Friday, December 28, 2007

Arizona Trippin Pt. 2

Waking up the second day, I had no idea what time it was and it took me a bit to get going-pack up all the extraneous crap I brought that I didn't need and load it into the car and try to get it somehow organized. After spending lots of time the previous day just driving around and getting my bearings, I had a good idea of where I wanted to head today-starting with the Airport Loop. I headed off to start my day-it was the easiest hike.

I started up the hill and then started on the loop. Overall it was a nice walk, not too steep and great views. However, no matter how nice a walk is, it still takes energy and if you haven't eaten, weeeeell, at a certain point your body starts screaming for some source of energy. Funny how it affects your head too, and weeeell...becoming a bit lightheaded near a steep ledge is not my idea of a good time, so I headed back to the car pronto!! I drove back to the CoffeePot restaurant, which I forgot to mention is named after one of the landmarks-a big rock that looks like a coffeepot! This morning, unfortunately, there was a wait.

This actually gave me a chance to check out the hosts-two guys-one with a belly to rival Santa's and the other thin-but both with the same crinkly blue eyes and smile. They spoke with a level of comfort and humor that only comes from family, tilting their heads towards each other and laughing softly. Brothers. It was amazing because if they had had the same frame, they could have passed for twins! What characters!

After refueling, I headed out again- to Boynton Canyon. It took a while to find it because you have to drive up this road, then down this other road and turn on this road and I don't have the best sense of directions and while I didn't get lost, I did get sidetracked...I stopped to take pictures and just soak it all in. Did I mention how freakin' beautiful it is out there??? Oh yeah!!

Finally, off to Boynton Canyon and trying to find the trail. This is where asking what the hell came in handy. I followed the signs for the trail but at a certain point, they just pointed me back from the direction I had just come!!

HUH?? What? I just came from there! Why are you sending me back?? I spotted a couple walking-I stopped and asked about what gives with the signs and which way am I supposed to go?? They explained, somewhat amused, that the sign pointing to where I came from are for the people heading back to the cars. OOOH!! So, on I walked. Into the canyon.

This led up for a bit and then down into tree covered paths and rocks-over dry creek beds and sandy patches. At a certain point, it was amazing-I was practically surrounded by red rocks. Looking up at the canyon wall was practically mesmerizing. It made me a bit dizzy looking up at it. What an experience.

Eventually, the path became sandy and flat and I noticed the sun was starting to slide behind the nearby hills. I still wanted to go to Cathedral Rock and if the sun was going to set soon, I'd better be getting my butt over there!! Heading back to the car, I was grateful for the signs pointing me back in the right direction.

I drove to the trailhead for Cathedral Rock-my last hike of the day. The guidebook I'd bought said that the trail was strenuous but not very long, 1.5miles round trip. 1.5 miles? Piece of cake!!!  I figured I could do it in time. Off I went. And up and up, stairs of rock stealing my breath. Little did I know this was just the beginning.

Eventually, I got to the steep part of the climb-clambering up smooth rock and more steps and up and up and stopping for breath. I'd get up one little hill and stop, heart beating, breath missing. I was close and thinking of turning back when I saw a mom and her teenage son heading back down. She spurred me on, saying it was so worth it. I go.

Up the next little ledge. And the next. Stopping each time to recuperate. More people spurred me on, telling me I was almost there. OK!! I kept following the cairns of the trail, heading further up until, finally, I passed the final ledge and headed to the summit for a spectacular view over the canyons, at Cathedral Rock. And the sun was setting. It was time to head back.

I knew that heading back down would be easier than going up, but I hadn't counted on racing the fading light. I slid down on my butt, hopped, raced down, trying to make sure I kept on the trail, hoping that I could see the cairns in the fading light. They were the same color as the trail and in the fading light, a few times, they disappeared. My heart raced, but for a different reason now-I was hoping not to get stuck out there in the dark. There was a guy ahead of me, and I tried to keep him in sight. He must have been having the same thoughts as I did because he certainly wasn't pausing or taking his time. He might have done the hike before because he went off trail, but I didn't trust myself to attempt that. Finally, the trail flattened out a bit, a sign we were close to the parking lot.  The sound of people laughing and chattering also comforted me. If I did get lost this close, I could always yell knowing somebody would hear me.

Getting back to the car in twilight, relief flooded every last cell of my body!! I had done it!!

Into the car and off, back to Cali....

