Merry Christmas!

When I wrote my Christmas post last year, I thought I was busy. Turns out, I didn’t know what busy was! The photography business is nutty this time of year with last-minute orders. And today I got calls from two different people who want to buy a total of four gift certificates for sessions in the new year! A good problem to have, to be sure.

Good thing we got our cards done early. Now if we could just get them addressed and in the mail, we’d totally be in business! In fact, that’s what I should be doing instead of writing this, so I’ll make this short and sweet.

Thanks for stopping by here all year, even when I haven’t been the most faithful blogger. J.P., Maggie, and I hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy 2008!

Merry Christmas from the JoyPeaceWonder Dog!

***Let’s see those pet photos! If you posted one, leave a comment so we can all stop by your site and visit!***


From Thanksgiving to Christmas

Elf Yourself

It’s baaaack! The Office Max Elf Yourself site. Click the link to watch Maggie and Zelda dance.

Where to start?


As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been gone for a while. Oh, I’m still here, I just haven’t been here. I have no excuses, but hey, this is my blog—do I really need an excuse? The longer I stay away, the easier it is to stay away. And now I feel like I need a really big-deal post in order to return. If that’s what you’re expecting you might as well bail now, because there’s nothing too exciting here.

You may or may not wonder what I’ve been doing during my absence. Let’s see what I can remember . . . .

For some reason, I just love this one

I did a photo shoot for the daughter of one of my co-workers. She was a sweetheart, and she loved these beads. I even made the tutu—can you believe that? It was super easy (otherwise I would’ve had to outsource), and I may have to make some others in different colors.

My mom was in town for a few days, and we took her to the dump. She was begging us to take her there. Who wouldn’t want to visit a pile of trash? Well you see, this dump is just a little different. Oh, there’s trash there, of course. But on Sunday afternoons, they open the place up as a scenic overlook:

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump!

You can literally see for miles in all directions. They have those binocular thingies like Mount Rushmore or the Empire State Building (only these are free!). And believe it or not, there are picnic tables and playground equipment. At the dump! How cool is that? Even the local Amish families like to spend time there.

Sunday afternoon activity

Don’t worry about Mom—we did other fun things while she was here too. We took her to dinner, did lots of shopping, and she went with me to a camera club meeting. The speaker that night was Bob Caputo, who’s worked for National Geographic for 27 years. His photos were amazing, of course, but he also had great stories of how he goes about capturing them.

Speaking of camera club . . . we meet twice a a month, and one of the meetings is a competition. I entered my first competition last week, and I got third place! I was pleasantly surprised. Good ol’ Maggie!

Morning walk

Remember the Blessing of the Animals that I mentioned last year? It’s coming up again next weekend, and J.P. and I are taking portraits to help raise money for the rescue. Last year we used the blue backdrop as seen here:


Since we’re always going for repeat business, I like to mix things up a bit from year to year. But I didn’t want to shell out big bucks for a backdrop that dogs will most certainly pee on. So last weekend I bought a HUUUUGE paint drop cloth at Home Depot and painted it in the driveway using a couple colors from HD’s “oops bin” and a couple colors that were left over from projects around here. It didn’t turn out half bad! Maggie begrudgingly helped me test it out today. Since I probably won’t post again this week, she and I will just say it now: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Trick or Treat!

Million Dollar Idea

Every morning I struggle with getting up. The snooze button is my friend; I keep the alarm clock in the bathroom so I actually have to get up to turn it off. Most mornings, I get up, stumble to the bathroom, hit the snooze button, and then crawl back under the warm covers for nine more minutes of sleep. I usually repeat this routine 2-3 times before I actually get up for real. Is that pathetic or what?

But this morning at 5:15 it came to me—a clock radio that is guaranteed to make me leap out of bed fully awake. Its alarm sounds exactly like a horking dog.

Wanna know a secret?

Pssst . . . hey! Over here! I’m not sure whether you’ve heard . . . did you know that Christmas is only a few days away? It’s so odd because usually it’s a really big deal. But this year? I haven’t heard anything about it.

Yeah, yeah . . . you know that’s a lie. What with the ads on TV, and the holiday songs that have been on the radio since what seems like August, it’s pretty tough to miss it.

Fortunately, all of our shopping is done! Now we just have to finish the wrapping, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and baking so we can welcome our guests and begin the entertaining portion of the program. J.P.’s brothers have been planning to come to our house from North Carolina (they have 3 teenage boys and 2 labradors) and New Jersey (they have 4 kids under 10 and a border collie) to celebrate.

