Wednesday, December 27, 2006

back home

Being back home is great. Christmas Eve, I spent the morning snorkeling. The water was a bit cold to get in, but once I was in, it was perfect. With the winter storms having eaten up a large amount of the beach, more rocks than usual were exposed... providing more housing and protection for fish. I even saw a ray hanging out at the end of the jetty. I dove down to the side of it...we blinked and watched each other for a bit. Amazing!

I'm glad I took advantage of that because, of course, Christmas day was busy with opening presents and family dining. And then, the rain. A rain the way it's meant to be--big fat droplets plopping down so hard and fast it's almost hard to see ten feet ahead. This was the cold front moving through. I saw on the news that the high today would have been around 68, and the surf temp? 76. What the hell am I doing in Cali?? Oh, yeah...that school thing!! (muttering under my breath...yeah, yeah, it's my own damn fault...)
I am glad I could come back even if for a little while. It gives me the incentive to keep going so I can come back and have a decent job (and one I enjoy.)

This is home for me. I see things that have been there for ages. I also sometimes find myself confused as to where I am in areas that have been developed and I no longer recognize. It's a mix of old and new. The old buildings, what I call old Florida, are generally one story...low to the ground to combat the heat of summer. The new ones...built taller and larger with the concept of air conditioning in mind. In the town I grew up, some of the old houses have been torn down and the new "McMansions" built in their place. On one of the streets, I thought that they had built an apartment building because there is practically no yard...the building takes up the full lot. How ugly. I'll have to take some pictures and write the stories!

Friday, December 22, 2006

To all...

It's good to be back in Florida and the humidity...I'm sure I'll have many stories to tell you all but for now, I am working from (gasp!) Dial-Up...(Willow, how you do it all the time is amazing!) Have a great Holiday season everyone!!

How "Merry Christmas" is said .....

Afrikaans: Gesëende Kersfees
Afrikander: Een Plesierige Kerfees
African/ Eritrean/ Tigrinja: Rehus-Beal-Ledeats
Albanian:Gezur Krislinjden
Arabic: Milad Majid
Argentine: Feliz Navidad
Armenian: Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
Azeri: Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
Bahasa Malaysia: Selamat Hari Natal
Basque: Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
Bengali: Shuvo Naba Barsha
Bohemian: Vesele Vanoce
Brazilian: Feliz Natal
Breton: Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat
Bulgarian: Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo
Catalan: Bon Nadal i un Bon Any Nou!
Chile: Feliz Navidad
Chinese: (Cantonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun
Chinese: (Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan (Catonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun
Choctaw: Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito
Columbia: Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo
Cornish: Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth
Corsian: Pace e salute
Crazanian: Rot Yikji Dol La Roo
Cree: Mitho Makosi Kesikansi
Croatian: Sretan Bozic
Czech: Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Danish: Glædelig Jul
Duri: Christmas-e- Shoma Mobarak
Dutch: Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! or Zalig Kerstfeast
English: Merry Christmas
Eskimo: (inupik) Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame pivdluaritlo!
Esperanto: Gajan Kristnaskon
Estonian: Ruumsaid juulup|hi
Ethiopian: (Amharic) Melkin Yelidet Beaal
Faeroese: Gledhilig jol og eydnurikt nyggjar!
Farsi: Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
Finnish: Hyvaa joulua
Flemish: Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar
French: Joyeux Noel
Frisian: Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!
Galician: Bo Nada
Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!
German: Froehliche Weihnachten
Greek: Kala Christouyenna!
Haiti: (Creole) Jwaye Nowel or to Jesus Edo Bri'cho o Rish D'Shato Brichto
Hausa: Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!
Hawaiian: Mele Kalikimaka
Hebrew: Mo'adim Lesimkha. Chena tova
Hindi: Shub Naya Baras
Hausa: Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!
Hawaian: Mele Kalikimaka ame Hauoli Makahiki Hou!
Hungarian: Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Icelandic: Gledileg Jol
Indonesian: Selamat Hari Natal
Iraqi: Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Irish: Nollaig Shona Dhuit, or Nodlaig mhaith chugnat
Iroquois: Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut. Ojenyunyat osrasay.
Italian: Buone Feste Natalizie
Japanese: Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Jiberish: Mithag Crithagsigathmithags
Korean: Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Lao: souksan van Christmas
Latin: Natale hilare et Annum Faustum!
Latvian: Prieci'gus Ziemsve'tkus un Laimi'gu Jauno Gadu!
Lausitzian:Wjesole hody a strowe nowe leto
Lettish: Priecigus Ziemassvetkus
Lithuanian: Linksmu Kaledu
Low Saxon: Heughliche Winachten un 'n moi Nijaar
Macedonian: Sreken Bozhik
Maltese: IL-Milied It-tajjeb
Manx: Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa
Maori: Meri Kirihimete
Marathi: Shub Naya Varsh
Navajo: Merry Keshmish
Norwegian: God Jul, or Gledelig Jul
Occitan: Pulit nadal e bona annado
Papiamento: Bon Pasco
Papua New Guinea: Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu
Pennsylvania German: En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!
Peru: Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año Nuevo
Philipines: Maligayan Pasko!
Polish: Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie
Portuguese:Feliz Natal
Pushto: Christmas Aao Ne-way Kaal Mo Mobarak Sha
Rapa-Nui (Easter Island): Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi. Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua
Rhetian: Bellas festas da nadal e bun onn
Romanche: (sursilvan dialect): Legreivlas fiastas da Nadal e bien niev onn!
Rumanian: Sarbatori vesele
Russian: Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Sami: Buorrit Juovllat
Samoan: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Sardinian: Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nou
Serbian: Hristos se rodi
Slovakian: Sretan Bozic or Vesele vianoce
Sami: Buorrit Juovllat
Samoan: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Scots Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil huibh
Serb-Croatian: Sretam Bozic. Vesela Nova Godina
Serbian: Hristos se rodi.
Singhalese: Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa
Slovak: Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok
Slovene: Vesele Bozicne Praznike Srecno Novo Leto or Vesel Bozic in srecno Novo leto
Spanish: Feliz Navidad
Swedish: God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År
Tagalog: Maligayamg Pasko. Masaganang Bagong Taon
Tami: Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal
Trukeese: (Micronesian) Neekiriisimas annim oo iyer seefe feyiyeech!
Thai: Sawadee Pee Mai or souksan wan Christmas
Turkish: Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Ukrainian: Srozhdestvom Kristovym
Urdu: Naya Saal Mubarak Ho
Vietnamese: Chung Mung Giang Sinh
Welsh: Nadolig Llawen
Yugoslavian: Cestitamo Bozic
Yoruba: E ku odun, e ku iye'dun!

tagged again...

