Sunday, December 27, 2009

Candy Houses

Christmas is over!!! Yay!!! I ended up in the spirit, but it was tough. Here are a couple of photos of the girls making their candy houses. They had a lot of fun. Kitty licked them right away. Silly Kitty.
Bailey loves the cream cheese frosting. Could you tell??

I'm going to take part in Shutter Sisters 365 Photo project at Flickr. I think it's going to be fun. I write every day (not here) so taking photos should be a breeze. I predict lots of product photos for work, lots of patio shots, and Sarah, because I can usually talk her into it.
I'd like to get a new little point and shoot that I can carry with me on runs, my bike, or hikes. There's no way I'm running with either of my "good" cameras in a backpack. I'm having trouble writing. My attention is half on the TV where I'm watching a rerun of Criminal Minds. Reed just told a philosophy joke. No one laughed. He's my favorite part of the show.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thinking About Joaquin Phoenix

Some of the boys on Facebook have been putting up movie quotes.

I rarely recognize them, but for some reason I've been thinking of Joaquin Phoenix as Merrill in Signs saying, "Felt wrong not to swing." I loved him in that movie. The whole thing with the nerds explanation and the aluminum foil cap. He was so charming. Then, I remembered when he was in that movie Inventing the Abbotts, the movie where he drew the side burns on with a permanent marker and he falls in love with Liv Tyler. Did you see that one? I loved that movie. Last weekend I saw him in Ladder 49. Sad ending. I hated the ending.

When I was first married, my husband Todd and I watched the movie Parenthood. Remember him (when he was Leaf) in that movie? All that hair and anger? When I was pregnant, just a few months after seeing him in Parenthood, I saw a rerun of Space Camp. He was "Max" in that one. That's where I got Max's name, from a movie that most people haven't even heard of.

Earlier this year, Joaquin Phoenix was acting pretty odd. I sure hope that guy is okay.

Okay, enough stalling.......tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I'm not prepared. Ooops.

Image credit:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Falalala Lifetime

I decided to start writing my food blog again. I took a break while writing for Food/Nutrition at Blisstree. I started with a review of some truffles from Vosges (photos below) and a quiche recipe. I want to work on trying some things. I get so used to making tacos and taco salad and breakfast for dinner and ...........blah, boring. (Although I love tacos and honestly never tire of them).
My girls are both at sleepovers right now. Max is in bed and I have no idea where Kitty is off to. It's so quiet here. Nothing but the sound of the dishwasher and a movie with Jamie Gertz on Lifetime. Does anyone else think of The Lost Boys every time they see her? It doesn't matter how many years or how many episodes of her former sit com that I saw, she's still the Lost Boys girl to me. Or possibly Muffy (?) from Square Pegs.

This movie is pretty cute. It seems like movies on Lifetime are either women in peril, women causing some sort of peril, or love stories. Uh oh, guy in this one has issues with his dad. I gotta go!

Image credit: Michelle Smith

Monday, December 21, 2009

Feeling Chatty....

I started my holiday baking last night. I made some combo chip cookies with semi-sweet, milk chocolate, white chips and coconut. They turned out good, but I've never met a chocolate chip cookie that I did not like. Sometimes I put a little bit of oats in them. I like a crisp cookie and both the browned coconut and oats really give a cookie great texture.

I made up sugar cookies with the cookie cutters that I got from Mom and Grandma. I love using their tools. My rolling pin used to be Great Grandma Halfhill's. I like feeling like they are somehow baking right alongside me. Most of my pans belonged to Grandma Halfhill, my strainer, my colander, all the things I use every day. I'd like to add to my pan collection, but I will always use these tools. I trust them.

I have a friend who uses his mother's baking table when he cooks. It's perfect - good height, good size, and you can see the marks she put into the table over the years as she prepared food for her family. What a treasure. He lost his mom way too early, but every meal he prepares, her hand is in it.

That table means a lot to him. I appreciate people who get things like that. New things are nice, but a little family history, there's nothing like it. I want to hand things down to my girls when they have their own families. I want Bailey to be able to grate cheese for tacos with Grandma's grater and Sarah to scoop ice cream with her wooden handle scoop. It might sound silly, but that's just me.

