Long, Long Ago... Far, Far Away...

I actually took a photography class in high school using my step dad's 35mm camera. I can't tell you what it was, Nikon, Canon, Minolta, Olympus. It was that long ago. I found some of those OLD prints. The prints that I made in the dark room at school after I wound my own film and processed it myself. I didn't always get the assignment right but somehow I managed an A. I remember how I loved all the steps, and even dreamed of having my own darkroom some day. I would hide in my parents closet to roll film into cartridges or change them out because that was the darkest place in our house. Every now and then my step father would come in and open the closet door to find my scrunched on the floor rolling film. I'm sure you can image his surprise to find me there as much as my response to the door being opened. Film was never exposed luckily because outside of a VERY dark closet was a darken room. I was just overly precarious!

I scanned a couple of these shots for the heck of it and played around in Photoshop with them. The negatives are long since gone; so I only have a handful of prints most of which are damaged by time and poor storage in extreme weather.

They are a reminder that I actually loved photography, but never followed through. Maybe theater got in the way, maybe the reality that I didn't have my own camera (which later became a sore spot in my already-sour relationship with my step father.) or maybe I didn't trust my instinct. Who knows - I was so young. The thing is, that love would sprout up in me through out the years. I have a handful of black and whites taken with an old Kodak point & shoot film camera that I took just for the "art" aspect during the time my mother was ill. And shortly after I moved to Southern California back in the late 80s I had an opportunity to take some pictures from places not normally accessible for picture taking. Unfortunately, the camera was stolen out of a friend's car. Thank goodness it wasn't expensive but the pictures were lost. I think that is when my creative vein for photography got shelved.

Here are a couple of those pictures that started it all so long ago.
Yay, for rebirth of a creative soul and for digital cameras!

I love the State Barber Shop Photo and have always been keen to it. I think it's the layers in there, the little boy waiting and watching for his hair cut, the barber busy at work and then the traffic going by and the buildings across the street. The original photo was (I believe) under exposed so very gray. I was about to pop up the contrast only a little bit here.

The Virgin Mary, I can't remember where I took this picture. but I loved her texture and nobleness (if that's a word) She was so resilient and I'm sure she is still there today. I cropped this picture to remove unwanted foliage and added a crackle texture and a second texture overlay. I also gave her a little vignette to just pop her features out a bit.

I took this picture when I was staying with my mom after her third (and final) cancer surgery. This house just reminded me of a haunted house, only people actually lived in it. I love how they had an old truck parked in front of it too. The photo, again, was a little gray, no real contrast. I decided to use an Orton type effect on it and give it a vignette around the edges to give it a mystic, eerie feel. Kinda cool. Here is a beautiful example and explanation of the Orton effect. I also used this effect with some of the pictures from my grandparents home that I posted yesterday. Here is an action for an Orton effect for Photoshop Elements users. I have only used it for quick processing in PSE3.

More later!

Theme Thursday - Making Memories

It's all about making memories for Harrison, giving him the best life experience I can during these short, formative years which means often pushing through my own painful shortcomings as a person and a mother. I know, I know, people always say "You're a great mom!" and we are always our own worst critic, it's true; but I know where I fall short. My saving grace, Christ in my life and a little boy who loves me REGARDLESS.

Since this little person has entered my life, it has only compounded in me an intense NEED to PRESERVE memories; of my family, of childhood, of moments and places important to me. That is REALLY one of the reasons I started this online quest. This living cyber-place keeps me accountable to reach that end.

One of those memories lay within a series of pictures that I took of my grandparents home. They had owned their property since the 1950's and lived there since the 60's. Where my relationship with God is a spiritual anchor in my life, my grandparents home was a physical anchor. I didn't realize how deep that was embedded in my soul until after my grandfather's death a year and a half ago. My Aunt liquidated the estate and sold the property. I still feel the pangs of that experience. The loss of that anchor.

It's true that, after I moved away and got older, trips home were more difficult and farther between - each passing year; but it never represented the map of my heart or dilute my love for my grandparents. You never realize how important and comforting it is to know in the back of your mind that parents "are there" until they aren't. So on a couple cold winter days in December 2005 and October 2006 I took the last of my pictures at "the farm". Harrison was with me, he was able to run across the yard that I spent so much time in growing up. I could fill a book with memories of that yard; some day I hope to write a few down for Harrison. The tender romanticized version of my child's eye that I cherish.

