Thursday, March 31, 2011

What a difference a week makes!

Last Thursday I took pictures of the rain (see here)

This Thursday, bright sunshine and new little buds on the trees.

Mother nature has been seriously PMS'ing this year!






Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's raining, it's pouring!

Yes, still.

Finally, I said "I've had it!" I grabbed my camera at lunch time, threw on my rain coat, and went out to practice trying to make the wet stuff look pretty.

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I would have preferred an urban environment with people and umbrellas but there ya go. You take what you've been given.

You can see a few more pics here

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Things that go dry in the night

A couple of weeks ago I had a really stupendous head cold. It was a real doozie. Sinus pain (yes, not just pressure but actual pain) like you would not believe and orifices that continuously dripped all kinds of nasty junk. It crept up on me and then, it seemed, disappeared after a few days.

Except it didn't disappear. It just migrated to my chest.

I now have a cough. It's not that bad and I must hack no more than five or six times all day. If you spent the day with me, you'd think I was just clearing my throat. No big deal.

But come the nighttime, well that's a different matter. I can sit in bed and read for a full hour without coughing once and then, as soon as I turn the light off to go to sleep? WHAMMY, this dry, prickly, tickley cough assaults me out of nowhere. I try sitting up, laying on my side, drinking lots... but it takes a while to dissipate.

Unfortunately, last Friday night and then again last night it did not. I had to get up and come downstairs to cough into a pillow (because, you know, you don't want to wake your toddler.) And finally, I had to admit defeat and take some Robitussin.

Cough medicine - pretty much any cold/flu medication - is an absolute last resort for me. It makes me drowsy and woosey for 24 hours after just one dose. So now I feel like someone stuffed cotton wool in my head and then made me down several shots of brandy. I am all warm inside, yawn constantly, and often find myself staring blankly into a void for minutes at a time.

So, I did stop coughing and finally got to sleep around midnight but the price to pay will be trying to power through a webinar presentation for 25 people this morning, when all I want to do is drop to the floor, close my eyes and drift into a morning snooze.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My gray hairs

If you've hung out with me in person over the last month, you're no doubt groaning about the title of this post. Because you've heard it. You've seen it. You've practically communed with it. But if we're just online pals then you're still sweetly innocent and an open book upon which I can paint my woe.


{sad face}

I'm not just talking one stray hair somewhere, I'm talking about a broad smattering of silvery-white hairs, speckled throughout my head.

Now this may elicit nothing more than a shrug of the shoulders from you. Which I kinda get because us women tend to obsess about the aging process all the time. We see every little wrinkle, every little blemish, every little hair out of place and then we run out and purchase expensive creams that we are convinced will reverse the aging process when, in fact, we could probably rub a jar of Vaseline into our crow's feet and get the same effect.

Going gray is kinda like that. You see a gray hair, you freak out, you color it, you move on.

I'm not moving on.

I have tried.

For some reason, this is a BIG DEAL to me. I am wholly disappointed in my body.  I'm not exactly the world's most physically vain person. It's not like I'm a girl who can't have her husband see her without make-up, or won't leave the house without mascara. I live in yoga paints most days, rarely wear make-up, and have given up heels except for parties. So, I consider myself pretty down-to-earth and, these days, practical about this skin I live in. But, still... I am not ready.

In my 30s I expected the beginnings of crow's feet, frown lines, a more squishy physique, some aches and pains, a lesser ability to survive a night on the town... I realized all of these things would creep up on me. And they have been creeping. I've noted the change. I'm not surprised.

Yet I was not expecting gray for at least another 10 years. I mean, what woman in your 30s do you ever see running around with gray hair? Ok, maybe one in those third-world countries where they've got sun-leathered skin, been through civil war, and endured starvation. Clearly, not me, however.

My point is: it's much too early.

And too much, too fast.

One minute I'm examining this odd, shiny hair catching the light at the top of my scalp, the next minute I'm staring at a bunch of them appearing throughout my hair, no matter where I part it. It was literally within the course of a few weeks that this change occurred. Literally. I do not exaggerate.

