Sunday, June 15, 2014

Suff about my dad

My father taught me how to drive.  He told me that I should always have my ID on me, no matter what.  He said that I should know how to change my own car tires (I've ignored that one.  Sorry, Dad).  He always calls me baby.  He worries about me and he asks me for advice about things internet-related, which makes me feel smart.  He wears a Nascar jacket and he loves it but he doesn't follow racing at all.  He shares his chocolate with me.  He's had the exact same haircut for my entire life.  If I wandered into the room when he was shaving, he'd splash his face with aftershave and then get me with it, too.  He called me Squirrel and my brother, Monkey.  Now he says I'm squirrely.   He gave me my love of reading.   He's supported everything I've ever done, even when he was pretty sure that it wasn't the best idea I've ever had.  In fact, it was a pretty often a terrible idea but he'd be right there, behind me all the way.  I don't think I've ever told him how much I appreciate that.

We don't agree on everything but I know what's most important - he loves me and I love him right back and that will always be true.

Happy Father's Day,  Daddy.

Friday, May 30, 2014


I'm taking a break from social media.  Mostly.  Partly.  Just one.  I'm taking a break from FaceBook.  I did it on a whim and now I find that I'm really liking it.  So much of my time and energy is wasted on that site and it's fun to look around at the real world.

We went to a Holi Festival of Colors and it was awesome.  (Info about what the festival means here)

There were so many people dancing and laughing and pelting colored dust at total strangers and it was a perfect sort of day.

This is us. 

The Adventures of D&A.

We are still in the middle of Spring and the hot, it is here.  I've been making summer dresses and fruit pies and buying killing house plants.  It's only taken ten to fifteen plant deaths for me to figure out which ones are hardier than others.  Fingers crossed that by the end of the year a few of the plants I've purchased in the last week will still be alive.
The pie making is a new thing and I'm going nuts with it.  Currently, I've got a bowl full of lemon slices soaking in sugar and juice for the lemon shaker pie I'll be making tonight.  A couple of days ago, it was a pineapple apricot pie.  Everyone I visit will get pie because I don't want to eat them, I just want to make them. 

My brother was in town for a few weeks and there were adventures - one of them was a tour of Pixar.  I met many interesting characters.
Like this guy.

And these guys.

And these two.
 A former roommate of my brother's works for the company and gave us a mini tour and I was so excited I was nearly hyperventilating.   Original art, concept designs, cereal bars, a swimming pool, screening rooms....  I want to live there.

Then there was Art and Culture at LACMA.  
This is a very arty photo that I took of David.  See how serious he is?  That's how you know that this is ART.

This is a very arty photo that David took of me.  You'd think that because my face isn't very serious, this is not art.  You are wrong.  This is art because it was taken in a museum by a Very Serious Artist and that makes it ART.

Adventure #3 was a trip to Disneyland.
David loves Disneyland.  Don't be fooled by the expression - he's got a naturally grumpy face.

See?  He loves it.

And the final adventure was a trip to someplace where they grow a lot of apples.  The name of the place escapes me.  If you know a place where there are many apples grown, that could be the place we went to on Mother's Day.  Our mother went with us. 
This is David and the car he's always wanted.  The guy behind the car who looks like my dad is my dad.  There are no apples in this photo.

There will be more activity here since I've left the Facebook.  Fingers crossed.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Annual Meme, 2013 Edition

I've been doing this one for 6 years now.  Here's the old ones: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007.
Here's how I do this year.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
I finally figured out how to shoot with my Lindhof.  It's a magical camera and I'm still figuring out how to make really awesome photos but at least I've finally figured out how to do really bad photos.  Awesome will come later.

Learning to develop my own film was a really great experience, too.  I love that I'm more and more able to control every aspect of what I shoot.  This year, my technical knowledge of photography grew in leaps and bounds, thanks to an awesome new friend who was so generous with showing me the ropes.
Also, I had a root canal.  That is less awesome than the other new things I've done this year.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My resolution was to keep up with this blog and I did not do a very good job with that AT ALL.  Maybe 2014 will be the year of the blog....

