Dec 31, 2008

it's in the can.

it's the last day of the year.

man. this year has suuuuckkkked.
and all because we didn't eat black-eyed peas on new year's the beginning of this year.
i know it.

so i won't be making the same mistake this year. i bought 'em yesterday. we're eating 'em tomorrow.

(BTW: i'm not sure how or why the italic is stuck on, but it is. deal with it.)

yesterday, i promised photos of me sledding. here's the problem: no one actually got a shot of me going down the hill...only walking back up it.
which completely sucks.
take my word for it, it was fun. WAY more fun than Disneyland, and, if you know me, that is saying something.

here's the Husband. reminds me a little of a girlie exam, what with his legs in the air and all.

the Niece. on the other side of the wash from us. Little Miss Independence walked over there where some teenagers were sledding, and announced, "hey! watch out! i'm coming down!!"

no fear there.

this could be me. or not. looks good either way.

happy lad.
and another one.

just more evidence that everything looks better covered in snow.
and to you, Gentle Reader -
the happiest of new year's to you and yours. may 2009 be everything you want and need it to be.
and thanks for sticking around to read my babblings for another year.
see you next year.

Dec 30, 2008

Christmas '08 is in the books.

and what a Christmas it was.

we drove up Sunday to my brother in law's in northern California and spent the night. the next day we headed over the summit to my sister in law's for the fun.

we had to chain up partway across the summit...THAT was fun and the best damn $40 we spent.

of course, i could blah, blah, blah for ever, but what you want are photos.
and i believe in giving the public what they want.

yeah, i know. it's a fountain. but it's a frozen fountain. the only thing flowing is the top part. the rest of it is water falling down ice. just before i took it, there was a bird having a drink.

talk about an ice cold soda.

the Boy and i - taken by his sister. see - only two chins this time. i knew i liked that girl.

speaking of...

i don't think i need to explain i?

Christmas lights. in the snow. on the roof of the garage. cool stuff.

i love the insanity of presents with kids.
i love sitting in my sister-in-law's bedroom for three hours wrapping gifts.
i love the view from my niece's bedroom.
i just plain love being there.
tomorrow: the last post of the year and photos of me sledding. for real.

Dec 21, 2008

over the river and through the Tejon pass...

welcome to hell. otherwise commonly known as the American Road Trip.

not that road trips are always hell...we usually have fun on ours. but the Husband and i are soft Californians.

we can drive in smog. heck, i can drive through an earthquake and not even bat an eye.
but snow & ice, well... neither one is in our comfort zone.

and a Fat Girl is all about comfort.

it also doesn't help that i believe my mother (AKA Most High Priestess of Worry-Warts) is convinced that we are going to die in the snow.

why? check this out:
"when you're heading up there, if you have to pull over in the snow, DON'T leave the engine running. the snow could cover your exhaust pipe and if you fall asleep you could die of carbon monoxide poisoning.''

thanks mom. i feel so much better.

heck, she even gave the Husband money so he could buy survival blankets at the gun show yesterday.

but - today is the day.

we head up to spend Christmas with the Cutest Kids in Reno, after a stopover at my brother-in-law's here in northern California. then tomorrow, it's over the Donner Pass (yes, THAT Donner Pass) to Reno.

i'll try to post from the road. and just in case things don't go well at Donner, i'll bring hot sauce.
you don't eat a good man like him all at once, y'know.

Dec 14, 2008

a legend in my own mind.

one of the advantages of self confidence is just that: you believe in yourself. you have confidence. the belief that, in most things, you can do anything.

of course, the disadvantage of self confidence IS that you believe in yourself and that you can do anything.

and heaven knows, that ain't always right.

for example:
i can cook. i've always cooked, ever since i was a kid i was making messes in the kitchen. i took cooking classes in college. my lasagna is in high demand, not only in my family, but with some of my friends.

therefore, i become a legend in cookery. no one else in the world can cook as well as i.

until i find several people that not only cook well, they cook MUCH better than i do. then i'm depressed.

stupid, huh?

ego is an amazing thing. without some of it, you can become road kill in the emotional highway of life. with it, you run the risk of becoming Tom Cruise. not necessarily jumping on Oprah's couch, but starting to believe your poo doesn't reek.

for example, in case you didn't notice, i take pictures. some are OK. some are killer and a lot of 'em are crap.

don't argue. i know they're crap. i've seen em, remember?

but - give me a new, bad-ass camera and some lucky shots and suddenly i think i'm freakin' Ansel Adams.

so not the case. but i get lucky sometimes, which is what i think happens with all of us. you write a best seller, you got lucky. you cook dinner without burning it and everyone loves it, you got lucky.

skill+ability+karma=lucky shot.

but again, give me a cool camera, and suddenly i think i can do no wrong. which i can, and often do, but i still get lucky.

and i've got to remember that luck doesn't always equal talent. but enough of talent and luck can make me a legend. if only in my dreams.

peace out.

