October 31, 2007

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Happy Halloween - from me and my pooch!

October 29, 2007

Laguna Beach Sunset

Another great light show in Laguna Beach last night.

October 28, 2007

PostSecret Address

I was asked to post the PostSecret address for those who cannot locate it. Here it is:

PostSecret
13345 Copper Ridge Road
Germantown, MD 20874

October 25, 2007

Historic Los Rios District - San Juan Capistrano



Los Rios Historic District in San Juan Capistrano is the oldest neighborhood in California. The moment you step foot across the train tracks in San Juan Capistrano, you're transported back to another time. The entire area is filled with historic homes and businesses, and there are three original adobes that were housing for the workers who helped build the mission in the late 1700's and early 1800's. Oh, and don't miss the original iron jail cell that sits in the middle of town!

The historic architecture in Los Rios makes for a great evening stroll, and there are lots of great restaurants and shops within a short walking distance.

They also have a cool Ghost Tour with lots of haunted sites! I've been on it, and it's a lot of fun (and creepy!) walking around the neighborhood at night.

Here are a few pictures from last weekend at Los Rios.





October 24, 2007

Orange County Fire Videos

Just a couple views of the fires devastating Orange County at the moment.

Irvine Fire:


Camp Pendleton Fire:


Silverado Fire:


Lake Forest Fire:

Road Closure - Interstate 5

Laguna Beat notes on his blog that the I-5 is now closed from Cristianitos Road by Camp Pendleton to Harbor Drive in San Diego. That's a pretty long stretch of road! Check out his blog for a great fire shot from a hilltop in Laguna Beach.

UPDATE: O.C. Register reports that I-5 is now open. Click Here for the latest fire information, including road closures.

Fire! Red Sun

This morning I sat down to work and noticed that the sky had a goldish glow to it. I then went to look out a back window and was amazed to see the sun glowing red like a burning ember. Here are two pictures I shot on "auto" and are completely unretouched. The sky's a little dark in these shots because I exposed for the sun so you could see its deep red glow. It's a very strange sight.

7:52 a.m.



This should give you an idea of how much smoke and ash are in the skies around us from all the fires, especially the Modjeska Canyon fire.

Last night another fire broke out on Camp Pendleton.

October 23, 2007

New Notecards in My Etsy Shop

I have a ton of notecard sets that I'll be adding to my Etsy shop. Here are the newest additions: Click Here Please stop by and take a peek. :-D

Dogs in Halloween Costumes

October 22, 2007

California is Burning...

(Click image to enlarge)

Our beautiful state is burning mercilessly right now. It's so sad to think of the lives, homes and wildlife that will be lost because of these fires.

The counties affected are Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego. Sadly, a very complete list of Southern California. You can see from this satellite image that they are spread out and the smoke is thick as it's being fanned by the Santa Ana winds, also known, ironically, as the Devil Winds. With all these flames, that would seem to be the more appropriate name. The skies are completely gray and we had to shut our windows because of the pungent odor.

And to make matters even worse, I just saw on the news that the huge fire burning in Irvine was set by an arsonist. They have now found three areas that were intentionally lit on fire. What kind of a reprobate do you have to be to do something so horrific? Whatever. I believe that whatever you set out into this world comes back to you, so to the loser that set the fires, I hope you receive as you gave.

Revisiting PostSecret

The other day I got my new PostSecret book in the mail from Amazon.com (A Lifetime Of Secrets). I loved it!! I loved it so much, in fact, that I read it cover to cover in a day and a half. I couldn't put the thing down. I felt sad that I had finished it, but then I remembered there are three more PostSecret books out there just waiting for me.

I also felt better because I just found this link to the PostSecret Community section. There are videos, updated secrets, and follow-up stories for me to sift through. Who knows? I might even send in a secret or two or twenty. :-D

By the way, here's the PostSecret address. Just in case you want to send in your own secret(s):

PostSecret
13345 Copper Ridge Road
Germantown, MD 20874

October 21, 2007

And Even More Pumpkin Patches!

Yesterday I decided to visit another pumpkin patch on my list, but that didn't happen. Instead, I ended up visiting three others; Irvine Regional Park in Orange, Tanaka Farms in Irvine, and Pumpkinpalooza at Zoomar's Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano.

