Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hello and...


My goodness, my head is spinning as fast as the globe photo down below so I'm going to force myself to slow down, take a deep breath & explain!
First, did you have a nice Christmas & was Santa good to you?  I'd love you to share a memory or two.

I am happy to report that this trip to Pensacola was the start of some good memories to replace all the nightmare ones from this past year. Spent some wonderful quality time with my Dad-the best part was pizza and crossword puzzles. 
Someone had left a crossword book for him-I picked it up and let nature take it's course. One of two things was going to happen-either Dad would get frustrated or he'd enjoy it. He LOVED doing them. My work with 1st & 2nd graders came in real handy as I just broke the clues down for him. I was blown away at what he could and couldn't remember. But he felt smart and had such a sense of accomplishment after we finished one. He couldn't wait for my next visit as that's the first thing he asked to do. (happy sigh)

Spent a fabulous day with my brother & sister in law and even though we were going through my mom's things, it was really ok. Little by little my grieving process is moving along at a rate I can endure.

Met Frankie in Atlanta on my way back to L.A.  & decided to take a quick 24 hr. detour before coming home-

Uhhhh-hello Aruba!

a room with a view

Now the most exciting news. 
Frankie is taking me on a surprise 50th birthday trip and apparently (as I just found out this morning) we're leaving tomorrow. All I know is I need a coat, the temps are 40*-50*, rain & possible snow. I'm giddy beyond words. 
You can follow our adventure here-   INSTAGRAM    if you're curious.

I decided that Danbo should come along with us...should be fun!
I need to get a move on as I have laundry to do, travel toiletries to replenish, a coat to buy, put gift cards to good use on a few new outfits and pack!

I wish you all a very Happy New Year and we'll reconnect in a few days!

Happy (traveling) snapping!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I want to wish you...

...a Merry Christmas

Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, Frohilche Weihnachten,  and Buone Feste Natalizie!

For all my wonderful friends and visitors who celebrate Christmas, I hope you find true joy and happiness and enjoy family, fun and renewed spirit. I'll be away for a few days. I'm flying off to Florida to be with my Dad for Christmas. It's his 1st Christmas in the nursing home and a holiday without my mom. I don't want him to be alone. I'll order us pizza and we'll drink hot chocolate. It's also the first time my brother, David and I have been together on Christmas Day since I was 18! ( I'll be 50 next month!) 
I've got more to share...but I'll you with these...

Happy Holidays and thank you for always coming back to visit a while.
You make my heart happy!

I made Earl Grey Truffles...
...recipe will follow soon.

Austin says mine are better than Trader Joe's truffles...
Just sayin'!

They are very tasty!

Happy (hot cocoa) snapping!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Yippee!! Random 5... back!

Yup...all the useless things (at least 5 a week) you ever wanted to know about me right here!

I turn 50 next month! Uh Huh...the big 5-0! But can I tell you I'm kinda excited about it! I decided over the summer my motto was "50 & fabulous" & I've taken small steps to see that I at least get to 50! 
The fabulous part? Well, that's just my big head talking! (snort)
Anyhoo...I decided against Lasik for one reason, the money. I simply can not justify spending 1000's of dollars on myself. I get a guilt complex for days after I buy a new pair of shoes!
I did however get contacts, some nifty cheaters (cause well, I'm over 40) AND my very first ever, pretty spectacular Non-perscription sunglasses! 
I have a hair cut appt. 12-24 and I'm going for a reverse bob. I'm thinking about coloring too.

 I've been a really good girl not eating all the ridiculous amounts of cookies that were brought into work this week so I don't have to worry about an extra 5 pounds to work off before my birthday. 

I'm EXTREMELY giddy that today was the last day of work and there are 3 glorious lying ahead of me!

I already went out to shoot today.

I got some really nice gifts from co-workers and grateful moms today and I fell in love with one of the gift embellishments:

My Principal knows what a nature lover I am...she didn't know I adore owls!

Of course, I'm not sure if this is patriotic Danbo or greedy "I smell cookies so let me help you unwrap the box" Danbo.
I'm pretty sure it's the latter! 

I have almost 100 followers-You know I've hit a hundred because I'll have a contest to celebrate!

Ok, it's not original, but I call the stray cat Miss Kitty.

