Friday, August 29, 2008

Blogs of Note: Impressive pet photography from Paige at Look Away

Roxy in repose

Ginger, motionless

Dollie in motion (as always)

I've decided to start featuring posts about my favorite blogs. I'm often a silent observer of other people's blogs, always hidden in the shadows and being amazed by what others are blogging about. I often take ideas or inspiration from them, yet rarely do I leave comments about what I've seen. I do always share these blogs with my friend Georgia, but I'd also like to share them with a wider audience (you!). So I'm starting a feature called "Blogs of Note" with one of my recent favorites, Look Away.

Being a somewhat avid amateur photographer of pets and animals, I am always amazed by other photographers' ability to capture their subjects in sharp focus. I'm especially impressed by Paige and the never-ending portraits of her cat, Roxy. No matter what the setting or the situation, Roxy is always rendered in razor sharp detail, down to her whiskers.

How does Paige do this? I am utterly stupefied. Because, as you can see, my pets are never still. Wait, I take that back—Spanky is a little bit of a supermodel, but certainly not the rest of them (Max, Dollie, and Adora). My cat Ginger is also a rather good model, but she lives with my parents, and when I am over there she is often hard to find.

So needless to say, I'm a serious devotee of Paige's blog. I check in weekly to see what beautiful images she has captured of Roxy, among other things, since Paige is an awesome photographer and has just started her own photography business. I'm jealous, yet I'm also inspired to continue working hard at my adopted craft, trying to remember to use that tripod and lay off the caffeine to avoid the shakes, although I admit I do like some of the blurry shots I capture. Then maybe one day I'll have my own series of pet photos that blow the viewer away, like Paige's pictures do.

(Photo of Roxy the cat courtesy of Look Away)

Random pix from previous camping trips

Sam in charge of a s'mores operation

American gothic, Hoover-Hoogestraat style

Otto barking, Hambone observing

Rabid Otto

The future Hoogestraats by the campfire

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Group shots from previous camping trips

Family Camping Trip 2005, Nelson Dewey State Park, WI

Hoover Siblings Camping Trip 2005, Morrison-Rockwood State Park, IL

Family Camping Trip 2006, Morrison-Rockwood State Park, IL

Family Camping Trip 2006, Morrison-Rockwood State Park, IL (frolicking in a field of sunflowers)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Vespa word: yum

I want one of these. They are so, so beautiful and cool and neat and stylin'. I saw a guy at Whole Foods with one a while ago, and the thing is absolutely gorgeous. The color is even more vivid in real life, if you can believe it. I can totally picture me tooling around Warrenville on one, doing errands or running to Starbucks. If they were $1,500 or something, then I might have a chance to save up for one. Or if I suddenly come into lots of disposable income, then I would certainly run out and purchase the sweet and lovely machine. But alas, neither is the case, so I must admire from afar.

4-minute Inflatable Bed

I got a set of inflatable beds from JCPenney last night. Jenny was kind enough to pick them up for me at her local store because they're sold out everywhere else. I think I've bought 3-4 air mattresses over the last five years, each at about $20-30 a pop, and they always end up leaking or disappearing. Last year we would go to sleep on a nice, puffy mattress and wake up in the morning laying on a deflated rubber balloon, rocks digging in our backs and feeling achy all over. So I decided to go with this particular model for its ease of use and comfort. Can't wait to try it out!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Nic and I think we have a strong family resemblance. What do you think?

Camping countdown

Well, it's here again. Time for the annual family camping trip. This year we're going to Nelson Dewey State Park in Wisconsin. Yesterday afternoon Pete, my dad, and I were setting up tents in my parents' backyard, airing them out and checking for any needed repairs. Seems like a lot of the camping equipment has disappeared yet again, like it does every year. My stove has reappeared (Steve has it) but I'll need to go buy an air mattress and some other supplies. I already had my mom pick up some lanterns and flashlights too. I swear I've bought like six lanterns in the last five years, and I only go camping once or twice a year. But stuff just keeps disappearing, so what else can you do?

It was funny though. Otto saw us setting up the tents and ran outside to see all the action. He was so excited he tried to run into my tent, but the door was zipped shut and he just ran smack into the canvas. Luckily the structure was fairly sound and it didn't collapse from the force of his massive head.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


The infamous headless dog treat jar, showing the breach of security

Half-eaten dog treats on the counter

Dollie next to the dog head, pre-breakage

Dollie relaxing on the counter during happier dog head times

If you haven't noticed, our cat Dollie is an odd bird. She seems to have a fondness for dog treats. Yes, very strange, right? While Pete and I were on our honeymoon, Matt said someone had knocked the dog head off of the dog treat jar (it's a dog cookie jar) and he originally thought Spanky or Adora did it. He had found the dogs standing around the broken head, barking and going nuts, so he put them both in their cages and cleaned up. When he told me this, I knew right away it was Dollie who broke the dog head. She likes to lay on the counter (which I don't appreciate, but I tolerate, since the dogs chase her otherwise) and tends to throw stuff on the floor. I thought she had been rubbing against it or something and just knocked it over.

But then on Saturday morning, I walked into the kitchen to find the temporary aluminum foil lid pushed aside and a couple of half-eaten dog treats out on the counter, along with numerous crumbs from other already-eaten treats. I was surprised to find out she was actually EATING the dog treats. When I mentioned this to Iz, she confirmed my hunch, saying that Dollie had stolen a dog treat right out of Iz's hand when Iz wasn't looking and was about to reward Spanky and Adora for doing a trick.

Last night I came home late and found more half-eaten pieces of dog treats out on the counter again. So now I realize Dollie has a serious hankerin' for those treats, which I find very weird but funny and cute. She seems to prefer the chicken strips and the little steaks over the bacon pieces and the pizza slices. I am finding more and more that Dollie is one of the most colorful and loving pets I've ever had, especially for a cat.

