Just a Teaser…

It’s been a long few days, late nights, and extra cups of coffee, but I finally finished up the prom photos tonight! Woohoo!

However, it’s 3:11 am, so you’ll have to wait for the official sneak peek tomorrow on the StoriTyme Photos blog. In the meantime, here’s a little teaser…

Senior Prom: Take 2

After a late night of storm watching, there are few things I’d rather do than hang out with and photograph one of my favorite girls in the world…Miss Katie.

Last year, photographing Katie’s junior prom, I couldn’t believe that the little 3-year-old who used to climb me like a monkey could actually be old enough to attend prom. This year, all I could think was that this beautiful young woman will be graduating high school next month and going on to take the world by storm.

You just wait and see.

Excavation 2012 – Day 50 – A Scrapbooker I Am Not

There are things that I am really good at–writing, photography, listening, cooking, drawing, editing/proofreading, cutting my husband’s hair, fantasy sports and first-person shooter video games. And then, there are things that I am not so good at–math, balancing the checkbook, running (or at least motivating myself to run), returning phone calls, getting my blog done and getting to bed before midnight, and scrapbooking.

Of all the things on my Things I Suck At list, the only one that really bothers me is the scrapbooking. I’d like to be good at it, and as much as I love photos and photography, you’d figure it would be sort of a natural way to showcase some of my work. Believe me, I love a well-made scrapbook, and I am totally jealous of people like my friend Susan who create beautiful scrapbooks and make it seem so effortless.

Not for me.

Sit me down with a pile of photos, a blank scrapbook, and a big supply of scrapbooking materials and I freeze up faster than a nerdy kid getting asked to the prom.

I bought this particular magazine back in 2002, along with a small starter kit of scrapbooking materials. The plan was to make myself a couple of books full of photos from my high school and college years.

Guess what, the photos are still in boxes and most of the scrapbooking materials (with the exception of this how-to magazine) have disappeared over the years and the many moves.

So, I think I’ll go ahead and let this one go, and leave the scrapbooking to the real artists like my friend Susan. Me? I’ll stick to taking the photos.

Excavation 2012 – Day #47 – The Great Photo Organizing Extravaganza (part 2)

Today, my dining room exploded…

Hey, I warned you didn’t I? No one said this photo organization business was going to be a clean, streamlined adventure. Quite the contrary. With so many boxes and bins (and even boxes inside of bins) full of photos and cards and letters and programs and ticket stubs and about a dozen other categories of miscellaneous stuff collected over the years, it was bound to get worse before it got better. But, boy oh boy did I find some fun stuff today. Here are just a few of my favorites…

I found my Mom’s first Valentine card…

A bunch of leftover Thank You’s and RSVP cards from our wedding. You can’t go wrong with lampshades…

An old Kit Kat wrapper that I saved from my study tour to Turkiye in 2000. Because nothing says great souvenir like an American candy bar with Turkish writing on it…

A photo of my crazy husband from our college days, which reminded me of just how I fell in love with him in the first place…

And some of the notes I wrote him when we were dating, that apparently he saved…

Photos of me and Lindy growing up, celebrating our birthdays at Grandma and Grandpa Luethje’s cabin at Johnson Lake (and yeah, I am rockin’ that headband and legwarmers). And, of course, the first of many awkward “First Day of School” photos…

Photos from my elementary school years, carrying flowers for the Queen of Courts Ceremony (think Homecoming King and Queen, but during basketball season). And a photo from my one (and only) dance recital. I wonder if my waning interest in dance had anything do to with the outfit or the amount of makeup I had to wear…

Photos of Steven and I both apparently going through a denim phase (and my sweet dog Angel aka “Stinky”)…

Followed shortly by the purple hair phase…

I smiled when I saw photos of some of my dearest college friends–Above: my purple-haired compadre Anette and favorite Roomie ever Miss Katie. Below: the one and only Aaron, who managed to get himself kicked out of the men’s volleyball game shortly after this photo was taken for yelling a little too overzealously into a 4-foot tall traffic cone. “Aw Ref! C’mon Ref! That call was hoooorible! YOU’RE HOOOOOORIBLE!!!”

