Monday, February 27, 2006

The Excess of Texas

I love exploring new areas. Even if it’s an area where I totally can’t relate to. To me, that’s the beauty - seeing and experiencing the differences.

But I came across a few tidbits about Dallas. The following are all quotes from guide books I got from their visitors center. I find it interesting that they pride themselves of excess.

“Dallas is all about superlatives: the biggest steaks, the most luxurious diamonds, the largest endowments, the most magnificent mansions, the most social socialites – if it’s not excess, then it’s just not Dallas.”

“Dallas prides itself as being built on Ambition, Arrogance and One-Upmanship.”

“Mega-bucks aren’t enough in Dallas. It’s your civic duty to flaunt them.”

-On a different note-

I spent Saturday in Fort Worth. The best part was going to the Cowgirl Museum. I originally thought it was going to be hokey. But happily, I was wrong. It was awesome. I love any experience that honors women and their tenacity.

“There’s something left of the wild west in rodeo. Riding a good bronc makes you feel like hollering ‘yeehaa'!” – Jan Youren, Champion Bronc Rider

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Preparing for the future

lol. yup, i've already started collecting embellishments for my Dallas scrapbook. These are a few of the things I found yesterday. I found more today.

I've heard the motto that Everything's Bigger in Texas. Well, so are the craft stores and scrapbook stores. The owner of my favorite sb store in Sunnyvale told me that I had to go to Recollections because it's the best sb store in the area. She also told me that it's owned my Michaels. Which, to an independent, often means 'evil empire'. I used to work for a rubber stamp manufacturer and many of our independent store customers told us that if we sold to Michaels, they wouldn't order from us again because they just couldn't compete with them. Makes sense. Anyhoo, I walked into Recollections yesterday and about fainted. Probably over 2000 square feet full of scrapbook supplies. They have tons of stuff I've never seen and often the complete line of a particular manufacturer. My saving grace was that 1) I have to lug anything I buy back home and 2) I prefer buying from independents. So I'm mostly limiting myself to Texas related stuff.

When I was checking out, the lady asked if I was 'in their computer'. I said no, I'm from out of state. She asked where? California. We blathered about California a bit, she grew up in San Diego but her husband's job brought them to Dallas. She was super friendly and chatty. Surprised that an independent told me about her store. Under her breath she said "you know, were owned my Michaels". She's fully aware of how independents dislike them, especially since one of her closest friends owns 2 scrapbook stores in the Sacramento area. After a bit more chatting, she told me about the Joanne's Super Store. She said its 2 stories! And, get this...she gave me a 40% off coupon for Joanne' of her biggest competitors! Seriously, how sweet is that?

Haven't been to the Joanne's yet, tomorrow. But after I returned from exploring Fort Worth, I stumbled upon a Hobby Lobby. Arts and crafts and home decor. Madeline Mecca. Except for the evil empire thing. lol. I'd almost swear that it was the size of Costco, but I must be wrong. it was the biggest arts and craft store i've ever seen. So I'm curious to see how the 2 story Joanne's compares to it. Everything in Texas is bigger. Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 24, 2006

toughts on travel photography

I'm in Dallas because Jimmy's here for a conference. That means that I'm on my own all day, which I'm comfortable doing and enjoy the time to myself. But being in a strange city and female, obviously, I have to take precautions. I'm always aware of my surroundings and try not to draw any attention to myself. This poses a conflict for me though. Because, as I'm sure anyone who's visited my blog even just once can gather, I love to take photos. And I usually don't just point and click - i'll compose a shot and take several photos of a particular subject fussing with aperature/depth of field/lighting. Well, there's no better neon arrow pointing at you that says "tourist" than a woman alone with a big camera taking multiple photos of typical tourist attractions. So, that leaves me with only a couple of options: be stealth and fast, or miss the shot.Pioneer Plaza. Re-creation of bighorn steer cattle drive in bronze.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


So far...lovin' it! we've only been here a few hours, but seriously, my favorite part is hearing everyone call us ya'll. I'm quite sure that every.single.person we've come in contact with since we got off the airplane has said ya'll to us.

The flight could have been better. I'm not a fan of United Airlines.

Tomorrow's agenda: explore downtown Dallas, the 6th floor book depository museum, lunch at the Mansion at Turtle Creek and drive around some of the neighborhoods made rich from oil tycoons.

