California Adventure

I bought a friggin annual pass to Disneyland!! My people and I went last week, and it was awesome. It turns out the Tower of Terror is too short of a ride for me to get motion sickness on. Star Tours, not so much. But since I have a pass, I might just do another visit after taking some of my prescription strength motion-sickness meds. I will be listless and apathetic, but I at least I will not barf on anyone.
It was crazy overcast yesterday when we got there, and I took this pic of the submarine ride which I think aptly conveys the gloomy weather.

It was way too gloomy for D-Land, so I fixed it on my Photoshop app. I’m recalibrating my memory to match the updated version:

This is my favorite sign in a long time:

Speaking of children at the happiest place on earth, we passed a guy who was screaming at his little girl from a distance of about two inches from her face. I can only guess her age, but she was in a stroller. She was either four or a small five, and she was already crying. The dad was pushing her stroller on its two back wheels, and just as we were passing them, he dropped the stroller, causing her crying to get louder, and he came around and screamed at her in a barking style, I guess trying to shock her into shutting up. We were all too surprised to stop or say anything. This is what cell phones and threats of putting people on YouTube are for. For the rest of the day, I appreciated the parents who were showing patience and maturity while their little ones had tear-soaked meltdowns. Because, what else can you do? Join in?
It really was a good day to be there. Summer’s over, and the marine layer let up after a few hours giving us a few good hot hours to ride the wet rides and then dry off. I don’t remember anything being such a foodfest. We ate our way across the park. I mean, part of it is the constant presence of vendors, but I’m sure we were burning calories at a faster rate that we could consume them. I can see why they make it so easy to get a passport, because they make plenty of money off of people just being inside the park and having their wallets with them. I bought a little Mad Hatter hat, too, which I think in some schools of thought (mine) obligates me to throw a tea party.
California Adventure Park is pretty cool. It’s got little nods to California everywhere, like vineyards, the Grizzly river run (The Sierras?) some bay area references, an amazing IMAX-style airplane ride, Hollywood Tower of Terror which, pleasantly, is an homage to old Hollywood and not today’s. My friend said there used to be a Golden Gate Bridge when you first walk in, and I don’t know why you’d want to take that away. They are replacing it with Missions, which I guess means exploiting the natives, so I can see why it fits. It’s a rich, proud history.
Real California, fake California, I love California. I love Disneyland too, and I love spending time with my family.

Journaling

I don’t like watchng my life whooosh by without doing any blogging about it, or any journal-ing whatsoever. It was easier when I just had a lined notebook to journal in.
Writing isn’t as easy when you’re happy. Art, and I consider writing to be an art, isn’t as easy to produce when you’re not brooding, but it’s definitely harder to write. I don’t feel any urge to dissect why I’m happy, or ponder the universe for meaning. Also I’m not in my angst-filled 20’s that compelled me to write for hours.
But these years will fly by so fast.
So here’s what I’ve been up to, in general:
I’ve been working as a photo retoucher for 7 years now, both full-time and freelance.
I’ve recently started volunteering for Golden Retriever Rescue, well-organized volunteer network that takes in Goldens from both shelters and owner turn-ins. In the years of not having dogs, I’ve forgotten how much I love Goldens and their cuddly personalities. I forgot how I fell in love with the breed when I was ten, and studied the Golden Retriever section of the AKC dog book, and memorized all their standards and what breeds were used to develop the breed of Goldens. It’s all coming back to me when I walk them, and in different dogs you can see their background of Bloodhounds, Labradors, Irish Setters, Chesapeak Bay Retrievers, etc. I am obsessed with tracing the lineage of things, whether it’s language, race, or in this case, breeds. In conversation, it wavers heavily between awkward and boring.
I started teaching myself to bake pastries and artesan bread. Not a good idea in terms of calories, but it’s a great time to be my friend! And yeah, I photograph everything. Except for the pie I made the other day, which Tim and I tore into with such gusto that I only remembered to photograph it after it was cut into. Trust me when I say that this pie crust is to die for.
Truthfully, though, I’ve become so bad of a blogger that I went to Hawaii last month and didn’t post ANY picture on my blog. I took a ton of photos, too!
It also saddens me to let unblogged things go by like the Roger Water’s “The Wall” concert we went to, where I paid attention to Pink Floyd’s music for the first time in my life and realized that they are musical geniuses. This is something everyone else my age and older already knows, but its been playing in the background of my life for so many decades not that it was more of a jingle than anything else, and the nature of being exposed to good music in that way is that you never, ever get to hear it for your first time. That night at Staples Center in downtown LA I heard Roger Waters sing for the first time, and I cried through most of the concert, at the beauty of it. Granted, it was a hormonal day anyway. I also choked back tears when I was standing in line to buy tickets and Rosanna Arquette walked by. No reason for that, other than she’s so pretty in real life.
I don’t think I’ve blogged about any of the Zircon-Wish Circuses, which I deeply love going to and watching them perform their silk areal stunts which and then dancing all night. They keep outdoing themselves with their creativity and physical abilities.
We also got 2 new members of our family when my mom and dad adopted 2 Golden retrievers, Molly and Teddy. These guys are so fun to watch. They are often synchronized, like twins. I could go on about them for hours. Instead, I’ll just share a few pics:








The land of the ice and snow

Happy almost 2011! A significant year, if you think of 2012 as the end of days. Maybe that will be a good way to spend the year. Maybe we should all treat this year as our last, just to switch things up. I promise I will drink more and swear more.
We had a nice holiday with my family in Truckee. It’s been below freezing for most of the time we’ve been here, and I got to experience my first snowstorm. It was close to blizzard conditions, and we were outside for some parts of it. It barely limited our visibility, but was plenty chilly and I felt like I was on Planet Hoth as the white snowflakes whirled around and stuck to my clothes.
We haven’t really been into Christmas in our family these last few years, since it’s a Christian holiday and we’re so not Christians, and there are no kids in the family besides Christian (hey!). Most of the traditions of late December are Pagan traditions anyway, though, and we might as well take advantage of the days off. SO we exchanged a few gifts, and it was Ian and Missy’s turn to get a stocking from me. The stocking buying is my favorite part of the holidays anymore.
We made an awesome sled run off the back porch, and took turns popping the sledding inner tubes that were meant for children. We did some snowshoeing, and a couple of us also made it out snowboarding. We also got some of our annual Jenga games in, and a crushing game of Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. Tim and I have been learning to bake artisan bread this past year, and earlier this week Tim baked one of the best loaves I’ve seen so far.
This morning I went snowboarding again, and was only reminded that I should either go way more often, or stop going. On my last run, I tried to find a route that was more boarder friendly, because I kept ending up with all of these skiiers. Since when has there been a resurgence of skiing? I took the wrong lift and ended up on the top of the mountain, and the route down was not at all my skill level. I was doing cautious switchbacks the whole way down the hill under the threat of somersaulting my life away. My thighs and knees were on fire, and I was whimpering loudly into my scarf and cursing everything. Tim, however, made sure I had a new pair of super warm mittens with wrist braces underneath. So my hands were nice and cozy warm during my sad ordeal.
We also both bought Camelpaks, since we plan to do some hiking this year. When I got on the lift for my first run, I went to take a drink, quite pleased with myself for planning ahead and taking care of my hydration for the day. That’s when I discovered that the tubes were frozen and completely useless, at least for that morning. Bonus, I got to be that dork walking around with frozen tubes sticking out of my jacket.
We stopped next to Donner Lake on the way back to the cabin and checked out the water. The lake is just on the verge of freezing for the season. It looks glassy all the way across and has these ripples of steam coming off of it. I only brought my little point and shoot, and I wished I could have spent hours down there photographing it with a big camera and a tripod.
Anyway, Happy New Year, friends and Fam!

