Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thoughts about a film

This may sound silly, but I am so happy after reading Adam's latest film review. No, I'm not astonished at his writing (after all, I have lived with it for a very long time!). Rather, I am feeling a sense of gratification to see him grappling with issues that have, at times, taken over my life. It all started yesterday when he and I went to see The Reader. Naturally, I wanted to see it because of the World War II plot woven throughout the story, and, happily, it did not disappoint. Once again, something has reminded me how much I truly love my thesis/research topic. It can be doggone depressing at times, and I have seriously wondered why in the world I am drawn to this. Truth be told, I have no answer, except to say, it captivates my very being. I can't say too much more since I am at risk of spoiling the movie for those who haven't seen it. Suffice it to say, the story takes a valid historical argument (Primo Levi's "gray zone") and shows ,how in the Third Reich, not everything was/is black and white. Simply brilliant.

(and, no, I'm not getting my PhD!)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

O' Christmas Tree, O' Christmas Tree

Finally, some decent pictures of the Christmas tree!!

This is exactly what I was going for...with the exception of
the bright light. What's up with that!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Cheer

I'm wrapping Christmas presents!!!! (and taking photos of my favorite packages!)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Lights

In honor of my mother's birthday we went out looking at Christmas lights, and I thought I would share a few of the pictures I took.

This is a view of Old Town Orange. The center tree is gorgeous,
but thanks to being in a moving vehicle, the photos did not turn out.
I hope to go back before Christmas and take a still.

One neighborhood in Old Town is beautifully decorated.
Here is one example of a front yard display.

This is a side view of our neighbor's house. Please excuse the street sign. It's not easy taking a picture without looking like you're gawking at the immensity of it all.

The car was moving at this point, but you get the picture.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Cheer

Christmas has arrived at the office!!! I was talking with a co-worker last week sharing my desire of how I wanted to decorate the El Toro office for Christmas, and the next day she brought two bags of snowman themed decorations. Hurrah! Coupled with a trip to Michaels I have So today, I spent some time decorating and wanted to share some of my Christmas displays. Naturally, after I took the photos Trish brought me some more things, but I didn't have time to take pictures of them.

My so called, Christmas table. I have candy canes and
candy kisses in the basket. Yum!

I had to do something with the pencil holder!

To top it off, I finally found decent picture frames for my sunset photos. I need to frame a grand total of 5 pictures and am starting with 2. When you have to provide your own private funding for office "improvements" it takes time to scour local establishments for good deals!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Carlsbad Photo Blog

Here's a smattering of pictures from last week...

Welcome to Seaport Village sign. I hadn't been there in years.
Flight deck of the U.S.S. Midway, moored across from the village.

Decent photo of Seth and I. :-)

This picture was taked around 1:00, and the ocean really is out there.
The majority of the week looked like this.

Point of view shot: crabs-eye view!

Seth really liked how this turned out. It was chilly by the water.

The next two pictures were taken from the jacuzzi. I haven't photo shopped them at all.

Las Vegas has door??

For the most part we have very nice neighbors. We aren't exactly 'close' but wave at each other, pick up mail when we're on vacation, you know, that kind of thing. But then there are the neighbors next door. Somehow they missed the concept of the standard, accepted definition of neighborly. To me that means being friendly, helpful, and most of all, respectful of your fellow man. I mean, if you have a party, isn't it polite to move it in side, around 10:00-10:30 so as to not subject the houses surrounding yours with undue loud noise? If the city ordinance says parties should cease at 10:00, doesn't that mean something? But no, we endure at least one wild party a year complete with live (and VERY loud band) a year. (where they attempt and fail miserably at recreating Led Zepplin's Star Spangled Banner, I might add) In the summer they have multiple get-togethers on the weekend, which in and of themselves wouldn't be negative, except they are usually drunk/buzzed and very rambunctious into the wee hours of the morning. You get the idea.

Which brings me to Christmas. A most joyous time of the year, and one they go waaaaay overboard on. Once again, every single inch of they roof, lawn, trees, and open space on their house is covered with lights galore, a blow up snowman, a blow up snow globe, candy cane archway, plastic trees, snowflakes, a moving train, etc, etc. And, I am not kidding! The light is so intense I think the power they use for it could generate enough electricity for a third world country! This years theme is blue since they recently had their house painted that color and they added the candy cane archway. It's so much an so overboard, the rest of the neighborhood looks pitiful in comparison. I know its fun to enjoy the Christmas spirit, but how about doing it with some taste and style. Just a thought. I'll try to take pictures so I can prove I am not making this up!!!!

