Something on your mind? ? ? :-)

If you would like to leave a comment to tell me what you like or if you would like to share an experience you have had, have suggestions for new adventures, or would just like to share what's on your mind, please feel free to do so! I would really, really love to hear any feedback you would care to offer!

When you click on the comments link at the bottom of the post, you will be presented with choices for logins, if you do not already have one of the accounts listed, or you do not choose to login with that account, you can always choose the anonymous option, in which case your name would come up as Anonymous! If you choose to use one of the other log in options, your name would appear as the public name you list for that account. For example, mine would appear as Willow's Quiet Corner, and, of course, your email would not show!

Thanks! And, again, thanks for stopping by! I really hope to hear from you and to see you again soon! Let me know how you think I am doing! :-)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

This post is inspired by all the weird, wacky and wonderful holiday videos I have run across today!  All these videos are from YouTube.  I have tried to give the appropriate credit for them, but as things sometimes get posted and reposted so many times, it gets hard to know if I have the original posts or not!  I have done my best!

I think there should be a little something here for everyone!  I hope you enjoy them!  Grab a glass of eggnog, throw on a blanket, get snuggled in and click away!

We'll start off with some fun stuff; you know, things like cats and dogs, reindeer and muppets!

Here we have a post by 22BassMan22.  This is one my mom sent me a link to:

And, if you like muppets, perhaps you'll appreciate this one posted by MuppetsStudio!

And, of course, what Christmas would be complete without singing cats posted by meowychristmas?

If you have ever wondered how to wrap a cat for Christmas gift giving, this video from MoreFlippyCat should come in quite handy!

Then there is this dog, Bailey, who just loves snow!  This one comes from baileyandfriends.

And on we go to some just plain weird stuff, like talking chins from brossmac.

I am truly sorry to say that I found this next one a bit amusing.  Sad as that is!  (Sorry, Santa! ! !  :-(  )  Next year, I'll be good, just wait!  Though it appears, if I find this funny, it might be too late for that!  It was posted by celilon.  Thank you for making me laugh!

Are you ready for some spectacular Christmas light displays?  Imagine all these people living in the same neighborhood!  We'll start off with a little Amazing Grace brought to us by holdmanchristmas.

Followed by houseofboyd with Christmas Lights Gone Wild.

Jeffostroff was kind enough to post this beautiful display.

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch! brought to us by ocandtrav.

Holdmanchristmas has another little gem here:

Holdmanchristmas has a bunch of great videos!  Here is still another - Music Box Dancer.

Trykoski brings us a wonderful display set to Wizards in Winter.

Wizards in Winter appears to be a popular tune to which to set your Christmas displays!  Kaywest11 brings us another fantastic light show!

And something just plain pretty and whimsical to watch posted by MysticalEnchantix:

And finally, something to give us pause in this hectic time of the year . . . a reminder of the fragility of earth, the blue marble in a tiny corner of the universe we call home.  WingsofRedemption provides us with this thought-provoking video written and narrated by Carl Sagan.

May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white!

Merry Christmas, everybody! ! ! !

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dragon Fruit!

Remember my post a while back about missing the bloom on my dragon fruit cactus?  And how I wasn't going to miss out on the actual fruit this time to those ever pesky, naughty-naughty, nasty little ants?  Well . . . . this time, I won!  

I kept an ever watchful eye on it and it finally ripened up . . . and this time I got to the ripe, juicy dragon fruit before the ants did!  So, I am sharing the bounty to prove I did it!  The red fruit is about the size of a softball.  It tastes a little like kiwi, but not as sweet.

BTW . . . . the yellow stuff is mango . . . not grown by me, but part of my afternoon snack today anyway!  Which I shared with others!  I didn't eat all that stuff all by myself!  ;-)  The mango was not quite ripe and was a little tart and not nearly as sweet as I was hoping!  Darn!

My friend wants to give me another dragon fruit cactus that is of a different color (and maybe a little different flavor . . .  maybe? ? ? ).  I think she said the inside is yellow.  I'm anxious to try it, but I asked to wait until I get my garden squared away this next summer so I can figure out where to put both of them!  They can get quite big and take a lot of room and need a strong support.  The one I have is still in a temporary pot/location while I work on finalizing my garden beds.  Once everything is in place, I can see what spaces I have available.  Yayyy!

