andriese. bizzini. brennan. part II of II

part II reveals more fun on the nut farm :)

andriese. bizzini. brennan. part I of II

quite possibly the most conceptually confused family session ever. which makes me laugh. orchard, families, couch, quad, dogs, firearms, framework, a 60th birthday party, pettiskirts, and old trucks. somehow it all works.
isn't that what family is about anyway? more coming by tomorrow. ~kerri


I've been forgetting lots of stuff lately. And losing stuff.  And reading things wrong - like actual words that I see.  And  I can't seem to keep up with the housework - which makes things feel even more chaotic. I'm flying around by the seat of my pants again, in life and in my head. I've had way more anxiety attacks than I care to endure and depression has even leaked in the cracks a little. I need to get grounded. I just don't know exactly how to rein it all in and regain control. I've been looking into meditation but... heh... I don't have time to learn it and then actually put it into practice.  And I certainly can't afford therapy sessions. So for now, I'm writing some of this shit out of my head... 

~ June starts tomorrow.  I go back to work in June.  I need to start getting the kids used to their new daycare.  I want to break them in slowly - starting ASAP, but that seems like a MONUMENTAL task. So much thought seems to need to go into it.  I want to do everything right for them. I want it to be smooth. I want them to be happy and not scared and to eat and sleep properly and to not cry for their mom. Please, I do not want them to cry for their mom.

I need to get another sound therapy machine so Lincoln will nap properly while he's there. And he has a little stuffed frog that he sleeps with. What if we forget it one day???  And will Ruby will eat properly and use the potty?  I hope the daycare lady is compassionate if they struggle for a while.  I hope the other kids are nice.

Getting up every morning and getting them both ready to go for the day is another big one.  What time will I have to get up? What time will I get them up? What all needs to be done before we leave the house each day?

I know that working full time and sending kids to daycare is a part of life for most people.  Millions of women do it. And maybe I'm just grasping at some positive angle in this but I do think Ruby is ready for it.  I think she needs more stimulation and structure and socialization than I can provide her at this point.  And I like to tell myself that Lincoln will be fine because he will be with his sister (whom he adores). But I'd be a fool to think there's it's all going to be seamless and painless.

The anxiety is coming on strong while I write about this topic. It's a huge thing for me to think/panic/worry about. I work really hard every day to raise happy, healthy, behaved kids.  Now I have to hand that responsibility over to a stranger.  It's such a mega change and I suppose hard for me to let go of the control that I have over their daily lives.

~ As for me actually returning to work - if I'm totally honest, I'm almost looking forward to it.  I'll be using my brain again. I will get to wear something other than sweat pants. I can pee in a bathroom all by myself!!!  Nobody will be hanging off my arm stealing chunks of food from my lunch - only to chew it up and spit it on the floor. I will actually GET a lunch break.  Perhaps the best part? Nobody at work is going to ask me to watch them and sing to them while they take a poo! The thoughts of it are very exciting. Still, it's going to be a transition getting used to going to work again and getting into a routine and getting comfortable with my job.

~ Lincoln is refusing to eat any food that is offered to him via spoon.  He must eat everything with his bare hands.  This makes my brain work a little harder at trying to think of what to feed him.  Also, he is bloody well MESSY!  He slobbers and mashes and grinds his chewed up food into his hair, his face, his clothes, his highchair, the floor... basically everything within a 10 foot radius.  The amount of housework this has added to my life is exponential. 

~ The Canucks, our beloved Canucks have made it to the Stanley Cup finals. They last played last week. The final round doesn't start until tomorrow. It feels like a really long time to wait between games. We lose our hockey momentum a bit. I know we'll get it back as soon as game day arrives. I guess I have become somewhat addicted to the excitement and adrenaline and something to cheer for that has been with us while riding the wave of our team making it this far in the playoffs. It feels really good. But damn, lets get on with it already!

~ The weather has really sucked this spring.  We have been stuck indoors a lot.  It gets tiring.  It gets cabin feverish.  And it's extra work to get out of the house.  It's also depressing. 

~ Money is TIGHT.  Ugh.  It's brutal. Two back-to-back years of maternity leave wages plus any debt that we were already carrying prior to that (Hello, $20,000 worth of IVF treatments)... It's getting really hard to make ends meet.  Adds stress to absolutely EVERYTHING.

~ And finally, I am now absolutely consumed with thoughts of Madison Scott and her family.  Madison lives in the town where I was raised.  I know and am close with some of her family.  I can not imagine what they are going through. It is gut wrenching and very disturbing.  Please, Lord.  Bring Madison home safe. 



