Good and Bad

GOOD: It’s a really nice day. The weather has been awesome for at least 24 hours!
BAD: I have all sorts of indoor chores I need to do.

GOOD: I took some dragonfly photos–they agreed to sit still for me!
BAD: They insisted on the boringest perch possible. I guess they’re so egotistical that they prefer no distractions from their beauty.

GOOD: I went to the beach with friends yesterday and the weather was perfect!
BAD: I got sunburned.

GOOD: We saw a whale and several sea lions out in the water!
BAD: I couldn’t catch any decent photos of either type of animal. They weren’t really cooperating. Observe:

That’s the whale. Aren’t you in awe of its majesty?

And a sea lion. Such amazing photography that I feel I can reach out and give it a high five.

Notice I am not adding my watermark to those. In fact, I’d be happy if others claimed they took them and they left no trace back to me.

Okay, one final set of photos from today, just because I find cherries to be happy and summery (even though I don’t like eating them very much).

The yard.

There are many pointless things I could tell you, but I will post photos instead. These are just from around my home–nothing special.

He looks very glad that I’m taking his photo.

Oh yeah, so here are my lilies that I was all bragging about, but now they are dying! I think and hope it’s just their natural cycle of life and that it has nothing to do with me and my (lack of) gardening skills.

I hope you like yellow weeds, because that’s what most of these photos include!

It turns out there are millions of ways to photograph yellow weeds, and I tried a large portion of them.

Young adult mallards. They still hang together like a group of infants, but they are almost full grown.

More later!

You can skip this one.

I probably shouldn’t start a post when I have nothing to say, but I’m feeling careless. Here goes some rambling.

1. A few minutes ago I sat down at my computer and was immediately reminded to take care of something. But whatever it was immediately left my brain again and only the nagging feeling remains. Now I’m all on edge about it. I’ve tried getting up and walking back to my desk again to help trigger the memory, but it didn’t help. I even tried playing a bit of Wii Mario, but that didn’t seem to help either, crazily enough.

2. Speaking of Mario, I am only able to get through the game via Luigi and the green doorbell. If you’ve played (poorly), you will know what I mean. If you have not, then you are bored and browsing away from this blog entry as we speak.

3. Wow, I just realized Blogger is going to drive me insane with the constant “Saving..Saved” flickering below my posting box. Is that new? I don’t remember it doing that before. Blogger: it’s fine if you want to save every few seconds, just shut up about it already!

4. I sound grouchy, but I’m not. I’m totes fine. And I’m kidding about the “totes” business–it’s just some of that goofy internet slang that I like to make fun of. I prefer to stick to the sophisticated, unabbreviated terminology myself…kwim?

5. Random: I’m coming up on my fourth anniversary at my current church. I don’t remember the exact date, but it was the last Sunday in June when I first attended. It took only one visit and I said, “Okay, I’ll stay here.” I think it was a combination of being tired of church-hunting and finally finding a medium-sized church that had a choir.

6. It feels weird whenever I post without any photos, so right now I will look at what photos I have on my camera and pick one for you. Ready?

Ha! I forgot about this photo. I kept forgetting* to buy more q-tips, so when I finally remembered (and found turquoise ones!), it seemed like such a happy thing to have them restocked that I decided to take a picture. Man, GOOD THING I have my watermark on this picture, because I bet people are going to try and steal it and claim it as their own. It would probably spread around the internet like wildfire, too. (Who said “spread like wildflowers” the other day? R?) Special deal for my readers: $200 for an 8×10, today only. Contact me for pricing on additional sizes.

[Is anyone else totally bothered by that q-tip, on the right, that is sticking out a bit more sideways than the others? Is it driving anyone crazy right now?]

7. Happy birthday to my mom today. 🙂 She’s 60, which I can’t believe–she looks way too young. Plus, I’m way too young to have a 60-year-old mom! She’s the best mom, though, and you are jealous that she’s not your mom. I used the word “mom” a lot in this paragraph. Mom.

*Anyone else notice a theme here? I am definitely Forgetty Forgetterson about a LOT of stuff. It’s been a lifelong struggle. I do know a lot of useless facts, though–I can tell you the birth dates of old crushes, for instance. In case you want to buy them presents.


When I was in third grade, my class did an experiment involving plants. It would be too boring to explain, but the point is that at the end of the experiment, everyone’s seed had sprouted, except mine. That was when I knew I had a brown thumb.

Since then, I have killed the unkillable by over- or under-watering, planting or replanting incorrectly, or maybe just looking at it wrong. My stare is deadly to all plants. That’s why we have the whole rainforest problem.

At the risk of jinxing myself, I will now brag about my recent plant success! It’s very exciting.

Exhibit A: I bought these orchids in May, with four blossoms. Now there are eight, but the main accomplishment is just that it’s still alive! It’s pretty amazing. But you know what’s not amazing? My dirty window, so don’t look at it.

Skip ahead to my newest plant addition. I bought these lilies and they have all bloomed. Again, the important thing here is that they are actually still living. The open blossoms are just a bonus. I’m supposed to put mulch on top of the soil, but one problem: I don’t know what that is, and I’m not in the mood to google it. Okay, two problems.. whatever.