Stay tuned!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Peter Pan

Peter Pan at South Coast Performing Arts Center

Please, do yourself a favor and go see this play (take a quick peek at the video link above).  I saw it with a friend this weekend and it was fabulous! They are starting to blur the lines between film and theater with this one.  It was held in a tent that seats just over 1300 people, with part of the tent, an area equivalent to the size of 3 IMAX theaters, serving as a 360 degree screen on which the background was projected.  There are 12 projectors each responsible for 30 degrees of the scene.  They blended some amazing CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) with the action on the stage, or, in this case, over the stage!    :-)    They were able to have 5 people in the air at a time and it all combined to make you believe they were really flying, or swimming, depending on the scene.  The photos here have been taken from the Peter Pan Souvenir Program I purchased as they do not allow any photography, which I understand, but am sad I couldn't share some of the best parts of the show.  (Copyright to all photos in this particular post belong to them.)  Actually, you would need video to really capture the amazing effects they were able to create, again, check out the link to the video promotion above.  You actually felt as if you were flying or swimming right along with them.

Bottom is the round stage, the dark band above it is the audience and
the blue, underwater scene above is a 360 degree underwater computer
generated image that you "move" through with the action in the play.

It began it's run a little over a year ago, summer of 2009, in London and arrived here from San Francisco.  It is currently playing in Costa Mesa at the South Coast Performing Arts Center and will be traveling on to Atlanta and Chicago after the beginning of the new year.

My friend and I started the day with a "tour" called Into Neverland given by Ian Street, who played Curly, one of the Lost Boys from the play, and another member of the crew and I deeply regret that I cannot recall his name.  They were both extremely personable, informative and entertaining. They provided a lot of behind the scenes information.  I would strongly suggest you take advantage of this presentation if you possibly can.  It really added to the whole experience.  They provided a wealth of information regarding the history, statistics and inside stories that helped make a great play even more enjoyable.  Ian also shared that the crew had created an alternative Peter Pan "horror" show and posted it on YouTube.

Curly is the cute blond, second from the left.

We had about an hour between the "tour" and the time the play actually started, so we grabbed a cup of hot cocoa while we waited and just chatted away until it was time to head into the tent for the performance.

It would be extraordinarily difficult to describe the wonderful job they did with the CGI.  When the children were flying away from their home, you were flying right along with them over the city, between the spans on the bridges, past great domed buildings and right through the clouds.  And when they dove into the sea, you went right down along with them, with soap bubbles rising in the air from the middle of the stage adding even more to the feeling you were under water, as the scenery around you moved you through the sea.  The mermaids were breathtaking to watch as they seemingly swam along on fabric that held them suspended above the ocean floor.  No wires holding them up, they totally depended on the strength of the fabric and their own body strength to keep them from falling to the stage.

But, I have to say, my favorite character by far was Tinkerbell, who was superbly played by Emily Yetter for the performance we saw.  What a naughty, feisty, ornery and completely adorable little fairy she was!  She played the part so convincingly that it was hard to remember it was not a young child we were watching.  Her mannerisms and the faces she made were exactly those of a child.  She threw the most amazing little fits shaking her head with her little cheeks all puffed out, fists waving in the air!  And I was mesmerized by the way they had managed to get lights in her hair and costume.

Peter Pan, the eternal, impish little boy, was played by Nate Fallows and he did a great job with his performance.  During the scene where Tink was dying he explained that in order for her to live, everyone had to softly say they believe in fairies.  I wasn't sure if we were really supposed to be saying it out loud, but I certainly felt that audience participation would have been very much appreciated at that point.  I know I felt very much compelled to join in to save Tink!

Jonathan Hyde did double duty as Mr. Darling and as Captain Hook and he played both parts very well.

The pirates were a fierce bunch, but in the end, were, of course, no match for Peter and the Lost Boys.

