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Merry Christmas 2011!

December 24, 2011

     Merry Christmas 2011!

Last year we did not send out one single card;

Our sweet dog had ten babies and life was way hard

But we’re back on the scene, with our card and this note.

Once again you’re all reading some stuff that I wrote.

After Daisy gave birth, I went weeks with no sleep.

We allowed our son, Ben, to choose one pup to keep

But we did not foresee that Miss Kolbe would love

A shy black one, whose heart fit on hers like a glove.

So I said to dear Jon (who’s still awesome this year)

“Darling Husband, sit down, you have something to hear.”

I explained that three dogs would be no worse than two

And I promised him kids would clean up all the poo.

Three huge poodles now live at the casa de Suss.

Want to see a dog circus?  Just come visit us.

Jon, in his awesomeness, still hitched to me.

We still live in a house with our dear children three.

How we cherish our awesomely average life!

Soon we’ll celebrate 25 years man and wife.

Our kids are still funner than should be allowed.

They still “own” Mom and Dad and they still make us proud.

Our Anna’s in school and is still doing hair

In her car she goes vroom from right here to right there.

Ben and Kolbe, our teens, are in high school at home.

Do not think for a sec that this means we don’t roam.

Co-op classes and outings and tutors they see

Lots of friends they hang with and of course, they have me.

I am still good ‘ol Ame, I don’t change much each year.

I still love my Suss-peeps and I still don’t love beer.

When I look at God’s love in my life I’m aware

I’ve been blessed with what seems like much more than my share.

Every year I have trouble with just how to end

This rhymed note that we send to both family and friend

Please indulge me, my loves, there’s one more thing to say

And then you can go back to your Dee-cember day:

You are loved by the One who invented the stuff

He loves all that you are, I can’t stress this enough.

If you open your heart to HIS love and HIS grace,

You’ll be happy someday when you meet face to face.

Please remember the Sussmans in your daily prayers.

And don’t worry, I promise, they’ll keep you in theirs.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2012 from the Sussmans

Jon       Amy     Anna     Ben       Kolbe     Daisy     Penny    Albie     Max   &  Snookie

Dad       Mom      Kid  1     Kid 2     Kid 3     Dog 1    Dog 2   Dog 3    Cat    &    Guinea Pig

Merry Christmas 2009!

December 22, 2011

A mistake has been made by that dude, Father Time.

How can Christmas be here?  We just started ’09!

I am sorry, it seems that the Suss-clan’s still boring

But that doesn’t mean you can start with the snoring.

Stay awake and enjoy my eleventh (and best?)

Because make no mistake, there WILL be a test.

Anna finished with school taking scissors in hand

She will dazzle the world, making over the bland.

She’s still crazy in love with a sweet guy named Victor.

He’s the dearest young man, we are so glad he picked her.

We dragged him on vacation I’m pleased to report.

We played games every night; he is such a good sport.

Ben‘s an eighth grader now, having his best year yet.

All his teachers he likes and good grades he does get.

He’s more hairy and taller and deeper of voice.

He’s a generous boy who makes every good choice.

Confirmation last month was the ice on his cake

I am thrilled when I think of the man he will make.

That darned Kolbe got older again this darned year

She’s in middle school now with sweet teachers, we hear.

She can text with great speed and Facebooks like a pro,

She’s loves dance class and learning to play the oboe.

In her free time our baby girl still loves to cook

When she’s not busy re-reading each Twilight book.

My Jon Sussman remains the best half of our whole.

He still loves me despite all my wrinkles and mole.

He has found a new hobby that’s just fine by me

Tracing four hundred years worth of our family tree.

He’s enjoying the research, it’s filling his cup

And the stories from my side prove Jon married up.

As for me I’m delightfully still unemployed

I don’t have a “real job” and I’m just overjoyed

‘Cause I get to look after the peeps in my life

Wash their clothes, mop their floors and be bearded guy’s wife.

Thanks for staying awake all you dear girls and guys

And for kindly refraining from rolling your eyes.

I did warn you that not too much happened this year

I just like to write poems to help spread Christmas cheer.

May your family be merry, your worries be light.

May you open your heart to the babe from that night.

It was so long ago that the Son of God came

Not to just heal the sick and the lowly and lame

But to heal each of us of the hurts that life gives

So that whole, we can show that our Savior still lives.

