Thursday, February 25, 2010

42 - crescent lake

I shot this image at a lake where we stopped for lunch on a day during our babymoon. What a great day it was. We pulled the Jeep right up to the boat launch and ate while gazing across the lake. I remember thinking about what it would be like to take a canoe across to those trees in the distance. I remember talking about setting rules, like no cookies until all the other lunch foods were consumed.

That was back before Baby arrived. At that time I couldn't imagine life with her. Now, I can't imagine life without her. I can't wait to return to Crescent Lake with our baby and our canoe.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

41- new music

I'm so excited to have new music. It started with just the Sade, who is favorite in this family. The Big D and I went to see her a few years ago, then later realized that the DVD for the album was taped at the show we went to at the Target Center. It was fun seeing that concert again. Her new CD came out shortly after Pumpkin was born. We had to buy it, then needed a bit more for free shipping. Then, of course, we were just a few dollars short, so we picked yet another CD. Panjabi MC and Daby Toure. It's been a while since the last release for all three of these musicians. Pumpkin seems like all three!
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Quick Knit Project: Baby Pod

Yesterday I had the blues and so I grabbed my new knit pattern and headed to my local yarn shop: Crafty Planet. I don't know why I had the blues. Was it the baby blues? I'm not sure. I guess I thought that life would have resumed a bit by this point, nearly two weeks after Baby came into the world. I mean resumed in the sense of being able to go out for breakfast, maybe even drink a dark beer. But, she's so little that I get a little nervous about taking her out amongst people that may be ill. I get worried that even a little bit of beer in my breast milk may be too much for her little body. The Big D says I shouldn't worry so much and so, today we are going to go out for dinner. Maybe.

Anyway, yesterday got much better after visiting my local yarn shop. Over the last eight months of pregnancy, I've been looking at pro photography websites trying to get ideas for baby/newborn photoshoots. I discovered on Etsy a knitting pattern for a baby pod, a baby cocoon pattern. Suddenly, my two life-saving hobbies came together in one great, elegant moment!

I chose a blue, bulky yarn in order to emphasize the blue of her eyes, but she didn't cooperate. That's OK because the blue looks good in B&W.

Ahhh. Knitting and Photography - both to me are necessary and essential therapy. Throw a baby into the mix and I'm back to my bliss.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

40 -The cat's in the cradle

Poor Maxine! She's having trouble adjusting to the Baby Pumpkin. So many new things for the cat to climb into, so many temptations! I didn't realize that the Pumpkin had her own security system that keeps the cats away - her own little squeaky cry. Maxine has been sweet, though, and the other day she tried to rub her head against the Baby. Maybe things will all work out right!
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Letters to the Pumpkin: Week One

Dear Pumpkin Pie,

You're here! Ohmygod, YOU'RE HERE! Today you are nine days old.

OK, so I'm not off to the best start, but give me a break, you came early and I never had time to think about how I was going to write to you. So, here's your first letter, a couple days late. I wasn't as clever as you, scheming to do it early.

I do see it, Baby, I do really see how clever you were to come early. A whole month and three days early. If you'd gone your full term, I wouldn't have been able to give birth to you naturally. You would have probably been too big. But, then maybe I'd have had the time to reconsider this notion of giving birth naturally.

It was the most beautiful experience in my life. It was also the most traumatic experience in my life. Good thing your daddy was there, holding my hand, chanting Om each and every time a contraction hit.

21010 - Baby's birthday

Who gave me that idea anyhow? Can I blame it on the internet? Can I blame it on Dooce? Nah. She just affirmed my crazy idea. Can I blame it on my hippy, wiccan college buddies? The ones without kids? Nah. I can only blame myself and once I get something in my head, there's no changing my mind, except maybe personal experience and the wisdom that comes from that.

Anyhow, I'm glad I did because you are a great baby! I've read that babies who come into this world naturally, sans a "caine" drug, narcotics or morphine (all of which were offered to me repeatedly at the hospital), are quieter and more peaceful. And, truly you are a peaceful baby. You sleep through the night. Yep, you heard me right, you sleep through the night. I actually have to wake you to feed you. And sometime, you little stinker, you don't want to wake up.

