I'm looking out and I'm moving, turning in time. Catching up, moving in, jump up! I can land on my feet. Look out!*

Every one is making their year-end lists. I started jotting down some ideas and kept noting the negative aspects of 2008 like the myriad of projects I didn't finish, funerals I attended, and various other failures and regrets. Instead, I'm posting some photos from the past year. Some represent significant events and others I just like. Click for more info!

January 2008
January 2008

February 2008
February 2008

March 2008
March 2008

April 2008
April 2008

May 2008
May 2008

June 2008
June 2008

July 2008
July 2008

August 2008
August 2008

September 2008
September 2008

October 2008
October 2008

November 2008
November 2008

December 2008
December 2008

Hopefully 2009 will see some positive changes in my organization, attitude, health, and creative pursuits. Happy New Year to all!

*Lyric from Peter Gabriel's "This Is The Picture"


I've been looking so long at these pictures of you that I almost believe that they're real

I love old photographs. Whenever we go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market, that's what I'm drawn to. If it wasn't such a big bazaar (and if we managed to *ahem* get there earlier), I'd spend more time digging through the numerous boxes and photo albums. E is always on the lookout for anything 3D, puppets, or toys from his childhood. For me, it's the pictures.

It won't come to any one's surprise that I'm particularly fond of canine images. I purchased several, especially ones that resemble my own dogs. I even framed a couple that have a pooch I believe to be Little Guy's twin, from fifty or so years ago. On our most recent excursion, E or I stumbled across a Rusty look-a-like. I tried to find a photo I've taken of him to compare, but none are quite the right pose or angle. If you know Rusty though, they are quite similar. Sure, the ears are different and the one was either shaved or just has less fur than my boy. It was a cool find.

Who's That Dog?
Flea Market Dog


The Madness Hamsters


Good things come to those who wait. A bag of hamsters arrived in the mail for me today. Belated holiday gifts are the best! I've had Edward Monkton's "Madness Hamsters" as my laptop wallpaper for a couple of weeks now. Not only is the above merchandise super-cute, but the big one has a wheat bag inside you can microwave and use as a 'bed warmer.' My aching neck is gonna love it! Nothing says 'Happy Holidays' like zombie hamsters!!!

The "Madness" Hamsters
by Edward Monkton

Every night they visit you
Every night they come
And bit by bit
They steal your brain
And feed it to their Mum


At Diversity Today, we believe it is very easy to be a HERO. All you need are honesty, empathy, respect and open-mindedness.

In spite of being a little bah-humbuggy, I do look forward to and really enjoy Christmas Eve. It arrives, we have our traditions and *poof*, I get into the 'Christmas spirit.' I've discovered the 'spirit' consists of sleeping in until 2pm on the 25th, staying in my pajamas until about 9pm, showering, and going to get a nice corned beef sandwich at a Jewish deli.

The fact that E and I have diverse circles of friends is not lost on us. However, this past Christmas Eve, it was made quite obvious, I think somewhat to the confusion of our cousin who joined us for festivities. We started at our neighbors' house, where the gathering centers on enjoying the Magical Christmas Caroling Truck. It feels like an old-timey, small town, warm and cozy holiday gathering. The house is very traditionally decorated with the large, beautiful tree as the centerpiece. The fireplace is crackling and a slide show of parties past plays on the tv. Many wear their holiday attire while they enjoy potluck dishes and cocktails, which were served up by a merry bartender. Some of us *ahem* imbibed a fair bit of liquid cheer, which is just customary at this event. A hired Santa brought personalized presents for the children present and posed for photos with families.

After the jolly fat man left (we actually saw him removing his red suit and beard in the driveway!), we ventured on the next event. This shindig was at the home of several guys who don't necessarily possess a penchant for decorating or cleaning. There were no hideous jovial sweaters to be seen. In fact, I do believe every person there was dressed in black with accents of bright pink hair and/or tattoos. An Asian horror flick was muted on the television while a dj filled the house with anything but carols. We arrived a little late, but just in time for a beer run. We chatted with many of our emo/punk/goth friends as they smoked on the front porch. (Not that a couple of folks weren't doing the same at the previous affair).