Added several years later, boyfriend long gone. Sometimes parents are wrong.  Remember Eddie Haskel on Leave It to Beaver?  The parents all thought he was the cat’s pajamas.  To his peers he was a total douche bag.  

Merry Christmas 2008

December 19, 2011

Armed with pen and caffeine I will start this year’s poem

Which will carry glad tidings to you in your home.

I am having an awful time starting the ink

Sorry, we haven’t changed so this writing might stink.

There were three milestone birthdays on our family scene:

Kolbe’s ten, Anna’s twenty and Ben turned thirteen.

Jon is aging quite well like a fine bearded wine,

Nope, not me, I’ll admit nothing past twenty-nine.

This past May we flew south for some Florida cruisin’

Where Jon’s nephew Brian wed his true love Susan.

We invaded six theme parks in only five days,

Then collapsed on a beach in a fun induced haze.

My adorable Jon is still Nissan devoted;

They must love him, too, because he was promoted.

He’s been given an office – with walls and a door,

Although there’s no ceiling, he does have a floor.       (phew!)

Cosmetology school is now where Anna’s learning.

Her fire for fashion is still brightly burning.

Don’t ask if she’s dating, I’m not s’posed to tell.

I won’t say that he’s sweet and we like him real well.

Ben, our funny young man, has exploded in size,

I now have to look up just to see his blue eyes.

He’s a smart dude who seldom gives us too much strife

‘Cause I think he’s afraid he’d get grounded for life.

Preteen Kolbe is quite the articulate child

Who is gracious and funny, her temperament mild.

She’s an excellent student who just loves to read.

It’s unfortunate though, that she grows like a weed.

Now it’s time for you people to all get in line

To inquire about me, I assure you I’m fine.

Though at times my wax burns really fast at both ends

I’m aware that I’m blessed to have family and friends.

See, I warned you that not too much happened this year.

My poem’s just a vehicle for Christmas cheer

From that family who lives in that blue sided house:

Three cute kids, dog and cat, one fine man and his spouse.

Merry Christmas 2007!

December 18, 2011

Six days until Christmas!  That’s not enough time

To tell this year’s story and make it all rhyme

But I’ll try ’cause I’m tough and that’s what tough chicks do.

I won’t rest till it’s done and is mailed off to you.

Six short days aren’t enough to tell you about Jon

And how much we enjoy this life journey we’re on.

He’s still happy and funny and such a good dad.

He says I’m his best friend and that makes me so glad.

I have only six days to expound on each kid

Telling you all about every cute thing they did.

All have made some transitions, amidst lots of hugs.

One turned twelve, one turned nine and there’s one who sells drugs!

First there’s Anna, the “old” one, a moldy nineteen,

Still in college full-time, favorite color – still green.

When she isn’t in school, she’s a Pharmacy Tech

Or she’s off buying clothes with her weekly paycheck.

Ben’s in Middle School now and is getting good grades.

That child’s future’s so bright he should really wear shades.

Our comedian child is a gaming machine

Who can’t wait till next year when he morphs to a teen.

Our scholarly Kolbe has FINALLY turned nine.

She loves shopping and school and her grades are just fine.

She digs reading and hanging with her BFFs

And we watch Rachel Ray ’cause you know we’re both chefs.

I will not need six days to tell all about me.

I remain “Good Ol’ Aim” you still get what you see.

I have all that one needs for a full happy life,

I am raising great kids and I’m Jon Sussman’s wife.

Just six days left to shop and to max out each card,

Trim my trees, wrap the gifts and light up the front yard.

I can do this if I just remember one thing,

That it’s not about me, but my Savior and King.

May the joy of His birth guide each man and each beast

Like the light of the star that was shone in the east

To the stable born Babe that the angels sing of.

From the Rhymer, the Beard and the three kids we love.

Merry Christmas 2005, Um, Yeah.

December 17, 2011

I had planned to publish all my Christmas poems, in order, over the course of several weeks.  One or two a week would be a good pace, I thought.

So dumb.

Is there a busier time of year?  What the heck was I thinking?  I can’t even get all my laundry done from week to week and I’m planning to type up all my poems?

