Tag Archives: photography

Hot Tub Time Machine

Once upon a time I was going to write a blog post about the odd phenomenon of abandoned shoes found lying on our streets, county highways, and interstates.  I mean, it’s weird- right?  Because it’s not even pairs of shoes.  It’s single shoes.  And most disturbing, sometimes it’s a toddler shoe.  Like, what even happened here?  How did some baby just randomly lose a shoe on the interstate?  And it’s not like you’ve only seen them once or twice – IT’S ALL THE TIME.  Anywhere in the US, you can hop in the car, drive down your local highway and find at least one shoe within the first 10 miles.

That alone is enough to call Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Machine – time to bring in those meddlin’ kids.  But my discovery this morning really takes the cake.  And you know how I feel about cake.

On my way to town, I noticed a large, round object in the ditch.  I was running late (shocker, I know), so I only glanced at it, thinking it was a big spool of construction wire or maybe a big new cement culvert or something.  But on the way home, I was driving at a much more sedate pace (translation: speed limit), and noticed that what I had originally thought was a culvert, was actually an abandoned hot tub.

Wait.  What?

A hot tub?  How does one go about littering a hot tub?  It’s not like chucking an empty pop can (or baby shoe) out the window.  This is a fricking hot tub.  A HOT TUB PEOPLE.

Hot Tub Time Machine

Abandoned Hot Tub Time Machine. 1986, anyone?

This is by far, the weirdest, random, piece of trash I have ever found on the side of the road.  Like, whoever threw this out deserves a 5 million dollar littering fine, and maybe a medal because how did they even lift it out the window.

Okay, I’m sure it was on the back of someones pick up truck but still.  “Gee, I don’t want my hot tub anymore.  I think I’ll just go leave it on the side of the road.”   Who does that?

Hot Tub Time Machine

Just to prove I really did find it on the side of the road, here is a photo taken a little farther out.

Seeing it reminded me of the movie, Hot Tub Time Machine – a predictable but somewhat funny movie where 4 guys get drunk and go back in time to 1986 via faulty hot tub and bizarre Chevy Chase cameos.  It was tempting to make a “FREE- HOT TUB TIME MACHINE” sign for it and con Dave into sitting in it with me just for the photo-op.  But then we’d have to haul over some booze bottles, make the sign, fill the tub with water, find Chevy Chase….  Plus, maybe it really is a time machine?  Did I really want to chance 1986 hair?

So I just snapped this plain old boring photo and you will all just have to be happy with that.

Hot Tubbingly Yours,


PS- this post is in participation of Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge.  Click on the icon to join the fun!cob-banner


Clean Your Plate. #CFFC

I’m way behind on my blog and wanted to do a quick little blurb so you all know I’m alive and kicking.  Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (#CFFC) this week is about our Sense of Taste so I figured it was the perfect venue for something short and sweet (see what I did there?  Now that’s talent.)  Grab a quick couple of food photos, pop them in my blog and viola.

Do you have any idea how many food photos I have?  Neither did I.  Holy cheese on a cracker.  Apparently I like to eat.  And before I like to eat, I like to photograph it.  And then eat some.  And then photograph it again.  And then photograph the empty plate.  No starving children in China at my house, that’s for sure.

It took me forever to whittle down my food photo collection to a few that are actually in focus and have some sort of visual aesthetic.  So not only do I take a lot of pictures of my food, I am so excited to eat it I can’t seem to take a decent photo. Even so, I still had over 20 photos to consider.  Man, do I like food or what?

I finally decided to go with tasty regional treats – food items that fairly scream “WISCONSIN!”

First up:  Booyah.  And not the “BOO-YAH!” yelled as an exclamation.  Booyah as in Chicken Soup That We Don’t Call Chicken Soup Because It’s Really Called Booyah.

Most booyah is made with chicken, potatoes, carrots, and cabbage, along with other random vegetables like onions, green beans, celery, etc. and then maybe some beef stock or something – hard to say seeing as most recipes are family secrets handed down from generation to generation.  It all gets chucked in a ginormous iron kettle and cooked outside over an open fire, and served Burn The Top Of Your Mouth Off Lava Hot.