There was a White Elephant gift exchange at both houses, with completely different rules of course. I don't think I've ever participated in one that didn't have it's own set of guidelines, which are often convoluted and hard to follow. The first group exchanged items such as vases, candle holders, cheesy electronic games, and a tacky angel tree topper. The next bunch fought over farm animal watches, a box of body parts (the most popular and stolen prize), bizarre porn DVDs, and Huey Lewis & The News on vinyl. Each one was amusing in its own way. And we escaped with no scary porn.

I wouldn't say either affair was more fun or better than the other. We had a great time at both and got to see several friends. The only way the night would have rocked more is if I'd been able to round up my collection of Asian friends for a celebration. That's not as offensive as it may sound.

As an extra special holiday treat, click this link to read this blog:


Lois: Chris, what happened to the couch? Chris: Dad dragged it out on the lawn because he said "that's what rednecks do!"

Yep, we still have a couch in front of our house. It's no longer on the porch--thanks to a nasty note from the mailman. However, it's not quite on our lawn, but has been taking up residence in our driveway, in front of the garage. I think when we are parked there you can't even see it from the street.

When it rained recently, I'd covered it with a thick plastic. Well, it got wet anyway so we uncovered it in hopes of it drying out in the few no-rain days we had. It got pretty cold that night and a light covering of ice formed on it. It never completely dried and now it's covered again for the rain that returned.

The reason the couch has remained is that there really is no way to move it into the space we had hoped to. And now it's wet and probably moldy. Ew. So, we will be the ones that have to take care of getting it picked up by a charity or putting it up on Freecycle.

Um, anyone want a wet, moldy, and a little bit furry couch?


To Sontag, to Sondheim, to anything taboo...

Sure, there are more important things I could or even should be doing, but I find it damn fascinating that I supposedly look 63% like Brad Pitt and 62% like Laurence Olivier. The ladies should be all over me!

Apparently, I also resemble Jordana Brewster (71%), Susan Sontag (70%), Laurence Olivier (!) (62%), Twiggy (face only, obviously) (62%), Corey Feldman (WHAT!) (60%), Alicia Silverstone (59%), and Christy Turlington (56%). Just some harmless silly fun. You can have some fun too here.


Do You Believe In Magic?

It all started some 14 Christmas Eves ago. We'd moved to L.A. a couple of months before and were cozy in our Burbank apartment, which bordered Toluca Lake. I think we were watching tv--probably A Christmas Story or something, when all of sudden we heard quite a ruckus. We knew it was way too early for Santa to be stopping by and besides, the noise was far greater than a few tiny reindeer paws clickity-clacking on the roof. The way I describe the sound was that it was like a "football game." Like a stadium full of people going completely nuts when their hometown team has scored the game winning touchdown. Really. It was THAT loud. We ran outside and were greeted by a big, bright semi truck with lights and colors and music and people singing. It was shocking and AMAZING all at once. It was our first introduction to The Magical Christmas Caroling Truck.

Some may remember me mentioning it before this. It's no secret that I tend toward being a bit bah-humbuggy this time of year. I think that has a little to do with all of the pressure to be the opposite and I tend to be contrary. I'll admit it can be A wonderful time of year, but the MOST wonderful...give me a break. For me, it reminds me of things like financial constraints, family that I rarely see, and having a job that allows little to no time off. The commercial and religious aspects bug me. Granted, I am extremely grateful to have a job (especially right now), some family and many friends close by, a roof over my head, etc. I guess the point is that The Magical Christmas Caroling Truck is one of the few holiday traditions I hold near and dear and really look forward to. It's so much fun and everyone participating is clearly having a blast. It's awesome to see so many neighbors pour into the streets with their hot cocoa and spirits. It feels warm and fuzzy and dare I say...magical.

