Sunday, June 26, 2011

Earworms and other things I can't get out of my head

Seems like everybody's got a price tag
I wonder how they sleep at night
When the sale comes first and the truth comes second
So the lyrics that open the song drew me in and compelled me to look up the video just to see what she looks like.  The reason I'm sharing the video though is that in certain spots she flashes this smile that makes her look exactly like Cameron Diaz.

You can't hear this song without involuntarily reaching for the volume knob and simultaneously starting to  head bob. By the way, this blog post will be the most productive thing I do all day.  So I'm totally embracing the lazy philosophy today.

Dear sweet baby Jesus, please let me get over this obsession soon.  At any given point in time in the last three weeks, if I'm sitting with my laptop the answer to "Whatcha doin'?" is a sheepish "Pintrest."

But where else can I find:

The tricked out laundry room of my dreams?

Great ideas for posters in my (future) classroom?

A scraptable that makes my knees weak?

Photo inspiration that's beautiful AND doable?

4.  Friendship Bracelets
It's not that I set out to recreate the summer of my junior year...  Frankly, we're going to blame this one on Pintrest, too.  First, for me, Pintrest is all about collecting things you want to make or do or ways to decorate.  It's got my creative juices all cracked out.  And I'm spending the week at the manfriend's apartment, so my creative outlets are generally limited to digital stuff, but alas, my camera's in the shop and I'm totally in the mood to paper scrapbook, but digital scrapbooking really doesn't satisfy that itch.  So when I saw the super easy tutorial on creating friendship bracelets I decided that it was cheap, easy to haul the supplies up three flights of stairs and wouldn't create an enormous mess.  So for the last couple of days I've been cranking out these babies:

I made one for Molly, then tweaked the way I did it a little, made one for Maggie, tweaked it again, made one for me.  Then another one two for me.  Then more for Molly and Maggie.  I think I need to go back and buy red and grey and black floss and make one or two for Ted.  If I do them in his team's colors maybe he'll wear it and think it's "cool"...originally I thought he might think it was "girly" so I only bought girly colors.  Well, we'll see what he thinks and make him 2 or 3 if wants any.  In the meantime, they make me happy - the ones I'm wearing just make me feel beachy and tan and young.  None of that actually applies, but I like the mental lift it's giving.

I just mentioned that my camera is out for repair.  Because the woman in charge of our repair department hates me I probably won't get it back until sometime in January.  (I'm not lying about how much this woman feels about me, and I swear, my blood pressure is spiking as I think about how long I'll have to wait for my camera to come back because of it)  HOWEVER, in the meantime, I've been playing with this little beauty:

Isn't she pretty?  I just want to cover her with Hello Kitty stickers and keep her in my Hello Kitty purse.  

So you may or may not know that Polaroid stopped making film several years ago.  Having never really been a huge Polaroid lover this hasn't really affected me, except at work.  As the old saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens.  Once Polaroid was "out of the picture" (ba da dum!) Fuji jumped in and saved the crappy-instant-picture day.  Breakfast with Santa and the Easter Bunny is back on!

But this isn't the Breakfast with Santa camera.  Oh no.  This is so much cooler than that.  (A)  Look how cute it is.  Do you see that? CUTE! and (B) It doesn't spit out ginormous ugly pictures.  It spits out adorable little 2ish by 3ish inch photos that are only moderately crappy.  So moderately crappy that this photo snob feels justified in calling them kitschily-imperfect.  I made that up.  Especially the variation on kitschy, but damn if it isn't an accurate representation of the what this camera does.     

I am upset to say the least that I have all these creative juices flowing AND it's summer and I have no camera.  But playing with this is salvaging my attitude.  And probably keeping me from marching downtown and telling Nancyanne what I think of her.  ;)

By the way, if you're interested, this is a GREAT offer.  The film is hard to find to say the least and you'll want to have a stash saved up, because once you start it's hard to stop pushing the shutter button on this thing.

So that's where I am and what I'm thinking about this lovely summer Sunday.  Later I'm grabbing Chipotle and taking it to the local beach park with my honey.  I ♥♥♥ summer!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Conversation starter

No doubt I live an odd life.  Without getting into details because it would take a long, long time to type out the entire explanation, I live in my ex-husband's house in a long-term temporary arrangement at his request.  It has to do with kids, travel, business, money, real estate markets bottoming out.  You know, the usual.  Everyone who hears the story thinks I'm a little nuts, but in time they realize that the arrangement is beneficial for everyone.