This one is's a book search. Crankster tagged me. This is pretty simple and I'm all for easy! Here are the instructions:

1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123, go down to the fifth sentence
3. Post the text of next 3 sentences on your blog
4. Name of the book and the author
5. Tag three people

"True, the hermaphroditic result looked a little silly. Still, I felt a little silly aspiring to this dream. (Girls from Libertyville, Illinois, did not do things like that.)"

The book...Vein of Gold by Julia Cameron.

I will tag....Willow, Pamela, and....Swampy!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

what a day...

It took me two hours to drive to school today. 10 miles. 2 hours. That is one of the downfalls of living in an area with only one major highway. This morning, a tractor trailer jackknifed, and the caught on fire, effectively shutting down the main thoroughfare for the area. The radio didn't say anything about any fatalities or injuries so I would assume the truckdriver got away in time.

While there are alternate routes (2), they really are not equipped to handle the traffic in a quick, or efficient manner. Have you ever seen the movie Office Space? In the opening scenes, he's driving to work--stop and go traffic--and an old man with a walker is going faster than he is in the car. That's how this morning was. I don't know how many cyclists passed. I'm sure they were having a good laugh at us. I would have been had I been the one moving and not the one stuck. Sigh...

Two hours after I started, I did finally get to school. I am so thankful this didn't happen on a class day in which assignments are due. I would like to think the teacher would have given us a break, but somehow I doubt it...and I'm glad we didn't have to test it. If I didn't have to reshoot one last assignment, I would have totally stayed home. But no...I had to get to the studio. I got my shot. Tonight, I'm going for extra credit. It could be the difference of 1/2 a letter grade. I would much rather stay home and get to bed early, but no...I'll go out and shoot.

It's supposed to go into the 20's tonight. Whoever is in charge of that stupid weather machine is starting to piss me off. I mean really!! They are calling it the Big Chill. I call it fucking cold. I had this weather back in Baltimore. After two months back in Florida, I was acclimatized to the warmth blood had thinned.   Then, I move out here, expecting warmth and sunshine. I got fog, cool weather, ashes falling from the sky, and now...20 degrees??? GRRRR.(ok...we do have some marvelous days too...but I can't bitch about those, now can I???)  I can't wait to get back home.

Monday, December 18, 2006

oh the weather...

Ok, last night it got down to the 30's. I love my flannel sheets that kept me nice and toasty. This morning I got bundled up and headed to class. At the light, heater blasting in the car, I watched a man crossed the road. He was wearing a red sweatshirt and jeans, hands tucked deep inside the pockets. He didn't look like he was wearing enough to keep him warm.

When I lived in Baltimore, people were better equipped for the cold. When the temperatures dipped to the 30's and 40's, they were ready for it and wore appropriate clothing...coats, hats, gloves. However, in Florida and now here in California, where the sun shines most of the time and people don't really expect it to be cold, I don't see as many people bundled up. The man this morning was a good example of that. The thing is that in these types of places, it might be freezing in the morning, but by noon, it's usually above 50, if not warmer than that. Why bundle up if you know that the cold will only last a couple of hours?

I understand that type of thinking because I have been guilty of it myself. The people I see here that do wear appropriate cold weather clothes usually come from a colder climate. Those that probably grew up here or somewhere warmer instead suffer the cold until the heat returns. It's an odd juxtaposition of cultures.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Feelin' Groovy...

today was one of those days...busy but yet, lazy. Does that even make any sense? I had stuff to it done. Sat around work and chatted and laughed and had a pretty good time. Came home. Did more stuff (all school stuff...) dropped off my film...and now, here I sit, feeling like I spent the day relaxing and yet, still tired. I am not making sense, am I?

I think the trick was that nice hot shower I took last night before going to bed. God! That was wonderful. I felt human again after that. The past few days I've been trying to get things done and feeling if I don't have enough time. And today...the load has lightened. I have time. I feel like I should write about something more in-depth, but you know what? I really don't feel like it. I've been busting my ass and apparently, my brain is going on strike as well. I had a teacher way back when that said our bodies are lazy and will do the minimum required. I think my brain is in that mode now. The whole monkey mind thing. Stupid cheeky monkeys. I almost feel as if I am drunk...but I'm not. Sheeeeet!!

After I dropped my film off, I headed off to Trader Joe's for eggs and a quart of milk (how quaint of me!) This groovy vibe continued as they were playing some 80's music. I can't even remember the songs right now, but they were good. Have you ever found yourself singing along to the music at the grocery store? It was great. I was having a good time, and people were nice to me because of it (ok, so they were probably laughing at me behind my back. Like I care. I was having fun!!) I love being able to relax and chill and just have a good time. You know, sometimes I think I worry too much. And I stress too much. It's not much fun. But tonight? It was good. All good. I haven't felt like this (like my old self) in a while. That feeling that everything is good, things are working out as they need to be and I don't need to be worried. It's a good feeling. I wish it would last.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wednesday hiccups

After another stress-filled Tuesday of trying to get everything done, Wednesday rolls around again. It's easy to tell the end of the session is here. In class, we're all groggy, disoriented, and just plain tired. Some of us look worse than others. I think we're all at then end of our energy reserves.