This is the most exciting of the bunch. My friend sent me this Topsy Turvy hummingbird planter that I set up in late May. The orange flowers began as a seedling with just the one yellow flower seen on the left (I don’t know why they are orange now), but look at it now! As for the hummingbirds, I’d love to get a photo of one near a flower, but they don’t stay there long. I guess they enjoy the fast food of my feeder over home cooking.


Finally, I have adopted an aloe vera plant from my friend, K. It’s still alive! I need to work out something better than a paper towel under it, though… classy. 

Have a good week and happy summer! Oh and I forgot to say happy Father’s Day on my last post.

Ducks, flowers, tree house

The heater is on, as are my sweat pants. Ahhh.. Oregon summer. Nothing like having hot chocolate and staying indoors on a late-June day, you know? And of course I’m not at all bitter. Let me just put another log on the fire so I can show you a little of my weekend.

I had spotted these wood ducklings the day before, but only managed a fuzzy photo as a record. I was so glad they came back and swam around where I could see them. Up until now, I don’t think I’ve ever seen duck babies other than mallards. The weird thing about wood ducks is that they are so skittish (even carefully opening my door created a tiny noise that sent the mom and babies speeding into the water and swimming quickly away–I waited awhile and they came back), but the mom seems to let her babies swim and walk pretty far from her. I don’t get it.

The mom has a berry in her mouth.

Notice (because it’s cute) the little berry now in the baby’s mouth.

After duck watching, I gathered up my things for a quick trip I made to the Seattle area for my friend’s graduation (master’s in accounting–I’m very proud!). During my stay, we took a walk in Redmond and I took a few photos…

I wouldn’t say I love foxgloves, but I can’t resist taking pictures if I see them. They make me happy, and they have a ridiculous name.

The funnest sighting was this awesome tree house in someone’s yard. I don’t know if there’s a story behind it, but I’m curious.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got today.


I thought I’d share some blogs that I follow, because I’m sure you are very curious. Although, I also know that you’re not.

I actually have 122 blog subscriptions, according to Google Reader, but that’s very misleading. A handful are blogs that are password protected, and though Google is supposed to at least notify me that they’ve been updated, it doesn’t. Then there is an even bigger handful (probably of someone with larger hands than mine) of blogs I have subscribed to and later learned that the person never updates, but I just haven’t cleared them off. And then there are those who update, but only very rarely.

So once you remove all of those, I probably only see 20 or 30 blogs on a regular basis, and many of those are skimmed. That’s me–I’m a skimmer!

Now that we’ve established that important information, here are just a few selections, by category:

Cake Wrecks – People submit photos of professionally-done cakes that are poorly done and the blogger says funny things about them.

Awkward Family Photos – Same idea, but photos.

Big Mama –  Just a funny writer talking about her day-to-day life as a mom in the south.

Michelle Moore – A senior portrait and fashion photographer in Seattle that I get a lot of good ideas/inspiration from. And humility, of course.

Whitebox – A photographer (different types of portraits from children to weddings) that I like and who updates pretty frequently.

This category can go on and on, so I’ll probably link you to more another time.


Mennonite Girls Can Cook – Daily recipes, all including photos.

Simply Recipes – A very popular recipe blog that I just learned more background on from a post she did yesterday. Also, she’s from Carmichael, CA, which I thought was cool.. I didn’t realize she was so local (to where I grew up, I mean).

More of my friends are starting blogs, but not a lot of them are actually keeping up with them. Still, I’ll start you off with a couple. I will share more as they become more active. Yes, I’m talking about you, Jennifer!

Unhistoric Acts – Brenda is one of my closest friends and she has a very easy-to-read style of writing. She also has the ability to restate rambly, complicated ideas in a concise manner, which always impresses me.

Pearls & Picket Fences – Laura is a new mom and relatively new wife. I have appreciated her realness and encouragement over the years. She’s not afraid to be honest about her struggles and yet she’s also a very cheerful, godly woman.

Feel free to share some links with me!

Wildlife Refuge

I went to the nearby refuge a third time this year, which is a record for me. My friend K had expressed an interest in going and I certainly didn’t mind checking on the growth and taking more photos. The resulting photos are a little boring, even though I had a fun outing. They don’t really capture the scene very well, so you might want to pretend they’re prettier or even just skip them.

Funnily enough, we ran into one of our coworkers on the trail (and no, I don’t mean each other)! Considering there were maybe 10-15 people on it total, I thought that was quite a coincidence.

First, here is the lovely K patiently posing for me again. She’s cooperative.

Here’s another young bird being weird, kind of like the one at the Japanese Garden. It’s fluff city down there on its chest, so it must be barely changing over to adulthood. Not that I’m a bird expert.

There were lots of these wild roses (as K called them…not sure if there’s another name) growing along the trail. They smelled good.

This one’s totally encroaching on the path meant for people. I took this photo so I can report it to the cops.

I was hoping for some bullfrog action since it was finally warming up. We saw several! That means you get to see photos of several.

Here’s another one.

And then another one, plus a dragonfly intermission.  Or damselfly?

