Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas From My House to Yours!!!

The turkey's stuffed and roasting in the oven. The gifts are unwrapped and being enjoyed. We've watched "Holiday", "The Santa Clauses—1-3", "Elf", "The Polar Express" and "It's A Wonderful Life." Everyone is soft around the edges in their own form of bliss. I love having my family all here for Christmas. Hope you're enjoying your holiday as well. Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Holidays!!

This photo was taken at Anthropologie at the Carmel Plaza on my recent trip to Carmel with two of my good friends, Susan and Cynthia. I couldn't resist taking it into Photoshop and adding my own touch to their already creative display.

The photo below was taken of a doll in a store crammed to the cobwebs with Christmas displays. I thought she was charming in only a mildly creepy kind of way.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Miwa Matreyek's Most Magical Visions

I came across this amazing and most magical video on TED and just had to share it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow

I wasn't quite ready to stand in line all day to see the midnight showing of Harry Potter last night but I was certainly there for the 6:00 pm showing tonight. Both my daughters had dressed up and attended the opening last night and they LOVED it. Did it live up to the hype? Well, I thought it was visually stunning and there were several times when I jumped and caught my breath. I have to say, I thought it was brilliant.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

World Diabetes Day—Click to Help...It's Free

Watch this video, and a child in need gets life-saving insulin.

That's all you have to do. Just watch. Every view = a donation.

I have a lot of people I know and love who are personally affected by this disease, and more people are diagnosed everday.

Watch. Share.

Thanks to Ginger at The Seamstress of Avalon for bringing this to my attention.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


In Shamanic tradition the veil between the living and dead is at its thinnest on El Día de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead.

Monday night was that night. I witnessed the San Francisco Giants win the World Series for the very first time and while my husband and I jumped up and down, screamed with joy and high-fived each other in front of the television screen, I had the strongest sensation that my dad was jumping up and down in the room with us.

If ever there was a die-hard Giants fan, it was my dad. "This will be their year, the year they go all the way!" he'd say with conviction at the start of every Spring. "Maybe next year they'll do it," he'd say wistfully as we'd watch two other teams head into the World Series at the end of the summer. Throughout baseball season, if he wasn't sitting in front of the TV watching the Giants play and explaining to me how the game worked, his transistor radio was always at his side. Gardening or working on our house, the warmly familiar voices of Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons danced together over the roar of the fans and served as background music whenever the Giants played. Even now, I can't think of baseball without thinking of my dad who died over nineteen years ago. 

"This one's for you too, Dad," I thought last night. And I'm sure my dad wasn't cheering alone out there in the ethers. What a perfect night for all the souls who'd agonized throughout the years, who'd cheered the Giants on only to see the prize slip away. Finally, Monday night, the veil parted and the team they loved had won at last.

And this particular Giants team, this unique group of guys, would have been a team my dad could really identify with. They were his kind of boys—scrappy, tenacious, hard working and invested in one another. They won because they worked together as a team, the whole being far greater than the sum of its parts. They won because they had heart. They won because they believed. And perhaps they won because they felt the love from the visible AND invisible fans like my dad.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween Everyone!!

Trick or Treat!!

What would Halloween be without Yoda?

Hope you have a Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Join Me for Coffee!

My good friend Cynthia of A Shimmy In My Spirit has just launched a brand new website—Coffee On The Patio. It is designed to be a meeting place for Baby Boomer women, of which I am most certainly one. Articles on the site are constantly being updated to encourage folks to check back often. It is fun and informative.

I have not been posting here quite as much because I have been busy writing articles for the launch of Coffee On The Patio. Yes, I'm a paid freelance writer!! Imagine that! Even if you're not old enough to remember Woodstock, I hope you'll check it out and mention it to women you know. We are hoping to drive folks to the site so we can generate excitement and some online traction.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Got Carded!!!

Okay, so I'd been having a crappy week: 
• I was told I was being laid off from my job due to lack of work. Big took seventeen months to find a job that lasted four months. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

• After ten months of back and forth correspondence with the IRS to receive a refund check for my mother's estate (she died four years ago) I finally received the check but they made it payable to HER. Yup, that's right. They sent a check made out to a person they knew was deceased. Since her bank accounts are long-since closed, no one will cash it. It took 45 minutes on the phone for the IRS to figure out exactly how I should request that they reissue it in my name as successor trustee of her estate. I was told to allow three months to receive it.