Then, there were photos of my favorite cat, the sweet Baby Gray (Look away from the perm. Look away!)…

My favorite car, the Peacock…

And a random moment captured on International Cheese Day in Mr. Uribe’s freshman Geography class…

There were stacks of old family photos…

And lots of new family photos…

I even found a box full of playbills and ticket stubs from all the shows I saw while living in New York…

But as much as I loved the Broadway and Off-Broadway productions I saw over the years, my favorite shows were always those when I got to watch my favorite Roomie strut her stuff and sing. I heard she she sang the National Anthem at a women’s basketball game in Ohio tonight, and I wish I could have been there to hear it. Girl’s got a voice that I could never get tired listening to, and just opening this old program and seeing her name, I can close my eyes and almost hear it. 🙂

So, in spite of the mess, and in spite of the boxes and piles that are still littering my dining room, today’s decluttering was definitely a success. I already have four photo boxes sorted and filled, and have a pile of miscellaneous items (like the old wedding RSVP’s and Turkish Kit Kat wrapper) headed for the garbage bin.

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Excavation 2012 – Day #21 – The Beginning and End of my Sculpting Career

Now that Steven and I have finally purchased and moved into a home where we have a good amount of storage, our parents have made it a point to reunite us with all the bins and boxes and bags of our stuff that have been cluttering up their basements and attics since we left the nest.

21 days into my excavation project and suddenly my decluttering job just got a whole lot bigger. My parents arrived for a weekend visit with 8 rubbermaid totes, a couple of boxes, and a couple of bags full of stuff for me to sort through dating back to my early childhood.

Seriously? How is that even fair?

My mom was worried that my husband might have a stroke when he saw how much stuff they were bringing (and they didnt’ even bring all of it), but Steven took it all in stride and just carried it all down to the cellar and stacked it in a corner so I could sift through it when I was ready. I guess since I’ve been so good keeping up with my decluttering so far, Steven is confident that I can keep it going strong even with this minor setback in progress.

I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself so far. The first free moment I had today, I couldn’t help but to tear into the boxes to see what sort of treasures were in store for me. I was sort of afraid that I would be so overwhelmed with memories and sentimentality that I would be unable to actually get rid of anything in the boxes. But, luckily, good sense prevailed.

Why, just take a look at this fine specimen that ended up in the garbage today…

That, my friends, is a bust sculpted by yours truly for an assignment in art class my senior year in high school. My good friend Andrew was the model (though the sculpture bears little, if any, resemblence). And don’t even ask about the paint. I could lie and tell you that the choice was, in fact, a well-thought out choice meant to be a metaphor for the duality of human nature, but if I remember correctly, I wanted to leave it unpainted, but my art teacher, Mrs. Kosmicki insisted that ito be must have some sort of paint or glaze to be considered a finished project. And this was the best idea I could come up with…

Sad to say, the bust sort of grew on me. Hell, I even hauled him to New York my sophomore year of college. I guess I figured he needed a little culture. I’d say it was during his time in New York that he really came into his own. I even bought him a tiger print cowboy hat at a little shop in Greenwich Village.

Sorry dude, the hat can stick around a little while for Cadence to play with, but you sir, have got to go.

Yet, while my sculpting career ended before it really even began, I have to say I do think I had a knack for throwing pottery on the wheel. Having a pottery wheel in my home someday is still on my wish list (right up there with my own dark room), so it was fun to unpack a few of the very first pieces of pottery that I made in high school. And since I still have a few empty cupboards in the kitchen to display knick knacks, these little beauties are safe–at least until the next round of purging.

365 Project – Day 221 – What About Me?

My About Me page has been sitting empty for…well…forever, or since the beginning of this blog at least. It was just one of those things that I kept putting off and neglecting and promising myself that I would do tomorrow.

I can’t even say that I just never had time for it, because I did, and I actually sat down to write it quite a few times, but I alway seemed to hit a roadblock, right about the time I pressed the tip of the pen against the paper, or sat with my fingers poised above the keyboard. Suddenly my brain would just implode on itself and I was left with nothing but a hollow empty void.

Damn.