So I posted the poems from 1999 – 2003.  Big whoop.  The others I did at all hours of the night, during insomnia which was most likely a direct result of worrying about how I was going to get everything done.

In my haste to git er done, I posted the 2005 poem and discovered today that it was the 2006 poem.  So I changed it on the website and now I’m going to post the real 2005 poem.  This means the puppies referred to in this post were the ones who had to go away in the previous post.

Geeze Louise, my life is like a poodle soap opera.

So discombobulated.  If nothing else, I’m consistent.  Consistently discombobulated.  Oh well, it seems to be working for me.

Merry Christmas 2005!

I regret to inform you and ruin your good cheer

But I’ve no time to think up a poem this year.

I’m too busy, don’t hate me or call me a jerk,

But this writing of rhymes is a great deal of work.

You see we’ve enrolled all our children in school

I thought I’d have free time – HA!  I was a fool.

Most my days are spent driving my children around

And my face is well-known in the shops around town.

Most mornings the kids and I try to catch Mass,

After school I drive someone to some extra class.

So you see, I’m too busy to fire off a poem.

I don’t think I’ll have free time till my kids are grown.

And speaking of my kids…

Anna’s awesome at 14, what more can I say?

She enjoys Brighton High where she spends her whole day.

So far she’s brought home some nice friends and good grades

But she has a teen’s bedroom and could use seven maids!

How I miss the old days when she just played with toys.

Now she’s into the phone, makeup, music and boys!

Our Benny is quite the enjoyable dude.

He likes dirt, bugs and critters and all noises rude.

He is still into Star Wars, now Harry Potter, too.

He enjoys all the members of our household zoo.

He’s a Cub Scout and loves it – He is such a busy creature!

He loves the first grade and plans to marry his dear teacher.

Our Kolbe’s an angel and ever so smart.

She is funny, obedient and tender of heart.

She plays dress up and doll house and Barbies galore!

She loves her teacher and pre-school and going to the store.

She and Ben play so nicely and make me so proud,

But those two kids at times sound much more like a crowd.

Our two pups are both huge now, they each weigh a ton.

They are so dumb but loving and boatloads of fun.

But our house “needed” someone sweet, cuddly and fat.

Since we couldn’t have a baby, we went out and got a cat.

All the fishies in our fish bowl died, we flushed to sort of bury’em.

Now I’m trying to convince Poor Jon that we need an aquarium.

This year we enjoyed a few fun-filled vacations.

We explored several states of our beautiful nation.

Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee

Wisconsin, Minnesota and our beloved U.P.

We toured Space Camp, cool caves and we all stuck our toes

In three chilly Great Lakes (see the photo enclosed)

When  THE birthday time came, dear Jon gave his “old” wife

A great huge honking party – the surprise of my life!

Almost 80 friends and family – it was people wall to wall

I thought “Forty might not be so stinking rotten after all!”

Just in case you missed the party, this thought may give you a lift:

It is not too late to wish me well and don’t forget my gift.

Jon traveled round the world this year.  He’s quite the rambling man.

He saw strange exotic places like Grand Rapids and Japan.

We are still quite happily married sixteen years one day next week.

Jon’s smile still makes the sun rise and his kiss still makes me weak.

To have him for my best friend proves that I am truly blessed!

Just why he chose or keeps me, well that’s anybody’s guess!

Well, I guess that I will write a Christmas poem after all.

I’ll end it with a simple prayer to Jesus, Lord of All:

“Please don’t let me be an inn keeper that has no room for You,

Because of all my earthly goods and other “stuff” to do.

I beg you, Lord, to free my soul from all the worldly things.

Make my heart a humble stable that is fit to house my King.”

Merry Christmas 2006!

December 12, 2011

The poem, Ma’am, just the poem.

I’ve attempted to write this poem 17 times.

There are too many thoughts and just not enough rhymes.

I shall finish this thing if it takes me all night.

To inspire me, I’m writing by Christmas tree light.

So I squint at my pen while I write by the tree,

Both my cats say there’s no weirder human than me.

They can say what they want, I pretend not to hear

As I squint-write my annual wishes of cheer.


Nissan still spoils Jon, where he still makes me proud.

And he still sports a beard but he’s still awfully loud!

I am still shy and quiet; I’m yin to Jon’s yan.

