You Get What You Get


My heart hurts a little today because my daughter ( not Zelie ) accidentally dropped my camera on the hard, cold tiles of France.  This wasn’t her first time.  She dropped another camera of mine on the hard, cold tiles of France a few years ago.  That situation presented a green blinking light of death for my Nikon.  It was a plastic body that did not stand a chance with surrounding gravitational conditions.


After that incident, I made a rule to NEVER place a camera on anything.  She was young, she pulled a book or paper that my camera was resting on off a high shelf … she pulled the paper and the camera tumbled to its death.



After many years practicing my procedure with my camera, I left it on the table without concern because it wasn’t resting on anything … and she moved the table.  I wasn’t there, but I’m sure she didn’t mean it.   And it was my bad for leaving it there.  Thankfully, the camera body is made of metal, so most of the camera features are intact.  So far, the only damage is my ISO/QUAL/WB buttons are gonzo along with various shutter speed thingos as well as the “play” button to review the photo you just took.  As I am not a photographer and still not actively learning what those nobs do … I did use them to adjust settings.  At this point, any setting I every set is now locked in until I get my button fixed.  So, you get what you get.  It’s like the old days when you took a photo and didn’t know how it would turn out until developing time.

Granted, my camera is probably considered “old” at this point, but it totally does the job and I love it.  I had no intention of replacing it.  Sometimes, restrictions invite creativity.  I leave you with a test photo of my stapler taken today with my newly broken camera.

Photos From A Four-Year-Old

DSC_0566Every once in awhile, I let the kids use my phone.  The phone has a camera.  As clever as those games are, the kids are WAY more interested in using the camera.  Here is what a farm in France looks like from a four-year-old girl’s perspective. I’ll spare you my silly captions. IMG_4084_2








Minty Photos


Our middle child likes to borrow the camera.  I’ve lost one camera, expensive, by child and it was more my fault than theirs.  Parents, don’t place your camera ON something attractive to a child ( e.g. camera placed on child’s drawing ).  When children borrow the camera, there are some rules.  The big rule being, keep the strap around your neck.  Minty has followed the rules and had the opportunity to take some great photos.  Her last batch was lovely.

Today the sun was shining and the animals were playful.  Otto set up a “lemonaide stand.”  His prices were reduced because France is on sale right now.  Sales end next week, I think.  We live away from the village and away from the road, but he still brought in a profit.  He has loyal customers.


Minty grabbed a shot of Z.  It goes like this: the head, the body, the mismatched socks:DSC_9939



MInty chose these photos.  She takes many photos and picks her favs.  I’m not sure what she saw in the photo below, but for me it is a reminder of things the kids construct with things around the farm.  They do this a lot and their piece remains for months … sometimes.DSC_9935

A Photo By My Sister


I love my sister’s photography. I think I’m on the beach there and a bit cold, thus the blanket which may have come from Tijuana.  I should grab the context.

She took many, many photos back when taking photos was hard. She knows all the tricks and the F’s and the hoob-a-joobs. Then, when all was done, she would develop the film ( that is something you can touch and feel ) in a dark room with chemicals. I am amazed.  Me?  I take photos, but I am not a photographer.  My camera does so much for me and Kevin clues me in on some tricks.  I upload to my computer and then chuck stuff up on Flickr without tags and titles.

She took a lot of photos of me. Which didn’t influence my appreciation of her work. Nope, not a bit. But I must admit, it’s nice to have some nice photos of me as a child to see how my genes played out in our children.


Z is most obviously a “mini-me.” Only for the dark curly hair and eyes and unbelievable tantrums ( yes, mom, I hear you laughing ). The shot above is a color shot that I black-n-whited and darkened to get the feel of the other photo. Z looks like me a bit. We definitely share and continue a family grump.  Though Brent and Brent’s mum have quite a pout.  We are a double pout family.

Scan 3


Don’t get me started on the metal roller skates.  These were retro-skates because there is no way I was a child before home computers and cellphones and USB.  And damn you Jamie and Sheri for sporting the fancy Fireballs!  You smirk and I perfect my pout wearing a dress for a three-year-old because I refuse to let it go ( see also Lucy Curtis )



If my sister wanted me to smile in a photo, I can remember a time when she said, “Jeani, say ham-booger!”  I laughed.  Damn her!


This Steak Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us


More food porn ( using “porn” here in the “wow, that looks yummy” sense ). I love to take photos of raw ingredients. I feel poetic about the experience. I take a photo of some yummy potential and you interpret what to do with it. I write about the food our family eats on Girl On Grill Action ( yeah, you read that right ). I try to avoid writing anything to the tune of “then you add 1/2 cup of …” I’m more interested in what things are there for me to cook and figure a meal out as they come along ( e.g. hunter brings leg of Bambi in a garbage bag as a thank you offering ). But this steak study is a bit more difficult because we made that steak. We raised it. Now I want to do it justice and get a good photo of it. This beauty is an entrecôte ( a rib eye ). I have some fry and fluffed versions of this steak, but really I’m still dizzy with excitement that this March beef tasted so good. Everything we do tweaks and refines on what we think will make tasty beef. A slow process. So when a carcass comes out with a good result, we are extremely proud.

The calves are still popping out all healthy and boing boing. Brent didn’t have to tag any today, but still he worked up an appetite with all the other farm duties to check off. We only had one entrecôte pulled aside. Between his man farm work and my no-nap toddler, this steak wasn’t big enough for the both of us. We enjoyed it without an arm wrestle and instead some cabbage sautéed in foie gras fat.

I Don’t Pout, I Grump

me and friends with better roller skates

I know we moved in almost two years ago, but with the project that we’ve taken on, I’m still unpacking boxes. I’m down to the framed photos. Each photo requires a drill (with Mr. Hammer the drill), a wall plug and then a screw. This is not a huge task, but Zélie hates Mr. Hammer.  I’m limited on my hammer time. While going through boxes, I came across a photo my sister Gladys took. Gladys took this picture when taking pictures was all manual. You absolutely had to know what you were doing. I’m not sure how many shots she took, but she was not able to see the outcome until she developed it. In this digital age with all the fancy technologicals, I’m amazed that photographers could do what they do.  I love this photo because it reminds me of my childhood as I grew up in a sleepy beach town. This is me grumpy. I would never describe myself as a grumpy person, but there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that portrays me as grumpy. As a child of the 80’s during my Smurf days, I always identified with Grumpy Smurf. I am grumpy here because look closely. You see that Jamie and Cherie both have Fireball Roller Derby roller skates while I have size 9 ladies metal wheel skates. The Fireballs roll smoothly and fast. The metal wheels are clunky. With the giant size, I could get nowhere fast. Oh Cherie and Jamie were so smug with their fireballs. I kept at it though. I didn’t let my metal wheels hold me back. Much later, i finally got some skates with fancy ball bearing gizmos. Oh was I fast. After “all skate” at the rink, I did the races. And I won. All those years with metal wheels built muscle and strength. Give me the ball bearings and I was off. No one could catch me. A few loops of speed and at the end … a free eight ounce Coke. Victory never tasted so sweet.