Endless Trip in The Daily Telegraph

Charles Spencer has just written generously about Endless Trip in his arts column in The Daily Telegraph, saying it is 'as close to heaven as most pop anoraks like me are likely to get'. And this a man who knows his rock and roll: aged 12 in October 1967, he went to a benefit for Release in the Saville Theatre, compered by Joe Boyd and featuring Pink Floyd, Fairport Convention, Tomorrow, The Incredible String Band and Tim Rose. Here's the article:

Tress-Mess Part Deux? Apparently Pryor's Gone Too

If things couldn't get any worse for Ohio State Buckeyes fans after 'The Tress-Mess', apparently Terrelle Pryor's under investigation by the NCAA over whether the star quarterback received cars and other benefits, according to a report by the Columbus Post-Dispatch.

Ohio State blogs, already hammered by the resignation of their sweater-vested hero, are already saying that Pryor - who was one of the players banned for the first five games of the 2011 season after selling championship memorabilia to a tattoo parlor -has played his last game in an Ohio State uniform.

While the loss of Tressel will hurt the program, the loss of Pryor will crush it for the 2011 season, considering what he's given the Buckeyes over the last few seasons.

Of course, for Penn State fans out there who lost out in the Terrelle Pryor recruiting derby, they must be silently thanking their Blue and White Gods that he did not opt for Happy Valley. One actually tweeted: "Thank God for Darryl Clark".

By Eleven Warriors' piece, Ohio State is crapping itself about a piece from Sports Illustrated, due later this evening.

The red bloodbath continues.

Ohio State fans: This is what you're missing...

Retire Your Sweater Vests: Tressel's Out

Although there might have been quite a lot of sensationalist chat about Jim Tressel resigning from the Ohio State Buckeyes on Memorial Day, the fact is this: As soon as he admitted to covering up player violations, he was Dead Man Walking.

The sheer pressure from the US media during this whole shambolic tale on the program and the coach has been absolutely monstrous, with journalists and fans alike calling for the head of 'The Sweater Vest' as soon as revelation after revelation came out about this whole situation.

Excellent investigative website SportsByBrooks says that Tressel was pushed (he 'resigned' on a day which everyone found a little weird bearing in mind that it's Memorial Day and everyone's thinking about people in the services rather than college football) by Leslie Wexner, the chairman of the Ohio State Board of Trustees, who is more than a little worried about the school's image and a forthcoming plea for dough.

Tressel said in a statement: "After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach," Tressel said in a statement released by the university. "The appreciation that (wife) Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable."

Co-defensive co-ordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell will take the job for the 2011 season - and things should stay the same. Sure, the first five games will be harder, but we still expect the Buckeyes to go 5-0 (the trip to Miami and home game against Michigan State will probably the biggest tests). The team has simply got too much Tressel-recruited talent.

It's a sad ending to a brilliant career. With the Buckeyes, Tressel pretty much dominated the Big Ten, won a National Championship and made two more title games (where he was whomped by SEC schools (who have their own problems on the disciplinary front!). His record was 66-14 overall. His legacy of NFL Draftees continues on and on and on (Cameron Heyward, the excellent defensive end, will play at the Pittsburgh Steelers sometime in the next decade (when this NFL mess clears up) - 66 by the last count (from ESPN Stats & Info). Also, the non-conference battles with Texas and USC were both legendary. Sadly for Buckeye Nation, the Horseshoe becomes a little less threatening for travelling teams now he's gone - and so does a Sweater Vest fashion statement among students.

The sad thing for Tressel was the fact that the person who brought Tressel down was Tressel himself. He knew the difference between right and wrong - and went for the wrong. And it cost him, both financially and reputationally.

As for who's going to come in in 2012, there's rumors surfacing that Urban Meyer may take the helm in 2012.  Kirk Herbstreit (who's probably got tears in his eyes watching his program repeatedly getting kicked in the College Footballs for this) said on College Gameday about Meyer: "The reality is his dream job has always been and will continue to be the head coach at Ohio State". Sporting News writer Matt Hayes seems to think something else: He said: "Forget about Urban at Ohio State. Doesn't want to walk into NCAA violations - he's waiting out Penn State job".

Like the rest of the writers, we feel that Tressel won't be the only person to go as the NCAA investigation drags on. Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith will certainly be given the pink slip - as well as the rest of the internal staff having anything to do with Buckeyes reporting any potential violations- and some more senior members may go too.

The question is is: Who's next? Answers on a postcard please.

My Gain

I gained a little weight over the long weekend.  And by a little weight I do mean a little.  Half a pound to be exact.

I know, hardly worth batting a false eyelash over.

