Photo Obsession

Hello, my name is Debi and I am addicted to photography. I admit it, I’m hooked, obsessed, totally over the top with this *hobby*.

I bought my first DSLR almost 2 years ago, a Nikon D3100. Now I’m up to four, yes, four cameras. Nikon D90, D5000 and D7000. Four cameras, 5 lenses, 3 editing software programs, one new MacBook Pro, a serious case on wheels to hold everything……and assorted accessories!  Woohoo….. My husband has decided he’d like to join me in my hobby (yay?) so I’m going to teach him what (little) I know. Wish us both luck!

I feel like I have learned a great deal in two years. I graduated to shooting in the RAW format a year ago, and have found it increases editing options. I do love editing, it brings out the frustrated artist in me, since I’ve always wanted to paint, but had no talent for it. Editing is the next best thing. Just changing the white balance or a using a preset can change the whole tone of an image, from boring to dramatic; from ho-hum lackluster color, to elegant tones of black and white.

I shot my first (and only) wedding last November, for my oldest niece.  It was a learning experience, for sure! The bride was thrilled with the photos, which made me feel better; but I realized just how little I knew about what I was trying to do. She was on a small budget, though, and I offered to do it as my gift to her. There were some sweet moments:

This was in a very small room, with lots of background clutter on the walls, so I cropped in very close to capture the sweetness of the father of the bride, giving her a good luck kiss before the ceremony.

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The bride with step-mom before the ceremony……I was so happy with this shot in the mirror, which was necessary because the room was so small.

4x6 5x7 prints4x6 5x7-64

The bride, groom and family…. Continue reading “Photo Obsession”

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Summertime Ice Cream Socials

These days everything is “social network” this and “social network” that. Hmmph. I love my computer and technology as much as the next geek, but when I think of the word “social”, I think back to the many ice cream socials from my childhood.

Yes, I am a person of that age….that old lady who remembers and talks about “the good old days” when life was simple and we enjoyed it. I grew up in church as a 3rd generation Nazarene, both sets of grandparents went to our church in my hometown. My grandfather on my mom’s side was the big ice cream fiend, which rubbed off on mom…and me…so I have fond memories of “helping” him make the ice cream.

I stayed out of my granny’s kitchen as a kid, but I knew there was mixing, measuring and cooking done beforehand. My big thrill was after the mixture had been poured into the can, the paddle in place and the top securely fastened. My papa would use his ice pick to chip the ice (never in a bag from the store, we froze our own ice in wax milk cartons!) layer it around the can, adding the rock salt as he went. Then, several layers of newspapers were placed on top, followed by a towel…..and all the cousins clamored to see who would get to sit on top while the cranking was done by papa! It was so much fun to sit on top of the freezer and feel the chill from the ice below, while the hot summer wind blew across our faces, underneath the shade tree.

My cousins, left to right…Britt, Gwen, Tami….and me on the right 1961

Of course, everyone brought a freezer of ice cream to these socials, so there were many flavors to try. Peach ice cream made with fresh picked peaches, chocolate, strawberry…but my favorite was always vanilla. Call me a purist, I just love plain homemade vanilla ice cream.

I can still see it in my mind, lawn chairs around the yard, bowls and spoons clattering, brain freezes because we ate the ice cream so fast! Women chatting together in groups, men engaged in whatever men talk about…..and kids running around barefoot without a care in the world. I wish I was an artist so I could draw or paint the picture that’s in my mind.

I’ve owned several electric ice cream freezers over the past 30 years, but somehow it’s just not the same to plug it in while it sits in the sink and churns. I’m pretty sure the ice cream doesn’t taste as good either as it did in the 1950s…..

I suppose that’s why us “oldsters” like to relive our fondest memories…..sometimes the memories are better than what’s surrounding us now.

Thanks for reading and reminiscing with me….I feel a trip to Braum’s in my future 🙂

Letters to my Mother

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, we drove up to visit my parents like we usually do. We enjoyed a nice, quiet lunch at Cotton Patch…..okay, just kidding, that place is so noisy, you have to yell to carry on a conversation. Afterward, we visited more at the house, and my nephew, his wife and their adorable 3 year daughter came by to visit.

I had asked mom for some letters that she had kept from the time my kids were small, so yesterday, she handed me a large envelope full of letters and some photos. YAY…..more treasures! Oh, but wait….maybe not. The first letter I opened was from El Paso in 1986, after I had moved there with my boyfriend. It was quite sobering, even though I was sober to begin with. How my life has changed since then. For the better, of course.

The rest of the letters were far more entertaining, written in the early 1980s when we had moved to the country and were living in a ramshackle farm-house that we were renovating. Renovating is really an exaggeration. Trying to keep it from falling in on our heads, is more accurate. Most of the time that we lived in Forney, Texas, we didn’t have a home phone, so I wrote letters to keep my parents informed of our general progress on the house and the kid’s activities. Just an aside…..the postage stamps ranged from 20 to 22 cents on these letters.

The farmhouse….we paid $2,500 cash for the house and had it moved around the corner to our 2 acres.

