Happy New Year

Much has happened between now and the time I last posted.

I feel like I’ve been sick for way too long. From dealing with muscle issues in my back for a couple of months to catching a cold on Christmas night. It finally feels good to have the old me back.

A big Happy New Year shout out from our home to yours!

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Little reminders from the last couple of months.

This friendly reminder was shot at the salon. A nice reminder that shows how they love to treat their customers.

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A nice reminder of my love for putting all things Christmas up on the day after Halloween. Better known as November 1st. It makes perfect sense to enjoy those evenings when the time change hits and makes the world dark before it should.

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The best reminder of family. We traveled to see family for thanksgiving. What a special treat to have my two siblings, all nieces and nephews. Our nephew and his new bride. Our nephew and his fiancé, mom and dad and my grandma. Talk about great memories with family, it doesn’t get any better.

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A reminder as I was getting ready to have my bookclub friends over to discuss our 2016 schedule.

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A reminder of the morning beverages for the girls.

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And a little reminder of the fruit bowl and other morning snacks (brownies and biscotti) on the dining room table. Following our morning meeting, we girls headed to Olive Garden for a wonderful lunch and more fellowship.

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A reminder of the hubs amazing smoked brisket over his 2 week Christmas holiday. Loved spending those two weeks together around home sweet home.

While I don’t have a photo of the amazing chili he made with the brisket leftovers, I will never forget how wonderful it was. I rank it as the best chili ever made.

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I don’t have a reminder picture of the fish we purchased for our pond, but I’ll never forget that wonderful experience with the hubs over Christmas. If you are reading this, My Love, Thank You!

A reminder of carolers on Christmas day.

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A pretty reminder of where we sat enjoying our Christmas dinner. The view of ice-skating beneath the palm trees with an ocean view, what a delight.

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A beautiful reminder of how we stayed until nearly sunset. We savored desert and slowly ever so slowly sipping my coffee while visiting with the hubs and taking in the view.

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Approximately 2 hours after our Christmas dinner, I told the hubs “I feel a sore throat coming on”. And on the morning of December 26th, I woke  to a sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy head sort of cold. The sort of cold where the hubs dropped everything and took care of me. After the 1st week, I told the hubs, “This feels like a 3 week cold”. Turns out, it was a 3 week cold.

A reminder of how pretty it was one morning as the sun came up. Especially since it rained the day before. A reminder of how the hubs made me promise to stay inside while I was sick. A reminder of my view from the sofa where I sat feeling miserable from my cold that morning. A reminder that I obeyed and took this image from inside the house. Thank you for taking care of me, My Love. And bringing medicine to me when I did not feel like moving. You’re the BEST!

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Our New Years Reminder – I was still sick, but we watched the ball drop at Times Square, per usual. We kissed, yes, the hubs kisses me, even when I’m sick. And wished each other a Happy New Year. And chose to get an early start on sleep that night. No staying up for us until the New Year on the west coast, when we can watch it ring in on the east coast.

While I only have a few reminders in picture form, I’m thankful for the blessings of family, love and feeling back to my old self again.

Happy New Year!

Blessings – Debbie

Springtime in CA 2015

I know, it’s autumn, but I plan to do some spring catching up on the blog. I can’t seem to move forward without catching up. It’s time.

I’m still here. Kicking it and loving life.

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In late March, I picked this little vase of goodies from the garden. In hopes to help my sick hubby to feel better. They certainly brightened the space…

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Early April – I painted this image with the help of my Wacom and Photoshop.

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Happy Easter! We spent the afternoon with friends watching our Red Birds on Opening Day.

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A true Cardinal fan and our host.

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Bring on the Cardinal color…

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The beautiful hostess – Everything was positively delecious!

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Children – Loved taking images of them in and around the pool.

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Bashful – Image taken right after her first bite of dinner…But those eyes and expression…LOVE!

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The big boys and girls had it made…

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My Red Bird Fan! And my number 1 Hero.

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Another early April painting. This is an underpainting (Layer 2) taking on a little shape.

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Finished painting.

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A little shot of my kitchen window garden with a fresh rose from the garden.

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A rose as it begins to drift away. I just love the color!

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April 16 – My somebody special on his way to work to present to the customer. I’m happy his meetings went well…

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Mid April evening in the garden – Enjoying the last drop of light…

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Late April – Amaryllis in bloom.

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End of April – We joined Costco! Now that is an event worth noting. It had been 12 years since we enjoyed the benefits of being customers of Costco.

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End of April – It’s the time of year when the dragonflies return. They come in all sorts of colors during the season. Here’s a female laying her eggs.

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May 2nd – Boxing party was held at our house! The hubs and his buddy putting the brisket on the smoker early that morning. And the sad thing, this is the only shot I have from that glorious afternoon and evening with friends. But the memories are priceless…

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Our dear friend gifted us with the beautiful flag (made and painted by her) that proudly waves over our front door.

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The heron has landed – I figured a shot was appropriate before yelling at him. Sometimes they are persistent around the fish pond. But my yelling and screaming at them seems to do the trick.

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In early May, I had the gardener transplant this tree. I really hoped to keep it alive. Unfortunately, it did not like the new home.