Our friends who live a few houses down from us have thrown a Christmas Eve bash for many years now. It's quite festive and usually a drunken good time. Last year, one of the regulars made various signs for us to hold up to cheer on and thank the carolers. Above is Rusty, who went to the party briefly, and me with our sign. The people with the truck got quite a kick out of our group's enthusiasm. I hope we do it again!

So yeah, I'm not done with shopping and my small, fake tree is not up, but the one think I am ready for is The Truck's visit to our neighborhood. If you aren't doing anything exciting next Wednesday evening, you can check out the map of the truck's route and come see if for yourself.


Welcome my son, welcome to the machine. Where have you been?

It's no secret to those who know me that I love a little place in Echo Park called Machine Project. I truly believe it is one of L.A.'s treasures. Describing Machine is not necessarily a simple task, partially because it sort of becomes what you make it based on how you participate. Over the past few years, we've attended art openings and participated in Dorkbot events, including Dorkbake, which E and I happened to win. We've listened to lectures on knot theory, followed by me cheering E on in a speedcabling competition. We've sung along with pirate songs and learned how art and biology can come together. E gave a lecture on 3D, along with some other experts in the field, in collaboration with Dorkbot (#22). E has learned how to pickle, while I've opted for amigurumi crocheting and basic sewing classes. And that, my friends, does not even scratch the surface of what Machine Project has to offer.

In a recent high profile event, Machine Project took over LACMA for a day. Unfortunately, I could not attend. Interestingly, I was holed up at home sewing and crocheting projects, using the skills I learned at Machine, for Felt Club the following day. (I actually sold quite a few too!)

Machine Project

Last night was the 4th annual Fry-B-Q fundraiser, which was a total blast. Machine Project relies on donations to stay in operation. There is a fee for classes, but their events are nearly always free. I learned the sad news this weekend that a major grant fell through, which is devastating to an organization such as this. I immediately signed us up for memberships. It would be a tremendous personal and community loss if Machine had to shutter its doors. I really can't think of anywhere else where art, technology, craft, and deep fried foods ranging from filet mignon to cherry pie to McDonald's hamburgers all come together. If you've never been there, go! And please consider a tax-deductible donation to keep them open.

And The Winner Is...

First of all, thank you to those few of you who entered my silly little photo captioning contest! I really like all of the suggestions! Even though I did have a favorite, I used an online randomizer to pick one. The funny thing is, and I swear this is true, the one I like the best was picked!

So, the winner, who happened to post the rudest and snarkiest caption is...Jason Campbell! Jason and his lovely family have been in exile on the East Coast for some time, but have wised up and are coming back to L.A. I can't wait to see him and his wife, who was a witness at my Vegas wedding almost 14 years ago and meet their kids.

Thanks again everyone!

Caption This--Blog Contest

Where'd that bitch go, I said a picture would be cool but enough with the dog sitting--I got some nog to pound and some elves to spank.

Thanks Jason! See you soon! I hope Baby #3 arrives soon!


A Bolt To The System

It's hard having old pets. I know some of you who stop by here from time to time understand that from experience. You either have or have had senior animals. Just like with people, diseases and infirmities come with old age. Since most of our critters have relatively short life spans, it can seem to hit all of a sudden. Granted, an old dog (or whatever) with a few issues, but good quality of life, certainly beats the inevitable alternative.

Almost four years ago, Cosette, now 16, had major surgery for breast cancer. She came through brilliantly and is aging graefully. Sure, she's deaf as can be, sleeps quite a bit, and has some creaky joints, but when she's awake, she's pretty perky. Especially if you have food that she wants. And there there is Little Guy. There was an update recently about some of what he is going through. It seems to be hitting him hard and quick.

When the movie Bolt first came onto my radar, I got really excited. I saw the trailer in front of Wall-E initially. O.M.G. Not only was a movie coming out with an adorable doggie as the star, but one of his sidekicks was…a HAMSTER. O.M.G. In the time between seeing that and the movie opening, I had a lot of inquiries about how excited I must be to see a movie with a HAMSTER!!! O.M.G…a HAMSTER!!!