Actually I figured it would likely be more than that.  Surely you can not get away with eating a plate of Chinese food in a hotel bed while watching Saturday Night Live after drinking a few more beers than usual without paying a price.  Considering I had a danish with my coffee each morning and pasta salad tossed in oil (*gasp*) for lunch?  I'm feeling like I got off lucky with the half pound gain.

Normally after such a weekend I would steer clear of the scale for a good week.  Usually I have something else very important to do on weigh-in night after such a weekend. Something like burying my head in the sand, or making a list of excuses for why I "deserved" to blow off the diet.  But for whatever reason I faced the music and headed on down to the WW meeting to be accountable. (Ok, I desperately needed to get away from the kids for 20 minutes).

Then I came home and ate this for dinner:

I'm totally back on track.  Actually I was back on track the day after I got home. The fact of the matter is that long weekends, special occasions, off days, etc. are all a reality of life. They happen and they should be enjoyed. Sure I could have stayed on plan for the long weekend, bringing my kitchen scales with me and getting up every morning to go for a jog and writing down everything I ate... but I simply didn't want to.  I wanted a fun, worry-less, enjoyable, indulgent weekend.  And I got it.  And I DID enjoy it.

I've kicked ass so far.  And I have no intention of giving it up. I work so hard at it every day.  If I never took any sort of a break from it, I likely would have worn out my enthusiasm and determination to continue long ago.

I do enjoy eating healthy. I do love jogging (no, really, I do) and walking. I love eating vegetables. I love sweating my ass off.  It all makes me feel very good about myself in so many ways.  However, I do also enjoy drinking too many cold beer in the sunshine and filling up on a greasy hotdog and a bag of chips once in a while.  All in moderation. Too much or too little of either just wouldn't work.  Both sides of it, balanced out with just the right ratio are what real life, and (successful weight loss) is all about. 

So what I really gained was great memories, a fun weekend, enjoyment and a readiness to keep on going when it was all over.

Long Weekend Me

We went away this long weekend.  Steve played in an annual soccer tournament.  I had originally thought we'd all go - as a family.  Then I'd changed my mind, thinking that toting two little kids around would be too much work.  Then a week before he was to leave, I woke up and realized that if I didn't go then I would be a single mom for 5 days. Weighing out what would be worse, I decided we'd join him after all.

The only catch was that he had already planned to leave a day early to go golfing with one of his teammates - meaning I would have to do the drive to Vernon alone, with two kids. 

I actually did quite well. I packed the van myself, like it was a real life game of Tetris. Loaded the kids with toys and snacks. Stopped often. I was very organized.  The kids were decently behaved. Someone was watching over us, I'm sure.

The weekend was good.  We had a good time.  Kids got to go swimming and see and experience different things. We got some sun (glorious sun!!). Steve said he was happy that we went.

I was happy that we went.

I had an interesting time. I discovered some things about myself. Good things...

Most of my life I've said that I don't care what people think of me but if I'm going to be totally honest, that's not very true.  I've been self conscious and unsure.  I would think (maybe imagine) that people are always judging me. I would strive to be funny and crazy and cool - as to attract a certain crowd of people and "impress" everyone. I would dress a certain way. I would say certain things. Do certain things. Things that weren't necessarily who I wanted to be but I don't know if I knew any better.

I've felt myself changing over the past few years - probably much of it comes from becoming a mother.  But some of it also comes from not having things too easy.  It's really hard being a mom of two kids 18 months apart. Harder than I could ever put into words.  You do things, you sacrifice things, you make things work, you let things go, you miss things, you give things up. You also realize that you can do things that you never would have or thought you could have done before. It's your only choice. You have to, no matter how hard or uncomfortable or inconvenient. Because it's not about you anymore. And you learn to accept it and be proud of your accomplishments and appreciate the little things.  You realize you are stronger and tougher and more resilient than you would ever have imagined.

Having vertigo for 7 weeks also changed me.  There is something about having a debilitating illness - in your HEAD - that changes you.  I totally get how people are different after concussions or car accidents.  It's life changing.  It really is. 

Two IVFs, depression, weight gain, back-to-back pregnancies and everything in between?  It's all just added to it. Added to the personal change.

So this weekend, when I found myself in the midst of a group of people that I mostly didn't know, I was surprisingly confident, calm, laid back and self assured. 

I was just... me.  I didn't try to impress. Couldn't have cared less what people thought of me (for real) and if they liked me or not. There was even a clique of women who have been on this trip every year for many years and who have known each other for a very long time - I didn't bother to even try to get in on their game.

