Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just Call Me Brenda-Barbie!

You all are being allowed in on my slow ascent into Photoshop stardom! Actually this amazing piece of inspiration you see was not done on PS (still need to watch the tutorials) but through other things on my marvelous Mac.

I realize it is a mess, I did not figure out how to erase the grey around Barbie's bubble head. But that is not why I am showing this to you & putting aside all my dignity for a moment.

I'm posting this because after spending a good amount of time working/playing around with putting Barbie's head on my shoulders, I laughed out loud at myself! Here's the funny....why in the world did I put her head on MY BODY? It's HER BODY that I want & crave. (That sentence could really be wrong if taken out of context.)
I mean really! My head & hair are not so bad, but oh man, I am totally exasperated with my bod & it's new found menopause lumps, bumps & jiggles!

The only drawback to having her body is that I'm not crazy about wearing only high heels all the time!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Who Me?

While attending a wedding last year, one of my best friends, Barb, would not let me take her picture. As I was about to click she turned her head away & this is the shot I caught! I love it!

In my last post I sent a question out to you that matched the ones in my head recently. The question was this: Can fooling around with photos be considered art?

Well of course it can & is....when someone else does it! But me? My silly little experiments? Is it possible that I have finally accidentally bumped into a way that I can create beauty?

This is what got me swirling around in this whirlpool of ideas & questions. I loved the back-of-her-head pic of my friend, so I played with it & for her birthday last week she opened up her gift bag to find this version.................
I enlarged it to about 5x7 & mounted it on white foam-board & added a wall- hanger on the back. She really loved it & immediately began to tell me that I should do more of it & pursue this as art, not just fooling around. I also gave her a colorful version of the same shot but similar to the one of me in the previous post.

I have Photoshop on my Mac but have not even ventured in there because it is very intimidating to me. I think maybe it is time to open that creative door & see what lurks inside!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mac Fun!

I am asking myself some questions these last few days.
Nothing huge or deep or heavy, just fun ideas!
Can fooling around with photos be considered "art"?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Beauty Tips...

"For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For poise, walk with the knowledge
that you will never walk alone.
People, even more than things have to be
restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed;
never throw out anyone."
Audrey Hepburn

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hats Are Where it's At!

I have been sorting through my hundreds of photos this last week while loading them on my Mac & came across some cuties.

The straw hat shot is me many many moons ago (kind of Shirley Temple-ish huh?). The camo-hat photo is Rocker Son when he was a cute little munchkin. The similarity is fun don't you think? R.S. and I are very much alike in our coloring & looks. Writer Son looks just as much like Hubs.

The three-ladies-pic is me with my Mom & Aunt. I was & still am always reading! But did you notice my cool crocheted vest? Too bad my Mom is wearing the same one! I've always been an edgy dresser! :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Six Word Saturday!

Painting guest room for Mom's visit, yikes!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mute Not!

I usually do not put songs on my blogs. I figure that people have too many different tastes & I would hate to make someone click away from mine because the music bugged them too much to even find the mute button. Reminds me of the times I have been shopping & just totally hated the music in the clothing shop & couldn't concentrate on my quest for the perfect pair of jeans!

BUT this song hit me in such a sweet & deep way when I heard it on one of my student's blogs that I sat there & let it play about 5 times through before going to bed last night! It expresses my heart so beautifully.

The singer is Julie Meyer & I know nothing about her or her church or beliefs but she is singing my song here. My history of church and ministry was largely based on what we could DO for others and for God. So I DID a lot of good for a lot of years and I enjoyed it most of the time because I love people. But this push to DO pushed into my time to just BE. To be with God. To be by myself. To be with my thoughts.

Until the day that my God let me know that He treasures my BEING way more than all my wonderful DOINGS. Who knew? So now, I am FREE from all the "shoulds" that ruled my life as a minster's wife and a Christian. This song is about worship. Worship that is not tied to any action at all. Just loving God. Just breaking open my "alabaster box", my heart & emotions, and pouring them liberally on His feet. That worship can look totally different to different people, and it must.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Plenty of TP

Next month Hubs & I will be celebrating our 32nd Wedding Anniversary. I know, that's a really long time isn't it? Especially when you consider that for two thirds of that time we have worked together all day, side by side!! Now you can truly be amazed huh?