The house did look better about a year later, and was still standing in spite of the wood-burning stove in the living room. Luckily the house did not burn down the winter that everything froze up for more than a week. We endured cold winters, and very hot summers in that house….and lots of dust, dirt and construction. Whew.

 

The best thing in the envelope was a hand written poem, that was once set to music, that I wrote for my mom for Mother’s Day 1979. I actually don’t remember writing this down and decorating it like this, but I did.

And she kept it.

All these years.

And people say *I* am a hoarder!!!

This is quite fragile as it’s written on construction paper, and I even made an envelope from the paper also. Who knew I was so thoughtful and resourceful?

 

So, the most funny thing was a handwritten list, I must have been as young as 13-14…..titled “My Real Life Problems”….

I particularly love #15 and #18……my little brother was quite a brat back then. You can see I had a very low self-esteem, and I outgrew that for the most part. It does sneak in every once in a while to try to bring me down. I’m not sure about #14 as I never had trouble with my complexion, I was blessed with good genes in that department! Still, pretty funny to read now and see how insecure I was then. (this proves that I have always been a really good speller!)

 

When I began writing this today, I had intended to scan some of the actual hand written letters and include them; however, after re-reading them, they seem intensely personal to me, so I changed my mind. Some things are better left un-shared, I think. But, these letters reinforce my belief that my life has gone through a great many changes in the last 30-40 years, and I have come out on the other side a better person. The once painfully shy first grader who wouldn’t speak a word for six weeks, somehow morphed into a musician who loved to entertain on stage, and then became a force to be reckoned with in the retail world.

So, thanks mom, for keeping these for me. I am sorry for the many times I’ve let you down, and I’m thankful that you always forgave me, and you never gave up on me.

 

 

A New Life

My daughter is expecting a baby boy in early April. This will be her third child. Her others are 21 and 19. Yes, Mother Nature is laughing wickedly in the distance at this blessed event. And so were the rest of us in the beginning, but after the shock wore off, we began to get excited about the new baby.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve looked forward to a new grandbaby, so I decided to make a baby afghan for this one. I had visions of a beautiful blanket in several shades of blue. However….Kelly chose brown. I was not so sure about brown. But, after looking at all the nursery sets at the store, I could see why she chose brown. Of course, there’s also blue and cream in the color scheme, but she wanted the afghan in brown. I’m not very proficient anymore with crochet, so I stuck to my tried and true ripple pattern. All I have to do is count to seven going up and back down. Whew. At my age, even that is daunting!

I found this adorable little lamb at Kohl’s and he looks so sweet, that today, I went back and bought another one for ME…..lol….and also a bear and kangaroo for the baby.

I promise not to spoil this grandbaby too much.

Oh what the heck….I will if I want to!

Funny Family Fotos

People often reminisce about  the “good old days”……and I’ve done it also, however….some of these photos make me appreciate the “here and now” for sure!

All of these photos came from my grandmothers photo albums, which I acquired a few years ago, because my dad knew I’d take good care of them. These photos are his family and ancestors, and most had no information written on the back. I’ve had to post these on Facebook so my assorted cousins across the US could help me identify them. There were but a few that we had no clue at all, they are a mystery.

Let’s have a picnic…deep in the woods….let’s take the kids…..grab your coats, axes and washtubs!

We were all “stumped” about this one for a while!

The subjects in the photo above were eventually identified as my grandmother (tall woman holding baby) my dad (in hat) at her left elbow, my two aunts Bea and Geraldine, and some neighbors. We narrowed down the year to 1938…..

“ROAD TRIP”! (apparently my ancestors loved to leave home for adventures?)

This is my dad, age 3 months 17 days, according to my granny’s handwriting on the back.

Oh, just put the babies down anywhere, they’ll be fine!

I know the baby on the left must be my dad, because it looks just like ME……

“Hi, I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl and my other brother Darryl”

My great-grandfather and his sons who never married and never left home.

I think this little boy may be my dad, or his cousin Sonny-boy…..they looked about the same in every picture I’ve found.

Once again…..”let’s sit the baby out in the road or middle of no where and take his picture”!

They must have been trying to “capture the light”……..

My daddy….
This is the little suit my dad was wearing in the photo above….
This is the suit and hat along with the original tiny photo; I have put them into a memory keepsake box, hanging on the wall in my bedroom. So sweet….

Retail therapy????

The first yard sale ever?

Playing “let’s pretend”……

“Let’s pretend like we’re not really poor”……

on the back “to Beatrice Wilson, this is Mildred and her little friend in their play house” …. printed on the back “Finished by Nichols Studio Jacksonville, Texas”

Forget taking the kid to the woodshed……

CPS…..where are you? After very close scrutinizing, we have determined this to be one of my dad’s cousins, and there is someone behind her, holding her up on the woodpile!

“Life on the farm….PETA would love this, right?”

I guess they couldn’t afford to have a dog for a pet….???

Anyone up for some fried catfish???

We have studied this one and can only hazard a guess that *maybe* this was a scene on the Red River long before the Denison Dam was built to create Lake Texoma. I don’t think I’d want to eat the fish that came out of that water, though!

