Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Little Boxes

'Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside
And they all look just the same'

I read an interesting article today in the San Francisco Chronicle about a man who has 'pioneered' the Tiny House 'movement'. According to the article, this man lives in a house that is less than 400 square feet. He is touting these smaller homes for the new millennium home owners. He says they are 'greener' and much more cost efficient. He sites the Japanese as his inspiration. His company builds them and sells them. Some of you may have even seen them, they look like little log cabins on wheels.

He says in the article that he envisions a whole community of these tiny abodes built around a central meeting house. A commune, as it were.
NEWS ALERT!  The World is full of very small housesI watch HGTV.  I know there are families living in tree houses, boats,cabooses, lighthouses,tents,yurts,horse boxes on wheels and ex-Greyhound buses. There are families living in cardboard boxes, under bridges and in the garages of their ex wives grandmothers house.  I'd say that those things qualify as tiny houses.
Some are even what you would consider 'green'.
I grew up in a small house. At least with five sisters, one brother, a Mom, a Dad and several various and sundry animals it seemed small.

It's not that I find the idea of a small cozy retreat a bad one- I think it sounds charming. I can picture myself tucked into a tiny little cabin with a cup of tea and a wireless router,gazing out of the tiny window at the big wide world.
And that would never be.

*** Sigh***

 I find that small means much more work. More work paring down to essentials. More work not disturbing your 'mates'. More work keeping everything in its place. More work keeping your sanity.

And face it, as American's we want BIG. Big houses, big yards, big garages to put our big cars in. We'd probably skip the big mortgage to go with those things, but you can't have everything.

I hated living in a tiny house. The day to day struggle of where to put everything drives me around the bend. If I had a bad day, there was no where to go to chill out that wasn't already occupied.It's true that  familiarity breeds contempt. Isn't part of the punishment of going to Jail  to live in close confinement with someone else?

As I read further into the article, this architect drops the fact that , well yes, his living space with his family is only 400 sq feet- but his office- well that is another 400 sq feet! And it is connected to the main living space with a covered walkway ( like a habitrail!). And yes; he spends his entire waking hours there! More than likely sans wife and children who are busy putting everything back into their 'cubbies'.

Ah Ha!

I rest my case...

Sunday Stills~ Dogs

The assignment- Dogs.

My favorite subjects
I could take picture of them all day.

Maybe someday I will!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Just one disaster away from total annihilation

Have you ever had just one of those days?
I'm having one of those weekends! And I feel so dumb that I just have to share!

Yesterday I made a batch of cookie dough with the Littlest Cowboy. He and I baked one pan and then his Mom came home and I had to go pick up my truck from the shop.
So I did.
And while I was out I remembered I needed to buy some wrapping paper to wrap a Wedding present.
So I stopped and shopped a few minutes, bought the paper and a card and came home.
When I came through the front door, heavy smoke was billowing around the room!
My Hubby was standing in the kitchen holding a cookie sheet full of crispy Chocolate Chips cookies! I had forgotten that I popped one more pan of dough into the oven! I still don't remember doing it!


So I went to the Wedding last night and had a wonderful time. I drank a bit too much and danced holes in my boots. When I got home, I managed to take some aspirin and fall asleep- no hangover this morning, but I was a bit tired.
But being the 'acheiver' that I am, I still wanted to paint the trim in the extra bedroom. It was cold here today, but I didn't want to get paint on my sweatshirt- even though I am an excellent painter and hardly ever spill paint.
So up the ladder I go, holding the small new can of white paint and my small brush.
I HAD taken off my sweatshirt- but I HAD NOT put down a drop cloth.
I HAD left my UGG boots on, but I HAD NOT taped the trim off entirely.
When I got to the end of the line of trim I was working on the small bits of blue tape were askew. I was trying to adjust the blue tape while balancing the can and the brush, and tilting my head UP- unfortunately I tipped the can of new white paint DOWN. I realized what I had done as the smooth paint slid down my arm -into my armpit- and across my right boob- and onto the stepladder- onto the right UGG boot and then onto the freshly cleaned carpet ( you know- the one with NO drop cloth)!

Holy Mackerel!
Have you ever been just so 'f** ed that you didn't know just which way to go?
If I stepped off the ladder I would drip paint on the rest of the rug. If I didn't move, I was going to 'set up' and the paint would never come out. There was no one home but me- so rescue was not an option.
So I took off my tank top, wrapped it around my UGG- walked on my heels to the bathroom and stepped into the tub. At least there I was able to wash everything off. Even the boot.
I'm happy to report that it didn't ruin (entirely) the boot.
Then I had to take the rug cleaner out, fill it with solution and clean the rug of paint before it 'set up'. THEN I could go wash out the rest of the clothes and wipe the ladder.


