Friday, April 21, 2017



Hello Friday, I've been waiting for you.

Dear Ripsime,
I knew it was going to be hard when you left the school...I just hadn't planned on it being this hard.  Fifteen years, 180 days a year is a long time to all of a sudden not hear your laughter, smell the burnt popcorn, see your smiling face greeting me as I sign in and spend 5 minutes enjoying your perfectly brewed coffee and a quick chat before class. You were the pulse of Castlebay my dear friend. Honestly, as hard as this is, I couldn't be happier and more proud of you moving up and on for yourself. You are such a selfless woman that you deserve this change more than anyone I know. I look forward to the girls nite out...Where ever we go-they're not gonna know what hit 'em! 
Till then my friend...

Dear Artful Blogging,
You are dream maker...Yes you are.

This was the longest 4 months waiting for the summer issue to arrive-but TOTALLY worth the wait!
I've already read it from cover to cover and to see my photos and my words gracing the pages still seems surreal. 

You see, I take full responsibility in my part for not buckling down in school and being an outstanding student. I chose a path that regrettably didn't include college but, and it's a BIG but, have learned so much as an instructional aide for the past 15+ years. I literally have learned basic writing skills that allowed me to compose my article with a certain confidence working side by side with the most creative and hardworking teachers I know. I couldn't be more proud to use what I've learned to accomplish something as big as this. Now my kids understand why I'm tough on them about creative writing. I wrote a note of gratitude to all the teachers yesterday. I thanked them for having their part in my drive to write the best story I could. I know I am not their intended audience, but I reminded them they never know who's listening and learning. 

I'm soaking in all the good fuzzy feelings this experience has brought me...
So thank you for helping a regular gal fulfill a dream. 

Dear Dad,
Remember when Mom was asked to do the advertising for a new banking concept and her photo was plastered in the local paper, on mailings and billboards, and strangers would stop her in random places that recognized her? Well, you told me that everyone in this life gets to enjoy 15 minutes of fame...
 ...I can stop waiting for mine!


Saturday, April 15, 2017

I'm either really, really late...

...or 11 months early!

It is no secret that I have a hard time planning holiday baking posts in advance. It's not that I don't think about it, I just can not get my act together in order to get it up in before the holiday. Now, technically, there's still 2 more days of Passover so there's still some time to make and enjoy these. Honestly, these Tangy Lemon Bars are so good you won't mind a few more days of matzot! 

It's also no secret that I grew up Christmas but am now Hanukkah and I've only heard stories from friends and loved ones about the never-ending Seders and worse...the desserts that one would either be too tired or too full to dare and eat. My how times have changed.

My sister-in-law hosts a family friendly Seder that's totally hands on from signing & dressing up for a part in the Exodus play to "THIS IS PASSOVER JEOPARDY" newly added this year. (announcer Johnny Gilbert in my head) 

I help by bringing a few desserts...I wouldn't be allowed to step foot in the door if I didn't bring the lemon bars. There's just something about baking for people who love the goods you make from your heart. It's like love is a secret ingredient! 

I made 7 batches this year and truth be told, I'm kinda lemon barred out! 
They NEVER last long...

I follow the recipe to a T except...I grate lemon zest for both the crust and the lemon filling-I just like knowing that extra little zing is there.


Tangy Lemon Bars
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup matzoh meal
1 stick margarine or butter, melted
Lemon Filling:
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs. margarine or butter, melted
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. potato starch
  1. Place oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 350. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with heavy foil, letting an inch extend over the sides. Oil or spray the foil.
  2. For the pastry: In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, matzoh meal and melted butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until pale golden. Reduce oven to 325.
  3. For the filling: Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Whisk in melted butter, lemon juice and potato starch. Pour over pre-baked crust and bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes, or until top is set.
  4. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
  5. To cut, remove from pan by lifting out the foil. Place on cutting board. Cut into 1 inch squares.
  6. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Served chilled or at room temperature.
Happy (lemon bar) snapping!

Friday, March 31, 2017



Hello Friday I've been waiting for you

Dear store that starts with "W",
I have such a love/hate relationship with you~but when all the spring baking recipes call for Meyer Lemons and I can never find them at my regular grocery stores and I just happen to be in your produce aisles and there they are...without even looking for them...well lets just say I walked out not mad for once!

