Monday, December 25, 2006

Carrots left behind

Santa has come and gone. My 2-year-old nephew shows me the remainder of the carrots the reindeer left behind on his front porch from the night before. In his tiny hand, he shows me the teeth marks that remain on the half-eaten carrots.

He was so worried Santa would get stuck in their fireplace. But he made it just fine. --We all did.

Oh the magic of Christmas.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve


I just spent most of my morning and part of my afternoon digging around the tape with my fingernail looking for the end so I could tape and wrap gifts that looks like a one-armed-blind-person has wrapped.

I'm out of tissue so the shirt I am giving my brother looks quite bare and cheap, folded in that large box. Except for the tags attached, it almost has that used look to it. I'm out of gift tags so I'm writing on the wrapping paper. Every other gift is missing about an inch of wrapping paper on the bottom because I underestimated how much to cut. As I neatly placed the many items for my college-age nephew in a box, I thought so long and hard for ... now looks like a lousy idea so I added a $20 dollar bill along with it to make it look more valuable. The earrings I am giving to another, wrapped in tissue without a box looks like I found it in my own jewelry box. How old am I? By my wrapping job, I would guess about eight.

Oh, I know in the end, when I go to bed tomorrow night, I will look back on Christmas and think back to the wonderful day. They will hardly notice in the excitement of opening presents that my gift wrapping wasn't just right. Inevitably, someone will accidently open the wrong gift addressed to another. And another gift will have gotten thrown out by accident when someone becomes over zealous throwing out the wrapping paper to clean up the mess.

Every year I vow to plan sooner. To buy gifts through-out the year. To take more time with the gift-wrapping. Each year comes and goes... and I still haven't made good on my intentions.

I admire those who had their shopping done a month ago and who have time to decorate and have clean houses and perfectly wrapped gifts and entertain guests.

One year in my early 20s, I decided to make cookies. Bad idea. After spending about $80 in ingredients, I ended up only giving out a pathetic plate of 4 or 5 cookies to each person. "Those cookies cost me about $5 each!" I wanted to tell them... and I probably did tell them.

When I was 6 years old I gave my mom a box of love . She opened it up and said, "Shawn, there's nothing in this empty box." I said, "Sure there is! It's a whole box full of love!"

She still has that box. If I had known she would keep it a lifetime, I would have decorated the inside of the box a little bit nicer.

I'm off to the stores for a tiny bit more shopping. And I've procrastinated enough... wishing you all peace and joy.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I've been tagged!

I've seen others tagged to answer a questionaire, but this is my first time and by two people at once! Crunchybits and Doodlestreet both tagged me so here goes:

Four jobs I have had that were not related to my art field:

1. SALES. I sold children's records door to door all over the country. Boise, Idaho - Des Moines, Iowa - Salem, Oregon - Portsmouth, Virginia - Downey, California - Spokane, Washington - Houston, Texas - Lincoln, Nebraska - Bartlesville, Oklahoma - Edina, Minnesota - Reynoldsburg, Ohio. I hated it. Especially on cold rainy days. Sometimes I would sit on the curb and draw out my experiences in comic strip form. One time I won a free shirt for selling the most records in a single day. That was the only reward I got for going door to door. Oh yeah. My other reward was building lots of character in me.
2. RECEPTIONIST. The Company was Strategic Pacific. That was the hardest two words for me to try and say over the phone. I could never get it right. Over and over and over again, the telephone would ring and I felt like Lucy trying to say Vitametavegmin. "Good morning. Spacific Strategic, Suspific Pustific...". My job lasted only one very long day.
3. SALES CLERK. When I was a young adult, I worked at JC Penneys in Olympia, Washington. They only gave me 12-hours a week to work, so I starved, living off air-popped popcorn until I finally got a job at a film company. (well. actually. I was pretty hungry during that job as well).
4. MASSAGE THERAPIST. I would carry my table and lotions and music and sheets to people's homes all over the Bay Area giving massages. Eventually I quit because I needed a massage.

Four websites I visit daily:

1. Apartment Therapy. I LOVE this website. You can visit it ten times a day and there will always be something new posted.
2. Ikea Hacker.
3. Design Sponge.
4. Print Pattern.

Four places I have lived:

1. Pennsylvania (Norristown and Lafayette Hill)
2. Texas (Lindale)
3. Washington (Olympia, Tacoma and Fife)
4. California (San Rafael, Fairfax, San Ramon, Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa)

Four movies I can see over and over again:

1. The Secret. (I've seen this already 3 or 4 times in the past four months).

2. Fifteen years ago, I watched Hook three times in 11 days. So many people I know hated that movie. But it touched something in me and kept grabbing at my heart and soul.
3. Goldie Hawn movies always makes me laugh.
4. Kathy and Mo (not really a movie but an HBO special) "you look vera vera perty tonight".

