A Little White Space

David at authorblog posed a question this week. “What do you want most out of life?” This left me pondering – not just the obvious knee-jerk responses that I have, but what I really want and why. It’s more complicated then an easy answer. But a few days later he posted this challenge. I admit, I found myself emotional [blubbering like a baby wouldn't be too off course here]; I struggle with the blank page on a weekly basis. I struggle with whether or not I have a creative gift and, more so, why I don’t thrive in it.

For me, these two things are hand-in-hand. I just never put it together on paper before.

To Just Add Color is what I really want out of my life. In other words to have undaunted passion for what I am interested in [my creative aspirations] and what I already have [full 24/7 contentment] ...a deep gut-wrenching passion is what I desire. Odd, I know. But it seems that the wounds of life have left me somewhat more scared then not and often I don’t trust my own abilities and gifting. Even admitting that on paper makes me squirm.

It's in the genes...

My grandmother painted with oils.

My mother drew with chalks.

They each knitted, crocheted and were sewing mavens! I had baby doll clothes, Barbie doll clothes, handmade dolls, pillows, animals. In high school I would design an outfit, pick out the fabric and my mom would sew it.

While I was in Jr. High my mom asked me if I wanted to go to the local Catholic high school because she felt I would get more attention in Art. At the time I was in the heels of high school, trying to fit in and finding my niche. The Catholic high school had a reputation for being the school that you were sent to if you got kicked out of all the other schools. Honestly, between wearing a uniform and the fear of the tough kids, I didn’t want to go there.

So off to public school I went. I excelled in art classes, theater classes, creative writing and photography. So what happened? Let’s see, art was an “expensive” endeavor with the continual cost of paint, pencils, canvas, accessories, etc.; and was quickly overshadowed by theater; while in theater there was the girl in my class that got all the parts I went up for. Creative writing went well in high school but in college I had a teacher that harshly critiqued the very style that was already “me”. Photography, well, I touched on that one here. I now realize how much I really loved it and was, once again, guided away because “it is an expensive hobby”.

I received a lot of “go to secretarial school advice” from old-school minded family members when they found out my major in College was Theater. After a while you start to think “Well if they don’t believe in me, why should I? Maybe they’re right; maybe I don’t have any talent…” That’s not what they meant. But that’s how I took it, consciously and unconsciously.

So over the years my passion waned and so did my desire to create. But I’m a fighter and I don’t go down with out a fight, even if it's a wimpy one.

Shortly after my mother passed away a few years ago, I decided why can’t I be a good artist? Why can’t I draw portraits? So I did just that. That’s how I tend to approach all things “artist”. It must be the Irish in me. If only I could bottle it for the other 90% of my life.

From top left to right: my father, self portrait, my roommate E. at the time, picture from art book, Gary Oldman-actor, picture from art book.

The blank page can still scare the H. E. L. L. out of me every time I look at it. [Ironically, I look at it often because I have an entire organization looking to me for their print media needs weekly now. How did that happen?]

I’m still trying to figure it out. That’s why I’m here; to embrace my creative accomplishments, to get inspired, to revive some passion, to not live in fear of failure and to strive for more… As an artist, Out of life, From God, For my husband, For my son.

To just add color to my piece of the world.

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Take Pictures!

More Wordless Wednesday here.


As I sat my desk this a few minutes ago, I felt a familiar rumble - it begins with a faint rumble like a truck driving by - only where I'm physically located, large trucks don't drive by.

So I say, "earth quake". Everyone continues about their business. [Maybe I'm imagining it]

Then the movement picks up in rolling; louder I repeat, "Earth Quack"! No response.

Then it really bumps and I yell (in a light tone like I'm making a happy announcement - because that's how I am.)


The secretary turns to me to say, "Oh, oh my!"

People, that was a good size shaking and I know that we weren't near the epicenter.

So after a few minutes we turn on the radio, it's centered outside of Diamond Bar, and the preliminary size of the quake is 5.8. We're not anywhere near Diamond Bar.

There have since been three 3.8 aftershocks, none of which we felt. That's why I knew it was big. (Even though it is considered "moderate" on the scale; when you're in it it's freaky.)

Heck, what other adventure can happen this week? It's only Tuesday!


I have this evolving space in the back of the kitchen that never seems quite - it.

I've tried several things and came up with:
That's just not - it.

Nope, that's not - it.

It isn't doing - it - for me.
I also have a big sub-zero fridge that came with the house. Don't get too excited, it's old, it has issues. One of them - unrelated to being old - is that leftovers get lost in there. Some how they creep to the back when the door is closed and start their own little science experiments.

We're not good with leftovers.
[Which is odd, considering the amount of testosterone in my household; even the dog is male.]

So I thought this would be a great idea for my kitchen area, maybe even propped up on the back table as art and function! Now to just find the right item for repurposing ...

Then I was cruising blogs and found this post that also led me here to hand make play silks. Something I have wanted to do for some time. Harrison loves the few vintage scarves that I have and some larger versions would serve him well in his creative playtime! Plus, he can help me make them!

Witchy Woman

One night last week after Toddler the Hun went to bed... [okay, so he can't even come close to being compared to Attila - but you're not with him all day forgetting that he is ONLY three years old]... I stopped everything to have a glass of wine [or four] and watch a movie, or was it a TV show?

I don't know.
I can't remember.

The night before we had a very nice dinner party at our home with new friends and I used a red wine in the marinade for the London Broil. So there sat the entire bottle, less a quarter cup, of Merlot needing to be consumed before it turned. Well, I couldn't let it go to waste, could I?

While sitting there on the sofa in my wine-induced happy place - I noticed my wine glass sitting next to the Toddler's sippy cup. It struck me as funny - in a get up and take a picture sort of way.

And when I uploaded it to the computer and realized the angle of the wine glass with the word printed, I laughed more. There it was, a picture that could conjure up some darn good stories, I'm sure!

So often in the parenting and disipline area I feel like such a, well, Witch. I have a very spirited 3-year-old. He is a joy and he is exhausting. We don't always see eye-to-eye but at the end of the day he climbs on my lap to have a drink [milk] and watch a bit of a show [Andy Griffith or Get Smart]. Then off to bed.

That night I sat down to have a drink [red wine] and watch a show [who knows], because sometimes I feel like I spend the better part of my day being not too unlike a...


Life is odd sometimes.

I'm submitting this to Odd Shot Monday at Katney's Kaboodle this week because it's just not every day that you find sippy cups and wine glasses muling about together.

Calgon Take Me Away

I've been stressed lately. Easily sent hurling into social anxiety or some other stressful abyss. But I shall overcome. I really should have sat down with a glass of wine tonight - or a margarita! It's sounds so glamorous. Alas, I did neither and now it's officially midnight. I must go to bed, having felt that I accomplished nothing this evening and going into the office tomorrow morning - part of my annoyance and anxiety. Gah!

My poor husband has had more than an earful of what I think about work-related issues this evening. I don't think I'm the Girl-He-Digs right now.

With all that said, or nothing said at all, really. I'd rather be back here again.

I took this picture at the Happiest Place on Earth. I need to go back - or maybe just find my "happy place".

Or just take a hot bath with Calgon and a glass of wine... I'll get right on that.


My First Photoshoot...

A friend commissioned me to take some pictures for the cover of an upcoming CD that he and his recording partner are finishing up. It's a mix of acoustic guitar and piano, so not only did he ask me to take some pictures of them [the two artists - which I haven't done yet] but to take some pictures of the instruments for the cover art.

Have you tried to combine an upright piano and a guitar to get interesting photos? Me either - until now. Let me tell you, they may make beautiful music together, but they are not necessarily an easy blend when it comes to being photographed together.

My friend and his colleagues are happy with the results - so all is good.

Here are a couple of the shots from the session.

Photo Story Friday - The Cleaner

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

I have quite a laundry list for The Cleaner. Literally.

Hots, colds, gentles, darks, whites. It's got the toughest job in the house- err- outside the house... You see, The Cleaner sits in a little nook on the back porch of this 130+ year old house.

That's right, my washer and dryer are outside. Kind of a cute novelty, no? No.

You would think that maybe since it's outside and I can breathe in the fresh ocean air each time I go out to do a load of laundry I would so enjoy the experience.


I hate doing laundry. Hate. It. Period.

So it piles up quickly, then I ignore it for a few months days weeks and finally I spend days like the 4th of July doing the laundry. It's a tough life but someone's got to be the procrastinator.

Beside the obvious advantage of fresh air are the hidden benefits that suite this procrastinator. Such as:
  1. When it rains I have an excuse not to do laundry.
  2. When it's 90 degrees outside I have an excuse not to do laundry.
  3. When it's freezing outside (ok - below 60 degrees) I have an excuse not to do laundry.
  4. When the raccoons and the not-so-friendly neighborhood skunk are on the prowl after dark, I have an excuse not to do laundry.
  5. OR if the flys keep buzzing into the house and freaking out the ratherlarge coward non as Duke-the-Dog, well, I have an excuse not to do laundry.
Lucky for me we live in earthquake country so I keep enough clean underwear on hand for the family to last us a good 2 weeks! Clean underwear and bottled water that's all I need...

