Friday, July 30, 2010

The Fair

We wait all year for the golden sun to shine upon us, and for those bright blue skies to push aside the dark ones. Another week has flown by, and summer is surely slipping by. This is all happening a little too quickly for my liking. I just want to soak this all up.

A few threats of thunderstorms have given us no such thing but beautiful paintings in the skies above.


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Smack dab in the middle of July brings us the County Fair. Always seems to fall in one of the hottest weeks of the year. Although this Fair pleases many, and leaves kids with fond memories, it doesn’t touch on the memories I have of the County Fair where I grew up. The good ole' Los Angeles County Fair. Walking the black pavement seemed endless back then, and cotton candy was always the first thing to check off my list. It’s all about the bright lights, the cranking of the neck to see if you can see the top of the Ferris wheel, to the slimy lookin' Carnies begging for dollars for no other reason than to pop their balloons.

I visited the Fair this year with the sister, and as lovely as it was, this fair just doesn’t do it for me. It’s about 1/10th the size of the Fair I am accustomed to, but none the less we got the bright lights and cotton candy too. Oh and those slimy Carnie's ... they're still around.



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Along with the fair comes the lineup of performers who will sing for us. I was thrilled to see that one of them was one of my all time favorite performers. A huge country fan I am not, but I have my chosen favorites. Back in the day, I can remember Christmas morning when I ripped open the cassette of this performer. Yes, I said cassette :) Along with the cassette came my first purple tape player. I was so cool, or so I thought. My childhood bestie Jenny and I, would rock out to this music. And I'm sure we ran that cassette dry over and over again.

The Judds are no more, but getting front row seats to see Wynonna was awesome.

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And even better was hearing her perform some songs that she did with her Mom back when they were known as The Judds. Some songs I haven't heard in years, but the words just came back to me, 20+ years later.

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Listening to her took me back to my childhood days where Jenny and I would waste hours of hours of time, with this music always in the background.

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A fun night was had.
Hope this summer takes you back to the County Fair.
Soak it in, grab that wispy cotton candy, people watch
and I dare ya to catch a glipse of the top of the Ferris wheel!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Happy Camper?

Yes, I camped as a kid. Camping as a kid was fun.
My Dad drove us and piled all us kids into the
back of his silver '65 GMC truck.
Loud tunes would play, and I remember this Willie
song playing along the way.
This song takes me back to the trip, every time.
That truck was cool, cause he could pull the
keys out while were driving and it would still go.
Oh the things that amaze us as kids.
We would see squirrels, eat what was provided.
We were happy, carefree ..........

Fast Forward 25 years .......

A true authentic camper, I am not.

All my life, camping represented dirt and bugs to me.

I'm a girly girl, so I say no to dirt and bugs.

But then girl met boy, and boy likes camping.

Crap.

It all started like this:

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Girl did not like this. I need to give myself some credit though.

I managed on four separate camping trips in this tent.

Roomy it was, bug free it was not.

Oh and when it says its waterproof, don't believe them. THEY'RE LYING!

And yes, I weathered a lightening storm in this with a major downpour.

And when I say downpour, I really mean it. Ditches were being shoveled
around the tent so we could stay dry and not float away.

Girl was not happy. What fun is in this, really? I swore to never do that again.


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Sure, camping has it fun moments. Campfires, Smores and umm .. no housework?

But wait, I have a theory.  For this said girl, it goes a little like this:

 

1. Wake up

2. Cook breakfast (cause cereal just wont cut it when your camping.)

3. Yeah – time to wash all those dishes in a baby sink.

4. There is a little room here for a break, maybe an hour if your lucky.

5.  Goody, Goody .. Lunch time already?

6. Repeat steps 2 &3 above.

7. Another little rest.

8. Dinner time.

9. Cook & Clean up again. 

10. Get all cleaned up, showered, and ready for bed.

11. Oh wait – we have to have smores.  Another damn mess.

12. Clean up again. Better well shower again too, cause those smores are sticky and messy.

13. Bed time

 

See how much fun this is .. day after day.

