Posts from the Things I LOVE Category

-Erika Ray

Sorry, I have no pictures.  This week has been hectic.  I was on the road, we’ve got houses lined up, a current house to constantly keep clean, a Labor Day weekend event to prepare for and a family to look after.  Taking a picture wasn’t going to happen.  I think you understand.

Funny thing is, there isn’t a picture that’s really appropriate for this post.  I don’t have one to do it justice because I don’t have a picture of all the O+U “ladies” and that’s who I’m loving today.  I had planned a post with some links, but I’d be a douche if I didn’t spend a couple of words waxing on about my love for these ladies.

When we aren’t blogging here, we’re brainstorming or life-sharing in our FB group.  We created the FB group to discuss our future meet-up, but it quickly became a safe haven for us.  It became a place to spew topics not safe for regular FB and a place to ask questions without judgment.  Believe it or not, there are some things that grown women might not know and need a good quality answer.  Some nights the FB group is crickets.  We’re out living our lives, whipping butts, and traveling this planet.  And other nights it’s a virtual chat-fest.  I know Carmen and Joelynne are in Canada laughing at something Jessica typed from Atlanta.  I know wherever the hell Tiffani is in the world, she checks in to rub our faces in it (not really, but we do get a shout out from paradise when she’s there).  And while Suzanne decided to take a break from blogging her on O+U, she pops up on the FB group with an editing question and we all get to give advice.  Laura spills good news and we all toast with photos.  Kristin shows up with her lovely sunny side that she rocks better than most optimists, but I love when her badassry is on fire in the FB group.  Becky recently used the group to ask “Should I be worried?” and Moms came to the rescue.  And I love when Jill tells me that my BIL throws her odd looks while she’s cracking up at her laptop.

These women are fantastic when someone shares good news.  We become the type of supportive cheerleading Women you thought only existed in Hallmark movies.  There’s tons of Atta-Girls in the comments.  Someone gives a virtual smooch.  There’s always some Fuck Yeahs sprinkled in.  But these women are in the zone when one of us has had a rough day.  If you were watching from the outside, you’d be frightened.  But when you’re the one who types in the bad news, you feel protected by the most fierce women the world has seen.  “Fuck him.”  “I would punch him in the mutherfuckin’ nose and then slam a beer down.”  “I will hop a flight and cut her for you.”  And then as quickly as attack mode began, compassion mode kicks in.  “You’ll be good.  I know it.  Have a good cry, a couple drinks, and get back out there.”  “We’re always here for you.”

The majority of these women live thousands of miles from me.  But Facebook allows me to have them with me in a Michigan hotel room.  It’s like all the women are smooshed into the back of my car patting my back or rubbing my shoulder.  Whenever I need them, they’ve got me.  I’m supported by the best.  I hope you all have the same type of net.  Maybe your net doesn’t cuss, drink, hoop as much as mine, but I’m guessing it’s just as strong.

Birches, I love you.

by Tiffani “Oh, look, a llama!” Michele

Because everyone knows I get paid for some of my photos, whenever I go away on vacation (like, to Peru!) people expect that I will return with National Geographic quality photographs of my trip. Here’s why that will never happen:

1) It takes a lot of work to capture the feeling of place! Usually done in the hours right before/after sunset and right before/after sunrise. These are known as the golden/blue hours of the day. Everything is awash in soft filtered yellow or amplified by a gorgeous blue after-sunset sky. But as a tourist, you know what I call these times? Happy hour and “sleeping off a hangover” hour. Drinking and photography rarely mix well, kids. Put down the camera and pick up the beer glass!

2) It takes work and time to scout the location to find the best angles to take the photos. Good lord, if I were trying to get good quality shots of Macchu Pichu I would probably get there and just watch the location change in the light for a few days in advance before deciding where to go and what time of day to get the perfect photos. But when I’m on vacation, the only things I’m scouting for are good gelato places and possible napping spots.

3) As a photographer it’s also important to have your camera at the ready and your eyes ready to spot anything worth noticing. But as an idle vacationer, it’s more important to have a nice cocktail at the ready and a good book to read.

Therefore, when National Geographic pays me to take pictures in exotic locations, I will come back with badass photos. Which would make it not vacation at all. So instead I’ll stick to my vacation modus operandi…eat well, drink often, and explore much!

I do take pictures while on vacation though. But it’s more about having an obsessive vision than it is about a sale-able image. And trust me, photographers are some of the most obsessive people around town. Some become obsessed with sun flare, others with reflections in windows, or old people on bikes. Sometimes you show up to a foreign place and become obsessed with things within the culture.

If you were to look at my pictures of Peru, you’d see a lot of pigeons, llamas, alpacas, dogs, and policemen. Not a lot of grand sweeping landscapes or even photos of the most memorable spots in the country. Nope.