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Springtime dilemma is when a girl can’t figure out what color she wants.

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One of my May dates to Red Lobster with my love = Time well spent.

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Another May Date with the hubs at the Cheesecake Factory. Just love this composition at the hostess desk…

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An early morning capture of the dragonfly on a net.

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And a bee pollenating…

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A little capture of the hubs boots at the back door – a nice reminder he was busy in the garden.

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My Christmas wish for 2015 came early. As in May early for my birthday! I had told the hubs (months ago – Jan/Feb this year) when I spied this arbor that I would like it for Christmas. Not only did he remember. But he surprised me with this a week before my birthday.

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Up on the hill at the top of the winding stair path is where I wanted it. And so it was…

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On the morning of my birthday, the hubs knew right where to place the special card for me.

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When a statue is larger than life – Sometimes it’s the little things that need to be captured. Just bummed my cell is the only camera I had with me on that May evening night. But a great evening and dinner along the San Diego Harbor with the hubs and a friend.

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May 31st is the day we picked this big guy from the garden – Indeed we kept it on the vine too long, but we grilled it for dinner anyway. The skin was obviously tough but the inside was tender and good.

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One last image – rosebuds in the garden.

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And that my friends takes us thru the month of May, 2015.

Blessings – Debbie

Happy New Year

I’m still here!

Whew tho, I have a lot of catching up to do over the last couple of months. So I’ll try to make it as brief as possible.

November was pretty packed, as I was learning a lot (in school) about using the paintbrush and tools in Photoshop. That’s when things began to fall off my plate. Like the blog, unfortunately.

And things were added to my plate.

I joined the girls for a day trip up to Rogers Gardens. It was great way to step away from my school work. It was the best distraction and just what I needed to kick off the Christmas season.

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After my much needed day away, it was time to refocus on school work. The image below is one of the two paintings I finished in Photoshop.

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Then Thanksgiving rolled around. We dined at the Hotel Del.

The view from our table.

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Everything was cooked to perfection.

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After dinner, we watched some ice skating beneath the blue sky and palm trees.

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And we took a selfie to remember the day.

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Then it was time to plan for our annual Christmas party. Hors d’Oeuvres, dinner, white elephant gift exchange, and a bonfire with s’mores – those were the highlights of the party. But it was our friends that made the party so special. If I remember correctly, we had 14 guests in all.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t take that many  pictures. But the Starbucks mug with gift card was a big hit.

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By this time, the month of December was in full swing. And the churn of my busy schedule kept right on churning.

We had a lot of rain and I found that to calm my nerves as I planned my next and final school project. I had to give a speech. There was a lot of planning and the hubs helped out so much with my powerpoint presentation. He’s the BEST! Then I rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed some more. Finally the day came (mid December) and I was ready to present to the class my evolution and passion for art From Crayons to Photography.

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And then, as time marched on, we only had one weekend to do our annual Christmas newsletter. I was inspired after all the rain to take an image of our ornament in a puddle. Turns out, we liked it so much that we made it our 2014 Christmas card. The only regret, we did not have a lot of time to review our newsletter and we found some type o’s. For shame!

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Finally, we got to relax while the December dust settled. And I found the time to put my nose in a book called Delicious by Ruth Reichl. What a great read!

Our dear neighbors brought the most delectable plate of homemade yumminess over on Christmas Eve. What a treat!

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Soon it was time to celebrate Christmas.

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The hubs and I, along with our friend went back to the Hotel Del for Christmas dinner.

The image below was taken on our stroll along the pacific after dinner.

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I kicked my shoes off to enjoy the soft sand between my toes.

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And to check out this sandcastle.

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A close up – it truly was a marvelous work of art, all the way around.

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Our friend came back to the house to spend the late afternoon and early evening visiting.  And we watched The Christmas Story together.

Then, the hubs and I found ourselves alone and made a mad dash for jammies!

Our Christmas picture later that evening.

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On the day after Christmas, we decided it was time to put all the decorations away for another year. It actually took 1.5 days to get everything put away, cleaned up and back to normal.

The only thing resembling Christmas, are the candy-canes tucked in the bud vase.

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I’m ready for the New Year. And ready to add more things to my plate. Like family/company coming from Alaska this weekend and the blog and other things of importance.

Until next time – Happy New Year and many blessings to you this year…

Blessings – Debbie

Playing Hooky

Wow, this has to be a first.

But it feels so good. Not something I would normally feel good about. But I do! And I’m oh so happy.

So the week started with this scene on campus when I arrived. The power on campus went out approx. 8 min before I arrived. Then we heard the campus was closed for afternoon classes. What did our cool photog class do? Carry on with class in the dark. Cause that’s how we roll.

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Painting in Photoshop – So, my next and last assignment for the semester is learning to paint in Photoshop.

We have two images to paint and one has to be a face. Hmmm… AND he does not want it looking like a photo. He wants to see where the brush has been. I have a lot to learn.

Currently, I’m studying brushes and angles, how to hold the Wacom tool for great technique and a whole bunch of other goodies. I’ll just say this “There is no possible way to achieve this with a mouse, impossible.”