Even though it's only 9:45 in California, we're off to bed. A whole day in the air wipes you out.

oh, one more thing...king sized beds are different. I suppose that's why there's a distinction between a king and a California king. This bed is a lot wider but shorter than ours at home.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dust to dust

Old Japanese Cemetery, Kauai.
Photo Tuesday is ending. Thanks to Jom/Godamonginsects for all his hard work.
Adieu. Posted by Picasa


Koi pond at Hakone Garden, Saratoga.
submitted to Moody Monday: Calm Posted by Picasa

Directional Sign

Took this photo coming home from the hideaway this weekend. Sure, you can almost make out that it says 35, but really, in this weather, I wouldn't recommend that fast. Just up the road a bit, there was a nasty accident that delayed our trip back to the Bay Area by an extra hour. We took an alternate route and almost fell into a ditch. There were already 3 cars there waiting for us to join them.
submitted to Photo Hunt: Directional Sign Posted by Picasa

A day at the races

This is an event I cannot relate to whatsoever - not necessarily because I have any sort of conundrum with it, but I'm completely ignorant on every aspect of the sport. One of my dearest friends married into a racing family so now it's a part of her every day life.
Her family was here this weekend with a horse at Golden Gate Fields. I felt like I was in another world. Every single detail is so out of the ordinary...or I should say...out of my ordinary...that I couldn't help but watch in wonderment. I had a lot of fun, mostly because I spent the day with my dearest friend and her baby, but also because I got to spend a day doing something completely foreign to me.
And yes, I did place a little wager. Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 20, 2006


While I was growing up, I had a lot of parental pressure to do something musical. The violin and piano were the instruments of choice. Unfortunately, that just wasn't my skill. So I have great admiration for anyone who is musically inclined.However I did learn how to listen to music and sing really loud, much to the parentals dismay.

Ok, I have to admit, I've been hoarding the paper I used in this collage for almost 5 years. I'm so happy I finally found a use for it!
submitted to Illustration Friday: Song

Sunday, February 19, 2006


It was colder than usual this weekend. Normally it stays in the 30's but this weekend it didn't even get to 30. We got to the cabin Friday afternoon and I didn't go out till we left Sunday morning. Sat by the fire watching free previews of Encore movie channels: The Butterfly Effect, Cold Mountain, Liar Liar, Under the Tuscan Sun, and maybe a few more. While reading 4 different magazines: Stampers Sampler (Phin, should I re-subscribe??), Somerset Studio, Simple Scrapbooks and Creating Keepsakes. Lazy days... Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 17, 2006


Only some of the leaves on this tree died after the fire. Why is that? Will they have a rebirth in the spring? If so, will that disqualify me from this week's theme at Brookston's Photo Hunt? Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

San Francisco Treat

Irresistible Ghirardelli ice cream sundaes.
submitted to Pxite: Food Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Grief, weeping on the shoulders of History.
Washington DC.
submitted to Moody Monday: Melancholic Posted by Picasa

Happy Valentines Day

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The end of my knitting 'career'

I was on a friend of a friend of a friend's blog and she showcased a pair of fantastic washcloths that she had knitted. I love the pattern she did them in. I still do, but because of this particular pattern, I do not knit anymore. This is how the story goes: I found this pattern last winter, and since I loved it so much, I wanted to make a baby blanket for my dearest friend's first baby. I was a voracious knitter - not skilled - no sweaters or socks or anything, but I knitted scarves like a madwoman. I even knitted a poncho (remember how popular they were last year?). So when my dear friend got pregnant, I wanted to make her something from the heart. Turned out this blanket broke my heart! I spent weeks on this thing and didn't even get to the midpoint - it.just.would.not.get.big.enough. So - I decided to put an end to the madness and start decreasing. Weeks later, I finally finished - a tiny blanket, only big enough for a stuffed animal. I gave it to her anyway because it was still cute.
Fastforward to October. Time to pick up the knitting needles again. I found some cool yarn and started a simple drop stitch scarf on size 15 needles. Fast and easy, right? I finished aproximately 2 feet, ran out of yarn, so set the project aside. Completely unmotivated to finish, it sat for 4 months till last Wednesday when Phin came over. I was dropping stitches left and right. Extremely frustrated, I threw it back in the bag and pouted. I've lost my knitting mojo.