21110 - the day after

Then, I think I'm rested and am going to get a lot done the next day, but I don't. Every since the day we brought you home, you have all our attention and concern.

21210 - all packed up

I cried when we brought you home. It wasn't because of a profound sense of family, but because the house was totally trashed. You see, a week before you were born, I lost all my energy. I sat at home, on the couch, and knitted you things. I didn't cook, I didn't clean, I barely made it to my meetings. There was cat hair piling up all over, dirty floors, dirty bedrooms and a dirty bathroom. Ugh. I didn't want you to come home to that.

Stardate 21310 - Mother's log: baby is now in blue stasis, resting peacefully...

Then a day after we had you settled in, the jaundice flared and you were encapsulated within this phototherapy bed. You should have seen the look on the face of your grandfather, your daddy's father, when he walked in and saw you in this phototherapy bed! He looked at us like we were some new age weirdos who chose to do this to you, like we were trying to darken your skin, or something. It was so funny trying to explain to him that the hospital had dropped this off for us. And we were glad not to have to take you back to the hospital.

21410 - cheeky monkey

You cheeky monkey! We have so many names for you! Silly monkey, kickin chicken, little peanut, pumpkin, or rather, honey bunny pumpkin pie. Whenever either us return after leaving the house for an hour or so, the words out of our mouths are "how's the pumpkin?!?"

21510 - comfy in Daddy's arms

You daddy is so in love with you. He's the diaper changing daddy dude. I changed my first diaper the other day. I've got a lot to learn.

And that profound sense of family? Well, that comes at night. I never wanted to co-sleep, but if that's what keeps you sleeping through the night, I'll do it. We put you on a pillow between us and then, your daddy and I curl around you, our feet and legs crossing below you. And we feel like this is it - this is family. I thought there was nothing that could top the day I married your dad on Valentine's Day, but now I know better. You sweet little face between us is the most precious Valentine.

21610 - my little inchworm

You're the best, pumpkin. You're sweetest, most precious, most beautiful baby ever! Everyone loves you. But, we love you the most and we want you to have all the best this world has to offer.

We did a ritual the other night. Your granny, my mother, instructed us how to beseech the Hindu goddess in charge of fate. We set up a ghee candle, some rice and coins, a sheet of paper, a red pen and one of your receiving blankets. And we laid there with you until the candle burned out, praying for a good life, full of fun and adventure, love and good friendships, full of deserts and mountains and forests and oceans and lakes, full of travel and a sense of home, full of art and books and music and films, full of everything this Universe has to offer. And, I cried again because I really do want all these things for you.

The Olympics are on television right now. And your daddy keeps dreaming about snowboarding, skiing or hockey gold medals for you, pumpkin. I don't know if my heart can take it. But I'll support you no matter what you want to do.

Because I'm your mom. Just because you are you. And, also, just because.

Love you, honey bunny pumpkin pie,
from Me, your mommy.
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How to torture a baby...

Going home day. The day we had been looking forward to for a while now, even before Baby decided to come early. We had planned to leave before the customary 48 hours, but since she came early, we conceded to the idea that we should stay and make sure things were all right. On that day, it suddenly occurred to me that we were taking her home. All by ourselves. And the challenge began from the very first moment - the moment we decided to change her into her "going-home" outfit. Too big, of course. All her clothes are too big.

Here's how to torture a baby. It works with good babies, too. Babies who are usually calm and peaceful, full of sighs and squeaks, babies who become undone with the prospect of putting on different clothes.

Anise gave Baby this outfit. Anise said the thing to do is take pictures of Baby in the various outfits people give as gifts, then send them copies of the pictures. So, here you go Anise. I'll be giving more when she grows into this outfit. It might be awhile. Here's proof that she did indeed go home in this outfit.

She screamed and screamed. I was beginning to wonder if the nearby Mississippi River would carry her screams all the way to St. Paul.

I'm certain everyone could hear her down the hall and maybe the floors right above and below. So much noise from such a little peanut.

Of course, I had to get pictures of Baby in her new hat, the first hat I ever knitted for her.