But it's almost done. We have a final assignment due next week, some extra credit, and our final. The final project and the final are about half the grades for the class!! That's pretty funny but it makes sense. The final project is our own creation, a theme, and we will incorporate things we've learned through the class. We're putting more work into it than we have in most of our projects. Our grades should reflect that.

After class, I came home and slept. This seems to be the theme of my Wednesdays. I cram things in on Tuesday, staying up late, getting up early, and then, the aftermath...crashing in the afternoon. Probably not a healthy way to do things, but at least I am getting things done. I am happy with the class and teacher. I like my classmates, and I am happy to go home next week.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


One of my favorite things is sitting and listening to the rain. Right now, it's raining. I have the door propped open so I can hear it. Even the sounds of the cars driving by meld with the sound. It hasn't rained very often since I've been here. Now, with the Christmas decorations finally up, I feel like I should be snuggled by a brilliant fire drinking hot cocoa. It's not that cold really, but the mood is the same.

People have told me that it rains a lot here during winter. Obviously, I haven't experienced it yet. It would be great if it could be like today. The sun was out for most of the day and then in the evening, the clouds rolled in and now it's raining. Isn't that perfect?

In Florida, the summer was the rainy (and hurricane) season. I remember summers growing up, you could practically set your watch by the rain. Every afternoon, around 3/3:30 the deluge would start as if someone had just turned on a faucet. Taking my bike out for a quick spin one day, I was four blocks (maybe 1/4 mile) from home when it started. I raced home, pedalling as fast as I could. I was home in less than five minutes, but every last bit of clothing and every last strand of hair was completely soaked. Those rains lasted maybe an hour or two. Then, just as quickly as they started, the faucet would be turned off. The sun would return and the steam would rise of the pavement as things quickly dried.

It's really coming down now. I'm going to sleep well tonight.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Flower Power

In case you may not have figured it out, I love taking pictures of flowers. So, here are some pictures that I have taken over time. Enjoy.

The Earth Laughs in Flowers
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

With a few flowers in my garden, half a dozen pictures
and some books, I live without envy.
- Lope de Vega

In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.
- Kozuko Okakura

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it,
it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to
someone else. Most people in the city rush around so,
they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see
it whether they want to or not.
- Georgia O'Keeffe

Lone and erect, beneath light's primal flood,
A lily! and pure as any one of you.
- Mallarme

In friendship's fragrant garden,
There are flowers of every hue.
Each with its own fair beauty
And its gift of joy for you.
- Friendship's Garden

Where flowers bloom so does hope.
- Lady Bird Johnson, Public Roads: Where Flowers Bloom

It is at the edge of a petal that love waits.
- William Carlos Williams

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
- Anais Nin

Exuberance is Beauty.
- William Blake

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Here is my photo. It didn't scan in as well as it could have...definitely time to start looking into a better scanner...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Ol' Folks back home

I called my mom to wish her a happy birthday and see how her day was. She had a very busy day and told me all about it. I last spoke with her a couple of days ago but our call was cut short when she informed me,"The cabinet under the sink is flooding! Gotta go!"

So, today she filled me in. The metallic pipe under the sink had corroded to the point that it finally formed a hole. My mom had the kitchen redone probably within the past 10 years. Why she didn't have PVC pipe under there is beyond me. Sometimes, it's easier not to question. So, she tells me that my dad (stepdad actually but whatever...that's for another time) started telling her all sorts of things to do. "Get a bucket! Put a bucket underneath." This, of course, was after she had turned the water off.

My mom told him to shut it. "What good is a bucket if the cabinet is already flooded? Do you want me to put a bucket in the middle of all that water? Doesn't it make more sense for me to get rid of the water first?" At times, I think my dad enjoys getting her all flustered.

After my mom had pretty much sopped up all the water, she tells my dad that she wants to call their handyman to fix it. What? And not let my dad do it? Never!!

See, when my dad was in better health, he could do all this type of stuff, a regular macho man's man. I know he worked as an electrician and did other types of construction. He travelled all over the world doing these jobs. He and my mom ran a locksmith shop while I was growing up; he was a locksmith and she handled the business side of it. He's got a garage full of gadgets and gidgets and tools and...and....junk! They can't park in the garage; there's no room!!

The problem is, in the past few years his health has deteriorated pretty badly. He doesn't have the strength he used to have; he can barely walk and I am sure he hates that. So, back to the leaky pipe. He started telling my mom that he can fix it. It's not that big of a deal; he's got the tools in the garage, etc. She tries to tell him that he cannot do it-physically it is no longer a possibility.
"You'd have to get down on the floor! How are you going to get back up?"
"Well, maybe you can help me."
(My mom is just a bit taller than me, which is not saying much and my dad, even in ailing health, is still 6 feet and close to 200lbs. Can you see my mom getting him up off the floor??)

So, my mom tells him that if he'll get the tools and tell her what needs to be done, she'll do it. So, he gets the tools. And the pipe doesn't budge. So, he gets down there and tries it. Nope. Nada. Nothing. Mom tries again. Nope. I wish I could have been there to see this spectacle.

Finally, Mom calls the handyman. He comes right over. While my dad starts telling him that the pipe is brittle and needs to be soldered and it's going to break and so on, Mr. Handyman gets my dad's tools, and pop, the pipe comes right off and the new PVC pipe goes right in. Voila! Fixed in about 5 minutes. I have no idea how long he and my mom tried to get that pipe off, or how long it took my dad to just get up again. Sometimes, it's better to just call in the professionals.

Friday, November 24, 2006

it's that time...