The puppets were made of things that one would find in a nursery.  The crocodile was made of coat hangers and, I believe, clothespins.  He had a terribly fierce roar as he is demonstrating in the photo above.  He leaned out over the audience and bellowed out at them.  It is quite understandable that Captain Hook would be so terrified of him.  There was also an ostrich made of among other things, a rugby football and a badminton shuttlecock.  He was so cute, I wish I had a picture of him, but you can catch glimpses of him in the promotion video.

And poor old Nana.  Nana was a very convincing and compelling dog.  You almost didn't notice the man behind her giving life to her actions.  When Mr. Darling got upset with her, you could feel her sadness and dismay.  The puppeteer did a fantastic job of bringing her to life while becoming almost "invisible" himself.

All of the cast did a great job and brought everyone to their feet at the end.  It was one of the best performances I have seen in a while.  It was a truly enjoyable and memorable performance.

Have you forgotten the story?  Is it perhaps time for a refresher?  If so, here is a link to, where you can subscribe for free to this or any of a number of other books.  They deliver portions of the book to your email so you can read it a little at a time.  I think it is time for me to reread it and I have subscribed and read the first 4 installments already.  I hope you revisit this story and enjoy it again!

So . . . tell me, . . . do you believe?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Internet, The Blog that Wasn't and Winter Preparations

Bolsa Chica path . . . makes you wonder 
what's around the corner, doesn't it?

I don't have the story I wanted to be able to tell you about, but . . I'll get to that later.  So, instead, for now, I will start out by saying I like photos in a post.  I just really like looking at nice photos and I am thinking that you may, too.  But, this post is one that I don't really have pics of to post . . . so, I am going to take you on a little walk with me through the Bolsa Chica wetlands while we chat.  I want to have some nice things for you to look at while you are listening to my little stories here!  I hope you don't mind.

Some of the grasses around the Bolsa Chica wetlands

So, how do you drive a person crazy (or punish them - depending on your purpose) in this day and age without resorting to violence or anything that will get you arrested?  Why, easy!  Just ask any teen, you simply take away their phone and internet for a week!  OMG!  Ten years ago, I probably wouldn't have even blinked twice at that possibility.  But, 2 weeks ago, I got home from work and as always, the first thing I did was try to check my email.  I have gotten so used to it always being available, . . . you just go to the computer and magically, it is just there . . . just waiting for me!  But, that night, I got . . . nuthin!  I kept getting the message that I wasn't connected to the internet!  What? ? ? ?  It was like someone telling me that I wouldn't be able to breath between 10 and 11pm or something!  It just didn't seem real!  I kept trying and trying and kept getting no connection.  It didn't occur to me right away to actually check the phone lines!  So, by the time I got so frustrated I was ready to call the tech support line, I think I was frothing at the mouth over withdrawals already!  And, when I did finally pick up the phone, I was stunned to find . . . silence.  Total silence!  Where the heck did the dial tone go?

Bolsa Chica ground squirrel . . . isn't he cute?

Well, remember my previous posts about my escapades building my patio?  Specifically, that little incident with sort of digging through my phone line and that someday if I stayed here long enough that it would come back to haunt me . . .  Wel-l-l-l-l-l, that was the first thing that popped into my head.  I had been having some static on the line for a while now, and I sort of recall that somewhere along the line (no pun intended), I had been told that moisture in the lines can cause static.  And, when they had repaired the line, they just put a little plastic-looking doo-hickey over the ends of the cut line and left it for me to rebury.  It was definitely NOT water-proof looking.  Soooooo, I immediately thought the worst.  I thought maybe it was water-logged and shorted out or whatever happens to water-logged phone lines, and I was just sure they were going to tell me they were going to have to dig up my patio to repair it.  It was really hard work putting that patio in, and I was a bit younger with a bit of a stronger back back then.  I just couldn't imagine having to try to repair all the damage after they tore it up.  So, I spent the night (and the next several days) angst-ing over it.  

This adorable little bunny thought he was invisible!