And, then, of course, this is Minnesota, so she had to be bundled up. Suddenly, I became the nervous mama reading the car set manual that warned against bulky clothes. She was swimming in her winter, newborn coat.

That was just the beginning. We had to figure out how to get all our gear down to the main entrance, including various breast pump gadgets, a vase with two bouquets of flowers (thanks grandmas! We were very grateful to all those kind souls who had flowers sent to our home), a bag of fruit (?), and baby in car seat.

The great thing about going home was that there were no more than a few squeaks out of Baby. Apparently she liked the Jeep ride, bumpy roads and all. But, man oh man, driving a vehicle becomes a whole new experience in responsibility when you've got a Baby on board.


I'm going to have to rethink this blog, again. I have to rethink my photo project as the a year of Lotus doesn't matter so much to me anymore as much as a year of Baby does. I also have to think about how I want to refer to our new little family.

Lani, Kat, and even you, Anise (and anyone else out there how may be blogging and by chance reading this) - how much did you all think about whether to use your names. Does it ever feel too revealing? I would appreciate anything you may have to say about this.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Week 35

She's here! She was a surprise. She is perfect! A tiny little peanut of perfection!
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Cat in the Hat

I don't why she's being so cooperative, all of a sudden - this cat of ours.

Maybe she senses that things will soon change in this house.

Right now she see herself as the Queen of the castle with the Big D as her King. And, me, her lowly servant, perhaps court photographer.

Perhaps she does know that all will change. Baby will soon rule the house. Pulling tails and getting all the King's attention. Getting all the choice napping spot in the King's lap and priority when it comes to feeding time.

Maybe that's why she's been sitting next to me, acting all friendly and behaving like a good hat model. She's sucking up, that's what it is. Sucking up in hopes of preempting Baby's importance. See, she says to me in the picture, I look good in a hat, too!
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Monday, February 8, 2010

39 - And, there was Maxine...

...who found herself a nice, warm spot on the laptop. Sharing her dander and dust with all the files.
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Holy craziness!

I have joined so many committees since being elected to the Board of Directors at my local co-op. I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed, but the good thing is that most all of the meetings are productive and interesting meetings. I'm involved in committees that cover a wide range of topics and issues:

Community Engagement Committee
Member Linkage Committee
Spring Ponder Committee
Movie Night Committee

OK, now that I've listed them, I see that it is only four committees, but it sure seems like a lot lately.

I'm in the last month of my pregnancy and so, fatigue has set in.

And, yet, I want to start a quilt. I want to sew a couple of diaper bags.

I need to start thinking about starting seeds.

Not to mention packing my hospital bag, hanging cranes from the ceiling in Baby's room, hanging all the photos and room decorations in Baby's room and the living room (which we took down when we had the floors re-finished in September), re-painting the bedroom and rearranging the furniture in our bedroom.

So much to do!

Then, I look at my knitting and want to just sit and knit for a few hours. And then, there is the stack of over a dozen knitting books from which I need to photocopy the patterns I plan to knit in the future. I have to pack and mail out the teddy and hat for my cousin's newborn.

I have to write up my birth plan. I have to choose my in-labor outfit.

I have to work-out.

What's for lunch?

What's for dinner?

I have vacuum.

February is supposed to be the best month, perhaps for the entire decade! Craziness. I wonder if I'm going to have enough energy for it all.
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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Baby's first hat

This is beginning to become a knitting blog as much as it is a photoblog and a general life blog. It used to an Airstream blog, but we haven't been to our retreat since October. Oh, how I miss it. I guess I'm easing that misery with the knitting. Does knitting = nesting? If so, than I'm definitely in that nesting phase.

So I got this baby ear flap pattern off the internet. Although the knitting went fairly fast, the finishing took much longer. It was the project that inspired me to try blocking for the first time, but of course, it took me a couple weeks to work up the courage to do it. Now I'm a blocking fiend.

Next up, I had to weave in the tails and figure what sort of tie I wanted to make. I was considering a braid, but a friend of a friend suggested that making a cord would be stretchier. Again, I put aside finishing the hat for another couple of weeks. Then learned how to do an I-cord while knitting a baby hat for my second cousin's new baby boy (now that I think a little more about this, I think he might be a third cousin, because his father is my father's nephew. Huh?).