Excuse me, I have to go fold some laundry now. From last Friday...

Catchin' Up

Last week I felt I was neglecting Harrison's blog during this busy period in my Summer, this week I feel it's this blog I'm neglecting! So I couple pictures, an award and a fun wordle tag (both from Daryl - thank you Daryl!!!)

First the award from Daryl who's blog is ALWAYS fun to read (and maybe someday I can meet her in person!...) She awarded me with being Just Plain Fun to Read, gee I hope so. [No pressure there, eh? lol!)


We got to spend time with dear friends on the 4th of July that made the trip down to our house for the day and evening. When my girlfriend arrived one of her 3-year-old daughters brought Harrison flowers. Harrison said, very kindly, "Thank you" and then turned to me and said, "Mommy, I have pretty flowers for you!"

Perfect to try out my new camera on! Gosh, I love this camera!

But I couldn't resist the soft, romantic feel that this color conversion produced.

Finally, a fun little tag, consider this a tag - try it out and let me know what you come up with, should you accept this taggy mission...

Here are two wordles using the current posts from this blog and Pierce Baby Project.

Have a happy hump-day!

I Love Brownies

Yah, I love the fattening kind too; but more so, I love Brownie cameras. Those cute little box cameras that you look down into the viewfinder to frame the perfect shot and then click.

Yesterday I mentioned that I had one for a while. It belonged to my parents and then I found it and fell hard for it in Jr. High (Middle School to the rest of you). It got lost for a while and I found it DEEP under the seat of my mother's car. Unfortunately the film had sat in the camera too long. This seems to be a pattern I seem to have with cameras and watches.

[Although I had a dream one night that all the watches I ever lost were in a shoe box that I found under my bed. I was ecstatic! Until I awoke to realize that it was just a dream and the watches were still lost to me.]

Any-who. I went to the Flea Market on Sunday (and drug Harrison along) For his sacrifice he relieved 2 Hot wheels cars, 2 McDonalds kids meal versions of Lego Bionicle robots and a Tootsie roll that he made last 2 hours! When I told him not to bite - he took it to heart!

I got this:
That's right, it's a Brownie Hawkeye Flash with flash attachment in working condition! For really cheap. The vendor gave me an incredible deal - lower than he wanted to go. I was tickled pink and Harrison said, "Are you doing the Happy Dance, mommy?"

Yes I was.

Maybe it's vindication for that day many years ago when I, in a complete fog of shock and grief, put my Brownie in the Good Will pile [While in the back of my head I'm thinking, this will make a camera enthusiast happy.]

Oh the things we do under duress.

But I have an additional plan for this camera. I love the Flickr group Through the Viewfinder or TtV. Basically, you take a picture with your camera focused on the image in the vintage camera's viewfinder; with a brownie it's hard to do because the viewfinder is tiny, but it can be done.
I need to make a contraption to block out all the light and try it. Here is a try looking through a paper towel tube. with all the balancing and such, I couldn't keep a steady hand for a clear shot. But you get the idea.

It's fun. Plus, I won't have to use my PAS any longer, I can try it with the DSLR. Ooo! More fun!

Then when I'm lucky and hit pay-dirt at a little junk shop, garage sale or Flea market; maybe I can pick up a Duaflex camera with a large pop-up view finder - it is another cool camera! My grandparents had one that I used when I visited them. But alas, it got lost in the aftermath their deaths.

I'll post more when I have time to play.

I also bought 3 vintage record boxes to keep my 45s in! I need to clean them up and maybe add something to them; but I am so excited because I just can't give up my 45s [yes, I have a vintage turn table that they can play on.] I have a collection from the early/mid eighties and a collection of my mom's consisting of country/western hits from the late 40's early 50s. Plus a few 60s sprinkled in for fun [my older brother's 45s]

Love the Flea Market!

The Not So Wordless Wednesday Where I Do the Happy Dance

I recently realized that I never stopped thinking in terms of a good picture. In Jr. High and High School I enjoyed taking pictures - to the point of taking a photography class my Senior year and using my Step dad's 35 MM (I believe - Minolta). I still have a pile of negatives in a box somewhere. I'm sure that if my wedding negatives were ruined by moisture; they must be too - where ever they are. Before that class, I LOVED taking pictures with our old Brownie camera. I loved the look and shape of the pictures.