She still hisses at me but she's getting better. She LOVES The Mister (my hubby) Oh..she is so sweet on him. She's dying to come in the house and I'm sure she'd be nicer to me if I could sit & love on her but she doesn't understand allergies and asthma. (Sad sigh)

Ok my friends, I better get dinner going- Beef and Pepper Goulash in the pressure cooker and some roasted cauliflower is on the menu. 

Have a great rest of your day 
Happy (get out and play) snapping!

Sharing over at Nancy's
A Rural Journal

Thursday, December 12, 2013


(for 2014)

If you are one to choose a word to help guide you in the coming year, then you know how much thought and careful planning goes into choosing it. This word helps define what you want to accomplish, it can keep you motivated, give you strength to draw upon when you are weak & lift you up when you've been knocked down. 
The word I chose for 2013 was "LIVE"-but what I had in mind and what the universe had in store for me were complete polar opposites.  I believe in the end, my word did exactly what & why I choose a word in the first place-but only AFTER I dug deep & 100% accepted this to be true.

It seems only fitting to share my 2014 word here today, as it is the one year anniversary that all hell broke loose in my world and my word "LIVE" began it's job to guide me (I just didn't know it at the time.)  Many of you know that on 10-29 I lost my mom. What you may not know is that a year ago I lived through my mother's suicide attempt. It wasn't the quiet kind of attempt, but the "Oh My G-d what a mess kind."
 I lived through facing my estranged brother for the 1st time in 15 years cleaning up what my mother left behind. 
Can I just interject that the one beautiful gift I have received through all of this, is my brother again. We have worked out a lot of garbage & now have a wonderful, budding relationship. I've even gained a sister-in-law that has really enriched my life.

I lived through the horror of seeing my once beautiful mother severely depressed and looking like a concentration camp survivor. I lived through being away from home, weeks at a time, often missing holidays, caring for my parents once my mom came home. 
I lived through having to place my dad in a nursing home due to advance stages of dementia that was  getting worse rather quickly. I sifted, waded, met deadlines and almost drowned in the mountains of paperwork to get Medicaid for my dad.
 I lived through my grandmother's passing and flying to PA to finalize funeral arrangements because my dad had forgotten he even had a mother. 
I lived through my brothers 1st heart attack. (Thank goodness he's ok now).
All in all, there were 5 flights to Pensacola-none good. There were phone calls nearly everyday that never seemed to bare good news. There were countless sleepless nights, anxiety filled days, texts and e-mails to family & friends that just got harder and harder to send. 
I lived through finally finding my mom an Independent Senior Living Community that she loved & was supposed to spend the rest of her golden years enjoying only to find out she had stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.  I lived through sitting next to her 24/7 for the last week of her life and watched her take her last breath.

This last year has taught me so much about myself. You know what?  I turned out to be one tough cookie when faced with daunting, unsettling, tasks, and 100's of agonizing decisions.

2014 will be the year that I give myself permission to:


Did you hear that?
 That was me sighing the sweetest sound. Frankie found this necklace on ETSY & gave it to me during Hannukah after I told him my 2014 word.
 This year though, there are no preconceived ideas and/or expectations. I've made peace with what I'll never have answers to, I'm healing my soul and wounded heart, I'm absorbing life's gifts that have been given to me, and most importantly I'm being kind and gentle to myself knowing I've just lived through hell and back.
~I'm ok~

Happy (find your strength) snapping

Kim Klassen dot Com

I'm sharing over at Kim's today

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A little of this...

...a little of that

...but mostly this!

I'm sharing over at Kim's  where it's a free & easy Texture Tuesday. I've used her amazing Magic2 texture to simulate lightly falling snow on both pictures today. If you're not familiar with Kim Klassen, I invite you to go visit and see what love and spirit goes on over there in that community.

Speaking of communities, my own little one here never ceases to amaze me. My new blogger friend, Tammy from Our Neck of the Woods  helped me with the dingy photo issue I was having. 
She said this, 
"Your photos are so cute! And about the dingy issue, do you have a Google+ account? I had issues with blogger making my photos look too bright, and I researched and found out that a while back blogger changed the settings to auto adjust all your photos unless you un-check the option. Go into your Google+ settings and under the part that says "Automatically enhance new photos" you have to change it to "off." I didn't even have a Google+ account set up yet, but somehow it was already "fixing" my photos. Very frustrating! So I had to sign up for Google+ so I could change the auto enhance option."