Yesterday was great. As self-imposed exiles, we decided to get together and enjoy a meal in solidarity. We shared stories, we shared gossip, we embarassed each other and we bonded. Amongst our group, we have varying ideals and outlook and we respect each other's right to hold that belief, even though we may not share it or even comprehend the view. Mutual respect and tolerance, it's a good thing. We are each other's adopted family here.

Today, I'm sure hordes of people got up at some insane hour of the morning, the time at which some people are just getting home from a fun night out. I cannot comprehend getting up that early to head out fighting the masses for a sale.
Point 1...I don't do crowds. I get tunnel vision and sensory overload. I go into survival mode in which my thoughts run something like "would these assholes get the fuck out of my way so I can leave?" This mindset is not conducive to fun shopping.

Point 2... I like my sleep. I'm sure I can buy whatever it is I need to get after I wake up. In fact, if I wait till tomorrow, I'm pretty sure that many people will be home exhausted and recovering while I'll be well rested and have (slightly) shorter lines.

The rush is on. I'll be hearing Christmas tunes most places. I might even find myself at the grocery store singing along as I browse the aisles. Christmas cards, wrapping paper, decorations will bloom like weeds in mid-summer. I'll be tempted to buy things I don't need. I might even give in here and there...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


First, I painted. Then I shopped. Now finally, the shelf is up. Yesterday I took a good part of the afternoon and put this monster together. At the end, I finally broke down and went over to my neighbor's house to beg for help because I couldn't finish on my own. We tugged and pulled at opposite ends of the shelf and finally got it done. Whaddaya think? Looks good, no?
Of course, this was right after we put it up. I've already started to actually (gasp) organize and put things on my beautiful new shelf. It's nice to be able to see my floor again.

Friday, November 17, 2006

feelin' groovy on a friday...

Ah, some mornings are meant to be savored. One of my favorite things in the world is taking my time in the mornings. Today, I lay in bed for a while, just lay there under the warm covers watching the sun filtering through the shades. Finally, I was ready to get up...fed the kitty and then sauntered into the kitchen, stepping over all my stuff strewn all over the place, to make my cup of coffee. I am addicted to my morning coffee. I have a little stovetop espresso maker. I use Cuban coffee...if I get close to running out, I have Mom send me more from Florida. I've got Bob Marley playing...
I look around. Yes, my apartment is a mess. Yes, I need to clean. And yes, it will wait. Right now, I have some serious lounging to do.

One of the things I aspire to own is a hammock. I've wanted one for ages. I don't really have the room for it, but that doesn't stop me wanting one. For me, it is the perfect icon of lounging. Have you ever just lay in a hammock, under the trees, looking up at the sky without the need or pressure of thinking about all the things you have to get done? Pure bliss, my friends...pure bliss. Like I day....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Museum back...

Six hours in the studio shooting one assignment has left my back in spasms. My neighbor H. stopped by to see if I wanted to go to the supermarket with her. I could use some groceries, but the thought of walking around the grocery store with my back convulsing led me to kindly decline. I explained to her...She nodded and said, "ah yes, museum back. That's what happens when you walk around a musuem for a while staring at all the items. You get museum back."
Yes...I have studio back.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

[Insert appropriate string of Tourette's words...]

That's about how I feel right now. FSDHMF!! Now, usually, I don't cuss very much unless I'm riled up!! In fact, some people I've known were under the impression I didn't cuss because they'd never heard those sorts of words coming out of my mouth. But sometimes, it really helps blow off some steam!!

I'm going to my second class today to hand in another assignment that I will have to redo. I got back the assignment that was due the first class, and the teach is making me reshoot both parts (35mm and 4x5). I knew I had to redo the 4x5 because I had done it wrong to begin with, but I thought the 35mm was fine!! No. He's making me redo it. From what I've heard, everyone except for 1 person has to reshoot. He said my focus needs improvement (and I used autofocus!!) What gets me is that he actually had it marked "good" at first then crossed it out and checked "needs improvement." I can imagine it...

Teacher sitting there, with stack of notebooks, lightbox and loupe. He gets to mine, reviews it..."hmm...not bad on the 35mmm. good, good...Oh wait a second. Since she has to reshoot the 4x5, I might as well have her reshoot the 35mm as well. Yeah, that's it. What can I mark her off on? Focus! I'll say the focus needs improvement! Yeah that's it! The practice will be good for her! hehehe"

Ok, I'm exaggerating, I don't really think he did that, but I am still aggravated that I have to redo the whole damned thing! ARGH!! And that's only the first part.

Back to the assignment that is due today. It's a 4x5 black and white print, which we had to process. Unlike 35mm film, these are sheets of film that slide into place on the reel, and then have plastic little "gates" that you have to click into place to hold the sheets there during processing. First, I couldn't get them on, they kept falling off. (I'll try to get a picture of this contraption later.) Then, when I finally got everything loaded and started processing, my tank was leaking!! When I finally got done, my negative looked horrible. It's incredibly underexposed and I don't know why. It's frustrating. I know that once I get organized, it won't be such a big deal, but right now I feel scattered into a thousand little pieces. Yes, little pieces of me are floating up into the atmosphere right now, swirling at their freedom. In the meantime, I'm down here trying to gather all these pieces back.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Class in Siberia

I had class today. I thought I'd be smart and bring my jacket. Last class, I had worn my flip-flops and I had forgotten the jacket. I almost didn't recover from the frostbite. So, this time, wearing closed shoes, I grabbed my jacket on the way out, thinking this would suffice.

Ha! I sat in class, freezing again. My feet were cold, my hands were going numb and I was sure my nose would fall off. I have thick hair and yet, I could feel the cold seeping into my skull. At break, we all made a mad dash for the sun and just basked like lizards.

Next time, I am bringing a hat and a scarf.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I am a picture without compare...