Summer church picnics, local festivals and family gatherings are where you will find booyah, often sold as a fund-raiser so bring your empty plastic ice cream buckets and be sure to buy some to take home.  It’s best eaten with a cold beer in one hand and a handful of saltine crackers in the other and perhaps a piece of homemade bread on the side slathered with real butter.  Follow that with some Belgian pie or raspberry torte and a hot cup of joe.  Or another beer.

Belgian Heritage Center Booyah

Booyah! Served at the Belgian Heritage Center in Namur, WI.

Speaking of beer…..that just happens to be my next photo.

Yeah, yeah – Wisconsin cliché’ but at least I didn’t photograph it with a brat (“brat” – pronounced “braht” -meaning delicious regional sausage that you set on fire with your grill while praying you don’t burn down the neighborhood and then eat it’s charred goodness on a bun with onions, mustard, ketchup and sometimes sauerkraut depending on your ethnicity).  But only because I didn’t have a photo of one.  I must eat all my brats before I think to photograph them.  This also happens a lot with cake.

Wisconsin is the land of sky blue waters and a LOT of beer, but New Glarus Spotted Cow is the best beer in all the land.  IN ALL THE LAND I TELL YOU.  Do not argue with me on this, beer heathen.

It’s also only available in Wisconsin, so if you want it, you gotta come here to get it.  It will be worth the trip.  I promise.

New Glarus Spotted Cow

Ice cold Spotted Cow on a hot sunny beach.

And for my final entry:  Friday Night Perch Fry.  Because A) we are as regionally Catholic as they come and B) the Great Lakes and Green Bay have a strong commercial fishing industry, with much of the catch being yellow perch.  Which are delicious deep-fried in batter and bathed in tubs of tartar sauce so you don’t actually know you are eating fish because fish are gross.  I do like perch except when they get ‘fishy’ and you never know if you are going to get fishy perch so I usually just get fried cod instead or better yet a steak.  In fact I think my photo is actually cod, not perch.  But who cares.  My point is that we eat a lot of fish on Friday’s, and perch is super popular and most people eat it except me because I’m a weirdo.  And fish are gross.

Friday Fish Fry

Friday night fish fry at Gibraltar Grill in Door County, WI

And that’s a wrap, people.  Oh wait – here’s a collage of cake just because you can never have enough cake.  The two people in the one photo are my parents.  You can tell the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.  Nobody in our family will get kidnapped.

Caketastically yours,


The more you weigh, the harder you are to kidnap! Stay safe! Eat cake!

The more you weigh, the harder you are to kidnap! Stay safe! Eat cake!

PS.  My apologies on my short blurb getting sorta long, so I guess I should have explained that I meant “short” by Sue Standards.  Cuz ya know, I always gotta write a book.

PPSS.  Don’t forget to check out the other entries at Cee’s Photography!cffc


Jack Of All Trades

Master of none.  That would be me.

I am one of those people that loves to try new things, but rarely sticks around long enough to master my skill.  Unless you include being a dumb ass.  Pretty sure I have my 10,000 hours in on that one.

So far, I have tried my hand at scrapbooking, knitting, crocheting, cross stitch, beading, running, biking, photography, writing, clarinet, banjo strumming, volleyball, video gaming, veterinary medicine (in the sense that I worked for a vet, not that I became one), cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, history, genealogy, beanie baby leashes (don’t ask), horses, pokemon (again…don’t ask), comic book collecting, softball….

I don’t think I purposely tried so many things because I have some internal bucket list or because I’m so full of life I just have to try EVERYTHING.  It’s more like a repressive ADD gene that whispers “Aren’t you bored?  I’m bored.  I see something shiny on the other side of the fence.  Come on!  Let’s go see!  I’m dying here!  SO BORED.  Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. Bored.  MUST.  CHECK OUT.  THE SHINY THING!!”