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Arizona Trippin' Pt. 1

On the way out to Sedona, the nearly full moon rising over the hills 
somewhere in Arizona (notice the Saguaros on the hill!!)

What can I say? The trip was fabulous!!  It was such a great experience...learning what to do and what not to do (like don't bring all the camera equipment because I won't use it all and do get trail maps and ask when in doubt--which I did!!)

So, a quick the days leading up to my departure, I was quite tired and feeling a bit run down, but I figured it's just the mental energy I had expended was just taking it's toll (I'm a Gemini..we run on nervous energy but need to rest occasionally...and I had just been going and going.)  As I started the trip (later than intended), the sneezing started, which is not unusual as I do have sneezing fits all the time, but this time it felt different. This was not my allergies flaring for attention,  no... this was more. This was a cold. Dammit. No wonder I'd had a sore throat too. 

Oh, well. Nothing I could do about it. I certainly wasn't about to turn around and go home. NO WAY!  But it was quite tiring with lots of traffic and delays and it took me much longer to arrive than I had anticipated. In fact, it was dark. And I had planned to camp, but first, in order to do this, you need to find the campgrounds, which can be challenging when it's dark and you're tired and sick!!  Because I'm trying to do this with spending as little money as I can, the hotel is out ($80 for a cheap hotel!! no way!! and the more affordable one? Well, the office was closed!! hahaha) So, push come to shove, I ended up sleeping in the car the first night. Sleeping bag and blankets, sleeping in my warm jacket and hat, but still it was cold!!!  I think it was in the 20s. 

The next day, I woke and found a cute little place to have breakfast-the Coffeepot Restaurant (Home of 101 Omelettes.) And yes! They actually had 101 omelettes on the menu!! No kidding!  And you get a pot of coffee, nevermind it was for just one person!! The place was bustling, and the food good.  
After that, I started my rounds around town, trying to figure out where to go hike a bit and where some good picture spots would be and the day passed quickly.  My first hike was at Bell Rock, one of Sedona's vortex spots. I climbed up as far as I was comfortable, but there were people clambering up near the top. More power to them, I didn't feel like killing myself yet. 
After that, I drove around, checking out the area. I did find the campgrounds-they were up near the snow. I decided against it because I really didn't know if I was equipped to sleep where it's cold enough to snow and not to mention, I'm already sick; the last thing I wanted was for this cold to turn into bronchitis or even pneumonia!! So, I found the cheap motel and got a room, unloaded the car and then went out hiking again. 
That night was a full moon. I had been planning on this and found a spot that I thought would work. And I set up. And I waited. And waited. And waited. No moon. I checked my watch. Yes, the moon should have risen by now. Where the hell is it? It was getting dark quickly and I was losing the light I wanted and still no moon. I gave up. I packed up and with the car nearly on E, I went to the gas station. As I was pumping, sure enough, over an hour after scheduled moonrise, there she was, peeking over the ridges, glowing brightly. And that was another lesson learned...D'OH!!  Moonrise was an hour earlier, but at that altitude and with the mountains, of course I'm not going to see her until she climbs high enough to be seen-which at that point the perfect light has passed!!
Sigh...after dinner and a margarita, I headed straight back to my room, turned the heat on and totally passed out. I slept for 12 hours.  Gee, you'd think I was tired or something!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

scattered thoughts like raindrops

By 4pm yesterday, my portfolio was done and handed in. As I started leaving, even before I reached the doors, I stopped midstep and stood there for a second.

"Is it raining??" I asked out loud, partially to myself, partially to anyone that would be willing to answer.

A guy cutting his mats, answered, "Yeah, it just started."

I could smell it. There's something about the smell of a fresh rain-moisture and earthiness mingled together-that seems almost primordial-as if it's ingrained in our very cells. But then again, maybe it's just me!!

Normally, I'm not happy about the rain, but this rain we're having now is good. It's bringing some much needed moisture both to the earth and to me-and it didn't bring colder weather either! If it were a bit warmer, I think I'd just sit outside in it!!

Friday, December 07, 2007


Man, I just remembered I have another "must do" on my list. Soon, very soon, I need to take traffic school (thank God they have it online now!!) for a traffic ticket I got the first weekend I arrived back in Florida.

