Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I've often used my hair as a means of expression. Growing up, it was even used as a tool in the rebellion against the religion-based patriarchal oppression in my house. (That's what I'm calling it now, anyway. It just means my dad and I didn't get along very well.) I've chopped it off and dyed it different colors. I've changed it for shock value and as a way to cut ties with the past. It's funny that one can be so attached and detached to/from their hair at the same time.

I've recently thought about cutting it again. It's not that I don't like it long. In fact, I like it very much, thanks to this person:

(Seriously, if you're in the market for a haircut, she's great. And if you need anything else hair-related, she can totally hook you up.)

Anyway, because of Sarah, I really like my hair long. I do. But I don't know if it's me. I read once that woman with long hair tend to hide behind it. Their personalities adapt to being the woman behind this mane of hair. I was an introvert for a long time - I have no desire to go back there. In addition to that sentiment, it would be a good time for change this summer. Along with everything else that's going on around that time, a makeover might be a part of that process.

Inclement Weather

This is the color of my bedroom walls.. well, two of them anyway. I searched for months for that perfect shade of blue-green - this is called "Mermaid." It reminds me of the ocean, which in turn reminds me of pretty much everything I love.

The sun is from Chiapas, brought back by Ci who brings me some kind of souvenir wherever she may roam. "She went to some tropical island and all I got was this lousy postcard..." Just kidding. Wherever I am living at the time, I make sure to hang up some of the little trinkets she picked out for me. It never fails to make my surroundings feel a little more like home.

I went to bed last night listening to the sound of the rain... and woke up this morning to the same sound. God, it's wonderful. It's fairly rare to get any *real* rainstorms here in SoCal. Usually it's just a passing cloud who accidently sprinkles the sidewalk with a few precious drops before realizing that he's at the wrong place. I remember one time, though, I was living in La Mesa and there was this amazing electrical storm. Lightning would flash across the sky, followed by a crack of thunder that shook my window panes and thrilled me to no end. I remember climbing up onto my dresser to sit in the windowsill, staying there until the storm was over. Today's showers weren't quite as spectacular, but the sound of the water rushing through the gutters and the drip-dropping from the eaves were enough to bring a smile to my face.

Monday, January 29, 2007

My head.. it hurts

If you've never before experienced a migraine, you will have no idea what this post is about. If you're one of those people who think it's psychological, please stop reading and kindly exit stage left. If you've never seen the spots in your peripheral vision, never felt that excruciating jack-hammer pounding that starts at your temples and resonates throughout your skull, never felt like your vision and your stomach must have a direct path to each other because since your vision is all wonky? so is your stomach... if you have never felt these things, you cannot empathize with me.

Around lunchtime I started seeing the tell-tale spots. I blinked a few times before realizing what was actually upon me... those first warning signs of a migraine. I quickly downed a few extra-strength Excedrin, to no avail. Once here, it's hard to fend off. I left early and headed home, yearning for a dark, silent room and cool sheets.

More ibuprofen and a couple hours later I feel better. Not 100%, but better.

Thanks for asking.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Crossing my Fingers!

Possible big, big news coming soon that I really want to talk about it, but don't want to jinx. Send good vibes and good luck anyway. All I can say is that it has to do with a photography job that was pretty much written for me and if she doesn't pick me I am going to be so so majorly bummed, mostly because I am convinced that I am absolutely the best candidate possible. Also? Because if I get the job, I get to upgrade to a new camera that I never dreamed would be within my reach so soon. IhopeIhopeIhope!

And if I don't get it? Well, we're not going to go there right now...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Early Morning

When I lived in San Diego, I used to wake up at 6:30, leave the house around 7:10, and most mornings, arrive at work around 7:30. I grumbled that I wasn't one of the lucky ones who could just walk or bicycle to work. Ugh - the 10 minutes of traffic on the 163N!

