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.

Nov 4, 2008

tootsies extraordinary.

i have the most amazing feet ever. not that you would look at mine and go, 'WOW! your feet are beyond description.'

and believe me, those words have been used about my feet before. although generally it's been said by anyone giving me a pedicure...and not in a good way.

but as usual, i digress.

my feet have radar. the military could use them. you see, my feet have the uncanny ability to find unpleasant things on the ground.

things like poo. or puke. AND the sensitivity of that radar goes up 2000% if i am barefoot, which i prefer to be 80% of the time.
and of course, the radar doubles that if it's, oh, say 3:30 am.

yesterday, i came home from work tired, cranky and generally out of sorts. i changed my clothes and, took off my shoes. walked into the living room and BAM!!!

direct hit with puke.

and, sitting off to the side was the cat, gazing at me. i'm just not sure if he was only watching, or if he was laughing at's entirely possible he was laughing.

so apparently if there's anything uggy to step in, my wonderful, sensitive feet will find it.

now if they could only find some piles of money to step in.

Nov 3, 2008

goin' Hollywood.

my No. Cal. friends were down this past weekend...apparently he needed a Disneyland fix and while they were down, we made plans to hit Paramount Studios in L.A.

the only studio we've ever toured was Universal. my friends have toured Universal, Warner Bros and now Paramount.

the tour was different than Universal in that at Universal, you get about 100 people in a tram and while you see actual working sets, there is a lot that's already set up for tours. Paramount & Warner is smaller and there's nothing already set up. if you see something filming, good on you. no huge King Kong set up of props.

a small group was nice..easier to ask questions. our tour guide stopped a lot, showed us some sets from upcoming Nickelodeon shows, saw the area where Lucille Ball had her home on set set up...landscaped to be like her personal home. we saw them filming Dirty Sexy Money, feeling sorry for the extras, dressed for a New York Fall/Winter in a Southern California unseasonably warm fall.

oh, and the Hollywood sign.

every time i see the logo, i think of the Brady Bunch.

filming Dirty Sexy Money = hurry up and wait. we watched 'em set up the scene, wait, bring the cars in, wait, wait, wait...then we left.

the famous gate. i didn't realize it was so famous, but our guide said it's the most photographed studio opening ever.

who knew?

in other news...

the birthday party went well...the birthday girl does NOT look one, she looks older and THAT can cause a problem for mommy & daddy when she gets older.

i can't post any photos, momma never said i could, and i didn't ask because i was totally busy. the Birthday Girl, however, is just getting her walking legs and has a full head of curly hair..and looks exactly like her grandma..daddy's momma.

the park they had the party at was amazing...Irvine Regional was part of the Irvine Ranch at one point...the Irvine family owned over 100,000 acres of land in the O.C., which makes up about 1/4 of the county.


the park has pony rides, a train, pedal boats AND a zoo. in the winter, the train ride takes you to see Santa.

i'm all over that.

the only downside from the weekend was all that great outdoors wreaked havoc on my allergies...and i paid for it yesterday, feeling miserable and stuffy.

ah-choo, y'all.