I went to get the car checked out for my mom at the local gas station and back home, I didn't see the cop lurking somewhere behind me as I pulled a "California roll" through the stop sign--coming to a near stop, but not really stopping; it's more of a suggestion of a stop, a mere whisper, a pause to make sure no other cars are there. And at this particular stop, there are hardly ever any other cars, especially on a Sunday morning. It's a quiet spot. He could have let it go.

But no. As soon as I saw him pull out behind me, I knew I was screwed. In fact, he pulled me over, didn't even tell me why, just got my driver's license and went to write up a ticket! Bastard could have at least given me a warning, no? No. He came back to the car handed me my ticket and said, "By the way, you got this ticket because you ran that stop sign back there."

At this point, I have a ticket, no matter what and I just couldn't resist--"Yeah, but there was nobody there anyways." I mean, really, what's he going to do? Give me another ticket for stating a fact?

oh, time does fly...

when you're ignoring your schoolwork!  In class today, I realized that only two weeks remain of class! Actually, it's just under two weeks, but still, it's almost over!! That certainly brought a smile to my face, not to mention a bit of befuddlement as to how it could already be so late in the session! I mean really!! It just started!!

I've been working on cleaning and clearing things at home as well as finishing up some projects that I started last year.

Remember the painting? I have finally painted that poor back wall that sat neglected with only the trim done for over a year!! Check it out!

'Sabout time too, I say!!

As for clearing out the clutter, while often I do tend to "shuffle" the mess from one room to the next, I realize that as I continue this process, I am having less to shuffle around. I am also resisting the temptation to buy more stuff as I do make room by clearing out. One of these days, I'll have to take a deep breath and start getting rid of all these old magazines that are taking up shelf space.

Many of them are photo magazines that I haven't taken the time to read yet. I have the argument with myself:
V1:"if you haven't read them now, chances are pretty good that you won't read them at all."
V2: "Nooooo!! I'll read them!! Really!! I will!! I just don't know when!!"
V1: "Exactly. It's just taking up space. Get rid of them.
V2: "nooooooo! There might be something in there that's important!!!!"
V2: "well, it hasn't been important enough up to now, has it? Get rid."
V1: "noooooooooooooooooo!!"

As you can see, this is a circular battle with the nooos getting longer and whinier. Logic vs. emotion. It's an ugly, epic battle going on here. Eventually, if I can get the emotional side to feel good about letting it go, then it'll be easy. The time does keep moving closer, and I'm sure I'll blather about it when it finally does happen, but in the meantime, the internal struggle continues.

For a different bit of news, it's raining. I don't think we've had a good rain since I came back and I don't know since how long before then! So, this rain is welcome even though it is bringing colder weather (grrr....) I shall suck it up. My plants will be happy and I have to admit, it's really nice falling asleep listening to the rain fall.


Friday, November 30, 2007


Today in class, we had to bring a print that we would like to include in our portfolio. In just a few weeks, we will be presenting a portfolio to a panel of judges for them to praise or tear apart as each judge feels is fit. Ah, yes, this is the rite of passage for any student that goes into upper division.

I've heard different things about the portfolio review. I even heard some horror stories in which the judge told a student to get into a different line of work--also, the teacher told us about one judge that was having a bad day and cussed a student out! From my classmates, I heard it was a mixed bag. Some got their work slammed but still received a good grade. Others didn't get slammed too badly but then got a bad grade. Of course, it was rare that all three judges loved it-I have the feeling it'll be a bit like going up for review by Simon, Paula and Randy (hey! did you ever think that if Randy had a name with three syllables, they could be like the chipmunks.."Alvin, Simon, Thee-o-dooooore" ok back to my post...) Sometimes I also think they tear something apart just to see how a person will react. I dunno, just an idea.

The picture you see up there is the one I submitted in class. It's taken from a sundial at the cemetery at the Santa Barbara Mission. We discussed some other shots I'd taken and I came away remember how subjective this is and how our approach is different. My teacher wants me to use lights and set this up and that up, while I'd rather use available light. He wants me to make it more dramatic (which could be interesting) and give it a feel of horror, while I completely disagree. If that's how he feels about cemeteries and death, so be it, but I don't and I won't take the pictures to fit someone else's idea of what it should be like. I think this'll be interesting.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

morning ritual

Cat: MraaaoOOO
Me: What? Whattayawant??
Cat: Mraao?
Me: What you want food?
Cat: Mrooooow
Me: Oh, you think you're getting fed..
Cat: MROW!
Me: No!
Me: Leave me alone cat!!
Cat: Maow...
Me: Maow
Cat: Mraaaooow
Me: Mraaaooow
Cat: Miau?
Me: Miau
Cat: Mraaaaaaaoooooouuuu
Cat: Mraaaaaaaoooooouuuu
Me: Mraaaaaaaoooooouuuu
Cat: Maou
Me: HA! So you say!!
Me: oh shut up!
Cat: Mroow...
Me: Yeah, you want this food??
Cat: Mrrpprrrrrr...

