Photo a Day Challenge: June 30 – You, Excited for June

Austin Light photo

They invited me to a photo shoot.

Seven-hundred-fifty employees here – mostly young, wholly beautiful – and they invited the Gen Xer in dire need of a haircut. They’re for a campaign for our wonderful company. I took my place at the end of the couch, blending in with the Beautiful Six.

Blending in like an armadillo in a fox parade.

I folded my arms, fussed with my hair. I worried about my graying mop. Did I trim my nose hair? This can’t end well. Under bright lights, I told a joke when photographers asked us to “look natural.”

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Photo a Day Challenge: June 28 – Routine

challenge routine

I face a test every morning.

It involves a finger prick and a reading. How’d I do with that late-night snack? My glucose monitor doesn’t lie. I know what to expect mornings after three bowls of Frosted Flakes the night before. I know what to expect when it’s been an English muffin and sun butter.

I try to start my mornings with a tall glass of water and stretching.

They replace a swig of Coke Zero and bleary-eyed checks of the mobile phone and blog comments. I crack eggs to eat over medium with a warm tortilla, or scrambled, wrapped in tortillas or mixed in with strips of corn tortilla, fried in olive oil.

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Photo a Day Challenge: June 27 – Silhouette

silhouette challenge one

My kids won’t give my camera phone a chance.

hayden silhouette challenge

The moment they notice me bumbling around to find the camera app, they gently (but firmly) push down my forearm, like a dirty trick against a goalkeeper on a corner kick. “No, dad,” the kid will say. “I’ll take the picture on my phone and send it to you.

“Your phone sucks.”

It’s especially challenging to snap a quality shot of a silhouette. We played Rat-a-tat Cat on a well-place gazebo bench and waited for fireworks. I waited for the sun to set to the west and frame my perfect silhouette of one of my girls or possibly all of them.

I captured the photo above.

Marie, though, asked about the theme. “I have some silhouette shots.” She scrolled through her better-than-my-android iPhone at three beautiful shots – all of her little sister on the lake. Marie’s shot appears to the right.

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Photo a Day Challenge: June 26 – Up Close

challenge up close

And then there were two.

This is Brownie. A close-up of Brownie. She’s a cat in her teens, which would be like a human in her 80s. She’s had a couple of close calls. She’s cashed in a handful of those nine lives. The closest call: A grudge match between her intestines and ribbon.


She’s losing muscle mass and there’s other signs. There’s also signs she’s got plenty of life to live. She is a constant companion to the girls I love most in this world. So on the day I snapped this, I thanked her. Not that she’s going anywhere.

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Photo a Day Challenge: June 25 – Bright

challenge bright

I didn’t expect to go out.

Honestly, I wasn’t in any condition. I’d worked all day in the garage. I’d flung on a hoodie, a Broncos cap, soccer shorts and my Star Wars loafers. I’d intended to schlep free Wi-Fi at Harris-Teeter for a few hours while my two youngest kids babysat.

I took the invite to check out music at a Charlotte legend instead.

The theme at The Milestone that night: Reunions. All bands who took the stage at this historic and endangered music venue did so with at least two years since their previous performance together. “We got to dust this off,” one musician said after his set.

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Photo a Day Challenge: June 24 – Happiness in a Cup (and Also the ‘Who I am’ Project)

challenge happiness

It’s another convergence of challenges.

Today’s words are Happiness in a Cup. Now that I’ve effectively quit Coke Zero (did I mention that?), the easy out on this no longer exists. I can’t even quit soda at the right time. Neither Pippa Middleton nor pizza fit in a cup, you see.

A heart-felt, homemade jewelry item from a kid you’re bonkers about? Put that in a cup as it waits for her to repair it, and, well, if that’s not happiness in a cup, I don’t know what is.

This isn’t easy to decipher. No, it’s not three chunks of beef caught in chicken coop wire. It’s three gems. It’s a homemade wire bracelet, with gemstones attached. Grace made it for me. She implored me to pick out gems from her stash.

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Photo a Day Challenge: June 23 – Confetti

challenge confetti

I texted Elise.

“Do you have any confetti?” Nope, the girl said. Why should we. Let me ask you this: Is there confetti in your house right now? Crap. I didn’t want to buy stuff solely for the Photo a Day Challenge. That feels like it should cost me my amateur status.

What’s confetti, except for chopped up paper?

One man’s dustbuster mess is another man’s confetti. So what about those confetti cupcakes? I could make some of those. A buck-10 later, I’m on my way. Only, I wasn’t. Because I pulled the cake too early. A boxed cake. I busted it open flipping it out of the pan.

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Photo a day: June 20 – Family

challenge family

To watch my girls is to watch Animal Planet.

Even in a docile moment, with all three in various states of lounging, girl scowls relaxed, eyes fixed on devices, it takes just one swipe of frivolity. This one takes a swipe at that. Another pelts one with a pillow. And it’s on.

Serenity lasts as long as a pack of string cheese around these.

So when a moment happens like the one in today’s picture, you don’t wait. You whip out your $20 Android on a Father’s Day Spiderman binge, and you capture the moment. It didn’t last long, as you might imagine.

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Photo a Day Challenge: June 19 – Sand

challenge sand

This is sand.

It’s a time-wasting website Grace featured on her guest post here. It hit me as I struggled to find sand in my mind, let alone my world, for the next word in the photo challenge. A great excuse to get to the coast, germs and all, right?

I began trying to replicate a beach scene, with a sunset, or a sunrise, whichever it happened to look most like.

As “Let it Be” strained over my Pandora, I began to just that. I’d changed mindsets, seeing my native Colorado western sky for a moment, then the old-school Milwaukee Bucks uniforms in the next.

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Photo a Day Challenge: June 18 – Pink (Plus a Monday Music Blog Hop)

challenge pink

My kids have developed an aversion to pink.

It’s partially because the entire toy section seems to be divided along pink vs. camo lines. My girls bring ferocity, in a pretty way. That’s the best way to describe it. Not hair-bow pretty, but just enough eye makeup, usually painted fingernails pretty.

Yet, they come to kick some ass.

My sport Saturday: To watch a handful of 3v3 games Grace played in, while keeping my germs at a distance, as the only guy at the field with a chill and long sleeves. I downed a couple of Gatorades on the day, one of them pink, to wash down Ibuprofen.

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