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin-in-law had a beautiful baby girl and when we went to visit for Thanksgiving, that baby was mine.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I'm grateful to see that my loved ones are ok.

5. What countries did you visit?
This year I went with my family to Paris and then took a trip to Mexico City with my BFF, where we stayed with my brother.  It was all very awesome.
About seventy squillion other photos from the trip to Paris are here: TRIP TO PARIS

Me, the Brother, and the BFF about to climb an enormous pyramid outside of Mexico City.
A few photos of the trip to Mexico City are here.  TRIP TO MEXICO CITY AND ALSO SOME AREAS AROUND MEXICO CITY I have about eight squajillion more to upload because we went in May and that's only seven months and how is anyone supposed to do anything that quickly?

The other trip was in the US so maybe it doesn't count but there was a trip to the Grand Canyon and that was fun.  Kind of.  Not the camping part, which it turns out we're really, really bad at.  The rest of it was cool.
 Some of the pictures from that trip are here: GRAND CANYON  That trip was in June so there's, maybe, two pictures from the trip in that set.  I expect to have the rest uploaded by March of 2015.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
I really want to work on getting my various businesses off the ground.  There is a specific amount of money that I'd like to be making monthly and it's going to take some hustling to get there.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The trips that we took this year were magical.  Just wonderful, wonderful memories made with the people I love most and those will stay with me always.  Beyond that, nothing compares.  I saw a favorite band in concert twice in the same week, I went on a great little road trip with a good friend, The Kid and I went to the County Fair, just the two of us and had a blast - there are lots of fantastic little moments that happened throughout the year.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Really, it was learning how to navigate a marriage and Sudden Onset Motherhood - The Kid came to stay with us full-time this year and while I love, love, love him and his being around, it definitely took some adjusting to.

9. What was your biggest failure?
No failures.  Except maybe driving my car into a pole today.  That was pretty sucky.  (No major damage, just a dent and some scratches.  Shiny, new Clarence was just made a little less shiny and new.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
The root canal?  Does that count?  It should.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
This one is a toughie.  I can't think of any one thing that is the most awesome that I actually purchased myself.  My guy wins this one - he got me my dream camera for Christmas.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My guy.  There have been a lot of stressful situations going on this year, I'm maybe not the easiest person to be with, our expenses have gone up - through it all, he's patient and kind and loving and altogether just an amazing person.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I skip this question every year, I think.  Really, I should just take it out of the meme but then next year, I'll notice the missing number, forget why it's missing, go look it up, get annoyed, and then put it back but not answer it.  So I just won't answer it here.  edit - I left this answer in from last year's meme.

14. Where did most of your money go?
All the bills.  Lots and lots of bills.  Also, the vacations.  We won't be doing anything like that again for a while.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Vacations and cameras and friends and parties and movies and concerts.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
I hate to say it but Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke.  I don't even LIKE it but it was everywhere and it's catchy as hell.  It was EVERYWHERE.  My 63 year-old neighbor played it as her wake-up song in the mornings, that's how everywhere it was.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?
I'm happier
b) thinner or fatter?
Thinner! Because I am a shallow person who obsesses over my weight does never does much of anything about it.
c) richer or poorer?
About the same.  Maybe a little poorer what with the root canal and the accidental hitting a pole with my car.  The pole is not going to press charges, luckily, but I don't think it'll be cheap to make poor Clarence look new again.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I should have spent more time outdoors.  Walking the dog doesn't count, either.   I've never been much of a hiker/beach bum/outdoorsperson but I think I might be missing out on some nice stuff.  I should check it out before it all gets irradiated or turns into a desert.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Cleaning.  Definitely cleaning.  I don't think the amount of cleaning I do will change with this new year, either.  Two dudes in the house, neither one of them capable of putting anything away.  So much cleaning.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
The three of us spent Christmas Eve at my parents house with them and other assorted family members.
On Christmas Day, J and I hosted an all-day brunch with a revolving door - friends and family drifted in and out all day.   It was lovely.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
I stayed very happily in love.