Dec 8, 2008

pretty photos and ugly fish.

Sunday, i was a Pomona Widder.

a Pomona Widder, for those of you not in the know, is a wife, not interested in cars (except to drive) and therefore is NOT interested in going to a HUGE MASSIVE ALL DAY LONG AFFAIR car parts (and everything else) swap meet out at the L.A. County Fairgrounds in Pomona...about 40 minutes from our abode.

now, i have done this swap meet before, or, as i call it, the Death March of Pomona. it seriously does take you all day to go through it. in the summer it's hot and you come home looking like a cooked lobster, sans drawn butter. go in the winter and you likely will freeze to death, gladly looking for the local beer stand so you can warm up.

beer can do what coffee can't.

so while Husband had some male bonding time, i was left to my own devices. and those devices turned out to involve a photo field trip.

California State University Long Beach is home to a small, but impressive, Japanese garden. it's closed on Mondays & Saturdays (not sure why on Mondays, but on Saturdays they're closed for weddings. i was at one there once...lovely, but hard to hear and no chairs. you stood for an hour.)
so i decided to go have some fun.

while the whole place has a wonderful calm air in it, even with about 25 other people there - along with a couple in their early 20s who apparently had nothing better to do than to walk around and take pictures of themselves.
gaaaah that was annoying.

colorful, yes. graceful and stately, yes. but uggggggggggggggg-leeeeeeeeeeeeee.

U.G.L.Y. you ain't got no alibi you ugly - hey!hey! you ugly!

but you do photgraph well. even for my own lucky shot.

Dec 7, 2008


this is what a baby looks like when you are booked to take her Christmas card photo during her 'cranky time.'

no dammit. i won't pose for you.
or maybe i will.
or not.
ok. i'll cooperate and look adorable.

even the dog wants to thank you for finally cooperating.

Merry Christmas.

Dec 5, 2008

good grief.

Tuesday night, i called my mom just to see how they were doing.

normally, i go over every Wednesday, but this time i had booked time with a girlfriend so the Husband (aka Computer Geek) could work on her computer.

"well," she said about half way thorough our conversation, "since you accuse me of never telling you anything, i have something to tell you."

my mind ran through a variety of very important information that i would likely need to know...and probably wouldn't have been told:
* the house burned down.
* my stepfather was in the hospital.
* the huge tree in the backyard fell over and smashed the house.
* all the cats were dead.
* my mom was in the hospital, the cats were all dead because the tree fell, smashed them and in the meantime the house burned down and my stepfather burned his bum trying to put the fire out.

ain't i a freaking ray of sunshine?

nope. none of the above. my mom (who, unfortunately, i get all my grace and balance from) slipped off the back porch steps (only two, and maybe about 16" off the ground), fell face forward into the stucco enclosed gas meter and sprained the hell out of her ankle.

(and it did occur to me that likely the only reason she told me this had happened WAS because i was due to be over the next day. that kind of messed up, you can't hide.)

she is messed up.

to quote the doctor, a severely sprained ankle. a messed up back. a messed up knee.(she doesn't have good ones to begin with. hey - great idea: let's make a bad thing even better!!) a HUGE fat lip and a triangle shaped bruise that starts at her bottom lip and tapers down just past her chin.

and with all this, what is she the most worried about?
not making her quilting club's Christmas party in a few weeks.

daaaang. i want that kind of concern in my life. it rocks to be retired.
it just doesn't rock to be a turtle at the bottom of the stairs.

in other news...

one of the girls i've worked with, and who is in our birthday dinner club, had mentioned a few months ago that she was interested in me taking pictures of her 18 mth. old great niece for their Christmas cards.

tonight was that night.

i got over there about 6pm, just like she asked me to. Miss Sarah, who is a TOTAL hambone whenever the dang camera comes out was totally ready for her close up, Mr. DeMille.