Baking, it really helped to regain my holiday spirit. I've still got a lot left to do - lacy almond cookies and some fudge. Maybe some chocolate krinkles for Mom. Tonight I'm going to make a quiche for dinner. I haven't made one of those in a long time. When I was a hairdresser, I'd take my tips upstairs where I'd pick up quiche and spinach salad for lunch. Yum. That reminds me......I think I need a bag of spinach. I'm going to finish my decorating and my wrapping. Okay, I'm going to start the wrapping - I have nothing under the tree so far. It's going to take me awhile. Good thing I've candy canes and cookies for energy.
Kitty scratched Sarah's face today. Sometimes she's mean and nasty. I try to get Sarah to understand that she can't have her face too close to her. I'm afraid that she's going to get her in the eye. I love my cat, but when she makes my girl cry, I feel like doing a Grandpa Harold, I feel like sending her sailing out the door (he chose the deck, flying kitty - don't worry, she always landed on her feet). I don't. I am gentle with her, but she's going to stay stuck in my bedroom for awhile today.

I'm done with my work-work for the day. Way early. Feels great. I may even get time to read today. Guess what? This was my 300th post. Wow.

Monday, December 14, 2009

On My Makeup Wishlist

My minivan over-heated today. Damn. I don't know what is wrong, but I filled it with anti-freeze and drove home. I checked later and the level was low again. I'm going to baby it and try to wait until January to get it fixed. Luckily I live close to the grocery store, etc, so I can walk if I have to.

I'm really enjoying my new job at Gadabout Media. I love the freedom to write about pretty much anything that tickles my fancy like this makeup kit.........

I wrote about it after seeing an article in SELF magazine about low cost makeup ideas for gleamingy, sparkly holiday looks. The whole kit, made by Urban Decay, is only $18. If you'd like to see the post, it's here. You can use it for way more than just eye makeup. I so want that kit!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bah Humbug

I'm feeling extremely bah humbug-ish. At this point, I want the holidays to be over. Past. History. I blamed a broken heart on the last two bad holiday seasons, but really I think it's just me. I think I'm anti-holiday and no matter how much I try to get into the spirit, I feel overwhelmed by regular life.

Here's something that I do love about the holidays.........
Candy canes do not suck. Glittery stuff is kind of cool, too. See, I'm trying. I haven't given up completely.

This is our Christmas tree. The prettiest ornaments we have - other than those made by the kids - are from the Dollar Tree.

I took this the other day out on the patio, before the rain started. Someone should put a coat on that kid. It's chilly.

I think I'll be in a better mood when I get to the cookie baking. I'll let you know if it works.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Want To Give Basketball A Hug

Today was the first day of the Winter basketball season for CARD. The kids got to watch the CSUC Men's and Women's team practice and do a dunking contest. Later, the kid's teams met and each played 2 practice games.
Sarah is my youngest and the smallest person in our family. When she's on the basketball court, she looks huge to me. She blocks and runs and waves her arms around. Her little face gets so red and if I were her, I'd probably barf from all the exercise. I am so proud of her and the effort she puts into her game.

The kids have a break until the second weekend in January. They practice but no official games until that weekend.

I'm really going to try to perfect my sports photography. I want to try to convey how exciting the girls are when they play. They put their whole heart into it, they don't care how they look, they don't worry about boys, or mean girls.
A girl's life goes like this - first they feel no limitations, they feel like they are beautiful, smart, strong, capable, then life starts to chip away at their confidence. Someone calls them ugly or fat or in some way makes them feel less or diminished. They deflate a bit. When girls play sports or sing or play an instrument, when they find something that they feel good about, it helps to inflate them again. They grow bigger, stronger, they work harder, they enjoy some success. It's a wonderful thing.

I love what basketball does for Sarah. I wish I could give basketball a big hug of gratitude.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Noblest of Fir

Nothing really to say. Just a photo of some Noble Fir. I was messing around with the Macro Lens.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I have no idea what to call this one..........