I had to go to Home Depot today to pick up a quart of my yellow paint so I can finish one more wall. While my paint was in the fantabulous paint-can shaker, I went and browsed at other colors. When I returned, the previous three men working the counter had disappeared leaving one guy with "Mister" tattoed on his arm in script, and a long line. I took my place in line behind a old man with a full beard, thick glasses and an old painter's cap as "Mister" ran around trying to help everyone.

We waited. I knew that one of the cans shaking right in front of me was mine, and, being the chatty sort, I indicated the shaking machine and told Mr. Painter next to me, "Hear that? One of these is mine." He answered, "Well, one of those is not one of mine!" And we both laughed. (why is it that if he had been some incredibly gorgeous guy, I probably would not have said a word...just ogled in silence???)

Mr P: Ah you're just going to take it home and have someone else paint anyways!
Me: Oh no. I'm painting!
He looked at me astounded: You are?
Me: Oh yeah.
Mr. P: Are you painting inside or outside?
Me: Inside.
Mr P: Yeah, then you're painting.

Me: I'm not allowed to paint outside. It's not my house.
Mr P, looking sideways at me: Aaaah. Well, if you could paint it, what color would you paint it?
Me: Hmmm...I'm a big fan of white and red. It's a nice cheery look.
Mr P looks at my purple shirt: Why not purple?
Me with an incredulous look on my face: On a house? I don't think so.
Mr. P: If we were in Mexico, you would.
Me: Ah, but we're not, are we?
We both laughed again.

Mr P: In Mexico, they paint all sorts of colors.
Me: Oh I know! I'm from Florida. Certain neighborhoods have a bright pink house, right next to the bright green house, next to the purple house, next to the yellow house...
Mr P: They would do that here if we let them.
Me: It does have a certain charm.
Mr P: Then you wouldn't know if you're in Florida or California!
Me (laughing): Oh, I think you'd know!!

Then Mister came and pulled out a paint can, and plopped it on the counter. Mr. P says, "Well, there you go."The little dab of paint on top of the gallon can was brown.
Me: Oh, that's not mine!
Mr.P: Well, that's good because that is not a color for inside the house!
Me: No, definitely not!

Mr. P had a part of a medium green door frame that he needed to match. As we stood waiting and chatting, he told me about the lady he's doing some house work she's fixing the house up to rent and she's moving to Indiana. We both agreed-who moves to Indiana for the winter??? He said he told her she'd be back. Mister finally came around again and pulled out my little quart, undoes the lid and puts the little dab of yellow on top.

Mr P looked at me over his glasses: Are you sure you're not in Mexico??

I didn't have the heart to tell him I have lime green and turquoise in the kitchen and that one of the walls in the living room is going to be red. We were having fun now. Mister came around again and pulled out two more paint cans. Being nosy, we started looking at those colors. One was a fuschia and the other was called guava jam.
Me: Ooh, I like that one!

Mr P. finally handed Mister his partial door frame and Mister went off to do the color match. I think Mister was starting to get annoyed with us because we were having fun and he wasn't. As it was time for me to go, we introduced ourselves. My new friend's name is Paul. As I told him my name (several times so he could understand it) he told me it's a beautiful name.
"Thank you, Paul"

"It means.... a picture without compare."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

moments of joy

Today, for whatever reason, the temperatures kept climbing into the high 80's (Fahrenheit) as the sun beamed down on us. I heard people complaining of the heat. I was in hog heaven! I was able to wear light cotton pants and a sleeveless shirt to work and not sit there freezing! Ah..happy sigh...

After work, I headed south to the Ventura Harbor and went kayaking. I've been canoeing many times, mostly in Florida, and was told kayaking is pretty much the same. Yes and no. The basic propulsion rules are the same, but I found the kayak responds much faster than a canoe. I also felt that the kayak was more likely to tip. This may have been just my impression but nonetheless... I quickly caught on and took about an hour to make the loop. It was fabulous--the hot sun, gliding over the cool water. Bliss. Finally, on my way home, I stopped at the beach and got some shots of the sun. It may not yet be Thanksgiving, but I am thankful for today. Tomorrow temps are expected to be back to normal (60s and 70s).

Starting out on the kayak, an old fishing boat
with the lighthouse in the background.

Heading down the waterway.

I think this is a Grebe. They were all over, but
they weren't letting me get too close, though.

Along the harbor, mussels were all over.

On a floating platform, empty mussel shells
lay scattered along with evidence of who
(or what) did this thing to them.

This wooden sailboat was amazing.

Further along, a huge shipping boat from
Alaska was hanging out, enjoying the sun!

At the bottom of one of the floating docks,
the setting sun lit the water underneath.

A great blue heron let me get close enough
to snap this shot as it swallowed a snack.
These birds never fail to awe me.

The day is done. Looking down at the harbor.

The kayak-man taking my boat out of the water.

Me and my shadow, at the beach.

Someone had set up a bunch of stones with labels
for different areas of the house written on them.

Down at the pier, a mom takes her
little one for a sunset walk.

Finally, the sun sets on a gorgeous day.

I hope you all had a good day.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I just got back a little while ago and I am just plain exhausted. My new shelf is still in boxes against the wall. I just don't have the energy to put it together, not to mention I would probably need help as it's the larger Expedit bookcase and measures 72 7/8 x 72 7/8. Casualties of the neighbor H. smooshed her finger and I ran my toe over with the corner of the box as we were getting the boxes inside. The box won. Here are a few pics from the day...

Voila! The whole area around here
is very manicured and "prettified."
It reminded me of Disney.

And you guys thought I was extreme!!

My little car loaded down with both my
and H.'s purchases. She was amazed it all fit!

Passenger seat belts required for
anything weighing the same as a person!

Off to Ikea!

Today is the day! (happy dance..woohoo, woohoohooo...) I have a list. I have a goal. It's Ikea day!
Tips for myself...
1. bring the tape measure
2. bring the list (I would forget it at home)
3. wear comfy shoes
4. bring proper music for the drive
5. make sure junk cleared out of car
6. gas...yep filled up yesterday...
7. money! can't do much without that...
8. because, as Mouse says, there has to be an 8...