I couldn't look at those last pictures for over a year without welling up into tears. So they sat. The funny thing is, that stupid point-and-shoot stayed true to it's mission to make my picture-taking miserably disappointing. Out of the close to 100 photos I took, in too much of an emotional rush, I had mostly blurred or poor light quality photos. I CAN"T DELETE ONE of them - not one. I just can't.

I finally visited those photos without tears overtaking me and invited them to a day at the PhotoShop spa, they humbly obliged. Below is a small sampling of the results. they are more "artistic" that's fine for me, they represent that romanticized place - in my heart. I see the beauty of my childhood memories preserved in these photos. I also feel a sadness in the resounding quiet of the images.

Check out other memories in the making over at Stacy's Land of K.A.

PS Thank you for the suggestions and comment on my self portrait last week. The general consensus is to leave it as is, but I must play with it just to see the difference. I haven't had a chance to open PhotoShop this week, so I will let you know the results next week!

Curiouser and Curiouser...

I came down stairs the other morning to find my Tab key back in place as if nothing had ever went awry with it. I had set it on the keyboard and left it there at an awkward angle; yet secure in it's little keyboard home. It was like a nose that gets broken too many times - crooked but firmly on the face; I could live with that.

Then, there it was, in place, straight, snappy and ready for business.

A couple people mentioned if the little gremlin in the house could be Harrison, but he doesn't go near the computer - unless or course, I am on it.
Since it seems to only happen late a when we are all upstairs in bed, I'm willing to bet that it's Duke-the-Dog surfing the net and catching up on his dog blog habit. After all, what do you expect from a dog without opposable thumbs when he starts typing on the computer?

As for the rest of those pesky little computer keyboard issues...

They're still there.

My It's-All-About-Me-(albeit Mommy)-Moment

My New Magazine! (moved from Pierce Baby Project)

I was so excited and wanted to share this!

I came home to find the latest edition of Wonder Time on the table waiting for me to dive in! And just look at the cover, how prefect, one of the highlighted articles this month is Confessions of a mommy blogger. I haven't finished reading it so I can't tell you about the article.

The nice plant is Harrison's bean plant that has been growing in his nursery classroom. His teacher handed it to me before I left the office the other day. (Hope I don't kill it...)

I first discovered Wondertime at the doctor's office when Harrison was just about a year old, they even let me make a copy from the issue about garden planting basics for you and your kids. (I still killed the plants!)

I love this magazine as much as Mothering, maybe a little more. Okay, maybe not; but about the same in different ways.

I didn't sign up for a subscription when I discovered it because at the time I was still receiving a gazillion magazines that came as gifts and free subscriptions.

Oh. My. Gosh.

But now that they have all expired my mailbox was feeling a little neglected and I was ready to receive this beautiful magazine in the mail every month. For me, it's like the Real Simple of parenting publications. Check it out if you haven't already!

This picture in the No Comment Department at the back of the issue cracked me up because I was just pondering this very image in my head recently now that Harrison is older. I have friends who's children plastered stickers all over the back window of the car. Yes, it's a freedom of exploration and creativity that they get to express so freely. After all, it's their own little space that they are stuck in as we taxi them around from place to place, why not let them do as they wish with it, no?
A glorious picture here, yes. A colorful reminder of a happy childhood all laid out on the window of the car like a road map. Only (true confessions) I just don't want stickers plastered all over the backseat window of MY car. Even if my car is old. I don't even like bumper stickers! I guess there are just some things that I can't let go of; but what Harrison doesn't know won't hurt him, right? If I don't give him stickers in the car, he'll never discover the idea of sticking them on the window and that's okay with me.

Funny thing is, his stickers are all at his table in the living room right below the living room window. If they ended up in that window. I wouldn't care. What's the difference? I don't know. I'm quirky.

So. How many of you have stickers stuck on your back window?

And if you get ANY subscriptions to parenting magazines this year - I highly recommend Mothering and Wondertime. Go enjoy a good read!

Now back to the regularly scheduled program.

Theme Thursday - Self Portrait

I'm not one for liking pictures of myself, but I push through and sometimes I cheat.

The GID likes this one a lot. Although he suggested maybe a bare shoulders up version. Maybe I'll try that, especially since I'm not sure I like the pictures in the background coming out of my head. What do you think?

Check out other textured themes at The Land of K.A.

I'm going to go take a little break to read a book.