STOP 1: IRVINE PARK

















Irvine (Regional) Park's
pumpkin patch (1 Irvine Park Road, Orange - (714) 997-3968) is an extravaganza. It has a distinctive county fair atmosphere to it -- and was absolutely swarming with people. This is only the second year they've had it, so it'll be interesting to see how many people are there next year!

The pumpkin patch itself is free to enter, but there is an entrance fee to Irvine Regional Park of $3.00 M-F, $5.00 S-S per auto. Walk in for free.

The events include the pumpkin patch, naturally, plus train rides, a costume contest (ages 0 to 12), hayrides, pumpkin moon bounce, hay maze, pony rides, picture stands, pumpkin weigh off, petting zoo, face painting (weekends only), and a little haunted house.

Next Saturday (27th) there will be a costume contest. All children who enter the contest will get a free train ride at the end of the day for the costume parade.

This one is definitely worth checking out if you want to have some great Halloween fun with the kids.

----------------

STOP 2: TANAKA FARMS

The next stop was over to Irvine (the city) to Tanaka Farms pumpkin patch (5380-3/4 University Drive, Irvine - (949) 653-2100). For the health conscious, Tanaka's happens to be Orange County's largest organic farm. (Pick your own strawberries, watermelons, or pumpkins depending on the time of year!)

They have a nicely laid out pumpkin patch that includes hay bales, bouncy houses, pumpkin patch tour, wagon rides, a petting zoo, pick your own vegetables, corn maze and of course pick your own pumpkins. If you're on that end of town, I would definitely recommend taking time to visit.

You can read more about Tanaka Farms here. They have a very interesting story.

I plan to go back to take the different tours and pick my own watermelons and strawberries - and for now, I'll go back to pick a pumpkin!

----------------

STOP 3: PUMPKINPALOOZA (at ZOOMAR'S)

The day's getting a bit long in the tooth at this point, but I wasn't ready to give it up just yet, so we headed down to San Juan Capistrano to see one last pumpkin patch.

















The Pumpkinpalooza at Zoomar's Petting Zoo (31791 Los Rios, San Juan Capistrano - (949) 831-6550) was a great ending to a great day. It is really decorated well, giving it a hometown feel, and includes a craft section, games, cornstalks, gourds, a hay maze, train table, sand box, kettle corn - oh, and pumpkins. There is a charge to enter this pumpkin patch, but it's only 25 cents. (Not quite sure of the theory behind this amount)

The pumpkin patch hours here are 9-5:30 M-F, and 9-5 S-S. I knew we'd get there late, but I figured I could check it out anyway - I was right. The patch is fenced off with cornstalks, but I just poked my camera through them and got a couple shots.















Added bonus for this pumpkin patch is Zoomar's Petting Zoo right next door, so for another small fee ($2.00 for kids, $5.00 for adults, $4.00 seniors) you can have a fun time checking out all the animals.


October 20, 2007

Scary Pranks :-D

I love to scare people...or see them being scared.

This is a guilty pleasure of mine.

Go ahead and watch this. Enable me.

October 18, 2007

View From Lookout Park

I love the fact that you can have it all when you live in Orange County. This is the view from one of the little parks in a housing tract. Nice backyard, eh?

California Ghosts

I love to be scared...in a fun, non-dangerous way. October is MY month. I mean, almost every TV channel has its month-long run of scary movies, TV shows, and ghost documentaries. In October my addiction for good ghost stuff peaks, so I start scouring around for something I haven't already seen, read or watched.

Success! I found a blogger who, for the entire month of October, has dedicated his California blog to all the haunted areas in our great state. Being a ghost story connoisseur, I thought I knew of all the haunted hot spots in California, but I had no idea there were so many more, right in my own backyard. (Do you LOVE IT??)

It's actually one of the very best "haunting" sources I've found, and believe me, I've bought books, videos, searched the Internet - you name it. He covers it all. Definitely worth your time to take a look.

Here's a link to his site:

Everything You Want To Know About California, And More

(Tell him Barbara Gordon sent you :-D )

Scary Skeleton Rides Again!