Anyone that calls this a vacation, is nuts. Something must be seriously wrong with you!!

 

 

After a season of the tent, I talked boy into a trailer. 

If I'm going camping, we are going to do this in style.

We started off with a 27’ 5th wheel, and it made things

a little more manageable.  A real bed rather then a air mattress. Now were talking.

A stove, oven and fridge—this is true camping luxuries.  No more camping stoves and ice chests with floating bugs.

This helped matters a bit, but steps 1-13 still occurred daily.

 

Kid moved out, and now its just girl & boy. No more need for 27’ trailer, we down sized to 20’.

Might as well make this a little more cozy, and less cleaning up for me.

Oh and yes, we spent the last 4 months fixin’ this thing up.

 

It was all about me this time, I'm turning this camping trailer into a little traveling 50’s trailer.

 

Dark cupboards, no more.

Gross flowery floor, no more.

Blue velvet seat cushions were quickly thrown out.



Checkered floors, red seat cushions oh my.

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Painted cupboards white with black trim.

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Bathroom door is now a bright red.

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Had to get matching silverware, so perfect right?

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So much better then the tent, right?

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Now, next time I have the big bright idea of re-decorating a travel trailer, slap me.
It was a real biatch. I would have never thought so, until I was twisted like a pretzel to get that four coats of paint on in every corner.

Its pretty now though, and I will be happily amongst the bugs and dirt, in style.

I do complain alot about it, but indeed it does have some great moments too.
Shhh ... don't tell anyone, but I secretly like the bike rides, crafts with the kids, visiting the lake, watching my Dad teach his grandsons how to start the campfire, useless talk around the campfire with family, cooking meals with love, and just being. And after all, its a smaller floor to swiffer :)

Now we just need to align our schedules for a camping trip.
oh joy.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

happy summer

Summer is in full swing.
That bright ball up in the sky has been working hard.
Heats been a blazin', the suns been a shinin' and I couldn't be happier.

There was a birthday to celebrate last weekend.
Happy 8th Birthday to my nephew Bryan.

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We celebrated at the park where bubbles could dance through the air....

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where shirts could be thrown to the side....

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where swimsuits could be worn....

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where one brother can try to comfort another....

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where gifts could be opened....

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and where we could just be, together as a family, to celebrate.

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Earlier in the week, Jake spent some time over at my place. It was his idea to make his brother something for his birthday. He crafted up a goodie, and went to work on this card.

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and it came out a little like this...
(please take me back to childhood, where it can be all about Lego's & coloring again)

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In his downtime, he had some good games of Connect 4 with Rufus.
I think Rufus beat him ;)

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And with his birthday next up the horizon, he was sure to leave me with his top ten. Does anyone have any connections to the NY Yankees? He only wants pitching lessons from their star pitcher.

Dream big Jake, dream big ... forever and always.

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Life is beautiful, and full of whatever you make it.
I'm loving my new chalk pens where I can write some happy thoughts on my chalkboard, and where the sister can randomly draw a flower on there.

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Some things I am loving this week are ..

my fruity scented lotions and sprays.
and yummy lip smackers too....

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freshly baked cookies with sprinkles, none the less.
sprinkles make everything better, ya know.

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fresh summer fruit....

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freshly plucked sweet corn....

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and yummy salads with all the fresh fixin's.

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Ive been working on some salad dressings, and tonight I tried this one out.
So good it was, and here's the recipe to boot. enjoy.

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BBQ tools that smile at me, just make me smile back at them.

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and spending a summer night watching hot air balloons light up the darkening sky....

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It's all about the little things....
It really is.

Happy Wednesday.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ooh La La- I love Paris & my french penpal.

I loved Paris, before Paris was cool.


