Sunday, August 31, 2008

Here's My Kitchen

Busy day today. Do you want to see what my kitchen looks like?

I did some rearranging around my place today. I now have a bar - not much of a drinker, but I think it's pretty. Hard to capture it well in a picture, the flash comes on and washes it a out, but you can kind of get the idea. My margarita glasses blend into the back ground. Can you see the purple martini shaker? I got that for my birthday from my sister, along with the tall glasses next to it. The shelf is meant for a microwave, but I've always felt that a microwave up high is dangerous for kids and Sarah's the one who uses it the most, for her cocoa and popcorn.
Here is another shot of the counter. I have two things from the girls up there. One is a jar of soup mix that Bay gave me and the other is a bottle that Sarah decoupaged - they are all the way to the left, on top of the stove. There's a little dog next to the kitchen witch, right there by the salt shaker. Sarah gave me the dog for.... Christmas or maybe my birthday. She loves dogs so much. Today she went through a stack of t-shirts, trying them on, and putting those that did not fit in a box of donation things that I was clearing out (like the dehydrator that I haven't used in 12 years). A lot of the t-shirts had dogs on them and she was so torn. She wanted to donate them, but they were dogs. I suggested saving some of the shorter shirts for sleeping in. No need to get rid of all her favorites.
This is where the microwave used to sit, right where the plate and the candle are now. Oops, don't look at the messy craft and hallway - I'll get to them tomorrow. It looks like somebody is hanging on Sarah's coat rack. Ooh, creepy. It's her hat and backpack, I think.
Here's a close-up of the girl's pictures. They both did the same art project, different years, with the same teacher. Her name is Mrs. S and she's been the art teacher at our school for as long as I've had a child there. She's a little lady and this year she doesn't have her own class, so she has to push all her art supplies around in this cart-unit. She needs, but this year we've got the budget thing and we've absorbed kids from a small school in the next town - we are packed in pretty tight. Sarah's boot is on the left and Bay's is on the right. I love these boots. Bay's has been hanging in my kitchen (the previous one and now this one for 4 years) since........ probably about 2000.
I'm tired. I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the carpet today, then I moved things around the kitchen, 3 shelving units, which formed my "pantry" areas. I moved the fridge and cleaned underneath, the coils, and the sides. I moved all my cookbooks from what is now the "bar." I've got a lot cookbooks- used to get them for free when I did book reviews and worked for the vegetarian magazine. I did a lot of laundry and took about 4 loads to either the garbage or the recycling. I vacumed and scrubbed and cleaned most of my glass candle holders. I talked to my friends and my daughter and my grandma and my daughter and my boyfriend and my daughter on the phone (tricky me - I even talked to Jackie while I bathed Max). My new partner taught me how to better set up my posts (using bolding) and what each thing on the post toolbox is for.

Tomorrow I tackle the craft area. I want to clear out the items that my kids don't use anymore and get them ready for Ashlee. She loves art and I think she will like to do some of the crafts. I have to clean my room, set up my new bookshelf (one of the old "pantry" shelves), change my sheets, and vacum, because Steve is coming tomorrow night. I'm going to remake Bay's bed, clean the guniea pig's cage, vacum, and tidy things up in her room before she gets home tomorrow.

I'm watching Kitchen Impossible with chef Michael Symon - I think that's how he spells it. He's a pretty hot chef - great voice, bald head, black shirt, my favorite kind of facial hair - the little bit under his lip, and a goofy laugh. I love a goofy laugh. One of the things that they are making is lobster and goat cheese pizza. He says a lot of words that I associate with Guy Fieri (again - sp??). He says "money" and "sexy" to describe his dishes. He's one of my favorites, behind first Jamie Oliver, then Bobbie Flay. What did I watch before cooking shows?

I love to cook with Steve when he's here. He's going to have more room to do his thing now that I've cleared the counters off. I love to watch him cook. And sleep. And interact with Sarah. And pretty much anything. He does this thing before he kisses me, he licks his lips and leans down and forward - he's a lot taller than me. For days I've been picturing him doing that. My head is full of him. I'm definitely ready for a good visit. We will get about 34 hours - he drives 12 hours to visit for that long (6 down here, 6 back up).


Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Dreaming of the Coast

My friend from next door just came over to tell me that her husband has accepted an offer for a job in Vancouver, Washington. I am very happy for them, but also kind of sad. We've lived next door to them for 4.5 years now and I really like the whole family. I really had to work to make friends with the son. He's a very smart kid, but I think he has a hard time talking to people. I had to win his respect and I did it with a game of Battleship - one of the only games that I excell at. The others - Chinese Checkers and no one can beat me at Twister. I'm freakishly bendy.

This Summer so many people moved away - some only across the street, but others I never see anymore. Sarah is not going to have anyone to hang out with close by. I hope that some new kids move in soon. Karlee, she is the one who moved across the street. Sarah loves to go by her house. They have a trampoline and she comes home with pink cheeks and damp hair. That's Karlee's fingers holding the leaf below. Sometimes she helps me with photos - holds flowers or a strawberry. She's a very good helper.

Sometimes Sarah comes home mad, because Karlee has chosen to play on the computer or a video game and not with her. The kids, they grow apart some as they get older. Growning up is a risky thing, lots of little and big hurts involved. I try to bandage what I can, cushion when possible, but very little of it has been easy for any of my kids. I respect their strength, the way they remain open, the way they aren't afraid to love even when hurt by people like their idiot father. This weekend, I plan to clean my place. I have had this plan to go through stuff, clear things out, for some time. I want it to look and feel soothing inside, wherever my eyes land. Some spots are nice. I like how clean this little table looks - I was messing around with my camera and light here.
This pink African Violet is usually next to the purple one. I've had it for about 12-13 years. It used to be in a bigger pot, but I knocked into it with my shoulder once, as I carried Max out to the living room. Ouch. The purple one, it's in a pot that I got when one of the kids was born. I think it was Sarah - has a little hummingbird on it.
Bay just called me from the beach. She rode down to Pismo with my mom, to meet and camp with my sister Robin's family. I could hear the waves and my niece, Trinity. I am wishing that I had gone. I love the beach and being with my family. Bay took this photo of Trin and I last Spring, just before Easter. That water was cold. This is the same swimsuit that I have probably a hundred photos of Trinity in. She's grown a lot since the Spring - it was so long and baggy back then.
Here she is waiting to jump over a wave. Jump! and then she laughs. That's what I could hear over Bay's phone. I wish I was there. I decided not to go because Sarah has a hard time with Robin's friend's kids and she ends up spending her time sitting with the friend's dogs. She asked me please, lets not do this again, so we aren't. If they go on their own sometime, we will go, but I'm not going to tell Robin who to spend her time with - they should camp the way they want to camp.
I wish I could pack Max and Sarah in the car and head to the coast here. It's only 3.5 hours over to Fort Bragg. Have you ever seen the Mendocino coast? It's jaw-droppingly beautiful in every direction. I love it there. Very dramatic with cliffs and big waves. The mist feels so good on your face and I love the way it smells.

Hey, If you are single, did you know that it's a free communication weekend over at eHarmony? Well, it is. I wrote about it, also wrote about help for bad kissers. Pretty unfortunate, that is. Luckily, my guy is a very good kisser. And I get to kiss him in just a few days. Looking forward to that.

Time to see to Max. Good evening/day to you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Walk Around the Neighborhood

It's hot here, in Chico, California. I took these photos outside on my patio and around my apartments. It's 105 F. Ouch. Hot. It's been so hot at school, that the kids hang out anywhere they can find shade - along the edges of the building, under the trees out in the field - and I keep my spray bottle filled with water. Their faces get red and I don't want anyone getting sick from the heat.

There are a ton of spider webs on my patio. I tried to capture them, but they aren't easy to see in this light. Most are Daddy Longlegs, but I've found black widows out here, too. I take everything off the patio a couple of times a year, spray it all down with the hose. I think it's about that time again.