I mean how awesome is it to relate to a problem and take the time to help with a resolution. The photo above & below are hopefully proof that I did indeed solve the problem, Thanks to you Tammy. Oh, and if you are totally into farm life and fun stories and photos, I invite you to go visit Tammy in her neck of the woods. I leave there with a smile.

Speaking of smiles...
Danbo makes me smile. From the comments you all leave me, he seems to make you all smile too. THAT makes me happy. 
Frankie tells me I'm like a little kid as I set up my shots-I find myself grinning and am totally in the moment. I pay close attention to detail so that the scene is more believable and Danbo takes on human qualities. I've often thought of making a calendar starring this little guy.
 I mean 12 months of Danbo would make me happy. 

I have chosen my word for 2014. I'm chomping at the bit to share and am absolutely giddy about it. 
That'll happen Friday.

I think that will do it for now. Hope you are having an amazing day and not letting the holiday frenzy trip you up. Take a minute to enjoy what's going on around you. You just might find something to amuse you.

Happy (holiday) snapping!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Brrrrr-Baby...'s cold outside

I know the cold I'm feeling and the cold some of you are feeling can't be compared. I think living in Ca. has made me thin skinned! None the less, it's cold and I love being tucked away at home and playing. I did have to run out and return a movie and get some shopping done. I did it quick & effortlessly. Even the traffic lights cooperated and I got through with my running around rather quickly.

Came home & took LOTS of photos... can bet my pal Danbo is plotting!

Oddly, several photos are uploading VERY dingy looking. They're not that way on my desktop and it's frustrating. By any chance is anyone else having this issue?

Took these with my iphone :-)

My daughter, Jamie sent me THE CUTEST picture frame from Pier 1. All I keep thinking & smiling about are the commercials where the products sing and laugh to the customers to take them to the register and home. I told this to Jamie and she said that's exactly what happened! I love that girl. She totally gets me and knows I love that shabby chic look. I added a little French texture as an added bonus!

I love this time of year. I love all the music and the lights. I really enjoy everyones Christmas photos and sharing in their joy. I grew up with Christmas & the happy feelings that the sights and sounds bring  never go away... matter what.

Happy (candy cane) snapping!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Finding my...

...playful side

Hello my friends. 
I didn't mean for a whole week to pass by without posting-I don't like to go more than a few days.  There's nothing wrong, it's just sort of how the week rolled. 
But, I'm here now & without getting into detail (this post), my playful side is starting to re-emerge & I feel like I might burst! Since we don't get snow in So. Cal, I get to create my own winter wonderland scenes. My friends, Danbo and the artist guy, finally got to come out and play.
A lot of you know who Danbo is ( if not, you can read about HIM here)
I get my kicks this way and I am perfectly ok with it!

He likes to give helpful advice. Like-
"Don't eat yellow snow"

He definitely loves presents!

How cute are these?

The boys decided to "try" and make a snowman.

You just might have to stay tuned and see how that goes!

Happy (winter) snapping

Kim Klassen dot Com

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday finds...

...and useless facts

I don't know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy the comfy clothes, loung-y, stay indoors, remnants of a food coma feeling I get on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It's a good day to relax and reflect. We had a wonderful dinner and always have a good time with our family. I trust you did as well. I took some mental notes you may or may not be interested in!

0 -amount of eggs that cracked while boiling (out of 18)
1 -times I cut my finger (w/a vege peeler actually)
1 -number of times I thought about going out shopping on black friday (I blame that on a momentary lapse of good judgement!)
2 -dances that broke out in the kitchen (Fred Astaire style)
3 -days worth of cooking & cleaning
5 -deviled eggs I ate
9 -family members around our table of plenty
1627 -times I thought about my mom
(ok-that last one is a guess but if I really had counted-that number sounds about right)
and I survived...

So... that I'm winding down the Monarch rearing...
Thanksgiving Day Monarch

...I'm starting to focus my attention on new arty, thrifty items I want to start making and selling-
-Chalkboard Picture Frames.
Silly me fell in love with the 1st one I made-so I'm keeping that one and will sell the rest.

 I went to the vintage faire Sunday and found this...