[insert sound of loud, cartoony brakes here]

Um, yeah. I had intended this to be more of a review of Bolt. I really loved the movie. Yes, Rhino, the hamster was cute and very funny, but it was Bolt who got to me. He reminds me of my Little Guy and watching the cute cartoon canine leap and run around on the screen made me a little sad. I'm sure I'm one of the only people who shed several tears during the film. Not only is Little Guy small, nearly white, and snouty with pointy ears like Bolt, but he's spunky and incredibly loyal too. Every morning when I get out of the shower, Guy is lying right outside of the bedroom door waiting for me. We have a special bond, just like Bolt and his girl Penny.

I'm doing what I can to help Little Guy, and all my pets, live good lives. For now I'll even refrain from shaving a little lightening bolt into Guy's side.

Only Bolt Merch @ Disneyland

The only Bolt merchandise we found at Disneyland. When I took this photo, I didn't even realize my own Little "Bolt" Guy snuck into it!


Caption This!

I got nothin'. Well, that's not true. I have lots I could write about, but not much time. So, in lieu of an actual post, here's a little contest. Leave a caption for this photo in the comments by 11:59pm, Sunday, December 14th. I will update later with prize(s) as that has yet to be determined.*

Photo courtesy of Toluca Lake Homeowner's Association

*The prize will be a little something handmade by me, plus a gift certificate.


You were the one who sent me fruitcake for Christmas. It made me so sick.

The Tired Girl Collective will be representing at a craft show on the LA/O.C. border (Cerritos) this coming weekend. Come by Tall Mouse Arts & Crafts for Handmade Brigade on Saturday, December 6th, head to the back and do some handmade holiday shopping. You'll feel good about yourself. We'll have our usual unique stationary, beautiful new jewelry, tote bags, and the usual assortment of hamster stuff. Come on, you need more hamster stuff, right? (Just humor me, people!)

Tired Girl Collective-Felt Club

I know there are other local craft events this weekend. No, I'm not going to tell you what or where they are, but why not hit more than one? Maybe you can even cross everyone off your list!


Do You Wanna See What's In My Dog?

I got pictures of what's in his hips, I got pictures of what's in his hips. They took 'em in Burbank and I brought 'em back with me to North Hollywood...



It's been one of those weeks. You know, the kind where you shake your head, and maybe even want to cry, but decide you'd better just laugh at the situation (and/or yourself) and move on. Admittedly, there were a few tears.

It all kind of started with the Great Fruit Fly Invasion of 2008. In my house. So disgusting. We'd noticed a few of the little buggers buzzing around and then suddenly, the kitchen was swarmed. They were hanging out everywhere! I tried making a funnel trap, but must have left too much of a gap because it didn't work so well. What has been working is leaving bowls around with a concoction of vinegar, apple juice, water, and dish soap. I'd read to use cider vinegar, but only had white, so added a tiny bit of juice. It's amazing how many of the critters have drowned. Oh, and the cause of this infestation? My failure to empty the compost bin we keep under our sink.

Note to self:
Don't forget to empty the kitchen compost bin into the outdoor one!

I did shed some tears on Friday. Little Guy had an appointment with the vet to check out his back legs. Recently, his arthritis progressed to the point where, after lying around for a few hours, he occasionally had trouble standing up on his own. A brief walk and some range of motion and stretching exercises seem to loosen him up, but only temporarily.

Recent mobile phone photos of Little Guy, aka Hobo Dog, lying around on some newspapers and dirty socks and underwear.

Two hours later, thorough vet exam, blood work, x-rays, and several hundreds of dollars, Little Guy was diagnosed with a possible torn knee ligament. The arthritis in his hips didn't look too bad on the x-rays and ligaments don't show up. So, he's being referred to a specialist to look at the knee, which very well may be a surgical situation. He also got some pain meds for the meantime. I didn't mind the length of the visit. Seeing as it was Black Friday, it beat braving the stores. It was kind of emotional though as one woman brought in her dog who had passed away at home (but unfortunately missed the jolly guy from the pet crematorium, who told some really frightening tales of attempting to shop at the local Fry's Electronics earlier). Another woman discussed euthanasia options with the front desk staff for quite some time. It was killing me.