I say all that to say, our professor signed our class up and paid for us to take 5 online classes in the next four weeks. Just one of the lessons is 8 hours. In the last two days I have devoted 16 hours learning how to paint and I’m not even two hours into the first of 5 online lessons. *Sigh* But, I’m  having so much fun!

I’ll say it takes me a while to follow the leader…When the instructor (online class) makes a stroke with a certain brush – I hit the pause, hop into Photoshop, reach for the Wacom tool, grab that brush (in Photoshop) and give it a try too… For me, That’s the way I learn, I can’t just sit thru a lecture and recall those steps at the end. If I follow along, I’m likely to remember when I’m off painting on my own.

I learned how to start the underpainting process this week.

The image on the left is the original image I took with my camera. The image on the right is my first spin for this lesson. I’m not so sure this is going to be one of my final images, as for now, it’s all about learning the ropes.

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That being said, I told the hubs last evening that I’m playing hooky “in school” for the rest of the week. While I love what I’m learning, I’m one of those people who can juggle so much, before something has to fall off the plate and the hubs comes first (I was on the computer ’til 9:45 last evening). Then I promised the hubs that there will be no more Photoshop going on in the evenings. Not that he complained – But he did ask in a chipper voice “where’s my wife?” – He’s the best!

And this morning as we were getting around for the day. I gleefully announced “I’m going on a field-trip with the girls (our neighbors) this week and playing hooky! The hubs said “why don’t you come meet me for lunch?” Now I have a lunch date this week and a field trip. Priorities people – I feel so guilty, but oh so good. Don’t judge.

And oh so happy I have the Christmas tree project behind me. Cause I have a feeling this is going to be one crazy fun ride in school this month. HOLD ON!

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“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy – Thank You doesn’t seem enough for our heroes and she-roes…Happy “Belated” Veterans Day!

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And a Very Happy Wednesday to you!

Blessings – Debbie

Christmas is in the Air and I’m Jet Lagged

WHAT?

Hey Peeps! It’s worse than jet lag – that’s how this time change is hitting me.

How are you doing with the new time? Truly, I hope you are doing better than me.

Honestly? I feel so jet lagged and we haven’t gone anywhere. I was wide awake last Sunday (Time change day) at 4:30am. You know, this sleeping another hour bit is not working. I think 5:30 is the latest I’ve been able to sleep in all week. What time do I go to bed? Before the chickens! Last evening I could feel my body begin to shut down at 7 o’clock. My head was on the pillow by 7:45 and out like a light before 8 o’clock. Just like clock work, I was wide-eyed with a happy little jingle in my step at 4:45 this morning. I guess I’ll just snub the time change and let my body do its thing.

So it’s Thursday and it feels like Friday. That could have something to do with   catching up on Friday chores. I have the last load of laundry in – the ironing should be done soon. Since tomorrow is the hubs Friday off, I much prefer having the household caught up such that I can play and work with the hubs over the weekend.

On another note, Christmas is taking over!

Seriously? Yup! The stockings were hung today. Mantel # 1

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Mantel #2

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It was 5 years ago when I opened the Christmas decorations and found this little church. We still don’t recall how we acquired it, but it’s been a fun little piece for the mantel ever since.

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This is as close as we get to snowflakes in So Cal. Although, we can see snow (in the winter) on the distant mountains from home.

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From the inside – I’ll refrain from hanging the wreaths outdoors. We wouldn’t want the ‘hood to think we’re crazy or anything.

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I’m starting on the Christmas tree in the family room tomorrow and hope to have all the finishing touches done over the weekend.

Wishing a happy weekend to all of you who stopped by.

Blessings – Debbie

Montage Conclusion and then some…

Blue struck in more ways than one over the last few weeks. This was me fretting over numerous areas of concern with my montage project.

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My montage assignment went in several directions early on.

While I was excited about the grape leaves, I was torn on which way to go – Blue or Autumn?

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Then a magical moment came and the blue completely won my heart.

This is the part I jumped all in.

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Many leaves made their way to the canvas/Photoshop. They were scattered and layered with bits of overlay in areas. In the end, the image below made my heart sing.

I’ll be presenting the image below for critique this week. Would you believe 30 (Fun and Enjoyable) + hours went into the image below? Knowing when to stop, is when I look at the image without seeing areas that beg for attention.

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Now that I had one concept under my belt, I still had to come up with another, as two images are due. That alone may have caused another dose of anxiety and doubt blended with thoughts that I would not be able to come up with another concept.

Then I came up with the idea of creating flowers with bits and pieces (mainly parts with bokeh) of different photos I’ve taken.

I got this far along when I fell completely out of love with this idea. Yuck is my honest feeling. This is where I let go.

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Then I thought – How would it be if I used the images I took at the Wild Animal Park? Surely I would be able to come up with something cool. Excitement returned!

So I put thoughts and ideas into Photoshop. Then, after working on this image a good portion of a day or two, I fell out of love with this too – “it looks TOO cut and paste ish, I don’t like it“. And this is the place I abandoned it.

I was searching, searching for something. I didn’t know what, but something that would make my heart sing in the end. And this is not that, that’s all I know.