Yeah, I need a life

Friday, November 09, 2007

Shades of Gray

Gray is my least favorite color, if you can even call it a color. Stuck between black and white, it doesn't know what it is or what it wants to be. It's a shade of indecision, a state of being non-descript, blending in so as not to be noticed. It's an in-between. I drove into gray country yesterday. God, how depressing. Gray skies hanging over grayish hills, dead grass and not much else.

I kept driving, hoping to find something at least somewhat interesting but the grayness of the day just sucked the life out of everything.

I'm glad I did make the drive however. I've considered moving out of my little apartment to try and find something cheaper and I've seen many ads for places in Lompoc and Santa Maria, and I've wondered just how far each is. I passed Lompoc yesterday and drove to Santa Maria and now know I will never live there if I can help it! Not only is it too far, it was depressing.

In the middle of nowhere, the first exit for Santa Maria is the Crossroads shopping plaza-cookie cutter big-box shopping. I stopped for lunch and the overall feeling was oppressive, the feeling of a depressed town. Maybe it was just because of the weather but I didn't really care. I didn't have my map with me so I decided to just head back home after this.

Arriving back at my apartment, I found my photo gear that I had shipped from Florida had arrived. Today, I'm heading south, towards Ventura, along one of my favorite drives.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

oh, the (imaginary) drama!

I am soooo screwed!!

I've not even been back in California a week and already I'm freezing my buns off!! Really!! I'm just not meant for cold weather!! I was born near the equator! I don't belong anywhere cold, or even chilly!

I've turned into wimpsicle-a frozen wimp!! Yep, that's moi!

I hope my nose doesn't fall off. It's not very big to begin with and I think I'd look pretty damn weird with no nose. I mean, sometimes in Florida, I'd be in an air-conditioned store and my nose would start to ache from the cold!!! Then, as soon as I'd get back outside into 80some degree weather, my whole body would relax and just soak it in, letting me and my nose thaw out! Now, here I am and the temp's not even hitting 70 for a high!! This is serious!

To give you some idea of just how ugly this is going to get for me...I actually used a blanket when we had the AC on in Florida!! Then, when we finally turned off the AC because the high was only 84 or so, I felt wonderful. I just looooooved it!! I didn't feel cold at all, but not hot either! Just like Goldilocks was juuuuuust right!

But now?? Now...well, I'm freezing. Didn't I say that already? If I didn't, let me say it now-- I'm freezing!! And yes, I am going to keep bitching about it. While it may not make the cold go away, at least I'll get riled up enough to keep my toes from going numb! It's so bad that I've even contemplated getting those f-UGG-ly fur lined boots...but good taste has to prevail. If only I could just hibernate.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


In the dark, I slowly open one eye-then the other-trying to make sure that any movement does not bring back the monster thrashing inside my head; the beast abating only with still and darkness.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Monster Mash

Haunted house tour 2007
Each year, my friend's bro and his girlfriend's house tranforms from a Fort Lauderdale house into a haunted house, luring innocent bystanders in...Preparations take just over a month-this year they had a line down the block. From zombies to monsters and clowns in hiding, chainsaws, blood, it was a good time.

The cast after the show.
The quote of the night:
"you know you've done a good job when you've made the kiddies cry"

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


The wind is kicking up as a tropical storm churns in the Atlantic. It feels good to walk at night with the wind as my companion, nobody else around, just me and the wind. Heading down to the inlet, I sit on a large granite rock and watch the waves crashing above the jetty...large swells looming and then breaking over the rocks and unto the jetty. Just sitting with the wind blowing and waves crashing. It's past midnight-most of the light comes from the overhead moon. A cloud moves in and covers the moon-the night gets darker until the wind blows, the cloud keeps moving and the waves keep crashing.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

mad dashing through tampa

This past weekend I had another mad dash through Tampa-driving up Friday afternoon to take pictures in Ybor City, meeting up with my friend G. and crashing at her grandparents' place with her to wake up bright and early and drive her to the airport so she could fly to Vegas for a few days while I went to visit with another friend S. and then continue my brief stint of taking pictures before meeting up with my other friend Y. for dinner and then driving back home that night! (hows that for a run-on sentence!!)