Still enjoy taking care of those kids and that man.

Next Wednesday will be 20 years man and wife!

Like most mammals our size, we have mated for life.


Now that Anna’s 18 and has finished high school,

She’s a freshman in college and nobody’s fool.

In June was a party in honor of her.

She and I planned for months and it passed in a blur.

We had four tons of food, vats of beer and sangria,

Two big cakes, a bounce house, lots of friends & fam-lea.


Ben is growing so tall.  He’s an awesome young man.

And he makes us all laugh like nobody else can.

He likes school and his friends.  He is both kind and smart.

He loves video games and creating cool art.

He’s a wonderful son, who is thoughtful and brave.

And to be just like Dad, Ben says he’ll never shave.


As I’m crafting my poem all I hear is Kolbe

“Mommy, please!  Hurry up!  Write the part about me!”

She’s a dear funny kid, who is sure of herself.

She’s a good natured, happy and cute “South Pole elf”

Who will break both my kneecaps if her verse is bad.

She’s a tad self-involved, like the wife of her dad.


This year we had three super family vacations.

Higgins Lake, Myrtle Beach and D.C. destinations.

First we camped with my sister and lots of my neices.

My grand-nephews, too, I just love them to pieces.

With my parents, my brother, his wife & their seven

We shopped, played and swam in a big beachy Heaven.

Myrtle Beach earned a spot in my stoney cold heart

And my nieces & nephews all love me – right, Bart?

Then at Thanksgiving time, we all piled in my car.

We abducted Jon’s mom then we drove really far

To see Jon’s brother, Ron, lovely Brenda (his wife),

All their kids, cats  and dogs, had the time of our life.

In D.C. we saw sights as we wandered around

In the rain all day long (though we all darned drowned.)


So that’s it for this year from the Family Suss

Aren’t you glad that I wrote you to blab about us?

Keep your eyes on the prize and your heart on your sleeve.

Pray for peace in our world and for snow Christmas Eve.

Hug your family too much.  Call your mom when you roam.

Pray that George finds a way to bring all our troops home.

White Elephant

December 10, 2011

In 2004 we were invited to a Christmas party, our first non-family Christmas party invitation since we moved to this berg.  I was very excited.  But my excitement over the invitation was trumped by the footnote at the bottom… a request to bring a white elephant gift!   Did we just win the lottery or what?  I was over the moon!  I freakin love stuff like this!

“Hi, my name is Amy and I’m a dork.”

“Hi, Amy!”

Any whoo… (Did I really just use “any whoo?”  See above:  “Hi, my name is Amy…”) Any whoo… I love the idea of white elephants, both the large albino mammals AND the gently used items that are re-gifted that may or may not be a joke.  I have so much crap, er, I mean so many beloved possessions, that I need to dump, er, bless friends, loved ones and/or strangers with.

I guess I should qualify my unbridled love of white elephants.  I had only ever participated once in the re-gifting and I’ve NEVER interacted with the mammal kind.  It is probably more accurate to say “I theoretically love white elephants.”  That sounds really dorky but I do carry that card, so it’s ok.

Let’s take a walk with Scrooge’s first visitor, The Ghost of Christmas Past, shall we?

The first time I ever heard the term “White Elephant” I was about 8 or 9 years old, 1970-ish.  My mom was getting ready to go to a Christmas party, most likely with the Altar Society or with the “gals” from Pinnochle.  I clearly remember four things:

  1. The house smelled like “Here’s My Heart” perfume so I knew she was going out.  Happy tidbit from my childhood: my mom called her perfume “Ears Me Art” because she is half leprechaun.
  2. She had on a fancy dress (she is half French-Canadian, so fancy is in her blood) and lipstick ( she’s also half Avon Lady.) Separately a fancy dress or lipstick would prove that she was going out.  Together meant it was someplace really special.
  3. I heard her tell my Grandma “We’re giving  each other white elephants.”
  4. I became super excited because I knew that the next morning I would wake up to a new pet:  a white elephant that someone gave to my mother at her party.  Good Lord, we are lucky!

Needless to say I was disappointed early the next day when I raced around the house in my footy pajamas looking for our elephant.  I looked out the windows… nope, not in the yard.  Garage?  Nope.  Well of course it wasn’t there, those are the obvious places, yes?