Two angles of the same frog! It’s your special day.

This was the main type of duck there and I still don’t know what kind it is.

We saw not one but two nutria, even though they tend to be nocturnal. One was full grown and hidden in the shade, but this baby was wandering around where we were looking for frogs. It was kind of hard to get photos since it was all messed up in the grass, but you get the idea. Nasty, and yet exciting to have more wildlife sightings.

Don’t worry, I wasn’t done with the frog photos!

Cute clover all over the water.

Okay, you’re done. Where are you headed now? It’s almost nighttime minutes on my cell, so I can call my friend who is enjoying a vacation in Friday Harbor, WA. I am muy jealous.

Japanese Garden

Before my sister and niece had to be at the airport, we had time to head over to the Japanese Garden. I hadn’t been in a few years and I knew it would be super green right now. I just realized that I’ve been there during the fall and summer, but not winter or spring. I wonder what it’s like in the winter. It might be interesting to see it then.

Anyway, I have some photos from that excursion. Duh.

Here’s the path entrance from the parking lot. There’s a tram that will drive you up to the main entrance since it’s kind of a tiresome climb, but we walked and it wasn’t bad.

I guess some trees always think it’s fall.

This young bird caught my attention since he was kind of sitting weirdly, like he was relaxing for awhile. I needed another lens to get a good shot before it moved, and when I finally got everything ready, I managed this one shot before he was scared off by a woman walking into an off-limits area. At least I got the one! He was in the middle of flying off the post at this point, though I don’t know why his little foot is sticking out like it is. I’m pretty sure that’s not something he learned in flying school.

It’s hard to catch that bridge empty between all of the walking traffic and photo poses that go on there.

You know about my like for path/road photos. There were plenty of those here.

There are bullfrogs being very noisy outside. I can hear them through my closed doors. And that is my teaser for some photos I took today that include, yes, bullfrogs! Get very excited. I’ll post them in the next couple of days.

Often I wonder how many people are actually following this blog. Especially people I don’t realize are following it. You’re allowed to comment anonymously just to let me know. 🙂

Niece Portraits

I’ll begin my photo recap of weekend events with the portrait session I did with my beautiful niece. This is my oldest niece (at 15), and she’s a very good photography subject. I find that the fewer instructions I give her, the better her poses. She’s a natural, and was patient with her mom and me while we constantly asked her to smile for the camera throughout the weekend. First, I thought it would be fun to start with two older photos. I took these four years ago when I was barely starting to practice portraits.

Aww! There she is–all 11 and stuff. I fixed her hair kind of poofy there, but I still like it. Yeah, I have this little-known hobby of hairstyling, and I secretly would like to do wedding hair. Maybe in my next life. (Maybe I’ll start fixing my own hair in my next life, too.)

Fast forward to this past weekend. I fixed her hair again but it was sort of a rush job, and then the weather was all humid and it basically went back to her natural curls in minutes. But it still looked good–she has great hair.

I’m talking about hair a lot.


And we’ll finish with my favorites. Beauty!

I guess I didn’t take any horizontal photos that I kept. I need to work on that.

Okay, well I’d better get back to more important matters. The Wii isn’t going to play itself!


Sorry about my unintentional hiatus from blogging. Life has been busy, and anything I’ve had to say was not for public eyes (social security numbers and stuff). I do have weekend photos to show you later, but for now I’ll just give you a mix of info:

1. I pinched a nerve in my neck over the weekend. It was wonderful. I very much enjoy only being able to sit or stand with perfect posture, fearing a tiny move will paralyze me with pain. Fortunately, the worst part was over after about 24 hours.

2. It was also very awesome that the neck issue happened while having guests! But at least I had slaves to help me with small tasks that were too painful. My sister even unstuffed part of a pillow that was “too tall” and helped me set up a very creative sleeping arrangement involving my bed, a chair and every pillow I own. I used it for all of 20 minutes, which was probably less time than it took to construct.

3. I’m currently mad at the weather. June is one third over, Sun. KEEP UP.

4. Grinch section: All of the birthdays happening this month have reminded me, again, that I don’t understand the big deal with the birthday song. Does anyone over the age of three really get any enjoyment out of hearing it sung to them? For my birthday, I would love the gift of not having to stand there awkwardly while people sing to me. It’s not even a pretty song!

5. Current audio book: The Miracle at Speedy Motors, which is number 9 in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. I’ve really enjoyed this series, and the reader for the audio version (Lisette Lecat) is excellent. This is a case where I would say the audio version is the better way to go.

6. Newest member of the Jessica household: Wii Black!! This is my first game console, unless you count that football game of my dad’s that I kind of took over and hogged from my sisters. I may not know anything about football, but I can get that bright dot across the screen like I’m Joe Montana! Or the Fridge. Those are the only two football players’ names I know, because I’m so sporty.

7. Just for fun, I’ll throw in a couple of photos I’ve taken of the healthiest of foods that I’ve cooked up recently:

Some shortbread cookies. I think this photo is pretty drab, but the cookies were delish.

What was essentially homemade Hamburger Helper (macaroni and cheese with ground turkey). Comfort food was in order that day.