I always sit by the window when I type these posts, and tonight that choice rewards me with the keening song of coyotes outside the window and a strong, cool wind that makes me shiver.

I welcome them both.

Moths gather by the dozens, light-compelled to flutter against the screen, their wings a blur of dull browns and greys. With no knowledge of futility, they'll stay as long as the light shines.

This morning, just as driven, just as aimless, I went for a walk through a fresh-cut field and into the woods. It's been a blue moon since I simply walked and sat in the stillness of a sunny morning without a destination, goal, or overt purpose. It is good to do so. Observing small things and hearing quiet noises-- the wind in timothy, one lonely cloud shaped like a hand, a brown rabbit too curious for its own good, coarse stubble in my shoe.

And, now, dark quiet all around, broken by mindless barking from the yard and minor noises as John moves through the kitchen. I am more tired than I have been in a long time.

May we all find rest tonight.

Romance and Roses and Shots in the Dark

John took me on a date. All wheedling and pitiful, I asked if I could take a picture of us.
He grunted.

Half an hour later, he said, "Here. You wanted to take a picture."

So even though I look goofy, and he looks like I just punched him, I'll happily take it.

Us. Together two.
(Handsome man.)

Blue Mud Dauber Wasp

On the windowsill.

Ready for fisticuffs.


Iridescent in the sunlight.

Gen. George Washington Would Be So Proud

The curlers served an additional purpose save independence. We went to a circus party! I love circuses, about which loyal readers weary of hearing, and we happily forewent our usual celebration.

I kicked myself for only taking a dozen pictures, until I saw the color that Rebecca, hostess extraordinaire, captured with her camera. Here are my paltry few, but, by all means, see more here. (And you really should, 'cause it was fantastic.)

We left our house in a whirl, as usual, and I unrolled everyone's curlers and applied face paint in the van. This was less than fun, but why break with tradition?

Here's Pip an hour into the party. She held fast to her wish to be a tiger, so a tiger she was, smeared face paint and all.

Annika wanted to be a tightrope walker; lo and behold!-- there was a tightpipe at the party!

Susannah was a trapeze girl, which provided the perfect excuse for eye glitter, pleasing her immensely.

Little Lu was my baby clown.

She couldn't have cared less what I called her, as long as I permitted her to splash in the water for several hours. I did. When night fell, I had to strip her because she was soaked to the gills and shivering.

Adelé is not my child, but if her parents ever tire of her, Piper and I will gladly claim her as our own. You hear that, Mister & Mistress? GLADLY!

For nearly ten minutes, I watched Adelé try her best to clean the nasty red circle off of Luci's nose, to no avail. It was hysterical. She doggedly splashed and scoured, splashed and scoured, and didn't even let Piper distract her from the task.

Millie was a bareback rider, and she decorated her hobby horse with ribbons only to discard it once we arrived in favor of nobler pursuits.

Susannah on the trapeze.

Have you ever seen a trapeze artist having such a jolly time?

John was our chauffeur but declined to dress up, and I have no pictures of him, but here I am, makeup worn and weary, at the tail end of the night with the founder of the feast. (Dude and Dude-mom: note the shoes!)

Here's to crazy pals who like to stress themselves silly! Three (silent) cheers for the mime!

It's a Sparkler

The girls sparkled a few at Uncle Andy's the following week.

It's a Sunset


Just moments before, this sky was so glorious I could barely breathe. I sprinted home, grabbed the camera, and took this picture, all in the space of a minute or two. Perennially late, I only caught the glowing remains of a skywide blaze.

Frugal Fancy(literal)pants* #2

*See the genesis here.

I've had grand plans for a FANCY frugal fancy-pants post, one with glossy poses and airbrushed noses, but, unfortunately, plans are never enough.

The last two months have provided 8 Sundays in which I've worn outfits worthy of this post, outfits which practically begged me to showcase them, but I turned them down in favor of

1. unbuckling children from carseats
2. hauling bags in from the car (why does it feel like I pack for a vacation each time we go to church?)
3. kicking off the ridiculous heels that I wear because I'm vain
4. making popcorn for supper
5. tucking sweaty daughters into bunkbeds
6. flopping down on the couch
and, most importantly
7. staring at the fly that just won't stop buzzing around the room.

I'll try to impress you next time, but for now, please accept this meager offering.

Exhibit A:

Suggestion: Wear this outfit when taking your daughter to the physician for a mysterious lump that refuses to diminish.

-Wedge-heel sandals: free in trade
-High-waisted, wide-legged jeans: rummage sale
-Vintage polyester tank that belonged to an old woman: rummage sale
-Gray pleather belt: rummage sale
-Black bead necklace: rummage sale
-Gray/black gauzy scarf that belonged to an old (once young) woman: rummage sale
Total cost of outfit: about 30 cents

Optional accessories:
droopy eyes: cost- loss of a good night's sleep
cat's tail: cost- too many bags of cat food

Exhibit B:

Suggestion: Wear this outfit when you want to get caught in a thunderstorm and frantically plant seed potatoes.