22. How many taco stands?
I had no taco stand food at all this year.  I'll try and do better next year.

23. What was your favourite TV program?
Doctor Who, as always.  Sherlock.  The Walking Dead.  Game of Thrones.  Orphan Black is a new favorite.  My not-so-secret guilty pleasure is Once Upon a Time.  It's so terrible but so GOOD.  But also really bad.  I love it.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No hate for anyone at all.

25. What was the best book you read?
I really enjoyed the Gone series by Michael Grant.  It was so dark!  I made The Kid read it as soon as I'd finished it, it was that good. .......   I'm trying to think of more books that aren't about the apocalypse or sci-fi or fantasy - I'm trying to sound like I'm intellectual - but I can't think of anything.  ...  *taking a break to run through the apartment and see if there are any Smart Books I've read and enjoyed that maybe I've forgotten about*
Some good novels, a couple of memoirs, a couple of graphic novels. I reread a bunch of favorites, stuff by Jane Austen and Dorothy Parker.  2014 will be the year I read all the science books. 

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
This Christmas playlist by my friend Max.  Some of the coolest Christmas music ever, ever, ever.  Save it for next year - you'll love it.

27. What did you want and get?
A very most awesome camera.  I have named him Elwood P. Dowd and he and I are going to make wonderful things together.

28. What did you want and not get?
A unicorn.

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
I can't remember anything in particular.  My favorite film-going experience?  A girlfriend and I saw His Girl Friday at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica.  One of the best comedies ever made, on the big screen.  Cary Grant's chin dimple, larger that life. 

30. What did you do on your birthday?
I can't remember.  Is that bad?  I'm sure it was nice.  The trip to Paris a week earlier was for my birthday.

31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A unicorn

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Tights.  Lots and lots of tights.  Black ones, brown ones, green ones, spotted ones, all the tights. 

33. What kept you sane?


Coffee?  Willpower?  I don't know.  I'm not sure if I am sane.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I'm not even sure what it means to 'fancy' but I know that this video fills me with delight.

Otherwise, I'm coming up blank...

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Obamacare, the shutdown, Syria - a year full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

36. Who did you miss?
My grandparents.  Always my grandparents. 

37. Who was the best new person you met?
I've made a few awesome new friends this year.  It's been great.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:
Floss your teeth.  Seriously.  Floss.*

*Isn't that a strange word?  Floss.  I typed it and then almost immediately started to wonder if that's actually a word.  Floss.  Flossflossfloss.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year
Don't stop me now 'cause I'm having a good time

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I Could Have Danced All Night

We went to a Masquarade ball last night and if I hadn't been dancing I would have been taking pictures like crazy.  Everyone looked amazing and and THE DANCING!  Waltzes and quadrilles and Virginia reels and dance cards and lemonade.  Everyone needs to go to a ball at least once in their lives. 
The Kid dressed as a skeleton and danced very, very carefully.  It was adorable. He was out there quite a bit, too.  He's a keeper, that one.  The Guy wore a suit and a very cool mask and helped stuff me, my gown, and my six feet of peacock feathered train into the car because he is a gentleman. 
My mother, who went as a butterfly, made both of our costumes and people went bananas over them. She is a genius with needle and thread. 
It's occurred to me more than once that I am a very lucky lady, have worn twice in as many years the most incredible gowns in the world. 

The dancing was so much fun, partly because dancing and partly because the dances were 'called' - a lot like square dancing but more falling on the ground as ladies trip over their skirts. There is also the possibility of crashing into someone because you turned left when the other seven people in your set turned right.  It's all very exciting and surprisingly dangerous.  I almost fell over my own dress but I was lucky enough to be partnered with a dance instructor who caught and steadied me so smoothly that the whole thing looked like a very cool dance move.  The floor was crowded and if I'd been with anyone else, I'm pretty sure I would have taken half the ballroom down with me. 