Of course, that has its limits.  There are certain things my inner ADD will never get me to do.  Like, you will never see “bungee jumping” or “becoming an astronaut” or “sky diving” on that list.  I would prefer to live long enough to collect social security or become the crazy cat lady or just be a crabby old bag all the neighborhood kids tell stories about and ding-dong ditch me to see if I’ll run out with my shotgun.

That actually sounds kind of fun.  Dang.  Fifty isn’t nearly old enough to get away with that without getting arrested.  Although it seems I now found my reason to live to be 90.

So, where was I going with this…oh yeah.  One of my current hobbies is photography.  It’s hard to call it a hobby when I know almost next to nothing about it other than pointing at something interesting and pushing the shutter button, so every once in a while I get a wild hair and actually read something instructive.

This last time, my “something instructive” was reading Cee’s Tips and Tricks about macro photography.  I love macro shots, but I have a hard time figuring out how to get shots with that trademark striking clarity.  Cee’s macro photography is beautiful, and if I can ever learn to take photos of that caliber, I will be a happy camper indeed.  Of course, I might then get bored and move on to rocket science or something, but based on my current pace and the fact that I have about 50 other irons in the fire, that will be a long time coming.

Today I fooled around with my lenses – I only have two – an 18-55mm and a 55-200mm, which I know is supposed to mean something to me but I’m not really up on my lens lingo.  I only know the 55-200 is the bigger one and lets me take zoom photos which works well for zooming in on things like trees and rocks but terrible for birds.  I need one that’s like a foot long for bird photos because no matter how sneaky I am, those buggers hear or see me (“stealthy” will never be a word used to describe me.  More like “bull in a china shop”) and take off well before I am in any kind of decent range.  I tried hiding behind the bench but then the mosquitoes found me and I almost needed a blood transfusion.

I like to watch birds – or to use the politically correct term – “birding”.  I even have a list of birds I have spotted and I get all wiggy when I see a new one.  Does that make me an old bag?  I think it does.  In fact, I think I saw “bird watching” on the back of my AARP card.  Next thing ya know we’ll be going out to eat at 4:30 to beat the crowds.  Oh wait, we already do that.  Dagnabit.

Moving on….

So here are my most recent photos trying for a good macro shot.  I hope you like them and aren’t horrifically bored.  But if you are, I’m sure I can sell you some scrapbooking supplies or beading supplies or embroidery floss or a banjo or roller blades or a binder full of Pokemon cards.  They could be your next “shiny” object!



This one is my favorite of all the flower ones.

This one is my favorite of all the flower ones.

Lucky dog!

Lucky dog!

Daisy girl!

Daisy girl!

Look closely into her eye...what do you see?

Look closely into her eye…what do you see?


Older Than Dirt: A Photo Challenge Part 2

Hi there!

This is my 2nd entry to Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge:  Older Than 50 Years.  As usual, my photos are more about the stories that go with them, and less about the photographic composition.   I’ll have to make this short and sweet though, because I seem to have gotten tendonitis in both of my elbows and my right arm is flaring up right now.  And if you really believe that will keep me from writing a long dissertation then I have some swamp land under the Leo Frigo Bridge I would like to sell you.

Last post (you can read it here if you missed it) I told you about a mini family reunion we had and the stalking finding of our 3rd cousin Randy, still living on the original Conard family farm.

Our jolly caravan’s next stop was to visit my grandparents cottage on the bay, where we spent many a spider-filled day.  The original plan was to park on the road and peer thru the leaves at it while trying not to be noticed (or arrested), and then mosey on to my house for lunch.  However we were spotted by the current owner, Callista, who graciously invited us in and let us run amok on her property while we ooohed and aaaahed over our collective memories.

Callista was as thrilled to hear our stories as we were to hear hers.  While the interior is completely different, much of the exterior has the same feel, mainly because they kept the original stonework of the outside walls and fireplace – built with bay rock picked from the shore by the original owner (not my grandparents).