It's going to be a long day.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Prep week

So, tomorrow is my big trip to Ikea! Woohoo! I'm heading down with my neighbor H. and we are going shopping!! In preparation for this, since I am buying myself a big ol' bookshelf, I have finally gotten around to painting my apartment! One of the things I love is also one of the things that make painting so difficult...a vaulted ceiling. I have a slight fear of heights and falling. Here are some pics.

There's the ladder. There's the wall.
I really hope I do not fall.

What the hell was I thinking???

Not gonna fall.Not gonna fall. Notgonnafall.

If I can't be in the Caribbean,
I'll bring the Caribbean home.
(back wall still in progress)

and a picture of fluffy kitty for fun

Now, I'm off to shoot my prep week assignment. Class starts again Monday and I have work to do! Have a fabulous day!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Viva La Fluff-N-Fold

One of the drawbacks to living in an apartment with no washer and dryer is washer and dryer!! I get to lug my laundry basket upstairs to the laundry room, pay $1.50 for a small load of laundry. Then, while the dryer only costs $1, it usually takes 2-3 cycles for my clothes to actually dry. This means I usually end up paying at least $4 for one load of laundry. I miss having my own washer and dryer and doing laundry at any time-not to mention being able to leave the clothes in the dryer and not worrying that someone else needs to use the dryer! I used to be able to run errands knowing my clothes were safely tumbling in the dryer and that they would still be there when I returned.

The past couple of days, I have been doing #1 on my list of this week's priorities...Nothing! Absolutely nothing. It's been great. However, it's about time I get that laundry done. Lounging in my pj's is great for the house, but I do eventually have to leave my little bat-cave. I would like to have decent clean clothes to wear when I do. I have a laundry basket overflowing with clothes. I look at it and shudder at the thought of lugging it upstairs, and then waiting. And waiting. I have better ways to waste my time, thank you very much.

That's where the Fluff-N-Fold comes in. This is a whole new concept for me. This little corner laundro-mat is so close to my house, right by the highway. And they do the dirty work for me. I bring them my laundry basket full of dirty stinky clothes, and get them back clean, fresh-smelling, and folded!! Oh, happiness.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

drying out

Our bodies are about 2/3 water and the average adult "loses" about 10 cups of water per day in regular activity. Most people replenish through normal eating and drinking. However, this doesn't always work. If you don't replenish, you can easily become dehydrated. The Mayo Clinic website cites some symptoms of mild dehydration as:

-Excessive thirst
-Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
-Dry mouth
-Decreased urine output — fewer than six wet diapers a day for infants and eight hours or more without urination for older children and teens
-Few or no tears when crying
-Muscle weakness
-Dizziness or lightheadedness

I've been trying to make sure I get enough water because I have the tendency to become dehydrated. I just forget to drink. Last session, I had a very bad episode in which I felt nauseaous, weak and my head felt as if I had incurred Thor's wrath on a bad day. I had class and I just wanted to come home and cry myself to sleep. It felt like a horrible hangover, only I had not been drinking. Since dehydration plays a large part of feeling hungover, I looked up the symptoms after I got home. They fit. After drinking several large glasses of water, I did feel better. As Willow would say, I had an epiphany and a realization.

However, knowing to keep hydrated and doing it are two separate things. I still forget to drink. I'm learning to recognize the signs that my body gives. Before getting to the list above, I've learned that my lips are usually the first to suffer. They chap. I may not have been out in the sun or wind, yet my lips start to chap. Right now, my lips are chapped. I've been trying to drink more water. I think in a couple of days, they will be back to normal.

It's a bit scary to think how easy it is to become dehydrated. The web says hot humid climates are a danger. However, I personally think a milder dry climate is more dangerous for me. In Florida, in that heat and humidity, I felt thirsty and I would drink a lot of water. Here in California, I don't feel that heat, and I forget to drink. I realize I actually have to make myself drink. It's such a little thing, but with some big effects. I'm trying to get into the habit.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Last night a few of us from class went out to celebrate finishing the session (and passing!!) My original plan was to have a few margaritas, but when I looked at the drink menu, the restaurant had some liquors I had never had before. How can a girl pass up a new drink with South American booze??

Have you ever heard of pisco? I hadn't until last night. It's a Peruvian liquor and quite tasty as a Pisco Sour. It tastes a bit like a margarita but it doesn't kick you in the head quite as much. Needless to say, I had a couple!

The evening slowly carried on into the night and a party at another student's house. The cops were called, even though I don't understand quite was not very loud or obnoxious. The girl that lives there was threatened with a $700 ticket, so I got to go to her last party. I can't say I blame her. $700 for party? She better start charging admission!!!

Coming home at 2 a.m, I was happy. I tend to close myself up in my own little world and become a bit anti-social at times. I get into these moods that I don't want to do anything or put forth the effort to head out and mingle. Last night was good for me. Sometimes, all I need is a fun night out.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

top 10

The top 10 things I will do when this session ends...just a few more days of torture...

10. Clean the apartment...apparently, the cleaning fairy has decided to boycott my house. I think I'm too much.

9. Paint my living room wall...the color is called HOT MOON! No, it's not bright white...I like to think of it as the color of a ripe rich mango.

8. Get my Ikea Expedit Bookcase...I have been wanting to get this, but Ikea is 80miles away. I don't just want it, I need it.

7. Shop for fun. I haven't been to any decent stores or had a leisurely afternoon of just browsing and maybe buying something I don't really need but just want in a really long time. It's good for the soul.

6. Go to the beach. I need some sun!

5. Find a hiking trail and make a day/afternoon of it!

4. Visit Malibu and Santa Monica...maybe I'll even see some famous people, but usually unless they are right next to me, I'm quite oblivious, after all, isn't it all about me?

