Sunday, August 30, 2009


Since I'm always back-assward most of my life it would make sense that I don't have Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter like the normal folks. I have it during heat waves. Not sleeping well, cranky, not inspired to do much, it's been hell since the temperature has hit triple digits. Compound the heat with the smoke in the air and you'll notice there are claw marks on our walls.

We have air-conditioning so it's not that personally I'm hot but it's the fact we have the house closed up tight for more than 24 hours. Sure, when it's hot here during the day night times are likely to be wonderfully cool and after sunset we can open the doors and windows and let the westerly breeze in. When my gut starts grinding it's when the drapes are drawn, the windows and doors tightly shut and, if I do venture outside, I move from an air-condition car to a fortress against the heat. Yesterday, when the thermometer hit 107 standing by a glass window you could feel the heat radiate off.

And then, there's the air-conditioning unit itself. I'm not a fan of white noise so the constant hum of the unit only adds to my discomfort. I vote for warmer temps in the house if it means the AC runs less; I'm usually outvoted.

Other sufferers of this malady might wonder how do I cope. Probably the way SAD folks deal with winters. I sleep, and eat, and watch TV until I can fall asleep, again. Can't wait for winter and it better come quickly before I eat any more and can't get through the door.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Half a life ago when comfort was my enemy

Facebook allows me to play Scrabble with my sister, 1500 miles away, and my daughter, 40 miles, and for this one reason I accept this silly little social networking program. My life did not need social networking. I'm already busy with this blog and our food blog, Peanut Butter ´Etouffee, that is when I post. I give myself no deadlines because I lived by them for so many years. UGH. That's the sound they make, deadline, when they fall on your desk.

What I did find interesting is that "Six Degrees of Separation" thing. I accepted, as a friend, a past co-worker and on her list of friends was the brother of Tony, the best man at my wedding and life long friend of my husband. Then, I found on another co-worker's friend list a man I'd lost touch with, my photography teacher and, I have to say, one of the most influential people in my career, John Gray. Without John I would not have known the joys of photography or never made the career jump to computer graphics and web design. In 2005 I retired from a career I would have never had without his coaching.

John has created a site for John Gray's Photography Classes at Moorpark College to "Share ideas about Photography, Ask Questions, Find out what is happening at Moorpark College." This was a giant leap back in time for me; giant. When I stopped to figure out just when I was there I realized it was half my lifetime ago; thirty years.

At that time I was trying to work and go to school and be a mom so I usually took evening classes and it wasn't until the early 80s, when I quit work for a while, did I get a chance to take one of John's classes. I was hooked and should be honest enough to say I quit so I could take his class. There, now that little secret is out, I feel better.

John always let you go in your own direction; explore your art but reminded you when you became to comfortable in what you were doing. He never preached he taught by example and the critiques in his class by fellow students were the most beneficial lessons learned.

One of the best classes I ever attended was not in the classroom but in a Moorpark College van. Every week we'd go to a different destination to explore all types of photography, or art, and a bit of the local dinning. Exposure became not only light to film but different ways of thinking to eager minds. Most fun were impromptu lessons on depth of field or exposure where ever we happened to be. I cherish the photos I took that year.

Moorpark College drifted in and out of my life but a pivotal moment came when I visited John's classroom while I was taking a process camera class. He dragged me to a his tiny little Macintosh computer to show me I could do the same things I was doing with the process camera but quicker and without a darkroom. I quit that class and signed up for his Intro to Macintosh class and never looked back. Well, except to reminisce about what a great opportunity I had taking John's class.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Too much time on my hands

There a far more important things I need to do.
I have a problem just watching TV.
The Dodgers are on every night.

This is a result of two of the three previous statements. Often I'll read and watch TV unless there are subtitles or the show is interesting to me; PBS's History Detectives is my summer fav. It seems if my brain isn't busy my hands need.

After Lil Bird went on her Sheepherding vacation I found myself reintroduced to some woolie crafts, at one time I did some weaving but that was long ago and I was looking for something creative to do. Needle Felting had been on my "must try" list for a while and found the needles and a book while on vacation.

Briefly, you take roving, unspun wool, and form it into a desired shape, then stab the hell out of it with a special barbed needle about a million times. The barbs racing in and out of the wool causes the fibers to grab hold of each other and hold on for dear life resulting in a denser fabric; felt. It's a pretty mindless repetitive motion; just what I needed. I'm for anything that keeps my hands out of the candy jar so I punched up this little bowl. It might even get better looking by giving it a wash in hot water, can't tell.

My next project is little animals made of wool, maybe people.

Editors note: That last sentence reads odd, doesn't it? Am I going to make animals out of people? That's a chilling thought. Let's have another go at this.

My next project is animals sculpted in wool and I might even try to create some human faces in the fiber, as well.

Whew, glad that got changed.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Another Reagan legacy

When riding public transportation there should be a caveat; try not to travel on really hot days and avoid full moons like the plague. On my trip to the Getty last week I broke both those rules.

Let me remind my readers, new and old, I love riding public transportation. My experiences on LA's train and bus system are, for the most part, easy and rewarding. I've sufficiently moved on from the train wreck to be able to travel again on all systems though the anniversary of the crash is looming. I'll deal with that at a later date.

One observation is so blatant on the bus. Most of the riders either can't afford a car or for some reason are physically/mentally unable to obtain or keep a driver's license. I don't have a problem with that because I truly don't want to eliminate the poor, disabled or chronically unwashed. I want to add more people that own cars and decide it is more efficient to ride a natural gas bus to work/shop or whatever gets them on the street. Everyone knows the traffic in LA is a nightmare. But does everyone know we have a very efficient bus system?