I'll put up some photos in the next couple of days.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hanging out with Quasimodo

One of the most fun things to happen to me on any trip happened in Paris. Our hotel was very near Notre Dame and on our second visit to the Cathedral, we took the tower tour. This is a very basic sort of thing - for $20 each, you wait in a very long line, then climb up a whole bunch of stairs in the north tower. Upon reaching the top, you are funneled into the narrow bridge connecting the towers. Very tall chain link fences on either side of the walkway prevent the tourists from tumbling over the side and locked gates keep you from going anywhere except along that walkway and directly to the stairs of the south tower, where you climb back down again. 
The day we took the tour was beautiful. It was cold and sunny and clear and we waited in line with a hundred other people, climbed a bajillionty steps with them, and finally reached the top.
We oohed and ahhed and then I noticed the gate right next to us. I gave it a shove because that's what I always do when I see a gate and to my complete surprise, it opened. I am not one to ignore an invitation.  Five seconds later, I'm through the gate and it's magical. There are no fences, there are the creepiest gargoyles I've ever seen and they're RIGHT THERE. 

The kid and the guy followed me and it was just the three of us romping around the tower.  

We hung out for quite a while, poking around, touching gargoyles and taking pictures.  

At one point, I realized that I'd left the family behind and when I went back to find them, I saw the guy taking a photo of the kid holding a broom. They'd found it leaning against a wall of the tower and it had the name Quasimodo burned into it. 

By this point, a few other people had trickled through the gate, maybe five or six in total.  We hung out for a while and then I continued around the tower. Now I could see the walkway, packed with people and to my right, an open door. I stood there for a second, wondering what I should do when a guy in overalls came out the door and stopped in surprise. We kind of stared at each other for a second and then he said something in French.  I have no idea what it was but I'm pretty sure it ended with a question mark.  I made my very best Lost and Confused face.  He asked something else, I still didn't understand and then we stared at each other some more.  A second later, another guy came out the door, this one much older and clearly in charge.  He took one look at me and started yelling, arms waving, face going red, the works.  I was still doing Lost and Confused and then I added Feeble Shrugging. The older guy yelled some more and marched over to a gate that opened onto the walkway where everybody else was. I followed meekly behind and just as he's unlocking the gate, two more people pop out from around the corner behind me. The guy completely lost it. He pushed me through the gate and locked it behind me. Then he stormed the people behind me, yelling and shooing the other stragglers back around the tower and through the first gate we'd all come through. I could hear him yelling the whole time. He locked the gate, yelled some more, and stomped off. The kid and the guy found me on the walkway eventually, we took some tourist-approved photos from the tourist-approved location and that was it. We were safely part of the group and our self-guided tour was over. 

Always look for the unlocked gates.

Monday, November 4, 2013

So much with the things

There's been a lot of really great stuff happening in the last year.  For example, a friend and I are hosting monthly Tea and Shakespeare gatherings.  We get a pile of people together, choose a few acts from various plays, and everybody reads and laughs and drinks tea and generally has a great time.  We have our victims friends do ridiculous awesome little things when they're reading, like talk in a squeaky voice or spin in place and this, in our opinion, improves the play quite a lot.

Tea and Shakespeare in the park

This was Midsummer's Night Dream in Echo Park. We wore flower crowns and blew bubbles because that is what you do when you are being very Arty and reading Shakespeare.

The other thing my brilliant friend organized was a square dance last Saturday and it turns out that square dancing is AWESOME.  You don't even have to know what to do!  They just order you around the whole time and it's fantastic!
It's quite a workout, all that hopping and skipping and do-si-do-ing.  I helped with the decorating and I'm pretty sure that was the first time in my life I had to move bales of hay around.  It's like I'm a real farmer now.