The door is gone, but you can see the space where it was.  That door survived a lot of grandchildren banging in and out of it all summer.  My sister and I got a little teary eyed walking across the cement steps.  Lots of memories there.

The door is gone, but you can see the space where it was. That door survived a lot of grandchildren banging in and out of it all summer. My sister and I got a little teary eyed walking across the cement steps. Lots of memories there.

The same wet cement steps that our young feet ran across when we banged thru the wooden screen door into the cottage to play crazy eights and drink bug juice. The same stoney corridor along the outside back of the house where chips of blue china were cemented in the grout and waves of bright green moss spilled across the top.  The same slab stone steps leading to the same rocky beach with the same boat house, although the front portion was gone.  They even had a hammock where my grandparents used to have one.

New, steel supported steps were built over the top of the old stone slab steps leading down to the beach.  Much safer, but I am glad they left the old ones underneath.

New, steel supported steps were built over the top of the old stone slab steps leading down to the beach. Much safer, but I am glad they left the old ones underneath.

What was missing?  Besides the front section of the boat house, I spotted only a few spiders – most of them quite small.  I swear when we were kids the spiders were the size of quarters and had huge bulbous abdomens and they hung on EVERYTHING.  I remember calling for grandpa to beat webby paths thru them in order to get the bamboo fishing poles or the black inner tubes we used for swimming.  Before going to bed my cousins and I would call for grandma to spider proof the bedrooms and make sure we didn’t have any in our sheets.

A note about the boathouse:  As kids, we spent very little time in it (spider haven – the really really big ones lived inside the boat house) but a lot of time on top of it, as it served as a beach deck.  A web and spider covered beach deck which I recall being a bit freaked out about.  Are you picking up what I’m putting down here?  I hated spiders.  Still actually not a fan.

Anyway, my grandfather got a really good deal on some irregular cinder block – which couldn’t have been too bad seeing as the boat house is still standing.  He sent my Uncle Jim and my dad and some guy who had access to a milk truck to go pick it up.  Now remember, this was the early 40’s so you need to get that image out of your head of the giant tanker trucks you see running around today.  This was probably more like a 1935 panel truck or something.

My uncle, my dad, and the driver were hauling the load of cinder blocks to the cottage when the transmission broke.  My uncle said they “broke gear box” just as they were about to go down the escarpment to the cottage.  I’m not sure what that hill looked like in the 40’s but I can barely ride my bike up it now without needing oxygen, so I’m sure it wasn’t any better.  It was, needless to say, a harrowing descent, well remembered by two mid-80 old farts.

They laughed when they told this story, but fewer smiles appeared when they described how they had to haul that cinder block down to the beach two at a time in a wheelbarrow.  Which leads me to the next tidbit – there was a family of girls in the next cottage down – one of whom still lives there and happened to come talk to us while we were visiting.  I am sure there were many girlish eyes stealing glances at the sweaty teenage boys building muscles while hauling cinder blocks….

Obviously we had to take our picture on top of that iconic building and I was a little worried about the actual structural integrity left in those old block walls.  All that boyish hard work paid off however, because the boat house still supported the weight of a bunch of older than dirt cousins.  I was impressed.

We are all over 50, and the boathouse is over 75, so we all qualify.  The railing is new, thank goodness....

We are all over 50, and the boathouse is over 75, so we all qualify. The railing is new, thank goodness….

Old fartedly yours,


PS.  Besides frightening long lost relatives and imposing on complete strangers, we also visited the cemetery to say howdy to our Belgian immigrant ancestors.  great-great-great grandparents Gillian and  Marie Francoise Nihoul Conard and our great-great grandparents Louis and Marie Flore Laurent Conard and our other great-great grandparents Joseph and Mary T Boulet VanCaster (whose daughter Pelagie Blanche married Louis and Marie’s son Julian (my great grandfather), in turn having my grandfather Cliff Conard who then had my father – Thomas W. Conard).  I have pictures below for my family members who were not able to make the reunion, and of course for any weirdos of my followers who happen to have a bit of a morbid streak like me and love looking at old grave markers.  I also included a few bonus pics.  ENJOY!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge Week 18

Today I am participating in Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge for the first time. According to Cee:  “This challenge subject is all about capturing the roads, walks, trails, rails, we move from one place to another on. You can walk on them, climb them, drive them, ride them, as long as the way is visible. Any angle of a bridge is acceptable as are any signs.”