Unfortunately what keeps people from trying the systems are the wackos that ride the bus. Yes, I'm ashamed to call them wackos but everyone riding the bus has a similar story. And, yes, I know they are not going to go away, nor should they. They are part of the Public in public transportation. If we only had a few more semi-normal people to ride it would balance everything.

Take my last ride. Everything was pretty tame until the lady with four stuffed teddy bears got on. She rode quietly until, imagine this, someone started talking loudly on a cell phone. This sent the bear lady over the edge and with fingers stuck in both ears, started ranting and raving. It wasn't until she screamed, "You can't take my baby!" that I noticed all four of the stuffed bears were wearing baby clothes and realized this poor woman needed much more care than the State of California is able to give.

Thank you Ronald Reagan. In the 1980 his policy toward the treatment of mental illness failed to address the issue: the mentally ill. I know it's easy to blame him for the past but what scares me is to think of what will happen with the current budget cuts coming from Sacramento. What legacy will that create?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Now, I've seen everything

Signs of the Apocalypse: Plague, pestilence, wars, me buying a PC. Readers that know me would agree this is a disturbing sign.

It's not that I've never used a PC, there is one in my husbands office and when I was employed I used both a Mac and a PC; I can see some benefits of both. And it's not like I'll be using it for anything serious, just surfing the web when we are camping. A bit of bill paying, blog posting, or e-mailing–nothing serious at all–just a need for a laptop.

Why did I pick a PC over a Mac Laptop? Honestly, it's the price. For the very few times I'll need it I couldn't justify a Mac. That and the fact the Mac Tablet won't be out until next year sometime. What is the Tablet? It will be larger than an Ipod Touch and smaller than a laptop and I'm sure more expensive than both combined but when it does come out I'll have to investigate, sell some blood and buy one. I'm a sucker for Macs you see, been one for ages.

Here's hoping the Mac Tablet comes out next year and not 2012 since that is the expected year of the Apocalypse. I'd sure like to enjoy it before Armageddon.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Is nothing sacred?

There is honestly a product called Anti-Monkey Butt. With this guy on the bottle do I have to say more?

This product was featured at the check-out of a hardware store in Solvang and I can't say why, maybe the picture, it brought me to my knees with laughter. I so wanted my friend to purchase some but he refused but it's still funny. Side splitting, pants wetting, cry your mascara off funny.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

True confessions

I met him in parking lot of the Post Office of all places. He stole my heart with his sexy body. He was black with yellow stripes. I felt like a school girl and when I learned he was electric; I fell head over heels in love.

When I saw him I thought I recognized him only when he told me his name did I know for sure."It's Cooper, M. Cooper." Knowing how my husband would feel I went directly home and told him; I'm not ashamed of my new love. Devastated to learn we couldn't be together I begged for him to reconsider but I was informed he might have time for me in 2012 but no sooner.

My unrequited love will have to wait until then I'll dream of time we can be united and silently slip away.

Monday, August 03, 2009

One soul; stolen

He hates when I take his picture; he always said it steals his soul. What the hell would I do with his soul?

There wasn't a recent photo of my beloved so, with camera on the table I tilted it up a bit and snapped this without his knowing.

This pretty much sums up his existence. He's wearing a t-shirt and a baseball cap. The t-shirt is more than likely car related and the cap was probably given to him. It's summer so he's wearing shorts and tennis shoes; no socks. His arms are scared from hard work as is his back but you rarely hear him complain.

I've gotten to know his moods, both high and low, and love him in spite of the low ones. He takes very good care of me and I think I've been good for him. If I'm cranky, he knows what to say; if he is I know to leave him alone. Though the road to this place has not been easy; both of us can be stubborn beyond belief-we are good for each other.

This is the man I've known and loved for 40 years. The father of our one and only daughter and all around good guy and he'll never know I took this photo. He doesn't bother with the 'net and maybe that is a good thing.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The tasty grape

You can't write about our vacation and not mention a little wine tasting. The central coast of California in the past decade had turned from rolling hills of cattle grazing to vineyards.

We found Roblar Winery in the Santa Ynez valley when we went looking for an establishment listed in the travel book that featured olives. Don't trust those Chamber of Commerce books they send you, this one was more wrong than right.

Frustrated with the address given we pulled into the parking lot of a beautiful building that looked like a very large restaurant. No signage. None. But once inside we realized we'd found a tasting room/restaurant and completely ignoring the fact it wasn't even noon, approached the bar. This was the first of many.

The wine was very tasty and after the seven servings we were on our way. The Syrah was, in my uneducated opinion, the best but at 48 bucks a bottle not on my shopping list. Onward.

A few more stops, one for a light lunch which I did not partake and this is a key part to the afternoon for me, and then to Fess Parker Winery. Whoo doggies, everyone remembers Fess Parker, right? Well, for some of you youngins, here's what we were doing in the early 50s. Watching Davy, Davy Crocket, king of the wild frontier.

After that, it was all a blur, a few more wineries, some good others crap then, at the last, I realized how the word "tipsy" got associated with inebriation. First, let me state I was not drunk but tipsy, yes. I bent over to pick up something and just keep going. My inner ear was screaming at me to – balance, get your balance, girl – but my brain said, hey man, just go with the flow. So I flowed down to my knees. Glad I was alone.

All in all it was a wonderful day and by the time we got back to our camp, I was fine. I was surprised at how much wine I'd bought but fine.