Yes, it was deranged slightly busy but I'm glad I got to see a few people I haven't seen in years, even if it was very much a see and split type of weekend. It was fun, but I would have liked to stay just a bit longer.

Why couldn't I? Because I had to finish a big assignment on Sunday. Yes, I will admit that I did regret signing up for an extra class this session...the internal chatter went something like this as I was driving home...

v1: "Can't I just stop for a bit and get a little bit of sleep??"
v2: "Oh no!! you won't wake up until morning, I know you"
v1: "yeah, but I'm tiiiiired!!"
v3: "I wish we'd stayed dammit! We should have gone to that club for the salsa dancing!! think how cool the pictures would have been!!! DAMMIT"
v1: "I know! I know! But we've got to get the stupid accounting project done tomorrow"
v3: "yeah, but we won't be back!! We still have time to turn around and get some pics!"
v1: "We CAN'T!"
v4: "Oh just had to sign us up for class didn't you?? We could've had a good two month vacation but nooOOooo."
v1: "yeah, but without the photo class we wouldn't have had a good reason to go to Miami so many times, or come up to Tampa twice, or go to Key West!"
v3 & 4 (muttering): "yeah, ok...ok"
v2: "I'm still tired..."
other voices: "oh, suck it up!!"

For all I know, there may have been more than those voices, they do sound awfully similar at times!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

ah, the young artiste...

I dug through some old stuff and found these...most before I was 6 (I'm not sure about the butterfly tho')

Sunday, October 14, 2007

South Florida Sample

I've been back in Florida for close to two months now and soon, it will be time to head back to California and resume my edumacation. Will I miss Florida? Darn tootin'. I already did and now, being back here for two months just strengthened that. There are things I miss about Cali, but this is my home; it's where I grew up and it just has a certain flair!

For example, I've been able to listen to some Latin music (and I ain't talkin' mariachi music either!) on a regular basis. If you want your own taste of it, just link to Mega94Nueve!! They play different types of music, some salsa, merengue, bachata (sp?), and spanish rock.

Of course, I've been snapping pics, too and here are a few....

This is the pump house...a bit rusty and time for a new paint job

Here we have a crab hanging out getting some sun

At the end of the jetty, the waves aren't taking any prisoners

On a better day, you can see the fish swimming in the inlet

We saw these macaws hanging out at Bayfront down in Miami

Ready for a close-up?

This one is preening and making it hard to get a better picture

While macaws are nice, can you really be in Florida
without seeing a pink flamingo somewhere??
(note the pink house too...)

Speaking of pink, here's a nice little frangi-pani (aka plumeria)

Yes, this tree is as tall as it looks

This is one of the old houses in the neighborhood.
Nothing says "Florida"quite like an aqua colored wood house!

Another view of the same house.
I really like these little old houses like this.

And the there's this monstrosity. When they first built it,
I thought it was an apartment house. Yes, it's that big-built right to
the property line. I walked by one evening...there's a truck parked in front but
you can't even see any lights on inside.

I used to climb this tree when I was a kid (and broke my arm on one of its cousins)

Hanging out on our back fence, this little brown lizard tries
to warn me off its territory (while staying ready to bolt should I get nearer.)

Elsewhere in the backyard, this curly tail lizard tried to stare me down.

At the nearby mall, the signs for Mother Nature's Pantry

This mall will be torn down at some point. The city council has
now approved new construction. I think they will build a new
mall and a hotel on this property.

Inside the store, the smoothie bar still stands

As you're wandering out for the falling coconuts!

It's not always sunny. We got about 2 weeks of constant rain.
Here, I tried to show it...this is the birdbath in the backyard

Let's take a walk to the local marina...

And get a closeup of this purrrty hibiscus!
(do you see it in the picture above?)

From one of the piers, you can see the Blue Heron Bridge in the distance.

And a boat comes chugging by...

Every Thursday, they have the Arts Walk...
people and vendors mill about.

This was on the side of one of the boats!

At the end of the pier, boat ties are ready and just
occurred to me how clean they are-they must be new.

At the other end of the pier, a little sandpiper keeps an eye on me

And this boater takes his dog out for a sunset tour....