Tag Archives: photos

a semi-exotic breakfast that i only partially ruined

I was recently given something I have always wanted to try.  Mostly because they are semi-exotic, partially because they are so cute, fully because I love to try everything once.  In light of a particular writing style when the author announces the ending in the very beginning, I am happy to report they did not disappoint even though I almost ruined them.

Enough of the intrigue and mystery in pronouns – on to the specifics.

Quail Eggs.

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More specifically, quail eggs that were in the identical pattern of my counter tops.

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Chaos ensued from the moment I started prepping for breakfast.  Firstly, I had to do a lot of cleaning for this photo session to happen.  Second – upon pulling the quail eggs out of the refrigerator, I naturally knocked two of my farmers market chicken eggs out and on to the ground.  My dogs got a little extra treat this morning and I feel a twinge of guilt for wasting two precious, and expensive, farmer’s treats.

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There is nothing better than melting butter.

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As the pan heated, my excitement and my nervousness resulting from cooking something rare and lovely heightened.  My excitement turned to frustration when I soon realized I should have googled “how to successfully crack open and empty a quail egg shell” instead of “how to cook quail eggs”.  These little buggers, despite how adorable they are, have extreme defenses against being consumed.  The shell is the thickest I’ve ever attempted to break into, once the shell cracked, it shattered making it even more fun to manipulate the continued process of getting the edible part of the egg extracted from the outer protective layers.  Next, the outer and inner membranes, or the transparent sack that hold and protect the egg – (I just learned that, don’t feel bad) – is 1. not transparent and 2. is about 10 times more difficult to tear than a normal chicken egg.  In fact most of the time one doesn’t even notice that membrane in a normal egg.  I was attempting to handle these little loves with a gentle touch, when in fact I needed to match them in their strength.  I know for next time.

The pan was definitely warm by the time I wrangled these soldiers into secession.  Maybe a little too hot, because I may have over cooked them a tad.  The yolk didn’t run like my 4-year-old self still squeals for joy upon viewing.

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However!  They were still the prettiest addition to my breakfast plate – which is quite the honor with how I feel about avocado.  They were still as adorable out of the shell as inside.  And they were still delicious.  Though small, they were mighty from beginning to end.  From the dense shell and membrane, to the two bites each I had the pleasure of enjoying.  The yolk was thick and rich and the whites were soft and fluffy.

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I would not say no another experience with these delightful little delicacies.

bali comes to end, devistatingly

this last post from bali has been a long time coming, but delayed and procrastinated heavily because of the absolute sadness of leaving bali yet again.  but all absolutely fantastic, soul-enriching adventures must come to an end at least once, and sometimes twice.  so without further ado I give you our last days beginning with a tour of the chillhouse…

There were lots of statues, offerings to the statues, flowers, plants, color, prettiness, critters and animals, safe-places, and comforts.  The food was always amazing and the staff was delightful.  It rained just about every day, which never swept away the humidity but always made the colors much more rich and photo worthy.

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this just happened to be the most perfect place i’ve ever practiced yoga,

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critters and animals were everywhere, though i never saw the one that gave me the nasty bug bite below.  a frog was living in our shower walls, there was a gecko living in our bedroom walls, cats and puppies everywhere (and only liked one when fed), among others… sadly I don’t have any photos of the biggest spider i’ve ever seen that crawled into our room (i didn’t sleep much that night), or any of the snake that came within inches of falling on my head from a full grown tree.

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we took a last trip to see the waves…

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and finally a barely-there maternity shoot

 

and then we were done, we fought to get a cab back to the resort just in time to clean up, finish packing, and checkout.  we didn’t get our last lunch out in town but we checked out in time to avoid a late fee and one last smoothie from the kitchen that i would pay a pretty penny to have right now.

 

bye bye for now bali, see you again some time in the near/far future.

 

if you missed the previous bali posts see them here:welcome to a silent baliday after Nyepithey scootered and surfed into the sunsetthe one with all the monkeys, a birthday, and lots of photos

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thanks for traveling with me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

welcome to a silent bali

 

After 36 hours of travel, four airplanes, three layovers, three countries, many airplane movies, tv shows, games, and finally meeting my sister on the fourth leg of my trip, we left the states on March 6 and finally landed in Bali on Neypi Eve of March 8.