August is a crispy time of year. I'm so looking forward to the Fall. October is my favorite month of the year. It's getting closer. :D
See the cracks? It's like this all over. I don't know if it's just another California earth shifting thing or if we've got some sort of sink hole situation going on. I watched this show once that explained that sink holes can be from construction - they clear the land, bury the trees, when the trees rot and break down, the ground sinks. I wonder if that is what is going on here? My apartment has weird cracks in the exterior walls, the front door fits oddly and has been adjusted twice, and all of our bedroom doors are off a bit. Bay's is way off, but she's got this door slamming problem and the whole doorway is screwed up.
This is a Valley Oak tree. Can you see my black flip flop? I put it next to the tree so that you could get an idea of how big it is. These are really gorgeous trees. The branches sometimes curve all the way to the ground. Where I grew up, we had little oak trees, nothing like these. That's my upstairs neighbor going by on the motorcycle. He's a nice kid with a big surround-sound issue. It's annoying, at times, but I prefer it to the neighbor who had the big barfing off the 2nd story into my plants problem. Yuck.

This is the second version of this post. The first one disappeared when I lost my connection. I lost track of how many times that happened today. Really, really, really a pain in the ass. The other verson was funny and entertaining - you would have been surprised by my incredible insights. I'm serious.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ruby Tuesday - Diet Coke

I'm getting in on Ruby Tuesday a bit early. If you want to see more, please look over at, where Ruby Tuesday is hosted by The Teach. :D

My son, Max, is ill. I took him to the Dr today, but they weren't able to figure out exactly what is going on. They had me take him down to the lab and his white cells are elevated, which indicates that there is an infection somewhere. Max can't tell us what hurts - I could only guess that something was off because he's had a low-grade fever. The Dr looked at his teeth, his throat, up his nose - it's impossible to tell. Poor kid. He's normally so stoic, but he has been moaning - he really doesn't feel good. Hopefully the medicine that they are calling in for him will help him soon.
I was busy with the new blog this weekend. I wrote about Michael Phelps, Ryan Hall and running, Music, and this thing called Juicy Campus. If you have an interest in any of those topics please look at And if you have a chance, please, please leave a comment. I always feel bad for the posts that sit there with a 0 next to the word "comment." Lonely little posts.

I updated, too. I made a simple sandwich that was so yummy and I put up a lemon vinegarette recipe. I used the vinegarette to marinate chicken. Yum.

Sarah is watching a show with a restaurant called "Sushi Rox" or "Sushi Rocks" and it's making me very hungry for sushi. Oh no, the building is burning. Soon that fish will no longer be sushi. There goes the fire alarm. Wow. Lots of drama for Zoey 101.

That is all. I wish you a good day/evening.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday Night, In the Park

The Shutter Sisters featured a post about the golden light of the early morning and early evening. Sarah and I take a lot of photos together at that time of day. We sit on the patio and I take shot after shot of her doing things like making faces at me or her eating popsicles or her smile, with the light coming through the top of the tree behind her.

I was able to get some shots in this same light when Mom and I took the kids downtown to the concert. Here's Chance, with the sun coming around the corner. This shots were all really dark and I added some fill light to them, so they aren't as sharp as they could be. Chance is such a handsome boy. I was looking at Rob's photos of the first day of school. He's a 6th grader now. I can remember when he was a baby and I got to spend every weekday with him. I loved taking care of him. He liked to be held a lot and to get him to go to sleep, I'd lay down next to him and he'd play with my hair. I'm sure that this made it very hard for Robin to put him down on weekends.