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And then I put another thought to paper. I went into my next idea with a great deal of joy. But I also had my doubts.

The thought was to take images of our pond and blend them with a sailboat. I started with a simple pond image and boat. But I still needed at least 3 more images to complete this assignment. While working and searchings for ideas, thoughts came to mind. And the waterfall and other images (in time) fell into place.

The five images blended together (below) consist of – The upper portion of the pond with lilies is image #1 – Image #2 is the waterfall and rocks (upper right)- Image #3 the sailboat – Image #4 the lower pond with the long reflections – Image #5 the rock in the foreground.

In the end, I’m happy with the way the image flows and appears to come together seamlessly. I’m happy to say I will be presenting this as my second montage image.

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I’m thankful that just because we let go, doesn’t mean we give up. Rather, letting go gives the freedom to express ourselves as we find our way to the place our hearts sing. That’s what it’s all about.  While I don’t feel I’m the best, I do believe in giving my best effort.

Then Halloween rolled around – And the hubs invited me to join him for a lunch date last Friday. And then we went to pick up some chocolates for the ghosts and goblins that evening.

I could not help but capture this image of our bag-boy in costume. I have no words. But, the chocolate was GOOD!

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Ahhh – November 1st, what a special day. The hubs brought all the Christmas stuff in. I know, we have such an early start. But in my defense…

  • We’ve celebrated autumn the last two months
  • Christmas should be celebrated just as much as autumn – No?
  • My classes have hit a little breather where I just finished up one project and it seemed the perfect timing to get some things done before diving into another huge assignment. Makes sense to me.
  • The time change was Sunday. It made sense to brighten the place a bit more during these early dark evenings.
  • And I have the Christmas spirit. I’m ready!
  • AND the hubs and I wished each other Merry Christmas over the weekend. Double love that the hubs enjoys these days as much as me.

And we enjoyed a lovely Saturday evening dinner with friends Jer Bear and Julie.

This is the tree I worked on, it’s our dining room tree. First I had to take the “pre-lit” lights off, as the old cord and lights were bad. Then I fluffed the branches and applied new lights. This is where I left off over the weekend. It’s coming right along as I have a little more time to dote this week.

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Another thing, today is the day to vote! We normally vote by mail, but we didn’t get them filled out in time. However, we were able to fill out the form and vote from the comforts of home. I dropped mine off at the polls this morning. No lines no waiting.

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Back to work on Christmas decorating, with the sounds of the season filling the air.

Blessings – Debbie

Dear September

You went way too fast! And I did not get my act together to keep up. However, I’m back to recover some of little things in life last month.

Catfish – Our latest edition in May. They (we have two) were about 2″ + when we got them, now they are approximately 9″ – Finally I got a shot this month – These guys love to hide under rocks and come out of hiding for breakfast – The perk = we don’t have “fry” this year – While the fish did spawn, the catfish took care of all the eggs. Nice edition if you were to ask me.

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September school assignment – The lesson called to shoot 6 different categories in the Urban Environment with a total of 42 images. Then select two of our favorite images to print out on 11 x 17 for critique. And hand in the other 40 images compacted on two 8.5 x 11 contact sheets.

The six different categories – 1. Bench where people come and go – 2. Absence of people 3. Twilight 4. Collection of things (anything) 5. Non sequitur, something that looks out of place 6. Nature and manmade blended together

One of my favorite images printed on 11 x 17 and mated it for critique in class. Category = Bench

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The second image I used for my final urban assignment. Category = Twilight

On a good note – the professor was so thrilled with our work that it was all hung in the school gallery.

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What my contact sheets for the assignment (printed on 8.5 x 11) look like…

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Next…. I still don’t have my grade, but I hope it’s a good one.

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Guess who thought it necessary to be there with me, as he did not want me alone out there on my urban assignment…Makes my heart smile…

He’s the BEST!

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Friendship – Lunch with friends at the beach, is always a good idea. It’s times like this that I kick myself for not having my camera. But ever so thankful for the trusty cell phone.

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Fresh cool air – sipping soda beachside with friends – enjoying the visit – more than a girl could ask on a summer day.

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Truly a glorious day to remember…

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Happy Fish and Cloudy Water – We’ve had the pond guy out a couple of times to try to help us figure out why we can’t seem to get the clarity back. Turns out, I’m cleaning it TOO MUCH and backwashing TOO MUCH. Jokingly he said, this is not a pool, it’s a pond. And you need to allow the algae to grow on the sides to develop a good ecosystem.  And he said “don’t touch it ’til I come back the end of the month.” On a good note, the fish are happy and the water ph is just dandy. But the clarity we are used to seeing is just not there. My bad.

The get this thing clean and backwash mentality is hard to let go, but I must.

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New Frames – The hubs is up for new frames. The supposedly really nice frames he picked up the last time continue to have a screw loose ALL. THE. TIME.

We’ve shopped a few places and took a pic the last place we visited over the weekend. Now to go back to the other place to compare notes with the other frames we liked.

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While I still love my frames, it’s a growing concern that I could use bigger frames do to wearing progressives and the need for a little more room to see. Totally not something I’m thrilled about.