You can see her entry HERE.  Links to others are in her comment section.

My entries this week are all taken at the same place – just different seasons.  Guess which season gives you wood ticks??  😉

Enter if you dare.  Beautiful - yes.  But blood sucking danger hides in the foliage... Mwa hahahahahahaha!

Enter if you dare. Beautiful – yes. But blood sucking danger hides in the foliage… Mwa hahahahahahaha!

Bare but still beautiful.  And wonderfully bug free.

Bare but still beautiful. And wonderfully bug free.

Taken on the coldest day of this past winter.   Windchills of -40.  But the sun was shining!  And no bugs!

Taken on the coldest day of this past winter. Windchills of -40. But the sun was shining! And no bugs!

Have a great day, youse guys!


Beans, Beans, The Musical Fruit

Do you see what I see?

Do you see what I see?

“What’s this bean thing on the floor?”

I didn’t pay much attention when Dave said this the first time. My husband is the king of asking the unanswerable question and I have learned to tune them out over the last 30 years. Which in turn has taught him to ask them again until I finally say in exasperation “How would I know that?”

I will admit this particular question might have been fairly easy to answer if I had gotten up off my lazy butt to go look at it but I was reading and why does he always have these pressing issues when I am trying to read or watch TV? I left my butt firmly planted on the couch and mumbled “No clue, honey,” and turned the page.

He threw whatever the bean thing was into the garbage and continued with his morning puttering – tidying up our already tidy house, wiping off counters, lamenting over the dogs dirty nose prints on the window he just cleaned.

“When are you walking the dogs?” he asked, suddenly standing over my shoulder.

Dude. I’m reading. Can you not see I am reading? “I don’t know – why?”

“Because I want to get the floors mopped and it’s easier to do it if they aren’t walking all over it at the same time.”

“Yah, yah, I know,” I said. “I’ll take them as soon as I finish this chapter. I have about 2 more pages.”

Dave began walking across the living room on his way to the basement to do some sort of manly man thing while he waited, when he stopped and bent over to pick something up from the carpet.

“Hey,” he said. “It’s another of those bean things. What the heck are these things? And why are they all over the house?” He walked towards me with his hand outstretched, until it was under my nose.

I put my book down and peered into his hand. Uh oh. Finally this man had my attention. And I finally had a question of his that I could answer, only I didn’t want to give it because I wasn’t too happy with it.

“Oh yuck. I think that’s a _____”, I said.

“No way. Really? How can that be a _____?”

I got up off the couch and Dave and I walked into the kitchen, so we could look at it in the sunlight. Sure enough. That wasn’t a bean.

“Yup, that is definitely a ____. That’s how they look after a few days on a _____.” I said, grimacing.  Dave looked horrified and he dropped the “bean” on the table.

“Why do they get like that? Is that because they are full of ___?”


“That’s totally disgusting.  You know what this means, right?”  I knew what he was thinking.  He was thinking these things could be in other places in our house.  Like our bed.  The chairs.  The couch.  The blankets.  Anywhere the dogs could go. We both looked at the bean now crawling across the table and shuddered.

We had to burn down the house.


I decided to put a fun twist on my entry this week for Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge, and write a story to go with my photo.  Then I decided to make it “more funner” by having you try to guess what our mysterious “beans” were.  If you care to take a guess, put your answer in the comments below.  I have nothing to give away, but will gladly ship you some of our ‘beans’ if you would like them.