this kid, like my niece, knows how to work that camera. without being told, the girl can totally turn it on and gives you, the photographer what you dream of capturing.

tonight though - not so much. and auntie & mommy both said to me, well, this is the time when she gets cranky.

ohfortheloveofgawdandallthatisholy. tell me why you would want to try and take pictures of a kid deliberately during her cranky time?

sheesh. it's like poking a stick at a chick on her period. you just don't do it, man.

luckily, i still got some good and some killer shots. and finally when i said, enough is enough - for both our sanity's, i felt pretty good about it. especially after i got home and started cropping and tweaking.

not that kind of tweaking. sheesh.

but, the only opinion that counts is auntie's. and she is a hard one to please.
not only that, but if she feels slighted or pissed off or even unhappy, she will tell everyone. then be kind enough to smile to your face.

love those kind of people, don't you?

photos and medical updates to come. happy Friday, peeps!

Nov 30, 2008

don't hate me because i don't live in the snow.

(just so you know, my mom called me Friday morning to apologize for being such a....pain. i knew what her problem was; she has a variety of pain issues and hadn't taken a pain pill. my stepfather, however...a whole 'nother story.)

Saturday, the Husband & i headed down to the Seal Beach pier for some killer corned beef hash & eggs.

and i, of course, brought the camera for fun.

so don't hate me because there's no snow. but there are surfers.


my favorites.

and my favorite subject.


it's tough living near the beach. but someone's gotta do it.

Nov 28, 2008

bitter? me?? naaaah.

another Thanksgiving is part of our past. another chance to share memories, create new ones and spend precious time with family.


i realize no family is the Waltons. (and for you youngsters out there, The Waltons was a TV show back in the 70s about a large family in West VA growing up during the depression. they were way too close and happy. Crazy Auntie Kay used to lament that our family was nothing like the Waltons.) i know every family has its own peccadillo's. their own version of weird.

some, are just way more weirder than others.

we spent yesterday at my mom & step-pop's. as we like to, we ordered our dinner from Knott's, who, for about $75, provides a whole roasted turkey, mashed spuds, stuffing, gravy, yams, corn, rolls, butter, jam, cranberry jelly, bread & butter pickles (?!) AND a pie.

all cooked. all boxed up. all goooood. and what's even better is, we drive up, show them the receipt, they grab a box and put it in our car.

now that's my idea of cooking.

back to Thanksgiving.

Wednesday when i was at my mom's, the last thing i said to them was that we would pick up the dinner @ 3pm and come on over. and that i would call before we came over.

i forgot to call. and caught hell for it.

OK, i screwed up, but sheesh, when you know we're getting dinner at a certain time, then coming right over, well - it can't be that much of a surprise.

surprises come later.

when we got there, they were feeding the army of cats living there (yes. my folks are the neighborhood Crazy Cat People) and while i'm trying to redeem myself for not calling, i try to get a plate of cat food for one of the older cats who lives in the garage.

oh no. no food for that cat. the cat died a month ago.

excuse me?

yep. cat's been gone for a month and no one told me. i watched this cat birth. she was a little feral but still a good cat.

well thanks for letting me know.

i know it's a little extreme, but dammit it wouldn't surprise me if, the next time i go over there, they tell me that my mom or step-pop had passed. i don't understand what it is about this family that refuses to talk about anything. years ago, when my mom was diagnosed with diabetes, it took two days for her to tell me.

two days.

apparently communication isn't a strong suit in this family. so while i'm frustrated and irritated, i keep trying to tell myself that while my family is a part of me, i don't have to follow the same patterns they do.

but i wonder what Dr. Phil would have to say about it?

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

Nov 21, 2008


i'm not in a good place now.

i don't usually go here...this dark dim place where the sun doesn't always get through. but lately, well..

so for every negative, i try to come up with a positive.

lots of crap at work.
well, at least you have a job. the unemployment rate is up, and sits in your living room.

the economic situation in the world blows.
yeah. it does. but again, you're not missing meals...although you could stand to lose a few. you're making your bills.

even on the radio last week, our local country station was hosting a radio-thon, raising money for the local rescue mission. a woman called in, donating $200. she had lost her entire home in the Sylmar fires. but, she said, she knew there were people out there far worse off than she was.

i hung my head in shame, feeling sorry for myself because we are down one income. because it's hard to be strong when you know the most important person in your life cannot convince one single employer to take a chance on him.

it's tough to be the strong one, when all i want to do is cry.

come on over. it's the pity party of the year.