In the past two years I've lived in Temecula, not a day has gone by when I haven't missed that 20 minute commute. These days, getting up at 6:00, leaving by 7:00, and arriving to work at 8:00 consist of a good morning. Bad days mean I won't get to work until 9:00 or so. Ugh.

I've been inspired by some of the early morning pictures posted on Flickr. While I don't have enough time to actually post anything in the AM, when I have a few spare minutes (and am feeling inspired) I can put the early morning light to use. It give my pictures a whole different tone.

Or maybe it's just because I'm still half asleep.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Wonder Twins, Unite!

Nice idea, but I just don't think the world is ready for two of me.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Catching up with the Dogcatcher

I spent the evening in LA last night, hanging out with Ciara and her posse. We went to a birthday party for someone I didn't know (always fun), but I ended up having a good time because everyone was just so darn nice. After the party, we went back to her apartment and just crashed... mostly because we are old.

The next morning, we got up early(ish) and had coffee and just talked as old friends are able to do. When our rumbling tummies finally got the better of us, she took me to this amazing deli that pretty much makes the best food I have ever tasted. As we pulled into a parking space, I realized I had parked next to my hero:

I couldn't resist taking a few pictures - at one point catching the attention of one of the waitstaff, out on a break. He revealed that the car belonged to one of the cooks and that it always got attention. I don't know how many people have whipped out their cameras though.

(For those of you curious about my interest - besides the obvious - I am an avid collector of "Homies". This is a spin-off of the original Homies series called "The Dogpound."

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Rainbow Scarf Project

A couple Christmas' ago, I asked for a scarf. I hate when wind or rain gets under my coat collar and runs down my neck. I get chilled and uncomfortable and I have to go around all day looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame sporting the Elvis Collar. Not my favorite look.

So I asked for the scarf thinking it would be someone's easy slam-dunk kind of Christmas present. I specified that I wanted something bold, and bright and with an assortment of stripes. What I had in mind was a rainbow scarf, but I kinda thought that was going overboard with the specs. I figured I would leave it to the gift-giver to pick one out that they really liked.

I didn't get my scarf that year. Instead I got a book on how to knit and another one on how to crochet. Maybe that was a hint to get off my butt and find my own damn scarf.

The next year I made the same request and got exactly what I had envisioned. A beautiful rainbow stripey scarf that is super soft and keeps my neck warm and chill-free. It's awesome and I wear it everywhere.

After the umpteenth time of getting ready for work in the morning, slinging my scarf around my neck and checking the mirror for one last look before I left (making sure I had no cheerios in my teeth or bats in the belfry, if you know what I mean) I admired my scarf. I thought about what an eye-catching prop it would be in a portrait. And voila! The scarf project was born. I played around with it and took a few test shots the first time around. After posting them and getting positive feedback (thanks Rick!) I decided to make it official. Here are a couple I like from tonight's session:

These are my favorites, but I have a couple more. Here's the link to the rest of the set. It'll be an on-going project, at least until the summer when it gets to hot. Feel free to check back for updates.

Picture of the day: Tiptoe

Usually anything I shoot during the week is done at night. With factors like a long commute, long days at work, an upcoming busy school schedule three days a week, and an ability to stay up late over waking up early, it's nearly impossible to use natural light in any of my weekday pictures. It makes for creative lighting situations when trying to achieve my daily picture challenge. I tend to use a fast lens, a high ISO (which increases the grain, but sometimes that is okay), and turn on as many lights as possible. It also means that I shoot alot in my bathroom and dining room as they are the brightest rooms in the house. I received a very nice flash for Christmas and am learning to use that. But sometimes, when it's really late, I'd rather use the tried and true techniques over trying to experiment with something new.

I'd also like to try and work on being a little more conceptual. One of the qualities of a successful photographer is being able to see things in a way that others don't. I'm not a really conceptual person - intuitively - but I think I have just enough in me to develop it. I guess I have a few more pictures this year to try that out.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

These are a few of my favorite things...

