you see every day.  That's the basis of my 365 project this year which you can find at under the tag "365-2011".

As I said, I have 4 kids.  As of now, they're all under the age of 10.  Spills...are a regular occurrence.  That doesn't mean that spills no longer cause me to bust into a string of tourettes inspired Fricks and Fudges...but it does mean that I have figured out how to get papertowels fast enough to stop the traveling river of *insert fluid here* that occurs after every spill thanks to our awesomely old and oh yeah have I mentioned...totally no longer level house.  *Breathe*  That being said, I can't even tell you how excited it was to have a spill this day!  Thanks for adding to the project my girls!

There's little time to sit when you're a mom.  Time to get lunches made and packed for the school age kids!  I love doing new things and getting the WTF is that look when I had it to them.  Inevitably...they like what I make.

Check the clock, time to get moving.  It's 8:20am, time to get coats/boots/bags you name it.  Time for school!  This is the time when meltdowns occur if there is going to be one.  3 school age kids+hurry time can be well, a test of everyone's patience and ability to moooooooooooove their arses (to say the least).  Most days it's easy peasy lemon squeezy...but there are those days that make you wish you'd stayed in bed!

After the ladies of the house are dropped off at the school, the Moose and I return.  1st things 1st, I get to check email while the little man empties the cabinets to construct towers of pots pans and drying racks in my kitchen.  My family always comes first but sometimes that means that my business stuff comes before play time, Mama's gotta make money to keep buying new toys and taking everyone fun places!

Email checked, a quick round through Facebook, the blog, and Twitter and I'm off to the races with getting the chores done.  Eww.  Chores.  This is the part I dislike.  Dishes you recall my disdain for dishes and the dishwasher and people not doing things my OCD way?  If not, check here:  for a good laugh and a quick reminder of well...just check there.

I like to imagine myself climbing snow-covered mountains capturing spectacular images...but the closest thing to snow-covered mountains here are the drifts currently melting outside and the laundry detergent (as seen below).  Breathe deep, the fresh scent of mountain air...which smells nothing like "mountain fresh" detergent.

With 4 kids, a husband in a pseudo-construction industry, a 100 lb dog and a 25 lb cat...yes, he's f'in fat...there isn't a day that goes by without me running the vacuum around the house.  Moose LOVES the vacuum!  I mean LOVES it, to almost a disturbing level.  He will throw his toys to the side and sit in the vacuum's way.  I imagine it looks something like this coming at him...which suddenly makes me realize why he loves it!  Trippy!!

With the 1st round of chores under my belt, I get to sit down with my baby boy and spend some time playing.  In our house, if you're on the floor, you risk getting puppy kisses.  Don't worry, she only LOOKS like she's tasting him.
This day, it snowed but was far too cold for little man to play in it.  Instead, I brought the snow to him.  I know, Mom...but my floor isn't slate and my kiddie pool is in storage (my mom was/is the uber mom...she filled the whole kiddie pool in our kitchen for me!)

Lunchtime always brings messes.  So much for that floor I cleaned a couple hours ago!  Keep in mind, I've been shooting all day, random things...playing baby...the dog's huge nose...anything and everything.

Oh, did I mention, if things don't get spilled...they often will be spit...yeah...the life of a mom...

I do dishes constantly all day long, either by machine or by hand.  I HATE having a stack of dishes in the sink, dirty or clean stacks of clothes, filthy won't find that here.  I keep things ship shape.  Moose is coming off bottles now except for a few times a day (like when I want him to suck himself to sleep...we don't do binks) but I will always treasure the days of overtired gigglesnorts with my husband when I would freak out yelling "OMG!  ALL MY NIPPLES ARE DIRTY!"...he has such a sick mind!

Back to the computer to return emails, write articles, posts, and check in on my social networks.  Because ya networks love me and miss me if I'm gone too long.  I once had someone report me missing because I didn't Facebook for 3 hours straight.  Kidding.  This is usually play-chef time for Moose.  I can't tell you how many times I've tripped over my own pots and pans on the floor.