• We are sweating our way through a record-breaking heat wave.

• My birthday is on Saturday and I am turning an age that one doesn't post willingly on Facebook.

BUT...I was in the checkout counter at Walmart buying a bottle of wine (and no, I don't usually buy my wine at Walmart) when I GOT CARDED!! You never know where your next smile is coming from but I never thought it would be from Walmart. I could scarely believe it and my husband was so shocked he had to take a picture. (Let's not read anything into the fact that he practically cut me out of the picture!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Autumnal Equinox 2010

Autumn leaves that I played with in Photoshop.

Happy Autumnal Equinox!!

I spent about a half hour this morning sitting outside on our back stoop, admiring the golden autumn light, breathing in the crisp scents of Fall, and snuggling with our two cats—Mystic and Emma. I could feel Fall in the air and I think they could too. All they wanted to do was cuddle which was just fine with me. I put on my big old pink fleece robe and let them climb up on my lap. 

When we moved to this house we made a difficult decision. My oldest daughter, Bri, has asthma and had developed a terrible allergy to the cats. None of us wanted to find new homes for them but all of us wanted Bri to be able to breathe. We decided the cats would only be allowed in the back yard and our garage and my studio which is just off the garage. This was our compromise. Even though my daughters are away at college I still keep up my end of the bargain. Often in the morning I put on my old robe to insure that cat hair doesn't get all over my clothes—this is now referred to as my "kitty robe"—and I join the cats outside.

Mystic is quite old and has become very frail. I don't know how much longer he'll be with us, although we've been saying that for almost two years now since the vet said we should put his life expectancy at months rather than years. I'm convinced this says a lot about the power of love, and he is nothing if not a furry ball of love. 

Emma is only three and rather challenged, as cats go. She has never learned to jump very high and so the fence around the yard is the boundary of her world. For awhile we had a trellis near the fence and she could climb the trellis. But then she'd walk along the top of the fence until she either jumped or fell into a neighbor's yard where she'd find herself trapped—no trellis on their side! She'd walk back and forth on the other side of our fence crying in a very loud voice until our neighbors got home from work and let us into their yards to retrieve Emma. We removed the trellis and now she stays on our side. The most wonderous thing that ever happened in her life was when the cat from next door jumped up on top of our fence and just stayed up there looking down at her. It must have seemed to her like a miracle—like the sighting of the Virgin Mary on a rock wall perhaps. Even after the cat went home, Emma sat for days in the yard staring at the spot where the had appeared. 

You never know when you'll come upon a miracle. In the meantime, enjoy the Fall.  

I'm In Print!

Recently I was one of the readers at the Redwood Writers Book Launch for our latest anthology, Vintage Voices: Words Poured Out. The event took place in a beautiful garden at the home of Linda and Harry Reid. It's always exciting to get to read your work and get feedback from people. And it's quite cool to be able to hold something tangible in your hands that reminds you that you're not just spinning your wheels—or even if you are, someone out there thinks those wheels are snazzy enough to put in a book!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Time for a New Look

Yes, my blog is sporting a whole new look. But not really by choice. I realized that the free background that I'd been using had been dropped by The Cutest Blog on the Block and I was forced to find a new look. Don't you just hate that? You're cruising along feeling like at least one part of your life is calm and predictable and then WHAM!! It's all turned upside down.

I suppose it was time. Although I've been known to wear the same outfits for years (and I mean YEARS) it's because I know what I like and what works for me. I'm not easily seduced by fads. And I liked my old, comfy blog look. Anyway, this new template will do for now and I'll give some thought to how I want to "redecorate" my corner of the blogosphere.

My new job is keeping me busy so I haven't been posting as much. I only work half-time but I spend about another ten hours a week commuting to and from my job. I think with this economy a lot of folks are having to do this—take to the road to follow the money. I've been doing a lot of writing lately too, and I've even managed to sell some pieces (yea!!!) Hopefully I can manage to spend a bit more time here as well. In the meantime, hope you're enjoying the tail end of this rather odd summer. Our weather has been much cooler than usual and other parts of the country are frying. I guess the secret to life is just to stay flexible and ride the waves.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sweet Peas

It's a gloomy summer day here in the wine country. Fog has drifted in from the coast and blanketed us with gray. But I have to admit, it's a nice relief from the hot weather we usually get this time of year. I thought I'd brighten your day with a spot of color—sweet peas from my good friend Cynthia. She brought these by as a surprise a few weeks ago.

