December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to All!

My Christmas wish for you all..., happiness, peace, joy, contentment,
and God's blessings.

Christmas Graphics



December 24, 2007

First Place Win! OCFA

My "Stairway Foliage" canvas won FIRST PLACE at the Orange County Fine Arts show! I'm so HAPPY!!!

December 19, 2007

Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train - OMG that was so FUN!

We went to the Irvine Regional Park last night to ride the Christmas Train - IT WAS SO FUN!!

When we got there it was after dark - and I mean d-a-r-k! Then all of a sudden you see this beautiful glow off in the distance.

When we got to the entry gate we were very happy to see that the gates were open and there was no charge for entrance!

Note to you all: You can avoid the $4.00 - $5.00 entry fee by going after 5:00 p.m.

So we parked and I'm telling you, it was that same feeling you get when you were little and you pulled up to Disneyland. The lights and sounds, and the excitement in the air was magical!

Kids were squealing with excitement, and the parents were almost as excited as the kids! The line was long, but moved very quickly once the train arrived each time, so it wasn't bad at all.

The park was covered in lights and decorations, and was a sight to see for sure.

It did start to sprinkle when we arrived, and that became a light rain, but it really wasn't a big deal because where you line up is covered, and the train has a roof on it. So again - no big deal. And I have to admit that the rain actually made everything glow and reflect, so it was even more beautiful.

And the conductors were keeping the kids entertained by walking around and talking to them, and juggling!

Then it was our turn! We boarded the train and got ready for our trip to see Santa.

Another note to you: Best seats - very back. You're facing the rear of the train, so you can see everything as it goes by with nothing blocking your view.

Traveling through the park and seeing all the lights and decorations along the way was so cool. Then there was another glow off in the distance, and it was Santa's Village.

We departed Santa's Village after letting people off and boarding others, and then the train continued on for a great light show through the tunnel, and past the old cabin, where it was snowing (yes, it was snowing) - and finished up back at the train station.

The staff was super friendly, and everyone had a great time.

If you have any time at all, take your family for a ride on the Christmas Train. It's a fun activity for everyone, without the full-day committment. I'm going back, and I'll be back every year!

December 15, 2007

What I'm Doing Instead of Christmas Shopping

It is now the 15th of December, and I still haven't done any Christmas shopping.

This is what I've been doing instead...

I'm getting lots of stops to look at my pictures, very complimentary comments, and sales are good, so I'm a very happy girl. I'm also meeting lots of nice people from here, there and everywhere.

All in all, I'm having a great time!

Two more shows and I'm done, so then I fully expect to whip right through my Christmas shopping and be completely done in time to go visit a few fun places to enjoy the holidays.

(Isn't unbridled optimism fun to watch?)

December 13, 2007

I Can Now Find My Way Out of a Paper Bag

It has been suggested that I have trouble finding my way out of a paper bag. This is not completely true, but does base itself in semi-fact. I have gotten myself lost many times, BUT I have good backtracking skills, and always got out of my jam. Or I have people I can call and have them guide me. (This is a bit tricky, since I'm only describing where I am and they have to picture it in their minds).

This can be irritating and perplexing, because at my worst I've almost had people miss their flights (I was the shuttle), it's taken me 5 hours to make a 1-hour round trip (errands), and I missed two back-to-back commitments being late for the first, and then because the first one ran late, that made me late for the second (meeting friends). So, as you can see, this is a bit of a problem.

I have some navigational issues.

A. I DO NOT know north, south, east or west.
B. I DO know left and right.
C. I DO know "toward the mountains" and "toward the ocean."
D. I tend to talk too much if I have (a) riding companion(s), and totally miss the turns.
E. If I'm on what appears to be one of my beaten paths, I sometimes go "auto-pilot" and miss my turns to the new destination.
F. If I'm on a cell phone while driving I almost always miss my turns.

These are no longer issues for me :-D

Santa told the elves to bring me my big present early this Christmas.

(Okay, confession: We always open our big gifts as soon as we get them. We're very irresponsible that way)

Anyway, here it is:


I like this one because you don't have to leave it in the car, and if you go on vacation you can just have it in your pocket or bag and use it when necessary (HUGE perk!) Also, because you don't have to leave it in your car, chances of people nabbing it are smaller.