I’m a writer, so I have a relatively intimate relationship with that beast known as Writer’s Block, but this was something else entirely. I just absolutely couldn’t think of anything to say about myself. Well, not anything interesting at least. I didn’t want my About Me page to be blah. What kind of impression would that make for someone stumbling across my blog? I mean, I know I’m not as interesting as say BrAngelina or the Kardashians or that Lady Gaga that all the kids are gaga for these days, but I didn’t necessarily want my About Me page to read like the repetitious introductions at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

“Hi, my name is Lori and I’m a blogger…”

So, tonight, I did a little brainstorming and I at least got something on the page. Something short and sweet. Something that should tide people over until I can come up with something better.

The best part though, is that I started going through some old photos, looking for something to post. Boy, did I find some gems! So, for tonight’s 365 Project entry, I thought I would post some of the ideas that didn’t make it on my About Me page, along with some of the fun photos I found. There are a whole lot more where this came from, but I certainly didn’t want to overwhelm you all at once.

So, here are some things that you may, or may not, have known about me…

I hate purses and I refuse to own or carry one. This is probably the only photo you will ever see of me holding a purse, and it’s not even mine, it’s my sister Lindy’s. The only reason I am holding it in this photo is to complete the “ready-to-head-out-the-door-on-vacation” look we were going for in this photo. Lindy and I were all packed and ready to head to Dallas to visit Uncle Harry and Aunt Jean, but we were waiting on Mom and Dad. So, what better way to kill time than to waste some film and take dorky pictures of each other?

I’ve never been what you would call a fashionista, and the late-80’s early-90’s were definitely not kind to me. Here I am modeling my new Nebraska sweatpants and a headful of freshly crimped hair courtesy of my cousin Shelly’s new crimper. To round out the ensemble, please note the white high top sneakers, the black slouch socks, the ugly black and white sweatshirt and the pair of large, blue hand-me-down glasses. I’m too sexy!

I’ve worn noticeable makeup exactly eight times in my life–to my wedding, to a couple of proms, to a dance recital, once or twice in college, and here to a Christmas program in elementary school. If I remember correctly, this was the year the girls were supposed to look like dolls while the boys were dressed to resemble toy soldiers. As you can see, I am thrilled–probably just as much by the curly hair and the enormous bow on top of my head as all the makeup painted on my face. I’ve never felt comfortable in makeup, probably because even when I try to make it subtle, I end up looking like Tammy Faye Baker. So, I’ll stick to the natural look with just a touch of powder, thank you.

I showed sheep. This is one of those little known facts about me that completely baffles most of my non-Midwestern friends. To this day, my husband still doesn’t quite understand it. Unless you’ve actually been to a county fair or a 4-H event and watched any livestock shows, there is little I can do to explain it, but I will say those years of participating in 4-H in Bird City, Kansas were some of the best years of my life. I’ll always be a Go-Getter at heart! 🙂

I’m a drummer. I started playing in 3rd grade at Cheylin East Elementary School, and I loved every minute of it. By 6th grade, I had bought my very own drum set, and I played in the marching band, pep band, orchestra and jazz band all through high school. I even had a short stint in a band called The Dirty Green Apples in college. We played exactly one on-campus coffee house event. I love playing drums so much, I even married a drummer and named my daughter Cadence.

I’m adopted. Okay, so this one probably really isn’t a surprise to anyone who knows me. For anyone who didn’t know, it helps explain how I have three sets of parents and twelve siblings. Back in 2006, Woman’s World magazine even ran a story about my adoption and my reunion with my birthfamily. It is all one helluva story, and I’ve started writing a memoir about it. One of these days, I might even finish it.

I love water. Lakes, rivers, oceans, ponds, streams, swimming pools, rainstorms–you name it, I love it. As a child, I used to show up at the swimming pool when it opened and would stay until it closed for the night. I took swimming lessons and joined the swim team. When my family would go to the lake for vacations, I would spend the days either fishing, swimming or paddling around in one of the little boats in front of the cabin. One spring my sister Lindy and my cousins Tonya and Shelly and I all got in trouble for jumping in the lake and swimming with our clothes on. Ah, those were the days!

I’m a peace-loving cowgirl at heart. I’ve loved horses my entire life, and some of the best years of my childhood were the years that I showed horses in 4-H and barrel raced. This is Ginger, indulging my cousin Shelly and I for a ride at the Cheyenne County Fair in St. Francis, Kansas. Even if I never own another horse, I think they are some of the most majestic creatures God ever put on this earth, and just being around them soothes my soul.