Seemingly not very exhausted at all, we were met by the humidity of the Indonesian Island along with a sea people and every grain of happiness and excitement one can possibly muster after traveling across the International Dateline.

Bali did not hesitate to begin to entertain us right away, as trying to find our designated taxi driver was a 20 minute hoot of a time.  More than 100 people held hand-written signs at the exit of customs all crammed behind one small gate that lined the pathway to the parking garage of the airport.

As we happily introduced ourselves to our cab driver two other men came up and grabbed our bags from us.  But instead of walking with us and talking pleasantries they ran up ahead and followed closely behind our fast-paced driver.  It was an odd mix of feeling like we had been robbed and thinking as long as we kept them in our sites we could believe they worked with the driver.  We learned the former was closer to the truth when we finally caught up to the three of them, retrieved our bags from the men, and then they started begging for a tip.  Stumbling through their broken english and half attempted hand gestures by showing us money in the palm of their hands, we finally got the gist and decided to hand over two American dollars, one to each of them, partly because we knew the value of those dollar bills – unlike the stacks and stacks of balinese money we had just exchanged of which we had no idea what even the smallest bill of 100,000 IDR was equivalent to.  To our surprise, our valuable $1 bills were highly rejected and the relentless bag delivery men insisted on no less than “a red one, give us a red bill”.  That red bill was in fact the aforementioned 100,000 IDR which we later learned was equal to almost $8 USD – $8 they were not going to leave without.

This was not the first time we were tripped up by their many currency zeros.

Seated inside the van we left the scene of the $8 robbery at the airport as we drove through the masses of peoples walking through the streets and weaving in and out of traffic on their scooters.  I’ve never felt more unsafe driving through a village, city, county, or state.  There are no street signs, if there were any they wouldn’t be followed anyway.   Not even staying in your lane will keep you safe because the lines on the road that in America that say “stay in your lane” are just decoration in Bali; two lane roads became three, and three lanes became four.  No blinkers.  A lot of horns – which didn’t indicate anger ironically, just an announcement that one was passing or trying to get over in front of another vehicle.  Scooters fit in, between, and around anywhere they could fit.   At one point we headed directly into oncoming traffic as we were passing three scooters and two cars on our left around a bend in the road no less.  We evaded a collision by nearly making it back into our lane… we successfully passed all five of those vehicles, just in case you were wondering.   This experience cannot be described in words.  I really wish I could have mustered the strength to let go of my door handle and sister’s forearm to grab my phone to record our journey from the airport to The Chillhouse but between the muttered curses and the louder gasps of air (followed by giggles from the driver) there was barely time to remember to breathe let alone begin documenting anything via any means.

I borrowed a couple of videos from youtube.com to demonstrate the roadway chaos.  Credit to the posters – and if you need to see more, just google “driving in bali” under the video category and there will be no end to the number of videos for your viewing pleasure.

driving in bali – by wizardair

traffic in bali – by marco pietz

But alas, we arrived safely to The Chillhouse and were immediately informed of Neypi practices.  We arrived on Neypi Eve the day of celebration and parades.  Each Village builds an Ogoh Ogoh to carry through the streets (pictured below).  These scary monsters are finely detailed, painted beautifully, and are used to scare away any evil spirits that may be occupying the island.  At the end of the night they burn the Ogoh Ogohs.

We didn’t get to see the parade or the burning, because no one knew where it would be happening.  But we did get to see one Ogoh Ogoh being carried and a crowd following it to find the meeting place of all the village Ogoh Ogohs.  Truth be told they were the prettiest scary monsters I’d ever seen.  The detail was amazing and made it sad to think about all of the hard work being burned at the end of the night.  But it just goes to prove the hard work isn’t tied to the material object but instead the meaning that drives motivation.

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Even though we didn’t see the parade, we got to see a bit of the village we were staying in.  The streets were lined with small shack stores, food, the occasional employee, and quite a few stray animals.  The dogs were everywhere, everyone claimed they have homes – but many of them were sleeping on the streets like these two sweets.  Made my heart break and want to take them all home with me.

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Ironically they were sleeping under the Superman emblem.  Which, if you know me, you know he’s not only the world’s hero – he is also mine.

