Category Archives: Photography

I Bought Into It…

Hunger Games mania, that is. I read the trilogy. Bought the “I Shop at the Hob” tote bag and “Team Finnick” t-shirt. I’m so trendy and lame. The excitement that has surrounded this first movie is unbearable. All day at work, my staff was talking about going to see the movie (these are adult, healthcare professionals, mind you). I bought tickets online days ago, just so I knew I would be able to see it Friday night.

Its bad, I know...

Something really amazing did come from all of the movie hype though. The pediatric oncology wing of the hospital where I work, held a Hunger Games Competition and Party. The patients were able to participate in a variety of activities and I had asked if I could make cupcakes. I made 75 mini cupcakes. Some had little chocolate dipped arrows w/ coconut fletching. Others had different symbols pertaining to the Hunger Games.

I did make these the night before....

You can see in the pictures that some of the icing was beginning to melt. When I brought them to the event room at work, they told me they wouldn’t fit in the refrigerator. So I had to leave the majority of my 75 cupcakes sitting out . I wasn’t pleased.

Regardless of the state of the icing, the kids loved them.

The icing is orange cream (homemade, which is probably why it melted) and I piped it over dark chocolate mini cupcakes. The “sprinkles” are actually flavoured sugars that I learned how to make! The red is pomegranate, the orange is orange, and the yellow is just yellow sugar.

The kids seemed to have a blast. The majority of the cupcakes were gone halfway through the program. The ceiling had been decorated with silver parachutes that each held a take home bag of candy. They had signs that said “Mellark Bakery,” “The Hob,” and my favourite saying in the book.

I donated some Hersey’s kisses, that I adorned with the same Hunger Games decorations as the cupcakes. The kids ate those up! They loved the little details, which really made the party fun.

I loved these. Though I hated making them.

We also had water bottles that were wrapped in Hunger Games labels. The kids loved them so much, they said they were going to take them home and reuse them for the movie premiere later on.

Oh so chic.

The party was a big hit and I definitely got my Hunger Games appetite sated. Seeing all of the kids enjoying themselves so much was a really wonderful experience!

I am planning on seeing the movie Friday night. My cousin is going with me since she thought that being pregnant meant she couldn’t stay up until midnight for the premiere. Le sigh… The one time that I want to do something fun and it gets squashed!

Question(s): Did you read the series? Are you going to see the movie? Were you caught up in all the hype?

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My Puppy

On January 31st at 4:00 p.m., we had to put our family dog of 12 years, to sleep. He was diagnosed with liver cancer and his quality of life had greatly diminished. He was hardly eating, extremely uncomfortable and I could tell he was experiencing some pain. We were worried about him over the last few weeks and I had flown home to be with him. Over the course of my lifetime, we have had many pets. I have had other dogs, cats, ferrets, rats and even reptiles, yet no other pet has affected my life the way Max has. The greatest emotional attachment I have had to any of my pets, I experienced with him. He has been the greatest gift anyone has ever given to me and to know that he is gone is heartbreaking.

I have never actually been present when a pet of mine has passed away. Most of the outside cats have just vanished, the smaller animals didn’t affected me as much (though I was still sad) and my three dogs all died peacefully in their sleep. We have put other animals down due to cancer or fatal injuries, but I have never been there for those. Most of the deaths of our pets occurred during my years at university and my residency in NYC. Getting a phone call that a pet has died is always hard, but I guess it actually softened the blow because I didn’t see them. With Max, however, I was with him at the end. I owed him that, but it was so hard. Seeing the light go out of his eyes and looking at his tiny body on his favourite pillow, so silent and still, was one of the most painful images I have ever seen.

Max was a different kind of pet. He had been given to me by my boyfriend, who then became my fiancé. Even though he and I are no longer together, we shared a common interest in the dog. He would call from time to time, just to check on the puppy and see how he was doing. I loved Max to pieces and I know he did as well. When when found out Max had liver cancer, I called him right away and he was devastated. He told me that whatever the dog needed, he would be glad to help. I know that he wanted to be with Max in his last days, but he respected that we aren’t together and let him be with us. I appreciated that.

Even though Maximus was my dog, he loved my mother the most. Since I was moving around so much, my mother offered to take him and look after him. The plan was for me to take him back when I settled, but I couldn’t take him away from my mother after she was so attached. It was hard, but I relented because I knew that they could take better care of him than even I could. And they did, they spoiled him rotten. Even though this experience has left me devastated, I know that it can not even hold a candle to the pain my mother is experiencing.

I have scoured the internet, look for words to help me describe what I feel right now. I’m not going to write a poem, I’m no poet. I have photographs of him, but I’m not a photographer. I could draw him, but I’m planning on painting a canvas for my mother. She was the one who was with him the longest and she is the one who he depended on the most. So how can I bring some closure to his death?

For me, the best way is to write to him.

My Max,

It was always you who greeted me, not so patiently at the door when I came home. Tail wagging, nose pressed up against the glass leaving marks to let me know you had been ever so vigilant. Your excitement to see me, even after I had just ventured out to get the mail, was so infectious that it made me happy to see myself.  Your loyalty was unfaltering, up the stairs and down the stairs, curled up at my feet or sitting quietly by my side. You were my little, courageous protector through all those nights I was alone. You made me feel safe,  you kept me warm and you made the house feel more like a home.

The personality that you contained in your small being, was greater than most people I know. You were such a lover, so playful and the smartest dog I have ever seen. You understood so much, probably even more than we gave you credit for. With every click-clicking of your nails on the floor, I was comforted to know that you were there. You brought me joy with every bark and howl, even at 3 in the morning.

Maximus, my puppy. I hope that you know that everyone loved you. You were the most amazing gift I have ever been given. No dog will ever live up to you and I will think about you constantly. You have given me some of my best memories, which will last me a lifetime. You have brought such an amazing amount of love into my heart, which is where you will always be.