(Dollie photos courtesy of Iz)

New pedicure

Here's my lovely pedicure I got today with Jen. The left nail got screwed up while I was at my parents' house painting Matt's bean bag boards. I accidentally dragged my foot on the carpet while I was sitting on the floor working, and the little crystal got pulled off. But I was able to rescue the nail with a little trip to Walgreens and the purchase of another sheet of crystals and nail glue. Voila! Problem solved.

(Sorry about the blurry picture. And yes, I do seem to take a lot of pictures of my feet, don't I?)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

See ya!

Adora, bored in the car

Iz, Pete, the dogs, and I are off to run a late-night errand. Back tomorrow!

(Photo courtesy of Iz)

Friday, August 22, 2008


Well, I was feeling pretty good yesterday, but today I ain't as vivacious. I think it's because I almost kicked that stupid cold, but my allergies decided to mess with me, just to make things fun. So I've spent a good chunk of the day sneezing and sniffling, never straying far from a kleenex box or a roll of toilet paper. 

Anyhow, I just spent the last hour tinkering with our iPhones, installing updates and syncing them to my Mac. I showed Pete how to send text messages, but I'm not sure if he'll really use that feature. Best of all, I set up an email account for Pete—yes, seriously!—and synced it to his iPhone. Whew! I've been a busy tech nerd. I'd keep going, but I'm getting tired and feel like drifting off to sleep on the couch while I watch "The Dog Whisperer," our favorite Friday night show.

Tomorrow morning I have to paint a Cubs logo on Matt's corn hole box (a.k.a. beanbag toss), then go home and get ready to go to Pete's aunt's memorial service in the afternoon. On Sunday I have lunch and a pedicure scheduled with Jen, and I might do some grocery/camping shopping too. Only a week to go before we go on our annual family camping trip to Nelson Dewey State Park!

(Image courtesy of

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rosy glow

Well, the rosy glow has returned to my cheeks today, especially this evening. As the hours pass, I feel my health and energy returning. I still feel a bit run down and tired, but I should be just fine by this weekend. I have a bunch of ideas for posts floating around in my head, so I'm eager to start posting again.

Tomorrow I have a half day of work, then I might try to change my name at the Social Security Administration, go through our camping gear, and return the cake tiers to the cake lady. And since my mom and dad will be around in the afternoon, I'll pick up Pete from our rendezvous point and stop by their house to show them the wedding pix on my computer.

Ah, it's good to not feel like crap!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

STILL sick

When does it end? I had to stay home from work today because I feel so crappy. So I don't really have anything to blog about. Well, actually I do, but I'll save that post for tomorrow. It's almost rant-like, but I'll keep it somewhat pleasant.

Anyhow, I'm just at home, hanging around in my lounge wear and trying to change my name on all these things like SS, driver's licence, etc., which is a pain (just like my throat). Hint, hint, that's what my post will be about tomorrow, if I'm up to it. 

Well, I'm going to rest now and wait for my hubby to come home from work....

(Photo courtesy of Corbis)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I'm feeling very under the weather today. Whatever sickness that guy on the plane from Hawaii to Phoenix had, he gave to me. What a nice person, eh? So I just got home from work and I'm going to go to sleep. I'll be posting again as soon as I'm up to it, I promise.

P.S. I'll be starting up The Bitchy Deli again, hopefully tomorrow or Thursday, so look for new posts appearing there soon.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Home at last!

Adora seemingly waving a friendly "hello"

Well, Pete and I arrived home this weekend to some very happy dogs and cats (and family and friends, too). We adored Hawaii, but I don't think I'll miss being on a plane or in an airport for a long, long time. I'm still unpacking but my photos are all uploaded. I have to post the cream of the crop online for people to check out. IPhoto tells me I took almost 3,000 pix! So I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Anyhow, it's good to be back home, hangin' with Iz, and just relaxing in our normal, wedding-free lives. Well, except for the thank you cards we have to make and send. But otherwise things are almost back to normal, and harmony is restored in the Hoogestraat household.

(Photo courtesy of Iz)

Slimy Hoover

Today Iz and I went to Petsmart and bought a snail for my fish tank, to help keep things a bit cleaner. We brought home a Blue Mystery Snail and named him Slimy Hoover. Slimy, because he's slimy, and Hoover, because he cleans like a vacuum (and that's my maiden name). 

At first, Kayo (the red and white calico fish) was sucking on his shell, thinking he was food. Feeding the fish helped this problem. Scrappy didn't even notice him, which is good, because he likes to suck on big rocks and spit them out. I would hate for Scrappy to mistake Slimy for a giant, tasty rock. 

Slimy settled in pretty quickly and started right to work sucking on the rocks and the aquarium walls. At this rate, he'll be maximum size in a matter of weeks. There's a lot to clean and eat in there, that's for sure.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My feet and the waves—a sequence of images

Last day in Maui, homeless

Pete forcing down leftover ice cream at the beach

Steam blowing from the Sugar Cane Train, while Pete observes

Chris on the Sugar Cane Train

Pete emerging from the waves

View of Hanakao'o Beach

Friday, August 15, 2008

Haleakala National Park, part five (ending at the hotel)

Chris in awe of eucalyptus forest

Sunlit leaves

Pete walking through sunset in the forest

Sunset on the way to Lahaina

Pete and Chris in the hot tub

Haleakala National Park, part four

Little green bird and my foot

Berries on a bush

Pete and Ken make a fire

Hot dog and a good read, "Pocket Guide to Hawaii: Trees and Shrubs"

Mossy rock