I am a bookaholic. So here’s another one that should not really surprise anyone who knows me. My book addiction started early, as you can see, and it’s a habit I doubt I’ll ever be able to kick. I own hundreds and hundreds of books, and I can’t really bring myself to part with any of them because I’m one of those people who can read a book over and over and over again without getting tired of it. My incessant reading has slowed down quite a bit since my daughter was born, but we are finally getting into a good routine that should allow me to read a bit more…well, read or write, and as long as I am doing one of those things, I am perfectly content.

I sleep with my eyes half-open. I’ve done it since I was a child. The photo here may be a bit too small for you to actually see it, but this is one of the things about me that thoroughly creeps other people out when they notice it. Obviously it’s genetic because my daughter does the same thing. I also talk in my sleep and sleepwalk on occassion. My husband, on the other hand, has alien dreams and screams himself awake on occassion. Let’s hope Cadence doesn’t follow in those footsteps too, or no one in this house is going to be well-rested at all.

I love to cook. Honestly, it’s not really even like work to me (well, except the doing the dishes part afterward, but Steven is usually really good to clean if I do the cooking). In fact, cooking is my favorite type of meditation. I’ve never been able to sit in a dark room with a candle and chant and clear my mind the way many people do when they meditate. For me, it is more about being mindful, being in the moment and being intently focused. Cooking does that for me. The chopping, the measuring, the tasting, the improvising, the dishing up and plating the final product is good as any therapy. And who needs recipes? I am the Queen of throwing things together and seeing how they work. So far, I have a pretty high success rate in the kitchen.

I believe in love at first sight. I know, corny right? But in all seriousness, I thought the whole concept of love at first sight was completely bogus, until I saw Steven. I’m not lying when I say I would have married him, right then, if he’d asked me. Instead, he was too busy hamming it up as the emcee of the Concordia College Freshman Orientation entertainment and picking on a kid named Josh Reiker who was sitting right behind me in the crowd. It may have taken us five years to start dating, another 2 1/2 years to get engaged, and another 2 years to finally get married, but I wouldn’t change a moment of it, because we’ve ended up exactly where we were supposed to. There aren’t many people who can honestly say they are married to their best friends, but I am proud to be one of them.

I love being a Mom. Sure there are days when this adorable little girl tries my patience and manages to get on every last nerve (you know, the days when she is super tired and crabby but refuses to nap or let me venture more than six inches away from her without screaming at the top of her lungs), but I wouldn’t trade any of it. It is still pretty bizzarre sometimes, being followed around by this little Mini-Me, and getting flashes of deja vu when I look at her. These days, it’s getting hard to remember what life was like without her. I imagine it must have been pretty dull.

Not a whole lot about me has really changed since high school. Okay, so I’ve gotten little older, a little wiser, and a little less tolerant of a lot of the BS running rampant in our society, but honestly, I’m very much the same girl I’ve always been. I love to joke around, and I think I’ve got a pretty good sense of humor. I’m laidback and easygoing and I don’t let a whole lot bother me. I don’t really fit into one clearly defined group, instead I have a diverse group of friends and acquaintances that I love and appreciate for who they are. I’m a bit on the quiet/shy side and I hate big crowds, but I’m friendly and easy to talk to (to the point that my husband is baffled on a daily basis at how total strangers will be telling me their life stories within 5 minutes of meeting me). I love music and movies and reading and writing and I still dream of one day having a house where I can have both a library/office and a studio complete with photography equipment and a pottery wheel because, let’s face it, who doesn’t need a pottery wheel?

I could go on forever. I’m a writer. That’s what we do. And I’m sure I’ve already lost a few readers somewhere around the middle of this post when they started to think that all of this wasn’t really going anywhere. So, now you see my dilemma with this damn About Me page. There are a million little things that make me me, a million things that set me apart, that make me unique. We haven’t even scratched the surface. So, for now, I guess I’ll just keep it simple, and if someone really wants to get to know me better and to get a glimpse of what else lies beneath the surface, then I guess he/she will just have to keep reading. And I will, as always, keep writing…keep writing…keep writing…