Always one to think outside the box, dorky little-me also looked in closets, cupboards, behind the couch, under the dining room table (in my defense it was a huge table), in the bath tub (think white elephant poop containment) and finally the refrigerator, where sadly there weren’t even footprints in the jello.

So I asked where the elephant was.  ” I wanna see it.”

She laughed for about a  month.  Are you half liar, too, Mother?  Hmm?

She explained what it really meant but it lessened not the bitter sting.   I was pissed.  How stupid!  Why call them white elephant gifts?  Why not “I don’t care enough about you to go buy you a real gift” gifts?

As I matured, so did my appreciation of many of the finer things in life, including, NO, especially White Elephants.  Grabbing the hand of  the Ghost of Christmas Past once again, we travel to 1983, my 21st Christmas….

I worked in the business office of a small hospital.   The business office staff exchanged white elephant gifts at Christmas that year.  I was young and very intimidated by the other women, all of whom were ancient, like 50, so in true Amy style, I purchased a nice gift and took off the price tags.  We were instructed to wrap them but not to use gift-tags so it would be secret, on accounta secrets are the most fun ever.

Colleen, an alarmingly bitter divorceé, who kept ashes from the burnt photos of her still living ex-husband in an urn on her mantle and called it “my dead husband,” put a small gift, wrapped in loud purple birthday paper on the pile.  I took notice, not only because I’m kind of a ninja/super sleuth but because it was purple birthday paper.  When it came time for each person to choose their secret gift, I noticed that Ms. Crankypants grabbed her own gift back.

Captain Obvious saves the day!  “Hey! That’s the same gift you put in the pile!”

The way she looked at me made me feel like I was being measured for an urn of my own.  I did not press.  We all opened our gifts but I kept my eye on Colleen.  She opened hers and whadaya know?  It was her favorite scarf which she had already been wearing at least once a week, every week.  She continued to wear it until she retired.

Profoundly awesome.

I opened a coffee mug that said “Golfers Make Better Lovers” on one side and “The Poconos” on the other.  Sadly, it disappeared from my desk  the next day, which was fine because I didn’t drink coffee.  Sadder still, it would be 21 years until I participated in this life-changing ritual again.

Let’s take the ghostly hand one last time and return to 2004 and our invitation, mmm-kay?

Upon reading the invitation I immediately thought of Colleen’s favorite scarf.  I would have to give clothing.   I knew I wanted to give obviously used clothing.  None of this “gently used” business for me… if it isn’t threadbare, I am not done with it.

Hmmm, what do I have…. that I can give to strangers…  that nobody will miss at my house…. and we don’t need/want/use?

Here is the poem I wrote and slid into a Currier & Ives-ish tin with our gift.

In every home there is a spot

A small, sad place that time forgot,

Where singles, ones and loners live,

These treasures now to you we give.

These came to our house as part of a pair,

A trip to the laundry and now one’s not there.

They come in all colors from dark blue to pink

And since we use Downy, they no longer stink.

Their partners have vanished so most people hate them.

For a very long time we thought our dryer ate them.

Most families keep them, even our family did

In this cute little tin with it’s cute little lid.

An invite from Johnsons gave us quite a lift

We can make these dumb socks our white elephant gift.

We hope you like this gift from me and my spouse.

Maybe you’ll find their matches somewhere in your house.

Merry Christmas 2004

December 8, 2011

In 2004 we moved – AGAIN.

Ugh.  I hate moving.  I mean I REALLY hate moving. This move was the hardest of all our moves, possibly because we had accumulated more and more “stuff” after 18 years and it was lots of packing, after lots of sorting and lots of purging.  The kids were very excited about the move and the new house had bedrooms for everyone, so… Yay, but it was so very much work to move only about a mile away.

During the entire process “never again!” became our mantra.  I truly meant it, too.  I have since softened the “never” and will agree to move under two circumstances:  1) The children are all grown and married and we sell everything we own so we can travel the world for the rest of our lives (Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?)  or 2)  I’m in a pine box.

Just so we are very clear here,  if I move and one of those two situations don’t apply, alert the authorities because aliens are invading the planet and they started by taking over my body.  Deep down we all knew they would start with me, didn’t we?