And speaking of vacation, if you go out of the country you can download special maps that give you directions for pretty much anywhere in the world. And it has a currency converter, language translator, plays audiobooks, view pictures, and on and on and on!

Another excuse for me to take a foreign vacation? Hmm... Perhaps...

So, there it is. My newest and greatest treasture.

I'll let you know how I like it after I've used it awhile.

December 12, 2007

Christmas Shopping (or the lack thereof)

I am starting to get a little freak-out going. As my Christmas countdown reminds me, I am running out of time before Christmas arrives, and I have not done ANY Christmas shopping.

Between being sick (this is my second week), and being busy, busy, BUSY, I have put it off until now, and I'm starting to worry. Will I get going on this while I still have time for to ship? Oh, yes - me and Internet shopping go wayyyy back. It's almost like Santa dropping down the chimney and leaving lots of gifts - only with Internet shopping the packages magically arrive on my porch. No shipping, no tax.


Anyway, back to panicsville - I am going to try and get this going by Tuesday. At the latest.

For sure...

(I hope)

December 11, 2007

Is Christmas a Female Holiday?

I have had an epiphany of sorts - that Christmas might really be a holiday for women, and seems to be "by invitation only" for men.

I mean, it just seems that women are the ones doing the frenzied shopping (I have never seen men freaking out about getting to a store at 5:00 a.m. on Black Friday), preparing massive and beautiful Christmas feasts, making sure the family gets to the various holiday events, sending out Christmas cards, or making sure the house is a decorated shrine. When you think about it, men ARE involved, but it is only because the women want them to be, or...demand it -- uh, err, I mean to say, expect it.


Christmas is a wonderful holiday. Its mere existence arises from the most fantastic event in the history of mankind! This alone should make everyone love this holiday. Yet, I still see the initiative being taken primarily by women.

I simply do not get this.

I like to think it is because men are tired from long stressful days at work, and the last thing they want to do is string lights, or deck out the house, but that they truly do love Christmas as much as we women do. But lots of women work, too, and still get "into" it, so that kind of shoots down that argument.

So, I guess my question is this: Am I totally off base here (please say yes), or is there some sort of secret problem that the guys aren't sharing with us?

Would love some opinions on this.

December 07, 2007

Knott's Merry Farm!

And let's not forget about little brother park in Orange County - Knott's Berry Farm, or as it is known at Christmas, Knott's Merry Farm. (I love puns)

Here's a link to another great themed park (get it?)

Christmas at the Happiest Place on Earth!

I thought I'd spend this month following in October's footsteps and make it holiday-themed. I'll be searching high and low for some cool things to do at Christmastime in and around Orange County.

Here a link to Disneyland's Christmas themed park.

It looks absolutely magical, and I HOPE I get a chance to go there before it's all back to normal - which is not a bad thing. Disneyland is awesome on its worst day - but they really dress up the park so magically when they do their themes. I've been there at Halloween, but not Christmas (can you believe it??). Fingers crossed that I remedy that this year!

December 06, 2007

Me Ski? Hey, it's Snowjoke! (.com)

This link was left by "anonymous" and is hysterical!

Like the ElfYourself site, you upload your face to the skier template (again, very easy) and off you go!

Here I am!

All Aboard the Christmas Train!

Are you looking for something really fun for the family to do this Christmas season? Then you really need to make time to visit the Irvine Park Railroad (at Irvine Regional Park). This is their 12th annual event, and people are coming back year after year. What better recommendation can you get than that?

Irvine Railroad Christmas Train

I happen to know that the crews spent an entire month putting up lights, so I can't wait to get down there and check it out. WITH my trustee camera, that is. This is an absolute no-miss for me, because as you remember from my earlier blogs, their Halloween train was really done well and everyone loved it!

So, for now check out the link for details and coupons (I LOVE coupons!) and plan to take the family for a visit (or two, or three). It looks absolutey magical.

Here's information and a map I got from the O.C. Register site:

Train to North Pole
What:Irvine Park Railroad's 12th annual Christmas Train

When:5-8 p.m. Friday through Dec. 2; Dec. 7-9; Dec. 13-23.