He was also a biter. He was a fan of stuff like fake-barfing. I'm serious - it cracked him up and you know how it is with babies, adults will do anything to get a baby belly laugh. One time I must have been especially good with the fake-barfing because he crawled over and bit me on the leg, then gave me the biggest smile. It makes me laugh to think about it. Spending the days with him, it was wonderful. He was a joy. He still is, only I don't get to see him as much now and he is able to go to sleep by himself now. Hopefully, he's outgrown the biting.
I took this the same day - it's the Senator Theater. Pretty cool old building. I saw "A Walk In the Clouds," there years ago. It was upstairs, I think, because I can remember leaving by the side door - they steered us in that direction - and then I was stuck on this steep metal staircase, leading 3 year-old Bay and carrying 4-year-old Max in his stroller. Tricky climb down. Not from the tower, though. I realize that might be misleading - just from the 2nd story.
Here's another shot from the opposite direction. That's Casey to the side, next to the poles. When I added the fill light to this one, it got little dots on it and I thought that they looked kind of interesting.
This is the last one. It shows that light fairly well. It is really a pretty place to be in the evening. I have no idea who that little girl is, but she looks like she's having a blast.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Never Too Old To Learn and Grow

For the past two days, I've been able to grab Bay after work and head down to the creek for an hour. We spend that time floating and talking and relaxing. It's wonderful - a blissful little break from the busy day. The first day we took Kimm and the girls made the comment that heck, they could have been doing that all Summer. (Okay, the "heck" was all me). I agreed and explained (again - I'm always making this particular point) that having fun doesn't have to cost anything.

That's my mom, Sandy, and Trinity, my niece, who regular readers are probably familiar with already. Do I have any regular readers? Leah, I think that would be you. :D When Leah met Trin in person, she said, "Hi, Trinity," without me introducing her and Trin looked so shocked - how does this lady know me? Pretty funny.
The day we took Kimm with us to the creek, I got to thinking about the girls and how today girls don't seem to be as focused on boys as me and my friends were. I think that this is a good thing and it took me a long time and a whole lot of pain to learn that my life has meaning even when there is not a man in it. I wrote about it over at Dating Dames. You can see it, and my lovely daughter, Bay, here

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Story of My Wednesday

More lovely weather here in Chico. After suffering through the heat wave of last week, we've had some mild days in the 80s. Yay!

There's a problem at school and it's not with the children. I work with a lady who has MS. She works very hard both in school with the kids, at her home nail business, and for her family. She sometimes has problems with her memory and communicating, but she really tries to plan things ahead so that her day goes smoothly. She has a very strong personality and when I first started working at the school, three years ago, I didn't really like her very much. That changed after a few months, when I came to understand her sense of humor and the way she dealt with the pressures of the job. We don't have to work a long day, but it's a couple of hours of loud, chaotic excitement. She does the breakfast crowd, then lunch, then comes back at the end of the day and works another hour and a half with the kids who are waiting for buses. Another of our co-workers - he works a different job, but our work days overlap - he messes with her. It really gets to her.

She called me today and we talked about it for awhile. She has tried to talk to our principal about the problem - last year and this year. The principal doesn't believe that he is doing it, thinks it must be a child. There are no children in the cafeteria at the time these things are happening - he is in there alone.

I advised ignoring him. If you don't react, he does not get what you want. I don't understand the behavior and I told her that he must be pretty miserable to act out in that way. It's the kind of thing we'd expect from an angry child. I'm hoping that tomorrow she walks in and does not react to his behavior at all. It will be tough, but she faces bigger challenges than him every single day. Oh dang! I wish that I would have thought of that one when I was talking to her earlier.

The cooler weather means it's much more comfortable on the patio. I cut my plants back and fed them. My tomatoes have never grown any tomatoes. How weird is that? I've grown tomatoes in pots off and on for years. This is the first time this has happened and it happened to BOTH plants. I took them out of the pots, put them in the soil - still NO tomatoes. It sucks. Oh well, I suppose that's what the Farmer's Market is for.

Sarah and her pals are out there right now. The window is open and I can hear their music and their laughter.

One of her friends just started middle school. She is sitting out there with make-up on. I wonder if that is odd to Sarah? Yesterday, this same friend came walking down the path and she was wearing high-heeled boots. She walked all the way home that way. Ouch. Growing up, it can be painful.

