Sunday, September 30, 2007

These are two views of one of my very favourite places in California; Bodega Bay. The magnificent thriller, "The Birds" was set here and in nearby Bodega Town which we drove through but sadly didn't stop for photos - as the school house in the film is still there! Bodega Bay was one of the first places A & W took us on our first trip to CA and on this trip it was where we went on our last day. It was one of those bittersweet days - happy but also sad as it was the end of our holiday and almost time to say good bye to our friends for what will probably be several years...

It's been a busy weekend - work yesterday and then today we were visiting P's parents. Tomorrow after the gym and aerobics I'm hoping to do some gardening...I have new plants to plant!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

There are some wonderful houses along 17-Mile Drive. I really liked this one, perched on the cliff. Imagine waking up to that sort of view, every day!

Mind you, the view from my back garden this morning was pretty nice. Loads of birds in the big hawthorn hedge, eating the berries. The holly is also full of berries. I wonder if this signifies a hard winter to come? I'd like some cold weather instead of the awful mild damp and dreary winter we had last year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I can't remember if I ever posted this on my blog. It's on my wonderful digital photo frame and always catches my eye when it comes on.

What a busy day!! This morning, I was sitting around on the sofa with a coffee and contemplating nothing more strenuous that a bit of very light housework when I had a phone call from my lovely friend CH who was going to Chester and wanted to pop in and see me on her way back. Well, I was really delighted but the house was not fit to receive visitors so I did some frantic tidying and cleaning. The girls' bathroom which is also our main bathroom was particularily disgusting so I cleaned it very thoroughly and also tidied the linen cupboard; chucking out a load of disgusting old "dog towels" lurking in there from Charlie days!

And after all that she didn't ACTUALLY use the loo!!

In days gone by when we had a freestanding cooker instead of a built-in one, I used to have these stupid compulsions to clean behind the cooker whenever we had visitors. I think I'm mad, really.

I rushed off to RDA then on my way back remembered I had to make biscuits for our work Macmillan Coffee Morning on Friday. I was midway through mixing these when CH arrived. We had a lovely natter over a cup of tea but all too soon I had to go to collect S from hockey practice and she left to avoid the rush hour. I hope she comes again for a proper visit as I didn't get a chance to show her the garden or anything. At least she finally met Basil and Shea.

I am at work the next three days, worse luck :(

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Two of my firework photos from Friday night. I took around 30 and only about 4 were any good. It was quite a different thing for me to try using the DSLR and manual settings. There is a bit of camera shake as although I was using a tripod I forgot to check the manual to see if I could use my remote shutter release on bulb setting - I can, but only found out how when I got home and checked the manual!!

I'm also cross that I forgot to adjust my camera angle so as to include the QE2 as well as the waterfront. Oh well...!

Monday, September 24, 2007

This was taken on Friday from Seacombe Ferry on the Wirral side of the Mersey. The Wildcat, her dad and I arrived early and got a good "spec" and set up our tripods. I was a total wally and forgot my new tripod and had to borrow one of WC's. Luckily she has a few....! I've done hardly any night shots with the DSLR so this was a real learning experience. I was fortunate to get guidance from two real experts.

We could hear sounds of partying drifting across from the ship. The fireworks afterwards were pretty spectacular too. I'm glad we made the effort to go to take pictures.

I've been to the gym and aerobics and am now bracing myself to tackle the HUGE pile of ironing. Time to put a DVD on and get stuck in. Hope everyone is having a good Monday!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I have had a busy few days and today looks like being pretty hectic as well! I have actually been taking some photos but have not had time to edit any so these are two more from the visit to Carmel Mission, quite appropriate for a Sunday. I'm behind on my blog visiting but hope to get caught up later!

On Friday evening I went to see the QE2 in Liverpool with the Wildcat and her dad, we took photos of the fireworks as well as the ship lying at anchor. Yesterday P and I were at a "Mind, body and spirit" fair - we only sold one picture but I did experience Hopi ear candling from a wonderful Reiki practioner and I really enjoyed it. After S's riding lesson we had a wonderful curry with friends. And now we are off for a thrilling trip to COSTCO!

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It's 17 years this month since my mum died. She died very suddenly, on a Friday afternoon. I was at work and got a phone call from my dad, saying mum had collapsed on the landing and "he thought she was dead!". I flew out of work and into my car, driving well over the speed limit to make the short drive to their house.All I could think of was that I knew CPR and dad didn't and that I could save her. God must have been watching over me on my journey as I was unforgiveably reckless in my attempts to get there "in time."

When I arrived at the house the paramedics were working on mum.All I could see were her bare feet sticking out from the hem of her nighty. They told me I had to be a brave girl for my dad...and I knew, although it wasn't until we got to hospital that we were told she was dead.

That night I thought I would die of grief. Physically I hurt so badly. If it hadn't been for P holding onto me all night I think my own heart would have burst too. I changed libraries soon after that as I could no longer bear 3 pm on Friday afternoons in that particular place - especially if the phone rang.

Of course, time has passed and I survived; I think of mum with joy and laughter and gratitude. But I still miss her and I still need her and that has never eased. I am sure I'd be a better person if she were here and there are many mistakes I would not have made if I'd been able to talk to her about things.

So this post is for Mum - I love you, Mum.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My daughter and a friend on the beach in Carmel. Summer seems a very long time ago now as I look out the window at the streetlamps already on.

I have been busy making some changes to my photography website. I was getting very bored with it. I've removed some photos and uploaded some new ones and generally changed the look of it.

I hope everyone is having a good week.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Towards the light....

Got this from akelamalu....

Some of our answers were the same so I left them unchanged

1. Slept naked? Yes but not since having children!
2. Taken a shower with someone? Oh yes; I enjoyed it!
3. Kissed a member of the same sex? Yes I kiss all my friends male and female.
4. Driven a car? Yes I drive all the time.
5. Stolen anything? No
6. Been in love? I am in love!
7. Been dumped? Oh yes, but he came back .... and then I dumped him!
8. Stole money from a family member? Definitely not.
9. Gotten in a car with people you just met?YesI was hitch-hiking and the driver was drunk!!
10. Been in a fist fight? Unfortuantely yes but she started it.
11. Snuck out of your/someone’s house? No
12. Had feelings for someone who didn't have them back? Unfortunately yes.
13. Been arrested? No
14. Hugged a stranger? Yes
15. Met up with a member of the opposite sex somewhere? Not sure what this means but probably yes...
16. Left your house with out telling your parents? Oooh no, I wouldn't have dared.
17. Had a crush on your neighbour? No!
18. Ditched school to do something more fun? boring am I?
19. Slept in a bed with a member of the opposite sex? Oh yes!
20. Lost a friend in a shop? All the time.
21. Been on a plane? Yes, frequently.
22. Been to an island? Been to a few.
23. Slept in until 3? When I was in my late teens I regularly slept all day!
24. Miss someone right now? Yes, and I can't seem to get through it.
25. Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by? Yes frequently.
26. Made a snow angel? No but I've made a snowman.
27. Played dress up? Not since I was little.
28. Cheated while playing a game? All the time; I'm a terrible cheat!
29. Been lonely? Often.
30. Kissed more than 4 people in one night? No.
33. Touched a snake? Yes, love how they feel.
34. Ran a red light? Yes.
35. Been suspended from school? Oh no, I was a good girl
36. Had detention? No never!
37. Been in a car accident? Yes three times, none my fault.
39. Used a fake id? No but then we don't have to have ID here.
40. Crawled through a window? Yes and I fell into the toilet!
41. Been lost? Yes, in Leeds for two hours?
42. Been to the opposite side of the country? Yes I've done North, South, East and West of Great Britain.
44. Cried yourself to sleep? Oh yes a couple of nights ago.
47. Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? Yes
48. Laughed until something u were drinking came out ur nose? Oh yes, it doesn't half hurt!
49. Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Doesn't everyone do that?
50. Kissed in the rain? No but i'd love to - any offers?
51. Sang in the shower? All the time
52. Had sex in a park? No
53. Had a dream that you married someone? Yes and it was the WRONG MAN!
54. Glued your hand to something? My other hand
55. Got your tongue stuck to a flag pole? What????
56. Ever gone to school partially naked? No I always wore my uniform!
57. Been a cheerleader? No
58. Had more than ten boy/gal friends?No
59. Didn't take a shower for a week? No
60. Ever too scared to watch scary movies alone? Oh yes, I hate to climb the stairs to bed alone.
61. Played chicken? No
62. Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes? No
63. Been told you're hot by a complete stranger? I wish....
64. Broken a bone? Yes my arm when I was little
65. Been easily amused? I often get a fit of the giggles over something that isn't really that funny to others.
66. Laugh so hard you cry? YES!!
67. Mooned/flashed someone? no
68. Cheated on a test? Yes .
69. Forgotten someone's name? All the time, I'm terrible with names.
71. Done something dumb while drunk? Oh heck yes.
73. Blacked out from drinking? Probably but I can't remember.
74. Played a prank on someone? Yes
75. Gone to a late night movie? Yes
76. Made love to anything not human? NO!!!!
77. Failed a class? No.
78. Choked on something you're not supposed to eat? No but I once got beads stuck up my nose.
79. Smoked pot? No but I would if I got the chance
80. Cheated on a boy/ girl friend? Yes and there is no excuse.
81. Celebrate the 4th of July? No it's not a holiday here.
82. Thrown strange objects? I threw courgette at my husband but missed
83. Felt like killing someone? Frequently .
84. Thought about running away? Yes, often but you take your problems with you.
86. Got a piercing? Only my ears seven times in total.
89. Made a parent cry? Yes but not because I wanted to hurt them.
90. Cried over someone? Yes, yes, yes
91. Kept somebody else's clothes you borrowed? No.
92. Dated someone more than once? Of course.
93. Had/Have a dog? Yes and I still miss him.
96. Been in a band? No
97. Drank 25 sodas in a day? No
98. Broken a CD? No
99. Shot a gun? GOOD GOD NO!
100. Wanted someone but could never have them? Yes.

Feel free to do this yourself, let me know though so I can come and have a look at your answers please.

Be Thankful
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings.
~ Author Unknown ~

I am very grateful to the person who sent me a message today at exactly the "right" moment.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it

-- Omar Khayyam (trans E Fitzgerald.)

My father used to have these words on a card pinned to his writing desk. As a child I read them over and over, enjoying the cadence, not really pondering much on the meaning. Oh, how terribly sad and true these words are to me now.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

We had a wonderful time at Carmel Mission. It seems so long ago now. I miss A and her family so much!

I had an enjoyable day with my mother in law. S and I took her to lunch and then we visited a garden centre where i managed to get a plant I'd been after and which Ruth had identified for me. Will enjoy planting that tomorrow. It was such a lovely sunny day today but with just a hint of autumn in the air.

P and I did some wedding planning last night - which was fun. I'm starting to feel excited about doing it rather than simply terrified.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I liked the contrast between traditional and modern here. It's been a busy week; still not feeling 100% but am glad it's the weekend.

The Wildcat kindly invited me and the girls to join her family on their October holiday as P will be away on his commission work. Sadly we ran into problems with accomodation and we can't go - but the offer really made our day. It's quite something when friends invite you to go on holiday with them and I was really touched.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Incy wincy spider...

This beauty has taken up residence between a pyracantha I've got growing in a pot and the sitting room window ledge. I decided to try to photograph him so got the macro lens and my lovely new tripod. It was a bit too windy for perfect sharpness and I was shaking from fear he'd actually TOUCH me (eeek) so not as sharp as I'd hoped but I'm posting it anyway because I enjoyed taking photos again - have not used the Nikon since I came back from the US.

I am at work, on my lunch break, and not feeling at all well! Roll on 7.30 and home time!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oh dear, oh dear, where did my morning go? I was awake early enough but decided to have a little lie in and a read in bed as I'd stayed up late last night to phone K. Shea settled in for a cuddle and I got absorbed in my Ruth Rendell mystery...I actually got up at 9 and still in my jammies got a curry ready for the slow cooker. Then I decided to check my email...comment on a few a little work on the far, so good. THEN..big mistake - I decided to look at the photos on my remaining SD card from the California trip. That was when time ceased to have any meaning and I suddenly realised it was gone 12 and I still wasn't dressed!

The photo above was taken on 17 Mile Drive, CA. I didn't notice the girl in the red top at the time but I think she adds something to the photo. It's another one taken (mistakenly) at too high an ISO - what an idiot I was, I'm still cursing myself for that!

Well, must get dressed as it's almost time to leave for RDA. Hope everyone is having a great Wednesday!

Monday, September 10, 2007

I glanced up whilst wandering along a street in Sonoma and saw this sign; took a quick picture. When I came to look at it I was intrigued by how it almost looks as if I'd used selective colour on it...but I hadn't (indeed not sure if I could!)

I felt rotten most of yesterday - I have IBS which isn't of course an actual illness but a's not life threatening but just unpleasant and uncomfortable. I then read a post on Mrs Nesbitt's blog in which Denise is rightly thrilled to get good news after recent medical tests. She designed this logo to celebrate Health & Happiness and I'm pleased to display it - because it is lovely to get good news about someone's health for once instead of the opposite!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

We made a flying visit to my sister in law's home in Cherry Burton, Yorkshire, this weekend. It's her daughter's weddding I'm photographing in October. We had a really lovely time, and this morning some of us went to church to hear the banns read before a wonderful pub lunch and a short drive around the area.

The church above is in South Molton and has an exceptionally tall spire - 208 feet! It can be seen for miles. Inside it's very lovely. I only had the compact with me so the interior shot is very grainy but I liked the way the light slanted across the tiled floor of the central aisle...

The second church is the one where my niece is getting married amd it's really pretty. I am just hoping I can do a good job for her. She and her fiance are a really great couple and they deserve decent photos.

Anyway, has been a long and busy weekend so I'm off to bed.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Two more B&W abstract shots from San Francisco. I am really happy with the way the top one turned out. I'm working today and this evening we are off to visit my sister in law in Beverley. Her daughter is getting married in October and I'm taking the photos. She's visiting for a dress fitting and to hear the banns being read so it's a good chance for me to chat to her about the sorts of pictures she wants as well as see the church and meet the vicar. All in all it's going to be a really busy weekend.

Shea had a narrow escape yesterday; he jumped out of our bedroom window. As we have a converted attic bedroom, he found himself VERY high up on a steeply pitched roof. P heard him crying for help and looking out of the window saw a poor moggy literally shaking with fear! P was just about able to reach down and haul him in. I think he used up one of his nine lives!!

Friday, September 07, 2007

After Thursday's monochrome, I thought I'd inject some colour. These two pictures were taken in Sonoma. One is just a house that appealed to me and another is a detail of the Sonoma Mission roof. I would love to go back to Sonoma and explore it more fully. It's a really charming and colourful place, full of wonderful little shops and residences.

Today is our weekly Get Into Reading Book Group; one of the highlights of my week.For that hour I wouldn't change my job for anyone else's!

I am very worried. K is back in hospital and the doctors want her transferred to Edmonton as soon as possible. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. She's one of the bravest people I know and so very special...Thanks.

Thanks also to Jo-ann who has given me a "Power of Schmooze" are so kind, Jo, get well soon!!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Two abstract shots of buildings in San Francisco which I converted to B&W. I'm still in a sort of monochrome frame of mind I think...Another glorious sunny day here - funny how often that happens as soon as the children return to school.

It's that time of year when the big house spiders suddenly appear - looking for a mate, I'm told. S and I are in a constant state of twitchy fear ...are those legs I can feel on my neck or just a stray hair??? I left a monster on the sitting room wall this morning, hoping P will remove him before I get home this evening...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Todays two photos are both shots of the interior of the State Capital Building cupola - as with the previous one, hand-held in low light but they turned out quite pleasingly I think.

The last day of the school holidays (yesterday) was lovely and sunny: S and I went for two bike rides. Today the girls were both back at school and I really missed them. I felt very lonely and the day was damp and grey. After a visit to the hairdresser, a long and very pleasant phone call with a friend and some lunch the sun came out and I washed the car. Before I'd finished S was home and we went for another bike ride:) roll on the half-term holidays is all I can say.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A took K and I into Sacramento to visit the State Capital Building. It was an incredibly hot day and the air conditioned interior was most welcome. We enjoyed our tour around the building but many of my photos were unsuccessful due to low light levels. however, I like the way this one of the Great Seal turned out. My only previous visit to Sacramento (three years ago) had been when we came off the freeway on the way back from Yosemite looking for something to eat and got hopelessly lost! We did not see Arnie; he was not working that day.

Yesterday I read a post on Mrs Nesbitt's Blog which really moved me; so much I had to go back and re-read it several times. Mrs N is writing about happiness and she talks so eloquently and from the heart about the simple pleasures in life - I can honestly say I've never read anything quite like it before! I'm often guilty of getting bogged down in worries and anxieties and gloom but this post made me really THINK about all the little everyday things in my life that make me happy. Thanks for writing this, Denise. For anyone reading this who doesn't know Mrs Nesbitt, I'd urge you to read the post for 3rd September.

Over on The Photographers Corner we have a thread on "10 books to read before you die" - here are my suggestions:

1. King Cotton by Thomas Armstrong

2. The Diary of Anne Frank

3. Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

4. The glass Lake - Maeve Binchy

5. The Mill on the Floss - George Elliott

6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

7. High Adventure by Sir Edmund Hillary

8. The Hornblower Series by C S Forester

9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

10 The keys of the Kingdom by A J Cronin

Monday, September 03, 2007

There is, I think, a melancholy feel to this image, which suits my mood perfectly today. End of summer, end of school holidays...too many endings.

Brunch with the Wildcat yesterday was great, and she surprised us later on with an invitation to join them all at TGI Fridays. We had a great time!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I have a real "thing" for Airstream Trailers. I'm not sure why but I do remember reading a novel years ago in which one featured and it was so well-desrcibed I at once wanted to buy one. Some years ago Phil bought me a beautiful teapot from The Teapottery in the shape of an Airstream and it's design was authenticated by the company. One of my dreams is to travel across America with one of these beautful trailers.

I was thrilled to see TWO of them outside In & Out Burger on our way back from LA. I was sorely tempted to go and confess my obsession to the guy who owned one of them but the girls said he'd think I was some weird English nutcase.

Yesterday I was off to Chester Races with C. Almost ready; I suddenly heard a commotion downstairs. I rushed down to find P wrestling with Basil; who had a mouse clenched in his teeth. He'd brought it inside the house. He wouldn't drop it!He'd already clawed P pretty badly but we didn't want him eating the mouse in case it had been poisoned. Eventually, I stuck my finger in the corner of his mouth and attempted to prise open his jaws - very hard to do! When they opened a little, Sian pulled out the mouse with a bit of kitchen paper. UGH! I think S deserves full marks for courage for actually pulling out the mouse...which I was too chicken to do! Basil was really upset with us, of course.

Mouse incident aside, it was a great day. I didn't win anything at the Races but it was lovely spending time with C. She came back for a BBQ and the rest of the evening too. This morning I've been invited to the Wildcat's for brunch. Must go and find a suitable brunch outfit...!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Thanks to Mrs Nesbitt for this award. I really appreciate Mrs N. I'm passing it on to the most creative blogger I know, picperfic Visit her blog and feast your eyes on all the gorgeous craft things she makes as well as her stunning photography.

I took this photo just off Hollywood Boulevard. From this Mall we got a view of the famous Hollywood sign.

Today I'm off to the Chester races with C, then she's coming back for a BBQ afterwards; P is cooking ribs again - yum. Hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday. It's hard to believe it's already September! Here's wishing for an Indian summer!!

I hope all my American friends have a happy and restful Labor Day weekend.