I bought this framed art-mainly for the frame itself. 
 Turns out, the print is a 1940's reproduction of a lithograph from the French artist, Benoit Chirat {1795-1870} 
See the date in the lower left hand corner?
 I find it charming especially being 73 years old & it's French! I'm keeping the print, (score=1) & would LOVE to be able to sell the finished chalkboard frame (score=2)
I love going out to hunt. You just never know what little treasure you might find.

Happy (day after) snapping!

Kim Klassen dot Com

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


this and that

I've been up since 4:30 getting an early start on Thanksgiving. We're having a small family gathering, just 8 of us but so much love is going into the preparations this year. I plowed through a pressure cooker beef dish, boiled eggs, made my killer cranberry sauce, made the mashed potatoes, set the table, saw that 2 beauties emerged safely and basically just killed two hrs trying to get a "quick"photo edited to play over at Kim's
I wasn't tired till I sat down...

Hanukkah starts tomorrow-It's a little crazy celebrating The Festival of Lights so early. The last time this happened was 125 years ago. The next time this is suppose to happen is 2070! That's good enough for me...a once in a lifetime occurrence~
~it's one too many really!

It's been gorgeous here but cooler weather is supposed to settle over us come Thursday.

Austin started training at Starbucks today. He had to give his notice at Sports Chalet as they didn't give him any hours in over a month. How can you hire someone and NOT give them hours? Then, when he was scheduled, he was sent home due to lack of business-oh and let's not forget scheduling Austin and not telling him & he'd get these phone calls wondering where he was. Not a great 1st work experience. Hopefully this will be way more fun as it's a busy SB's too so his shifts will fly by.

Did you know skunks around here love cat food! Yup, whatever the stray cat doesn't eat, the skunks come and promptly take care of what ever is left. Skunks are kinda cute. I can sit a few feet from the door and only the screen separates it and me. From what I gather, as long as they don't feel threatened, they're not inclined to spray.

I want to let YOU know how much I appreciate you dropping by to visit and taking the time to comment. November isn't the only month that I am grateful for's all the other 11 months I am too.

I used Kim's REVERSE TTV on this image.

I've got some posts in my mind, things to say, photos & stuff to share, but it will all have to wait till after Turkey Day. As it is, I should be getting back and hammer out a few more goodies. 
Hope you have a wonderful, carefree, belly filling, truly scrumptious holiday.

This is from my i-phone... entry for


Happy (pumpkin pie) snapping!

Friday, November 22, 2013



1. We got some much welcomed rain yesterday. I'm not really moody-it's a series I LOVE to do over on IG but can only really do it in winter cause that's the only time it rains here. 

2. I'm making a Monarch calendar-actually it's my first calendar ever-forget the 10 minutes "THEY" say it'll take! I'm anal people-so I'm thinking it's not going to be done for Christmas-

3. I do Thanksgiving every year. I really have SO much to be thankful for & I'm REALLY looking forward to having Frankie's family over this year. We have all of next week off so I'll be busy prepping, cooking and making things extra special. Everyone gets their favorite dish from me. I'll be trying a few new things too. I don't have a favorite dish- I love it ALL!
What's YOUR favorite Thanksgiving dish?

4. Brat cat-she comes every morning for breakfast-She scares the wits out of me when I roll up the pleated blinds at the kitchen sink & there she is, staring in the window face to face with me. She's dying to come in the house but I'm asthmatic and horribly allergic to dander-so that THAT'S not gonna happen. She let's us love on her but when she's had enough she hisses and swats at you. I hiss back.

5. I'm making gift tags!
 Now, I may be bias, but I think they're really cute. I'll be having a contest real soon to give a set of 4 away-so stay tuned! I LOVE giving goodies away. It makes my heart happy.
I actually have an Etsy store but nothing in it-I'm working on a few things & am excited to start selling-

Linking up over at Nancy's 

Happy (holiday crazy) snapping

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


with Kim

Kim asks the question this week, "where are you on this path called life?"
PHEW...That is such a loaded question! 
But it's a good one and it's important to stop, evaluate, re-evaluate, tweak and adjust otherwise you may find yourself in a place where light is hard to get to. 
I came up with this quote today as I was creating this image using Kim's "canvasmagic."
There are so many ups and downs at accepting the loss of a loved one. I have this amazing amount of love and support from friends and loved ones but getting through THIS part of the path ultimately comes down to me. Finding my strength to guide me and can I tell you?
I'm re-discovering that I am one tough broad!  In life...crappy things happen...'s what you do with that crap that counts. 
Learning to live with loss is just crappy
-no doubt-
...I have an open mind and heart & I'm making way for new experiences.
I choose a lighted path that's paved with all things good.