We finally got out of the vet's office, made one quick stop, and headed home. I lifted Guy out of the car and set him down on the ground. He was holding his rear right leg up very high, with the paw up near his back. When his hips (or now I wonder, his knee?) have bothered him before, he's not wanted to bear weight. This was different and the wrong leg! His bad knee is on the left. I noticed he was trying to nip at his paw. Taking a quick look, I saw a bee stuck right on one of the pads. I knocked it off and sure enough, the stinger was embedded in his paw. I pulled out the stinger, grabbed my cell phone and called the vet. They suggested I come back right away. I have no knowledge of Little Guy ever getting stung, so didn't know how he'd react. I piled him and my bags back into the car and raced off.

This time, there wasn't much of a wait. Our vet had gone home, but we saw one of her partners. She checked out the paw and then gave him Benadryl and pain medicine injections. He was in so much pain that he would not put his foot down, thus putting all of it on his "bad" knee. Several hours later, he was feeling much better and had no signs of an allergic reaction.

So, the flies are nearly gone and Little Guy is bearing weight on all legs.

Coming soon: My musings on Bolt, which I LOVED!!!


Yet Another Disney Thanksgiving!

I intended to do some sort of "I'm thankful for..." or holiday-related post. It's been a trying, exhausting day so far though and I'm just not feeling it. After two trips to the vet (Little Guy got stung by a bee on the way home from our first, 2-hour visit), it's been a long & expensive day.

So, here are a few photos from our day at Disneyland & California Adventure yesterday. It was a fantastic, not-very-crowded day. For that, I am thankful.



Don Our 3D Glasses...



Happy Holidays to all of you!


One Neighbor's Trash...

Yep, there's a couch on my front porch*. A full-size, three cushion sofa. It's blocking the mailbox and almost the front door. I had to squeeze past it (and get a dog by too!) this morning. I did consider crawling over it, but I haven't cleaned it yet. Previously, I've mentioned a childhood history of redneck porch happenings that have left their scars mark. I really didn't think I'd carry on such white trash traditions as an adult.

There is actually a perfectly good explanation for this violation of good taste and decency. I'm not sure if I'm at liberty to discuss it here at this point, but I'll be shedding some light on it soon. I'm sure it was quite a sight to see me**, my white-haired elderly neighbor, and her very thin exchange student lug this beast from her house to mine. Well, I know it looked strange as another neighbor rushed over to help us when he saw the struggle.

*My "porch" is more like an area. It is not raised and therefore can not kill dogs if it collapses. So no worries there.

**I actually am pretty strong. In fact, an 8-year old boy that I was lifting on Saturday commented to his father, "Hey! Another strong girl!"


I Sewed, I Glued, I Crocheted

And sewed and glued and crocheted. Due to my insane procrastination, I was doing most a lot of it in the last few days leading up to Felt Club. Yeah, I just never learn. In spite of the lack of sleep and crossed eyes from non-stop crafting, the show was fun and successful!

Tired Girl Collective-Felt Club

This was the first time the Tired Girl Collective was accepted to Felt Club. It started as something much smaller in the parking lot behind Meltdown Comics, but has grown substantially and has opened up to more vendors. We were very happy to take part in their biggest one yet. While we are still somewhat novices and hobbyists on the craft fair circuit, we did pretty well. Not bad at all if you consider we are relatively unknown, have fairly low prices on most of our items, and one-third of our group (ahem...) sells merchandise that caters to a very niche market. I guess everyone does not love hamsters, but I'm definitely not the only one!

Hamsters @ Felt Club!
Pom-pom hamsters, amigurumi hamsters, poetry books

Tote Bags
Handmade tote bags made from fabrics from Japan

A special thanks to those who sent good wishes or stopped by to say hi and even buy things! A couple of my friends had evacuated their homes, or were on call to do so, due to the raging fires in Southern California that weekend and couldn't make it. Others were unable to stand in the line to enter because of the smokey air. In spite of that, we did have several visitors. Having friends as fellow vendors was icing on the cupcake.