But I think I found something that may fill the order next year. I think…

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October Class Assignment – I spent the last couple of weeks in september working on images that could be used for my upcoming assignment. Images were not to be taken in direct sunlight.

I was quite fond of the bubble I captured as it was moving down the waterfall over the stem of the leaf.

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But this image captured days later caused my heart to sing. Getting ready to print this guy and mat it next week.

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I must say, this semester has brought a lot of doubt. Doubt on the days we have a solid 3 hour lecture.

And I come home feeling discouraged that I’m unable to carry out the task. And when I tell the hubs all about it, a tear or two may trickle down my cheek. And he listens, while the look on his face tells me that he wished he could make it all better. And that’s what makes everything better.

And it’s weeks like this (in class) when we’ve had a solid 3 hour lab, that things begin to sink in. Somehow when we as students get to sit at the computer and begin to work on our assignments, ask questions and put to use what we’re learning, the process kicks in.  And somehow I’m able to grasp what he was saying all along during those lectures.

And now I could practically do the assignment with my eyes closed. And I smile and say, it wasn’t that bad after all.

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Cheers to learning new things!

And may I remember that it’s alright if I don’t come home from school knowing everything the professor finished lecturing about. Somethings take time to process.

On a Happy Note – Happy October! Puts me in the holiday spirit already. Yup, I’m one of the crazies that love to blend Pumpkin, Thanksgiving and Christmas all into one.

Blessings – Debbie

August

August 2014 was filled with so much. And I could not seem to get my act together on the blog. So I didn’t. And things snowballed. So here I am, ready to post at  bit about the month of August before it’s too late.

Painting – Guest Bedroom and Hallway

Actually, the painting project started the end of July and into early August. I was so excited to get another two rooms painted. Many thanks to the hubs for helping with the clearing and then the setting things back up in the rooms.

Paint color is BEHR – Summer Bliss – P280-1″

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Baby Brother and Sis-in-law visit –

Mid August, we had company!

This image has already been used on the blog. But for the sake of this post, I’m using it again.

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Another visit –

Our friend from Phoenix came to San Diego to cool off a bit. We enjoyed breakfast by the beach last weekend.

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Banana Banana Bread – 

This bread gets a slot for the month of August, because I made it three different times for family and friends.

2 1/3 cups or 5 bananas is the equivalent that went into my loaf. That’s a lot of bananas. Thus the title of the recipe – Banana Banana Bread. I love how moist and yummy it is right out of the oven. Or toasted the next morning. Either way, it holds that yummy moist soft texture, no matter how you slice it.

This loaf was made for my friend visiting from Canada. We still have another lunch get-together this week.

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Class – 

My photography class is in full swing. I’m happy to report it’s my absolute favorite class, ever.

I was a little nervous the dean would cancel our class due to a lack of students. As it turns out, we are good to go! I’m (selfishly) excited about having a small group, as we are able to get a lot more one-on-one time during the lab with the instructor.

Love the new Tervis set my bro gave us (from his company), I take this guy to class all the time.

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I got a bit overwhelmed when the instructor wanted us to get used to using the Wacom in class. I’ve heard about this cool tool, but it was my first hands on experience. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a graphics tablet you hook to the computer. You draw on the tablet and it creates the drawing in your computer program.

Basically, I had some major arguments going on with the tool. It was hard to get used to performing different functions when there seemed to be a lot to remember. So I put it right back on the shelf and went back to using my mouse in class. At least I was able to keep up in class.

When I told the hubs all about it and not being able to keep up in class, he dropped what he was doing and ordered one for me right there on the spot that evening. And I had it in my hands in less than 48 hours!

Believe me, by the time class rolls around this week, I won’t need anyone to twist my arm for a Wacom in class.

The features of my Wacom Intuos Pro Medium are mind blowing. I’ve listed some of the cool features below.

  • Quickly and professionally edit photos and create digital artwork using natural pen control
  • Wireless accessory kit included
  • 2048 levels of pen pressure sensitivity in both pen tip and eraser
  • 8 customizable application specific Express Keys
  • Multi-function touch ring with 4 customizable functions

And I’ve already taken some of the most amazing webinars this weekend and set up my tablet with the express key functions that gel with what I like to use the most. I’m sure in time, I’ll take the liberty to change those functions as I grow-up in Photoshop.

While I’m not a Wacom genius, I’m learning that I can take the art of photography to a level beyond my wildest dreams. I’m so pumped!

And I look forward to sharing my assignments with you this semester. Stay tuned!

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Labor Day Weekend – 

We’re taking this 4-day time off together and getting a few things accomplished around the house.

The key ingredient at the top of our list is rest. Lots of rest.

We’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen with our dueling knives. Homemade guacamole is in the house! Served fresh daily…I don’t kid about stuff like this.

Friday evening, we checked out some old cars. I think these sort of things could be an interesting subject for an assignment due mid September. Who knows, we may go back next week for more fun and pictures.

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And for now –

  • I’m happy getting a few things from August on the blog.
  • Looking forward to un-labor-day tomorrow. Wait, I think we may spend a bit of time working. But if we’re doing what we love, it may cancel work altogether.
  • Loving on the plumeria our neighbors brought over for us today. What a special gift.
  • And I still can’t believe tomorrow is September 1st already! Somebody pinch me.