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At the end of our short walk, we let it all soak in next to the pool.  A very pregnant, tired sister and myself sat in awe of where we were going to be spending the next week and a half and reveled in the possibilities.

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The next day is a day of rest and silence, where every one is required to stay in doors, stay off the streets, keep all noise to a minimum, and all shades drawn so no light can escape their houses at night.  These Neypi Day practices ensure that all of those evil spirits that were scared away the night before cannot find their way back by way of noise or light.  There are even Neypi police that patrol the streets all day and night to ensure these practices are followed – I know first hand, because our group was spoken to by said police because we were being too loud and emitting too much light.  Oops.

It was a welcomed day of rest, after so much travel and anticipation.  Yoga, massage, swimming, eating, napping.  It was definitely the most perfect day of Neypi Silence.

Don’t be gone too long, next entry: our first day off The Chillhouse premises and on the beach.  I promise there will be more photos and less chatter.

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a story from beginning to forever…

So I had the absolute pleasure of being a part of a HUGE day for two of my favorite people in the entire world.  Not only was I a part of their day in a HUGE way, but I’ve had the honor of being there all along.

My little cousin got married!  It is bittersweet watching your siblings and cousins grow up and become human adults.  You’ve been there all along for each other and all of sudden, in the blink of an eye, we are creating lives of our own.  It’s a bit scary, and not all too daunting, but it is also relieving too know… we made it.  We made it through being reckless teenagers (bwaha… I think Chas and I were the least reckless of our group during this time frame in our lives), we made it through school, and we are on really great paths to futures we have wanted for a long time.

I want to preface the next few photos by saying 1. I’m sorry for the quality and 2. I’m sorry these aren’t old enough, you know in this digital day it’s difficult to keep track of all of the older printed photos when you need them, and it’s a shame because the old ones are always the best ones.

Sometimes it is really hard to find the time to acknowledge anything other than the present and the future.  But the past existed and it was good… and it is even better to be all nostalgic and recollect just how great it really was.  Maybe one day I’ll tell you just how many times Chas and I watched the Lindsey Lohan version of The Parent Trap (while brushing our teeth), hint: the number is countless.  Or perhaps I’ll show you the obviously-parent-posed photo of all of us cousins on a tree limb arranged oldest to youngest from the year 1999 – of which I quite clearly remember rolling my eyes at before, during, and after the process.  (UPDATE: Oh Look… I found the picture, thanks everyone for helping me locate it.)

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Top to Bottom: Sam (me), Ernie, Ariel, Charlie, Jimmie, Chas!, Chelsea, Tiffany, Nick, Krista

But I digress, lets get on to why you are really here.  The recap of her big day.

Chas first asked me to photograph her wedding far before the date was ever chosen – and I was just elated she put that kind of trust in my hands.  It was only appropriate we also worked together for her Engagement/Save-the-Date photos, which turned out quite amazing because Chas is unbelievably photogenic and Logan is so patient and flexible.  Also, their relationship is so unique and genuine their personalities really shine through on camera.

Chas and I also worked together on a specialty photoshoot right before the wedding – somewhat of a glamour shoot.  It was so much fun and she looked fantastic.

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The Wedding:  I first have to mention just how hard they worked on every single detail from beginning to end.  Chas worked tirelessly to make it exactly how she wanted, and being the creative she is – she designed and created most of it herself.  That kind of attention to detail is hard to come by these days, when in fact it is much easier, efficient, and less time consuming to hire someone else to do it for you.

She did have our cousin create her wedding cakes, whom also created all 20 of my wedding cakes, and has her own cake creation company she runs right out of her home in Michigan.  (Need a cake designer?  Contact me for her details).  As you can see in the photos, one cake rolled with the theme and the other, it is apparent, was strictly designed just for Logan.  Appropriate.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention two other extremely important family contributors to her wedding.  Dalene Bielat not only did all of the girl’s hair but anyone else who wanted to look all fancy with a gorgeous updo.  AND Tim Richards and Family did the catering and fed so many people that night… successfully.  Thank you for the reminders everyone – it is difficult to remember everyone who worked dedicatedly to make this event happen.