What's next for us? We'll be in Cerritos on December 6th for Tall Mouse's Handmade Brigade Holiday event. I am behind schedule, of course, in preparing for it. As you may have learned, that's how I roll. There might also be some increased shameless self-promotion on my part in the very near future as I attempt to sell some of my wares outside of shows. I have trouble pimping my stuff, but I'm finding out that will probably be the only way I'll ever move any products. I apologize in advance.

As the holidays quickly approach, think about how you might want to celebrate. I know a few of you have finished your shopping (I'm still not done with '07!), but for those of you who haven't, consider BUYING HANDMADE.


You can say my music's bullsh*t in your uppity review

Ben Folds. No one can command an audience like that guy. Okay, I'm sure others can, but he's the best in my personal experience. I rarely feel snobby about a musician, but I sort of do in this case. I revel in the fact that E and I were present for Ben Folds Five's first ever appearance in Los Angeles at The Roxy, as the opener for Heather Nova back in October of 1995. We've sort of lost count of how many shows we've seen, but it's up around 20, with a few more for E. There are also the various Tonight Show, etc. tapings we've attended over the years.

As with most L.A. venues, we have a place in the Wiltern that is perfect for me to see. I've done the stand-up-against-the-stage thing several times, but outside of the Troubadour most of them are so high that I get a neck cramp. So, we got in line early enough to make it to the railing on the level that is just above the pit and on Ben's side of the stage. Very important as we love to watch his hands perform their mad piano skillz. Give me all of the reasons you don't like him from his whiny voice to his pop-song lyrics, but you must admit he has talent on the piano. Or not. Whatever.

The concert was pretty amped up compared to the scaled-down shows Ben's being doing for the past several years. There were lights, some video projection, and two backup musicians besides the drummer and bass player. They opened big with "Way To Normal," which is not on his new album Way To Normal. You see, Ben recorded a fake version of his latest project and leaked it to the internet before the real album was released. They actually performed both incarnations of many of the songs that were recorded twice. He explained as they went along, so the crowd was not too confused. I actually knew the unofficial tunes more than the official ones!

This Is The Way To Normal
More photos here.

I did wear the Ben Folds Five shirt I got at that first show. It's a little worn, but something I treasure. Several people commented on it and quite a few kids who were about the same age as the tee were part of the audience too. E and I observed that the demographic of his concerts has changed. We were 25 and 28 for those first few shows. The rest of the crowd was about 25-28 as well. Ben was around 28 or 29. We're 38 and 41 now. Ben's 42. The crowd is now around 20-25. Where was everyone our age? A lot of people our age do talk about how they just can't stand going to concerts anymore. (This does not include Nanette!) Well, I still love them and will continue to go. Sadly, several of my favorites don't come West often.

Ben Folds. He once described his former band's music as "punk rock for sissies." I'll be the first to admit that I am a sissy, so maybe that's why I love him so. His songs tell stories that are funny, sad, bittersweet, sometimes all at once. And sure, I am a bit taken with the Southern drawl. You might just say my redneck past is nipping at my heels.


You Know Where To Find Me


This is where I'll be all day Sunday. You? If you decide to get a jump on holiday shopping, and opt for unique handmade items, then maybe I'll see you there. Look for the Tired Girl Collective. Stop by, say hi, and while there is no obligation, we'd certainly be happy to sell stuff to you too!


I Can't Believe I Gave My Panties To A Geek

Hey Sweet 16

Cosette celebrating her Sweet 16 with a pupcake from Three Dog Bakery.
Sorry, I wasn't able to swing the pink convertible she requested.


I've Got My Finger On The Button


That's about where I am right now. Today is my last day of work for the week. I'm facing some dental work tomorrow, which will be painful, and then have LOTS & LOTS to do for Felt Club on Sunday. (Come by, say hi, buy stuff!)

I'm not looking for sympathy. I got myself into this mess, as usual. I procrastinated on both getting my tooth fixed and prep work for the craft show. I screwed up all on my own. No excuses. Full responsibility.