Pigeons were everywhere in Lima, and for some reason I took pictures of them. Lots and lots of pictures. Like, more pictures of pigeons than anything else in the beautiful city. I can’t explain it, it just happened!

Llama, oh llama. (And alternately, alpaca, oh alpaca. Which looks like a llama with a bad hair day.) You are gawky, ill formed, and crazy looking. You are graceless and a little spastic. You have large expressive eyes and long long eyelashes. You have bewitched me with your direct gaze and your long ass giraffe neck on a furry mule shaped body. If I am ever feeling cranky, I just look at the pictures of you and all is right in the world.

I seem to recall an animated movie that came out in the 80’s, called “All Dogs Go To Heaven”. My younger brother and sisters watched it on VHS all the freaking time. I was a surly junior or senior by then, so I never watched it with them. I remember it was about a pack of dogs trying to survive in NYC (?? maybe?). Peru reminds me of this. There are so many free range dogs, it’s like the world is a kennel and we’re just renting space. I became obsessed with the dogs I saw. What were their stories? Who was in their pack? Were they happy? They looked pretty content. In fact, I like to think that my little shih tzu Frito Bandito (RIP little lady) magically transported there and is still prancing around with lots of other dog friends.

Finally, I have lots and lots of police photos. They were so…present…everywhere. Guns, riot shields, stern looks. It freaked me out. Everything was calm and cool, so I guess they were strictly preventative. I also found them highly photogenic.

What do you love to take pictures of? Like, obsessive love. As in, you can’t pass by a window reflection without stopping to take the shot?

by Carmen Farrell

Come summer, nothing gets me more hot and bothered than exploring the stalls at my local farmer’s market.   It may be subliminal (ever notice how many fruits and vegetables are reminiscent of male genitalia?), but it’s probably because the market is such a feast for the senses.  I can’t get enough of the colours, and smells and textures.  That’s the kind of shit that makes me feel happy and connected.  So I go, I peruse, I buy.  Then I come home and my kids devour the fruit in no time, turn their noses up at the green stuff and we do it all again the following week.

That’s what I’m loving right now.  The fresh stuff.

by Erika Ray

Becky came over on Tuesday for some sewing and general catch-up.  I should be kind and not tell you that she forgot her sewing machine.  But she did bring cucumbers, rotten bananas, an adorable kid, and a bunch of topics to discuss.  I told her, “I’m screwed.  I have nothing for my post tomorrow.”  I’m not usually one who runs blank on things I could rave about.  But today was different.  I usually have a difficult time when the seasons change.  I get blah about most things.  Things run a little slower in my head.  I just don’t care as much as I usually care about things.  But it’s a seasonal thing and it passes once I become fully engrossed in the new season.  And yes, I’m fully aware that Fall is a long time away according to science shit.  But school starts next Wednesday and that’s the official start of Fall in my house.

Instead of digging deep into my heart for loves and obsessions, I’m skimming into Tuesday.  Here’s what I love from Tuesday.

Queen Anne’s Lace: I’m wrapping up my Reasons I Should Like Summer Series and it isn’t summer if I haven’t almost driven off the road staring at this weed.  Today, I stopped and photographed some for the project.

Simple Greek Salad on Vintage State Plates: Not sure if I’m supposed to be eating off these.  In a decade if my entire house has Tongue Cancer, I’m sorry.  But right now, I’m loving these plates way too much to not eat off them.

This kid:  I will always have a soft spot for this kid.  That happens when you catch a glance at him even before his Mother.  He’s by far one of the happiest kids I’ve ever met.  He’s also the funniest crawler and best ball-thrower in the under three group.  He’s got an arm that surprises me every time.Chevron Quilts and Hexagons:  She was supposed to have the back finished prior to Tuesday.  That didn’t happen, but at least I got to see it.  Thanks to hers, a Chevron Quilt has quickly jumped up to my next Must Quilt.  In between starting it and finishing my current patchwork, the hexagons keep me fulfilled and happy.  Got any yellow, orange, red, or pink 2 ½ inch square  fabric scraps you want to get rid of?  Leave a comment.

Other Favorites from Tuesday:

The random weekday afternoon visit with Becky.

Finally started the finance part of moving.  And I feel so much better about the situation.  Plus I feel silly for worrying.

Work-out plan hatched and packed for Michigan trip.

A month of cooking in one day semi-finalized.  At least tossed around…  12 cups of brown rice is a lot of rice, people.

Finished the edits of a recent birth shoot.

Cranked this song early in the morning.

Watched my boys played a heated version of Candy Land where Cooper actively lost for Becks’ benefit.

Got to Wednesday** and a day closer to Fall.

**fingers crossed because I typed this at 7:15 p.m