OMG, I laughed myself into tears with this one. I didn't understand a word he was saying, but the visual is SOOOOO worth watching it.

And let me tell you this - I would have set a new land speed record if it happened to me...

October 17, 2007

I Love London, I Love Ghosts

Okay, two (of a gabillion) things I love are London and ghosts. So, since it's Halloween season, I'm poking around the internet looking for spooky stuff to put on my blog, and I found this!

October 16, 2007

Tanya, the Fashionable

Okay, is this the cutest dog you've ever seen?
(After my Mina, of course)

This is Tanya, and she belongs to my good friend, Vicki. When I saw these pictures, I couldn't believe how cute they were. I thought I'd share.

October 15, 2007

Are You Right-Brain or Left-Brain?

I took some kind of informal personality test awhile back and it really explained something for me. Why do I sometimes have a stutter when it comes to making simple decisions? Oh, the big stuff is no problem - I'm all over that, but mediocrities sometimes are a challenge.

Well, mystery solved: The said personality test scored me at an even 1/2-left brain and 1/2-right brain. Balance. Sounds good? Balanced? Well, it's really a contradiction, because apparently the two sides have a "power struggle." It seems that unbalanced people, (grin) bobbing to the left or right, always use their prominent sides of the brain for problem-solving. No power struggle. No spinning in place.

Ever wonder if you were right brain or left brain, and just what, exactly, are the traits of either side?

Find Out Here

For me, the direction of the dancer keeps changing!

Right, left, right, left, right, left...

Peaceful Koi

October 14, 2007

Today I Am Grateful...

I always try to tell people who are having a rough patch that everything happens for a reason. I truly believe this. Even though this is very difficult to fathom while we are in the middle of a crisis, down the road, if you really open your mind, you can see how that incident was meant to be. And I'm not talking about your bad decisions, or setting yourself up for failure - YOU are responsible for these things. Own them. I'm talking about those occurrences and situations that are seemingly out of our control.

For instance:

The Dark Cloud: Saturday we were supposed to drive up to see my mom. I haven't seen her for awhile, and I really miss her. Well, without boring you with details, several things came up out of nowhere and the trip had to be postponed.

The Silver Lining: I'm sure you heard about the horrific fiery crash that happened Saturday on the Interstate 5 in Santa Clarita? That is the exact route we would have been on. And while we would not have been in the truck tunnel, the entire highway has been shut down since the accidents happened, and is still backed up for miles.

So, I remain a true believer in "what will be." I believe if you are patient and open yourself to really see your life's timeline, you will more often than not realize that we are guided through our journey.

Take time to feel your path.

It's Pumpkin Patch Time!


We went to my favorite pumpkin patch yesterday, at Laguna Hills Mall. This pumpkin patch always has that feel of a carnival or fair, with petting zoos, kiddie rides, live music, puppet shows, and gift shopping. Oh, yes - and PUMPKINS! Big pumpkins, small pumpkins, GIANT pumpkins, miniature pumpkins, white pumpkins - you name it! And gourds, and corn, and cornstalks - on and on.

October 13, 2007

The Amazing Art of Phil Hansen

"Bizarre."

That's the first word that comes to mind when I think of Phil Hansen's art. "Wow" is the second.

When I first saw Phil Hansen's work and technique I was mesmerized! His artwork is amazing, but his technique is what raises him to a level that is rarely visited by us mere mortals. His tools consist of many of his body parts; hands, feet, chest, cheek, stomach, to name a few, but then in comes ink, matchsticks, teriyaki sauce, wads of paper, or his own blood, and the finished product is a real standout.

His imagination is amazing, and while you may not agree with his message, the way he conveys that message through his dual-level art is brilliant.

If you take a few minutes to check him out, I'm sure you'll be as amazed as I was.



Phil Hansen's website: philinthecircle.com

October 12, 2007

"The Real Stars" - by Ben Stein

Okay, I'm not political, so this is not a message leaning to the right or left. I do, however, support and appreciate the sacrifice of each and every man and woman fighting our wars for us. This video clip circulated to me via the Internet this morning, and I thought it was great. Now I'm sharing.

