Day 22: Collections

Human beings are funny creatures. What is the driving force that makes us want to collect things? Throughout my younger years, I collected stickers, unicorns, dragons, and posters of 80’s hair bands. In my adult years, I have collected fairies, but have moved on to things some would consider spooky, along with something else that is so popular, you may even have one or two of your own.

Let’s look at the popular first. Pop! vinyl figures by Funko have taken the nation by storm. There is seriously a figure for just about everything you can imagine. Monty Python and the Holy Grail? I have three from that set myself. Flash Gordon? Emperor Ming looks down upon me menacingly in all his tiny evil glory.   The Walking Dead? Oh yeah, I have them, including black and white Daryl Dixon.

I will be the first to admit that I have a problem when it comes to these little guys. There is just something about them that capture us and demand that we take them home with us. To date, one of the most brilliant things that I have seen done with them, is when a friend of mine went to England on vacation. He took Thor and Jon Snow with him and did several exceptional shots, from the plane to Stonehenge, his two companions created a spectacular photo experience like none I have ever seen.

Taking a look at the Spooky. Well, let me start by saying, I don’t think they are spooky and no, I am not creeped out with Living Dead Dolls watching over me while I sleep.  When my great nephew was 2 years old, and we babysat, he came into my bedroom in search of my cats and when he looked up and saw the dolls, his little mouth hung open and he looked from the dolls to me, back to the dolls and back to me and said, “Babies…..not funny!” Since that day, when he comes to visit, he has to go and check to see if the babies are still there.


Day 22: Collections Meet Posey 

My first Living Dead Doll was a birthday gift from my husband, and I fell in love with her instantly. Posey has a subtle creepiness about her that is just top drawer and became the foundation of my doll collection. I immediately hit the website looking to see what other dolls existed and to this day, I am still in awe of what they create. When we found the Psycho set, I knew hands down this was a duo I had to own. As I love Mr. Hitchcock’s work, AND they were in black and white, Norman/Mother and Janet would be mine!

My husband’s collection is a little more sensible I guess you would say. When you mash a cop with Peter Pan Syndrome, you get a collection of law enforcement toys. Lego’s, toy cars, police rubber duckies, he has quite the collection of cop toys.

We collect for the pure enjoyment of it, not for any other particular reason. We want to surround ourselves with things that make us happy and are pleasing to us. So, whatever you collect, may it bring you that simple childlike joy every time you gaze upon your collection.


Closed For the Season… Sort Of 

There is one particular time of year that busy is an understatement. Fireworks season. This ear, I have also joined the ranks of Castle Christmas and will be running the Christmas Store in the Garden Room. Because of this, while the 365 Project will continue on Instagram, the coinciding blog posts will be hit and miss if they happen. I hope that you will follow me on Instagram as the photos unfold, because while in Muskogee and at the Castle, interesting pics are bound to happen. 

The best thing about working Christmas for me, is that I get to reunite with my beloved fireworks for sales from Dec 15-31. It will also give me an opportunity to dust the cobwebs off my other blog site:

Yes, we have our own 500 gram heavyweight! Posted originally on my fireworks blog site.

I have one more 365 post headed your way tomorrow, so be sure not to miss that one. Please have a safe and magnificent holiday season, and look for and capture the beauty in each day.

Day 21: I Love the Smell of Gunpowder in the Morning

Day 21: I Love the Smell of Gunpowder in the Morning

Being how I grew up in a hunting family, one would think that I a natural and comfortable around guns. While I’ve never had a problem being around guns, handling them myself was a different matter. Even the thought of holding a gun would make me nervous and kind of queasy. When my husband and I were dating, we were out in the country and he wanted me to shoot his AR. The conversation went something like this.

Him: “Here shoot this, it’s fun.”

Me: “You REALLY don’t want me to shoot your gun.”

Him: ” Go on, I promise you will like this, it’s fun.”

Me: “You don’t understand, you REALLLLLY don’t want me to do this.”

Him: “Here.” (puts gun in my hands)

Me: “…….” (has no clue how to even hold a handgun, let alone an AR)

BANG ….gun hits sandy ground



He never pressed me to shoot a gun again, and still blames me for all the sand he had to clean out of the thing. Did I not tell him that he didn’t want me to shoot it?

It wasn’t until a few years ago, that the thought about learning how to shoot wouldn’t leave me alone. I still was apprehensive and couldn’t get past my own mind that there was no way I could do this.  That was when my husband the instructor showed up. He set up a target and gave me an air soft pistol that shoots the little soft bb’s, and began working with me on how to handle a gun. I have to give him major credit. He never pushed me to learn how to shoot. He never tried to force it on me, he let me make the decision that I was finally ready and showed extreme patience as I learned from the ground up the basics of grip, stance, watching the front site, and so on.