Just wanted to let you know what I'll be up to in case you don't hear from me for a few days. Maybe this time I'll learn.


Jim: If I left, what would I do with all this useless information in my head? You know?...Um, Pam's favorite flavor of which is mixed berry.

I took this food meme from Keely's blog. One of the most difficult things for me is choosing favorites of most anything. I guess I'm wishy-washy, but many favorites vary from day to day with me. So, the following answers are what I feel like fit today. This could all change tomorrow, or later today!

The Rules:

Type your answer to the questions into Flickr search.
Using only the first page of results, pick an image.
Copy and paste each of the URLs in the Mosaic Maker

And now for the questions:

1. What is your favorite restaurant? The Glenwood Pines in Ithaca, NY. (I swear that 2 of my photos came up on the first page of search results!)

2. What is your favorite type of cuisine? Pizza. Is that a cuisine? I don't know, but I could eat it for every day for every meal.

3. What is your favorite comfort food? This definitely varies, but lately it's macaroni & cheese.

4. What is your favorite childhood food? Pork chops.

5. What is your favorite dish to prepare for company? Dinner reservations. Ha! Seriously, I do not cook. Um, hmm...E likes this chicken tortilla soup I sometimes make and I did feed it to friends once.

6. What is your favorite wine? I don't really like wine or drink it very often. If I do, it's blueberry wine from the Tomasello Winery in New Jersey that a friend brings to me. I have it about once every other year. Well, a whole bottle every other year.

7. Who is your favorite chef? Since I'm not into cooking, I don't really watch any of those shows or really know many chefs. I'll go with Gordon Ramsay, as I do watch him. I love his abrasive personality and his attempts to motivate people to be excellent.

8. What is your least favorite food? I'm VERY picky so there are many, but will go with eggs. Blech.

9. What is the most adventurous food you’ve eaten? See above. I'm not a very adventurous eater, but will say venison (deer meat). That my Mom butchered on our front porch. By herself. Ick.


Soul Food

It's been a busy weekend. Rusty (yes, the dog) and I had to get up early both yesterday and today. This morning was for a really fun activity. We started a six-week "Wilderness Walks" class, which combines obedience training with local hikes. Good times. It's run by the same organization we've gone to dog camp with the past two years.

The Official Camp Scarf

Being out in nature, with a total of seven dogs, was a pick-me-up my spirit needed. As usual, I've overwhelmed myself with life by procrastinating. Also, a deep sadness has been hovering after Rusty and I attended the funeral of a good friend, H, yesterday. There were about ten dogs at the mass, including H's dog Shadow. It was a new, interesting experience, but didn't take away from the profound pain of losing a friend.


The weather was perfect for a nice hike, complete with practice of sit-stays, down-stays, etc. It was not too hot and the sky was blue with a few clouds. I ended up making a couple of trips back and forth in The Valley. When I left North Hills, I drove to Pasadena along the 210. The hills, stripped of any smog layer by the winds, were gorgeous! The clouds casted shadows that added to the beauty. Later, I went Downtown and then briefly back to Pasadena. As I headed west toward home, I soaked in the incredible orange sky, the afterglow of the sunset. Amazing.

It's really what I needed. Outdoor activity and communion with nature. Sure, I'm still behind on several deadlines and have a lot on my plate to deal with, but I feel a little more prepared to move forward. So, I recommend that you all hug a dog or go outside to play. I think you'll feel better.


E pluribus unum

I'm spent. It's been a long, emotional week so far. I've been full of excitement, anxiety, elation, sadness, and fatigue. It's been an overwhelming roller coaster, that's for sure. I've never made my political affiliations a secret. I respect anyone who chooses to, but I'm happy to say that I'm over the moon for our new President-Elect, Barack Obama.

Back in July of 2004, we gathered in some friends' back yard to watch the Democratic National Convention. We wore straw hats, we ate apple pie, and we watched the DNC on a big outdoor screen. I was blown away by the keynote address delivered by Barack Obama, an unknown to me Illinois State Senator. E and I agreed that "this guy will someday be President." Who knew it'd be so soon?