That said, let me add that I have not read this book. In fact, I just heard about it five minutes ago. I do like the fact that Ben Stein says in the interview that he is pro-soldier, and donates all proceeds from the sale of this book to TAPS, which supports the families of our troops.

San Clemente Pier


I love watching surfers.

I don't think I've ever been to San Clemente pier and not seen people surfing. Rain or shine, winter or summer, there they are.

October 11, 2007

And Let's Not Forget Disneyland!

Not really scary in a gonna-have-a-stroke sort of way, but they dress the park up really well. Little kids won't get nightmares at this one.

I ADORE Jack Skelington and Nightmare Before Christmas, so it works for me! And besides, who doesn't love Disneyland??

Disneyland Halloweentime

Knott's Scary Farm

Knott's Scary (Berry) Farm Halloween Haunt rocks! I've been to a few of them over the years and they're always really scary! I even kissed Wolfman Jack at one of them! Whoohoo! I'll be going again this year.

Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt

Queen Mary - Shipwreck!

It's always fun to visit the Queen Mary in Long Beach, but this really looks like a great time!! I've been to a haunted tour on Queen Mary before and it was really creepy when we got down into the lower depths of the ship. This Halloween Shipwreck event would probably give me night terrors! (I LOVE being scared)

Click Here

And don't forget, the Queen Mary is supposed to really be haunted (seriously).

It's Starting to Feel Like Autumn!


It's breezy, cool, and the nights are crisp. Autumn is finally here. And even in Southern California you can find colorful autumn scenery to stroll through.

This is my favorite time of year - okay, it does almost tie with spring for me, but it's still my favorite by a nose. I love this time of year because for the next five months, each month has its own major holiday theme. I love that (!) and I'll be adding some cool things to do and places to go for the holidays in the days to come.

For now, this picture should put you in a fall mood. It was taken at a local arboretum. I love arboretums. Right in the middle of the city, you feel like you've been transported to another world.

Remember to enjoy the holidays. Do a little less, and spend more time actually enjoying the festivities. So many times people try to do or buy too much, and the holidays become a nightmare for them. If you simply eliminate everything that isn't mandatory, and be more spontaneous, you'll have more time and money at the end of the season, and will have actually enjoyed it!

And besides, most of the time after a few weeks or months pass, people (especially the kids) don't even remember what they got, so don't kill yourself trying to get everything.

Just breathe...

October 09, 2007

PostSecret - Anonymous Confessions

I just found out about this really cool ongoing book project called PostSecret. If you've ever seen that video "Dirty Little Secret" you'll know exactly what this is. People anonymously write down one of their deepest, darkest secrets on a postcard and mail it to the PostSecret address or go to a bookstore where the book is sold and stick their postcard in a copy of the book. They can finally let their secret out without the fear of discovery or reprisal. I think that's so healthy! Get rid of that burden, it can only make you sick. Some of these "confessions" make you feel so much better about yourself, and some are hysterically funny. I think the best part of this project is letting people know that everyone has a secret, or skeletons in the closet, so lighten up on yourself.

Click the link above for background and tour information on PostSecret. You can also find the PostSecret address if you want to participate in the project.

I'd love to hear from you if you've read these books or been a PostSecret participant.

Enjoy your lives!

Some New T-Shirts in My Red Bubble Store (click here)


What Color is Your Soul Painted?

I'm blue - but in a good way! And blue just happens to be my favorite color :-D

What color is your soul painted?

Blue

Your soul is painted the color blue, which embodies the characteristics of peace, patience, understanding, health, tranquility, protection, spiritual awareness, unity, harmony, calmness, coolness, confidence, dependability, loyalty, idealism, tackiness, and wisdom. Blue is the color of the element Water, and is symbolic of the ocean, sleep, twilight, and the sky.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz

quiz
Quizzes and Personality Tests

October 08, 2007

Wabi Sabi

I learned about wabi sabi (pr. WAH-bee-SAH-bee) from one of my photography teachers, Tom Lamb. He suggested we buy the book, "Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers" by Leonard Koren. I got an inexpensive copy on Amazon.com and I love it! Here's what the author writes about wabi sabi.