I'm having much fun with my new writing job. Today I posted the 2nd part of a 3 part series on online dating. Some people think it's risky, that the online sites are full of freaks and pervs, but honestly, I have some friends who have met some wonderful men. I'd love to see or read or hear about others have that kind of luck in love. If you'd like to see it, it's at

I have a new co-blogger over there. Her name is Lara and she sounds pretty interesting. She is a volunteer firefighter, a plus-size model, an actor, and a zoologist. She's done some more things, but I can't remember what at the moment.

Okay, that's about it for now.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

I took these photos last Wednesday. It was the evening after our first day back at school. Here's the flower ponytail holder that I wore in my hair. Here's Sarah getting in on the photo. Can you see her glittery blue nail? She had a special manicure.
I said, "Hey, let me get that red tongue - it's perfect for Ruby Tuesday."

Hope your day is wonderful. For more Ruby Tuesday posts, please check over at

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday - No Photos

Hi. I haven't updated in awhile. I'm having internet issues and for some reason, uploading photos here is not working. I will try again later.

School is going well so far. It was far cooler today. Big relief. No big injuries today although I handed out a lot of bandaids. I talked to a new girl from Santa Rosa. She was very shy and early in the recess she was out at the edge of the playground looking like she was talking to a tree. I spoke to some other girls, asked them to go say hi to her, but they never made it all the way up to her. Another girl, herself new last year, she walked over and they spent most of the rest of recess playing hopscotch. I went to talk to them and the newer girl, every time she tried to talk, the less new girl would talk over the top of her. I imagine it was very frustrating. I hope she is able to make some good friends. She is on the heavier side and sometimes kids - even 3rd graders - are cruel about things like that.

Today was Bay's first day of school. She got angry with me for making her do her work. I think that that is the way it will always be. She was also mad that I have to take her to her appoints with her teacher early, but she's going to have to get used to it - I have to be at work at that time. She is just that stubborn, though, she will really be angry with me every week, even though waiting for the appointment is still better than riding the bus on her own.

I have spoken with a lady at work about two possible photography jobs. Holy cow! I need to get organized. I'd hate to waste an opportunity like that because I don't have a portfolio.

Okay, time to make dinner.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Want To Be Like Trinity When I Grow Up

Trinity is the star of my blog today. She is a bold, charismatic, confident, talented, beautiful, young lady, and I miss her.

I'm not sure if I've shared these photos of her before. Here's something funny, when my friend, Leah, arrived to take me out to dinner last Saturday, she said, "Hi Trinity!" and Trin was so shocked. How did this new lady know her name?? Well, Leah has been patient enough to view many (many!!) of my family photos, so Trin was very familiar to her. We spent a lot of time swimming or getting wet in the sprinkler this Summer, so when I think of her, it's in this little swimsuit. It was so big on her back at Easter time, but she's grown a lot since that time.
This face - it cracks me up. She's got such a strong posture here, sitting in the little purple chair, hands gripping the arms, and then she's got the something-stinks! look on her face. She laughed immediately following this. She seems so self-aware when I have the camera pointed at her. She "models," changing poses and making faces. It's so much fun. She moves quicker than me and many don't turn out, but every "session" is a blast.
Here's an example. Rob, my sister, took this of Trin with her phone. I wrote back saying, "this is a girl who knows her own power."

I think that we all start out that way, but somewhere along the way, many of us lose that sense of power. I know that every once in awhile I glimpse it in myself, but then I make the mistake of listening to that nagging voice of doubt in my head. That voice that tells me that I'm not enough - not smart enough, pretty enough, strong enough, or lovable enough. I need to shut that bitch up.

At work today, I was outside with the kids and I had my little mister going and the kids were telling me stories and I feel like I was exactly where I belonged. I was giving these kids some attention, cooling them off, making sure that they were safe as they played tetherball or chased each other around the playground. It was a good feeling and a great day at work and I was grateful to feel that way.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back To School

It's been an eventful Summer.

Okay, where did that darn underline come from? I swear, sometimes I think that this darn box is possessed.