Four TV shows I have enjoyed as an adult:

1. 30Something
2. Melrose Place
3. Survivor and The Biggest Loser
4. Lost

Four TV shows I have enjoyed as a kid:

1. The Brady Bunch
2. The Mary Tyler Moore Show and later the Rhoda show.
3. The Carol Burnett Show
4. The Doris Day Show

Four places I have gone on vacation:

1. Boston, MA
2. Oahu and Maui, Hawaii
3. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
4. Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Four favorite foods:

1. Cheese
2. Salty things and chocolate covered salty things, like pretzels. Or chocolate covered nuts. or chocolate covered peanut butter. I'm not particularly fond of chocolate on its own.
3. Barbecued filet mignon or salmon
4. Artichokes and avacados and salads, too

The people I am tagging:

Janet and Monica

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Lady in Red

This adorable illustration was drawn by the talented doodlestreet who so graciously sent this to me while I was in NYC and gave me permission to post it. It's a picture of me in my red coat walking down the streets of New York City. I brought the red coat because everyone suggested I wear the red, and I suppose I did stand out more for the cab drivers to find me, but there were times, I sort of felt like maybe I looked like a clown.

I'm not sure what it is with me and airplanes. The last time I flew back from New York, we had an emergency landing in Salt Lake City. This trip, while flying into JFK, we were only a few feet from landing when the huge plane with double aisles, thrusted its engines and the nose of our plane raised it's nose high in the air and we took off again to keep from a near miss of hitting another plane taxing in front of us on the runway.

But, in the end, we all landed safely. The driver holding the sign with my name on it was late to the airport so I had to wait for him on the curb outside. I never saw the sign with my name on it. I had my camera set to take a picture.

I stayed at the Park Central New York in room 1608. I recommend staying here and requesting my room. It's close to everything and from my hotel window, I could see Times Square and all of it's bright dazzling lights. It reminds me of Vegas.

Besides being close to Times Square, I was around the corner from the Ed Sullivan Theatre and just a few blocks from Rockefeller Center and Central Park. And just two doors away from the Carnegie Deli that has the largest sandwiches you will ever eat!

There was so much hustle and bustle outside that I never went into my room very early. The energy of that City kept me awake for hours much longer than I usally am. Each night I would wind my way down the crowded streets to take in the experience. I can't seem to get enough of that City. I can't express in words how it feels to suddenly turn a corner just beyond Radio City Music Hall and see the famous christmas tree in Rockefeller Center for the first time, and feeling it catch my breath. --It was enormous and beautiful. I reached for my camera to snap a quick shot of the tree, when I lost my grip and it slipped out of my hand, crashing down hard onto the concrete sidewalk.

One very significant piece broke off. I sat down on the bench near where it broke and stared long and hard on the ground, hoping to see a reflection of the metal. I looked under the table. And then down into the grate in the ground. Nothing.

To console myself, I walked into the NBC store close by but instead, the security guard at the door pushes me to step back. "We're closing." So I backed up outside and stared into the glass window into the store.
She repeated her words, "We're closing!" I looked back at her and mouthed the words "Can't I just peek in the window?"
She opens the door an inch away, "What'd you say?"
"Can't I stand here and peek through the window?"
"Of course! I was telling the folks behind you that we're closing."


I wander around a bit more. And then return to the place where I dropped my camera. I was hoping to see something glisten from the reflection of the lights, but instead the only thing I see is a young couple in love, sitting on the same bench I sat early, staring at her brand new shiny diamonds in her engagement ring.

"Yes! Yes! I will marry you!" she cries and they embrace. Both are crying. And laughing. And staring at the sparkling ring.

I decide to let them be as I continue along the sidewalk back to the hotel. Grateful they created a new memory for me on that bench I only sat on just 20 minutes earlier lost in my search of the broken pieces to my camera.

After work on Friday, I hailed a cab in Chelsea to a friend's home near Times Square. The doorman had a key waiting for me and I carried my bags up to her apartment. And from there, I walked a few blocks to catch the subway. I was supposed to get off at W4th Street/Washington Square to transfer to another train, but when we arrived, I remained standing there on the train, holding on to the pole. We stopped at the Spring Street station and I stayed on. Finally, I decided at the Canal station to jump off and catch a train back to W4th Street/Washington Square. Eventually, I found my way back and got off at Broadway and Lafayette and headed down the street towards Houston to meet her in a neighborhood book store. I loved SoHo and its cobblestone streets and its eclectic neighborhoods in lower Manhattan.

It was a weekend filled with cabs, buses, trains, subway and cars and lots of walking. I missed the rickshaw ride. The weekend ended in Long Island visiting my precious relatives. I'm so happy I didn't fly home on Friday to spend the weekend back in California to start my christmas shopping because the gift of my experience there this weekend, was truely the best gift. And there's still time to shop. But, I'll think about that tomorrow.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I'm off to New York City!

I'm somewhat set for New York City. I have a small suitcase packed. I am about to embark on a brand new experience I have yet to experience on my own.

I will arrive at JFK airport alone and then look for a driver to have my name spelled out on a small sign waiting for me at baggage claim. I hope.

I have seen this so many times in the past but I have yet to see my own name on those signs. This will be the first time I will have my own name printed out. I wonder if they will spell it correctly.

I might say, "Take me to Carnegie Hall!" because I will be staying across the street. If I am lost, I will ask, "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?" I wonder if anyone will answer: "Practice, my dear, practice!"

On Tuesday morning, I will roam down to the lobby and out on the street and hail a cab to go to my new place of work for a week. I will sit in the back seat of the cab. Take in the views of the towering City out of my window. Count and make sure I have enough money to pay the cab plus a tip. I will try and pretend to look confident and experienced. I will say say "thanks!" to the cab driver and then push the button to the 5th floor. I will step out into our office and wonder if anyone will recognize me from last September or the Quilt Market in Houston in October and know I'm an employee there, too. But, a west-coast employee.

Will I feel bashful? Oh sure, I will! A little bit afraid? Yup. Wish me well.

As I will be the lady in red. If you happen upon New York City and see a woman in red... give me the thumbs up and if I return it back, then you know it will be me.

Monday, December 4, 2006

My Childhood Diary from the 70s

A month in the life of me when I was a kid:

March 1: Roxy and I spoke in our fake language while at the store. No one understood, not even us. Watched "Here's Lucy" at 9:00 nite. It was about Lawrence Welk, the old ladies Love him!

March 2: It rained all day. I watched one little bird all by himself, drenching wet, on a little branch in a tree outside my bedroom window, watching all the other birds, 'cause his little wet head is all twisted around looking at them. But he is all by himself and this makes me sad for him.

March 3: Got my B-Sting shot. Me and Terry went to the Library. I got out 3 Books: "Addie Pray", "Go ask Alice" and "Life with Mother Superior." Saw "Paper Moon" again. Starring Ryon O'Neal & Tatum O'Neal (his Daughter).

March 4: Went to Coddingtown. Me, Mom, Kelly, Roxy and Uta. Roxy bought a 45 record of the Defrancos, "Abba Ca Dabra", and "The Most Beautiful Girl". Met a crippled boy.

March 5: It rained today. I got tested in Self-Defense today. I got graded V+ in the Side Kick today. Whatever that means! Overall, I got a V+, V, V. I goofed up in one of them. I forgot to scream and I had to think on it.

March 6: Saw Jimmy Boriolo. This family has 10 boys. No girls! Their house smells like the bathroom does. Had homework!

March 7: Ate dinner at Annette's house. Taped songs from, Carpenters Album. Had fun.

March 8: Me and Roxy played Hocky, on Roller Skates, and used Brooms for a Hockey stick, and a coke can for the Puck. Had fun. Uta & Roxy came by.

March 9: Going to Lake Tahoe! Mom rented me ski-pants for 3.00. Bought me some mittens for $3.99 and Bought some ski-boots for $5.00. Left at 6:00. Me, and Annette sat in camper the whole time. Outside of Placerville we ate at "Sams Restaurant." Real old fassion! Then went to Crazy Horse Ranch. Stayed there for the night & we squaredanced!

March 10: Me and Annette went to a tree-house. Neat-oh! Then went all over the place! Fun! Then left for Heavenly Valley. After we skied, we went down hills on sleds, discs's and intertubes. At night, went to Recreation at Harrahs, cassinos in Nevada. It was cold that night!

March 11: Went skiing from 10:30 - 4:30. Went on JUMP TRAIL. It's only for ski-patrolmen! Left for home at 10 - 6:00. Got home at 11:30. Ate Dinner at Denny's in Roseland at 8:00.

March 12: School! Blah! Had club meeting, today, Had B-Sting shot. I was mad at Roger today. So was Roxy. We had a war. It was fun!

March 13: After school, me, Annette, Roxy, Roger and me played ARMY. When me and Roxy were captured, we had crackers to eat. Because the day before we stuck them in there.

March 14: Went up in Roxy's attic! We found a cubby-hole that fits about six people. We mite have it as our club.

March 15: Me, Wally, Roxy and Roger went to see the show, "Magic Boy" and "adventures with Huckleberry Finn." It was great. Got my bird today. Watched the Waltons! It was good. I haven't missed one yet. I am going to name my parakeet, Pete.

March 16: Went to Blue and Gold dinner, with Wally's cub-scout. Had fun. Annette came with us. Our table won for the best decorated.

March 17: Saint Patrick's Day! I sent the nite at Roxy's. Julie and Grama spent the nite at our house. Had fun! Played blindman's bluff. Made a tent and slept in it. Made Breakfast for her mom. Then we went down to the FAIRGROUNDS. Saw Horseshow. Came back. Played Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and Wally was Joe Harper. We made a clubhouse out of sticks and grass. We babysitted Roxy until 10:00! Then her mom picked up her. First time taking a bath in 3 years. I've always taken showers. It was fun.

March 18: Rode Mini-Bike around and skied down Roxy's hill on our shoes. Then went iceskating all day. Well, 3:00-5:30. That's as long as it is. Grama spent the nite, again. Got all washed up for school.

March 19: Made our clubhouse in Roxy's Bedroom! Well in her closet. The closet, is neat-oh! It's pretty big, too! We're going to add on, pretty soon. Annette didn't come, so we won't show her until Thursday.

March 20: Adding on some rooms in the closet! 2 offices, 1 meeting Rm, and secret hideout Room for Roger. Roger busted Roxy's door frame, when he was chasing us! Later on, at my house, Roxy and I played EMERGENCY!

March 21: Made MoonRock Cookies. They're good. Janie and Corey Porter came by. They brought us, WHOPPERS, and FUDGE CYCLES. Delicious! Had fun.

March 22: After school, cleaned my room, and Birdcage. Then Wally, me, and Annette were riding on John's tractor, Annette said, "I'm alway's going to ride this!" I told her, she couldn't. Annette went home, without saying, Good-Bye!

March 23: Got my B-Sting shot. Christina and Kevin came over. Did some spying and Detective work. They left at 6:00. Didn't eat until 7:00. I have a sore throat. I think I'm catching a cold. Watched Tom Sawyer on TV.

March 24: Me, Larry, Roxy, Kelly and Wally went Bowling. Went to Rose Bowl. Lanes didn't work. So the man blamed us. And we got KICKED-OUT! Sat on Water Beds, waiting for Mom. They cost 200 Dollars! Expensive! Frames only cost 30 Dollars. But that's a lot!

March 25: Cleaned up house, Nana and Aunt Sister and Buzz came up. Me, Roxy and Wally cleaned up their volkswagen van up. It's like a house! Neat-OH! Then went to Movies with Annette. Saw "The Worlds Greatest Athlete". It was great! Comedy - about Nanu could do any thing in sports good. TOO GOOD! Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha

March 26: Didn't go to school. Too bad a cold. "Death Valley" was Great! Didn't play today, since I was sick. Got Bee Sting Shot.

March 27: Went back to School. Used all my Kleenex in two hours! I can't breathe in any of my noses.

March 28: M.Y.A. came to our school. (Mexican Youth Association) And held an assembly about how they got to be, where they are now.

March 29: In gym, ran 6 Full minutes. Average - 10-11 laps. I made it 12 laps. Almost 13.

March 30: Diane Pedrotti's slumber party! It wasn't as good as Sallie Leaches! Went to bed at 4:00 morn. Had a FUN TIME.

March 31: Came home at 10:00 morn. Everyone did. Woke up at 20 minutes to 8 o'clock. Cleaned up my Room. Then Roxy and I SPYED ON These two boys. They finally saw us an HOUR LATER. And started chasing us! We hid in a secret room in our cave-like clubhouse. They couldn't reach us.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

California in December

This photo shows exactly where I spent a great deal of my afternoon today. I spent it with my lovely mom enjoying the warm outdoors. It was such a beautiful and relaxing Saturday... well, until she discovered she lost her right shoulder pad.

"Oh nooo!" she exclaims while pounding herself all over. "What if it was when we were in that beautiful Tuscany home and someone thought it was a kotex?!"

I stared at my mom with eyes the size of tea cups. I completely understood her fear. What if someone saw it fall from her and then seeing us enjoying our time together, they didn't want to ruin the moment, so they kicked her shoulder pad under a table or into a corner to save herself?

Then I thought, "Mom, at your age, be proud that someone would think it was a kotex!"

My mom thinks the shoulder pads are the best things to ever be invented, though most haven't seen them much since the 1980s.
"Be proud you have your father's shoulders..." she says to me. "I don't have shoulders. Just arms growing out of my neck."

As lopsided as she felt, we spent a day, admiring Christmas decorations and talking to wonderful people... I like to call them unknown friends.

Everyone was out and about putting up Christmas decorations. It really was beautiful.

It confirmed my idea of posting holiday photos for December's Inside Peek, so if any of you would like to participate and send a photo of your holiday decorating, I will post it. (And, thank you by the way, for you brave souls who shared your refrigerator photos). Next month, through-out the month of February, I will post the inside peek of medicine cabinets...

Also, thank you for those who have left me comments. It really is rewarding to have a connection out there in cyberspace. It really does help to have a warm soul saying "i hear you" from across the miles.

I am feeling so grateful today. And my heart feels warm. And, you are a large part because of it.