September 1st is my sign to start ringing in the season! It’s truly my favorite time of the year.

Then again, we had a glorious summer. Perhaps it’s that pumpkin spice latte time of the year that I begin to crave.

At any rate, I’m ready to embrace September, autumn and the season that I love so much. In fact, I had a little Christmas tree visit with the hubs today.

But first things first…Enjoy Autumn and that pumpkin spice latte. And the Holidays will unfold in due time.

Blessings – Debbie

Happy New Year

Wishing a Happy New Year to all of you!

So the hubs and I have spent the last couple of weeks enjoying the holidays, spending time with friends and working around the house.

And working around the house has been right up there on the top of our list.

In fact, I painted the office on New Years Eve. And went to sleep for the night at 8:30 pm. I could not keep my eyes open for the dropping of the ball in Times Square (east coast time).

And on New Years day, paint was applied to the baseboards in the office.

*See Image Below for the hubs project* – The hubs tells me this is going to be our home’s new gigabit network, 5G wifi, telephone, cable, and audio distribution center. I have no idea what this means, but he says I’m going to like it when its finished.

News Flash, he has already shown me the volume control for the outdoors, kitchen and dining areas. He’s right, I’m going to like the goodies.

I don’t know who is having more fun, but I can tell you we are having a grand time.

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I’m working on taking down the Christmas tree today. And I’m so thankful the hubs ordered special ornament containers for me this year. I can’t tell you what a delight it is not having to individually box the ornaments.

Our Lenox ornament this year. Our collection has grown over the last 17 Christmases together.

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“It’s a day of rest – to rest up from my week of vacation and to rest up for another week of vacation” – Said The Hubs, last weekend. And here this weekend is almost here. And that means it’s back to work for him Monday. But let’s not talk about that now. We’re still on vacation!

One of my special places to spend time, is still around the pond. Lately, I started crushing up the “big fish” food for the babies. Just after a week of feeding, the babies swim up to me as if I’m their best friend. True, they spent their first 6 months eating algae. While they still feed on the algae, they obviously like to forage for new fodder.

What a joy it is to watch the little babies change color. Of all the babies (approx 70 from the spawning last spring), this is the only one who has completely turned orange. And we have one I call “Rudolph” he/she has a red nose and the rest completely dark, just like the other baby you see in this image. We even have a few with a blueish tint. We understand it takes six months for the babies to develop color.

Six months are up, so we expect to see some big changes in the pond this winter/spring.

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I hope to be back soon as I hate to get so far behind on the blog.

Wishing Joy, Blessings and Happiness to you this New Year.

Blessings – Debbie

December Blurbs

Early December, I enjoyed a “Monday Funday” with my girlfriend down in the heart of San Diego = Seaport Village

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Lunch at the Fish Market

And the hubs and I enjoyed a lovely dinner date with this couple last weekend. Love spending time with friends…

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The hubs and I enjoyed a beautiful Christmas program – Weeks ago.

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We enjoyed the view and music from our front row balcony seats. After the program, we had a lovely time at our neighbors party.

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“At Christmas I no more desire a rose than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth; But like of each thing that in season grows.” – William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour Lost

“Shakespeare may not desire a rose in December, but he didn’t live in San Diego” – From the diary of the previous owner of our home.

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A December rose is a wonderful treat. And these roses are left for our enjoyment from the previous owners.

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A beautiful night sky – I was admiring the sky one evening while out cleaning my paint brushes and roller. Go me! I finally finished painting the last hallway a few weeks ago.

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December 19th = the hubs last day of work thru 1/6/2014!

The babies are happy. Although we think we lost one to that egret, as we only count 9 of the original big guys. But they are happy and loving life – Image shot a week or so ago.

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Last Friday, the hubs took me Christmas shopping in LA. I thought we were going to do some shopping in the Fashion District. But that was just a little “white lie” as the hubs had other plans. Plans to surprise me with diamond earrings. And surprise me, he did.

I told him I really didn’t need anything for Christmas. However, I did tell him I could use socks (mine have holes the size of quarters), a sweater and new hiking shoes.

But this is what the hubs thought I needed and what I got to unwrap Christmas morning.

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Arriving to Christmas Dinner at The Hotel Del.

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Carving the turkey

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Sand in my toes after dinner, was just what I needed.

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Sandcastles

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A Sandcastle for Christmas.

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The view – looking out to Point Loma.

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Ice Skating – It was fun to watch…

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Remembering Christmas Past – The silver ornament revealed a hidden surprise on Christmas morning, 1998. I said yes! And we’ve lived happily ever after.

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This Christmas – A day we – enjoyed sandcastles, time together on the beach, Christmas Dinner at Hotel Del, the afternoon and evening with friends, more presents, a bonfire, roasting marshmallows and visiting into the night.

Feeling Blessed and enjoying these days with the hubs.

Blessings – Debbie

There is Always Next Week

That’s what I said last week about digging out the Christmas Tree with sore aching muscles.