The photo (a clue) is one of our lamps in the living room, taken when the sun is shining thru the shade in the morning.  It gives me a nasty jolt every time I see it, until I remember it’s just a shadow of the lampshade parts.

Until next time,

Creepy Crawly Sue

PS – for more entries in Cee’s challenge, click here and check out the other entries in the comments section of Cee’s blog.  Way more fun than “beans”!!!

I Have Mono

Ha!  Ok, not really.  I have “mono-tones” though.  As in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge Colorful Monotones.

“Sue and the Mono-Tones” would be a good name for a band.

This is what happens when I try to write my blog when I’m overtired.  Oh, who am I kidding.  This is how I always am.

On with the photos!

Camouflaged Cuteness

“Duke and the Mono-Tones” would also be a good name for a band.  Just sayin’.

I was trying to capture the water drops on this leaf when I took the picture, but it didn't turn out the way I wanted.  It serves well for a monotone though!

I was trying to capture the water drops on this leaf when I took the picture, but it didn’t turn out the way I wanted. It serves well for a monotone though!

Cloudy Lake Michigan

Cloudy Lake Michigan

Funny – I didn’t think I would have any good photos for this, but turns out I had a few.

Off to fold clothes and then head to bed.  My pillow is going to feel good tonight!

Slap Happy Sue

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Bathrooms and Outhouses

This week, Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge is centered on bathrooms and outhouses.  Knowing my personality, one would think I would have more of these photos in my possession but sadly, I disappoint even myself.

Found this outhouse in South Dakota after going thru the Bad Lands.  This was at a Praire Homestead museum of sorts, and the outhouse was, unsurprisingly, out back.  Of course I thought the mannequin was hysterical, but now I actually am sort of creeped out.  It’s like ventriloquist puppets – just a tad on the psycho end of the spectrum for me.

Hey pardner, do ya mind?

Hey pardner, do ya mind?


PS- I almost forgot to publish this – I was digging around my photos looking for monochromatic and suddenly remembered.  Gotta love “the change”…


5 Day Black and White Challenge – Day 4

So here we are – day 4 already!  One of the coolest things about this challenge is that I am finding out how much fun it is to convert to black and white.  A boring color picture becomes mysterious and intriguing in black and white.

Example – the picture below.  This was taken last fall at Mackinac Island in Michigan.   In color, it looks like a basic tourist photo – nothing too exotic.


But when I converted it to black and white and added a little “dusk” overtone, it suddenly became historical – a moment trapped in time found in Grandma’s scrapbook, and I hear myself asking “Who are these people, Grandma?” and she looks at it and says, “Hmmm…I think that’s Uncle Robby and his kids.  Turn that photo over – do I have anything written on the back? No?  Well, let me get my glasses….”


It is a bit like going back in time on Mackinac anyway, because there are no motorized vehicles allowed and most homes are similar to the one in the photo.

I would like to invite Gemma from Dear Bliary to have a go if she wants (no pressure!).  Gemma loves flying thru the woods with her grandson, Buzz Lightyear, while snapping fun photos and bringing joy to the rest of us with her stories and her neighborhood finds.  And sometimes, when we have been really good, she posts photos of her latest artwork.  So be good!  Visit her blog!

Day 5 tomorrow!



5 Day Black and White Challenge – Day 3

Welcome to Day 3 of my participation in the 5 Day Black and White Challenge (first post and rules HERE)  Today I bring you the tale of two photos.

I have been having some fun experimenting in black and white, and below you see the same photos with different effects done to them.

Don’t ask me exactly what I did though.  I am one of those “click and see what happens” people because that’s just how clueless I am.  Hopefully, the more I play, the more I will learn!

bwtree fuzzytree

Which do you like better?  How about the next two?

bwcross bwcross2

I would like to nominate Steve Boer at Steve Boer Photography to play if he wants.  No obligation or pressure, Steve – it’s perfectly ok to decline!  The rest of you should go check out his site anyway, because he is a spectacular photographer, with a high tolerance for nerds.

Day 4 tomorrow!