I wasn't sure how long to make the ties, but I figure if it's not long enough, I can always add some tassel-like things to the ends to extend the length.

Voila! I'm so happy with the hat, even if the decreasing is a little messed up. But, who's going to notice? I know that next one I make will be better, so I'm just going to sit back and enjoy this one for a while. This one matches the coming-home outfit that has been picked out for Baby.

Gotta put bunny to work. Can't just sit and look all pink and cute in this house. Gotta earn her keep!

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38 - Meet Stella

Faster than a speeding kidding, this little dog is fast. And if she's not blazing around, she's shivering. But, she's as cute as can be. She's the beloved child of our good friends LT and her hubby. I have a whole new appreciation for people who are able to photograph their pets! I sure wasn't able to do it. The image was captured by the Big D. You can tell that Stella likes him, can't you?!
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Saturday, February 6, 2010

37 - bunny's got a new hat

What to do with a pink bunny that a good friend gives you for the Baby? Put it to work as a hat model!

Bunny has a new hat, and so does Baby!
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Friday, February 5, 2010

34 Weeks

Date: 5 February 2010 - OMG! It's actually February already!
How far along: 34 weeks, 7 days - OMG! Tomorrow it will be 35 weeks already!
Weight gain: Two more pounds. Yikes! I'm only supposed to put on one pound a week. But I haven't worked out in over a week, so I'm sure that's got a lot to do with. Funny things is that I've finally decided not to freeze my account. I decided to work out as long as I can. Yet, I haven't been to the gym since that day I made that decision.
Sleep: Strange dreams. Last night I was at a play and all of sudden the actors came out into the audience and grabbed whatever food or beverages there was. I had a bottle of water. Someone took it and in thanks, I was given a t-shirt with the play on it. It showed my belly quite nicely. There's been lots of Indian Americans and African Americans in my dreams lately. Does that add another layer to the whole idea of dreaming in color? As a side note, when we arrived at the weird-ass surprise baby shower that D's family held, there were balloons with white babies on them. I kept thinking, don't they know we ordered a brown baby? So, all the people of color in my dreams are nice balance to that strange shower day.
Best moment this week: It's been a tough week so not many great moments. It's always great to wake up to snow and it's been snowing yesterday and today. And, it's warm so that just makes life more bearable. Oh, i just thought of something. We bought a Jeep stroller. Fun! And we found a carrier that will allow us to cross country ski while pulling baby behind us. It's a bit expensive, but it might be something we need to save up for because both of us love to ski!
Movement: Some days she kicks a lot, some days not so much. My doctor has reviewed how to count her kicks so that I don't have to worry so much if it's slow kicking day. When she does kick, it's more than ten an hour, which is right where it supposed to be.
Food cravings: Brownies. One of D's employees is a great cook and baker. He brought in brownies and I begged D to bring home two, one for me and one for the baby. Yummy! I think this cook/baker should apply to Hell's Kitchen and apparently several other co-workers have been encouraging him to do so. What fun that would be!
What I miss: Being able to roll over in my sleep easily. And putting my nice boots on by myself. I can only wear them if D is around, cuz he has to help me put them on and take them off.
Next challenge: Getting the crib set up and the bag packed. It just feels like there is so much to do right now and all I want to do is sit and knit.
What I am looking forward to: Having the baby room all set up.
Noone told me about this: The PUPPPS rash. See below. I guess Baby center did tell me, but I got the email a few days after the rash appeared on my hands.
Weekly Wisdom: A mantra for labor: "All I have to do is keep my mind out of my body's way of the work it knows so well to do."

The other day I was telling someone that I thought I would have a bigger belly by this time. And then it seemed like the very next morning, my belly just seemed huge. It's funny how things happen just all of sudden. Or perhaps, it's that I see it differently.