When we first married, I moved into his tiny studio apartment that an elderly couple rented to him. It was a re-modeled basement & very small. So small that our bed was the fold out couch right by the front door. I could probably answer the door while still in bed! I do recall the bathroom door banging my knees when sitting on the toilet! (Ah good times!)

The photo you see here is my current bathroom cupboard with some nice stacks of toilet paper. This sight always triggers a little memory from those early days of our marriage; our apartment had a door that opened into the old couple's garage storage area. They had built some huge floor- to-ceiling shelves that held stacks & stacks of canned goods & other non-perishable foods. The shelves also held towers of toilet paper packages. In my memory it seems they were as far as the eye could see but of course some memory-exaggeration is going on there!

Hubs & I were just so impressed with that huge bountiful supply they had! Having very little money we were barely getting by & always running out of things & scraping up just enough to get the essentials. To see such an unending supply of TP was like a symbol of wonderfully extravagant living! It was our goal to someday be able to do that! :)

I realize that it probably cost them less to buy it that way when they found good sales, but we were not in a place to even enter one of those big warehouse type stores, in our minds anyway. It appeared very abundant & lavish to be able to purchase that much of one thing when it was not needed that minute.

I do not have shelves full of future supplies even now, though I could if I wanted to. I feel generous when I buy two 24 roll pacs of TP at once. But neither are we digging into the couch cushions to find enough change for a soup dinner like we did in that cozy studio apartment. When I open that bathroom cupboard, my mind often goes back to that old couple's supply & beautiful organization. It's funny how a current scene can take you back instantly to a past scene.

Do you have that experience?

Thursday, January 14, 2010


In December Jan Mary over at Welcome To My World
had a Nativity Set Carnival
so we could all share our treasured scenes
with one another.
She had a drawing & I WON!!
My adorable PRIZE arrived this week & you see it
pictured above! I love it!
Thank Jan Mary in Northern Ireland!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Read me.....

The following is the beginnings of a story I am working on & hope to get into a mature women's magazine. Never published anything before, beyond freebie local newspaper stuff, church newspapers & a few articles for a local Real Estate Company. My dream would be to be a columnist for a newspaper or e-magazine, but not sure how to pursue it.

Anyway, I am not finished with this article. I need to add some personality to it you know? It seems too dry as is. I tend to get stuck on getting the facts correct & forget to add my own spin on things to make it more fun to read. Any thoughts or questions about clarity would be appreciated. It's ok if you leave due to the length of this post, I usually don't read long posts either! Ha! So.........

It began with a leisurely glance though my Mom’s photo albums. My husband & I were spending a few days with my parents in Washington at the tail end of summer. I can’t remember exactly why I was looking at 50 year old pictures of my childhood, I had seen them thousands of times & pretty much knew them by heart. There I was, five years old with long brown ringlets & a red headband, standing in a row with four other cousins all dressed alike. Four girls & a boy. The three girls & I are in crisp blue plaid dresses with a thin red rick-rack trim. The lone boy has a shirt to match (I can’t tell if his has rick-rack, hope not!).

We were the only members of a privileged group in our family. All five cousins, being born in 1955, we were dubbed “The 55’ers”. Our five families had organized an end of summer gathering to celebrate the fact that the five of us were all getting ready to enter Kindergarten! The moms had sewn our matching outfits & took many photos of us that weekend at our first family camp-out. We even had a special cake & gifts, which probably made up for the super scratchy petticoats we had to wear with those dresses to make them “stand-out”!

I wonder who first thought of & suggested the idea of making the gathering an annual event? It was not a terribly complicated plan. One of our Uncles owned some property behind his house that had a creek running all the way around it in the winter months, so we called it “The Island”. By the end of summer, one side of the creek was dry enough to drive through & that is exactly what our cars did the last weekend of every summer for many years.

I can still remember the crunch of our car tires, every summer, rolling over the dry rocky creek bed as we finally made it to our island campout! The loaded car would rise up out of the deep creek bed & onto the clearing that held large & small canvas tents circling a cement fire pit. There were already several folding camp chairs around the fire pit & a collection of straightened wire hangers ready for roasting marshmallows after dark.

The very best thing about our island was the freezing cold creek that was full & deep on the other side of the island due to a damn somewhere along the way. Keep in mind that this property was smaller than a city block so every bit of it could be seen at one glance. When we were old enough we could not wait to go to the dock. The dock over the creek had a wonderful rope swing that was our goal as soon after breakfast as we could talk our parents into it.