That's a good thing...cause we both know how irritated I can get when you don't have that one item I go in for.

I'll be making a lemon tart later today.

Dear eBlogger,
Why do you think the changes you make will bring happiness into my blogging experience? They irritate the crap outta me. So now my reading list is a bunch of blogs I don't follow and I have no way of knowing if the blogs I DO follow have a recent post unless I click on each individual blog...SO NOT COOL. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Dear March,
You gave me a grand weekend with Jamie and Erik up in Morro Bay. You gathered us in your folds, kept us safe, and gave the three of us priceless, forever memories. 
We can't wait to walk your sandy shores again.

Dear Me,
Not EVERYTHING you create has to picture perfect, internet worthy. You were not born an artist so therefore play, play, play. Please, let go of perfection and just try to have fun at the process. You'll be glad you did...Trust me.

 Love Always,

Friday, March 24, 2017



Sometimes, I have loads of photos but no clear idea of what to post or talk about.
(quality over quantity for me)
That's when, at exactly 5:45 a.m. this morning, it dawned on me...Friday's Letters.
I did them periodically, years ago. I'm bringing them back~ 
only this time around the letters have more essence and gratitude pouring out of me to soothe my sometimes pitiful laments & to right my heart and soul back on track.
Track=Life~everyday life 

Hello Friday~I've been waiting for you 

Dear Spring, 
You make my heart happy. The world around me is waking up from up it's slumber and it's especially brilliant this year with all the rain we've gotten. I'm seeing flowers and even weeds that I can honestly say I've never seen before. They've just been lying dormant until now waiting for their turn to bloom and it's a beautiful thing.

Dear friends who read & comment here,
I am grateful for your precious time. We only have so much of it in a day and you choose to be here, even for a few minutes. I try to make things short and sweet for you so you'll want to come back. I enjoy your company and your contribution in dialog. I'm sorry I'm not more bloggy suave to know if you know that I answer every single comment in appreciation for your time. It might take a few days, but there's always a reply. 

Dear me,
Don't go chasing waterfalls. You're moving too fast and because of that, you're missing the everyday. Everything in due time. I know there are forces out there that scare the hell out of you and they're causing you to want to hurry life along. Things happen for a reason & that doesn't necessarily mean they're going to happen to you. So in the meantime, repeat after me...
"Slow down, breathe, count your blessings, repeat."

Love always,

Saturday, March 18, 2017

This, that...

...and everything else

I don't do well with the time change. I mean I love the light lingering longer with each passing day and I don't even mind waking up to the darkness-(nothing a little coffee can't fix) but man, the older I get the longer it takes me to sync into the daylight changes. I'm pretty sure once my life doesn't revolve around an alarm clock 5 days a week, I'll be able to embrace springing forward better...
...that's my theory anyway!  

There was one day last week that a bit of melancholy snuck up on me. I blame a lack of sleep. All those lost Zzzzzs just caught up with me. That day, the weight of the world on my shoulders just buckled my knees (nothing that a little cry on the Mr's shoulders can't fix).

In my mind, I've had this impending "empty nester" transition all figured out and was totally handling it! But the fact of the matter is, reality is setting in as Austin's December graduation date is inching ever closer. Shortly after, he'll be setting off for a career in the Navy. He just started talking to his recruiter and has taken the ASVAB (an aptitude test to determine qualification for enlistment). 
Things just got real-er!

I won't bore you with the details about the other stuff that piled heavy on my shoulders that one day -(nothing that a good night's sleep didn't fix.) 
It's finally the weekend and I am caught up on some much needed sleep, I cleaned the house and I'm ready for the upcoming week. My last load of laundry is in the dryer-all of which tends to shrink my troubles. 

What do these photos of the handsome peacocks have to do with any of this? 
Absolutely nothing! 
I just wanted to share more of my visit from the L.A. Arboretum-did you miss the first post?
You can read about it HERE

So tell me friend, does the time change bother you? How do you get over that hump?
I do hope you'll share.

Happy (longer days) snapping!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A sorta fantasy...