This year was also the year that our pups, Mulder and Scully, left us.  They had a “situation” with a neighbor who, although very sweet, was a first time pet owner with zero common sense.  Our dogs were over zealous about playing with her “too small to even be a real dog” dog.  The neighbor feared that they would hurt her “wittle baybee” and placed her body between her dog and ours.  EXACTLY the opposite of what one should do in this kind of situation.

They jumped up on her.  She said one of them bit her (mmm hmm, through your untorn snow pants and parka) and since they were identical she couldn’t tell which one jumped.    She had large bruises on her waist and thigh.

A heartbreaking decision was made;  neither could be allowed to continue living in a neighborhood filled with dumb people.  The dogs left our family.  That part sucked.  We all mourned for more than a year. Of course, none of this is in the poem because how the heck would I ever make THAT into a funny rhyme??

Point to ponder:  Did this event contribute to the formation of the over protective “crazy poodle lady” you see before you?    Prolly not.

Just in case you’re late for a meeting or a pedicure here is the jist of the 2004 poem:

I love my deliciously average family.

Happy Holidays 2004!

Go grab some hot chocolate with Marshmallow foam,

Curl up in a chair and read Amy’s dumb poem!

I will bore you this year with some snips of our life

Making you thank the Lord I’m not your goofy wife!

We traveled this year when the weather was warm,

To the home of our friend, Fr. Joe and his farm.

He has cats, llamas, donkeys, some chickens and ewes,

Lambs and goats, seven dogs, two enormous emus!

Jon is still my main squeeze, and for 18 years, too!

(I met him at age four, yes, I’m still 22!)

At Nissan, still working, still traveling the globe,

He’s still my Shining Knight with the patience of Job!

Anna, 16, is a Junior.  E-gad!

She rides off to school every day with her dad.

Her sense of humor is great, her sweetness won’t end,

I am proud to call Anna both daughter and friend.

Ben is now nine and we homeschool the lad.

He is silly like Mom and a genius like Dad.

He spends more time exploring, a definite perk,

I just wish I could get him to do more housework!

Kolbe is six now, a funny young lady.

She has lost her front teeth – that’s the end of our baby!

She a talker, I don’t know where THAT trait comes from.

She homeschools every day with her brother, our son.

I’m in love with these four people God sent to me.

And I hope we become who God wants us to be.

I’m assured when I look at their beautiful faces

That I’ve truly been blessed by God’s plentiful graces.

Oh what fun I’ve had writing this year’s Christmas Poem,

‘Tho I’m sending it from yet another new home.

This time you can write our new address in ink

And if we move again I know I’ll start to drink!

As December unfolds all of Heaven and Earth

Are preparing to celebrate our Savior’s birth;

Adults at their finest and kids at their best,

Is your heart a soft place a sweet baby can rest?

May God fill your souls with His peace from above.

May your hearts overflow with His infinite love.

We all send you our friendship, our love and good cheer.

Merry Christmas, dear loved ones, Have a blessed New Year!

Who Knew?

December 3, 2011

I decided to take a photography class at our homeschool co-op.  Mostly because I have always wanted to learn how to take beautiful photos but sorta because I never really do anything just for me.  This would be just for me.

So I was one of three moms who signed up for the class with about 12 children, ages 10 to 16.

On the first day I was super excited and had September butterflies in my tummy.  Yay!!   Our teacher, whom everyone calls “Maestro,” (How cool is that???!!!) is a swashbuckling, acting, stunt co-ordinating, film making, professional photographer of a man who teaches at U of M, EMU, runs his own theatrical company and has umpteen degrees in diverse and fascinating fields.  He taught us all about the science of photography:  gnomes in our cameras open the shutter and have buckets of color and other stuff.

OK, there are lots of children in the class so the curriculum had to be kid-ified and easy to understand.  Aw, who am I kidding, it had to be dumbed down for me.

I visualized the gnomes and made friends with them in my head.  If we’re friends, my pictures will be amazing, right?

At any rate, I loved every second of it and after the first class I said to my dear, patient, wickedly funny husband of 24 years “I’m gonna go ahead and fall in love with my teacher, ok?”  To which he responded, very non-chalantly, “Whatever makes you happy, dear.”