As a kid, I was a complete tomboy. I refused to wear pink until I was in my mid 20's. I could hit a baseball, climb a tree, and make the 3 pointer at the buzzer about as well as any of my male peers at the time. In high school, the natural progression for my excess energy was to participate in organized sports. I made the basketball team right off the bat. I loved playing basketball and had played at the park near my house for several years. I played AYSO soccer and was really into that for a while. One sport I was not so into, but participated in anyway (mainly because of a certain boy and my parents' no-dating-until-you're-16 rule) was track and field. I mainly stuck to the track part of things. Once my coach realized I had no real talent (speed was not a part of my vocabulary) but enough conditioning to have some decent endurance, he put me on all the long-distance events. Everything from the 400 meters to the 2 mile. Blah. As a friend of mine says, "You're going running? And no one is chasing you?" In the end, I won a couple relay medals and have a lot of good memories from the whole experience. I also made a few friends through the team, one of whom gave me this necklace. It was a serious score at the thrift store and how she could part with it, I'll never know.

Winter in SoCal

It's been cold! The pipes have been frozen for the last 3 mornings, so I've had to shower at night. I brush my teeth with bottled water and flush only once. I will be so glad when it starts warming up again. El Nino was nothing compared to this.

Monday, January 15, 2007

"Lucy - I'm hoooome!"

My new plant - "Lucy". I have two other plants in two similar, but unmatching ceramic pots. I went to Home Depot today to pick up one more similar-yet-different white pot for this plant. Instead, I found this beautiful mermaid-green planter and I fell in love. I *heart* this color.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sweet Tooth

I usually prefer dark chocolate when jonesing for a sweet fix, but I have a soft spot for these vintage gumball machines. I've had two over the years - the first received from a sweet boyfriend who had a knack for giving the perfect gift. Unfortunately, a former alleycat I had adopted from the shelter was tearing through my tiny apartment one day and took a flying leap off the top of it. As it is not the sturdiest of objects, the machine tipped over, shattering the globe all over my kitchen floor. I was heartbroken and immediately started the search for another one. Although it wouldn't be the same, it would remind me of the sweet sentiments behind the first. Strangely enough, I was helping my ex-MIL go through her garage and I found this one in the corner. Not exactly the same, but similar enough. I was happy to get it and she was happy to gift it to someone who appreciated it. What strange things one will find in the forgotten corners of a garage.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Meet Chuck

Like most girls, I *heart* shoes. Shoe shopping runs deep enough in my blood to convince me that long ago, in caveman days even, it was a survival skill. Cave-mama made sure her family was well-shod in sturdy, yet fashionable footwear, in order to flee predatory animals that would like nothing more than a cave-baby snack. Or something like that. But something I love even more than shoes (how is this possible?!) is being able to express myself through many mediums. And when I can do this through my shoes... well, does it really get any better than that?

Pre-high school, in the summer before each school year started, I picked out whatever tickled my adolescent fancy in the aisles of Payless Shoes. I remember wearing navy blue and cream saddle shoes during the fifth grade. Another year I wore rainbow striped Vans with leopard spots. Yet another year I wore plain white Keds. But when I got to high school, insecurity made me second guess my previous sneaker selections. Because anyone who was *anyone* wore Converse.

The day I picked up my own pair of Chuck Taylors, I was ecstatic. Finally, I was going to be cool and angsty and fit in with my peers. That lasted about a week until I realized that no one but me really cared what was on my feet. Soon after, my white high tops featured all sorts of personalized grafitti.

These days, the shoe is a little different. Black and low-top, they are the kitten heel to those high school shoes. But man, you gotta love them Chuck Taylors.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The best table at "Chez Deann"

Mike has been working late into the evening this past week, way longer than my clock-watching little self is ever required to stay. Faced with a third evening of internet-surfing while waiting for the boy, we decided not to carpool. (Oh the money-saving perks of working at the same place!) Anyhoo, 5:30 on the dot, I was out of the office and given the choice of sitting in traffic or going to Trader Joes, I decided to do a little shopping.