Well, almost everyone.  When this plan was presented to me, I somehow thought that my boyfriend would enjoy seeing less of me.  As a lifelong bachelor he's doesn't really "need" to see me every day.  He lives alone and is one of those people who rarely suffers from boredom.  I, on the other hand, went from a house with 4 kids to college with a roommate and dozens of other girls on the hall, to marriage with 4 kids coming in rapid succession.  Being by myself is a luxury in the small increments that it comes, but for long periods...I'm not proud it, and I'm not going to say I was lonely per se, but...I like a little bit of company.

As it turns out, my boyfriend has not been thrilled about the "space" this has created.
Learning this came as a bit of shock.

We've since had little conversations - actually more like passing comments - that when this arrangement comes to its conclusion, we'll live together.  Looking back on our conversations I have to admit that it's been assumption on my part - not something explicitly discussed, much less actually agreed upon.

One day in mid-May we went to the movies and on the way home I was pointing out different bungalows I liked along the way.  Parma is riddled with cute, tiny bungalows with small, quaint yards.  I think I told him that I liked the front porches and the idea of spending evenings sitting out there.  I may have mentioned that lawn maintenance isn't something I want to have to spend lots of time on.  He asked what made a bungalow a bungalow, and I think I stumbled through some general qualities.  That evening I did a Google search to show him more definitively what's so neat about a bungalow.  I found myself drooling over floor plans and I was thrown back in time to when I would pore over home plans the way other girls would dream about weddings.

Several days later we were given the prompt
Make a wish list layout today, or pick one goal or  and create a page about it.
Having gone back and peaked at one particular house plan a half dozen time in the course of those 3 or 4 days, I knew what list I wanted to make.  My wish list is about home.  And my future.  And the peace and contentment that I see there.

Again.  Not in love with the design.  The scale is off.  I like the colors, but the picture needs to be bigger, the tilt is gratuitous (isn't all scrapbooking bordering on gratuitous??) and it needs just a little extra punch.

But that's not the point of this post.  What I love about this layout is the fact that it started a conversation between my boyfriend and I.  I don't know if he knew that owning a home was anything that would interest me.  I have long put it out of my head as something that I could never afford, and since I couldn't afford it I wasn't going to "waste time" day dreaming about the possibility.

Coincidentally, a week or so after this layout was made one of our semi-regular customers was telling me a story about a Chinese exchange student staying at his home.  She asked him, if he didn't mind,  to tell her how much his house would cost.  He said it was hard to know, as they had purchased it in the late 1970s, and the real estate market is still highly unpredictable, but he would guess around $140,000.  I think my mouth may have dropped a bit.  I don't know what his house is like, but I know the area he lives in, and it's nice.  Older homes, mature trees, good schools...  I had expected more.  A lot more.  That night I started looking at real estate websites and was pleasantly surprised at what homes are now going for.  There are beautiful, established homes that really are priced at $130-$140K.

While I was looking at these houses I decided to show one to Kerig.  More "Hey, did you know you could get a house like this for this price??" than "Hey, let's buy a house!"  We were instant messaging at the time, so he was off doing his own thing and I was pretty much window shopping all evening, with little bits of conversation thrown in here and there.  At one point I was talking about something and he answered with something like "Pretty much anything that has to do with house decisions is going to be your call."  I was confused by the statement, and assumed initially that he meant "If you're going to buy a house, you should decide what you want and get it."  But that's not what he meant.  He meant that he wasn't the one who had big opinions and so he would defer to me.  He was telling me that I could pick.

This turned into a very cursory conversation about home ownership, mortgages, living arrangements, the future in general.  Its not that we haven't talked about the future in general, but we haven't started to get specific about it.  I'm not crediting my layout 100% for this conversation.  And certainly the fortuitous comment from my customer helped, but ultimately I will say this: It opened a door.  It allowed me to say what my dreams are.

Reflecting on my dreams and scrapbooking them?  Therapeutic.
The conversation that it helped start? Wonderful.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


So in my last post I mentioned that I wanted to talk about a couple more layouts that I did for LOAD.  These are not layouts that I love, in fact, design-wise I think they both leave a lot to be desired.  My thought for wanting to share them is to highlight how oddly therapeutic scrapbooking can be.