Remember? I had been painting this room while the hubs was out-of-town.

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And when he came back into town, he helped get the rest of the furniture moved back into the living room. In fact, he moved the furniture one evening after I had gone to bed (early) exhausted. And when I woke the next day, it was as tho somebody took a magic wand in there.

Then over the weekend, “the Tree” made an appearance as the hubs got it all set up for me. And we enjoyed the lights and flickering flame in the fireplace while relaxing during the evening hours.

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But this new 9′ tree took many days to fluff the branches and decorate. Well wort the effort, if you were to ask me.

Wednesday afternoon, we had the opportunity to see rare drama here in So Cal. Image shot from my neighbors driveway. We’ve had rain on and off ever since.

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Wednesday = morning book club meeting with the girls. Words are few, but my heart is full of the love we have for each other in this neighborhood and group. Then we went out for the end of the year luncheon at Olive Garden. Good times, laughter and visits = My heart beats joy. Then I had a little Wednesday afternoon scoot over to Costco with my neighbor and friend. Amazing day all the way around.

And then is where “There is Always Next Week” comes into play.

On Thursday (yesterday), I finally finished the Christmas Tree!

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I must say, I’m so delighted I took the painting of the house chore on before the holidays. It’s not only nice to have it done, I finally have the paint color of choice on our walls after many many years of wanting to paint the place we get to call home.

It truly is a blessings making this place home sweet home. Hopefully for a very long time.

Blessings – Debbie

Work Work Work

And so it was, there were three full days of work + overtime during the evening hours this week.

Turns out, my body is physically exhausted and I told the hubs over lunch (today) that the heaviest thing I lifted all day, is the nail polish. But he questioned that saying, didn’t you lift the lid to the candy jar? Read on to “get it”.

Back to the work part of the post.

The hubs graciously moved all the furniture out of the living room last weekend.

And I started in on the painting of the living room. I was able to complete two coats of the cutting in – Monday.

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Then I came up with the bright idea of biting off more than I could chew for the week. On Tuesday I started cutting in both hallways. What was I thinking? I know, right? I worked late as I tried to finish up the last hall.

Wednesday was the day to roll the paint. And by 10 am, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. The living room alone would have been just dandy. But adding two hallways? That was nuts and my wings felt like they were breaking. Nonetheless, I kept chipping away.

And before I knew it, the living room was DONE!

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And hallway #1 = Done. I tell ya, I was on a roll and loving the fresh new paint.

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By the time Thursday morning rolled around, I had my part in putting what I could back in place.

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And the hubs was back home Thursday morning. And guess what he brought, just for me?

Makes me feel a little guilty as he didn’t take any snacks for himself the entire trip (on the plane). Each time they made their way around with the snack basket (chocolate candy included) he took one of these guys for me and didn’t take any for himself. That’s just not right.

Remember the fingernail polish being the heaviest thing I lifted all day? Turns out the lid of the candy jar is heavier. 🙂

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Break Time – I had such an amazing break from work (yesterday). And it’s another nice break today. I had another Biscoff and coffee break this morning. Had the best lunch break date with the hubs.

And truly enjoying this Friday. I did have another plan for this week. But it’s just not coming to pass. I had plans to put up the Christmas tree today. I’m so excited about decorating, I can hardly stand it. But for now, the break is necessary. Next week people, there is always next week. Right?

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It’s so nice having the hubs back in town. We look forward to a nice relaxing weekend around the homestead.

Who knows, that tree may find its way out of the box this weekend.

Blessings – Debbie

Keep Calm and Blog On

That’s what one tells them-self, when said person is a bit more than two weeks behind on the blog.

When one needs to keep calm, it never hurts to have an extra cup of coffee. So I did.

And with this post, I thought it would be nice to say a few blurbs of what’s been going on around here. Sprinkled with a smattering of photos, to keep things real.

Things like – Taking an image of our hard work, what a beautiful wood pile. The hubs did the chopping and I did the stacking. A great big cheers to having that job finished and we will celebrate with many a fire in the fire-pit in the coming days/years.

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We started hiking the hood again.

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I especially love hiking, just before sunset with the hubs.

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I’m back to painting the walls in the house.

Do you know that Christmas music has filled the space in our home, going on 3 weeks? I admit, this is a first. I really don’t know what’s into me, but Christmas is in the air and I feel it. And I’m shopping for a new Christmas tree. I think I found just the one. This is not a non-sequitur people. It has everything to do with painting, as it truly filled the air with every brushstroke and roll of paint with the roller.

Below – A finished image of the family room. The paint color is Behr – Summer Bliss

Don’t mind the stuff on the window ledges, I didn’t have everything back in place when I took this image.

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After painting a couple of days in the family room, I took a two-day rest. And I read for two days. The great news = I finished the book for my book club meeting this month.

Fry – Who knew goldfish/fish young were called fry? And that they hatch a brownish color? And they can take up to a year to develop color? And they can change color up until they have fully matured? I’m pretty jazzed with the little yellow and black guy who is changing color before our eyes. And it’s hard to believe that some of the little ones look pretty close to 3″ in size already. I knew none of the above going into this, but it’s a joy learning as we go…

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And one day while sitting at the edge of the pond, the reflection begged to be captured.