Nov 18, 2008

still standing.

no worries, kids. while living here was like living in some palm tree lined ashtray, nothing in our neck o de woods burned, smoldered or was singed.

and that is a very good thing.

so far, things are looking better for the firefighters. temps are dropping and the 70mph+ winds we've had are dying down. according to the news, the fires down here and up in Sylmar are 40% contained, the Santa Barbara one is considered out.

and the Husband, down in San Diego for the weekend with one half of the Cutest Kids in Hesperia, had a little challenge coming home; one of the freeways he takes from Hesperia was closed because of the fires, which left the 91 freeway. that one goes through another fire area, but while it was slow go, he got through fine.

p.s. - he's posting about his Midway adventures, but he's still working on it, kids. i'll let you know when he gets it completed.

not that there was any fire danger for us, but with all the heavy smoke & ash, it was scary. and many others weren't so lucky. and while there's no good time to lose everything, right now during this economy, it truly sucks.

switching gears...

tis the season - to get Christmas cards and gifts made. the supervisors at work are getting...wait for it...wrapped candy bars.

woo hoo!

i saw these at an open house at one of my local scrapbook stores; a big Hershey bar, wrapped in Christmas scrapbook paper and tied on one side with Christmas ribbon & mini tree ornaments.
i'm doing the same thing, except instead of ribbon, i'm using red netting.

cuter. cheaper, too.

and, being a lo-lo head, i always feel weird giving homemade gifts. i'm not sure why.
maybe it's because, years ago, i gave my then boyfriend's mom a poem i wrote, with a drawing.

i can't draw. i can barely write. it was still in the spare room on the floor, weeks after i gave it to her.

now i'm sure it's in a landfill.

in either case, it makes me feel like i'm giving someone a macaroni picture frame, spray painted gold and covered in glitter.

only when it comes from a kid, it means something. from a 46 year old, it ain't so cute.

i think i need therapy.

Nov 15, 2008

oh holy CRAP.

now the bloody fire is in my general neck o' de woods.

Brea. Yorba Linda. Anaheim Hills. Corona. all about 10-20 miles from us.

it's really like living in an ash tray. BIG ash, horrible smoke. i've got the house closed up, and of course it's about 90 all day.

the smoke is everywhere and it does make it hard to breathe. i don't know how people with asthma deal with this kind of crap. but tomorrow, i'm seriously considering heading over to Home Depot and getting some masks...if they still have any.

i'm watching footage of a house in Yorba Linda, about a 6000 ft one, now a pile of char because they're up in the hills and the pumping station burned down.

if you wanted a definition of irony, well - there you go.

and now they've arrested some dumbasses for looting.

the cat & i are laying low. there's no danger here, but it's scary.
it's smokey.
it's dark.
and it sucks to watch TV and know there's nothing you can do as you watch your home burn up.

prayers for them. for the firefighters. and even for the dumbasses that loot.

s-s-s-s-s-s-s-smokin' the second act.

well, as if the Santa Barbara fires weren't bad enough, now we've got a fire up in Sylmar, about 50 miles from us.

this time, we're getting some serious ash and even heavier smokey smell.

AND it's hot...89 right now, so you can't even have windows open, otherwise you'll die of smoke inhalation.

oh, lucky, lucky us.


the Husband is off for the weekend; he's going with my friend's kid's Boy Scout troup on an overnight trip to the USS Midway down in San Diego.

lucky him. not only is San Diego the in California, but it's usually about 15-20 degrees cooler than it is up here.

and no smoke.

who's the smart one now?

Nov 14, 2008


so not in a good way.

once again, the state is burning.

we've got another fire that started last night in Montecito, an unincorporated area of Santa Barbara, a very nice, veddy rich, town about 100 miles north of us.

i didn't know this, but apparently some celebrities live up in Montecito. Oprah has a home up there. so does Rob Lowe. the news this morning is all fire, all the time - and showing a 10,000 mansion going up in smoke and flame.

while i feel sorry for anyone that loses their home because of fire, earthquake or whatever, i can't feel quite as sorry for someone with more money than should be allowed. they can rebuild and easily.

but, i do forget sometimes - life here in Mostly Smoggy So. Cal. isn't, well...always real. as the home of the movie business, we specialize in make believe.

and sometimes, all that money makes you forget that there is a real world out there, with real people and real pain.

in other news...

there's a pretty good possibility that the Husband could end the year without a permanent job. although, the Big Boss at my work is trying to get him on as a contractor.

will he be bored? probably. we do have a lot of contractors, doing proofreading and other paper-pushing jobs.

but heck, if it pays more than unemployment, then guess what? he's taking it. this year has sucked big sucky-sucks, and i'm ready for '09 and a new start - not only for us, but for the Country as a whole.