I've been lucky to not have experienced the heartburn and indigestion as much as others, but I do have my own set of woes. My hip is constantly aching. I have that PUPPPS rash all over my knuckles and on the back of my arm pits, and on my butt and inner thighs. Holy itchy rash! I haven't had the breathing troubles yet, although I do get out of breathe fast, just not that general squashed lung thing that many short women have. Seeing the women in D's family last Sunday, I got to hear a lot of their pregnancy woes. It's interesting to me that even though I constantly hear that every pregnancy is different, many of these women assumed I had all the same woes as them. But, then I also realized that many of these women did not exercise at all during their pregnancies.

I bought an exercise ball the other day to take to hospital with me. Also, to help relieve some of that hip achiness.

I'm in-between sizes right not, so that's a bit uncomfortable when dressing. I bought a bella band, but that can slip around too. I guess this last month is going to be all about discomfort. Fatigue has definitely settled in. A month ago, I was happy to be busy, now my body is slowing down.

And, the irritability. Poor D! He gets to be the source of all my anger and frustration venting. What a great guy! I hope I don't wear him out before Baby gets here. She's going to need his patience more than I do!

From BabyCenter: Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds and is almost 18 inches long. Her fat layers — which will help regulate her body temperature once she's born — are filling her out, making her rounder. Her skin is also smoother than ever. Her central nervous system is maturing and her lungs are continuing to mature as well. If you've been nervous about preterm labor, you'll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies.

By this week, fatigue has probably set in again, though maybe not with the same coma-like intensity of your first trimester. Your tiredness is perfectly understandable, given the physical strain you're under and the restless nights of frequent pee breaks and tossing and turning, while trying to get comfortable. Now's the time to slow down and save up your energy for labor day (and beyond). If you've been sitting or lying down for a long time, don't jump up too quickly. Blood can pool in your feet and legs, causing a temporary drop in your blood pressure when you get up that can make you feel dizzy.

If you notice itchy red bumps or welts on your belly and possibly your thighs and buttocks as well, you may have a condition called pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP for short). Up to one percent of pregnant women develop PUPPP, which is harmless but can be quite uncomfortable. See your practitioner so she can make sure it's not a more serious problem, provide treatment to make you more comfortable, and refer you to a dermatologist if necessary. Also be sure to call her if you feel intense itchiness all over your body, even if you don't have a rash. It could signal a liver problem.
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36 - remnant of summer

Snow and really warm temps around these parts lately. Everything's got the layer of pretty white and everything else is melting. I'm used to winters with shoveled snow piled as high as the grill. Not this year. Is it an El Nino year? I'll have to check. We need to use this grill more, but ever since we ran out of beef from out favorite place, there's been no grilling. Futility Farms! I love that they butcher one or two cows a month. We buy this in the town where our trailer is located, but haven't been there since October. It may be a while until we get there again. Don't want to go into labor on Hwy 8.
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Knitting Therapy

Oh man, I'm having the crappiest week. Woe is me. I needed to just stay at home and knit yesterday. Forget about the fact that I haven't worked out in at least week. Forget about the fact that I'm not entirely prepared for my meetings on Friday. Forget about the weird-ass "surprise baby shower" that D's family threw for us at the annual January brunch, just fifteen feet from the bar and thus, full of drunk Norwegian/Swedes. Forget all those dang dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. Forget about all it, I decided, and just sit and knit. And so, I did.

I struggled and struggled to get this project going. My second cousin and his wife just had a baby boy a couple of weeks ago, and so Baby Dev was the inspiration for this hat. I had to use double-pointed needles, which I have done a number of times for the fingerless gloves I've made for myself and all my college friends. But, these needles were bigger and slicker, and oh man, did I struggle. I struggled the night before with at least half a dozen restarts. I finally got it going at about 10:00 at night. I was hoping to have at least the first two inches of the primary color done that night, but I didn't finish that until the next morning. Put in a Meryl Streep movie I hadn't seen on Netflix instant play and knitted all morning.

Thoughts of working out shifted to the afternoon. But, the time the afternoon came along, I was on roll.

An hour before D was coming home from work, I called and suggested we order take-out. But then, did get a little inspired when the finishing touches of the stretchy baby hat went by quickly. I realized I had everything but the meat for beef stew. And, D was going to go work out, so i had a bit more time to run to the meat market to pick up beef stew pieces. Hat done. Stew bubbling on the stove.