Where:Irvine Region Park, 1 Irvine Park Rd., Orange

Admission:$8, children 24 months and younger ride free.

Parking:$3 on weekdays and $5 on weekends; free after 5 p.m.

Information:Children may mail letters to Santa Claus or tell him their wish list during their visit. There will also be photo opportunities during the event. or 714-997-3968.


Wanna Have Some Christmas Fun? Elf Yourself!

This site is a riot! You upload faces into the elf template (very, very easy) and then voila! You're a dancing elf! You can have up to four people in an elfish chorus line. is the site, and I've had two people cycle this to me so far. People are having a lot of fun with it.

Here's me as an elf: - Barbara the Dancing Elf!

December 04, 2007

First Week of Christmas Art Shows - Success!!

I am insane. I signed up to do eight Christmas art / craft fairs all in the first three weeks of December. I know I should be regretting it, but I am having a BLAST!

I was off to a bit of a weak start, considering that my first show was last Friday, and was scheduled for the Dana Point Harbor. This was the same Friday that drought-stricken California received its first real pounding, all-day-lasting rainstorm since early October.

Day 1: Rained out.

I did take advantage of having to stay home, though, and got some more prints framed, so all was not lost.

The next day was a sure thing, because no matter what the weather, the NBAF art / craft show was being held in Newport Beach - indoors! Yay! So, I got all set up and met my vendor / neighbor, Diane. We had a great day yucking it up, and I was really happy to meet her.

I rocked that show! I sold way more than I had hoped to, and that put me on the moon. It was my first time accepting credit cards, and that made a huge difference.

The next day I was in San Clemente, and did well again. Met lots of nice people, played my Christmas carols, and generally sat around and had my own personal Christmas party :-D

It was so fun, even though it was a bit nippy outside with the nice ocean breeze and all (okay, it was f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g!) The day went by really fast, and I was happy with my sales for the day.

Three down, five to go! Wish me luck!


November 27, 2007

Now, THIS is Dancing!

This has got to be the best trained dog I've ever seen. He should be on Dancing With The Stars - he'd smoke 'em!

This pooch is amazing!!

November 21, 2007

November 20, 2007

A Sunset Wedding

I was cruising around last weekend looking for some good picture-taking opportunities, and I happened upon a beautiful little sunset wedding.

I call this image "Vows"

Best wishes to this couple.

November 18, 2007


My newest favorite picture - taken yesterday. I'm calling it "Glory" for obvious reasons...

November 17, 2007

SuperG Gallery - Heather's Exhibit

Last night I ventured deep into the netherworld that is L.A.
This was an adventure insofar as life behind the Orange Curtain is...well...different. Sort of like Oz. It is a very protected suburban society, and we view the rest of the urban world from the safety of our homes, via the television, or, better yet, the Internet.

While it was a little unsettling at first to see the continuous lineup of buildings adorned with iron-barred windows, graffiti, undefinable stains, and iron fencing with razor sharp points, suitable for impaling intruders --

-- we then began to emerge into a much cooler area with all sorts of urban chic shops, retro diners, and upscale restaurants that I was absolutely sure hosted at least one or more movie stars. AND Paramount Studios!

Lucky for me (like never before), I was not driving.

We were on this outing to attend Heather's exhibition at the SuperG Gallery in L.A. Heather is our friend and fellow First Impressions group member. She is also a very talented photographer, so while we would have solely gone to see her exhibit to support her as part of our group, we were really looking forward to seeing her work, which is never a letdown.

So, back to the adventure...

After the loooong drive made longer by rad traffic, and then the bumper-to-bumper road-rage-fest that is normal city surface street driving conditions, we were faced with yet another obstacle. No parking.

Bob circled around and around, hunting for the ideal place to park. We found a parking garage, but it had a little murder-mystery vibe to it, so we turned around and left. Looped around, up and down, and then found a normalish looking street right by the gallery, and turned down it. No parking, no parking, no parking -- "WAIT! There's one!" (That's me talking) We were past it, though, so another U-turn or two and we were coming back to it. We saw several cars coming up the street and we were cringing at the thought of losing our great spot, but we were very relieved to see that the five or so cars that drove past it didn't want to park there. Wow! Lucky us!

