Friday, December 31, 2010

My Hearts Desire

Best.  Present.  Ever.

This is my anniversary gift from Steve.  I had no idea he had bought it, he was actually able to surprise me, which is difficult to do because I always know everything.  It's exactly what I've been wanting for a very long time.  I feel like a real photographer,  it's very exciting. 

Here's to spectacular pictures in the new year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

19 Years

...and counting

Happy Anniversary To Us

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Time Is Here

I didn't know that relaxing or low-key were words you could use to describe a holiday, but this year that's exactly what fits.  This was a decidedly stress-free Christmas, and that, my friends, is a Christmas miracle.  

The family came over for Christmas Eve and we had a delicious dinner, (made by me!) presents, and much laughter. All the Christmas morning activities were quite leisurely,  we slept in then took our time opening presents. Who knew that Christmas with teenagers could be so fun?  Everyone got what they wanted, plus a few surprises. The dogs got holiday scarves (made by me!) which they wore while they helped everyone open their presents. We spent Christmas Day hanging out at home and I'm pretty sure everyone wore their pajamas all day long.  

Merry Christmas! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bring It On

The stockings are hung, 
the tree is decorated, 
all the presents are wrapped, 
the cookies are baked... 

Let the holiday begin!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Shopping Guide

Dear Fellow Holiday Shoppers,

In the spirit of the season I would like to share a few shopping tips that will make your holiday shopping more enjoyable.  I believe that if you follow my advice your shopping will be more productive for you and far less annoying to me.

It’s important to remember that your shopping trip starts in the parking lot.  I know that it’s tough to find parking, and sometimes the only space available is the one you’re waiting for someone to vacate.  Someone that you’ve stalked through the lot and are now waiting as they load their purchases and you sit in the middle of the road with a string of cars behind you.  That can happen, but more often than not, if you just drive down farther you’ll find an open space.  Yes, that means you’ll have a longer walk, but unless you’re disabled (and if you are disabled you get one of those sweet spots up front so this isn’t really your problem anyway) it’s really not going to hurt you. 

Once inside it’s important to remember that you are not the only person in the store.  There are other shoppers that also need to find items and that might need assistance from store personnel, that means you might have to actually wait in a line or say excuse me.  If you are in a store with carts it’s unacceptable to leave the cart in the middle of the aisle while getting an item off the shelf. (I’m talking to you, lady at Costco yesterday)  Think of your cart as an extension of yourself, take it with you, park it snugly against the shelf, retrieve your item all the while leaving plenty of room for people to move past you. When dealing directly with other shoppers use your words; please, thank you, excuse me, are all a better option than a grunt and an evil eye.  

When it’s time to check out take a moment to make sure you got everything you came for.  Don’t ask the person in back of you to save your place in line while you run and get something. While your purchases are being rung up don’t talk on your phone. It’s just plain rude.  Greet the check-out person.  If they ask how you are, respond and smile.  That’s just good manners. They have it rough enough without you ignoring them or worse, berating them.  If something doesn’t go your way yelling at the clerk isn’t going to help your situation. (that saying about flies and honey is definitely true.  It is rare, if ever, that I don’t get what I want from a store. I don’t expect outrageous things, and when I have a problem I am calm, rational, and above all, courteous.  A smile will get you just about anything) Venting your frustration on the guy making minimum wage is just tacky.  If you have a problem, politely ask for a manager and then politely state your case to said manager.  If your request isn’t completely crazy or against a stated store policy they are most likely going to give you what you want. 

For a smooth transaction have your payment method ready.  Don’t be searching around for your credit card after all your purchases are rung up.  If by some chance you still write checks, you can have it made out ahead of time and just fill in the total.  This makes the people in line behind you not hate you for wasting their time. 

When you get back to your car and are unloading your packages, if there is a car waiting for your spot don’t take extra time leaving just to spite him and make him wait. Think of all the cars behind him that he’s blocking and don’t make them suffer because that guy is an idiot. 

And finally, remember that all your fellow shoppers are there for the same reasons you are.  All they want to do is get in and get out as quickly as possible, they're trying to survive the holidays just like you. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bah Humbug

I am in the midst of my holiday shopping, and I have to say that it is making me a little melancholy.  That doesn't sound like me at all, does it?  I love shopping and I love giving gifts, so why all the gloom? 

I think it's because I don't get to buy any toys for my kids.  At 15 and 13 their toy days are over so I guess mine are too.  This year Dagny has asked for nothing but clothes, and Dane only has video games on his list.  Not very exciting to shop for.

On Christmas Eve, after the kids were in bed, Steve and I would spend hours assembling and arranging all the toys for maximum Christmas morning impact.  We had some long nights and did some things that were so over the top I cringe at the craziness, but those are the best memories.  Us and toys, we had a lot of good years.  

Aunt Moriah playing with Dagny and her new Barbie Dream House.  
(please notice that Barbie is wearing a holiday dress and has her very own Christmas tree)

We were masters at having just the right toy out and set-up so when the kids came
 down the stairs it was the first thing they saw and they could start playing right away.