2004 DNC Party

I've cried a lot this week, which may partially explain the exhaustion. I've just been so astonished by what has been accomplished, as well as what steps backwards we've taken. I really can't articulate everything I'm feeling and thinking at this point, but I think you get the idea.

Along with hope and joy, came sadness too. A friend passed away and I'm preparing to attend her services this weekend. Our President-Elect also suffered a great loss this week. Together we grieve, we carry on, we hope. Out of many, one.






Alaska Family Values

In the interest of wearing a Halloween costume that was topical and something I wouldn't have to spend any money on, I dressed up as Bristol Palin, the pregnant teenage daughter of Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Yes, funny, but also kind of tacky, even "nasty" as one person said to me. Well, overall it was fun and a big hit! To help people understand what I was going for, I made a button that said, "Alaska Family Values," complete with an American flag as the background. Thank you, E!

Just Call Me Bristol

Not the greatest photo, but you get the idea. For the baby bump, I used a round, fleece dog toy. The only problem was that it must have smelled like the dogs because my good friend Daizy, the party hosts' dog, kept sticking her head up under my dress! The only disappointment was not running into anyone dressed as Sarah Palin at the two parties we attended. That is unless you count the guy who cobbled together an assortment of Palinesque things such as an American flag shirt, a beauty pageant sash, a big gun, and price tags on all of his accourements. Not that his get-up wasn't creative and amusing, but I had hoped for the Tina Fey type.

Excuse me while to get back to being totally anxious about Tuesday.


La Muerte Peluda!

In the late '90's, several of us would gather in a friend's living room and watch this new show called South Park. It was hilarious and we loved that in one single episode, every single one of us could be mocked based on cultural background, religion, physical differences, etc. Equal opportunity offenders and a refreshing change from political correctness.

The host of these get-togethers moved out of the country, other got married and/or had babies, and one certain bleached blond cousin was never seen or heard from again. Basically, we all got busy. It was fun while it lasted.

All these many years later, South Park is still on the air with original episodes. We rarely watch these days, but often record it--just in case. E watches more than I do and called me into the den a few nights ago with a "You have GOT to see this!" OMG...the timing couldn't be more perfect and the absurdity. The episode "Pandemic" ended up being an homage to Cloverfield with the monster(s) being....GUINEA PIGS! Live action guinea pigs at that! Having just adopted one ourselves, it was extra hilarious.

It only got better, as this week "Pandemic 2" aired. If you enjoy guinea pigs in costumes (!), you might just want to check out the entire episode, which is online now. "Pandemic" will not be available until November 22nd.

In the spirit of this unbelievable funniness, I created my own Guinea Pirate:

Guinea Pirate!
Penny the Pirate


Mourning, Victorian Style

We often try to make it up to Faulkner Farm for some autumn and pre-Halloween goodness. With illness, weekend working, and various other obligations, it just wasn't in the cards this year. I'd hoped to go to Disneyland to see their Halloween set-up, but I couldn't fit that in to life either. E and I put our heads together to come up with something.

Luckily, E was feeling a bit more human this past Sunday so we went to the Halloween and Mourning Tour event at Heritage Square Museum. We've visited and toured there before, but this was different and very cool. This time the tour was focused on death and mourning in the Victorian era, the Spiritualism movement, as well as the origins and history of Halloween. Those who know me, know that I'm fascinated by these kinds of things. I got so excited when we were told we'd be viewing some "death photos" and were warned of their graphic nature. I'd hardly call them graphic as the corpses were clothed and posed portrait style or with family members. They looked peaceful. Some of the subjects were children though, which I imagine can be upsetting. *They appear to be asleep.*

Hale House

In several of the buildings, there were scenarios and players in period costumes. We even got to experience some Victorian era "entertainment" (think pre-radio, tv, or internet. Egads!) by listening to a captivating storyteller. Unfortunately, they did not allow any indoor photography, but I did take a few outside.For those in L.A., I recommend visiting this treasure.

Witch's House

Fun and games, Victorian style


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