Of course, I am going to color it out. None of that box color, either. I don't want this left to chance. I need a professional and I'm off to my hairdresser next week to take care of it, don't you worry your pretty head. I just wonder what would happen if I let it grow out naturally. I mean, would I be completely gray by 40? Yikes, maybe sooner?

Part of me is curious to find out, in peculiarly masochistic way. Perhaps I could start a trend?

Yeah, ok, I'm not much of a trend setter these days. Plus, I would likely punch out the first woman who asked me how old my "granddaughter" is. (People say the most bizarre things to you when you have a kid, so I would not be surprised. I've already been asked if Daisy is adopted because she's blond. SERIOUSLY!)

No doubt, after posting this, I will get a slew of comments from women telling me all about their gray hairs in an attempt to make me feel 'normal' again. (Or not, in which case, reason to panic.) Yet, the thing about that is: if it's so freakin' normal then why am I so unprepared?

Perhaps it's because almost everyone colors their hair these days. Who really knows what natural hair color is under those highlights? Perhaps it's because the aging process is an almost taboo subject for many women? Who knows. But nobody and nothing prepared me to go gray this early.

I am sideways about this. Completely sideways.

I will put this in the box of life experiences I plan to better prepare my own daughter for. I've got a list. I'll share it some day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Random in the Hood

It rained again today. As I said yesterday, it's going to be raining for a while. So when, by a stroke of luck, the clouds parted right at mid day, I seized the opportunity to head out for a walk with my camera.

We live in your typical suburban track, circa 1980. You know, 4-5 home plans, now slightly disguised by years of home improvement (or neglect) and grown-in vegetation. It's a relatively nice neighborhood that backs onto a large greenbelt and sees it's fair share of wildlife but it also has it's share of funkiness.

So, here it is... my Hood.

One of the nicer pathways leading up to my favorite home on our street
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A little patriotism.
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I call this "Shabby Chic" outside
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We have a thing with rocks around here. (Don't even get me started on the volume of river rock that has been carted out of our own back yard!)
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There are fun little inlets to wild little areas you dare not go
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We love our bike lanes that lead right down to the American River bike trail. Can't wait to get out there this summer!
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Large palms mingle with cypress trees and pines
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The changeable weather has brought an early spring to front yards
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Then there is our equivalent of the Christmas fairy lights that never come off the front porch - the Holiday mail box wrap. There's another one several blocks away of a snowman
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And finally, the funky-colored homes that really "elevate" the hood

The "Whoah-Nelly!" blues
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The baby-poop monotones
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And finally the Easter Egg House (not just themed for the season, sadly.)
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Oh, but who could forget the "cute" planters. (As if we need FAKE dogs in this neighborhood of 2 canines per house.)
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Two for the road - some fun details from my own front yard
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And there you have it.

What did I realize on my walk? My neighborhood is not very inspirational to me. I was pretty bored taking these shots. I was pretty bored looking at them. Thank goodness for the digital editing process that made them look a lot more vibrant than they actually were.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Random at Starbucks

It was a DREARY day in the hood today and the forecast aint looking much better for the next week. Ugh. It's the kind of weather that, if I was without-child, I would use as an excuse to curl up on the sofa with my box of tissues (because, you know, to make matters better, I have a KILLER head cold) and watch chick-flicks, while drinking hot chocolate. Sigh... I dream.

However, I have a 2 year old who is having none of that and who has been home all day.

And so, we go to Starbucks.

First, to mentally stimulate said 2 year old. Second, to pump some caffeine into her parents so they can make it through the rest of the night. And, lastly, because Mummy can bring her camera and snap some photos that don't involve the dreaded 3200ISO that is required in our living room.

Meanwhile, Hubby is waiting for an important call for one of his deals.

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The impatient foot... tap, tap!

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Yes, it's THAT wet.

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Looking for trouble (which she found, near an electrical socket. Super!)

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Do we know how to have fun around here!!!

