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