Visited Canadian Proviences

create your own personalized map of Canada

On that trip from California to New Jersey (see previous post), we drove back to the West Coast through Canada on the Trans Canadian Highway. That was a trip of a lifetime. It was the summer of '96 (LOL!! Not the summer of '69). We spent 5 1/2 weeks driving across our great country and thru another mighty fine country. I have photos on our family website - our cross country trip are here and our Canadian journey here.

I can sooooo easily get caught up in day to day issues. I try not to dwell on them here (that grace thing I'm attempting to maintain). But looking back, the road I've travelled has been bumpy, but blessed. And looking ahead, the road looks fairly smooth, too. A few potholes I'm sure, but nothing big enough to ruin my alignment.

Visited States

create your own personalized map of the USA

Found this link on Cate's Blog. Coincidentally, I was thinking about posting a blurb about Italy and how much I want to travel there. I'm watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. Going to watch the Olympics is one of those items on my life list.

Looking at the map, is it obvious that we took a cross country trip from California to the east coast? I've been fortunate to be able to travel as much as I have. I love an adventure. Later this month, Jimmy and I are going to Dallas. It doesn't have the appeal of Washington DC's trip last year, I'm still looking forward to it!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Friday, February 10, 2006

My Shadow

Brookston's Photo Hunt keeps me on my toes. Well - in this case, off my toes! Almost looks like I'm doing a cartwheel. But I'm not. I set the camera on a tripod in front of me and used the self timer to give myself time to jump in the air.
Submitted to Photo Hunt: Shadow Posted by Picasa


One of my collection of Grace quotes:

Happiness cannot be traveled to,
owned, earned, worn, or consumed.
Happiness is the spiritual experience
of living every moment with
Love, Grace and Gratitude.

I attempt to go through my days being as gracious as possible. (another clue on my blog name. See my tree post for the willow part). There are many days that I struggle with this, but that's life, right? But I figure, if I make the concious effort to keep grace in the forefront, then at least I'll survive the day less annoyed than otherwise. It's as simple as that.

submitted to Illustration Friday: Simple


Blurry buzzy bee. Electric light parade. California Adventures.
submitted to Photo Friday: Blur Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Near Lake Tahoe.
These are one of my favorites. Walk through a grove when the wind is rustling though the leaves. Then you'll know what I mean. Posted by Picasa

Jefferson Memorial

If you read my post last night, then you can imagine my disappointment when I went to Washington DC last spring and the cherry trees weren't blooming yet. It was the end of March, but they had a very cold winter and the trees were blooming a bit late. 10 days after we were there, the cherry trees were in full blossom. That just means Jimmy and I will have to go back, but in April next time!


This weeks topic for Thursdays Challenge is tough for me - tree. I probably have over a thousand photos of trees in various conditions. Redwoods, pines, dogwoods, cedars, junipers, willows (an explination of my blog name), aspens, oaks, maples. I feel serene among them. You can call me a tree hugger if you'd like. Not in the sense that I'm a granola crunching berkenstock wearing braids in my hair type of gal 'cuz I'm not quite that extreme (afterall I guiltily drive an suv but I justify it because we're in the mountains all the time and contending with snow and mud and dirt roads) . I just really like being among the trees.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Vancouver. One of the most beautiful cities I've been in. I could live here if i had to. But i love living in the bay area too much.
submitted to Lensday: dusk Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


A group of Sneetches on stage performing "Seussical the Musical"
Oops! I meant a group of Who's down in Whoville!! (Sorry Phin!!) I knew that, too! After hearing the songs so many times. :)
I'd change the title, but since I already submitted it to Thursday's challenge with that url, i can't.
submitted to Thursdays Challenge: Group Posted by Picasa


submitted to Pxite: rain Posted by Picasa


Frog Chair

This started out as a doodle of a big comfy chair, a la Mary Engelbreit. But I started sketching it with the arms and legs first, then the seat cushion. Without the seat back, it looked like a frog. So I just added the tongue and painted it green.
Sketched on paper then colored and cleaned up in photoshop. The background swirls are a photoshop brush from Miss M.
submitted to Illustration Friday: Chair

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Snow melting off the pine trees. Mi Wuk Village, CA. Posted by Picasa