When I finally was comfortable with the air soft, I gathered my courage and picked up a .22 pistol. While the concept is the same, jumping from a plastic air soft, to a real metal gun, with real led bullets was yet another block to overcome. But, with the passage of time, and spending time putting bullets downrange, it has become somewhat addictive and now, I find myself looking forward to the days I can get out and shoot, competing against myself to center my shots better with each trip to the range. I even took the plunge and am the proud owner of a little Walther P.22, and as temperamental as this gun is about ammo, I still love her. With time, I have also taken to shooting my husband’s Shield 9 mil and now I look back to when the thought of even touching a gun made me uneasy, I look proudly at myself and say, “You did it, girl!”

While some may think the point of this particular 365 is about the topic of guns, it’s actually more about overcoming your own fears and mindsets. It took me over 30 years to overcome this one, so the message is this. Don’t let your mind, your doubts, you uneasiness or stubbornness keep you from doing something. Push through and conquer them and find yourself victorious.


Day 20: Oklahoma Skies

One of the things I love best about Oklahoma is our skies. We have some of the most breathtaking sunrises (when I’m actually up to see them), sunsets and clouds in the atmosphere. Our skies are one of my favorite subjects to shoot.

Day 20: Oklahoma Skies

While I always thought that there were days that the sky was rather lovely, I never fully appreciated them until I started looking at them from behind the lens, trying to capture the color and cloud formations, the sun at various positions during the day and evening, and there have been times it has been some of my biggest challenge to try to catch with the camera what my eye was seeing.

As I am by no means a morning person, I am apt to capture sunsets in more abundance that I am a sunrise. My most memorable sunrise was on a hiking trip my husband and I took to Greenleaf State Park. We got up well before dawn and made it out to the trails with the hopes of getting to the swinging bridge before sunrise. While we did indeed make it, the location we were at as the sun actually rose was not a good location to capture the rise. It did however allow me to get some lovely shots of the fog across the lake


We often find ourselves wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life and tend to forget to look at the simplistic beauty around us. Health for our heart that is free of charge. Uplifting for our spirit and doesn’t take any extra time, other than to look up. The skies are filled with wonder. Take some time today and look up and see the beauty that is above you.


Day 19: Your Badge, My Heart 

Day 19: Your Badge, My Heart

Around this time 10 years ago, you were in weapons block. Doing qualifying rounds in ice and snow. You were a couple of months from graduating the academy. It had been a very rough time emotionally for all of us as we only got to see you a couple of days each week while you chased the dream that would become your passion, that would become an ever changing way of life.

As I sit and think about where we have come from since then, there are so many thoughts, so many memories, so many emotions, so may frustrations, so many joys. This has been a road met with challenges, some from without, a lot from within, but now as I consider all that has happened, I realize you can not come through any situation without going through the fire.

I don’t have to tell you the challenges law enforcement as a whole is currently going through. You live it everyday. We see it everyday. We worry about it everyday. And while I have the moments of not wanting you to give of yourself anymore due to the lack of appreciation and the hatred that seems to run out of control, it is only half of a coin. That half wants me to tell you to cut loose and get out. Why put your life at risk every single day? Why risk yourself for the possibility of the unthinkable? Why deal with the aggravation of being caught between and angry world and a broken system. Why do we have to continue to pay as a family? We sacrifice, we lose out, we are often on the back burner.  ODMP is forever in front of our eyes, and all we can do is grieve with the rest of the thin blue line family. Good, honest cops pay with their lives and somehow they deserve it due to situations they were never involved with. I fear for you. I fear for us. I fear for our kids.

But then, there is the flip side of that coin. The side that screams honor, integrity, pride. The side that shows what you do is not in vain. The side that shows how you listen, hear and try to find resolution to our citizens situations. The side that when I see you in uniform, I know that our county is that much safer because you care and aim to protect and serve.


Deputy Cross letting the kids check out his cruiser.