One of my (many) resolutions for the year has been to cook more. To prescribe to more of a "slow food" movement and actually enjoy my food. I'm still making pretty easy entrees, the kind where I can just chop up a bunch of stuff and throw them all together, but hey! it's better than that McDonald's cheeseburger and fries I was craving earlier. (Yes, I was able to resist temptation with a Cinnamon Dolce latte - non-fat, natch! - and some roasted almonds.)

I found myself relaxing during the cooking process (or was it the wine?) and really enjoying going through the artistic, culinary motions. By the time dinner was ready, I was completely at ease in my universe.

BTW... it tasted great.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I swear I'm not a crazy cat lady

... but some things just beg to be photographed.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Word of the year

I've been thinking about this a lot lately... what kind of year I'm going to have ... which has lead to thoughts of what kind of life I want to have. Thirty is approaching quickly and I don't want it all to pass me by. More later.

A little bit noir

Feeling drowsy with a belly full of asparagus, ham and cheese sandwiches and cheap(ish) pinot noir. Almost didn't post tonight, but as I caught myself looking through the archives, I felt a bit sheepish. How can I let myself cheat only a week into this project of mine?


Unlike my New Year's diets, I plan to stick to this one.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sea Critters

Checked out the tidepools today at the Cove and everyone, including Mr. Anemone here, was out in full force. It reminded me of when my grade school classes used to go here on field trips. I wonder how many marine biologists those trips actually spawned.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Friday, January 05, 2007

The spiteful little girl and the quarter of destiny

As a little girl, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. One of our first interactions (which my mom enjoys recounting) is when, giving me a bath as a slippery toddler, she tried to drown me. As she tried to flee the scene (she called it going home for the evening) I wailed my little heart out, wanting only to be in granny's dangerous embrace once more. As her namesake (my middle name is Bethine - pronounced "beth-eeeeeeen") and her only granddaughter, and her only daughter's only daughter, I was destined to be spoiled by this special lady.

My family moved to California when I was eight years old, in part due to Alaska's spiraling economy and in part because we would be closer to my grandma and grandpa. My parents thought it was a great idea to have built-in babysitters a strong support network living so close, and took advantage of it during the summers. My mom would rush us out the door and dump us, sleepy-eyed and bed-headed at my grandparents' house, where we would run around all day, hiking in the hills behind their house and drinking all of my grandpa's Dr. Peppers.

On one of these occasions, I was watching my grandma get ready for the day. She was dressed and was just putting on her jewelry when I spied a quarter in her jewelry box.

"That's a weird looking quarter, Grandma."
"It's a bicentennial quarter, sweetie. A special edition from 1976."
"Cool! Can I have it?"
"No, you'll spend it."

No? NO ? She never told me NO. It was preposterous - unheard of. Although my relationship with my grandmother is still good - we e-mail and talk on the phone quite frequently - I have never forgotten that forbidden quarter. Since that time, I have collected every bicentennial quarter I've come across and put them in a piggy bank. Only once have I spent one (laundry was really important and I felt guilty about it for days) and I've amassed more than $10 worth of these little babies. I have no idea what I'm going to do with them, but someday, I'll let her in on my little secret.

You said I was going to spend them, Grandma. Well... HA!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Home is where the Cat is

When I was a brand spankin' new divorcee (or nearly there anyway), I thought I had everything I wanted. I had a cute little apartment with wood floors and a breakfast nook, I had good friends who helped me get through the end of my marriage, I had the support of my family and I had an optimistic outlook on life once again. (I also had no money and a mountain of debt, but we won't talk about that.) Late at night I would curl up in my IKEA bed and fall asleep to the Amelie DVD playing on my computer (I am in love with the accordion on that soundtrack) and think there was no way it could be any better than this.