3. Go to a musuem...expand my horizons

2. Read...I haven't done much of that for fun lately

1. Nothing...absolutely nothing!!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

El gato the wannabe photographer...

As I sat here, reading blogs and news and getting all worked up about an article I saw, I hear a loud clang and see my cat run out the door. I figure she knocked something over and scared herself. Then, I continue to hear it as she races in the patio...clang, bang, clangidy clang...

I get up to go check and there is el gato, racing back inside with an old Kodak box camera bouncing behind her..bang, bang.

She's racing, trying to get away from it and the faster she races, the louder the noise of the camera bouncing off anything it hits, and I'm running behind her trying to catch her.

I finally cornered her in the bathroom and got the camera strap off her neck. Amazingly, that old camera is still in one piece, but I think the cat may reconsider her attempts at photography.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

wild life...

I live next to hyenas...nice and pleasant hyenas but hyenas nonetheless. Every night, it starts. HAAAAAHAAAAHAAHAAAAA!! Every night. I am not sure what is that funny. I think they are watching tv, but I can't find anything quite that funny.

When my mom was here, she got to hear it. And then, we started laughing. And hooting. An interesting thing about me and my mom, when we start laughing at each other, we can't stop. Soon, our hoots (we're owls) drowned out the hyenas,and there was quiet for a few days.

Friday, October 13, 2006

winter approaches...

Last night I conked out early...I could barely keep my eyes open, so I didn't fight it. Just went to sleep. This morning, I awoke to the sound of rain. I love waking up to the sound of rain falling, it's so peaceful. But then, I want it to stop. However, from what I hear, rain is quite common here in the winter. Great. My sinuses are going to love this. For some reason, cold and rain, especially the two combined, send my sinuses into an absolute tizzy.

So, it seems that southern Cali might have seasons after season and water season. One sends ashes out of the sky, the other...well, water. In Florida, we had two seasons as well...hurricane season and tourist season. See? Similarities?? (not.)

I miss the sudden warm rains of Florida. The day might be perfectly sunny and then you see a wall moving towards you, and the sound of a thousand raindrops hitting simultaneously. And you run for it!! But, it catches up to you and you are soaked within 30 seconds, but it's warm. And then, just as quickly as it came, it's gone. And the sun comes back, full force as the steam rises off the pavement. sigh...

Speaking of missed photo ops like Julie wrote about a while back. I was in Fl and decided to go for a walk along the beach. I walked down to the where the condos are, which is maybe a mile or so from the house. As I turned to head back home, I saw it. A massive black cloud moving in from the south over the water. However, the sun was still hitting the water below it, lighting it up under the darkness. And the lightning! It was amazing!! If you can imagine it...a sunlit turquoise ocean under a huge blue-black cloud with lightning zigging all over. I so wanted my camera!! DAMMIT. Then reality did set in. I was on the beach. With lightning. A mile from home.
Oh well...I just walked back. I figured if it was going to get me, it was going to get me. I just hoped that the rain would hold off. And it did. I was barely in front of the house when I felt the first drops...and then I ran for it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I am actually home in time to watch Gilmore Girls tonight!! I can't believe it. I. am. home.
And it's not even 8! I am thrilled!! Positively jubilant!! I even had dinner at a friend's house!! I actually have a semblance of a social life outside of the photo lab!! I know you can't see me...but I'm doing a little jig right now...I would try the Dance of Joy, but I don't think I'm really that limber so this jig will have to suffice.

I have spent the past month in the lab on Monday and Tuesday nights, either processing or printing assignments. The lab closes at 1 and a couple of times I have nearly been there as they throw me out close. I have posted pictures that I've done, but in case you might have been wondering about the camera I get to use. It is a 4x5 camera. It's a heavy, awkward camera that is causing me incredible frustration as I learn to make it do what I want. I've tried talking to it, "ok..come with me...." This is supposed to work in photography, isn't it? Try telling that to my camera. I'm going to call it the Mule. 1. you need a mule to lug that thing's heavy. 2. It's stubborn.

When my mom was here, she looked at it and made a really weird face. "I didn't think they used anything likethat anymore. It looks like what they used to use 100 years ago." Well, she was right about that. Anyways, despite my grumbling, this camera does take some fabulous pictures. The quality is great and I know that when I have mastered this Mule, I'll be happy. In the meantime, I am wasting an incredible amount of film and developer learning. But tonight...tonight it's all ok because I am home. And I am watching Gilmore Girls.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

the rules of engagement

Last night, I went out for a beer with my friend and her boyfriend. We went to the local sports bar, and we were hanging out at the bar, talking, when someone taps my shoulder. Yes?
"I just wanted to talk to you." Um..ok...

So, this drunk guy that I had had my back to actually tapped me on the shoulder, interrupting our conversation, just because he wanted WTF?? I mean, I'm certainly not the most socially adept person-I'll chat with most anyone, and make random comments to total strangers, but even I know not to interrupt.

Because really, what do you say after that? It's sort of like when someone finds out you speak a different language and they go, "oh, say something in that language!" and follow it with "what did you say?" If you can't understand it, don't ask!

I really felt like saying, "ok, you've talked to me. Happy?" and then gone back to my own conversation but I find it hard to be that mean...what a sucker! But I tried giving him the hint, by keeping my back mostly turned, leaning away when the guy tried to lean luck. I should've known better since he totally interrupted to begin with but he kept on trying to make conversation....the guy even told me how much he earns!! UGH!! Those are not things to bring up. SHEEESH!! What ever happened to normal chit-chat? I think he was pretty drunk because a couple of times he had a hard time getting the words out, but thank God my friends saved me!! We moved to a table.

Friday, October 06, 2006

time for some guacamole

This weekend is the 20th Annual Avocado Festival!! hurray! and I am here for it! This little festival, which is expecting over 100,000 visitors this weekend, is the reason I decided to move to this town.