Lean in a little closer.

Can't you almost smell them?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sunny Side Up

Today is supposed to be a day of catching up...with my life! Pay about a million bills, banish all the cobwebs to the dustbin, complete an endless stack of forms, get groceries, clean the birds AND the cat litter boxes. And, oh yeah, WRITE!!

My Lowfat Fiction class is tomorrow evening and I'm scheduled to read. So far I've got nada. I've been working on a poem inspired by a dream where I woke up thinking I was twenty-two. Such an expansive feeling I had with the extravagance of time stretching out ahead of me. Then I banged my head on reality and realized, no wait—that's my oldest daughter who's twenty-two! Bit of a bummer but oh well. I'll let you know how the poem works out.

Big news is, I started a new job about five weeks ago. Seventeen months of job hunting and I scored a half-time job that I drive over an hour to get to. But believe me, I'm NOT complaining! It doesn't pay much but I really enjoy the work and I get to be a behind the scenes part of a theatre company which is pretty cool.

The flower up above is from my boss's yard. It has another name but they call it a "Sunny Side Up" which is rather how I feel about life right now.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bodega Bay 3rd of July

Last night we drove to the coast to watch the fireworks display over Bodega Bay. I only had my iPhone with me and the photos I took of the fireworks themselves look like I'd been drinking. A lot. Which might have been fun, but it wasn't the case at all. I did manage to take this photo of the sunset as we waited for the fireworks. I took it into Photoshop and toyed around with it a bit.

The fireworks themselves were very pretty, reflecting in the water as they rose skyward. And we were lucky not to have any fog. Today we drove to Palo Alto to visit with long ago friends at a big barbeque. It was a ways to drive but it felt like we travelled back even farther in time.

All in all, a lovely 4th of July weekend. Hope yours was great too!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Roses of Summer

It's summer and once again we have roses. My husband brought these beauties in and put them on the window sill above the sink.

I, of course, had to take a photo of them and do my magic in Photoshop.

Never forget to stop and smell the roses!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pomp and Circumstance—Cal Style

On May 16 of this year my daughter Bri graduated from UC Berkeley. This is one of those "proud mama" posts so if that's not your thing I won't be offended if you choose this time to excuse yourself and leave.

Here she is all capped and gowned before the ceremony.

There were so many people who wanted to come that they had to move the ceremony from the Greek Theater where it's normally held to Haas Pavillion which holds 11,500. We took our seats and then noticed there were an AWFUL lot of seats reserved for the grads.

The stage was set.
Finally they began to file in. "Hi Guys!" she beamed up at us.

"I'm really doing this!"
As the crowd filled in, the graduates names were called out one at a time as they streamed up the aisle to the stage. Bri's blond mane was always easy to spot.

They called out names for over an hour and twenty minutes! Luckily there were diversions such as this group that planned ahead. They took up an entire row of seats and the tops of their caps spelled out "SO NOW WHAT?" Indeed!

After the ceremony we went out to dinner. Here's Bri and her sister, Krissy outside the ceremony.

The following day there was a MUCH more intimate ceremony with the Theater Arts Department. But of course, THAT day I forgot to bring my camera. It was a warm and emotional weekend—a real ten hanky affair.

CONGRATULATIONS Brianna!!! We're soooooo PROUD of you!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

We were recently invited to a private party which was held in Golden Gate Park in the Conservatory of Flowers. I learned that this structure was erected between 1878 - 1879 and survived the 1906 earthquake intact which I found hard to believe due to all the glass in the building.

We arrived a bit early so we walked around the park. Here's my daughter Krissy and my husband Jim.

Once inside I was amazed by the lily pond beneath the giant dome.