The plan was for Brother NC to arrive late Monday afternoon, and Brother NJ and Mom would show up on Tuesday. They’re all staying over on Tuesday night, which will be quite the adventure. Well, NC called this afternoon and said that the kids want to spend more time with their idol, Uncle J.P. So now they’re coming on Saturday! And still staying until Thursday (which was the original plan)! Fortunately NJ and family are only staying one night.

Now don’t get me wrong–I am looking forward to it. We don’t see them very often, and I think it’ll be a lot of fun. But now our time to accomplish all those tasks has been virtually cut in half, and we’re starting to panic a little bit. Well, the panic isn’t anything a few games of Wii tennis can’t cure, but still! (Would you believe we were playing tonight, with everything we have to do? Stupid! And now I’m sitting here blogging. Nice.)

But I didn’t sit down to write about all of this. Nope. I wanted to extend an invitation to you . . .

Read the rest of this entry »

Your wish is my command

Spooky old tree

I’ve driven by this tree for years, and every time I think, “I’ve gotta take a picture of that.” I just think it’s so cool looking. I’d love to get closer to it, but there’s a fence that prevents it. I think I might have to go back with the telephoto lens sometime. It reminds me of when Character Builder‘s son Alex was little guy, and he was afraid of the Berenstain Bears story The Spooky Old Tree.

And now to your requests from my last post . . . . Cherie thought I should take a shot looking down at something. Normally you don’t see our shutters lying on the ground, but J.P. risked life and limb to remove them from the house on Sunday. I’m in the midst of painting them, and here you see some that have been primed (lighter) and others that have been painted (darker). It’s not the most exciting photo, but I liked the way the lines were distorted. (I suppose that’s the purpose of the fisheye, huh?)

For Cherie

William suggested that I take pictures at the airport. What, William, you want me to get arrested? But I aim to please, so I took a shot of one of J.P.‘s transformers. Partial credit?

For William

Suzie, I tried to get to SF today to see you and the Golden Gate, but with all the airport delays my plan didn’t work out. But I’m sure you’ll forget all about me when you get to the beach this weekend.

A couple people suggested pictures of animals. Maggie decided she would cooperate tonight, and I was able to get this shot:

Big nose

And finally, OddMix asked for a picture of J.P. How’s this one, John? Does it qualify for “frazzle” on the WWC list this week?

Jailbird dog

Every night when it’s time for bed, J.P. and I have an argument. Sometimes it’s good-natured, sometimes it’s less so. It kinda depends on the day. What do we argue about, you ask? This:

Ready to wake up

For some reason, J.P. believes that a dog should be confined at all times when you can’t be there to keep an eye on it. I understand this mentality, to a certain extent. We put Maggie in her crate when we leave the house, and I don’t have a problem with that. Neither does she—she happily goes in, and doesn’t mind seeing us leave.

The crate you see above is her bed, and it’s in our room. She often sleeps in there voluntarily during the day (according to J.P., anyway), and he likes to “zip her in” at night. She definitely feels cozy in there, and she sometimes curls up along the back wall. But there are other times when I know she’d like to stretch out, and the crate isn’t quite big enough to allow it.

For the last month or so, I’ve been arguing to leave the crate unzipped at night. She can sleep in there if she wants to, but she also has the ability to stretch out and get comfy on the floor (sleeping on the bed is in no way open for discussion). I think it must be like sleeping on a too-short couch—you can live with it once in a while, but every night? Plus, I think she’s trustworthy, and wouldn’t get into trouble.

She does have a tendency to wake us in the morning with her paws on the side of the bed, and if you’re too close to the edge you can get scratched up pretty good. But I really think it would only take a week or so to break her of the habit.

Last night we were at the Jersey shore and didn’t get home until about 12:30. J.P. was beat after the two-hour drive, and went right up to get ready for bed. Of course, I had to spend some quality time with the computer, so I stayed up later. When I went into the bedroom around 2:00, both he and Mags we sacked out. He in our bed, and she—unzipped—in her crate. Of course, I just left her unzipped and got into bed.

At 7:19 this morning, Maggie decided it was time to get the day started. She walked out of the crate, shook off, and headed for the Nylabone a few feet away. I could’ve rolled over and just gone back to sleep, but I KNEW I would be in for it if she woke up J.P. So I got up, pushed her back in the crate, and zipped her in.

As I crawled back into bed and pulled up the covers, J.P. rolled over, lifted his head, and raised the eyebrow over his open eye. Then his mouth turned up at the corners, he lowered his head to the pillow, and instantly returned to blissful sleep, secure in the knowledge that (in his mind, anyway) he was right all along.