Not. But that comes later...

It was a short walk to the SuperG, with a Johnny Rockets diner across the street. So, Bob, Rita and I went in and had a sandwich. Like all true camera nerds, we sat there and ate and photographed everything we could inside the restaurant.

Great food, by the way, and the service by the one waitress on duty was probably the best service I've had in years! I mean, this girl was on it!

We leave and go across the street and people are outside mulling around, and we were happy to see it's a pretty good-sized crowd. We go in and spot Heather right away, and she spots us.

They had a pretty wide range of art at the show, including a drawing by Heather's boyfriend (seen above Heather's "Mirror, Mirror" piece), but I have to say that Heather's was the best in the room.

They had a DJ and percussionist, and the music was loud, heavy and tribal. I loved it!

Some other people came to see Heather, so after checking out all the other art, and, of course, taking pictures (I'm obsessed), we said goodbye and walked back to the car.

(Heather and her boyfriend)

It was at this point that the "why" of our earlier good fortune was revealed. The car was safe and sound, and sporting a brand new $45.00 parking ticket.

"Crap!" (That's Bob talking)

Rita and I pitched in our $15.00 share, which took the sting out of it for Bob. And I must say, that parking spot was totally worth $15.00!

The ride home was good - for me, anyway. I had a Mountain Dew on the way up and I get totally wired on those. I talked the whole way up, and the whole way back. I thoroughly enjoyed (listening to) myself.


November 16, 2007


The happiest day of the week for me is Friday. Not Saturday or Sunday, but Friday. Why? Because it's the part of the weekend that is the farthest away from Monday without actually using up your weekend ducats. Fridays are always great for daydreaming about what you'll get to do over the weekend, where you'll go, who you'll run into.

AND you can stay up really late without worrying about how tired you'll be when you have to crawl out of bed in the morning. You really don't even have to get out of bed if you don't feel like it.

Personally, I can't bear to sleep away my weekend. I mean, who wants to waste their leisure time? It's like taking off on sick time when you're actually sick. What a waste of a day off. I stay up late and get up early on the weekends, and try to pack 10,000 things into my little two-day weekly vacation. I LOVE the weekends!

Okay, so what to do??

A no-miss, as far as I'm concerned, is the swap meet. Or, as it is now known, "The Orange County Marketplace." (It'll always be the swap meet to me)

It is a great place to spend the day. Lots of people and vendors, great deals, good deals, not-so-good deals. And if you happen to be in the market for cheap sunglasses - this is the place to be. Oh, and the plants are beautiful, and you can't find cheaper hair thingies. And hats! And -- well, you get it.

If you're a beer drinker, you can grab a beer, get the kids some ice cream or churros, maybe a pretzel, and off you go. Personally? A soda and some Fire Bites (super spicy little hot dog pieces) rock my world :D

You really never know who or what you'll see at the swap meet. Last week we saw the Mayan guys, who have been there for a looooong time. Their music is really cool, and has a haunting tonality to it. If you go you'll know exactly who I'm talking about once you get there.

Then we also saw a guy in a Scottish outfit (kilt, etc.) playing a violin and rocking out (didn't really get the connect between the outfit and the music, although, he did play well)

And these two 49'er-looking guys who had this crazy antique SUV from a gabillion years ago. Apparently these guys travel around to various sites, such as campgrounds, and perform their act. They're actually really entertaining, and I'm sure they do very well.

So, what'd I get on my last swap meet excursion? A blue "diamond" paperweight that weighs about a pound ($3.00), a sticker for the back window of my car (heart with tribal, $6.00), a cool gray cap, which I used that day at the swap meet, and the next day for taking pics at the beach ($6.00), and some windchimes I had to replace, because my mom fell in love with my last one and I gave it to her ($10.00).

Treasures, every one.

Oh, and I got to use my cool "old lady" cart that is semi-new. I bought a license plate for it, but haven't had a chance to put it on yet. I'm also going to get a horn. So nerdy, but so funny.

Me? I prefer to laugh...


November 14, 2007

Whistling Puppy

I am an ABSOLUTE MANIAC for animals, and especially DOGS! I love them insanely. That said, I have to share with you something that makes me happy every single time I see it.