(which also makes me laugh, watching the news and they say that "Barack Obama won the election" - heck, kids - he won the election alright, but man - it ain't no prize. good luck, man!)

back to sports -

Tuesday was my last photo class. he talked about the intermediate class (that i believe i'm taking) and what to expect from it. he also talked about the two photo field trips - BIG photo field trips - one in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and the other in northern California.

man. that would be sweet. i came home and told the Husband to hurry up and get a job so i could go.

because again, it's my world. y'all just live in it.

then we had show & tell.

probably about 10 or so of us brought photos on discs or thumbdrives. while most everyone brought photos of our two field trips in Norco & Balboa, they also included vacation photos & portraits they had shot.

silly me, i thought it was only for field trip shots. daaaang. i could've brought a TON of stuff and made 'em all sit through them, too.

kinda like going to someones home and getting stuck watching vacation video.

one older gentleman brought his pictures, not of either Norco or Balboa, but of his trip last year to Idaho. i can't remember exactly where, but there's a big falls out there and next to it is a walkway so you can walk down the waterfall to the end.

his pictures were of every step down that walkway.
OK. we get it. it's BIG. take your favorites and share. not the whole walk down.

snipe. snipe. snipe.

some of the photos that were shared were amazing. and in a good way. made me wonder what the heck they were doing there. and while most all of us shared too dang many photos of the Pavilion (myself included) i did get some good oooohs & aaaahs on the photo of the restaurant.

that made my day.

now if only the employment gods would see their way clear to share their ju-ju with the Husband.

THAT would make my year.

Nov 10, 2008


it snuck up without warning, smacking down all in its wake.

it's Monday.

and while it's a great day to be alive, birds are singing, sun is shining (or it will be, right now it's still pitch black) etc, etc, there's just nothing good to be said about Monday.

no, i haven't had my daily ration of diet coke, but i will, grasshopper, i will. and soon.

but it's still Monday. and Mondays always suck.

best of luck getting through today, kids.

Nov 8, 2008

going to the fun part of town.

last Tuesday, my photography class to a trip to Balboa Island for some shots.

Balboa, for those of you not local, is really more of a peninsula than an island. south of us here in the O.C., you can either drive direct, or take the ferry for fun and go across the channel.
like any other beach town, the houses are cute, small and right on top of each other. in the older part of Balboa, some of the houses are back from the '20s.
i used to be friends with a girl who's sister in law's grandmother was an original property owner, and we got to house sit for a long weekend, which totally rocked. heck, the house even had locks on the door that you opened with an old-skool skeleton key.
i never wanted a house more in my life.
back to class.
we set up at the end of a street, across from the Balboa Pavilion, about 25 of us, all with tripods, sweatshirts and lots of Starbucks. our instructor was giving us settings for the camera (some i got, some i couldn't figure out), trying out effects with shining flashlights on objects & people and the like.

the class was all about using existing light, no flash, just what's provided. most weren't bad, but everything's a learning curve, right?

this one was set on a timer, then just before it went off, we manually zoomed in & out. kinda cool. kind of an acid trip, dude.
after about an hour here, we headed back into the main drag for more fun with existing light and working with bracketing.

at least i understood that a bit easier than what we were trying to do at the Pavilion.

while everyone else was running off to take photos of store windows displays, i found this floral shop that i fell in love with.

loved everything about it. how the pumpkins were arranged, the windows, everything. i can't wait to head back around Christmastime to see how it's all decorated.

what a great name. and exactly what i was feeling, snapping away.

then, just a few shops up, was this little jewel. a tiny bistro with a single table outside.
man, did they know we were coming or what?

i was so happy, i could've peed my pants. only it would've been so embarrasing.then i found this little gem of a stairway...made me oh so happy.

and just a final reminder:

it really is, you know. especially with a camera in my hand.

one more political commercial.

just in case you hadn't hit your fill of campaigning, signs, crap in your mailbox and/or mudslinging.

could be apropos. or not.
i just found it really funny.

seen in Balboa, on Tuesday's field trip.