As I looked at the “Fifty-Fivers Go to Kindergarten” snapshot I suddenly realized that next year in 2010 we would be turning 55 years old! This just seemed so momentous & important….born in 1955 & about to turn 55! I wondered what they were all doing in their lives at this point. Sadly we lost one cousin in our twelfth year to an accident, and I only had sporadic contact with one other cousin and even that contact was just what our mother’s told us about each other. You know; an email from my mom may include the news that my cousin had her first grandbaby or was in the hospital. The four of us that remain have not spoken much over the years, other than weddings & funerals which all ended up with us saying we really ought to keep in contact more!

I put the thoughts aside as easily as I put mom’s photo album aside that day. But later, while on the long ten-hour drive home I began to fantasize about writing an article on the 55’er Club turning 55! We had acquired or made up the special “55’er Club” status when we were old enough to sleep in our very own tent, except for our poor boy cousin. Yes, you can easily assume we had the expected signs up stating, “No boys allowed” & “55’er Club only!”. After all, the entire family gathering was based on us & our special-ness right?

You may be wondering where FaceBook comes into this story. When I got home from the visit to my parents, I wrote a comment to my one cousin that I knew was on FB. I asked her what her favorite memories were from our camp-out days. I was shocked at the quick & enthusiastic response I got from her! I then posted some photos, including the one that had sparked the memories in me.

She immediately wrote that we must have a 55’er Club Reunion in 2010 to celebrate turning 55 years. My first response was that all I wanted was some FB connecting, not an awkward gathering of people we don’t even know anymore! We are basically strangers now with completely different & separate lives, why get together in some neutral place & do small talk for a few hours?

She did not write me back that day, but she obviously did some good detective work because the next day when I opened my FB there was a new “Friend Request” from one of the “missing” cousins. We became “Friends” & she left several comments on the old pictures I had posted. The three of us had a great time sharing pictures & memories. Each photo would bring up more memories & more questions.

“Remember the time we scared ourselves to death with spooky stories in the tent?”

“What was that girls name who came to camp-out with you that one time?”

“Remember the great treasure hunts we used to make up for the littler ones?”

“My favorite thing was the inner tube ‘skiing’ we used to do while hanging onto the rope swing!”

‘My favorite was your mom’s cinnamon roles & Uncle Joe’s pancakes!”

Then cousin number four was talked into getting on FB by his daughter who had seen the 55’ers chatting it up & having a fun time getting to know one another again. I always think of him as “Poor K____” because being the only boy in our club he was understandably tormented by us girls. But I don’t think he really minded the dozens of group photos he had to endure with us, as we got older though! Boys are boys, cousins or not!

So, now all four of us are FB “Friends” & we are sharing pictures back & forth as quickly as we can over the next few weeks. I am reminded of my fear of going under the dock where the crawdads live, and the time we did some kind of paper-mach’e project & made a horrible mess all over one of the tents. I asked them if there really was a loose bull out by the outhouse or was that my imagination. We all agree that it is sad that as we entered our teen years & did not appreciate the gathering, it began to fall apart & was dis-continued.

It’s not as if we were the only kids there each year. We all had older & younger siblings that probably resented our importance. But it did not occur to us that it was all about us really. I don’t remember thinking that we were the main reason this wonderful family gathering happened every summer. It just did. Didn’t all families have a camp-out on their own island the weekend before starting school?

What a rich & deep family tradition this was! I have stories that can only be truly understood & enjoyed by these other 3 cousins of mine. And now that we have been comparing notes, memories & photos on FB we are no longer awkward strangers. I know what their children & grandbabies look like. I know who turned out fat or skinny. I know how many marriages & businesses have been started & not completed. We are revealing to one another what we coveted about each other. “You always had the best hair.” And “I was so jealous of your doll!” and “Which family brought a trailer instead of a tent the first time?”

If the idea of a Fifty-Fiver Club reunion should come up again, possibly in 2010 to celebrate turning 55, I don’t believe I will be as resistant as the first time.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

Motorcycle Lessons..........