When I was a younger mother of younger children, there were...days.  Most mothers of small children will know what I'm talking about.  The day that I ran upstairs to brush my teeth before heading to the grocery store only to come back downstairs three minutes later to find Ted, ready to go in his navy blue pea coat, standing in front of the open refrigerator chucking eggs into the dining room - a half dozen or so broken eggs floating on the carpet?  This was not one of those days.  I had to stifle my laughter at this creative mess but there was something gleeful about how proud and fascinated about this fun discovery he was.  But the days of overtired toddlers, the he's-touching-me's, the days of two steps forward three steps back with cleaning/laundry/food prep, the 2 a.m. sheet changes for whatever accident that occurred, ear infections upon ear infections....THOSE are the days.  The days that when you finally get everyone to bed and you don't have the energy but rather the NEED to indulge in some "me" time - when you sit down to scrap and look at pictures of these sweet, innocent, funny, rambunctious, smart, loving, BEAUTIFUL faces and thank God you have a hobby that puts these amazing pictures in your hands at moment when you need to be reminded that he's-touching-me is normal and temporary and sign of healthy, happy kids.

Yes.  Scrapbooking is therapeutic.  I've known that for 13 years now.

But, like most scrapbookers, I've traditionally documented happy stories and memories, largely revolving around the kids or our family activities.  My children are older now, they're all in school full time except the oldest who has recently left home to work full time.  We don't have the luxury of time to spend lollygagging  at the park, the pool, the museum, the beach.  There are part time jobs, baseball tournaments, softball games, concerts, field trips, work and school to attend to.  I don't take pictures as much as I used to.  And I don't have "those days" like I used to.  I have fewer pictures to scrap, fewer stories that I can document, but still a desire to sit and play with paper.

As I said in my last post, one of the neat thing about LOAD is that creating a page daily sometimes puts you in the position of not having a family/kid story to tell.  Or maybe you do, but something else fits the prompt a bit better, and since you'll be creating again tomorrow, there's no guilt in taking a day to create something that's not about the kids.

One of the prompts this month was to scrapbook something hard.  She didn't say we had to name names and put all the dirty laundry out there.  We could a vague as we needed to be, if that's what the situation called for.  I suppose I could have been more vague.  That would have been the tactful way of handling my difficult subject, especially seeing as how it was going into the LOAD gallery where 270+ women would have the opportunity to scrutinize my situation and the pain that emanates from it.  But there was no sense, to me, at addressing this subject in an anything less than an honest way.  I guess I should just let you see what I'm talking about:

The title has been redone in a more fitting font, the "e" is no longer sitting on the bird's head.  And yet, design-wise, I don't like it. 

I'm pretty certain that if you click on the layout it'll enlarge it enough to struggle through the journalling.  I'm not so eager to throw my parents under the bus that I'm going to post the journalling in an easy-to-read format.

I hope that one day, when my kids are a little older and more mature, that this will help explain why their grandparents don't talk to their mother.  I'll be honest: I felt shitty making this page, like I was airing my dirty secret.   But then something happened: another LOAD participant commented, thanking me for sharing my story and she told me that it had inspired her to document her story. Her's was a story of parental control - similar, but not exactly the same, but enough that we could really relate.

And in reading her story a weight was lifted.  I know there are lots of stories like mine out there, but I don't personally know anyone who is going through the same type of abandonment as I am.  People close to me know my story.  They understand what's going on, and they know that it affects me.  But they don't know how it feels, and among other things, it feels LONELY.  So to know that there's someone out there - someone that I know - who is going through this same sense of loneliness and abandonment makes me feel less isolated.  That I know that she isn't a bad person, isn't deserving of this treatment allows me to see myself in the same light.  I love that this story wouldn't have been told if it weren't for LOAD, and I love that in telling it I found someone else with the same pain.  I hope that reading my story brought her some peace, as reading hers brought to me.

Ironically, my mother had a cross stitch piece in the kitchen that read "A joy that's shared is a joy made double, a sorrow shared is but half the trouble."

I was going to talk about a second layout with therapeutic value, but I think I'll save that for another day...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

LOAD Blog Hop!

Hellllo LOADies and Gentlemen!
(Ouch.  That was sooo bad!)