This is my absolute favorite YouTube video of all time. I play it every now and then, sometimes over and over, and it never fails to make me laugh.

November 12, 2007

Eavesdropping... Huh? What'd They Say?

So, yesterday I was down in San Clemente working on a custom order for a lovely couple in England, and I must've briefly joined in (read: eavesdropped) on 30 small conversation soundbites.

If you're into photography you know that when you're on a photo mission you split your time between scanning your surroundings and looking through the camera lens, constantly trying to frame the next great shot. Contrary to what you might think, photographers miss a lot - oh, not the beautiful skies, or gorgeous scenery, but you might miss the people next to you, or the gull getting ready to drop a bomb on you, or, in my case, an airplane that is about to drop on your head. (Real airplane, not a toy. True story.) Basically, you tune out everything irrelevant to your (hopefully) awesome photograph setup.

This plays out sort of like a blind person - you hear so much more than you ordinarily would.

At first you don't even notice that you're eavesdropping. But if you're like me, you absolutely love hearing tidbits from other people's lives. Okay, that sounds really creepy, so let me explain and defend this questionable practice of mine...

I love people. I love to chat with strangers I meet on the streets, in stores, at the beach - wherever our paths may cross. It's not that I'm desperate for conversation, I have lots of friends and acquaintances, and I am (apologies) horrid at returning phone calls. So, desperation to talk is not my motivator.

What does motivate me is that people are totally interesting! Each person has their own little fascinating world, and while you may not want to spend hours and hours chatting them up, a quick fix is eavesdropping. And I don't mean the creepy stalking kind of eavesdropping, but just paying attention as you come near people in passing.

You come to find out that all people are basically the same, and have lots of the same issues. Doesn't matter if they're rich or poor, black or white, gay or straight, or from different generations. Life is similar in its cycle, with little individual tweaks here and there, but fundementally the same. People are people are people. This is a great insight, because once you "get" that, you'll be happier with yourself and your world.

I try to not envy anyone, because you never know what lurks behind their doors. The person who has everything may have a dear price to pay for that lifestyle - one that, if known, you or I would be unwilling to pay.

So, while I might have an iPod plugged into my ears at times, I more than likely might just be eavesdropping in on my "WorldPod" (Wow, that sounds soooo corny...LOL!) and enjoying every minute of my secret visits.

November 10, 2007

PostSecret Response

I'm SO glad people are enjoying the PostSecret books. And, no, I don't do Pay-For-Post, or whatever it's called, so this is all me, baby! I just fell in love with the whole PostSecret project, and really believe that besides being deliciously entertaining, it really does help people get rid of their "junk."

I've had a ton of emails asking for the address to PostSecret, and others just commenting on PostSecret and my blog about it. This is great! It makes me happy, because it's like having a really cool story or funny joke - it's oh, so good when you can share it with someone else and relive it all over again when others react to it.

Anyway, if you haven't checked out the PostSecret books yet, you're really missing out.

And if you have...DON'T YOU LOVE IT???!!!

November 09, 2007

World Clock - What's Going On???

Ever wonder what's going on? Well, wonder no more. Here are some of the answers - some happy, some tragic, but it just gives you an idea of how much is happening outside our own personal bubbles.

If it's too small to read, here's a bigger version

November 07, 2007

Harbor House Cafe - Dana Point

Unless you live in Las Vegas, all night diners are tough to come by. Sometimes it's nice to get out, or stay out, and then go have a burger, or dessert, or whatever, but if it's after 9:00 p.m. in the 'burbs, that is NOT going to happen.

Harbor House in Dana Point is the coolest place to hang out, especially late at night. The beachy, low-pro casual atmosphere is so totally comfy and pressure-free. The food is great, and portions are HUGE, but they're happy to give you a container to take the leftovers home for a rerun snack the next day.

The inside of Harbor House is really cool - old time leatherette booths, and movie star pics all over the walls and ceiling. And the graffiti is to die for! (Okay, that was weird and just jumped out).

But mostly, it's just a cool, fun place to hang out near the beach...especially in the middle of the night when the rest of the world is sleeping.