"Wabi-sabi is the quintessential Japanese aesthetic. It is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete," wrote Leonard Koren in his book . It is a beauty of things modest and humble, and of "things unconventional." Peripherally associated with Zen Buddhism, wabi-sabi values characteristics that are rustic, earthy, and unpretentious, involving natural materials which are used neither representationally nor symbolically.

The following piece of mine is called "The Turquoise Door." I love the texture, colors, and transformation these steps are taking in their cycle of existence. It was taken in Laguna Beach.

October 07, 2007

Dana Point Harbor















Dana Point Harbor is a really nice place to spend a Sunday. There are great places to eat and shop, or just sit around and people-watch. The cool thing about Dana Point Harbor is that there are so many different little "harbor worlds" there. Shopping and restaurants at the main center of the harbor (fine dining to casual snacks. Our fav is Jon's Fish Market - great fish & chips).

Then there's Doheny Beach. This is one of the very few beaches open for camping. There are firepits there (awesome!) and they hold the Doheny Blues Festival there in the May.

Going to the opposite end of the harbor you can visit the Ocean Institute and see the tall ships. Oh, speaking of the tall ships, you really should try to make it to the Tall Ship Festival in September every year. They sail the ships at various times (ooh, and they fire the canons!!), and the sunset sailing is really a sight to behold!

Don't like crowds? Then cut through the center of the harbor and there are really quiet little park areas with BBQ's.

So there's really something for everyone at Dana Point Harbor. Whenever people come to visit the locals, you can bet that Dana Point Harbor is on the agenda.

Best vantage points for panoramic views of the harbor:

Cannons Seafood Grill
(awesome food, awesome view - click link for photos)

View from Lantern Bay Park

October 06, 2007

My Internet Epiphany...

I was going through several blogging sites this morning, just seeing what's out there, and it suddenly struck me how important the Internet is. Oh, sure, there are all the obvious reasons; research, shopping, email, but one thing really struck me. How about the fact that it has virtually changed the lives of many people who would have otherwise been horridly lonely or isolated for one reason or another? I'm sure everyone has known or read of someone who doesn't blend well into their surroundings. Not blending in can be caused by many things, such as extreme shyness, physical issues, health issues, socio-economic differences, location - whatever. The Internet has now bridged the gap for these people, and given them a resource for connecting.

Okay, I know you're saying that it's not really a connection, since you really don't know who's at the other end of your screen, but I disagree. As long as you surf safely (don't give out a bunch of personal info) you now have at your fingertips millions of opportunities to connect with people who have similar interests. I mean, literally, there is a site, group, forum or blog out there that you feel totally aligned with. Drop a comment or two, and you start building these little cyberfriendships. Voila! Friends.

When the Internet was first becoming a household tool I thought Internet dating was the absolute height of recklesness and desperation (read: loser). I couldn't have been more wrong. It's accepted and normal now, and I know of several happily-together couples, some married, some "not-married-but-we're-still-a-solid-couple," from all different walks of life, who found each other over the Internet.

So, all in all, I would say that the Internet has become a lifesaver to some people, and I'm glad it's here. Everyone deserves to be happy and connected (ooh, pun!).

Okay, here's my Orange County image for today:

This is the Newport Beach Pier during a beautiful pink sunset.

October 05, 2007

CSUF (Cal State Fullerton) & Michelangelo

If you're interested in great art a good place to find it is at universities.
Cal State Fullerton has a really cool display of Michelango's David, only the twist is that it is "Fallen." By "fallen," they mean literally, it fell and it broke.


The pieces were donated to CSUF by Forest Lawn Memorial Park, and are now presented in such a way that you can get close up and personal. I highly recommend this, because you will certainly be amazed at the anatomical detail in this famous work of art.



Just the lines of the fingers alone are amazingly accurate. I felt they could come alive at any moment, and reach out. It really gives you a new perspective and appreciation for the talent of the great Michelangelo.






Staring this closely into David's face is haunting in a way, and he seems to have an air of sadness to him.









(That reminds me. Maybe a trip to Forest Lawn is in order...)

It's Friday!!