Late fall and feels like winter

I just realized that if I don’t post soon, i will only have a few posts between last Christmas’s Truckee post and this Christmas’ Truckee post. We’re supposed to go up there for Christmas with my family, and I can’t wait.
I also picked out an internal frame backpack as my Christmas present. Tim was about to buy me a coat at REI, and I was like, why buy a coat at REI when I can get a backpack? Tim already has one, and I was all jealous.
So yeah, I’m going to need to plan some backpacking trips.
In the meantime, I’m hosting Thanksgiving at my place this year, and so I’m planning out my shopping list. I’m hoping to be a little more organized than that one year when I was so busy cooking that I forgot to shower and get ready, and I spent the evening hiding from the cameras.
Tim is in NorCal this weekend, so I’m using the time to get my place ready and to play Black Ops (just kidding, OMG!).
I’m going to be making Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Thyme, Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and chives, Pecan Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Cauliflower, and hopefully some kind of rolls. Lisa is bringing up the Turkey, and helping me with stressing, I mean cooking. We can stress together. And if it gets to be too stressful, well there’s always a jacuzzi for after dinner.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try to make a paper corsage for a prom I’m attending tomorrow.

OC Fair with the siblings

The fair is in town!
My siblings and I all met up at the fair in OC for Lisa and Ian’s birthdays. We stayed there an incredible 8 hours -probably 9 for Lisa, Chad and Sam. We just kept finding more stuff to do. We only left because the sun had gone down and we were chilly. It seemed like we checked out everything. I was a little intimidated by the food thing, since I’ve been eating so good. I thought I’d end up eating Fair food and puking it all back up. We found plenty of fruits and vegetables, though, and I ate to my heart’s content. I fell in love with a baby goat, and was letting her chew on my hand until I realized I was bleeding. Apparently cuteness blocks pain.
We also watched the pig races, since Lisa’s pet pig is so awful and mean and we all wanted to remember what he looked like back when he was cute. I had completely forgotten. We also made it to the hypnotist show, and it was worth the wait. That guy is so good. He had all of his participants in a trance and was making them do the wierdest things. One of the women up there had a lot of trouble snapping out of it, and I was on standby with my zoom lens to take it all in. I didn’t post her pics though, since I try not to use this blog to humiliate people other than myself.
It was a wonderfully hot day in OC.
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Laguna Beach, July 4th

I spent the 4th in Laguna Beach, as I often do. I looked forward to it all week, knowing that I’d be spending the day with some of my favorite people. We grilled and cooked all day and hung out at my sister’s house, and I made a vegan dish for grilling (on the stove) and also a vegan dessert. My niece is vegan, and I’ve been loving vegan food lately. We had a bunch of other delicious food as well. At sundown, Tim and I hiked up to the top of the nearest hill and watched the show from up there. There was a wonderful view of all of Laguna coast, from top to bottom. We could also see up towards Long Beach, where the fireworks show was just little sparks from up there. We could see the fireworks inland (Aliso Viejo?) and the glow over the horizon of a very exuberant show in Dana Point. The brightest fireworks lit up the water and the coastal homes. We had little kids sitting by us, oohing and ahhing, too.
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Camping pics

Here are the pics from our camping weekend, where we celebrated my mom’s retirement and enjoyed Tim’s excellent cooking. The entire family made it out there.
I got up early on Saturday morning and got a little time to myself, which I used to photograph the Joshua Tree next to our tent with the moon, and the sun hitting the rocks beyond our campsite. We were guests of Caryn’s and got to enjoy the ranger campsite. I am now spoiled for camping up there. We also saw a desert tortoise, which I put in a previous post, and a baby rattlesnake. Tim saw a coyote while I only heard them, at 3 a.m. on Sunday.
We had several friends up there as well, and we gave mom a cake and sang a round of “For She’s A Jolly Good Fellow”. We had tried to make it at least a little bit of a surprise for her, but she had grown suspicious early on. She is, after all, a mother of four.
We all had a great time.
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