Last year, I flew out here from Baltimore to visit the school during orientation. I had planned on staying the weekend so I could explore a bit. Of course, I had to visit the beach. I stuck my foot in the water, brrrrr.... I asked a family that was fishing nearby whether the water was always this cold? No, they assured August/September it gets to about 72F (they were wrong...) And then they told me that there was a festival going on in Carpinteria and that I should go (they were right!)

So, I came to Carpinteria, and was enchanted. It's a small town, with about 14,000 residents. The Avocado Festival is held each year in early October to celebrate the local culture and commerce...apparently, Carpinteria is a major producer of avocados!! I walked around last year, and visited different stalls and talked to people. Everyone was friendly, the sun was shining and I decided then that this is where I wanted to live.

To tell you a little bit about this lovely little town. We have two main streets running perpendicular to each other. We also have two grocery stores. Every Thursday, one of the main streets closes for the Farmer's Market. There is the TruValu, which carries quite a bit of things you might need for the house, from tools, hardware and paint, to bicycle pumps and patio sets!! They even have the old fashioned metal tricycles on sale!! (I thought about buying one for my nephew...but I don't think shipping it to Italy would be that easy...) There are several cafes, including Starbucks, but I would rather go to the locally owned ones, and other boutiques and small stores. Target, Home Depot, Walmart? Nope. If you want to go to one of these stores, you have to leave town. I'm glad about that. At times it might be inconvenient, but that's ok. I'll drive the 20 miles.

So, last night I walked down to the Festival with a neighbor. We browsed the stalls, I had a taco from a local restaurant. I learned the hard way not to ask them for the spicy sauce. My mouth burned for about 20 minutes afterward! My neighbor got a batch of guacamole and I had a taste. It was gooood (funny to say considering I have been vehemently anti-guac for most of my life. I must have had some nasty stuff the first time I tried it, but fresh, homemade guac..bring it on!!)

We listened to a local band, and I do mean local. Just some of the locals that get together and jam to some loungey stuff and crack jokes in between their songs. Then we saw another band on the main stage. The lead singer is Kenny Loggins' son...he walked by me at one point and holy crap! The boy looks just like his dad!!! Spittin' image!

I'm glad I went. I'll go again later today. I realize that lately I haven't been doing anything fun. I've just been concentrating on school so much that I'm starting to get in a rut...just work, work, work. Well, enough of that. I needed the break and what better than the Avocado Festival.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

to the moon!!

I promised Marnie that I would try and help out with how to get a picture of the moon. So I did a bit of digging and snooping and found some good information. I also have my own hits and misses as illustrations! I wish I could give you an easy answer, but there are different things to think about. I've included the technical info. I hope this helps...

1. Lens...You probably want somewhat of a telephoto lens, whether you're using digital or film. Otherwise, you'll probably get a small moon in a large space. If you can zoom in, then you can see more than just a speck, which is really the whole point, no? If not, you get sometheeng like zees:

technical: 1/15 second exposure, f/5.6, 82mm lens

2. Exposure...How long should the exposure be? This can vary depending on time of day and what phase the moon happens to be. We all know that we can see the moon because it is reflecting the light of the sun, no? When it's night, this actually makes the moon much brighter than its surroundings. I haven't done it, but I think that the easiest shot of a rising moon would be if it's rising at twilight, when there's enough light left in the sky so that the moon and the surrounding is visible. That should be a practically point and shoot...again, I haven't done it so that is my guess.

Question: That's all fine and dandy, but what about when it's night??

That's the tricky bit...first thing I'd recommend? a tripod, or resting your camera on something that won't move. If you're exposure is slow and you handholding the camera, chances are pretty good it will come out blurry. Like is actually blurred.

technical: .4 second exposure, f/5.6, 300mm lens

Now, with the moon being brighter than the rest of the picture, you may get overexposure...a bright moon, without much detail...

technical: .5 second exposure, f/5.6, 300mm lens

Some people think that you have to have a long exposure to get everything in. However, remember that the moon is "travelling" across the sky. Longer exposures will do a couple of things.. overexpose the moon, and you'll get a bright blob, or even if the moon is dim, it will appear blurred because it is moving (ok..actually we're moving but whatever...something is moving and it will blur the pic!!)

technical: .8 second exposure, f/5.6, 300mm lens

If you try to expose to get the surroundings as well, you get a very overexposed moon, like this one! Yes, that is the moon, not the sun!

technical: 15 second exposure, f/5.6, 82mm lens

Ideally, you want a correct exposure for the moon and you'll get nice detail, like this next shot. Like Goldilocks said..."this one's just right.."

technical: 1/15 second exposure, f/10, 300mm lens

So, if you've been following along, you might be wondering how the folks that have pictures of this big fat moon hanging over a skyline do it, no? Well, I thought it was pretty interesting...more than likely, it's a double exposure!!

How it's done...
Set the camera up on a tripod. When the moon is low and fat and happy, get a picture of it, at the exposure it needs. Then you wait...and wait...maybe go have dinner or a drink...or both..

Once the moon is out of the way, then you do another exposure (on the same frame...) for the skyline or whatever the surrounding may be.

And have the picture.

If you have a camera that doesn't do double exposures or you are dealing in digital, you can still get your shot. For the following shot, I took a night picture from back home...then used Photoshop! I cut out the moon from one pic and pasted it into the night shot. My final result?

technical: 60 second exposure, f/2.8, wide angle lens

Like I said, I got my information by digging and some of it was definitely more technical. Some of it I also learned by trial and error...and then the research also confirmed what I had deduced. The moon pics above I took in Florida back in May with a digital camera. The full moon was just incredible and I had to shoot it! If you want to look up any more info, I primarily used these two sites.
Keith's Moon Photography and Dan Heller

So, I would like to think I helped, but really, I think these are some guidelines and then play with it! Let me know how it goes!