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In the recent years, the idea of decorating your homes with Eiffel Towers and anything French has become très chic, well I was doing it even before then. That's right, Me and Paris became a thing almost 20 years ago. I don't know what quite drew me to the whole idea of France, but once I started taking French classes in high school, I was hooked. Almost 90% of students took Spanish, and who can blame them, but I needed to be different and take French. Yes, I'm different alright. It was the whole introduction to a new culture, their beautiful language, the landmark of the Eiffel Tower or shall I say the Tour de Eiffel, and my curiosity on how other people live in another country. Do I speak French fluently? Ah no. Umm hell no. Learning French was/is hard. I can still remember some of those silly phrases, that they make you learn in class. Not sure these help me today .. but in case you were wondering .. here we go.

Parlez-vous français ? (Do you speak French?)

Comment allez-vous? (How are you?) Bien, merci, et toi ? (Good, thanks, and you?)

La Gare (Train) La Banque (Bank) La Plage (Beach) La Bibliothèque (Library)

I could get really far in France, you think?

Yes, I can also count to ten! Its nice to see my education paid off.

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Oh, and don’t we all know this? Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)? This is perhaps best known from the song Lady Marmalade. However, we really shouldn't go around asking "Do you want to sleep with me (tonight)?" Just sayin. :)

I do know a bit more, but I have a far ways to go. I have not given up in still trying to learn the language however. My English/French dictionary has gotten some good use over the years and I still have the computer programs, its the whole time issue that comes into affect now. I'm not getting any younger, so I should really just do this and make it happen.



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So, yes my house is très chic in all things French. You walk into my house and you would be a fool to not see my love of the Tour de Eiffel, it would kinda be like going to Disneyland and not noticing Mickey Mouse. I have collected many things French over the years, been given many gifts, and some even from the beautiful city of Paris too. How this makes me so very happy! Please relish in some of my favorite things.



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and sometimes I will play this music ...
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and look at this below painting .. and just imagine I am there.

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So, back to the whole learning French in school thing. One day in class my teacher brings out one of those big black trash bags and its full of letters. Letters, you say? Yup, all handwritten and each in their own envelope. There were hundreds of letters, all for the taking. They were from students in France who wanted to be PenPals with us, American students. I was thrilled to say the least. I liked looking at all the different stamps , post marks, etc .. all things France just fascinated me. Not many were interested in the letters, but I sure was. My friend and I went through that bag and read many letters to see what these were all about. How ever would I choose who to be penpals with? I did the only thing my 14 year old self could think of, and so I choose a letter from a female and one with whose writing I liked the best. Don't know why I came up with that thought process, but I did and it worked. I found one letter and I remember it was even in a green envelope. The writing was beautiful, so perfect, the English was great, and so that was it, my letter. Little did I know that choosing this letter, would change my life forever. Her name was Zoé. She was just 2 years younger then me. I was so happy to have some one to write to in the country I was learning to love.

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We exchanged so many letters over the years, many I still have. In time, we also started to exchange gifts, I was so happy whenever I received anything. It was all the way from another country, you know! We talked about the differences between our lives, and how we lived in each of our respectable countries. So much is the same, but yet so different. I was always so interested to hear more and more. We wrote letters for many years. Its amazing how much you can get to know someone just with just writing letters. I had nothing but time back then, and I would spend a good few hours just writing and writing. Zoé wrote English so beautifully, and so we have always corresponded in English. Yeah, that whole French language just wasn't working out for me. After several years of just writing, we started calling each other on the phone. A person I knew so greatly but yet I had never spoken to her. It was great to put a voice to this person who was becoming one of my closet friends. I remember how great it felt to share our first laugh together. In the beginning the calls were sparse, however we did what we could in that 9 hour time difference. We practically grew up together, we went through boyfriends together, losing family members together, getting married, and it was just as real as if having her life next door to me. Over the years our sparse phone calls have become more common and in more times then not, we talk weekly now. We have been friends for 18 years now. 18 years. WoW. To this day, she has and always will be one of my best friends, and part of my family. She is amazing. She calls me every birthday, every Christmas and many times just because. We text, we email, we call, we write but not as often as before. We are both much too busy to continue all that writing. We have talked many times over about that day we will meet. We have made plans but only for them to not work out, between the cost of airfare to our work schedules, it just wasn't meant to be yet. It will happen though. We are on a 2 year plan. By the time 20 years hit, I will have landed in that country I have always loved from a far. Zoé’s Mom is also so very lovely, and retired, and so graciously offered to show me around. I have my very own tour guide waiting for me. I'm so, so excited for this day to happen.