Every mom's favorite time of the day...bath time!!  I love it in the kitchen because it serves multiple purposes, clean the baby, the cabinets, the counter and the floor all at once!  That and because he hates the big tub.  I don't know why.  He's a freak, but a cute adorable lovey freak that belongs to me :)

Off to my in home studio to get some photography work done.  Thankfully we have toys galore in this room to keep the Moose busy.  He usually ends up on the backdrop having his picture taken at some point.  

Did I just give the baby a bath?  Yes I did, so what better time for a diaper explosion that this??!  And we all know how I feel about diaper explosions!!

Back to the laundry long as I've been taken away from my photo work, I might as well change loads.  Ha.  I said loads.  Right after a diaper explosion!  Funny!

By 1pm (if I haven't done a crock pot meal...which for the record, are the mother's savior) I get dinner going. After 5 years, I have quit caring if people don't want to eat veggies.  Get over it.  You're all healthy thanks to me being the eat your food Nazi.  I'm cool with it!  

Inevitably, while starting dinner, the dog and baby use the dog door as a play thing.  My kitchen is chaos.

Sweet sweet nap time!  This is my time to bust my hump and get my work stuff done.  Editing photos, shooting photos, networking, finishing posts that were started earlier in the day, and if I am lucky...time to blog on my oh so neglected writing page (yes, that means here).  All work and no play makes mom a dull girl.

You didn't think nap time would be that easy did you?  OH NO!  This is also my 2 1/2 hours of the day when I cram working out and showering into the mix.  There's no gym for me, mostly because going to the gym makes me want to poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick.  All I need is my videos and bag and a few thousand excuses to not use them.  Really though, I'm doing well this year!  Down 16 lbs since Jan 1st!  WOOHOO!  Little thanks to the work out, but lots of thanks to Weight Watchers :)

If I take too long in the shower, I find an unhappy camper who's woken up to no mommy running to get him at the sound of him rustling in his crib.  This makes the mom in me sad, which means serious baby snuggle time.  

Luckily, he's easy to make happy again.  Coincidentally, so is the baby in the mirror!  

Time to get the girls from school.  It's a short 6 blocks from the house but it's not warm enough yet to walk.  Which is probably good because one of my munchkins has recently decided she likes school after a long few years of hating it, and is now the last kid out of the school almost every day!  This means the walk+wait+walk time would likely result in someone peeing their pants before we got home.  Trust me.  We've had close calls.

This also means time to refuel because the morning's 3 (ok, 4) cups of coffee have worn off.  My current choice is Sundrop-twice the caffeine of Mt. Dew...yeah.  Twice.  Jack me up baby, I need to get shit done!

If you haven't figured it out yet, I walk the OCD line very carefully.  I keep a clean house.  I try to be organized.  This means, you walk in the door from hand sanitize.  This is not an option.

Homework.  My least favorite time of the day.  Let me just tell you, the 1st time I had to sit down as an adult and attempt 1st grade math homework, almost reduced me to tears.  I went to art school for a reason.  And can someone PLEASE tell me one time that you've had to use long division?  I can't...except helping my oldest with her homework this year.  Long division is stupid.  I mean really, long division is why God created evil geniuses who then could in turn create calculators!  Duh!  The teacher said, "What if you have to do long division and you don't have a calculator with you?"  Uhm ok well #1, I don't know what stone age brick of a cell phone you carry, but everything out now has calculators on them and I'm never without my phone.  #2, the real question is what the fuck would I be doing that would require long division to begin with?  Nothing.  NOTHING, I SAY!

After homework, it's time to pick up rooms.  No one wants to do it, but the rewards are art projects :)  This, also, is not something that is up for discussion.  It's your stuff, clean it up.  

Daddy makes his way home before dinner and the semi-chaotic house goes to full on wild screams of joy.  I doubt there would be more excitement if the  Jonas brothers walked through the door!  Daddy is the man!!