Actually, yes we do.

Because we couldn't enter the house without some puddle-jumping. Daisy said "Puddles Daddy!" Daddy said "No, let's go inside, it's wet!" and Mummy said "Oh what the hell!" (Of course, I was thinking about the photo opportunities.)

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Random Monday - dreams and parties

A dream remembered

Last night I had a very vivid dream. Back when I was pregnant I had all sorts of crazy dreams that I would wake up and retell but I so very rarely remember them these days that I just had to post this one.

So, I was a rookie lawyer, in Manhattan. I assume it was Manhattan of the somewhat-future because my office was on the {gulp} 680th floor. (Clearly 9/11 was far back in the rear view mirror.) I had replaced another female lawyer at this hip law firm, who had been found to be sleeping with the boss. (Tsk, tsk!) 

Immediately upon my arrival, I began being hit on by co-workers and - get this - good looking judges, the latter of which I made a date with - something that got me a pat on the back from my firm's owner. 

In the middle of one of my key meetings and presentations, I felt something stinging my left elbow. When I looked down I had some hideous ladybug/leech thing stuck to me and I had to pry it off. I asked everyone in the room if this was some kind of initiation or hazing and they just laughed. Later, when I went to my car, parked in the garage for my seedy apartment building, I found the ladybug-leeches crawling all over my seats. Ewww!

Fortunately, I remembered, I didn't need a car to get to a date with my hot judge. {score!} This was NYC after all... I could hail a taxi or even walk. All of which pleased me because this meant I could drink without having to worry about driving. To top it all off, I bumped into the law firm owner on my way out and he gave me five black, carbon crayons. Apparently, in the NYC of the future, these were the exclusive currency of the rich - worth more than money itself - and this meant I could buy my hot judge lots of cocktails. Woot!

And then my alarm woke me up. Dammit!

A party!

Yesterday, Mum, Daisy, and I went to a good friend's son's birthday party. Hudson West Prior (great name, right?) turned four and it just so happens that his mother is an amazing cook and her boyfriend is a professional DJ. Which meant it was a not-to-be-missed opportunity to dress Daisy in a party dress and paty shoes.. Plus, of course, I just love that kid and his cheeky face.

The birthday boy on his bounce house


Brian, DJ extraordinaire - complete with flashing lights and atmospheric smoke!

Ms. Daisy, out on the floor all on her own, getting down to Black Eyed Peas - boom boom pow!

The birthday boy and his mama blowing out candles.

For more photos, click here.

Daisy had a fab time, despite the party being smack-dab in the middle of her nap time. (Nap schmap!) She danced almost the whole time, in the middle of the floor, on her own, with an audience (I LOVE HER!) Then she made a real fuss when we left and then proceeded to beg for cake the whole way home (which she promptly received upon arrival - toddler heaven!)


It's no secret that, while I love my life here in Northern California, I am not especially in love with Sacramento specifically.

The issue of whether the local basketball team, the Kings, will stay or go has sort of underscored my frustrations with the region lately and this morning I heard this commentary on NPR that said it well.

You can listen to the podcast here

The Kings Question
(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, March 14, 2011

By Bruce Maiman
Why do I get the feeling that all this Rock the Casbah consternation over the Kings is really more about Sacramento than the Kings?  Does anyone in Sacramento really know what Sacramento wants to be? It's a cow town, a government town, a town full of people who move here from somewhere and who don't even live in town but in some kind of randomly planned suburb built in the middle of nowhere --maybe in a flood plain-- where, when people talk about going to the city, they mean San Francisco, not Sacramento.
Sorry, but Sacramento is not a World Class City, nor is it likely to become one. We're just a place on the way to or back from Lake Tahoe. For that matter, so is Vacaville, but at least they have the outlets. We're a capital building surrounded by people raising families. We're a shopping plaza at every major intersection, a nail salon in every shopping plaza, and a chain restaurant on every corner, and sometimes on all four corners. Do people actually eat out that much?
Today, Sacramento is less about a city and more about a vast suburban empire, a sometimes happy, humming confusion of freeways, malls and cul-de-sacs with pretentious street names and overachieving school districts and oversized, overpriced houses constructed to one of four designs.  By all the standards of contemporary American developer-driven sprawl, it is a great success story. It's just not a place people think to visit when they think of California, unless they're a lobbyist looking for favors.
That's not to say we don't have nice restaurants, a quirk or two, a museum or three and a few hidden gems, but those things aren't changing whether the Kings stay or go. But if a city with an identity crisis thinks the therapeutic answer to their woes is to latch on to some sports franchise whose mercurial owners have to be bribed with your firstborn to stay here, I've got some waterfront property in Elko, NV, the mayor might be interested in. 
Maybe the cowbells will just have to go back to the cows.
Bruce Maiman

Bruce Maiman is a former radio host who lives in Rocklin.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Random me - with camera phone

Without a tripod, it's next-to impossible to take a photo of yourself with your DSLR. With my 50mm onboard, it's impossible (my arm doesn't stretch far enough out). With my 24-70mm, there aint no way I'm holding that puppy with one hand and not getting tendonitis. Then there is the focusing... well, you get it.

So, when I decided, on a whim, to continue my "random" image posts with some cheesy self-portraits, it had to be with the crappy camera phone.

Me, out of the shower.

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Me, on my way to a tax appointment. (Oh, you can SO SEE the gray hairs in these ones. Wow!)

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Me, tired and hanging with the girl before bed.

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Glam, aint I?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

More random crap - food

Inspired by the comments on yesterday's post about random crap, I decided to continue the theme today.

For some reason, all my pictures ended up being around food. Probably because, by the time I realized I had failed to take a single photo all day long, I was making dinner.

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I love the reflection of the kitchen in the spoon here.

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Day two of the New/Old Me plan went ok. Doing well on the eating part but didn't have time to work out today. Miss Daisy got up early and ate into my workout time.  Guess I just need to get up earlier tomorrow.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Random crap


After seeing so many beautiful photos of the every day (like this), I have decided I need to get better at taking photos of things that are not people's faces. I love people and, honestly, I really have little desire to shoot anything else. I just can't summon the enthusiasm and don't "see" the shot in my head, the way I do when I look at a person.

BUT, I don't just shoot for me any more and I am beginning to notice a samey-ness about my people photos. So, I'm hoping that by finding creative ways to find beauty in inanimate objects around me, I can somehow enrich my people photos too. Faces are great but people with context tell stories.

Hopefully that makes sense.

So, today my mission was to take pictures of "stuff" around me. Anything. To let go of waiting for the shot to appear interesting (because I've already admitted that is not gonna happen naturally) and to snap away.

I put my camera next to me on my desk and, as work allowed, I grabbed these images of random crap, mostly in my office.

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Ok, so my mother and my daughter are not "random crap" and I sorta threw my daughter in there because she's cute, even though this picture is of her face. But, the point is, I tried, ya know?

Hopefully I'll get better at this as time goes on.

In the spirit of random, I'm adding a random aside into this post.

Today I started the "New/Old Me" campaign. Whipping myself back into shape is the goal. (Yeah, another goal, as if I needed more things to work on.)

Ok, positive thoughts.

I'm taking it little by little. Today I decided: no more sugar in coffee, more water and herbal tea, and no wine until Friday. And I got up and worked out to an old exercise video. No excusing my lethargy by the rain.

I almost faltered on the wine. Daisy was in a hellish mood, recovering from a cold/flu and having not napped. As you can see, she fell asleep in the car on the way to Trader Joe's so I had to turn around and come home. Even if I'd stayed in the parking lot until she woke, I knew she would be in no mood to shop - she generally wakes up cranky and tearful these days, regardless of being sick or not. Of course, we got home, pulled into the driveway and the crying/whining started and pretty much didn't stop until 7:45pm when she conked out in bed.

Yeah, it took real will power not to pull that bottle out of the refrigerator.

Baby steps.
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