Welcome to the LOAD blog hop!  I hope you've enjoyed visiting all the blogs before me and that you have enough energy left for this entry and Mama Du's.

By now, everyone who happens by this blog knows that LOAD stands for LayOut A Day. Think scrapbooking meets Iron Chef meets busy life.  Sheer insanity that's good for the creative soul.  As one who tends to back-burner my creative outlets when life gets busy (when is it not??), signing up for LOAD is a way to remind me what I believe in my core to be true: women are creative beasts, and we NEED some kind of outlet for that.  Denying that for long stretches is bad for us...and those within a 25 foot radius.

Since blogging is something that I only do when time allows AND I have something to say, I didn't blog during May.  I had plenty to say and enough layouts to share (this blog is, after all, an excuse to share layouts), but not enough time to write meaningful posts.  Rather than try to show every layout I created during the month, I thought I'd once again pick my favorite five layouts, share them, the prompts that inspired them and explain what it is that makes me drawn to them.

Working in the order in which they were created:

From Day 1.  The prompt was to strip down to the basics and create a layout using just cardstock, patterned papers, journaling and a title.  This one is in the top five because it's true. The pictures are rough, but real and "us".  The sentiment is exactly what you'd get it you sat down and listened to everything I had to say about us and had to boil it down to two words.  The simplicity of the design is true to me, yet fun and a little funky.  Even the little monsters are true: we are both a little rough around the edges and we're lucky that we each see beyond those rough edges and into the beautiful parts on the inside.

(size: 5½x8½)

Day 7.  The prompt was to scraplift.  Simple as that.  Since I think the sun rises and sets on Nichol Magouirk, I decided to copy her.  I'm certain there was one singular layout that I started with, but I also attempted to channel her general approach.  She frequently layers her titles like that, uses the fun borders and she's a master at mixing and matching patterned papers.  While I love the way it looks, it's not something I do with ease.  I love the way this came out and I loved that I was able use an extremely old photo and combine it with my very current emotions about my oldest son.

(size: 8½x11)

Day 16.  The prompt was embellishments...blah blah blah...something about using a plain photo and a plain background and adding embellishments to convey what you want to say.  Hmmm.  As with all things embellishy, I think I failed miserably.  But that doesn't mean I don't like the layout.  I do.  What I like is  that I finally documented the meaning behind my tattoo.  It's something I've meant to do for a long time, but it seems superfluous.  At least within the context of LOAD I can say "I couldn't come up with a better story/photo that day!"

I do love that about LOAD.  Sometimes you tell stories/document things that you wouldn't otherwise address, solely because you need to create daily and your mind gets pushed in new and different directions.

Interesting aside (sort of, anyway): People rarely ask about my tattoo.  Maybe 5 or 6 times in the 6 years I've had it.  But not three days later another mother at Ted's baseball game asked me - loudly and in front of many other parents - what the meaning was behind the tattoo.  I've always struggled with bottom lining what it means, so I was grateful that I had finally organized my complex thoughts that lead up to its design.

Day 21.  The prompt was to start with the design and then move into the story and photos. That's not really how I work.  I start with the photo(s) and/or the story in mind and then the design follows, dependent upon the space needs.  I think I tried to switch it up, but ultimately, my focus on the story and photos is too far ingrained to abandon just for the challenge.  On this one, I love the title, the map paper (especially that it has both our starting and ending destination cities) and the way the text actually really lines up with the notebook paper lines.  :)  It's the little things that please me.  I also love that I was able to put another little dent in these photos from almost three years ago.

(size: 8½x11)

Day 30.  The prompt was to do your own thing, make your heart sing.  Because I was away from home, I had to try to make my heart sing digitally.  This isn't my strong suit, but I kind of fell into a kinda-sorta-albeit-made-up digital style this month.  Why is this in my top five?  Two things: I am passionate about being in my books.  Not for me, but because it will mean something to my kids one day. Also, I like what I wrote.  Some of it stuff that I absolutely embrace and have successfully put into practice on a daily basis  (the karma thing, the thing about exercising the brain, the get what you give philosophy) and others are things that I know to be true, but have to keep reminding myself to actually do.  I'm also pleased that the photo, while crappy, is actually current.  I think we're all guilty of trying to hide behind younger, skinnier, prettier pictures of ourselves.  I know I do - just check out the picture of me at the bottom of the blog.  It's four years old and gaining.  That I used a current picture makes me feel strong that I can put myself out there/in there.