No more trips to the creek with cousins.
No more floating on the raft with Grandma.
No more lazy days and sleep in mornings. Tomorrow it's the first day of school.
I am so excited!! I can't to see the students! I bet they've grown and will have lots of stories to tell me at recess. I will be on playground duty, from now on, and I picked up a fancy new mister/fan bottle to keep cool, 50 SPF sunblock to protect my skin, and broken in flip flops so as to avoid those pesky first day of school blisters. :D

To quote Spongebob Squarepants, "I'm ready! I'm ready! I'm ready!"

Ruby Tuesday - The CSUC Rose Garden

This weekend, the kids, my mom, and I took a walk through the California State University Chico Rose Garden. It's gorgeous. Here's a bit of the red we saw............. This view shows the Bell Tower in the background - the setting sun is hiding it in a glow.
These are some seriously mature Rose bushes and many of them have some pretty gnarly thorns. I love visiting the gardens and if you are ever in town, I suggest you check them out, but don't pick any - there's a steep fine for pickers.
For more Ruby Tuesday photos, take a look at the list located at the creator of Ruby Tuesday, The Teach's Work of the Poet.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday at the Fountain

This evening, Mom and I took the kids - Sarah, Trinity, Chance, and Casey - down to the concert in the park. A country band was playing and I thought that there were very good, but for some reason, the kids didn't really get into it. I kept trying to get them to go into the fountain. Finally, the girls and Case tried it. Trin had the funniest look on her face, I kept trying to catch it, but she was tricky. Her dimples, always her dimples show. So sweet.
The City Plaza used to look very different. It had tall trees and a diamond-pattern walkway. It would be packed for the friday concerts. This time, the park was not even a quarter full. You can see a bit of what the park used to look like here
This little guy looks like he's boxing the water.
Sarah looks so funny here - very Sarah-like expression here. :D Casey looks like he's freezing.

I took some photos of the Chico State Campus, too, but I'll post them another time.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New TTV Box, Mall Security, and Photos

I built a new box for my Duaflex yesterday. I took it outside and got this............ and this, which reminds me, I haven't shot any baskets in forever. I think I'll see if Sarah wants to do that today.
I could feel my neighbors watching me when I took this one. I ignored it, got down in the grass and tried to catch my favorite clover flowers. I got a flare, too. I like a flare. I think that this was the point that I changed to the other camera. It has a more silvery look to it. I prefer it.
More of my Japanese Maple that I introduced in yesterday's post.
In the evening, there was a beautiful sunset. I grabbed my camera and drove over to the mall where there's a wider shot of it available. I got out, focused, then ...........nothing. My memory card was still in my computer. I drove backhome, got it, drove back, took a couple of shots, then Mall security drove up and he told me that I could not take photos of the building. I said, "You can see that I'm pointed away from the mall, at the sunset, can't you?" I could not believe that it's against the law to take photos of the stores signs. I could feel my inner rebellious child wanting to sass this guy. Every once in awhile, that kid pushes me to be a bit stupid.

Anyway, I got this shot - the mall is behind me, but I'm shooting over the top of Kohls. The lights did something here. I don't know what makes them do that. Someday I will. Anyway, it was too late to get any of the pink. Thanks Mall guy and 41-almost-42 year old brain that does things like forget the memory card in the computer. My timing was a little bit off.

After I got home, I looked it up and it is indeed against the law to take photos inside the mall. I read an account of a woman who was chased by mall security (not my mall) and a janitor. Odd. It was a seriously empty mall, too - nothing espionage-y at all.
I'm very glad that my world is much larger than the mall.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Ruby Tuesday - My Japanese Maple

I've had a little Japanese Maple tree for a few years. It's about 5'6" at the highest point - was about 1 ft when Mom gave it to me. It's a lovely little tree, as Japanese Maples always are, but it usually looks pretty sad by this time of the year. My apartment gets the late afternoon sun and it's stuck out there. I've tried to shield it by sticking other plants around and in front of it, but it's pretty much a loosing battle.

Happily, I noticed some new growth on it this weekend. That's when I took these. The pretty red leaves, I thought they'd be a good choice for Ruby Tuesday.