Um. Houston, We Have a Problem

I work from home using my computer. I also go into the office a few days a week now. I come home and finish my work on my computer.

Then I started to blog, I post and read a lot. I have found some new creative juice to draw from.

Then. The keys on my laptop started wearing off. The R turned into a P, the F is an upside-down L and the N & D all but disappeared.

If that wasn't enough, miscellaneous keys started going whacky! the left-facing bracket key only works when it wants to. The backspace key doesn't always backspace - rather it types a left bracket symbol - FOREVER - if I let it. I can't use the left shift with the P and some other keys irregularly (only the right shift key.)

Then. The other day, I walked away from my computer, a word document was open. To be honest I didn't just walk away, I went to the office, I was gone for 3 hours.

When I got home, I sat down to 26 pages of the bracket symbol! 26 pages and still going!

My keyboard was the Energizer Bunny of Computers!

And to add insult to injury, today I sat down to find this:

Yup. It's no longer attached.

That's a problem.

Is there a gremlin in my house?

BSM - Seeing Red

The Guy-I-Dig and I aren't really big Valentines Day people. We both think that it's a highly over-rated Hallmark holiday that promotes expressing your unconditional love pressures you to shell out all kinds of dough on over-priced flowers, candy and jewelry.

So, we're not Valentines people; except for the fact the my female genes kick in and I have a longing desire to be the recipient of a lovely over-priced box of chocolates. Yes, I secretly LOVE heart-shaped boxes of candy. I can't help it, I love the red decorative wrapping that holds within it a selection of sweet chocolates filled with secret little yummy surprises inside each bite.

So, true to form, the GID gave me a box of chocolates. That is why I love that Guy-I-Dig.

I made a Red Velvet cake for him. I planned for days to bake this cake- it is such a yummy cake - except that I didn't do something right and my version just doesn't taste the way it SHOULD. And I won't even tell you what a comedy of errors my day was trying to make a cake for my husband! I mean, come on, it's. a. cake! How hard can it be?
When all was said and done, at least it looked good, and it was still really tasty despite the miss in flavor - but heck, I'm not a baker. If you want to give it a go, you can find a really great recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes here. This is my best shot this week.

I also made these sweet wax paper hearts. The funny thing is, when I was a little girl, I made wax paper easter eggs and I have always remembered the way they looked in the window of our living room, filled with all the different colors of shaved crayons. Since having a child, I've been waiting to do that craft with him. After all Easter is coming up! But then I got my Martha Stewart email (yeah, I'm on her mailing list) and right there in the body of the message were crayon hearts. Heck, I didn't need to wait for Easter and the window of my new creative space was calling our for someting pretty to be hung there!

Unfortunately, being that we were all feeling under the weather, we ate comfort food and went to bed early. So there is our Valentines day. Quiet, simple, perfect.

My best shot this week would be that delicious -looking Red Velvet Cake. Heck maybe next year I'll have it down to perfection! Stop by Mother May I to see more color this late Winter day.

Happy Valentines Day!

Between rain storms (and illnesses) we had a beautiful day on the beach - a hint of summer to come. Yay! We were truly loving it...playing and writing notes in the sand. Here's a little love note to the Guy-I-Dig. Thank you all the lovely years together. Just being with you makes my heart skip.

How perfect for Valentines Day to fall on Love Thursday! Head over to Shutter Sisters to see more images of love!
I can honestly say that Karen summed my feelings about it better then I could have.
I got sort of tagged with a book meme when stopping in to see Mommee and Her Boys. I could have "RUN" but I'm going to follow Brittany's lead because it's fun to see what other people are reading - or in some cases - (this is where I raise my hand.) trying to read.

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people
"Love", a word long foreign to my tongue and pen. It is not a word that can be dissected by reason or dictated by the eye's optic power- it springs from the heart. Like her sisters, Mya's teeth are blackened, her face powdered, her eyes lengthened from large plugs of amber.
The Jewel Trader of Pegu ~ by Jeffrey Hantover

This book is one of those books that I have been "trying " to read, I just never seem to ge the time to stop and calmly read lately. I actually have the book because I created the publicity for a book event and signing the the author was a part of at the organization I work for. One of the many reasons I've been so busy this last month. It is supposed to be a very good read; historically set in Sixteen Century Burma. A love story between an Italian Jewel trader and a local Peguan woman. I do love historical fiction (as well as non-fiction). I'll let you know!

