Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ramshackle...or Maybe Shack-Tastic

Wow, I do so need to move back overseas because apparently I stink at blogging when I'm in the States. Whoops. Anyway, we've been busy with Christmas shopping and all that stuff; Lee's back here in Texas (we took a week driving back here from North Carolina) and we're just enjoying our remaining time until we leave for England in a few weeks.

So anyway, I've had these pictures for more than two months and today seemed like a good day to blog them. When I went out to NC with Lee at the beginning of October, we had a Saturday with pretty much nothing planned, so we went on a photo scavenger hunt. The town we were in is pretty small, and it's surrounded by farms and rural stuff, including a lot of teeny houses and buildings that look like they're about to fall over. So we took a drive and snapped some pictures.

This was the first one we stopped to photograph; it was kind of fun just pulling off the side of the road whenever we found one we liked the looks of. (Don't worry, Mom, we were well out of the way of oncoming traffic. Which you probably already know since we're obviously not roadkill.)

When we lived in North Carolina, we used to take a 45-minute drive on back-country highways up to a larger town (which is where the nearest Barnes & Noble and Best Buy lived, and also where we adopted both of our dogs). We would pass probably a couple dozen buildings like this on that drive, and I always thought it would be neat to take some artsy photos of them and do them in black-and-white or sepia tone. So we finally got around to it this year.

The building is a bit too dark in this picture, but I like the colors in the foreground. I didn't do any editing on the photos before uploading.

This one was our favorite; the colors were just fantastic with the rusted roof, the exposed wood and of course the yellow and green vegetation all around it. I think we took a couple dozen pictures of just this one building. And then we got a bit artsy and tried it in sepia tone:

Cool, huh? Doesn't it just remind you of the Wizard of Oz? Oh, I so need to watch that this week. I like to watch it around Christmas since it always used to be played on tv every year around this time...but with a DVD, there are no commercials. Score!

I kinda like the lens flare on this one. I know you're supposed to avoid lens flares but sometimes it just looks cool.

This last picture was taken from our moving vehicle:

I think the angle on it makes it more fun, don't you? And there you have the best of the dilapidated shack photos.

So anyway, this week I finally got around to making my Christmas cards, writing my letter, and having some pictures made to go in the cards. As of this moment, I've only sent out two with some packages I mailed off today (Vicki, you got this year's first Christmas card from me!). The really funny part (to me) is that one of those Christmas cards went to my Jewish friend. Heh. If I'd had all my stamping supplies here I would have made her a Hannukah card instead, but oh well. So here's the photo that I put in with our cards:

I haven't taken any pictures of the cards themselves yet this year, but they're Oriental-inspired. Next year I'll have to come up with something European I suppose. Anyway, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place

Lookit that, I do remember how to log in to Blogger. I've been busy lately making my mother rather upset at me because I'm going through the stuff that's accumulated various places around the house, like the wet bar and the kitchen. It's like that part in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when Mrs. Weasley has the kids cleaning out all the stuff in Sirius Black's ancestral home, except none of Mom's stuff shoots poisonous darts at me (although I think sometimes she wishes SHE could).

But hey, if I hadn't embarked upon this mission, I might never have found this treasure trove of pictures!! I put these in roughly chronological order, so it will be all the funnier to watch styles change. And laugh at me. You have my permission to laugh at me. A lot. 'Cause I already did.

Anyway, first up is a picture from Okinawa from before I was thought of yet:

That's my mom and dad at Genghis Khan's. Gotta love the '70s fashion, huh? Then check this out:

Oh yeah. Mom says she has a picture of my brother Adam in that exact same suit. Which is kind of scary. But I didn't find that one. Next up, we move along to the time after I was thought of:

The days when my dad was part Wookiee. Is it any wonder I've always been a Star Wars fan? I have one picture of myself dressed up as Princess Leia when I was five, but it's not in this's buried somewhere in my scrapbook stuff.

And then Adam arrived on the scene. I think if Mom had dressed me up like an elf, I'd be kinda upset about it too. Instead, I got the rabbit-fur coat:

In my defense, I was obviously not old enough to be making my own sartorial choices, and this was the last fur coat I ever had. 'Cause I don't wear fur. I'm not a vegetarian though, because I'd either starve or subsist entirely on cheese, bread, and chocolate, which I'm thinking might not be entirely healthy. Anyway, I tried to make it up to the poor bunnies a couple years later when I dressed up as a rabbit for Halloween:

I find it hysterical that you can see my underwear through the leotard. That Vegas showgirl makeup is something else too, although I must say I'm totally diggin' Adam's eyebrows.