But soon, as is wont to happen, I began to get restless. I missed my big, ole alleycat, Bachelor, whom I had adopted from the animal shelter a few years back. I missed the warm weight of a purring feline in my lap as I sat reading a book or on my feet as I drifted off to sleep. Since my apartment didn't allow dogs, I knew that was out of the question, but darn it, I really wanted a cat.I started checking around at my local animal shelters and humane societies. I scanned the websites. I had interviews with rescue groups so that I could be clear to adopt when I found a cat I really connected with. I knew I wanted a Siamese, but after months of looking at every shape and size the breed had to offer, I was getting discouraged that I wouldn't be able to find *MY* cat.
Then one day, I checked the local humane society page as usual and I found the most beautiful, graceful, alien-looking creature I had ever seen. I called to make sure he was still available and I left work, sure that someone would beat me to the punch. I walked into the facility and was directed to the cattery, and there he was, even better in real life. I played with him, connected, and talked adoption with the volunteers there. But there was a catch. I couldn't adopt this beautiful cat unless I was willing to take on his buddy as well - a pretty little tabby colorpoint that was scared of everything. I told them not to worry - my heart was already set on taking the Siamese home. Time would heal everything and I had faith the little scaredy cat would eventually come around.

Three years later, that damn tabby is still scared of everything.


One of my resolutions for the new year was to embark on a "Picture-a-day" project. I had come across several suggestions on how to approach this: Some people took a picture of whatever interested them that day. Others took only self portraits. One person who (wo-)mans a blog I read (a beautiful and artistic soul) is starting a project with a friend where they are taking a picture of every morning for the next year. While that is admirable, I think mine would be a lot of last minute toothbrushing pictures before I fly out the door. (Hmm... that might actually be interesting... anyway..) Some people are rigging their computer cameras to take their photo everytime they log in. I think I might get tired of over-exposed pictures of my face after awhile, though. So I decided to go the least specific of all these routes. As long as I take one picture a day, I'm happy.

This is actually from day two (I'm counting my "Dusty Buddha" as 01.01.06), but as I was looking around my home, this caught my eye. It's been sitting up on my dresser for the past year or so, as it has sat up on a number of dressers in my various domiciles for a number of years. Back before all my digital endeavors, here is a roll of film I actually developed.(Don't ask how many are still sitting in boxes in the garage that will never see the light of day.) I can't remember how old we were here, maybe high school seniors - so that would put us at about 17. That is the same bedroom set I had used since my tenth birthday and it was the same set my mother used as a little girl. The walls (and ceiling) were my pride and joy - an on-going project of found words and images. There is a giant chalkboard that my dad brought home from a job site at some point. Later, he brought home a giant box of chalk of nearly every color imaginable. Besides love notes from my friends, it also held a list of every song on the radio I heard and liked enough to want to buy the cassette tape. Ciara's Superman antics? I have no idea where that came from.

We met in the summer before our junior year of high school. I had hired on as a clerk in the local pet store. My job? Cleaning the fish tanks in the hottest part of the store during a sizzling Santee summer. She waltzed in a couple weeks later, batted those eyes, flipped that hair, and manned the front register from day one. I thought she was cool, but resented the fact that the new low man on the totem pole actually sat a lot higher than myself. On her behalf, she said I was pretty, but too sarcastic for her taste. So, we basically didn't like each other. A couple weeks later, we found ourselves in the same AP English class and the rest is history, (err, English?). Although cliche, opposites do attract, as they certainly did in our case. Somehow, we found in each other the missing pieces of ourselves and that has become the glue that binds us together.

Fast forward 12 years... We live 100+ miles apart and in completely different worlds from that hodge-podge bedroom in Santee. But somehow, on New Year's Eve, we found ourselves ensconced in her new home, drinking Champagne and reminiscing about that old chalkboard