(Aunt Teresa – I’m not going to give you a special mention here just because you birthed the woman all those years ago.  Yeah yeah – you’re awesome… blah blah blah.  ❤ 🙂 )

The wedding was Nightmare Before Christmas themed.  But it wasn’t on Halloween or Christmas, it was in fact an early October day.

The attendance was miraculous.  Friends and family came from all over the country – and even our great grandma made it for the ceremony.  She’s a trooper and she completed (and extended) their generational photo – which are always fun and extremely valuable to family documentation.)

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The family rented a gigantic house in Northern Michigan instead of utilizing the hotel industry in the area.  When I say this house was gigantic, I mean… it was gigantic.  It had an indoor swimming pool and hot tub pool house attached to the house, a weight room, a squash and racket ball room, and something like 15 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms?  Insane.  It was quite amazing to have the majority of our closest family in one house all at one time and actually not be able to see (or even know where) everyone was all of the time.

My favorite part of the house though, the view.  It captured Michigan in one panoramic view and created an amazing backdrop for the Bride and her side of the bridal party in all of their photos.

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The house also provided a perfect space to for the getting ready process that takes ever so long, is time consuming, tedious, and also creates marvelous photo ops.

Another detail to this wedding is in fact, her dad (my uncle) officiated the wedding (he also officiated mine).  He’s retired from the Navy (ah, there’s the rationale for the strapping uniform), and is the best officiant I have ever seen conduct a wedding.  It proved to be  extra special because it was his daughter’s wedding.  The happy-tears were flowing all the way through the day.  He met her on the porch with a view for first looks, walked her down the aisle, gave her away, and also pronounced them man and wife – man of a couple hats and definitely a saint for being able to pull it off without breaking down every two minutes.

I guess I should mention Logan in here too, (but no one judge – everyone knows the wedding industry is heavily marketed towards the bride unfortunately).  He looked dashing as always and made for a very calm and collected groom at no surprise at all.

The ceremony was beautiful and sincere – filled with tears, so much laughter, and moments that I will certainly remember.  I will admit I had to hide my own couple of tear drops behind my camera a few times.  Uncle Ernie did say something I hope to remember for ever.  It involved the idea of what Chas and Logan had to go through to find each other in life… it certainly makes one think.  Chas and Logan also painted a canvas for their union part of the ceremony – instead of sand or candles or tying rope.  Fitting.

The wind was chilly, and the sky fluctuated between sunny and overcast, but the rain held out until we were all warm inside partying it up.   The Bride and Groom First Dance was done, the Mother-Son dance, and of course the Daddy-Daughter dance during which they didn’t even look at each other the whole time (I’m guessing to prevent more tears, but that’s just an assumption).

But THEN… about a minute into the Daddy-Daughter dance the song screeched to a halt and the bridal party broke into a flash mob on the dance floor to the song by Silento – Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).  Which was comical in and of itself, however the best part was the practice run through the night before (sadly, those photos are forbidden to be distributed in a public forum).

And of course, the camera went away, the photographer finally got to play, and we all partied well into the night.  It was a success!  The couple got married, the photos turned out pretty good, everyone had fun, and we can officially call Logan part of our family (officially I said – he’s been putting up with us for many years and earned that title a long time ago).  Sorry everyone, two more amazing people are off the market.  What more could you ask for (unless you’re single and pining over either Chas or Logan, well in that case you’d be asking for them to be single again).

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I got to sneak into a photo too… ironically I didn’t get one with the bride and groom.  But, it was fitting I was with two more amazing cousins that I get to watch grow (far too fast) and turn into amazing young men from an adult perspective.

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London England – Day 3… Very Belated

So I’ve had computer issues.  I’ve had work issues.  I’ve had health issues.  But I couldn’t let this trip go unshared, the stories untold, or the pictures undone.  So lets just pretend I’m still there, blogging from a tiny hotel room in Europe, sharing all of this loveliness with you…

We spent most of our last full day in London at the Tower of London.  Google the history and you’ll be amazed.  Basically a tiny city within the city surrounded by stone walls, self sufficient, and the ability to protect itself.  The architecture was gorgeous, the history was mind blowing, and yes, we got to walk into each of those towers because the preservation over hundreds of years old was near pristine.  The jewels of the royal family is also held here – no cameras allowed – but the biggest diamonds I’ve ever seen, most of it way too gawdy for me… not saying I wouldn’t indulge if I was royalty.

