Blogger of the Week : Monique

As you well know, I love my readers and commenters. And I mentioned earlier this month that I want to start featuring a blog each week. I love learning more about everyone, and I want to give you the opportunity to get to know each other as well.

EscapeHatch 125x125 DoodlePage 125x125

As Monique is the inspiration for this feature, it is only right that she be the first. I sent her off a list of questions and ridiculous requests and she graciously obliged my silliness and sent me answers and some amazing photographs. She blogs at Escape Hatch and Doodle Page and has become a very good friend over the last few months.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Actually, I had dried fruit this morning for breakfast. More of a snacking breakfast. And a Dr. Pepper which I'm sure completely leveled any nutritional value of the fruit.

Monique - Breakfast

What is your favorite childhood book? and why?
I don't know about favorite, but I loved The Donkey and the Rainbow and Eyes of the Dragon. The first because it was given to me by my Grandmother when I was going through a tough time as a kid. She said I could use a get-away. I threw myself into the book and gobbled it up in 2 days, turned around and read it again. She was right apparently. Oddly enough, I haven't read it since. Now, having just thought of it, I think I will now find and read it to the boys.

The second is the first book by Stephen King that I read. It was given to me by my mother when I was 16. I had just started my first job at Boman Twins Theatre. **Random info: This was on the cusp of theatres going mega. It had 2 screens and both theatres were HUGE. It was dying when I started, but I feel so honored to have been there when I was. It closed a few years after I moved on.**

Stephen King is one of my mother's favorite author's, so the gift was meaningful in that she was sharing her interests with me. She and I struggled at points in my childhood, I spent a lot of it living with my Grandparents while she worked as a bartender and partied her 20's away. The gift of the book was within a year of moving back in with her.

What is your favorite work of art? and why?
Oh My. My favorite work of art, and why. That is a tough question. I have so many different art interests I doubt one could totally do it. Here is my favorite art subject and the why is quite simple, I love motherhood.

Monique - Motherhood

From upper left clockwise: Mother and Child by Max Mannix, Motherhood by Pablo Picasso, Mother Holding Baby by Keith Harring, and Mother and Child by Gustav Klimt.

What is your favorite quote?
I have read so many quotes over the years I think I would find it impossible to think of my favorite quote, so I'll give you one good one and 1 of my all time favorite poems. Deal?

"I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound — if I can remember any of the damn things." - Dorothy Parker

This poem is special because it was one of the first I remember reading on my own. My Grandparents had a wonderful set of books that I now own most of, though some were lost over the years. One was a collection of classic poetry. I was young, elementary school, when I stumbled on it and it became mine that day. This is the one that I always think of. The book itself is mixed in with the many I have stored away, I have nowhere in this house to have them out, which is a shame.

She Walks in Beauty
by George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron

She walks in beauty like the night
of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
meets in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
had half impair'd the nameless grace
which waves in every raven tress,
or softly lightens o'er her face -
where thoughts serenely sweet express
how pure, how dear their dwelling - place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
so soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
the smiles that win, the tints that glow,
but tells in days of goodness spent,
a mind at peace with all below,
a heart whose love is innocent.

What's your favorite super secret website?
LOL Well, I have shared this with you already. I am drawn to the girl's life.

What is your favorite and least favorite chore? and why?
I do not have a favorite chore. I pretty much hate them all, but I respect that they need to be done. If I'm in a position to choose one, I'll say vacuuming. There is something very oddly pleasing to me when I see a room freshly vaccumed. It just has an aire of crispness. My least favorite is easy. I hate laundry, because it never ever stops. I can walk into the bathroom when it is horrid and at least know that in awhile I will be finished. If only for a few hours or a day, it will be DONE. Laundry is never done. Regardless of how many loads I do, there will inevitably be a sock, rag or shirt SOMEWHERE to sit in the empty laundry hamper just WAITING for me, taunting me. UGH.

What makes your house uniquely your home? and why?
Ok, I must be getting tired because the only thing coming to mind is "Because I'm in it" and I know you want more than that.... Soooo.... My next answer would be that it is tidy but does not look untouched. You can see the personality of the people who live here.