Speaking of the pond – The fountain sprung a leak and water was seeping out (a little drop at a time). Thankful for a good pond guy who was able to repair the leak for us last week.

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Speaking of repairs – The washing machine broke last Thursday.

The best load for the washer to break = the last load. The load you debate even throwing in the wash. You know, a few sweaters that would be nice to have fresh for our cool San Diego nights. I was feeling a bit smug (Thursday evening) to have all the clothes put away and the ironing all up to snuff.

And it’s still in need of some tender loving care. But I have hopes that the appliance man will have things under control tomorrow. Fingers crossed…

I have to put in a big plug-in for the St Louis Cardinals, the hubs hometown and team since childhood. The hubs predicted (before the playoff series) that they would nail it in 6, in honor of #6. What do you know, he was right on the money! We’re looking forward to our Cards in the World Series!

We helped our friends do a little moving down here from LA over the last two weekends. And we enjoyed a nice dinner with them last weekend.

Snapped this guy on one of my little outdoor garden jaunts.

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The garden is one of my favorite places to relax.

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Let there be birthday cake! Red velvet birthday cake. I whipped this guy up over the weekend.

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Our daughter came for a visit (down from LA) and it was her birthday. I couldn’t think of any other cake to bake, than her favorite red velvet.

And I decorated her card with fingernail polish. It’s my new favorite way to decorate the envelope.

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 Twas a big celebration weekend of whining and dining.

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I spent a bit of time in the garden this morning. Remember? One of my favorite ways to relax.

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And shot several images.

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 And sipped on coffee.

And spent some time on the phone with my pop.

And I’ve been really good about staying out of the leftover ice cream. I call that a big accomplishment.

And I’m ever thankful we sent “ALL” the leftover cake with Kristy. Lord knows I would have a hard time staying out of that.

And I feel blessed getting this new week started off on the right foot.

Blessings – Debbie

That Nagging Frustration

When you just had your hand on something and next thing you know, it’s gone.

If I were a pencil, where would I be? That is still the question two days later.

We just had the hubs 0.9mm Pentel P209 pencil the night before last. By morning we could not put our fingers on it.

So I started in on the 4 day holiday weekend laundry + checked all pockets per usual. Searched high and low. Found a stray sock under the bed while conducting the search.

And what do you know, I found the other missing pencil (image below), but there is still another missing as he has two. This guy was found in the stuff we were working on over the weekend. Goodness knows where the other is lurking.

And why is this driving me nuts and consuming me for two days? The hubs and I chalk it up to bizarre. Who knows, maybe the aliens took it?

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Crystal Clear – So I was in the mood for a little abstract today. I took this image of a small crystal votive, held up to the beveled glass window with the garden providing the background light and color.

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And a few blurbs running thru my head:

  • This week feels rather short.
  • The fish are happy as ever. And the little fry are getting SO big! I dare say we have 100 if not more little babies from all that spawning. Anyone out there want some free goldfish? I’m serious! As far as the big birds go, we have been able to successfully keep the birds away from the fish. Knock on wood.
  • It’s hot in So Cal – The “summer” came unannounced a week or so ago. But we don’t look for it to last too long.
  • I’m already thinking about Thanksgiving dinner.
  • I get such a hankering for candy corn this time of the year. I usually splurge at some point with one small bag. And then you know what else I could go for? A small bag of peanuts mixed in with the corn. Love those two together.
  • We’ve talked about where the Christmas tree is going – Speaking of which, we’re getting a new pre-lit tree this year = Excited!
  • The hubs played a little Christmas music over Pandora the other evening. Makes me happy.
  • And I’m particularly looking forward to the weekend.

Blessings – Debbie

Family Memories

While moments build memories, pictures capture those moments and they will forever be stamped in time. Makes me wish I had taken more pictures, but I’m thankful for the ones we do have.

Christmas spent with family = priceless.

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And taking family pictures turns out to be a lot of fun. This is our “normal” family and that makes me happy.

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My Pop, he’s the kind of guy who can do just about anything. He’s good at what he does and doing something half way would never occur to him. He’s taught me a lot and I do take after him in many ways. I’m known to be a “little” fussy when it comes to some things. I wonder who I got that from?

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I come from a family who loves to laugh. And there will always be someone to fill the bill, like my nephew. Who by the way, takes after his father, aka my brother who takes after our pop.

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Niece and nephew

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Are they cute or what?

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He’s a charmer no doubt. And I love his funny side.

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My little brother with his family. We missed their other daughter (she’s out of the country doing her calling.)

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My brother and his beautiful wife. We truly enjoyed our visit with them.

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Nephew using his sister for some added weight for his squats.

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Having fun…

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Air…

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A lot of air.

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And I leave with this black and white of my niece and nephew

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While we enjoyed our holidays with family, it came to an end. It was time to pack up our stuff in “Sunny South Florida” and head to “Sunny Southern California.”

We’ve finally settled down after our trip and we’re getting back into the swing of things. While 2013 is well underway, I’m thankful for the wonderful times and memories we made.

Blessings – Debbie