And did I mention, how beautiful she is. This is my friend Zoé and her husband Nico.

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image source:Zoé

She made a beautiful bride.

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image source:Zoé

And for you Zoé, when you read this. … Thank you for all the many years of friendship, in which it hasn’t always been easy since we are worlds apart, but your unconditional love and friendship has meant the world to me. Our friendship is unique and so very special. You are one of my favorite people, love ya!

I must admit I have had reservations in the past about travelling outside of our lovely America. Remember, in the beginning of all this I told you I was different. Well, I am so very different. Some people may have different words for it, but I just like to call it unique. I'm very particular in my food. Yes, food. I'm worried that in France I wont be able to find just regular lettuce, you know iceberg lettuce. I'm not a meat eater, and I eat alot of salads but I don't like all those fancy leafy greens. Ok, a little green is ok with alot of iceberg. What if I cant find it, what ever will I eat? I love cheese, but only cheddar. France has over 300 cheeses, but heard its hard to find cheddar. What ever will I do? I know there are McDonalds over there, so I know I can get some fries, but come on people. Going to a country with what little of the language I know, how ever can I trust that there is no escargot in my salad? I'm afraid, but I'm putting that all aside and just going with it. Yes, you can quit laughing at me now, but this is real for me. And did I mention I cant eat with regular silverware? I have to have plastic, but that's for another post. And I'm kinda worried I'm not going to like all the dogs in the cafes, but I think I will live. I am unique, and I will keep telling myself that over and over no matter what you say.

I must say I have been rest assured some, so what you read above has been toned down. I have found a few American bloggers who are now living in France, and with the stories they share, I can see how it can be do able now. If you want a good laugh on how Americans are transitioning into the French life, you must visit their sites. They have kept me up hours and hours past my bedtime .. and keeping my dream alive of living in France in one day. A girl can dream right? Thank you Sara in Le Petit Village, La Mom, and An American Mom in Paris.



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bisou.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Independence Day

It was Independence day and it was quite abundant cause the flags were flyin’ high throughout the neighborhood.


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The F15 made its appearance by flying above our humble abode, and it had me jolting right out of bed. So much for sleeping in. It’s all good .. cause after all we had a birthday to celebrate.


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The day was quiet, we celebrated in our own little way. We had our own little BBQ for two, napped a little, and just piddled.


Nightfall was quickly approaching and it was time to meet up with the fam.
The hat was pulled out of the closet, dusted off, and we went on our way. We got smiles, thumbs up and little smirks from strangers in nearby cars as we were driving through town. Gotta love how funny hats speak a unspoken language to random strangers and they feel the urge to respond. Gotta love the American spirit.


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We met up at the familiar parking lot where year after year we pile into the back of our American made cars and trucks, and watch while the kids run around with excitement.


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The family was gathering for the big event. All excited and showing their American spirit.


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Sasha and Mike joined in on the fun. Hope we didn't scare them away, cause
after all we can get a lil' rowdy.


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There was popcorn to be had, after all a show was about to start.


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The loud booms came, and there were oohs and ahhs.


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The show came and went too quickly for our liking, but none the less, the sky
was splattered with bright colors indeed.


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Bedtimes were ignored, celebrations were had, family & friends were together. This is the American way.

The night ended with no better way then sparklers.
This lil' guy doesn't understand what this day means, but one day he will realize
and he will be thankful to his Daddy and his Papa for helping make our country what it is today.


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It's easy to get caught up in the celebrations of this day, but indeed we have a lot to be thankful for. Making our country what it is today did not come easy. This kinda says it all:
“And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.”
-- Lee Greenwood


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It was nice to have a 3 day weekend. We stayed home, had some BBQ's, and just relaxed. It couldn't have been more perfect. I added some new pages to this blog under the title, check 'em out. You can learn more about me, my frugal living & more!

Here's to a new week. Make it a good one.
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