So those are my favorite five layouts from the month.  In the next couple of days I'd like to talk about a couple of more that had special meaning to me.  If you're so inclined, I'd love to have you back early next week.

I hope you enjoyed this.  I hope I didn't wear you out with all the words, words, words.  Please take a couple more minutes and visit my friend Kathleen, aka "Mama Du".  She's a wonderful photographer and talented scrapper.  Definitely worth the visit!

Thanks for stopping by!

By the way, if you're stopping here first, here's the complete blog hop list.  Warning: at the end of viewing these amazing ladies' blogs you'll be chomping at the bit to sign up for the next LOAD!

At the Blue Barn
Capture Your 365
Happie By Abbie
Trista Hertz
Goes Turbo Creative
She's a Crafty Pumpkin
Pouring Over Pictures  <===  you are here.    :)
Taking Pictures. Enjoying Life.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Photography Contest.

So...I work for a camera store and Tamron sponsored a employee photo contest.  Not mandatory, but strongly encouraged.  We had to use five specific lenses from their current line up, with photos falling into one of the following themes: People, Nature, Abstract, Close Focus and HDR.

I do not call myself a photographer.  I'm really not that good.  And frankly, I used to love it a lot more than I do now.  But every once in a while I take a shot that rekindles the love.  And sometimes that spurs a new interest.  I am grateful for the contest for relighting a fire that had faded out for a while.

Two twists to the contest: you had to submit one picture using each of the five lenses. And the pictures being submitted had to fit one of the categories.  I guess that doesn't sound much like a twist, until you think that any pictures of people will require a model release.  Pictures of nature generally require good light.  HDR requires special software, know how...and you have to shoot in RAW, which I'm practically allergic to.  Yeah, I realize it sounds like I'm whining.  And, oh, did I.  I went out shooting a bunch of times, only to realize later that nothing I shot fit the categories.  Oh! The frustration!

But here's what I got.  And since there's rarely such a thing as "no particular order", these are presented in the order in which they were taken.

Super Moon over Legacy

Taken with the Tamron 10-24.  And...uh...the 70-300.  It's a composite shot, the moon wasn't really *that* big.  Do I think it'll win?  Hell no.  But it was the only thing I had for that lens.  (remember: we had to enter a picture using each lens)

Ted Goes Golfing
I think we all had or favorites from this contest.  Mine was definitely the 70-300.  That thing is so tack sharp and so fast focusing, I couldn't help but to fall in love with it.  I have a Nikon 80-200 f/2.8.  A fantastic lens to be sure.  But I still covet the 70-300.  In comparison, the Tamron is way faster and lighter and it's easier to deal with it because of the size difference.  I'm not giving up my Nikon lens, but I wouldn't mind having the Tamron to keep it company. 

Ted's Lucky Day
Two things: the version I printed out and turned in had better skin tones.  Also, don't love this, but again, I needed something using this lens - the 17-50 f/2.8.  Fantastic lens, but again, forgot to take pictures that really fit into the categories.   I don't think it's a winner - I'm sure we'll see some really terrific portraits, but this is Ted and that's a genuine smile.  On this day Ted hit two out of the park home runs, had 2 RBIs, threw a kid out at second, got the game ball...and as if all that wasn't enough, he found a $50 bill on the field.  

Walking on Sunshine
Hmmm.  When it comes to lenses, I'm a little bit of a snob.  I've been "raised" to believe that anything that offers this much versatility can't possibly be as good as shorter ranged lenses.  But this was taken with the new 18-270 PZD lens, which is fast, quiet and tiny.  I'm not in love, but I'm definitely in like!  

60mm.  I literally had to blink back tears several times at work on Thursday.  Contest entries were due on Friday and I didn't have a shot to submit for this lens.  And remember: it's all five or none.  We don't own these lenses, we borrowed them from the store.  In my store, we're all Nikon shooters, so we were all vying for the same five lenses.  This is - no doubt - a sweet and fun lens to shoot.  Because of it's close focusing capabilities the possibilities with it are endless.  I walked to the bank on Thursday morning and noticed these beautiful irises at McDonald's.  I didn't immediately think to come back and shoot them.  3 hours later it finally occurred to be to grab a camera and go shoot it.  I think this might be the definition of serendipity.  I didn't go looking for a bee, I just figured the purple and orange would look cool - heck, I didn't even notice that the stamen was so fuzzy.  I got really lucky with this one - this petal happened to have the best light on it and along came this bee.  I'm crossing my fingers that this one gets recognized.  