I love you Max and I will miss you.

Persian Nights

Even though I was feeling under-the-weather, thanks to Ewa and the sketchy burritos she brought home, I was invited to attend a small get together at a colleagues home. They were celebrating his wife’s first commissioned painting and invited me over for a night of amazingly delicious Persian food.

Even though I have had Persian food before, I have never actually had any made specifically for me. We have always gone to a restaurant or tried some at a friends party. This was the first time that I had dishes made especially for me! My co-worker’s wife started off with saffron tea (chia/chai) and shirini :

The tea was exceptional. It had a strong flavour with hints of saffron and his wife showed us the “Iranian way” to add sugar to the drink. Instead of placing the sugar cube directly in the tea, you put place the cube between your front teeth and bite down with just enough pressure to hold it. Then you take small sips and let the tea wash over the sugar cube, which then sweetens the tea as you drink it. The sugar she gave us wasn’t ordinary sugar either, she had all kinds of flavoured sugars (which I neglected to take a photo of!). I particularly liked the rosewater sugar, but she also had vanilla, saffron, cardamom, anise and lime. each of the sugars was pressed into a delicate little shape. The rosewater “cubes” looked like roses, the vanilla like little gold domes. The first one to go was the leaf-shaped lime flavored sugar, followed shortly by the vanilla. She gave me some of the cardamom sugar to take home and I look forward to using it in my daily tea.

The cookies that she had set out with the tea were amazing. Shirini (sweets) were surprising. She had made two flavors, coconut and walnut. I tried the walnut first and it was similar to meringue in consistency, but outrageously delicious. It was so light and flavourful and I complimented her on the ability to make something so tasty, but so delicate. The coconut one was just as wonderful and I actually liked it more. I so wanted to take a huge box of them home, but I also don’t want to detox again after overdosing on Persian sweets.

After the tea, she brought out torsu (pickled vegetables) and we sampled those until the main courses arrived. As a vegetarian, I was a little worried that I may have to eat some meat dishes since I didn’t want to offend anyone. When the main courses arrived, the non-vegetarians had joje kabob, ghorme sabzi, hummus, olives, barbari bread, grilled vegetables, zafrani pulao, and  salad-e shirazi.

The food smelled amazing and she had even put some food into to-go containers, so that way we could take it take to families (or in my case, back home for devouring later). As a vegetarian, however, I was presented with my own special dish:

The salad was kefir cheese, hummus, cucumbers, red/green pepper, onion, olives, feta cheese and chopped herbs. I also had some of the shirazi salad and barbari bread. The warm bread was a perfect compliment to the salad and my cousin let me try some of her ghorme sabzi after she had eaten all the lamb. I also had a small dish of rice, sprinkled with saffron and container of hummus topped with olives.

The entire meal was fantastic and I could not thank all of them enough. Everyone who was at the dinner (a bunch of rowdy Persians!) appeared to have a lot of fun and I felt bad that we had to kind of “eat and run” because I was not feeling well. It did piqué my interest in Persian cuisine, so I signed up for a Persian cooking class at the end of the month and a cheese-making class in mi-February (which I may end of missing).

It was a great evening and I can’t wait to have them over to my house for a Polish dinner! I am already planning the menu and getting excited!

Question(s): Have you ever taken a cooking class before? What was the course over? Do you still use the recipes/techniques that you learned?

Mmm, Mmm, Good!

A few days ago, I was in the middle of a not so great week. I was moping around and in a generally bad mood. It was really a culmination of things that had gotten me to that point, but I was being a brat to everyone anyway.

Then I decided to go out and get some dinner with a friend who was in town. It was an extremely short dinner (since I had to get back to work), but I was able to do a quick catch up over sushi. Halfway through the first roll I stopped and snapped a picture


I actually made my friend stop eating so I could take a photograph of our food. It was this action that made me realize I had a slight obsession.

Slight is an understatement, however, as I went through the pictures saved on my phone and found over 50 pictures of food.


I apologized to my friend and felt a little embarrassed. She was completely cool about it and said that she use to do the same thing. She showed me an album on her phone titled “My Secret Shame” which was filled with photos of food.

After my apology I asked her if she shared the pictures with anyone and she told me that she use to post them on Facebook and then realized it probably made her seem strange to potential guys so she stopped.

Should I stop? It doesn’t really do any harm, it’s just a little strange that I can’t sit through a decent meal without thinking, “I need to get a picture of this!” Maybe it’s because the food always looks so pretty and then is devoured so quickly. I’m not sure why I do it, but I have my own “My Secret Shame” folder on my phone now.

Questions: Do you take pictures of your food? What do you do with the pictures?

D’awwww

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The adorableness continues. It’s times when she looks like this, that I forget she’s pure evil! She is the perfect pet for Halloween though, no costume required!

Perfect Halloween Decoration

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If I could just get her to sit in my front window and arch her back….

Serene Missouri

Sometimes I realize how beautiful Missouri really is after I come back from an extended leave. The sky was so gorgeous yesterday that I had to capture it. The wide open spaces scattered throughout this State are strangely idyllic. I promised this wouldn’t become a photography blog and yet I keep posting photos!

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Lake View

This isn’t going to turn into a photography blog. I’m not a great photographer by any stretch of the imagination, but I took a few shots at the Lake of the Ozarks the weekend I visited with family. I will post them over the next few days and then I will get back to my regularly scheduled posting.

This is the view from the side deck of the house. The clouds were really amazing!

Quick Pic

Just a quick photo that I took. It rained pretty much every day, but there was a break in the weather on Saturday. I was able to snap this picture from our dock. I thought the iPhone did a pretty good job!

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