Dinner time!  One of the only times of the day that I get to sit down for more than 10 minutes straight.  That means YOU can get up and get the ketchup if you want to put it on your pasta, cuz it's gross, and mom's being lazy.

Also a time of day that I get to have a helper...and I'm very thankful for that (and him).

Dessert is always sweetest if you get to decorate it yourself!

I usually kick the family out to go watch some TV together and I whip out a last round of dishes real quickly.  I claim it's because it's faster to do dishes by myself, in reality, moms just crave a few minutes to themselves.

Bedtime for little ones...SAWEET!!!  Hugs, kisses and a story for my girlies.  Snuggles with my baby boy.

I get about 2 hours to chill after kids are in bed.  This time entails winding down, planning my next day, planning meals and grocery lists, planning writing projects and photo projects, planning rescue missions and hostile take downs of neighboring countries and those housing large stores of fossil fuels, talking to my husband and vegging with some Discovery Channel...admittedly I have a bit of a problem-er shall we say addiction to the new auction hunter shows!  Then it's off to bed time for parents, snuggles with my big boy *this would be my favorite time of day* (Photo from our wedding, thanks Kim!)

It's 11pm-ish.

On an average day I spend about 16 hours running non-stop.
On an average day I spend at least 2 hours hunting for the socks my son has taken off (just realized this today).
On an average day I run 1.7 loads of the math bitches, it's accurate!
On an average day I was the equivalent of 2 loads of dishes.
On an average day I spend about 1 hour total of time doing things solely to make myself happy.
On an average day I photograph 200-300 photos for personal reasons...this is in addition to an average 100-200 shot for business.
I am fueled by caffeine, love for my family, and passion for my photography be it a paying job, a doc job, or shooting around my house.
Neither of my jobs (mom and photographer) are easy jobs and sometimes one, or both, can be thankless but it's what I love to do and I do it well.  Tomorrow, we start again.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

About That Blizzard...

So here I am, shit talkin the National Weather whoever...and we got POUNDED.  I don't mean like hammering a nail into a piece of soft wood, pounded.  I mean hardcore porn pounded.  Not that I've...ya know...seen anything like that...

We had a teaser of snow Monday night and early during the day Tuesday that probably totaled around 4 inches...maaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe 5.  Which, when I think about the actual "blizzard" makes it seem way less exciting.  About 2pm the big snow hit.  Holy shit, I couldn't see my neighbors house...and she's not far away.  By 4pm my husband was home and the wind had kicked up like insaaaaaaanity.  So what do I do, I freakin leave to go out shooting pics!  What else do you do in a "historic" and, how did they put it..."life threatening" storm?

So I take my  big badass 4wd and rock it out through town, admittedly whipping it around some corners sideways all reminiscent of my Camaro driving days. I miss her...

I hit the 1st spot that I want to get out to shoot, open my door, step onto my running boards and...
FUCK!!!!  There goes that damn damn damned ankle of mine!  I always say I've got a mouth like a sailor and trust you could hear me cussing through the whipping wind.

Shoot the pic.  Back in the truck.  Now I'm pissed and driving like it on the completely empty roads hearing Bill Murray (coincidentally enough from Groundhog Day) saying "DON'T DRIVE ANGRY PHIL!  DON'T DRIVE ANGRY!"

A turn here and a u-turn there and I've shot a handful of images.  I get to the grainery, oh sweet sweet grainery who I've ignored for the 5 years I have lived here and who made me so proud to be a small town girl when she put it on big time for some amazing photographs seen here:

After my fun being almost blown over while shooting the above shots, I moved onto the edge of town.   Holy maybe not hell but what hell would be like if there were snow there!  Without question.
The snow was drifted along the far east side of town 3' deep across the road.  Awesome.  The storm had JUST arrived!  I floored it through the drifts and went to get out of my car to shoot a pic of a barn.  The wind LITERALLY ripped the door out of my hands.

I managed to get this shot just before the hurricane force winds almost knocked my not so tiny ass to the ground: