'Cause I'm "craf-tee"

Can you believe I almost through a pile of old road maps away (it actually would have been the second round, the first being a couple years ago - or more).

As they sat in my hand, the light went off in my head; what am I doing!! I'm holding the perfect [free] wall paper for Harrison's room.

After all, we have vintage blue-floral wall paper in there and even though I could have taken it down and painted, but since we don't own this 100+ house, I didn't want to open a can of worms under that very old wall paper.

Now that Harrison is a little older I wanted to change up his room a bit, albeit he seems quite fond of the little pink flowers on the light blue background; he's going to make a good husband some day...

Once he saw the wall, he was THRILLED, and so was I. Now we just need to update the picture rope.

The best part is, they are put up with thumb tacks (using the rubber mallet to get them in there tight) and can easily be removed without damage to the wall or maps.

Here's a [older] before picture.

nice wallpaper, eh? Actually it worked into the vintage nautical theme of his room pretty well, most people didn't even notice until I said something.

I really love the maps though.
Renew, reuse, recycle - I used what I had!

Sunday Self # 10

Have a blessed week.

SOOC Saturday - Orb Season

 [WARNING - this post may be disturbing to some viewers.]

As much as Autumn is my favorite season, it's also a time that I despise in terms of arachnid.

Orb Spiders to be exact. Blech!

I never experienced them until moving near the beach almost 10 years ago. But, ugh, ever since... from late August through early October we have to be on guard not to walk into any spiral webs.

It is not always successful, as was the case last fall when I traumatized my child.

We were leaving for soccer when Harrison went running out the front door, down the steps and right into a web [that I saw at the last minute] - spider and all - before I could grab and stop him. Immediately after I didn't see the spider, I thought we had dodged a bullet as I looked around the ground.

Harrison turned around, still seemingly unaware of the whole web thing to see why I was making such a fuss, when there it was... planted comfortably right in the middle of Harrison's chest.

What happened in the next few seconds was miserably out of my control; as my eyes locked onto Harrison's shirt, a half scream impulsively popped out of my mouth before my hand could fly up fast enough to suppress it. I felt like I was frozen in time there - staring a the FREAKIN' HUGE SPIDER on my child's chest.

"What?" he asked nonchalantly, catching my eye, following my gaze [before I could divert it] down to his shirt. And then...

BLOOD-CURDLING, HAND-WAVING, TOTALLY HEART-WRENCHING SCREAMING! and if that's not bad enough...my hand left my mouth to let out the rest of that scream...and another one.

{lucky for me} Daddy FLEW out to save the day and remove said spider.

Yeah, NOT one of my better Mommy moments.

Then my three-year-old continued to stroke my bruised ego for the next few days by retelling the story to all who would listen.
All. Who would listen.

yes, I got {that} close...

Fortunately, based on his ceaseless retelling of the story {how mommy screamed, then he screamed, then mommy screamed} and the fact that he is still enthralled with these spiders {at a safe distance} and their webs a year later, I can safely say he isn't too traumatized from the experience. 
I think I still am though...

Seriously, if this guy wants to hang out in our front yard for a few weeks - so be it.
Just remember the rules, Mr. arachnid.

1. no webs across any entry way to the human's home
2. no webs blocking human pedestrian sidewalks, in front of, or leading up to door
3. no use of human cars and/or driveway structures to build, secure or display webs

You live by these rules and we'll get along just fine.

Head over to Melody at Slurping Life for more [not-so-creepy-crawly] SOOC Saturday.

almost home

As I come up to the top of a hill,I am reminded that I live in a big city - with lots of cement, and wires, and buildings and traffic.

Then as I descend down the other side, I draw closer and closer to the big, blue-green expanse blanketing the horizon as far as I can see until it reaches up and brushes the evening sky in a cool, silken kiss.

Once again,

I'm almost home. 

see more sky at Sky Watch Friday
have a happy weekend. 

The Best Thing I Ever Did...


It's International Babywearing Week, September 21-28 and I'm a "babywearer" [well, PreKwearer now days...]

Harrison was fussy those first few weeks of life and wanted to held - all. the. time. the first few months; baby carriers resolved the issue and met both our needs. I could hold him and give him the closeness he wanted plus get things done. He is now a VERY confident, happy, outgoing four-year-old. I still use my Mei Tai occasionally because it works for both of us - he snuggles into my shoulders and relaxes and I can get someplace quickly and easily without a bulky stroller; like at over crowded concert at the park series in the summer.

From this (I know - not a great picture)

To this...

Our wearing days are almost done.



Taking on the 365 project is quite an endeavor for me.  So much that gets in the way - including me. But I'm happy to report that after today there exactly 100 days of this challenge left.

Will I do it again? I'll let you know in 100 days.

More Wordless Wednesday here and here.

A Quiet Day of Play

I love my bedroom, not because is decorated perfectly, or painted the perfect, calming color. On the contrary, I'm sure a lot could be done with it; but I love it all the same. It's on the second floor with a south facing window and a west facing window so on a Summer day the breeze blows perfectly through this room.

It is, by far, the best room in the house - the coolest, most airy room we have.

So when the laundry is all tucked away and the bed is made; we LOVE to plant our selves down on the bed, shutters wide open and play, cuddle, laugh, talk, tickle, rest, read, or just dream.

At night we love to keep the west facing window open, allowing the ocean breeze to dance at our window seal. Listening to the seagulls and the rhythmic sound of the fog horn takes me back to my honeymoon in Jamaica  when we slept to the sound and smell of the ocean and delighted in the cool breeze that tucked us in each night.

That's where you could find Harrison and I yesterday, we were tired, it was a long week; so we hung out on my bed and played - in the cool breeze and soft light of my favorite room of our house.

 The first shot is my Best Shot this week. I just love how relaxed {and engrossed} he is, playing with his Bionicles handed down from his beloved Big Brother.

Head to Mother May I for more Best Shot Monday.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year..

It's true the Fall Television lineup is about to start. I know - it's a weakness but we are giddy about our Thursday evening cuddle time in front of Survivor and CSI [although I'm still sad that William Petersen left the show].

And this year, being the home-body that I am, I'm totally happy about two shows coming together on Friday night - Ghost Whisperer and Medium; which NBC {foolishly} canceled in the eleventh hour last season almost without warning.

(don't even get me started on how the networks juggle their season lineups constantly.)

I look at it as win-win for CBS - and me.
Last season I was always jumping from a show on CBS to NBC for Medium anyway.

I can't tell you why I like these two shows, after all, Jennifer Love Hewitt NEVER looks bad. Never. She wakes up in the morning on the show with full mascara on and every hair on her head in place like she just returned from a salon appointment. But tune I do, week after week; it's my "unwind" show after a long busy week. I usher in a {hopefully} restful weekend with Ghost Whisperer. And sometimes it has even made me teary-eyed. Shhh - don't tell anyone.

As for Medium - I just REALLY like the entire ensemble cast - well the daughters annoy me sometimes, but hey, they can be annoying in real life. Which leads me to one of the reasons the show also works for me. They look like a normal middle income family that might be living down the street from you - all the way down to the set decorations in the home. And I don't have to tell you that Patricia Arquette is like night and day to Jennifer Love Hewitt; she has looked pretty bed-headed in some of the wake-from-a-nightmare scenes. Keeping it real folks - well, to a point. It is Medium after all.

I'm excited about my Friday wind down lineup! I guess you could say it's my one vice (or one of...).

So those that think of calling me about something tonight - or any given week - just know you'll be leaving a message on Thursday and Friday during the first two hours of Prime Time. But I still love ya.

In 45 minutes, I'm plopping on the sofa to watch last season's finales of both shows, because it just so happened I missed the finale of each show last season.

In Harrison's words, "I'm SO 'CITED!"

[Excuse me now, I need to go put my child to bed - on time!]

Photo Story - The Escape

I spied him just as he made his leap out the window.

Showing me his quick running skills. "Catch me if you can!"

"Aw SWEET FREEDOM!" he sings with a little happy dance.

Then I saw it - the hand up, the attitude - "Nya nya nya-nya nya!" he cried.

Oh yeah??

Who's crying now, eh?

Okay, I eventually took him back out of the trash can.

After all, he gave my that puppy-dog look...

You didn't see that one coming, eh?

Neither did I.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Izzy 'N Emmy

WW - Just Create

sometimes it's good to just let a pencil do the talking

Wordless Wednesday here and here.

Sunday Self #9

That is my hope...all the way down to my imperfect feet.

...And She Bakes


It is easier since I moved the baking supply cabinet next to the mixer. All I have to do is reach over, open the door and grab the flour, etc.; and yet I have often let many an over-ripe banana go south due to my procrastination. 

 Today there was success!

Unfortunately, since I bake SO SELDOM, I keep stepping around that huge [big as an elephant] cabinet to get to -- the cabinet [where it used to sit].

I'm also quite proficient at making a whirlwind of a mess in the kitchen.

But it all turns out good in the end!

Like this yummy Banana Blueberry Bread.

Easy-peasy - try it!

1 3/4 cups flour, whole wheat sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup bananas mashed
1 cup blueberries

Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Set aside.

Cream butter and gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs one at a time. Add flour mixture and banana alternately in three parts. Gently stir in blueberries.

Pour into oiled 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Turn out of pan to cool.

Can you believe it's already gone?

Redondo Beach child Photographer | Sisters Session

I've been quiet here, yes. Part of the reason is that I've been out taking pictures of/for other people. So fun!

I met these two cuties and their mommy at the local wilderness park one {late} morning. We got down to having fun and taking some pictures in no time at all - at the same time the sun decided to come out to play.

Good experience for me - right in trenches against the midday sun!

These sisters have no problem letting their love for each other shine forth. They remind me of I wanted a sister growing up and how much fun I thought it would be!

Thanks for making my day J. and D.

But it was a good sunset!

Tragically, forest fires spawn awesome sunsets (as does any given smoggy day in Sunny Southern California).

So it was last week - several days into the fires to the north. It had been clear to partly cloudy - perfect for a sunset picture. And I have that new tripod from Christmas. I could try out. And I have my new 50mm f1.4 lens, albeit not telephoto.

[What? I haven't mentioned that I replaced my broken lens?! Yeah, Baby! sold some baby furniture and RAN *okay drove* to the camera store the very next day! S.W.E.E.T!]

BUT - I have a child, and dinner and bath time and bedtime and, well, dropping everything to run out the door to get a picture of a sunset just isn't an easy task. It just isn't possible.

I did the next best thing.

I ran upstairs to the craft room, camera in hand, and snapped a picture out the window, over the apartments next door and into the sun.

Yeah, the window is a tad bit dirty.

I opened the window and tried again.


Sort of.


Defeated, I headed back downstairs to finish dinner, the wheels still turning in my head. 20 minutes later, after pondering, processing, contemplating and procrastinating; I was out the door and down the street to capture the sunset - next to that line of photographers who flock down to the pier on evenings like this and Harrison with Daddy were out the door and across the street for a few more minutes of scooter fun.

All seemed right in the world once again.


I was too late.

The sun was already resting on the horizon bidding farewell and those "fancy" looking photographers were already packing up to leave with their "money shot" secured on their memory card.

Pshaw! I wasn't about to let the opportunity go wasted so I snapped anyway.

Then I realized how much like fall it already felt right then; and I realized that, really, my favorite time of the year at the beach is in the fall and winter.

Once again, summer blew by me like a freakin' freight train.

But Fall?

Fall sweetly drifts in on a cool breeze in a quiet whisper, gently swirling around me, kissing me on my face with it's golden color. I love the fading light of summer as it becomes fall, I love the fading light of fall evenings when the marine layer rolls in and engulfs the shore, curling up the smells and sounds of pier and casting them out over the streets and houses peppered inland. Music, people, fryers, crabs, lobsters and fish,  sweet churros and the cadence of the fog horn.

Perfectly peaceful.

No, it wasn't wasted time - missing the sun tip it's head goodnight. Not one minute.

I love the ocean in the fall.

It has been a while since I've participated in Theme Thursday - now I know exactly how many weeks I've missed! Wow. Now go visit the Cheese Party!

How My Husband Charmed Me...

It doesn't take much, just pull out a guitar and start playing (or a piano, or bass, or drums, or saxophone, or...well you get the message) - or hand me a cassette tape of songs you wrote and sang back in high school.

That works too.

Apparently I'm not the only one he charmed through the years - only for a different purposes.

I still swoon when I listen to this song, takes me right back to those sweet courting days.

His friend, John, whom he had unfortunately lost contact with years ago created and posted this. Yeah, they reunited through Facebook.

Gotta love Facebook.
And YouTube.
And John. 

I love hearing stories from the GID's younger days.

Lucky for me {and the world}, there are NO records of my singing - not then, not now.
Not that I didn't try... (singing - not recording)

Although, all he has to do is open my Senior yearbook to easily spot me.

Yeah, that picture. Full. Page.
Do you believe I screamed out of embarrassment when I first saw it. True story - as if I were in some 1980's John Hughes teen movie - right there in the middle of the hall above the cafeteria. 
Screamed.   Literally.


It was the 80s 

And I was a teen. 

Now that's embarrassing.

That Guy-I-Dig still plays "Goodnight" by the Beatles - only lately his audience is smaller -literally.

"Little Soaps"

Another email rumor [originally, albeit incorrectly, titled "Hotel Soaps"] from 1995 that I just HAD to print out way back then in my young, naive state of mind.

Well, I laughed anyway...

Dear Maid,
Please do not leave any more of those little bars of soap in my bathroom since I have brought my own bath-sized Dial. Please remove the six unopened little bars from the shelf under the medicine chest and another three in the shower soap dish. They are in my way.
Thank you,
S. Berman

Dear Room 635,
I am not your regular maid. She will be back tomorrow, Thursday, from her day off. I took the 3 hotel soaps out of the shower soap dish as you requested. The 6 bars on your shelf I took out of your way and put on top of your Kleenex dispenser in case you should change your mind. This leaves only the 3 bars I left today which my instructions from the management is to leave 3 soaps daily. I hope this is satisfactory.
Relief Maid

Dear Maid - I hope you are my regular maid.
Apparently Kathy did not tell you about my note to her concerning the little bars of soap. When I got back to my room this evening I found you had added 3 little Camays to the shelf under my medicine cabinet. I am going to be here in the hotel for two weeks and have brought my own bath-size Dial so I won't need those 6 little Camays which are on the shelf. They are in my way when shaving, brushing teeth, etc. Please remove them.
S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,
My day off was last Wed. so the relief maid left 3 hotel soaps which we are instructed by the management. I took the 6 soaps which were in your way on the shelf and put them in the soap dish where your Dial was. I put the Dial in the medicine cabinet for your convenience. I didn't remove the 3 complimentary soaps which are always placed inside the medicine cabinet for all new check-ins and which you did not object to when you checked in last Monday. Please let me know if I can of further assistance.
Your regular maid,

Dear Mr. Berman,
The assistant manager, Mr. Kensedder, informed me this morning that you called him last evening and said you were unhappy with your maid service. I have assigned a new girl to your room. I hope you will accept my apologies for any past inconvenience. If you have any future complaints please contact me so I can give it my personal attention. Call extension 1108 between 8AM and 5PM. Thank you.
Elaine Carmen

Dear Miss Carmen,
It is impossible to contact you by phone since I leave the hotel for business at 7:45 AM and don't get back before 5:30 or 6PM. That's the reason I called Mr. Kensedder last night. You were already off duty. I only asked Mr. Kensedder if he could do anything about those little bars of soap. The new maid you assigned me must have thought I was a new check-in today, since she left another 3 bars of hotel soap in my medicine cabinet along with her regular delivery of 3 bars on the bath-room shelf. In just 5 days here I have accumulated 24 little bars of soap. Why are you doing this to me?
S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,
Your maid, Kathy, has been instructed to stop delivering soap to your room and remove the extra soaps. If I can be of further assistance, please call extension 1108 between 8AM and 5PM.Thank you,
Elaine Carmen,