I have been inspired by one of my new blog friends, Joni at Two Wheeled Travel to share with you a video from last summer on our motorcycle. This way you can enjoy the beautiful countryside along with me & Hubs without getting helmet hair or bugs in your teeth! Hang on tight & you might want to turn the sound off because that loud roar is not the fun sound of our bike, it's just the wind hitting my camera!

Hubs & I have been riding together for a little over 3 years now I think. Much to the shock of my circle of friends & family I truly love being out there on the bike a lot! I even joined him out there today in 45-50 degree weather which is considered cold here in Calif! (Yes, we are weather wimps!) There are some interesting (to me!) lessons that I have learned in this little journey from house-mouse to motorcycle-mama that I will share with you today. (Lucky you!)

1- It is entirely possible to leave the house without a purse!! This was tough for me at first. I am 54 & we just feel more complete with all possible needs in our bag on our shoulder at all times pretty much. What about freshening our lipstick, or hair? What if we need some gum or money? Band-aids, lotion, identification, cellphone, pen & paper, aspirin?
Now I can go in a moments notice with just my cell & camera & chapstick!! Yay me!

2- If your bike seat is slanted just a bit too far forward it makes a certain part of your body feel like it is being ripped apart after an hour of riding! It would be really nice if you could sit on the bike for a couple of hours BEFORE purchasing to test this out. We replaced the seat & all is well with me now.

3- I wish someone would invent a little cloth sleeve to slip over the chin strap of my helmet to make it feel softer under my chin. It may exist, just haven't looked much yet. I actually considered sticking a comfy maxi pad under there but I don't think they come in black yet.

4- It is important even in warm weather to be sure your long sleeve jacket is closed tight around the wrist to keep bees out! I felt some pain in my sleeve as we sped along the country road one day last summer, reached into my sleeve & pulled out a live bee, but not before he stung me. Hubs was wearing short sleeves so the bees just bounced off him, my wayward bee got trapped in there...not fun! I told Hubs about it when we stopped 20 minutes later. He was very impressed that I kept my cool!! Again, yay me!

5- The traditional semi-wave that bikers do cracks me up! They barely lift a hand to each other as they pass. The left hand is just kind of dropped away from the handlebar & stretched out near the leg. I am so tempted to do a super girly princess wave next time, but I may lose my riding privileges, so, nope.
But I love the "community" that automatically exists between bikers who do not even know one another! Do car people wave at each other every time they pass? There is an unspoken respect between bikers that is really pretty cool.

6- Every time I ride with Hubs I get ideas to blog about. There is something very free-ing & creative about these wonderful times out enjoying nature. It's too loud to talk so Hubs & I feel alone and yet together in the experience. We always arrive back home invigorated & refreshed. (Even when comparing bug splats or bee-stings!) Oh yes, that reminds me of another lesson learned: Always wipe down your bike jacket after a long ride. It's very embarrassing to suddenly look at yourself while in the grocery line & see green & yellow & red bug splats on your jacket! Yep, I did that. Eeww!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Believe In Signs?

Some people make all their important life decisions based on signs from "the universe" or whatever.

Hopefully the STOP sign pictured here was not all someone had to help them when they had no idea what to do!!

But I love the CLARITY of the dog-emptying instructions.

And don't you love how the PROTRUDING sign is clearly speaking from experience!

Friday, January 1, 2010

First Sentence Re-cap of 2009

(Jan Mary over at Welcome to My World mentioned the idea of re-capping your blogs of 2009 by copying the first sentence of the first blog of each month in the year. Here is my 2009.....yah, 2010 is looking pretty good to me!)

Remember the Seinfeld episode about Georges' plan to do nothing all summer? I dream about blogging ideas. I'm sure everyone thinks it can never happen to them. As usual LINDA over at 2nd Cup of Coffee is always stirring (stirring? get it?) up trouble. Hi Gang! It's good to be home from our 10 day trip to the Philippines with our students.

Yep, still pondering the idea! Happy Feet!!
Vodka Mom just posted about getting an award that asked her to list what she has learned from her boys & it is hilarious, you must go read it...but come right back OK? Just spent a great weekend at my folks amazing 1 1/2 acres of woods in WA. They have literally carved out just enough room for a house & mom's garden!

I have a lot going around in my head to write about & for some reason that makes me put it off! These are pics of the neighbor's house I was complaining about in my last post.
Gross, seems to be the main goal with these items, especially the EGG SEPARATOR !

Interesting year!