Do you know why you are my hero? It isn’t just because of the badge you wear. It isn’t because you helped protect those little girls by making sure the monster that hurt them will spend forever behind bars. It isn’t because you worked with a young lady and even though her life ended tragically, you don’t give up hope in spite of how it haunts you. It isn’t because you are standing for a little boy so viciously attacked by a dog and his parents seeing no legal resolution. It isn’t because you strive to offer the best training possible, or attend community events, or by going out of your way to talk with the kids of our communities or by double checking on our dispatchers to make sure everything is ok. It is because you are my heart, and in spite of all the times I haven’t come first, or a band concert or game or holiday was missed due to job, in your heart we are still first. It shows in your eyes, it is felt in your hug, it is confirmed in the words you speak to our boys. You are my hero because you stand for what is right and you don’t back down from it. You stand for what is lawful and you enforce it. You give me your love so freely and unconditionally. That even when you are so tired and sore and just want to crash, you give of yourself and let us know that we make everything OK for you.

We are 8 months away from 25 years of marriage. You became my hero at “I Do.”


Day 18: The Passage of Time

I find it somewhat amazing that there are buildings and structures that are still standing after hundreds of years. They stand tall in their history and glory and are stunning to behold. I find it equally amazing, that there are other buildings and structures that have not been around even a fraction of the time and are in heartbreaking disrepair and dilapidated.

Day 18: The Passage of Time. Courtyard gate at The Heritage Manor

One such building, is where my husband and I got married, almost 25 years ago. The Heritage Manor was a lovely bed and breakfast found out in northwest Oklahoma, complete with hot tub on the roof. The ceremony was held in the courtyard, and we exchanged our vows on the middle balcony before friends and family. Complete with horse drawn carriage and singing to the man about to become my husband, July 25, 1992 will forever be the most important day of my life. It was the doorway for every other great memory to be built upon.

While out modern day treasure hunting, there was a cache listed at the entry to the drive leading up to the manor. When we pulled up, my hand went to my mouth as I took in the sight before me. How sad to see the place where we joined our lives together falling apart at the seams. Once the shock had passed, I then thought, how amazing this is on the flip side of that coin, to see what being forgotten coupled with time had done to the place. It then opened the discussion for the great what if. What if we could hold our silver anniversary vow renewal here, where it all began.

We had already been working on plans to have a zombie themed renewal and the possibility of having it in a cemetery, but what could be more perfect than to change the location to where our history merged. As we walked around the courtyard and up the stone steps, we talked about our wedding day and formulated plans and ideas for the upcoming event. What if we could replicate some of the shots from out wedding done in our zombie finery and the morbid setting that was once a storybook scene? I looked into the eyes of my husband, and as he looked back, they sparkled with glee at the thought of saying “I Do” here once again.

Before leaving, we stood upon the steps where one of our favorite wedding photos was shot and took a quick photo, letting the passage of time, the memories of the past, the promise of the future wash over us. It was nostalgic, bittersweet and one of the greatest afternoons of our married life.

Day 17: Them Bones

Day 17: Them Bones – found at a cemetery while geocaching

My husband and I are considered a tad strange. We love Halloween and go all out, we own a hearse, we used to live in what was once a funeral home and aren’t creeped out by it, we love things that are a bit morbid, we collect bones when we are out hiking and geocaching.

I am fascinated by the different skulls and bones that we have discovered, the condition that most of them are in and how well preserved they are. The physical make up of the bones themselves and how they are knitted together. I have never had a desire to become a vet, or go into biology, but there is just something about bones that is bewitching.

A while back, we visited the Museum of Osteology in Oklahoma City and were giddy with joy as we meandered around looking at bones and fossils of all types. It was an incredible journey into the land of bones. My camera had a smorgasbord to feast upon, shooting bones of a variety of animals. I literally squealed with delight when we came upon the section with the bat skeletons. How delicate their wing bones are, and it is mind boggling that such thin pieces of bone can maintain flight.


While the wing bones of bats seem tiny, they are nothing in comparison to that of the humming bird. They are such delicate creatures while hovering around flowers and feeders, but seeing what lies at the base of their being and how they can move so quickly is astonishing. These tiny birds with bones a wisp in thickness soar magically around us.


Of all the shots captured at the bone museum, my favorite has to be the picture of the cephalopod. It wasn’t until I got home and got all of the pictures transferred from camera to computer that I was actually able to see how well the shot really came out. I was nothing short of thrilled and even looking at it now, makes me smile and think, “Wow, I really captured that shot!” It has become one of the memorable, favorite moments behind the camera.


As delightful as the museum itself it,they also have a gift shop where you can buy bone related items, as well as actual bones themselves. Skulls, skeletons, bones of all shapes and sized.  many will look at bones as being morbid and death, for me they are the base of life. How would any living thing move without the strength of the bone? As we hike, as we cache, and as we continue to find them, we will collect these incredible skeletal treasures, the beauty of bones.