The second week our amazing Maestro handed us his very expensive professional cameras to use in pairs to take pictures during our class time.  I was paired with an adorable little girl with curly brown hair, big blue eyes and skin like an angel.  How could I take the camera away from her so I could take my turn?  I couldn’t.  NOW How’m I gonna learn?

The third week I came to class, and did not dazzle the beloved Maestro with my brand new Nikon D3100 SLR with two different lenses and a bunch of accessories.  Oh, and an American Express bill for $800.  I justified that at 49 I don’t learn things as easily as I once did and I need all the camera time I could get.  If I loved photography I would keep the camera, if not and I stunk, I would return it at the end of the semester right before my 90 days were up.  Reason 7,489 that I LOVE Costco: generous return policy.

Week four, when talking about lighting and faces he used me as an example and although the whole scene is kind of blurry I do remember that he referred to me as a “pale red-head” and I ended the bromance in my head.  Pale.  Redhead.  Breaking up isn’t always hard to do, Neil.

I don’t remember if it was week five or week six that he told us about our assignment but soon thereafter he gave us a scavenger hunt.  Before I read the assignment I thought “Sa – weeeeet!  I have won four road rallies in my life time and I will RULE this assignment.  Scavenger Hunts are just like Road Rallies without the cars, right?  Those kids are gonna cry for their home schooling mommies when they see my work.”  Competitive much?


We have to take pictures of fifty concepts or emotions such as “pain.”  Pain?  Um, “transition?”  Ex-squeeze me…” longing?”  Fifty of these suckers?  Oh great, I have to think.  Mailboxes and flowers and VW Beetles would have been so much easier.  I’m so glad I broke up with him earlier in the semester because if I was still an adoring puppy I would have been distraught.  Now I’m only a little worried that he will hate my pictures and write me off as just another mom, with no vision and no talent.

I decided to really try.  I can do this.  I just have to have a plan, that’s all.  My plan?  I don’t care what the emotions are,  there will be poodles in my interpretations.  Lots of poodles.


I think I’ve found my “sweet spot.”

Poodles + Camera + Gnomes = I’m gonna LOVE Photography.

You know what?  After taking  roughly 1400 photos over four weeks I do, indeed, LOVE photography.  Who knew?

Next week:  Gnomes who shoot poodles and the women who love them.

Merry Christmas 2003!

December 2, 2011

Salutations and Greetings and Boatloads of Cheer

Have arrived in the poem which you’re holding here.

I will tell you of all the routine things we’ve done.

I am hoping the rhymes will make reading it fun

I will start with the Captain of our happy clan.

Yes, that’s right, an update on my wonderful man.

Fourteen years “running” Nissan, he still makes the cars.

He’s still teaching at Church (when he’s not drunk in bars.)

Next comes the First Mate, well of course I mean me.

I am still “just” a mom and I’m still 23!

Still too solemn and quiet and not so much fun.

I still drive all day long, toting daughters and son.

Our eldest, dear Anna, fifteen and one half.

We enjoy her so much, she can sure make us laugh.

She has made us the proudest darned parents alive,

But we’re just a wee nervous – she learned how to drive!!

Ben is eight now and loves all his second grade classes.

And he sports a new look, Harry Potter’s round glasses.

He’s a dapper young man, and he’s still pretty smart,

Still cracks us all up, still a lover at heart.

Our Kolbe is five – Kindergarten at last!!

It sure seems that our baby has grown up too fast!

Still dancing, this year she is learning to Hula.

We will rent her to parties and make lots of Moola.

We missed out on the crippling great power outage

Up north, we were renting a great beachfront cottage.

We also had big fun when we tried to camp…

(Except we forgot ALL our pillows and lamp!)

We still have our pups, in dog years they’re teens now,

One is still a sweet baby, the other’s a cow!

Our cat is still perfect, he’s the boss of the house,

Well, ok, maybe second to my perfect spouse.

Like most families, we’re busy, the days seem to fly!

We enjoy one another as time passes by.

God continues to show us His goodness and more

He has blessed us with gifts one can’t buy in a store.

We are thankful to our Glorious Father above

That we’re average in all things, except for our love.

Season’s Greetings to you and all those you hold dear.

Keep His love in your heart through the coming New Year.

I hope that this note made you smile, maybe laugh.

It was written with love by Jon’s goofier half.

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