I just did my own thing.  Sometimes sitting by myself in the middle of the party, just taking it all in.  Enjoying myself.  I mean, enjoying MYSELF - my own company. Just being myself.

Interestingly enough, I found that eventually people came to me.  Even the clique wanted to hang with me. I had some great conversations. Some good laughs.  I met some really fun and nice people. I had a good time.  My demeanor drew people to me.  By the end of the trip I had met a whole bunch of new people and was known by most everyone there - and strangely enough, not for any of my "Girls Gone Wild" antics - but for just being myself. 

Turns out I'm quite likable when I'm just me.  Huh.  Who knew?

Today is our first full day home and I've been busy doing laundry and emptying duffel bags and catching the kids up on sleep. Aside from being tired and a little bit sunburned I feel pretty good inside. I spent the weekend being the person I am, and I have nothing to regret or wish I'd done differently.

That's a pretty cool thing.

Why Tennessee Could Win The SEC East

In the light of everyone talking about how wonderful South Carolina will be bringing back running back sensation Marcus Lattimore and brilliant wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey and quarterback Stephen Garcia (hopefully after a stint in off-season rehab!), as well as No.1 college football player in the town Jadevon Clownley, I got thinking.

Who's going to win the SEC East? Will it be Florida, who's frankly got too much athletic talent everywhere (although we still raise an eyebrow about QB John Brantley, and hope for Gators' fans that he can be better than last year)? Or will it be the Gamecocks? Or will it be Georgia, who ESPN tipsters are talking about being dark horses because of their talented quarterback Aaron Murray, some good players on 'D' (although we'd argue that losing your top tacklers IS going to hurt) and a great tight end called Orson Charles?

Well, here's our dark horse for the SEC East: Tennessee.

Think we're mad? Here's why...

1) They return 14 starters, including three in defense (Malik Jackson, and safeties Prentiss Waggner and Janzen Jackson). Their secondary is pretty experienced, which means that opposing quarterbacks are going to find it pretty hard to throw on them. To be fair, they got ripped apart by teams' running game last season, and a season of experience will make this team pretty nasty on the line, too.

2) We love Tyler Bray as the quarterback of this team. He's a country mile better than Matt Simms, who was laughably awful in 2010, and he's got a lot of Neylanders believing. He's got an experienced wide receiving corps, which will feature Justin Hunter and Zach Rogers, who will be a whole lot better than they were last year. Look, we know that the Vols are going to need help at wide receiver , but they should work things out. Plus, their offensive line's going to be a hell of a lot better than they were last year.

3) The schedule's not exactly awful, either. They should go 2-0 against Cincinnati and Montana, and we think that they are going to frighten the hell out of the Gators in Gainesville. They'll stuff Buffalo at home and be very, very up for Georgia in a loud, loud Neyland Stadium - a team who stuffed them last year. Although we think they'll probably lose two straight against LSU and Alabama (both teams will be vying for a National Championship spot), they'll both be hard-fought games. This leaves them the showdown with South Carolina. At Neyland Stadium.
What do you think?

what it becomes

making nice imagery is, well, nice. i want to make excellent imagery. dancer images should emote to their audience. babies should spark a sensitive response from the viewer. a portrait should meet the subject at their level. it's a matter of the heart, really, to take the gifts and aspirations of a person and from those nuances and unique qualities create a conceptual art piece that conveys something about who they are, where they are going, or where they come from. a picture is a recording of the obvious. what it becomes is subject to the artist.

for jenna: "Divine Order"

for michelle, alaina, ivan: "Ascension"

braatz part IV of IV

let's keep it real. the outtakes. :) kerri
full gallery uploading to

braatz, part III of IV

the siblings...

Pieces of Eight: Why College Football Play-Offs Would Be A Bad Idea

We read the news about the Fiesta Bowl guys and frustration started to well up.

We read the news about the Department of Justice investigating possible anti-trust issues with the BCS and I felt my face reddening.

We 401 Fantasy BCS Play-Off Proposals and we threw my laptop through the window, jumped out of the window, beat the crap out of the guy who picked up the laptop thinking it was Christmas as a MacBook came out of nowhere, and screamed to heaven.

"If Jesus is going to come down, please remove all this College Football Play-Off crap and get on with it", we screamed to the heavens at about 11pm. 

Look, we know that the BCS system is absolutely crooked. We know that the system screws the small schools at the end of the season and doesn't reward the likes of TCU for a truly unbeaten season with the chance to prove they can compete with the big boys. We know that the likes of Auburn are still fuming about 2004 and not getting the chance to prove that their unbeaten season should mean something. We know that there have been some joke decisions in allowing teams to get into National Championship Games and Conference Championship Games - with Oklahoma - who got into the Big XII Championship Game in 2008 ahead of Texas despite losing to the Longhorns 45-35 on accounts of being ranked higher - being one of the biggest ones.