-Boots: a gift
-Jean shorts from the mid-90's: rummage sale
-Shirt: hand-me-down
-Sweatshirt: post-baby gift-card purchase (I don't remember...$4.00?)
Total cost (in actual dollars spent): about ten cents

Optional accessories:
-shovel, hammer, tape measure (if you want to look authentic)
-fifteen pounds of aged manure smeared all over your body (if you want to smell authentic)

Until next time, let's be frugal, fellow fancy-pants!

I Am Truly Sorry

I give you more flowers.

In shadow.

In sunlight.

Piper Has Passed the Baton

It is a certainty.

Here's the rundown.

I don't hear Luci for about five minutes. I leave breakfast cooking on the stove and find her in front of an open unlatched cupboard with an open container of paint that I didn't know was in the cupboard.

She looks cute.

I clean her up.

To keep her from the path of mischief, I set her by my feet. Literally one minute later, I hear a satisfying whooooosh and look down to see her by an open unlatched cupboard with a pile of oatmeal at her feet.

She looks cute.
I clean things up.

Five minutes later. She's awfully quiet. I poke my head around the kitchen island to see her gleefully stuffing marshmallows into her already stuffed mouth. She has finished a quarter of the bag and extends a marshmallow of peace towards me in hopes of avoiding a lecture.

She looks cute.
I take it.
I eat it.

I strap her in a highchair using five feet of mariner's rope.

The End.


I'm pouring butter down buildabelly's throat in an attempt to revive her, and in anticipation of her recovery, I sometimes take pictures of food.

I think it's funny when I occasionally see food blogs in which the food is prettier than me (not that that's saying much, I know- be quiet!), because my method of taking pictures of food for which I post recipes goes something like this.

"Mmmmm. Oh, this smells/looks/tastes so good! Everybody to the table, quickly!"
And then everyone comes, and I sometimes remember to take a picture, grabbing whatever dish/towel/cloth napkin is nearby to throw in the corner of the frame to "enhance" the picture.

I was reminded of my professional photography methodology when I loaded these pictures tonight.


A picture of chicken spiedies, taken to replace the pale and wan picture I posted a couple of years ago:

Snapshot #1.

Snapshot #2.
Wait a minute...

Snapshot #3.

She actually came running in from the other room with a fork so that she could dig in. Semper peratus!


Ooh. This is a good one-- an exotic barbeque sauce that was so much better than the rubber chicken on which I basted it.
Snapshot #1.

Snapshot #2.

And snapshot #3. Carpe diem!

Here Comes the Sun

One morning, I stood in a swathe of tiger lilies and watched them open. One can literally watch them unfold as the sun's rays hit.


A few weeks back, the girls and I had to go to the doctor's office-- a rare occurrence-- and everyone looked presentable, so after the appointment I thought I'd take a picture of them for the McGamma.

The thought's the important part, right? Not the fact that I only realized once we arrived at the doctor's office that Piper had no shoes, and most definitely not the fact that I only realized once she sat down in the waiting room that she also lacked underwear. It was a great day. (The following week, we went to the doctor's AGAIN. That time, Annika left her shoes at home. Thankfully, she was wearing underwear.)

Oh, yes. My failed attempts.

F.A. #1

F.A. #2

F.A. #3

Aaaand F.A. #4

Luci is not in these pictures because I was holding her at the time. She was cranky and wanted only to do this:


My brother Pete and sister (in-law) Sarah brought this vintage lamp with them on their last visit. The original owner of this clock-lamp was hip ahead of her/his time. Not satisfied with a mere metal horse, clock, and red trim, the owner knew just what was needed and







Pretty Plume, Aguila...things happen. Six unfortunate deaths this summer, several graves dug, and countless flowers plucked from the flowerbeds to give some comfort to grieving girls.

Each time my shovel hits the sod, I'm thankful that their encounters with grief thus far have been so small, and I pray that God gives us courage to face the larger ones to come.

Some New Chicks


and out.

She Curled Her Hands Around the Mug*

*Johnson children- you know what I mean...

Before I married John, my parents took our family cherry-picking around July 4th of every year. My brothers and sisters and I climbed trees, had cherry fights, ate our weight in cherries, and came home with enough brimful buckets to can for jams and pies and sauces and all manner of winter eating.

This year, John and I took the girls for the second time since we moved from Buffalo, and we continued with all of the above save the cherry-fighting. I run a tight ship. No cherry fighting allowed!

I only took a few pictures because moments after stepping out of the van, cherry juice dripped to my elbows from all the eating picking of cherries and filling of buckets that immediately ensued.

Piper enjoyed the experience.

As did Luci.

A Nixie hides away.

A Bird contemplates life and worms.

Millie finds a bug.

There were also cherries.