The last time I had had to call the phone company, they were on regular 8-5 hours, so I thought I would have to wait until the next morning to make an appointment for them to come out to fix it for me.  Surprise!  Technology can be a wonderful thing.  I now know you can call 24/7!  Wish I had known that BEFORE I waited until after 8 the next morning to call, it probably would have taken less time that night to get through!  I thought it would be a 15-20 minute call to make an appointment for them to come out and repair the line and maybe a day or two wait for them to get there!  Surprise, again!  Technology can also be a curse, I hate phone trees!  It took 4 calls and over an hour to make the appointment for them to come out, only to be told it would take a week, A WEEK! ! ! ! to get here!  AND, they would only say they would be there sometime between 8am & 5pm.  Well, that narrows it down, doesn't it?  Holey-moley!  A week without phone or internet!  That should be considered some kind of inhumane punishment!  

Oh . . . four calls you ask?  Wel-l-l-l-l, the first one took probably 15 minutes of pushing selections on the phone tree only to get a recording that said a check of my lines was inconclusive.  They couldn't tell if it was on their end or in my house.  But, a couple more mins on the phone and a few more buttons and I get a recording telling me I could maybe save some time by checking the line myself.  All I would need is a screwdriver.  Just go to the phone box outside and remove the cover and plug in a phone to see if it works.  Yeah, right . . .

They didn't say whether I needed a flathead or phillips, so I took both and guess what? . . .  it took neither.  I needed a wrench, so I went to find one and tried again.  But, it just wouldn't come off.  I got a bit frustrated and gave up and went back in to call back from my cell phone again (how did we live pre-cell? ? ? ?)  After going through all those stupid phone tree things again, I finally got one that said to speak to a representative, press (whatever it was), I did . . . and got nothing.  Total silence.  I didn't know if I was on hold or had gotten into a no-man's land where no call is ever picked up.  Should I hang up and lose my place in line and have to start all over, or hang in there only to find out I would be on hold forever?  After 2 more mins, I finally decided to hang up and try again.  Third call . . .  I finally, finally got a real live person and everything was going pretty well, but then I was asked for my cell number so they could forward my calls from the home line to my cell while I was without service and so the repairman would have a number to call just before he arrived.  Well, since I only use it for emergencies, I don't really know what my number is and since I was on the phone, I couldn't look it up.  I was nearly panic-stricken because I couldn't bear to go through the phone tree AGAIN!  I was nearly frantic when I asked the guy if there was another number I could call so I didn't have to go through all that again.  He said sure, just call this number and select for repair and about that time I recalled that I had written my number down and asked him to wait a moment while I checked and then . . . the call got dropped.  sigh . . .  As it turned out, I didn't have it written down (and, yes . . . I do now) so it gave me a chance to look it up before I called back.  Well . . . to be blunt, he fibbed about being able to get right back through.  It was not that simple, it was another phone tree and the options he told me were not the options given, and so it took another 13 mins to get another real live person again.  And, as I found out later, they did not end up forwarding my home calls to my cell.  I sure hope no one else has to go through this!  It is brutal!

Anyway, when the repair guy got here and only had to replace a few wires in the phone box and was done in less than 1/2 hour AND he made sure I had phone and internet again, I almost kissed him!  Oh, and he said that particular box wasn't made for me to take the cover off myself, so that recording was . . . well, wrong. Now, it may have had something to do with my hysterical tears of joy to have my internet back!  Or, it could have been my hanging on him and thanking him over and over and over, and begging that he never leave me, but for some reason, it seemed he couldn't wait to escape.  Ok, in all honesty, I don't really think I scared him that badly!   . . .  I don't think . . .  But, it's ok . . . I have internet again! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . . . . . . . .  :-)

Well, during this time, I had planned on going to the Kinetic Sculpture Race.  And, that is what this post was originally supposed to be about, but sometimes, things don't always work out the way you plan them!  We don't usually get rain this early in the year, but that morning I woke up to rain.  Since I had no internet that weekend, I didn't have a way to check to see if there was a phone number or something I could call/use to check to see if it was rained out or if it was going on anyway.  It could have been just fine up there, weather-wise.  I just had to decide whether or not to drive the 2 hours up and take a chance on it being cancelled or not.  I decided that if it was going on, and if it was raining, I didn't really want to be standing out in the rain anyway, and that if I did go and it was raining, the photos would probably be a little gloomy-looking.  And then there would be the long drive home in rain.  So, I ended up staying home, and so, of course, it ended up clearing up fairly quickly and it probably would have been a great time . . . but, by then it was too late to start out, I would have missed most of it.  So, I will put this one on my list of things to check out . . .  next time.  And I will check out their site later to see the pics of this year's entries.