There is even a story behind the ravens of London.  Mostly just legend, but none the less, they’ve been raised at the tower for hundreds of years and are seen to protect the crown.  Legend says should the crows ever leave, the crown will fall and London will follow.  That’s a lot of pressure for some birds.

But!  Let me tell you, these birds are no joke.  They no doubt walk around within the tower walls like they own the place, with all the confidence a raven could have.  They are the largest ravens I’ve ever seen, and smart too.  This little kid must have been munching on crisps or something before he stuck his hand back into his mitten before losing it… whatever was in it the raven was going at it with ease and diligence.

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Within the castle walls…

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Everyone wants me to carry the camera kit and take the pictures… but its like pulling teeth trying to get anyone to cooperate when it comes to them being in the photos…

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I’m pretty sure I tripped, tucked, rolled, and got right back up on my feet right after taking this photo (camera unharmed!).  I can only laugh about my clumsiness, though slightly embarrassing.  Week ankles, unsupportive shoes, small feet, I just really don’t know.  I’d like to blame it on the uneven cobblestone ground that is everywhere in Europe.

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Changing of the guard was fun, and loud, and a bit abrasive…   Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.15.30 PM

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I’m a little bit weird when it comes to history and torture chambers and such.  Don’t judge.  I can’t explain it… but this was on of the towers they kept prisoners.  Messages were etched into the stone and still stand in that condition.  You can read some of the confessions or confirmations of the innocence.  Of course we ran out of time before I got to see all of the good stuff… like the actual devices used.

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There were a few cheesy re-enactors for tourists amusement.  But this guy was good at playing…

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Ever wonder how many times you show up in other people’s photos?

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A very ominous and mysterious photo of B.

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So we ate at The Swan which is one of Hubby’s favorite places to go in London.  Fun Fact: way back when, pubs, restaurants, etc were named after animals because the animals could be drawn.  The photo would identify the establishment and would be easily identifiable to the illiterate.  I hope you can read the sign (not a illiterate joke – more of a photo in web-quality)… again with the history.

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continue: operation Europe mind blown… watch for more posts soon (sooner than the soonest, I promise).

i interrupted some nookie this morning; arachnophobia sufferers: Do Not Proceed…

But, really… is anyone honestly afraid of Daddy Long Legs?  They can’t bite you, they don’t bother you, and really they protect you from other spiders (or so my mother has told me since I was old enough to be afraid of all creepy crawlies in general).  I don’t consider them real spiders, even though my heart still falls a bit every time I see one; but then my rational brain kicks in and ignores them.  In fact I saw one in my house the other day, I just pretended I didn’t notice him and went about my afternoon.

By no means do I claim to be a nature photographer.  But I saw these two on my porch and just had to capture the moment.  So ignore the fact that the focus is slightly (mostly) off the insects (but look at the weave of the grill cover… perfection!!) and just get in a little nature channel type education for your morning entertainment.

Let me just say: this was difficult.  Lets go back to the point that I do not like spiders.  That being said, I will kill them if they are in my house, even with my hands if I can’t find anything to crush them with fast enough to get them before the escape, (the trick is to be quick, swift, fearless, and have a fierce landing).  So I can’t say I am an arachnophobe, by any means, but I had a 100mm macro lens on my camera body and it took me about 50 photos and about 15 minutes to get close enough to get these shots, and they still aren’t perfect.  (I’m really sorry to all who are cringing and hating on me because I just admitted to killing “other living beings”… it’s just bugs, not even all of them – mostly just the ones in my home and the harmful ones, I promise.)

Secondly, I was under the impression my lens had captured the insects perfectly.  Uploading them I see it mostly captured the grill cover.  It’s okay.  It’ll do.  People… animals… trees all much easier… most of the time.

I knew by the way they were spinning that 16 legged web that something was going down, but I had no idea what I was looking at until I uploaded the photos and imported them to my software.  It’s pretty amazing. I’m not going to try to narrate because the photos tell a good storyline, but just the fact that I was looking at them through the camera and had no idea the details until I actually looked at the photos is pretty incredible.

I think about the nature/science of this and I’m proud of these shots.  Then I really think about it and I kinda feel like a Peeping Tom.

*Photo quality degraded for social media use.

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