I decided that I didn't want to paint any more today.
And I also decided that after two disasters I had just better not ride the colt today. I was just one disaster away from total annihilation! The Third Strike usually means you are O.U.T!

I'll try again in a few days. Meanwhile I think it might be time for a nap!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sunday Stills- Night photography

Last week Sunday Stills Challenge was Night Photography. This was as close to night as I could get. The sun was down- I hope that counts.

These are the cranes at the Oakland Harbor. We call them At-At's. It is a fact that George Lucas modeled his At-At Warriors after these huge things. They are endlessly fascinating to me! They slide sideways and those cranes configure in various ways.

This is the Ferry on its way to San Francisco. 
The Train Station in Downtown Martinez 
I really like the color and the perspective in this one.
Fun Challenge!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's December 1st- Is it over yet?

We picked up our tree yesterday.
Early? Yes.

Did we do it to beat the rush of Holiday shoppers?
Not really.

We just wanted to take a few pictures of the dog and Christmas Trees are so colorful.

Actually it is The Hubby's  
birthday on Friday and I always put one up for him before his Big Day.

This has to be the earliest we've ever put up our tree! December 1 and the temp outside is 70 degrees.
Not very Christmas-y.
I keep hoping that next week it will seem more like the Holiday. 
I'm even making a list of things that I like about Christmas to help put me in the mood. 
But before I list them, here are some of the things I don't like about The Holiday

1. Christmas Car Commercials. No one ever buys a car for anyone on their list! At least not in my world.
2. Black Friday. Why don't they call it RED Friday? Or Green Friday? Something less associated with Death! 
3.TV Show Christmas Specials. I mean really~ A Storage Wars Special Christmas Episode? Happy Holidays from the Swamp Guys? 
4. Poor Imitation Santa Clauses. Hold up the image men!Santa should be clean, not smell like smoke and not trying to text under his fake beard.

What do I like?
1. Spending quiet time with my family. 
2.Christmas lights
4.Baskets of cookies for presents.

I'm interested to know what are your favorite Holiday things?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

RC or NRC?

I commute.
By the way the crows fly it is only about 25 miles. That means in a perfect world on a clear freeway going 64.5 miles per hour I should arrive at work ( or at home) 35 minutes after I turn over the engine. I'll even add five minutes in case the lights are out in the tunnel.

But it doesn't take me 25 or even 30 minutes. It usually takes 65 minutes to arrive at work.

Why? Because I live in the San Francisco Bay Area- that's why.
You'd think in my world, where the speed limit is 'faster than the car currently ahead of you', the commute would be faster.

It isn't. But not because of the Regular Commuters.
No, that isn't the reason.
Regular, Monday through Friday commuters, take driving in traffic seriously. It is practically a sport. It should be an Olympic Event. The DMV could issue Gold, Silver and Bronze Drivers Licenses. ( The Bronze's would only get to drive on Sunday's)

Regular Commuters or 'RC's' put the pedal to the metal. They can draft off the car ahead of them like a NASCAR driver on a good day. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor terrific views of the Golden Gate will deter them from their final destination. If it were just RC's we would all get where we are going in record time.

It is the Non Regular Commuters or NRC that just throws a wrench into the whole dang deal and slows us all down.
The NRC will lollygag.( That is a technical term- look it up).Gripping the wheel at 10 and 2, they white knuckle it along the busy freeway, heads set on rigid necks. They don't look around. They don't go the speed limit. They don't know that when you MERGE it is every other car. A NRC will  hog the lanes trying to fake out an RC (hoping that it is another NRC).
A true RC will zoom up to her spot in line, signal, sweep into the spot (minuscule as it may be) wave gaily at the other guy and keep the pace. (SHE SHIFTS- SHE SSCCOOORRRREEEESSS!!)

Other ways to tell an NRC:

A NRC will brake like it's a school zone in the tunnels.
A NRC will swerve into another lane as motorcycles cut lanes.
A NRC chats on their phone while looking at their eyelashes in the mirror.
A NRC doesn't wave- gaily or other wise.
A NRC changes lanes s l o w l y.

I had the occasion to drive my usual commuter route home on a Saturday. I thought that driving home on  Saturday would be a lead pipe cinch- fast, easy and fun~ with no commute traffic.

Boy was I wrong!