I think this was taken at or around Easter, because it seems like that was an Easter dress that my mom made me. We were still living in California though, I can tell from the background. We moved to Texas in 1987, and then we went back to California to visit my great grandparents a year or two later:
It was either this picture where I look semi-demonic, or another picture where Mimi wasn't looking at the camera. So demonic me it is. I got that hat at Disneyland :) Next up is another trip to Mimi's, I'm not sure if this was taken the same year:

This is Mimi's Band, according to what Mimi wrote on the back of the picture. I can tell that Mimi was the one who took it because she always cut off people's heads in her photos :) Mimi actually used to play harmonica, and the microphone and guitar were some kind of toy that belonged to my cousin Kuenn on the right. Yellow sweatpants and black boots, what a fashion statement!
Next up are two of my other cousins, Eleni and Christos:

My aunt wrote on the back of the picture that they painted the chair themselves, without permission I'm sure ;) Adam and I once repainted a bathroom with finger paints that our uncle sent to us, but alas, we don't have any pictures of that. So if I have kids, I will make sure to take lots of pictures of them causing mayhem to use for future blackmail purposes.

And there's Eleni again, I had to post this picture because I think it's just so darned cute :) Eleni just had her first baby earlier this month.
Get ready for Olympic-style mockery. 'Cause it doesn't get much better than first-day-of-school pictures:

I think I have a mullet. Adam's got a Star Trek: The Next Generation lunchbox (which I found when I cleaned out one of the kitchen cabinets, but I had to toss it because it was cracked and had a piece missing); I can't tell what was on mine. And oh yes, those are some stylin' shoes.
Oh, wait. There is one thing that can top first-day-of-school pictures, and that's the school pictures they take every year. Behold!

Yes, I think it was a mullet. *shudder* I found about a zillion copies of this picture, so I'm thinking that Mom was too embarrassed to send it out to anyone. I found Adam's too, and his hair is about as messy as mine, but he doesn't have a mullet. And here's the picture from the next year:

Well, at least I got rid of the mullet by this time, I think this was fifth grade. However, I hated having short hair so much, I didn't get it cut not one single time from fifth grade until just before my senior year of high school. And then I didn't get it chopped short again until a year ago, and it's growing out again. I like to be able to pull my hair up in a ponytail to get it out of the way.
Speaking of horses, I was pretty obsessed as a kid. When I was in middle school, I had a subscription to at least one horsey magazine, and I even wrote to some of the people posting classified ads to sell horses. And some of them wrote me back:

This picture was accompanied by a letter which began, "Dear Andalusian horse enthusiast..." Dad busted up laughing when he saw it. I'm sure those people had no clue they were writing back to a 12-year-old.

Man, I wore that horse shirt a million times I think. This is me with my first "big" cross stitch project, which I made for my friend Melissa when I was a freshman in high school (she played clarinet in the band; I played flute and piccolo). Mom made it into a pillow for me; she did that with most of my stitching projects until I progressed to designs that are large enough they pretty much have to be framed.
One more picture from my freshman year of high school:

That's me with my friend Misty, we had lunch together last Saturday. I think I need to send her this picture just for a laugh (and I found like six copies of it, so I can definitely spare one). I *hated* wearing glasses in high school...I got glasses when I was in fifth grade, but I didn't find a whole heck of a lot of pictures of myself actually wearing them. And then when you add on the braces...yeah, well, I was a dork in high school, but that's okay. Now I'm a nerd :D
Only one more week left until Lee flies back to Texas for Thanksgiving!! I can't wait to see him. We're doing Thanksgiving here at my parents' house with both our families and our friends Scott and Tiana, so I'm excited. But first I have to finish tearing up my mom's kitchen so it looks presentable. Hope you enjoyed the old pictures, they sure made me laugh!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Driving the North Shore (Part 2), Now With Flowers!

I still haven't located a cord to hook up my camera to the computer so I can post a progress picture of my cross stitch, but that's mostly because I keep forgetting to ask my parental units if they have one that's compatible with my camera. You'll just have to trust me for now that I've done a lot of work on it :)

So here I am back with more Hawaii pictures. Not long after we left the turtles, I saw a sign for a botanical garden so we figured oh sure why not. You know how I like to take pictures of flowers, so Lee just handed the camera over pretty much as soon as we got in the garden.

Pretty, huh? I still have to get Lee's help to get the camera settings right, although I am trying to learn. I don't want to be stuck in "auto" mode forever with that big expensive camera.

I think this was called a yellow lollipop tree or something like that. Kinda cool though, huh?

This was way up in a tree, but we thought it was just so cool to look at. Did a pretty good job of zooming in on it. I haven't a clue what a lot of the plants are that we looked at, I just like to take pictures of the pretty ones. I could go the Cake Wrecks route and say that all flowers are daisies :)

You know how palm fronds turn yellow and then fall off the tree? Lee was trying to help this one along, but it wasn't ready to go yet.

Look, red daisies! I actually think I know what this one is, I saw it at the botanical gardens on's Chinese ixora.

And this one is pink ginger. I liked the lighting in this photo, although I think I got an even better one in the gardens at our hotel.

And there was a little waterfall at the end of the path in the gardens (this is Lee's photo). Usually they'll let people go swimming but they said the water was too dirty that day to let people swim in it...yeah, I wouldn't want to take a dip in that.

Here's my photo of the waterfall. I have to say though, I think Hiji Falls on Okinawa has this one beat :)

There's a funky-looking daisy for ya :)

I saw a sign about this type of bird, I think it was endangered or something and the garden was a habitat for it. But I forget what kind of bird it was...maybe it's a daisy bird. Hehe.

Lee pulled a branch down closer to us so I could get this picture. It's...another red daisy!

We were almost back to the entrance when we saw this peacock, who was apparently tired of papparazzi trying to take his picture because he was singularly uncooperative. My brother and I used to chase peacocks around a park in California when we went to visit our great grandmother, so I know that peacocks are really fast when it suits them, so I didn't attempt to chase it down for a better photo. We used to chase them for feathers when we were younger.

After we left the garden, we continued our drive around the north side of the island and just stopped whenever we saw a really good photo opportunity, although I suppose we could have stopped just about anywhere and gotten some really good pictures (except for that stupid but of SCHMUTZ on the camera lens! Gah!)

The Blue Angels were in town for an airshow, flying around this end of the island although I don't think they're in any of the pictures I picked to post here.

One place we stopped was near this place that does horseback rides, and this mountain was just behind the ranch. We got to see a lot more of the mountains a little bit later in our stay.

One last picture of the clouds touching the tops of the mountains. I actually took this picture from the car as we were zipping down the highway. It got overcast a couple of times while we were in Hawaii, but the only time it really rained was the morning we went to Pearl Harbor. Other than that, totally gorgeous!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Driving the North Shore (Part 1)

I haven't located a cord to hook my camera up to the computer so I can upload a picture of my stitching project, so I suppose it's more Hawaii pictures :) I'll find that cord sometime this week.

Lee and I rented a car for the duration of our stay on Hawaii, which turned out to be really nice because we were able to take a meandering drive along the North Shore and just stop whenever we thought we could get some good pictures.

Yep, Hawaii really does look like the postcards :) My only problem with these pictures? We got some kind of schmutz on the camera lens and didn't notice it until we'd taken a bajillion pictures, so now we (read: Lee) will have to edit out the stupid check mark on a lot of our photos from this day. See?

Grumble. Well, it doesn't show up hardly at all on some of the pictures, it's mainly a problem on the ones with a lot of sky.

There's my sweetie pie! We found a little town when we were driving around, so we got off the main road to drive around a bit and found this park, so we got out to take a bunch of pictures down by the beach.

I think that picture is really cool, how Lee snapped it right as the spray was coming up. We got back in the car and drove along a bit further until I saw this and wanted to take pictures here:

Isn't it gorgeous? After we got out of the car, we saw a bunch of people standing on the beach down there, so we walked over to see what everyone was looking at. Imagine our glee when we saw this:

There were two huge sea turtles up on the beach. One looked like she'd been there for a while, just soaking up the warmth on the sand, while the other one was still making its way over the rocks to find a comfy place to drowse in the sun.

There were two people from some kind of conservation society or something that had set up a red rope around the turtles and wouldn't let people get any closer than about 5 feet away, but that was still plenty close up to get some really good photos. Lee took a bunch, and then I took a bunch, and he says I have to go through them all and decide which ones we want to keep :p

That shadow in the wave is another turtle...this one didn't end up coming ashore, though.

I think this one might be my favorite of the pictures I took; I waited for the water to come up around the turtle just right before I took it.

Here's a wider view of the beach; one of the "rocks" in the front is actually the turtle. Pretty good camouflage.

Lee and I were both really happy that I'd asked to stop at this place since this was the only time we saw the sea turtles. It was a beautiful day for a leisurely drive around the island! I've got quite a few more pictures from this drive, but I figured I'd break them up into two posts since there are so many. And I still need to find that camera cord so I can upload some photos of my orange crate label project.
Seven years ago today, the happiest day of my life, Lee and I got married in a beautiful wedding ceremony. Happy anniversary, sweetie pie! Love you to pieces!! And not just 'cause you took me to Hawaii ;)