Some of our finest work - The Battle of Geonosis
(and yes, we're dorks.  It's okay, we're not ashamed)

Probably our greatest creation - Helms Deep

I could be wrong, but I just don't think that 
a video game is going to illicit this kind of reaction

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Joyeux Noël

Last year Gwen was still a little puppy during the holidays.  This year she is just big enough to enjoy the bottom branches of the Christmas tree. You'd think that would spell disaster, but not so much. 

There is one ornament that she can almost reach, but she doesn't try to do anything to it, she just sits very prettily underneath it.  Every single day.  We can't figure out why, but then again, we rarely understand her motives.  

Saturday, December 4, 2010


There are some things that
 just get better with age


Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Rarely do you hear something that makes so much sense.
If I had it to do all over again this is advice that I would follow.

You can learn more at the WhiteOut Facebook page.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Moveable Feast

Looks good doesn't it?

Probably because I didn't cook any of it.

We went out for Thanksgiving this year and had a lovely meal.  The food was excellent; all the traditional holiday fare plus lots of extras (pumpkin ravioli with curry sauce, might have been the best thing I've ever eaten in my life) and absolutely no stress or clean up.

Steve's Dad, Grandmother, and brother Brandon and family joined us for the holiday.  I have no photographic proof of this, but trust me, they were there.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Boy Who Lived

I feel sorry for all the future generations that will be able to read all 7 Harry Potter books back-to-back, or have a movie marathon and watch all 8 movies at one time.  Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that they will have Harry Potter in their lives, it's just sad that they won't get to experience the suspense.  They can just pick up the next book, watch the next movie, they'll never take the time to properly mourn Dumbledore or spend months wondering if Snape is actually evil.  They won't get to go to book release parties or midnight movie premiers.  My kids have done all that, they've grow up with Harry Potter and they got to enjoy all the suspense. It was awesome.  (I think their only disappointment was when they turned 11 and didn't get a letter from Hogwarts)

We just saw Deathly Hallows: Part I (if you liked the book you will like the movie, go see it) and now we have to wait until next summer for the conclusion.  I'm glad they decided to make the last book into 2 movies, that means there is still a little bit of suspense to savor.  

Dane as Harry '05

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Dreamed A Dream

One of my favorite books of all time?  Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  If I could have only 5 books on my bookshelf Les Miserables would be there.

Dagny just finished reading it. She loved it, and is now very interested in the musical. At the moment there's not an opportunity for her to see it, but she did get the next best thing.  This year is the 25th anniversary of the show, and to celebrate they did a concert in London that was filmed and shown for one night only in movie theaters. Lucky for us, we got to go.

Epic is the word that describes it.  It was more than just a concert, it was a scaled down version of the show, complete with full costuming and enhanced by a 200 person chorus. Stunning, absolutely stunning.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I just realized that we are a week away from Thanksgiving  and I have done absolutely nothing to prepare for it.  Haven't even thought about it.  


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

In The Presence Of Giants

San Francisco Giants 
 World Series Champions 

I'd say that calls for a parade

As a rule I am not a big fan of parades, and Steve is not a fan of crowds, so Dane was surprised when we told him we were all going to the Giants celebration parade.  I explained that it was actually more than a parade, it was a party.  A party with more than a million guests.  

The party started at the BART station, where it was a 30 minute wait to buy tickets, it continued on the train where it was standing room only,(I felt bad for the people who were actually on their way to work) and then it got crazy the second we emerged onto Market Street into a sea of black and orange. It was loud and crowded, but not out of control.  People were laughing and high-fiving each other, it was definitely a party atmosphere.   Everyone was there for the same reason and we were all having a good time.  

The parade itself was awesome.  Seeing the players up close and watching them interact with the fans was very cool.  It felt like a celebration of the city of San Francisco as well as of the team, it was actually very moving.  Since this was the first World Series win for the SF Giants in their 50+ year history, there was a lot of talk about all those life long  fans who weren't there to enjoy that moment.  I thought of Steve's mom, who took me to my very first major league baseball game at Candlestick. She loved Bay Area baseball and she would have loved all of this.  It was an unforgettable party and an unforgettable season.

Faces Of The Franchise
Lou Seal and Tim Lincecum

Steve can now say that he "caught" Brian Wilson.  
Wilson with the t-shirt throw, Steve with the catch. 

...and finally

The Sign of a True Fan                

Steve's Halloween 
nod to the Giants

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dagny The Vampire Slayer

There wasn't any dressing up for Halloween this year, it was more like we had a character study.  Dagny became Buffy Summers.  She talked, walked, and acted like Buffy.  It was truly awesome.  To make the whole thing even more authentic, Dagny's best friend became Faith, and Dane was a newly risen vampire.  

I helped Dagny with her Buffy look, but Steve gets the big kudos of the night because he not only made Dane into a vamp, he carved the stakes for the slayers.  

The Chosen One

Buffy and Faith

 Custom pumpkin carved by Dagny

 The newly dead

Vamp Slaying

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What Does Your Garden Grow?

Apparently ours grows French Bulldogs

Dagny had the cute idea of dressing the dogs up for Halloween as a flower garden, complete with a bumble bee.  How could I resist an idea like that?  The dogs were good sports about wearing the costumes, posing for pictures, and sacrificing their doggy dignity.  I think that secretly they liked being so impossibly cute.