...come true

If you're 50ish (cough) like me, the 70's and 80's were a significant coming of age period and nostalgic for various reasons. For me it was a time of innocence, feathered hair and enjoyable t.v. I was into shows like The Facts of Life, Three's Company, The Love Boat, The Cosby Show, and this..

Fantasy Island

This show whisked me away to a beautiful tropical island for an hour and I couldn't wait to see what lessons each guest paid $50,000 to learn that week. Ignorance is bliss when you're a kid and I just accepted what I watched with no thought to t.v. production and what it takes to put a show together. I never dreamed as an adult I'd live with-in driving distance to sets from shows I watched as a kid...let alone walk where the actors did. I'm sort of star struck like that.

I had to wait all winter until it finally stopped raining on the weekends to visit the LA Arboretum & Botanic Garden where this beautiful historical landmark sits. But it was worth the wait in spades. Queen Anne Cottage, built in 1885, belonged to Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin. Mr. Baldwin was an exceptional businessman who earned the nickname "Lucky" due to his extraordinary luck at landing such good business deals.

For a brief minute I was 13 and imagined Mr. Roarke and Tatoo strolling down the cottage stairs to greet me and ask about my fantasy. Yeah, I'm nerdy like that!

The arboretum's 127 acres of manicured gardens have a long Hollywood history of film and television making. Many of the Tarzan films, as far back as 1936, were filmed here as well as Jurassic Park and Roots:The Next Generations. Television programs like Lassie, Dynasty, Dallas and The Six Million Dollar Man just to name a few were also filmed here and it's still a very active filming venue.

The Coach Barn is equally as beautiful with its original ironwork, and cedar and redwood paneling.

Now here's useless fact #73 about me...I can get overwhelmed easily so when I imported my photos and saw that I had 150+ useable photos from this little day-cation...well...lets just say I'm going to spread this little visit over a few posts!
It was fun to visit, interact and be surrounded by a childhood memory... 
...a bit of T.V. magic that didn't lose any of its mystique this visit. 

Now it's your turn-
Have you ever visited a favorite t.v. or movie set? Did visiting the set take away some of the magic or make it more sensational? Please share, I'd love to hear.

Happy (fantasy) snapping!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Good, Random...


There are colorful signs of spring everywhere.
 Visible in-between the massive amounts of rainy days we've been having are these sweet Grape Hyacinth that bloom every year in my front yard. California isn't out of the drought woods yet, particularly the Central and Southern parts. Hopefully this weather is not an anomaly and will return next winter with even more snow for the Sierras. (The snow pack that is California's biggest and most important water reservoir.)

Random & Fun

I treated the Mr. and I to an ancestry DNA kit.
Growing up, there was a sketchy story my dad could barely remember. Something about the westward expansion and an attack on the party by a Native American tribe who's name he couldn't recall. Many died but miraculously a Native American baby girl survived in a papoose and a party member raised the child and eventually married a male member of my family on my grandmother's side. Like I said, it's sketchy but that's what has survived-Sadly, my grandmother was embarrassed about that part of our family history & would never talk about it. In this topsy-turvy world, I would welcome this information and it is something to be celebrated. I think it's intriguing and I'm hoping to find out if there really is Native American blood coursing through my viens. When I was much younger, I did trace my roots to the late 1700's on my grandfather's side to Ireland and proof of that will be gratifying. My Mr.'s sir name is Kardos, and his dad was 100% Hungarian. Not much is known about his birth mother. I'm curious if there will be any Greek in the breakdown. People ask all the time about the origin of our sir name.

The procedure is really easy.  Register the 15-digit activation code from the collection tube, no eating or drinking for 30 minutes, spit in a tube, release a stabilizing fluid, shake, cap, place in a collection bag and mail it off. Our's goes out in the Tuesday mail and then wait...6-8weeks. We'll get an email when an email when the results are in. Hope you'll stay tuned to find the results!

Do you know your heritage? Have you ever thought about testing your DNA? 
Please share...I'd love to hear.

Happy (DNA) snapping!

Sharing over at Tamar's today.

Pssst...did you miss my last post and the big SECRET I revealed?
*disclaimer-I am not being paid by Ancestry to review or promote this product.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

I love a good...