Will you share a favorite recipe?
I am pretty much a freak for Tex-Mex food. I've gotten to the point where I cannot stand jarred salsa and make my own. It's so easy and nothing can possibly compare. Unfortunately I don't follow a recipe, I just do it. I'll do the best I can to give an idea, but it is a taste and add kind of thing the first few times you make it. Everyone has different tastes and jalapenos are moody li'l things.

Monique - Salsa

Monique's Salsa
10-12 stewed tomatoes (I buy them canned)
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 a bunch of cilantro
1 large onion
5-6 jalapenos
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lime

a food processer or strong chopping hands and a good knife

Monique - Salsa Mise En Place

I suck at the whole "this is how you do it" stuff. I start w/ 1/2 the tomatoes, pulsing just a few times, leaving them chunky. I like the cilantro and garlic finely chopped and the onion just shy of fine. I don't clean the processer out between ingredients, because, why? It's all going to the same place.

The jalapenos can be tricky, you never know if they will be scorchers or not. So just be cautious or daring, depending on what you like. I enjoy the flavor of the jalapeno far beyond what I like in heat ((and I appreciate a HOT salsa)) so I begin by slicing 4 peppers lengthways and removing the seeds to a bowl before throwing the peppers into the processor. I then add a small amount of the seeds, knowing reagrdless of how hot they are, I can handle that much.
Careful opening the processor after these, it will truly take your breath away and if possible wear gloves. (added info: Once before I learned this lesson I touched the skin under my nose after handling the peppers and went into a painful panic looking for help on the internet. What I found? Cream Cheese works wonderfully. It worked and took the burn out of it. I was grateful.)

I use the last of the tomatoes to grab anything left of the others things in the prosessor using the lemon, lime and salt as finishing touches. It takes much more salt then you will think is necessary, and if you taste it and get a sense of all ingredients but it seems like something is missing, it is probably the salt. I am always surprised at the amount of salt needed. Which is also why I don't make this every week.
{Barbara: I think she did just fine explaining}

What homemade project are you most proud of? and why?
I love making halloween costumes for the boys. We've had Peter Pan running through the house, a Hobo, a Dinosaur, a Pirate and several others. My favorite to make was this astronaut costume. Bailey has an ongoing theme in his life, he wants to be a comic book artist or an astronaut. He wanted an astronaut costume for halloween and once I started thinking of ways to create it, I just couldn't stop.

Monique - Astronaut

Monique - Astronaut
{Barbara: I think she did an amazing job!}

What got you interested in photography? Will you share a few of your favorite photos?
I simply cannot remember where it began. I really don't. I do know that I have always been drawn to photographs, tearing them from magazines and keeping them. I've always had a camera of some kind, I even still have negatives from elementary school that are 110's. In my junior high yearbooks, I have a few entries that read "to the girl who takes lots of pictures". It still amazes me that at no time did I even consider being on the yearbook staff. I was content doing my thing.

When I started my first job at 16 I bought an old Minolta 35mm from a pawn shop and wore it out. It was the camera I took w/ me to college. I love that I learned w/ it because it did nothing for me. There was nothing to help me cheat. I didn't have a light meter, no auto to it, anywhere. It was all me and I think I developed better knowing if I wanted this image on the negative then I had better know my stuff.

The images I'm sharing are special because they were among the firsts I took in college. That was the beginning of me saying "ok, this is real and I want to do this" instead of just clicking away happily as a hobby.

"Smokey" This was taken in the alley beside the tiny movie theatre in the tiny college town we were in. I loved his duster and had this image in mind a long time before seeing it on film.

"Fountain" This is a very long exposure of the fountain on Riverside Drive in Tulsa Oklahoma. I was using the camera I mentioned above without a light meter, it wasvery late, very dark and I just did it with the theory that leaving the shutter open long enough would allow what little light I had to burn something on the film for me.

"Riverside Drive" Same night as the fountain picture.... I had a better understanding of what to expect from this shot and have always loved the S curve in the street and wondered what an image would look like fromthe bridge. Now I know, and it is still one of my favorite photographs.

Please visit Monique's blog and say hi! She's an amazing woman, a good friend and she has a fun blog. Her links will be up in the sidebar all week.


  1. Monique you are certainly a talented well rounded lady with all your interests. Those are some great pictures and I LOVEEEEEEE the little astronaut - what a cutie. It was nice to get to know more about you.

  2. Thank You Tamy, how kind.


Thank you so much for commenting. I love every single one!