Happy (wandering) snapping

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Let your heart guide you... whispers, so listen carefully
Littlefoot's mother~Land Before Time

It's not often that my head and my heart are on the same wave length.  A battle between the two usually ensues when a tough decision has to be made & there's never a clear winner. I've made the decision to discontinue raising Monarchs & an amazing thing happened-there was no battle, no tug-of-war, no loss of sleep...just solidarity between my heart and my head.  

It's not something that just came to me. It's been a slow realization. I mean-look at this handsome guy-I could sit (I often have) and spend hours observing the critters to chrysalis to the emerging.
 Raising Monarchs has been a life changing event for me~It got me through some of the darkest, bleakest and most desperate times and now that those dark days have passed, I'm looking ahead. There will be a time in the near future that Frankie & will be moving from California to find our bliss elsewhere. I know with my whole heart and soul...and yes my head...that any new homeowners couldn't possibly love and devote the amount of time to nurture these beauties that I have...and still do. 
Can I tell you...I'm sweating the last 6 critters-
It is like the Depression Era around here.

There is nothing left to eat-It's been unseasonably warm so the bigger plants have tiny buds-
I am literally rotating the critters to the plants that get the buds and hope the other stalks grow fast-

It's crazy-Who else would ever do that~Besides Kim 
She raises Monarchs in Texas. We celebrate & commiserate often!
The weather is eventually going to turn cold, rainy and windy & not good releasing weather. It's stressful to me wondering if my critters are going to be ok & hoping for a warm day to release the butterflies. 
I've had enough stress this past year to last a life time...It's time to let go. 
So, it is with both sadness and a contented heart that I resign myself from this experience and hope that it doesn't create to much confusion among the mama butterflies if/when they come back to lay eggs. 

I know without a shadow of a doubt that I have done everything humanly possible to help populate the world with these beauties. dear husband, has been right there by my side. He's helped me troubleshoot, build, move, shield and any other hair-brained thing that needed to be done...all I had to do was ask and sometimes I didn't even have to. 
I will be forever grateful for the knowledge and deep meaning the Monarchs have taught me. 
In the meantime, I'm taking boatloads of photos so I'll have plenty to share off and on.

My heart is happy

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Let the music...

My mom is celebrating her first birthday in heaven today but I didn't shed a tear. 
Nope...instead I decided to crank up my best dance music (Bogata by Bus is playing) and make spaghetti & meatballs in true party style. I believe food tastes better when you sing & dance around your kitchen! 
 Oh...can I tell you? It has been at least year since music has played in this house.
Talk about food for the soul.

And, 4 handsome males emerged early this morning for the occasion!
Happy (crank up the music) snapping!

Monday, November 11, 2013

A mother's love... infinite
 (& may show up in unexpected places)

Yesterday was a good day.
Sleep has a way of clearing cobwebs and re-energizing you-for that I am grateful.
Austin has been asking me to make pumpkin bread for weeks now-I'm glad he's a patient boy!

His girlfriend, Amanda, is allergic to nuts so he asked if I would make muffins as well. Some he wanted topped with mini chips, others with white chocolate on the inside.
Sure, why not, I can't eat these anyway. They turned out scrumptious (according to Austin)
This is the only pumpkin bread I make-It makes enough for a small army...or at least 4 mini loaves & 30 muffins. This year, it's even more special because the recipe is from my mom & is in her writing.
I wasn't sad-in fact, just the opposite. I felt her presence-I baked with a smile and a happy heart.

It wasn't until I was editing my pictures that I found love.

Ok...Maybe it's just me-(and I'm really ok with that) but I swear I see a heart in that walnut.'s love for sure-

I even decorated for the season. Not my usual full blown fall frenzy, but it's enough...

...and in between all of the baking and decorating, five beauties emerged! was a good day

Today is Veteran's Day
Thank you to those who have served:
this proudly includes 
My love, Frankie (Ret. Capt. CA ANG) 
my dad, (Ret. Navy) &
 my brother, David (Navy)

Happy (grateful) snapping!