But you know what? If the play-off system does get through, it might do more damage than good.

Here are some reasons: 

1) Teams who don't have a prayer to their  Conference Championship game will rest their best players for the next season, meaning the consistent fielding of weakened teams. Or the best players who might go and play in the NFL will suddenly become sick or hurt for fear of injuring themselves prior to the NFL Draft.

2) College Football teams other than the 'Big 8' will lose out of millions of dollars of bowl money. The influx of two college football teams into an area boosts that area's economy. And that can only be a good thing bearing in mind we're in one hell of a recession. In my opinion, I'd love to see bowls in Tuscaloosa and Georgia to bring money into areas that have suffered from the horrific tornadoes. And a major one in Detroit would be cool, too!

3) Recruiting for 'non play-off' schools will fall to the floor. Schools who formerly thought they had a chance competing on the recruiting trail would find it even, even harder. That would make college football even LESS of an even playing field than it is now. Would Washington State even have any players wanting to play there? I think not!

4) A lack of play-off appearance would make sure that those coaches even in the 'hot seat' would find the prospect of a pink slip even worse. In a play-off world, good guys like Mark Richt would probably lose their job. Joe Paterno would have lost his in the 2000s!! It would be worse than the English Premier League, where coaches who's names aren't Sir Alex Ferguson (no relation!) or Arsene Wenger really worry about whether they are going to be IN a job every season.

5) Crowds for the mid-sized schools would inevitably suffer, as people flocked to watch play-off schools. That would mean that bigger schools would make more money. The big schools would then argue - even more than they do now - for an even bigger piece of the pie for conference revenue.

6) While there probably would be a 13-game schedule, the increasing amount of fun non-conference match-ups that you are beginning to see thanks to the Sagarin rankings will completely fade away. Oh, and the whole "Every Saturday Means Something" thing that we college football fans love? That would be out of the window, too, as play-off guaranteed teams would start playing less hard, since unbeaten records would then matter nil.

7) You can be guaranteed that EVERYONE will be then be bitching about who gets in, plus if there would be a play-in game, and what would happen to teams with the same record. The whole thing would be end up causing years more of shenanigans.

8) Barack Obama will find something else to investigate - maybe even the NCAA's practices of investigating. He might have an opinion on whether college football should pay players. He might start making YouTube campaigns and send out armies of supporters for his 2018 NCAA Commissioner Run. That would make everyone forget about the millions of dollars the Department of Justice is wasting investigating the BCS when that money should go into investigating the big Wall St banks.

What do you think?

braatz, part II (of IV)

how can it be, the boy we met at park day so many years ago has sprouted into this young man? ivan is fun to watch on stage, but to know him is to love him. it's just a shame he's so shy. ;-)kerri

braatz, part I

alaina's beauty lies in her simple complexity, sensitivity, creativity, and sheer power - that she has only begun to realize and release.
more to come, miss alaina. love, kerri

RIP, Austin Box

It's weird. I heard about Austin Box's death while reading my Twitter account, and I then read another a tweet slaughtering a Bleacher Report writer for writing an insensitive article about what the loss will mean for the team going into 2011. And you're right, it was a shockingly insensitive piece.

But I'm sure of three things. One, that the writer of the piece (which has now been taken down) is probably not to happy with his or herself, and is wondering if another piece of journalism will ever get read. Don't worry [insert writer's name out there], we all make mistakes. Stupid, stupid mistakes. It's call life. Secondly, I'm sure that the editor who LET the piece go out is feeling equally stupid. Thirdly, I'm sure that in the general scheme of things that a 22-year Tennessean is dead, all of this bickering about inappropriate journalism really doesn't matter.

The only thing is this: The death of Austin Box is really, really sad.

And I completely agree with Ivan Maisel's comment - also on Twitter: "Death of Oklahoma LB Austin Box convinces me the season needs to start just so this offseason filled with bad news will end."

I couldn't agree more. I'm fed up with hearing about deaths, arrests, and crooked goings on. I just want to see some football. I want to lose my voice screaming at an inept Penn State throw or yelling at nobody at 2am UK time at a freakishly good catch: "Are you KIDDING me?"

In fact, I'll go with something written by OU blog "Blatant Homerism": Rest in Peace.


for lexie, there seem to be no bad days. her magnanimity fills a room, making it nearly impossible to be grumpy or cross. she is light as air, or at least appears to be so. full gallery uploaded to kerri