In the mean time, like Brittany, if you want to play along just let us know of you do I would love to know what you are reading this week!


I love my little vintage Asian bobble heads, my Aunt has a collection of them that she has promised to me some day; a couple of them we even found together in a little antique shop...

But this weekend, I bumped into the shelf and this little guy went crashing to the ground before I could do anything to stop him.

Honestly, broken is how I feel some days. I'm that little Bobble with a BIG head- ache.

I think I need a vacation - or a day at the spa.


with a capital D!

Yup that's me. Why, you ask? Because with the exception of my very first post on Pierce Baby Project, I have been creating ALL my posts under the Edit Html tab and NOT the oh-so-glorious Compose tab!

Do you know how challenging that has been? That's 7 months of DUH!

And why did I suddenly have this epiphany?

I introduced an old friend to the world of blogging, and in her first post she did something that I was trying to figure out for months...change the size and color of my freaking font.

I. Have. Been. Liberated!

Now, there is this ongoing debate between me and the Guy-I-Dig about the color of my hair. I say it's blonde, albeit dishwater blonde, it is blonde. Even my hairdresser agrees with that. Dear GID says it's brown. A very light brown, but brown.

The thing is, why does he so ademently argue that I am not a blonde when I ademently act like one AND blog like a BIG DORK caught in Html-purgatory for SO many months! (Because, let me tell you, this is not my first "blonde moment".)

It's a scary thing. Now I wonder what else I've been missing??

Come to think of it.
I'm brunette.

A Tribute to my Mother

Today is my mother’s birthday, only she is no longer with me to celebrate it. I don’t talk about her often, but I think about her daily because I miss her. Daily. I especially miss her now that I, too, am a mother.

I don’t “talk to her” like some people do with those they have lost. It never occurred to me to do so; but once in a while when I’m sleeping, she’s there with me in my dreams – in the everyday normalcy of the dream. I’m safe, whole, content. Then I wake up.

And she is no longer with me.

She would have been 73 years old, that's hard to conceive especially since it has already been 14 years since I lost her to cancer. Far too soon.

73 years old.

When I cleaned out her closet after she passed away, she had 73 different pairs of polyester pants - in all the colors of the rainbow! I counted them. I had to. I found it funny – in that only-my-mother way. She hadn’t worn anything but polyester pants since I could remember…hadn’t worn jeans since she was a teen ager.

My mom was crafty and artistic, she painted, created chalk drawings, sewed, crocheted, knitted and more. She made all of my Halloween costumes over the years, she made my coolest Barbie clothes, and all my baby doll clothes. She would even sew clothes that I designed for me to wear as well as my theater costumes. She nurtured my acting and dancing and encouraged my creative juices. My mom was a great baker of cookies, and candy, and fudge, of bread and cakes. She loved Mexican food and made the BEST Spanish Rice and Enchiladas. She was accepting of all people, unconditionally and forgiving to a fault. In my eyes, she was tall and strong and her word was law while I was growing up.

She was married to a man that asked her to marry him the night he met her. They dated for a short time and then married. He loved her, she was beautiful and perfect in his eyes. My grandparents loved him immediately. He was my dad.

His is another story for another time.

I could call my mother for anything at any time. I miss that. Still.

I think about my mother, daily. I wish she could meet the Guy I Dig & Big Brother, she would have loved them!
I wish she could hold Harrison in her arms and listen to his little voice as he learned to talk. Strangely, a couple years before she passed away, she told me one day that she didn’t think she would live to see my children. I didn’t know at the time how prophetic that statement was. I only got upset with her.

I wish Harrison could have had the relationship with my mom and me that I had with my mom and granny.

But sometimes wishes can’t come true.

I am comforted by the thought that she is looking down on us. Watching over us.

Proud of her daughter, her son-in-law and her grandsons.

My mother would have been 73-years-old.

Happy Birthday Mom.

Through the Rabbit Hole

Okay, so it's not Alice, or the White Rabbit, or even a rabbit hole. It's a funnel. This week's Sunday school "lesson" at Shutter Sisters is all about framing and it reminded me of these pictures that I never used.

A few months ago, I took pictures of Harrison through a vintage megaphone that he loves to play with. A few weeks later he was playing with funnels from the kitchen and I thought, "Hmm, let's try a picture!" I used my point and shoot and focused as best I could on the subject in through the hole. I liked the results; but as usual, I am limited by my camera's focus issues. Or maybe it's just user error trying to hold a funnel and and a camera at the same time! On another note, can you tell the month I took these pictures in? Nice pumpkin, eh?