I've been feeling a little funky the last couple of days. I don't think I'm much of a Winter person. My toes are cold. I can't sit on my patio and most of my plants have frozen. I'm a big baby.
I'm doing all the things that are supposed to help with the blues - I get lots of exercise, I'm eating right, and I try to get outside. (I cleared out a bunch of frozen plants yesterday - all the Hawaiian Ginger that was taller than I am ). Still, I'm blah.
Yesterday, during my run, my right calf was really holding me back. The muscle felt tight, like a fist. I kept stopping, massaging it, but still it would cramp. Of course, at the end of the run it was warm and flexible and I felt like I could go on forever, but I was out of time. I wish that there was a way to start the run feeling that way.
A couple of plants have made it through the freeze. Like the petunia below......Okay, I'm out of words and I need to get the dishes done before Leah comes over.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Being Bay's Mom

I just dropped my newly blonde daughter off downtown. She and her friend are going to a concert at the Senator theater. Very exciting. I gave her a 1:30 curfew, which I thought was generous. She did not. She's only 17.
This is her first day off after almost a week of grounding. Prior to that she was at Robin's place. Prior to the Rob visit, she was grounded.
I am really hoping that she will follow the rules I've given her, because I'm tired of grounding that kid. In 7 and a half months, she's going to be 18. It's time for her to start figuring things out on her own. I can't make the rules for her forever- she needs to learn to rule herself. Not an easy lesson to learn, as I remember.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My List

Every year I set a few goals. Sometimes I reach them, sometimes I don't. There are a few things that I put on my list every year.

They are:

*Play something on my guitar
*Learn a foreign language
*Learn to juggle

Today is the 3rd, well it's the tail end of the 3rd. This year I'm going to accomplish those goals, at least in some part. Sarah is going to teach me something on my guitar. We are going to start tomorrow. We are going to start learning some Spanish - I think I'll get something from the library, like a kid's book. This weekend, we are going to juggle. That's it.

I've got a list and I've got a little over 3 weeks to finish it.

Then, I'll start a new list.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nothing To Do With Apples

This post is not about apples. I've just been eating a lot of apples lately, I'm really tired, and I couldn't find a photo that fit. So, here are some Granny Smiths.

I am so tired. My body hasn't adjusted to this exercise yet. I'm trying, but regaining fitness a second time is almost as hard as getting there the first time. I vow to never let myself get distracted enough to lose sight of my goals again.

I was watching a former Biggest Loser winner on TV last week. He was participating in an Iron Man competition, but he was not in his former Biggest Loser-winning shape (he was a chubby boy). He finished, but missed the cut-off by mere minutes. At one point, he's in the running portion (the running portion is the distance of a marathon) and the sweep-up vehicle goes by. He's warned that he'll have to pick up the pace or be "swept" off the course. He digs in, crosses the finish line, his wife (also a former Biggest Loser contestant) runs over and hugs him, she's crying. He explains how he believes that it is important for everyone to at some point do something that they feel they cannot accomplish, to push the body beyond it's limits.

I could never complete an Iron Man. I could work toward a marathon and I've always wanted to do a Sprint triathlon, but the time it would take to train for something like an Iron Man is insane. I'm a single parent - I'm the only eyes on the case around here. My kids would run wild and be left to live on Cheetos and Diet Coke. Okay, not really, but I do tend to greet each new idea with an instant NO! I can't! I'm working on changing that. My idea is to live bigger, to move beyond my usual barriers. I'm a creative girl, I can figure out how to make it work. (See how I pep talk myself there??)

Giving birth is similar to an Iron Man in a way. There's this point where you are so exhausted, you are sure that if you could just stop and take a break for a bit that you'd be able to get your second wind, but it doesn't work that way. You labor when you labor, you push when it's time to push, because whether you are ready or not, that baby has got to come out. You are simply pushed beyond your limits by necessity. Maybe when I am feeling tired I should remind myself that I have completed something much harder before, in fact I did it three times.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sarah's Moon and My Ride

I am enjoying the late afternoons for my ride. As I headed East on Springfield today, the moon sat at the end of the street. It was big and pink, just hanging around at about 5pm.

It reminded me of my favorite moon, the one I saw when I drove home from the camping trip that brought me Sarah. We were on the way home from Lake Siskiyou, Max and Bailey asleep in the car, just West of Red Bluff and it was low and huge. Really incredible. I've always remembered of as Sarah's Moon, which would be funny if you knew Sarah - I'm always having to tell her to pull her pants up. (Leah is always saying, "Top o' the crack to ya!")

A few more minutes into my ride tonight and the sky really started to change - pink, purple, salmon-colored. The best thing about a cloudy day - it leads to a dramatic sunset.

On my second to last loop, a flock of Honkers flew overhead. I love the sound they make. It reminds me so much of home. All in all, a perfect ride.