And last, but not least…….no wonder they were so destitute, the “lucky” horseshoe was upside down…all the luck was running out!

This one is my favorite! We believe this is my great-grandfather Charlie Wilson and one of his sisters, or daughters….

Now, I know all these photos are in black and white and are very old, but I sense there wasn’t much green grass around at the time. It looks very desolate….no wonder my grandmother loved plants and flowers so much, she needed color in her life!

Thanks for the memories, Granny K….

A Merry Fractured Christmas

I have always loved to roller skate, from way back in the day when the skates clamped onto your shoes and you used a key to adjust the length. I skated up and down the sidewalks on Redbud Road where we lived, and on Heron Street, where my grandparents lived……both houses had inclined driveways, so…..I fell a lot! However, when you are 7, 8, 9 years old and weigh 50/60 pounds, falling really doesn’t hurt much!

Me, on skates, with my Granny Fletcher and my little brother Philip.

In my early teen years, I graduated to the indoor roller rink, with the nice smooth hardwood floor and great music to skate to…..and some less than upstanding hoodlums as my new-found friends. For Christmas in 1969, all I wanted was my very own “professional” skates…..and I got them! There was one large box under the tree and I insisted it had my skates inside, even though my parents kept saying, no….but….I could SMELL the leather through the wrapping! I was so excited……yay! I was going to look so cool now at the rink, with my very own skates, and I had already started collecting the required pom poms to make me look even cooler!

My new rink skates!

Fast forward to 1979, I was married, had 2 kids, Kelly, 7 and Brian, 2…….and we all loved to skate. Brian was just learning, but Kelly was quite a good little skater. Kelly and I were even taking some lessons together at the rink in Mesquite, Texas where we lived at the time.

Kelly skating...

One Sunday evening, December 16, to be exact, we were at the rink, skating, having a wonderful time……Kelly and I had been practicing some of the things we were learning, and I was working on a particular jump that was easy for her. This jump consisted of skating backward, taking your left foot, putting your toe-stop down behind you, twisting left and turning mid-air and landing on your right foot gliding forward. Easy, right?

Insert maniacal laughter here: Hahahahaha…….my left foot went down, my body twisted left, but my left foot stayed firmly planted on the floor. My left leg twisted, broke my tibia and fibula in a spiral angulated fracture.  Over the music and general noise of the rink, I heard my leg snap. I screamed a blood curdling scream, so loud that my husband heard me from across the building. Several people rushed to my rescue and tried to tell me, that my leg wasn’t broken, but it was swelling so badly, my laces had to be cut so my skate would come off. Oh yes, it was ever so broken!

I spent the next 5 days in the hospital following the surgery on Monday to set my leg. Luckily, I had already finished my Christmas shopping for the kids.  The day I went home from the hospital, on crutches that I could barely navigate, my parents drove down and picked up my kids to keep until Christmas. This was highly unusual, because my parents had never kept my kids, never ever!

Back at the skating rink with the kids....

What made my broken leg even more special, was the fact that my cousin Gwen, had broken her leg 5 weeks before me, same leg, same type of fracture, except she fell in her garage. We were quite a sight for the next few weeks together with matching casts and crutches. And then every year for the next several years, we had our picture made together and called it our “annual leg show”…..

Debi and Gwen 12/31/1980

After my leg healed (10 weeks on crutches followed by 2 weeks in a walking cast), I did go skating again, but just a couple of times, and then I hung up my skates for good. Some things are just not meant to be, and I was not meant to be the Dorothy Hamill of the roller rink.

Every December 16, I recall the events of  1979…..and I wonder….what the heck was I thinking?

Merry Fractured Christmas!

Back When We Were Beautiful

I first heard this song when my grandmother was still living, and it reminded me of her, because she would say things like “I wasn’t always old” and “don’t get old, it’s no fun”…. I’m afraid I didn’t understand how she felt. Now that I am 58 years old, and a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother myself, I get it.

I totally get it.

We still have five generations in our family like we did when my grandmother was living, we’ve just all shifted places, and now I’m the second from the oldest and my daughter is the middle of the five generations of family.

I am feeling limitations in my physical capabilities, and it frustrates me to no longer be able to do all the things I once took for granted…..back when I was beautiful.

Back When We Were Beautiful

written by Matraca Berg

Piano and vocals by Debi Snider

I guess you had to be there, she said, you had to be
She handed me a yellowed photograph and then said, see
This was my greatest love, my one and only love and this is me
Back when we were beautiful, see
I don’t feel very different, she said, I know it’s strange
I guess I’ve gotten used to these little aches and pains
But I still love to dance, you know we used to dance the night away
Back when we were beautiful, beautiful, yeah
I hate it when they say I’m aging gracefully
I fight it everyday, I guess they never see
I don’t like this at all, what’s happening to me
To me
But I really love my grandkids, she said, they’re sweet to hold
They would have loved their grandpa, those awful jokes he told
You know, sometimes for a laugh the two of us would act like we were old
Back when we were beautiful, beautiful, yeah
But I guess you had to be there

My beautiful parents on their wedding day 1952

p.s. My beautiful parents celebrated SIXTY years in June 🙂