Yes, he's holding another funnel, it's a 3 funnel set.

Fantastic Fours

Natalie has tagged me for the four things meme so here's a little more about me.

Four jobs you've had in your life
1.) Motel Maid
2.) Actress
3.) Box packer for moving company
4.) Office Manager

Four movies that you would watch over and over:
1.) When Harry Met Sally (I have watched it over and over)
2.) Princess Bride (Ditto)
3.) Hook (every parent should watch this)
4.) Strictly Ballroom (because a life lived in fear is a life half lived)

Four places you've lived:
1.) Fort Walton Beach, Florida
2.) Denver, Colo
3.) Rapid City, SD
4.) Sherman Oaks, CA

Four TV shows that you love to watch (or used to watch):
1.) Journeyman - one of the REALLY great canceled-too-soon shows!
2.) Ghost Whisperer (stumbled into it - but it's my weekly wind down show)
3.) Criminal Minds (dispite Mandy Patinkin leaving.)
4.) CSI (The best of the 3)

Four places you've been on vacation:
1.) Vacation? who takes those?
2.) Jamaica
3.) San Francisco
4.) Latvia (the country - okay it was a mission trip but like a vacation from life!)

Four websites you visit daily:
1.) Yahoo
2.) Goggle Reader (a.k.a. verious blogs)
3.) IMDB
4.) You Tube (we have to watch the Wall E trailer daily now!)

Four of your favorite foods
1.) Sushi
2.) Itailan
3.) Chocolate Cake
4.) Eggs Benedict

Four places you would rather be right now:
1.) On vacation
2.) At the movies
3.) Disneyland
4.) In bed (here I go!)

Four people to tag...
Kim - 'cause she is brand spanking new at blogging
'cause they will forgive me if they don't want to play...

Watching Robots Dance

I haven't been feeling the love for my point and shoot lately and it seems that I am not the only lamenting over the love loss! Andrea over at Shutter Sisters felt the sting and came up with a FUN, if not P&S forgiving, Superhero Challenge! Set the camera on the floor, on self timer for a self portrait and see what you get.

Funny thing is, I've been working with that self timer thing, the self portrait thing and even putting the camera on the floor! I just didn't put them all together until today.

Problem is, I STILL hate pictures of ME. So when the GID got home from work this evening, he and Harrison played robots. They walked and talked like robots. Duke-the-Dog and I just sat back and watched a bit. I realized my perfect opportunity was laying at my feet! [no pun intended] So when I sat the camera on the ground with the self timer set to go off a few times that Guy I Dig didn't even blink an eye. He and Harrison went on playing without stepping on the camera and I got a nice shot of my cozy red socks. 'Cause these hard wood floors are cold in the winter -even in So Cal!

This is SOOC, why mess around?

Thank You for the Photo Love!

To those who have commented at Pierce Baby Project that my picture taking has improved, (despite obnoxious Casio p&s camera) I am whole-heartedly blessed by your words and I thank you. It means a lot coming from such talented, creative people! I have to apologize if I didn't comment on your blog recently, we’ve had a lot going on here.

Again, Thank you.

And speaking of talented, creative people, I stopped by the VERY creative Brittany’s blog, 4 Little Men, the other day. She had a cute little test about the percentage of creativity that our brain is wired for, she (understandably) scored 98%. So I took said cute little test. I scored 60%!

WHAT!! I screamed! [Luckily Harrison naps upstairs and I was down.]

60%!! What the BLEEPIDY-BLEEP-BLEEP is that all about!!

I’m creative!
[Okay, I wasn’t expecting 98% by any means – but I figured I’d maybe push 70.]

But 60? That’s like, right after 50. That’s barely pushing average! That’s… probably not too for off base…

Well, I took it again today because I wanted to post it here now that I’m over the shock of the cold, hard fact that I am only 60% wired for creativity - [considering how naturally wired I am.] I answered it EXACTLY the same as the first time.


I scored 70%. That’s it! This little test is rigged!

I mean really, numbers in color and alien ink blots? And that music question… Those color choices were all wrong for the music to begin with! Hello!

So here is my so-called results. Now that I gave your a preview of questions, go try it out for yourself. Hey, it’s a fun little escape for a moment.


…and posts like this is why I needed my own blog…
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