I couldn't resist taking photos of some of the amazing plants and then playing with them in Adobe Photoshop.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Undersea and Through the Rain Forest

My husband, Jim, and I recently went to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. It's a big place and we didn't have much time so we only got to take in "The Rain Forest" where birds and butterflies fly freely around you as you stroll through, and "The Aquarium". We also got to see the resident albino alligator who is, frankly, rather creepy. These are a few of the photos I took. I played with them in Adobe Photoshop to give them a more "arty" feel. Hope you enjoy them!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May the Fourth Be With You!!

Did you know that today is International Star Wars Day? How could I not have known about this until today? I don't, after all, live under a rock. But somehow this momentous occasion managed to slip past my radar as neatly as Han Solo could navigate an asteroid field.

Since Yoda has been my guru since that magical night in May of 1977 when I first walked into a theater to experience Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, I was amazed to discover from my eighteen year old daughter that my favorite movie (actually Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was my VERY favorite!) has its own unofficial day. I had to Google it to get the inside scoop.

According to Wikipedia, this day is considered an unofficial holiday by Star Wars fans to celebrate Star Wars culture and remember the films.

May 4 is called Star Wars Day (also sometimes known as Luke Skywalker Day) because of a pun on the similarity between the phrases: "May the 4th be with you" and "May the Force be with you."

Despite efforts to start a Jediism Church with 4 May as its Star Wars Day, as of 4 May 2010 there is no religion-supporting organization that promotes 4 May as Star Wars Day apart from the Church of Jediism.

In 2005 German news TV channel N24 interviewed George Lucas and asked him to say his famous sentence, "May the Force be with you." The translator simultaneously translated to German: "Am 4. Mai sind wir bei Ihnen". (We are with you on May 4.)

And so, I leave you with this wish...

May the Fourth Be with You!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hope Came Tapping on My Window

It has been a really crap week. Today I hit the wall. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I hit the wall on Friday. Several times. Today has simply been the slow painful process of coming undone and sliding slowly down that wall where I puddled pathetically at the bottom. This afternoon the rain kept me company. Then seemingly out of nowhere, I was joined by a curious bird.

I had parked in my driveway and was midway into a mutual-meltdown-sympathy-fest with a friend via my cell phone (yes it's true, misery does love company and we both admitted to feeling better after venting) when this wee brown bird arrived on the hood of my car. He hopped over to get a better look at me through the front window. He tapped a few times, cocked his head, then mosied over to the side-view mirror where he practically dangled upside down in order to view his own image in the glass. He made me smile. It was just enough of a shift to allow a bit of sunlight to leave my heart and begin to infiltrate my mood. Outside it continued to rain but inside I glimpsed a tiny rainbow.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Coming Up Roses

I have been MIA from my blog for quite awhile now but I'm back. A big, huge THANK YOU to all of you who stuck around. A few of you departed for livelier locations and I don't blame you a bit.

I have been busy working on my screenplay, Coming Up Roses, readying it for the big Pitch Fest at the Northern California Screenwriters and Filmmakers Expo in Napa, that took place the last weekend in March. I managed to finish it—a miracle in itself. In fact, I did fifteen re-writes and was pleased enough with it to screw up my courage and pitch it to HBO, Lifetime, A Band Apart, Silverheart Productions and Silver-Bitela.

The Expo itself was quite an experience. I sat in on seminars with Bobby Moresco who received an Oscar for "Crash". He also wrote "Million Dollar Baby". I got to talk with him and his wife over wine and discovered not only is he talented, he's amazingly nice as well. I met James Dalessandro who wrote both the book and the screenplay, "1906", Howard Fine—a famous acting coach in Hollywood, as well as a lot of other very talented folks. It was heady and quite exhausting. I came away with my head stuffed full of ideas and the realization that I've only just stuck my toe in the water and this isn't a pond but a bloody huge ocean.

I'm not sure what's next. I've learned a lot about screenwriting. I think I know what I need to do to make my script even better. I'm at work on a number of other stories and I've also been hunting for a job along with about ninety million other people. The times they are indeed a changing out there, and the weather I've encountered hasn't been too sunny. But I'll keep on keepin' on. And I'll try to do a better job of checking in here.

Ciao for now!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Truett-Hurst Winery—Wordless Thursday

Looking forward to more lazy days by the river at Truett-Hurst Winery on Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg where we spent a pleasant afternoon a couple of weekends ago.