We'll see what happens with this.  Frankly, I'm hoping that our store can get the store recognition prize.  With a small store I'm hoping we get some props for 100% participation.  

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 4 AL*

*AL= After LOAD

(blah blah blah, skip ahead if you know this already: LOAD is a layout challenge hosted by Lain Ehmann in which participants create a LayOut A Day for every day in a designated month.  Since we're all busy, this is part challenge, part exercise in insanity.  But the sense of accomplishment at the end of the month is amazing.)

So one would think that after creating 31 layouts in the month of May that I would have that particular bug worked out of my system and I wouldn't want to touch a photograph for months.  Apparently there's something wrong with me.  When I was young people would say "Oh, I'll bet you get so sick of McDonald's food, working there all the time."  Uh, hello?  No.  Give me a plain double cheeseburger and watch me smile while I chew.  Nope, it never happened.  And while I find the need to move on to move onto other activities post-LOAD, I do so because I have to, not because I'm sick of scrapbooking.

Here is the abridged version of my weekend: Laundry. Baseball. (beer!) Baseball. Baseball. (pizza!) (scrapbook!) Baseball.  Softball.  Laundry.  Items in parentheses represent treats along the way, as opposed to the obligatory nature of the other items.  I don't know if you noticed, but that's A SHIT TON of baseball!  And for someone who's not - by any means - a sports fan, that's a full on metric shit ton.

Today Ted had two games in a tournament.  The first game was painful.  We had lost by the end of the second inning.  First, the other team was enormous - 75% of the team was bigger than Ted, and Ted is by far the biggest kid on our team.  But they weren't just big, they were good. They hit well, they pitched well, and, on the rare occasion we made contact, they fielded well.  Add to that: we just didn't play well.  We were run-ruled in the 5th inning.  I didn't even pick up my camera.

The kids took a break for lunch and I had a nice chat with the coach.  Every time I go to one of Ted's games (which isn't often enough unfortunately) people tell me how great Ted is.  Today it was the coach.  He told me that the team unanimously voted for Ted for team captain.  He said he loved having Ted on the team.  And then he said "You did a really great job with him."  Wow.  Typically I don't run around taking credit for Ted.  I am pleasantly surprised by him nearly every day.  But I suppose that wasn't entirely an accident.  Maybe his father and I have helped fine tune his already good character.  At any rate, what an awesome compliment.

Game two was a better match up, so it seemed worth while to pick up my camera.  Ted was pitching (38 throws with 31 strikes) for the first couple of innings, but my favorite shots came from an exchange on first  base.  Ted is not small.  He's 5'8" and probably 160 pounds.  He looks like he can hit.  (He can)  He doesn't look like he can sprint.  So he was walked.  Once there he was immediately taking the lead, looking to steal second.  I don't know if they really thought that they'd get him out or if the goal was to wear him out because he was the pitcher.  Considering the first inning was three up three down, it wasn't a bad strategy.

So here's how the exchange went:
Ted takes a couple big steps towards second.
Pitcher whips the ball to the first baseman.
Ted dives back to safety at first.
Ted gets up, first baseman throws the ball back to the pitcher.

Ted takes a couple big steps towards second.
Pitcher whips the ball to the first baseman.
Ted dives back to safety at first.
Ted gets up, first baseman throws the ball back to the pitcher.

Ted takes a couple big steps towards second.
Pitcher whips the ball to the first baseman.
Ted dives back to safety at first.
Ted gets up, first baseman throws the ball back to the pitcher.

Ted takes a couple big steps towards second.
Pitcher whips the ball to the first baseman.
Ted dives back to safety at first.
Ted gets up, first baseman throws the ball back to the pitcher.

No lie.  FOUR times that pitcher forced Ted back to first.  But the fifth time Ted made it, sliding into second.  By the end of the exchange Ted was covered in dirt - face, arms, hands and both sides of his uniform.  

I have about 20 pictures from the exchange, and I wish that I could use them all to tell the story, but there isn't space, so it gets boiled down to this: