Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pretty Places, Pretty Things

I haven't done much with my Morey Mansion pics lately, except last night I decided to take a break from homework and work on and upload some more of them. You can find more Morey Mansion photos here, but most of them have already been featured in earlier posts. I'm sure I'll be adding more until the end of time. It seems to take me so long to sort through them and retouch the ones that are worthwhile. Still, I'm happy with the results.

And thanks for all the recent photo comments! I really appreciate honest opinions on my pictures (and anything else I write about, for that matter). I don't mind hearing what you don't like either, and I don't feel that you have to know anything about photography to have an opinion on the matter.

Behold! The Ultimate Warp Zone!

So, I bet you've all been wondering where I've been.

Well, I've been busy. Ever seen the cartoon Captain N: The Game Master? Well, I wish I could say that I've been just watching that, but unfortunately, I've had to do more adult things, like show up at work, pretend to work, hate my job, go to school, be burned out, suffer from insomnia, and so on and so forth. Incredibly boring, if you ask me.

Which is why I love Captain N so dang much! It's got just the right amount of 1989 cheese to keep me highly entertained. Plus, Kevin, the main character, gets to do what we all secretly desire. He gets to escape from reality by getting sucked into his TV to Videoland where he impresses the scantily clad Princess Lana with his really impressive feats, like his ability to push the pause button. What a stud.

If anyone cares, here's part of the pilot episode. It's Emmy material, for sure.

Anyway, when I was a kid, my friend Lynn and I used to climb in the shower in the upstairs bathroom in my house (it was a really big shower) and warp to another dimension. If we got bored with our current surroundings, we hopped in the shower, and in an instant, we were in a totally new place.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: I really wish that warp zones existed. Sometimes being an adult is no fun.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Small Wonders

Today, happiness has come in many forms.

-Rain! I have always loved all things connected to rain.

-New makeup! As Ugly Week has begun to stretch into Ugly Month, I've needed some more help in this department. Today I got some new foundation, concealer, perfume, face wash, and brushes, courtesy of my friend Nan who sells Mary Kay products. I have used Mary Kay products in the past and have found that they work well for me. I can always return anything that doesn't work out for me.

-Downsizing! Because of the new makeup, I went through all my old makeup and nail polish and threw away a ton of stuff. As I did, I thought about how much money I'd wasted on products I hardly used. In the future, I will try not to become obsessed with collecting things I don't use.

-My new flickr account! I decided to open a flickr account after all, but will continue posting photos here as well. You can subscribe to my photos if you want to, just as you would a regular blog.

-Clark's! It had been a long time since I'd been in Clark's, but Roy and I went there tonight and were awestruck at all the products. We will definitely become more regular shoppers.

-Strange coincidences! My mom called and woke me up from a dream that focused heavily on her and our relationship.

-Fuzzy kitties! When I woke up from said dream, I realized that both Kerwin and Woogas were all snuggled against me, sleeping. So cute!

-Homework avoidance! This really is not something to be excited about, but it's making the list anyway.

-Meditation! I've decided to try to add meditation to my daily routine to help reduce stress in my life. I've become aware that I am entirely too stressed out, and it is showing up in a number of areas. I have attempted meditation before with little success. I plan on trying it at the end of my yoga routine, because then I will already be very relaxed.

Friday, February 22, 2008

You asked for it!

I'm going to post some more pictures. I've been diligently working with Photoshop Elements this week and really love it. Mostly I just clean up the pictures but don't really mess with the effects too much, with a few exceptions. I'm curious as to what you guys think of the sepia picture (of the couple walking) in this post. Honest opinions are most welcome. Feel free to comment on any other pictures as well. I'm really interested in becoming better at this photography stuff, and it's always nice to know what's pleasing to the eye.

Thanks, guys!

Oh, look. It's a cow's head.

Crying stargazer lily.

America's favorite pastime.

Stack of beautiful boxes. I have collected these kinds of boxes for years. For a long time I used them to house my journals. Now they hold CDs and other random things.

This is, hands down, my most favorite picture of Kerwin ever. He looks noble and handsome and wonderfully fuzzy. That's my boy!

Lonely streamer.

It's Woogas! This is for her modeling portfolio.

Wall decoration. I got this in Palm Springs a few years ago.

The husband being all cool.

This couple did not know I was taking their picture.

Fire, fire!


Here's some more Morey Mansion pics, but these don't look very Victorian to me. They look like they could've been taken anywhere, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I'm contemplating starting a flickr account instead of posting so many pics here, but I haven't really decided yet. I'm undecided because it feels like yet another thing to keep up with, but at the same time, flickr is so cool!

What do you guys think? Am I boring you with all these pictures? (Your opinion counts too, lurkers!)

Fireplace detail from the living/sitting room

Kitchen faucet and pretty bottles

Plant in the living/sitting room

Entrance to the path to the gazebo (with the moon coming out of hiding)

Lamp detail from one of the guest rooms

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cryin' in the Girl's Room

So tonight I was getting my hair did and reading I Know This Much Is True, and the most random of memories popped into my head. Actually, it wasn't all that random since it jived perfectly with what was going on in the book: one of the main characters got locked in the bathroom and was teased incessantly for it by his fellow sixth grade classmates. It took me right back to my own sixth grade bathroom experience...

Picture a scrawny, blonde-headed girl with long hair (with sideburns - YES! You heard me right), a ginormous overbite, and big plastic red, white, and blue glasses (YES! You heard me right on this one too), and that was me as a sixth grader. I had a huge crush on one of my classmates. (I would love to share his full name with you, because it's really one of those kinds of unbelievable names, but for purposes of privacy, just in case after all these years he's decided that he's in love with me and stalks me on my blog, just waiting for me to get divorced, let's just call him Trey.)

Trey was so dang cute! He was tall with olive skin and this curly black hair. He just radiated coolness, strutting around in his Bugle Boys. I would like to say that he didn't even know that I was alive, but he did. Unfortunately. We had several classes together.

One day, on the break between Reading and English (taught by the same teacher, Mrs. Sexton, in the same room), several of us were goofing off in the hallway. I'm pretty sure that my friend Laci let it slip that I had a crush on Trey - right in front of Trey! I can't remember what went down after that or exactly what Trey said, but let's just say that he made it perfectly clear that he wasn't interested. Right there. In front of everyone.

I was mortified, so much so that I ran to the girl's bathroom downstairs. I began sobbing on the way. I felt truly heartbroken at Trey's refusal, but to have to hear it publicly, in front of everyone, was just more than I could bear. I locked myself in one of the stalls and cried my pathetic little heart out. I didn't know what to do. There was no way I could ever face anyone ever again! I could never show myself in any of our mutual classes! My life was officially over!

Before long, Mrs. Sexton came into the bathroom looking for me. I ran out of the stall when she called my name, and she gave me a gigantic hug and held me tight for a few minutes. I can't remember if she said anything or not, to be honest. But I do remember that in those moments, I felt protected. I was able to suck it up, go back to class, and overcome my extreme embarassment. (Eventually, I lost the glasses, the sideburns, and most of the overbite, and I'm completely positive that Trey has regretted not going out with me ever since.)

Ahhh, the kindness of teachers. I've had some really good ones in my life, and I am grateful for each and every one of them.

Boys like Trey, though? Not so much.

(Image from here.)

Victorian Magic

Here are some random shots from our stay at the Morey Mansion Inn. Enjoy! There's definitely more where these came from.

The entryway to the path that leads to the gazebo (behind the inn)

The inn! You can't really tell from this picture, but the front door is off to the side of the house, and to me, that's very cool.

The staircase

The inn, again. This picture makes me laugh because it somehow ended up being tilted.

Window seat in the sitting/living room

Strange sculpture in the sitting/living room. It reminds me of a suit of armor.

My favorite chandelier in the whole house! It's in the living/sitting room, and I love the details. Maybe this is weird, but sometimes when I look at this picture, it reminds me of HR Giger's work.

Old school radiator in the game room

Eye of the (stuffed) buffalo, also located in the game room

The window in our bathroom

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Song of the Moment

This song goes perfectly with the rain....

Horses Everywhere!

Okay, here are some shots from our room at the Morey Mansion Inn. It's called the Blue Room, but I think it should have been called the Horse Room. The coach upholstery even had horses on it, as you shall see.

The sink in the vanity area

The bed. It was made up much more nicely when we first came in. In this picture we had remade the bed ourselves so I could get a decent picture of it.

Horse bookend

Horse statue

Cool doorknob

Dresser / chest of drawers

Fab couch


Fireplace tile detail

Fireplace tile detail


I'm not sure what to call this colored part, but I thought it was very cool.

Chandelier detail. Also very cool!

Sorry if the pics are boring. It might be one of those things where you have to be there to really appreciate it. (But seriously, what's not to like about a couch covered in horses?)

More photos to come soon!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On Love, Of Time

Two of the books I've read this month are definitely blog-worthy, because of their original storylines and beautiful writing. Surprisingly (to me at least), they are also bestsellers. Call me a lit snob (I'll gladly own up to it), but most bestsellers aren't that great. The craft of writing is often neglected for the plot (prime example: The Da Vinci Code): it's a constant battle between form and content, with content often winning the war. I love a good story as much as the next person, but when the writing sucks, that's a definite dealbreaker for me.

Anyway, I'm getting off my literary soapbox now and am moving on to The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. This book begins with the murder of young Susie Salmon at the hands of her highly disturbed neighbor, George Harvey. Sebold manages to pull off this grisly event with graceful prose, and the rest of the story unfolds just as beautifully. Susie remains the narrator, watching over her family, her friends, her town (and yes, even her murderer) from her heaven. (I love how Sebold gives Susie her own heaven instead of imposing the "normal" Christian ideal upon the story.) The story spans many years, and the audience sees Susie's siblings grow up, the eventual death of George Harvey, and the impact Susie's murder has on her town.

So, it was a great story, and the writing wasn't too shabby either. All in all, I really enjoyed the book. But sadly, it really fell apart in the end. I think it could've ended much sooner. And Sebold had Susie do something (that I won't spoil for you) that just didn't make any damn sense. I was disappointed at how it all kind of unravelled and trailed off into this nonsensical interlude. However, I would still recommend this book - with the warning that the ending leaves much to be desired. It's a great meditation on love, time, family, and death.

Right after finishing The Lovely Bones, I started reading The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. This book is enormously popular, and I was so glad to see that it actually lived up to the hype. In short, this is an amazing book. I can't think of a thing that I would change about it (and coming from me, that means a lot). The writing is just gorgeous, so incredibly poignant. The story is bittersweet, heartbreaking, and refreshingly unique.

But let me back up. The Time Traveler's Wife is a story about Henry, a man who travels through time, and his wife, Clare. The story jumps back and forth in time and through the eyes of both Henry and Clare. I almost immediately began to believe in the love that existed between Henry and Clare from the start of the book - it was just that real to me. It really delivered the message that love is timeless, that it can exist and remain strong even past death. By the end, I was a sobbing mess, but I was so touched by the story of Henry and Clare. You must read it. You won't be sorry.

And now I'm revisiting an old favorite: I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. I first read this book when I was 21 and depressed. I could relate to it so much that it was more than just a little heartbreaking - the story pretty much devastated me (in a good way). I'm not sure what to expect now that I'm rereading it as a much more emotionally stable person, but hopefully it will still hold up as a great read.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I'm sick.

I stayed in bed all day today with a raging sore throat and a big case of the lazies. I slept most of the day, but I did get a chance to finally watch The Muppets Take Manhattan, which came in from Netflix quite awhile ago. Miss Piggy was annoying, as always. But here's my favorite part from the movie.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Romance is in the air...

We had an amazing weekend, and one of the best parts of it is that it's a 3 day weekend (for me, but not for Roy). We kicked off Saturday by attending Roy's aunt Ruth's 50th birthday party. Ruth is a Valentine baby, so the theme of the party was, of course, all things Valentiney.

We convinced everyone to have cake before lunch, because we couldn't stay long, and once I found out it was red velvet cake, I was dying to have some. It was so good that I had 2 pieces! Then we had some lunch, and with our tummies full, we drove out to the Morey Mansion Inn for our romantic night of Victorian decadence.

As I said before, I have been admiring this house from afar for years. It proved to be even more amazing once we got there and went exploring. (I ended up taking about 400 pictures of the house and grounds, and I will be sharing some of them in future posts.) After a couple of hours of wandering around and then resting, we got ready to go to dinner at Les Rendezvous. I felt very stylish and stuff in my special ensemble.

Les Rendezvous is a French restaurant that Roy and I have gone to together a couple of times, all for special occasions (the last time we went was almost 2 years ago on the night we got engaged). The food is excellent, the prices are high (to us), and I have never left unsatisfied. We ordered a bottle of Riesling, and I really enjoyed it. I am not a wine person, so I'm always happy to find something I like.

We started off with the scampi au pernod on toast, which is what we always get for an appetizer when we go there. It is so amazing! I don't have any pictures of the scampi, because we just dove right in, like this:

funny pictures

Finally, I came to my senses and took tons of pictures through the rest of the meal. I had my big ass camera with its big ass lens out, and hopefully everyone thought I was a food critic. We were both transfixed by one server who was constantly playing with fire, as he prepared a spinach salad dressing tableside.

Before dinner, I had a salad with the incredibly tasty house dressing (some kind of vinaigrette), and Roy had the vichyssoise, which was also incredibly tasty. And then it was time for the main course. I had ostrich a la echalotte (ostrich in a shallot and brandy sauce), and Roy had filet mingon with bernaise sauce.

I'd never had ostrich before, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out how yummy it was. Roy's filet was amazing as well. We took our time eating and savored every morsel, and of course we saved room for dessert. I had chocolate mousse, and Roy had chocolate creme brulee.

Was it awesome? Hellz yeah!

One of the waitstaff members took this picture of us.

And we took these pictures of each other. I think they are so cute.

At this point, I was so totally stuffed, but I was cold also. So we went through the Starbucks drive thru and got a white chocolate mocha for me. It pretty much sent me over the edge, and after I drank it, I was uncomfortably full, almost to the point of nausea. We laid in the uber comfortable bed in our room and talked for awhile and then decided to go to sleep. I did not sleep well at all. I had forgotten about the train that runs through the canyon near the inn, and so I was awakened at least once every couple of hours by a train whistle. I also think the late-night coffee had a lot of do with my not sleeping well too.

We woke up early and went downstairs for breakfast. Janet, the inn's proprieter, made us pancakes and fruit.

Her dog, Lady, was so cute and totally knew it.

Janet was a very gracious host, and she spent a lot of time talking with us about the history of the Morey Mansion. I so wished my uncle Charles (who is an architect) could have been with us, because the house was truly amazing. Everywhere we looked, there were breathtaking details, stunning woodwork, and charming knick knacks. Staying there was worth every single expensive penny. It's amazing how one night out of our element really helped us reconnect, slow down, and appreciate the basics: good food, relaxation, and love.

Now we are back home with the cats, the laundry that needs to be done, the dishes that need to be washed, the homework that needs to be completed, but we are better people for having done this for ourselves. Further posts (full of pictures) will prove this, I promise.