So when High School graduation came around I knew I would receive some type of graduation gift, not much, but something. Most of my friends got BIG gifts - cars, trips, multiple items for college, etc. I asked for a boom box, a little 1980's tape player/radio that I could easily take to college with me. At the time it was in the $20 range.

My mom asked, That's what you want?
"Yeah, so I can play my cassette tapes on it in my dorm room." I responded. (made sense to me)

Although I found out, after the fact, that my step dad was originally going to buy me a camera for graduation - a nice SLR camera so that I could continue down the photography road. Only when he found out that I expressed a desire for a tape player...

Well, let's just say he went the cheap-a** route.

Not in my wildest dreams had I thought a camera would be an option so it never occurred to me to hope for one. But really, he couldn't get the camera (a couple hundred bucks) and spend an extra $20 for a tape player? Or - hello - get the camera that I would have loved and I could get a tape player for Christmas? Cheap.

But that's an ugly story that I won't share...

Over the years I accumulated instant cameras only to have something happen to them after time. In college, I was given a pocket camera that only took blurry pictures.

When I moved out West after college I had another pocket camera and took some nice shots of the L.A. skyline, as well as some other sites, from locations I would never have an opportunity to visit again. The camera was stolen out of a friend's van before the film was developed. The camera was never replaced.

I some how ended up with two cameras in the mid 1990s, they were placed on top of a toaster oven at my mom's house - unbeknown to me. They melted.

One had black and white film in it for some creative shots I was trying. Most of the shot actually come out. (I previously posted one from that batch the old truck in front of an old house.) I think the rest of the prints were lost in my most recent move...ironic.

A year after my mother passed away, I had an opportunity to travel to Latvia. I volunteered at a homeless mission every Thursday. The paster sent me off with his SLR camera.

To another country.

With a NICE camera!

One problem. I didn't have the user manual. I didn't know how to use it, I was so out of practice. And I couldn't find the flash control to turn of the red-eye strobe. But I still got some nice shots. Enough to remember. A few that could have been better with a little more knowledge and experience of the camera under my belt. What a blessing.

For our honeymoon, we used disposable cameras, in fact we used disposable cameras right up until we got our first, cheap digital camera to try out before diving into the digital world. That would be 6-7 years ago. Yikes.

Then we got a free camera with a computer purchase. [That's the one that Harrison currently uses.] About 6 months after Harrison was born, I was ready to upgrade, but not to a DSLR. I hadn't proved that the use would warrant the price.

I was also intimidated.

There were moms in my Newborn Mommy and Me class that whipped out HUGE DSLR cameras to take shots and offered albums of great pictures for viewing.

I was triple intimidated.

I was also still somewhat hormonal.

One mom was just SO confident with that camera in her hand. I envied her.

I settled for a point and shoot. It was a Casio. It should have been a Canon.

Last Summer I started a blog about Harrison so family could see pictures of him in real-time. In January I started a blog for me; an old desire had been awakened in me.

Like a hungry bear coming out of hibernation; I wanted to see the world through the lens of a camera again. I wanted to capture moments that I can relive and enjoy visually. I want more. But something else came to mind too...

I remembered my ALL my camera nightmares.

I will never be a phenomenal photographer. Maybe not even a great photographer. But I just want to enjoy the process of looking at the world in a different way; capturing and savoring the beauty of it. And I not only hope that I can teach my child to see the world through his creative gifting; but also never to lose sight of that part of himself as I did.

My husband decided that I needed to keep blogging and taking pictures. And lately, a friend asked me to take some pictures for a project he is completing. I don't feel worthy, but it may be easier with a nice little gift from my husband. The new *fits the budget* Canon Rebel XSi D450. Isn't she a beauty?

Her battery is charging as I type this. Attached is the new Canon 18-55 Image Stabilizing kit lens, an improvement over its predecessor that comes with the XTi kit; and on Thursday I am expecting a little bonus in the mail in the way of a 50mm 1.8 lens. A good starter lens, especially for someone who is still intimidated by this beauty. And that is not stock photography, that's the real thing. I immediately marched upstairs to take a picture of the camera! I know it's not a Canon D40, Nikon D80 (or bigger!) but I know I'll have some fun with this entry level camera, as I am re-entering the SLR world.

So I just need to say again to the Guy-I-Dig, thank you. Again and again and again. Thank you.
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