Once I got my internet back and was able to check my email, I discovered I had received an email from my cousin from over on her 9 acre farm.  She was telling me all about all her winter preparations.  Honestly, she made me feel totally exhausted telling me all about everything she had to do to be ready for the snow.  She told me about all the firewood that still needs to be chopped, the pipes that need to be wrapped in heat blankets, all the tires that need to be changed out for snow tires, the big gardens that need to be dressed with goat berries, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Phewwwww! ! !  I had to sit down and rest for a day or two, my head was spinning so fast! ! ! 

But, don't worry, I assured her that I knew JUST what she was going through as I, also, had just finished all MY winter preparations, too.  I had taken my air conditioner out of the window and put it in the shed . . .  I think that's probably about the time she made a funny gurgling sound, that . . . come to think of it . . . may have been a . . .  a . . .  a sort of . . . growl.   Hmmmm . . . wonder what THAT was all about?    :-)    Sorry, cuz!  But, as a consolation, I promise to try not to mention our 70 degree weather when you're having your -70 degree weather! ! !    ;-)    Of course, you can always just post all those pics of the gorgeous scenery in your neck of the woods to retaliate!  Your pics of Grand Coulee were really nice (and I liked the Windmill Garden, too!)!  If you haven't already stopped by her place, you might want to meander over and check it out!  And even if you have stopped by, you might want to swing by again, there's a lot to check out there!

Well, I think that is enough for this post.  Checking my calendar, it doesn't appear there are any events coming up in the near future, but I'll keep my eyes open, just in case!  Although, I really should pretend to be a grown up and stay home for a while and take care of a few things around the house one of these days!  But, so I don't neglect my blog (if nothing else) I took a drive up to Canada a few years ago and I have some really nice pics and a couple of stories to share from that trip, so maybe I can regale you with some of those tales later!  Hope you enjoyed our little stroll through the Bolsa Chica wetlands!  Talk to you soon!  Take care!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Via Arte Italian Chalk Paintings in Bakersfield

The Marketplace in Bakersfield Fountain
I woke up to happy, smile-inducing sunshine and a beautiful day!  It was a good sign that my day trip to the Via Arte Italian Chalk Paintings in Bakersfield would be a good one!  But, that didn't last long!    ;-)      I took my leisure getting ready to take off for the day and thought I'd treat myself to a grande decaf mocha to sip and a croissant for breakfast to munch on along the way.  Everything was going well, not too much traffic, I got on the road at a fairly decent time, but I hadn't gone more than 20 miles when disaster struck!  Welllll, ok, fortunately, it wasn't a major disaster, but it did cause me to turn around and head back home.

You see, that grande decaf mocha's cup collapsed at the top and the lid popped off and coffee shot up and out of the cup and ended up all over - on my arm and in my lap.  But, it could have been worse!  Somehow, it didn't end up all over the car!  I didn't want to be walking around all day with sticky coffee residue and coffee stains all over my arm and the sky blue dress I was wearing, so I turned around and went home to change and rinse out the dress so I didn't have permanent stains all over it!

When I got back on the freeway about an hour later than my first departure, traffic was a little heavier, but still not too bad for a weekend in LA.  Then, after I got past down town LA and started heading up the grade it suddenly slowed to a crawl.  As I got further along I discovered what the problem was.  Some poor guy's car had stalled in the middle lane.  I felt bad for him, sitting there unable to get out of the way.  But, once past that it was smooth sailing all the rest of the way to Bakersfield.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was very excited to see what kind of work I would find there.  There was a special section for children and a lot of their work was really nice.  I would have liked to have gotten a picture of one little girl who was standing very proudly next to her work, but decided instead of posting her picture on the web, I decided it would be best to just snap a pic of her work.  Here are a few of the pics of the children's areas and their work.  Look for the pink and green picture signed by the proud Brandy G 9 years old.  Most of their squares were about 12"-24" squares.

The kids sections.  Lots of very nice work here!  Good job, kids!