If you tell me something in confidence and need me to keep it a secret, I am you woman!
But...when it comes to secrets about myself all bets are off! I'm honestly worse than a child. I've been sitting on this one since December 2nd, so needless to say I'm bursting at the seams.

Artful Blogging is a dream publication that I eagerly read from cover to cover. Then, I re-read it 2 or 3 more times in case I've missed something. I swoon over the photos and find the blogger's stories uplifting and inspirational. When January rolled around, I had it in my mind that this was the year I was going to submit photos and shoot for a feature in AB. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. So...imagine how completely caught off guard I was when I opened my e-mail to find an invitation to pursue this dream of mine?  I got tingly all over and actually felt lightheaded. I sat myself down and just shook my head in moving disbelief as I re-read the letter. 
 I must have said I can't believe it 50, 75, 100 times!

 I submitted my photos and waited...There are not enough words in the English language to explain how I felt when I received the congratualtory e-mail stating that I had actually been selected for the summer edition.


My feet haven't touched the ground since! I waved this spring edition to my husband and said, "Do you realize the next issue I'll be in it and on it?" I'm so humbled by my life. I often ask myself what have I done to deserve such goodness? What ever it is, I am eternally grateful for it and for this incredible experience. 
Sarah, over at Paisley Rain Boots
 I can't thank you enough-you lit a creative fire under me with your thoughts and guidance. 
Writing has new meaning and I want to do more of it! 

Wise Peking Noodle Co!

What's your latest secret?
I'd love to hear &
shhhh...I won't tell a soul!

Happy (secret telling) snapping!

Thursday, February 2, 2017



Oh my, February has big shoes to fill! January was chalked full of goodness. Some I've shared publicly, some I'll be sharing soon, and one event I've had to let go quietly. Sometimes you just have to let your heart heal in private. What I will share about this certain event is I flew to Florida last Thursday to sign escrow papers on my parents home. It belongs to a new family now and I hope they will make many happy memories...enough to fill a lifetime.
I flew home Saturday.
I'm coming to terms that my mom was a very private person. Certain things more than others definitely had special meaning to her. This tea cup and saucer is part of a set that she displayed in her kitchen long after I'd grown up and moved away. Surely some pieces would not have survived packing up a household every couple of years with the Navy. My best guess is that the set belonged to my dad's grandmother. I'm hoping a few family members can help with this.

Dainty. Fragile. Beautiful.

Do you have a treasured heirloom passed down to you? Please share,
I'd love to hear about it.

Happy (keepsake) snapping

Sharing over at here today...

Little Things Thursday

Thursday, January 12, 2017



Antigua Guatemala Cathedral
One of the little perks about having a husband who flies for a major airline is every now & again he'll get a trip with a long layover. Sometimes, the stars align and he gets that trip when I'm on a school break. Then the planets align with the stars and there will be an empty seat that wasn't booked and I get to tag along as a stand-by passenger. Because those stars & planets saw fit to line up,  last weekend, I was able to spend 36 hours in the very vibrant Guatemala with my Mr. 
Antigua is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places to photograph~with it's cobblestone streets, Spanish Colonial architecture, and colorful buildings.

On a clear day, you can see the towering Volcan de Agua through the iconic 17th century Santa Catalina Arch. But on this day the clouds just hung around the 12,000+ ft summit and never cleared.

 We asked the locals where we could grab a cup of coffee to take in the view. Cafe Sky provided us the rooftop view of the dormant volcano. Even with the clouds, it didn't stop the view from being any less spectacular. 

Volcan de Agua is one of 37 volcanos that dot the region. 

Texture and color at every turn.

The church of Santa Rosa was built in 1570. Many buildings like this have huge cracks and are crumbling from earthquakes that devastated the region in the 18th century.

Ive already put the bug in The Mr.'s ear that I want to go back. 
There's way more to see and shoot.

 Endearing people, delicious food, full flavored coffee, and a rich history has made Guatemala a   country that has tugged at my heartstrings. Have you ever been taken aback and amazed by a visit to a foreign country that you weren't expecting? Did it tug at your heart like Guatemala did mine? Please share-I'd love to hear about it.

Happy (traveling) Snapping!

Did you miss my