Every mothers son was on the road ( with their mothers), lollygagging, slow changing lanes and braking in the tunnels. I've never felt more alone and afraid!

At least when I take my life in my hands during Rush Hour I know the other RC's have my back.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Stills- Creepy

I actually don't find any of these things creepy. 

But some folks do.

Crawdads are a little bit creepy

But spiders- I love 'em!

Sunday, September 22, 2013


 The 2013 Draft Horse Classic was this weekend. Lil Mama and I have been looking forward to it all year. Jr is finally old enough to enjoy himself and sit in the bleachers for the Best Horse Show on the West Coast, (at least as far as we are concerned).

It has been very warm here- just the way we like it. The height of our Indian Summer. Sometimes at this time of year our temperatures have soared to  100 degrees. We have absolutely melted during the day! We seek beer and shade and not necessarily in that order.

Three days ago the Weatherman says,"Some chance of rain."
We say- 'Pfffttt!"

Two days ago the Weather man says "30% chance of rain."

We say," It won't rain! It's September for Heaven Sakes!"

We pack. We do not pack rain gear. We do not pack jackets.


It rained.

And rained...


We waited for it to stop.

It did not stop.
We bought jackets.
We bought Hot Chocolate.
We waited some more.

Finally when the arena was deemed flooded Horse Show was cancelled due to rain.

I did manage to take a few snaps- enough to document the day.

You gotta be Kiddin'

Intrepid Friends



Here are a few snaps from a few years ago.



Bleu- eye
Six Horse Up

Baby Sister
What'cha got in the Bag?

Not the Biggest Pony in the Barn

Pretty in Purple



Girl Talk

30% can ruin a day for sure but I am 100 % sure that next year will be much better!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sunday Stills- Boats

I live on the water. The county I live in is called "Contra Costa' or " Opposite Coast'. I love boats too, though I have never learned to sail and I am a little bit like Natalie Wood in the fact that I am always afraid of drowning-even on dry land.
almost every aspect of my life is surrounded by water- there are seven bridges within a half hour of my home. You can't swing a dead cat without crossing water to do it!

This weeks challenge for Sunday Stills is Boats. I stopped at the Alameda Ferry Crossing on my way home this afternoon.
I parked the truck and grabbed the camera. It was 5:00 and the light was not optimum- too soon for the 'golden hour' and too late for the incoming Ferry.
" Buck up", I thought to myself. " It is a challenge- that means it should be a little bit hard."

 I adjusted my camera and took a few snaps. I am always fascinated by those cranes,so I took a picture of them. To my left were a few boats 'up on blocks'. I walked that way and snapped away there too. I read the informational sign at the end of the path and then returned to my truck.
"Epic Fail," I thought,sure that I had just wasted a half hour and gotten myself stuck in rush hour traffic because of it for nothing.
I thought about those snaps all the way home. Too much haze. Not enough clarity. Uninteresting subject matter-especially since some of the posted captures on the Sunday Stills Blog were so damn good!

Here are the captures I made today. 
I was mostly right. There is too much haze in one, not clear enough in another and sort of a boring subject in the last. 
But upon further thought I have decided that they might be 'Fails' on a photography plain, but they are not epic failures by any means. 
Here is why~
I got a little out of my comfort zone in an environment in which I wasn't familiar. 
I had to shoot fast and try to find 'something' during my time parameters.
I got some fresh air.
I learned a little bit about Alameda- a place I knew nothing about though I have worked here for three years. 
 I learned a little bit more about my new camera. It is a constant learning process and though I fail sometimes it is alright. 
Failure just gives me another chance to try it again- and do it better- tomorrow. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sunday Stills- Water

Capt Tripps sees the Ocean for the first time.

Clydesdale at the Draft Horse Classic getting a bath.

Aunti and Littlest Cowboy fishing for crawdads on his birthday.

The biggest cranes on the West Coast across the estuary in Alameda. That is the OLD Bay Bridge in the background. Slated for demolition soon.

My favorite spot on the Western Seaboard-Blind Beach,Sonoma County.

Blind Beach
                                                               I love water.
                                    My Zodiac sign is Cancer- which is a water sign. 
     I spend as much time in on near the water as I possibly can- which is weird because you can't ride horses                                   in water- and I have NEVER ridden on the beach! 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Stills-Back sides

You see- he's my favorite subject. 
Seems like I have a lot of pictures of him from the back. 

Or from the side

Maybe that's because I have a hard time keeping up with him

Or maybe it's because I enjoy watching the swagger

And the curiosity

And maybe someday he'll look back on these pictures and remember how much fun we had.