Dear Mr. Kensedder,
My bath-size Dial is missing. Every bar of soap was taken from my room including my own bath-size Dial. I came in late last night and had to call the bellhop to bring me 4 little Cashmere Bouquets.
S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,
I have informed our housekeeper, Elaine Carmen, of your soap problem. I cannot understand why there was no soap in your room since our maids are instructed to leave 3 bars of soap each time they service a room. The situation will be rectified immediately. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience.
Martin L. Kensedder
Assistant Manager

Dear Mrs. Carmen,
Who the hell left 54 little bars of Camay in my room? I came in last night and found 54 little bars of soap. I don't want 54 little bars of Camay. I want my one damn bar of bath-size Dial. Do you realize I have 54 bars of soap in here. All I want is my bath size Dial. Please give me back my bath-size Dial.
S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,
You complained of too much soap in your room so I had them removed. Then you complained to Mr. Kensedder that all your soap was missing so I personally returned them. The 24 Camays which had been taken and the 3 Camays you are supposed to receive daily. I don't know anything about the 4 Cashmere Bouquets. Obviously your maid, Kathy, did not know I had returned your soaps so she also brought 24 Camays plus the 3 daily Camays. I don't know where you got the idea this hotel issues bath-size Dial. I was able to locate some bath-size Ivory which I left in your room.
Elaine Carmen

Dear Mrs. Carmen,
Just a short note to bring you up-to-date on my latest soap inventory. As of today I possess:
  • On the shelf under medicine cabinet - 18 Camay in 4 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2.
  • On the Kleenex dispenser - 11 Camay in 2 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 3.
  • On the bedroom dresser - 1 stack of 3 Cashmere Bouquet, - 1 stack of 4 hotel-size Ivory, and 8 Camay in 2 stacks of 4.
  • Inside the medicine cabinet - 14 Camay in 3 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2.
  • In the shower soap dish - 6 Camay, very moist.
  • On the northeast corner of tub - 1 Cashmere Bouquet, slightly used.
  • On the northwest corner of tub - 6 Camays in 2 stacks of 3.
Please ask Kathy when she services my room to make sure the stacks are neatly piled and dusted. Also, please advise her that stacks of more than 4 have a tendency to tip. May I suggest that my bedroom window sill is not in use and will make an excellent spot for future soap deliveries. One more item, I have purchased another bar of bath-sized Dial which I am keeping in the hotel vault in order to avoid further misunderstandings.
S. Berman

As indicated on comedian Shelly Berman's website.
"The above dialogue never actually took place in any hotel anywhere in the world. It is an intentionally composed humorous fiction and is entirely the creation of Shelley Berman, written as a chapter in his book, published as A HOTEL IS A PLACE, A HOTEL IS A FUNNY PLACE, and A HOTEL IS A VERY FUNNY PLACE, by Price/Stern/Sloan Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 1972, 1985. Any claim to the contrary is utterly baseless and erroneous."

Funny how it went from email to email for so long with this introduction, "The following letters are taken from an actual incident between a London hotel and one of its guests. The Hotel ended up submitting the letters to the London Sunday Times!"  

I wouldn't be surprised if it still floats around in the forwarded emails  {that I often delete without reading - no offense loved ones!}

Another Month by Gone

Looking at this mosaic, I can easily see where the month of August went. We started it with swimming classes and ended it with a day of play with Daddy. Harrison moved from building factories to building castles, the first Sunday of every month, there are remote control car enthusiasts racing their toys on the pier. Harrison earned a second light saber with a good behavior chart and picked out his favorite veggies and fruits at the Farmers Market. (he also got me a bouquet of flowers for my birthday). We added a new globe to our collection and some letter blocks from the Rose Bowl flea Market. We enjoyed another (albeit too crowded) at Mud Mania and Harrison picked out matching G.I. Joe helmets for the GID's birthday.  We took Big Brother up to college to move into the dorms... and then my 50 mm lens broke. Oops! Had fun with using it in a new way, pondered my upcoming 10th anniversary and found out I don't fit into the wedding dress, created colored water to drink with Harrison, drew pictures, created art, playing in the water, looked at the moon, lost more socks to laundry, played with new found legos and became a princess for days. on. end. 

A good month.
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