Speaking of kids, Claydoh the Clown was on site creating magic balloons for the kids, from swords to hearts to angel wings, he twisted balloons into all kinds of shapes in just seconds!  He put smiles on a lot of young faces!

It's Claydoh! 
I got a couple of pics where I tried to capture a sense of the number of works on display!  There were actually a couple more rows for which I did not get snaps!  Most of these spots were 4' by 6', so there was a lot of ground to cover in just a couple of days!

I took so many pictures of all the artwork I can't begin to share them all here, but I would like to start with some of those that won.  It must have been tough being the judge for this competition, there were a lot of very nice pieces.  There were several that I thought should have won something, but it seems there just weren't enough categories to go around.      :-)      I'll share some of those here a little further down!  Later in the day, the shadows from the trees and the umbrellas the artists were using to try to keep from baking in the heat fell across portions of the artwork, making them a bit difficult to photograph and see, so I apologize for some of these that are a bit hard to see.  (The copyright notice is, of course, only for the photo, not for the artwork itself!)

One gentleman had brought a step stool with him to get a better shot of the work.  I must keep that in mind for the next time!  I tried to hold my camera up as high as I could and still try to get a good shot, but unfortunately, it was very difficult, if not impossible at times, to see exactly what I was getting in the frame.

At one point a couple of ladies crouched down to walk in front of me and then turned around and apologized, they said they didn't know I was trying to get a picture, they just though I was standing there with my arms held above my head.  What? ? ?  Really? ? ?  I know this is So. Cal. and people think we are pretty strange out here sometimes, but really?   Really you just thought someone would stand around with their arms held up over their head to view artwork on the sidewalk in front of them? ? ?  Yeah, I always find I can see better with both of my arms held high in the air . . .  Anyway, many of the pics got a bit of the artwork cut off here and there, but I'm hoping you'll be able to get a good idea of the stuff that was there!

3rd Place - Original Work - Heros

2nd Place - Original Work - La Muerta

1st Place - Original Work - 6 squares of Bakersfield locals

3rd Place - Reproduction - A Pilgrim's Progress - Norman Rockwell

2nd Place - Reproduction - Salvador Dali

1st Place - Reproduction - Snow White's Sonata - Mia

Visiting Artist Award - Snails

I really liked the ones selected for awards, but there were so many more that were really good.  Here are some of my favorites (Unfortunately, I did not get the names of the works or the artists who created/recreated them!).

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Carribean

I believe this is Judith beheading Holofernes by Artemisi Gentiles.  
A little gruesome, but I thought very well executed!  No pun intended!

King Kong

I loved the way they made the pavement look like a lake.  The blue was so beautiful!

M.C. Escher's Water Drop

I tried to get a photo of the entire work, but it came out
better when I just tried to isolate parts of it.

Here is a little video of some of the others! Music: Tu Vuo' Fa' L'Americano by Quadro Nuevo from Putumayo World Music's Italian Cafe'.  It may take a little while to load!  I hope it will be worth the wait for you!

The trip home was a long one because of all the traffic coming back into the LA area from all the weekend jaunts out of the city, so it was pretty slow going.  It's the thing I dread most about taking weekend trips.  (my cousin on her cute little 9 Acre Farm should be very glad her town, population 24, does not have anywhere near the traffic to contend with that we have here!  :-)

But, I am very happy I made this trip!  It was definitely worth it!  Next year, I would love to spend more time there.  Apparently, some of the artists get started Friday night and are still finishing up when the awards are announced.  I would love to be there from the beginning to see how they get their work set up.  It looks like most of them have a team to work on the painting and they start with a grid overlaid on the picture they are working from.  Then they put a grid on the pavement to keep things proportioned correctly.  Sometimes I saw three or more people working on one painting at the same time.  I heard a few of them mention it was very grueling, hot work and hard on the old back!

It appears I now have another project I want to try to tackle!  I may end up with a very colorful driveway one of these days!      ;-)

Well, that's enough for now!  Maybe I'll see you at the Kinetic Sculpture Race in a couple of weeks!  Unless, of course, we meet up at the Festa Italiana in Riverside next weekend first!

Arrivederci!  For now, anyway!