The therapy did this woman some good! Yeah! I'm so pleased with the final results. I'm going to make another one with the colors reversed, right after I finish one for my own baby. Taking a cue from Sasha Obama, baby girl's hat will be pink with an orange/pink variegated yarn on top.

So, Dr. G, if you are reading this, that is why I didn't call when I wanted to. Hope you understand, but you are such a diva that I'm not worried.

About the shower - the weird-ass surprise baby shower. First of all, who throws surprise baby showers? Who throws surprise baby showers at a bar? D's weird family, that's who. In his family, there are four January birthdays and they've been celebrating them at a bar since the year I joined the family in 1994. In the last 4-5 years, D's dad has been putting together a brunch instead of a bar night at a restaurant by the river. He rents the banquet space and the restaurant caters the food (3.2 conventional food). There is a bar in this space and everyone starts drinking at 1:00 on Sunday, right after church. When we arrived there were balloons and a cake set up on the opposite wall of where we entered and just 15 feet from the bar (full bar, I might add, bartender and all). We avoided it until after brunch. We were beckoned over to open presents. Noone sat with us, just a couple of cousins popped over every once in a while to snap pictures. By the time I got to the cake, I realize there were just a few pieces left, so people obviously has eaten cake (and it was situated next to the bar), but noone came over to us. It was oddest, weirded thing ever!

Did I tell you we had registered the day before. Oh, hell yes, we were in consumer hell, registering at this store and that one - for the shower we had planned with D's mom for the Feb 20. Did anyone tell us that there was a shower planned for the very next day? No. Did anyone tell these people that we were registered? No. And top of that, I felt like some people were pressured to give us presents, cuz you can't show up for the brunch if you don't bring something for the shower, can you? Not if you're good Lutherans trying not to create waves.

And, what about those people who weren't informed? Let's just say there were several uncomfortable moments when we tried to explain to them that we hadn't been told either, which they found hard to believe, because, of course, who throws surprise baby showers?

Now do you see why I needed the knitting therapy?

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35 - stretchy baby hat

After a much needed day in, I finished this cute little baby hat. It's for the son of my second cousin - I think I've got that right. The process would have gone a lot quicker if I hadn't had so many false starts. I had to knit this on double-pointed needles. This was also my first time using a stretchy yarn that has elastic in it: Cascade Yarns Fixation. This yarn is apparently great for baby hats because the stretchiness of it makes it more difficult for the baby to pull the hat off. Love the cute I-cord on top!

The pattern comes from soft + simple knits for little ones, written by Heidi Boyd and the pattern is called Stretchy I-Cord Hats.
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

34 - blood pressure gadget

I don't know why I shot this. I always have my camera with me these days. I had tons of waiting time at my doctor's appointment. Forgot my book. That's the problem when you're booked with one of the most popular pre-natal docs in the Twin Cities area. She's always running late! And, I had nothing to do but re-read the magazines I read last time and shoot some pictures of some medical gadgetry.
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

33 - don't be afraid of the chocolate

So, I had this freak out moment when I started reading the ingredient labels for my favorite chocolates. I saw chocolate liquor as one the top ingredients. The first time I noticed it was after I had finished all but two pieces of sea shell chocolates that I usually only find around the holidays. I felt horrible, like I had condemned my child to fetal alcohol syndrome because I couldn't keep myself away from chocolate.

It wasn't until this afternoon that I finally looked up chocolate liquor on wiki and discovered that chocolate liquor is chocolate in liquid form, with equal parts cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Whew! Glad that's cleared up. You better believe this dish of chocolates at the Co-op isn't going to last much longer than past the next meeting!
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Monday, February 1, 2010

32 - The City at Sunset

The clouds were beautiful as the sun was coming down yesterday, late in the afternoon. It's supposed to snow tomorrow and I believe these clouds are a precursor to that expected snow. When I first spotted this view, the sky was pink like it was closer to a sunset. Then, as the sun came down below the clouds, the sky took on that golden yellow typical of an afternoon sun. It was worth to spend some time shooting out in 13 degree weather. It felt like yoga. After having a very strange day, the time spent shooting was a rare moment of relaxation.
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