P.S. I almost forgot about the Christmas music they play until midnight and the cute, little Santa and Mrs. Claus costumes they use. What if I wanted to go to bed before midnight!!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A little of this & A little of that

Why in the world am I using Thanksgiving of all days to catch up on blog entries?? Well, maybe because I actually have some free time this morning! Last week we spent a week in Carlsbad with numerous family members going back to Orange County for various reasons (Adam and I for work, Seth for class, etc). Regardless of all of the comings and goings, it was nice to have some time away from it all, even if I did have to spend a couple of days working remotely. We had a great ocean view (on the days it wasn't foggy) and some nice walks at the beach. I also went to Seaport Village for the first time in years. It looked much smaller than I remember! I'll post some pictures of our Carlsbad adventures later. The week before we left I finally finished my graduation scrapbook. It certainly took long enough! The good news is I had just the right amount of protectors and decided to end it where I did so I didn't have to go buy more. I am feeling a little scrapbooked out right now. I suppose it's time for me to get busy with my day. Photos will follow before next week!

All for the love of coffee

Yesterday I had a plan. Since it was the day before Thanksgiving, and we all had to work a full day, I thought to myself why not ring in the holiday season with my favorite holiday beverage: a peppermint mocha from Starbucks. Great idea right? To sweeten the deal, CSUF just opened a full-service Starbucks in the new business complex and provided 20 percent off coupon for trying it out. So, I arranged the details. I would save the coupon for the 26th and get myself a nice cup of joe. Everything was working out perfectly: there was no traffic on the freeway, I made it to work in plenty of time to buy the coffee and walk in at 9:00, I found a parking spot close to Mihaylo Hall, and headed in for my holiday treat...only to discover they closed the Starbucks for the entire week. My plans were dashed. Now, I know Fullerton keeps food services on a limited schedule during student breaks, but why, I ask, would they promote a new business with a coupon that expires during a week they aren't even going to be open?? Someone made a big error, and since I didn't have any more time to drive to the nearest Starbucks I headed for work without my peppermint mocha. Somehow I made it through the day. :-)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Calling all Streisand Fans

Regardless of your political affiliation, I thought this was hilarious! (and, yes, I knew all the words, of all the songs, and knew where he messed up on the notes!!!)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Photo Blog: Pittsburgh through Photos

View of downtown Pittsburgh as seen across the Ohio River

This view looks amazing enlarged ~ the blog photo does not do it justice. :-/

Catholic Church as seen from our room.

The trees actually change color!

My Fellow Travelers

Dear Fellow Traveler,
I am in need of advice. Not just any advice but very specific advice about my next trip. Having recently returned from a trip to the East Coast, I am reminded of how arduous a task packing ones suitcase is. Make sure you have essentials, but don’t take anything you really don’t need. Wear your comfortable (and usually, heavy) shoes on the plan to conserve both space and weight. It is such a job! Now, as you may or may not know, on February 12, 2009 I embark on a thirteen day tour of Europe. Needless to say, I am very excited to finally see the many national landmarks that, up to now, I have only read about. However, I am a little concerned about one little aspect: packing. Per tour regulations, travelers are only allowed one (and I emphasize one) suitcase, plus your carry on and purse. This is unfortunate because I would happily pay the 2nd baggage fee just to have a little more room and have a specified place to stow souvenirs.

Do you have any packing suggestions that would benefit me? I know things like, buy travel size items, wear clothes more than once, etc, but anything else would be greatly appreciated. Traveling in February means it’s going to be cold, and sweaters certainly weigh more than tank tops. Any suggestions about what to carry on the plane so you don’t have to pack it?

Thank you in advance for your help in preparing me for my dream come true…a trip to Europe!

-Excited Traveler

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On the road again...

View similar to what we see from our room.
I love these bridges!
Greetings from Pittsburgh! Yes, I boarded yet another airplane this morning and spent my day traversing the country to ole' Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I must say, that from a 'room with a view' perspective, ours looks out over the Ohio River (we think!), and the landscape is dotted with glistening water and beautiful lights. While I'm on the east coast for business, I hope to spend some time sightseeing tomorrow night. It's getting rather late on this end of the continent, so I shall provide further updates at a later time. Auf Wiedersehen.

Travelers Note: Do not, under any circumstances, fly while you have a cold. The pressure on the ear drums is excruciating, and I DO NOT say this lightly. :-( I deplaned 3 hours ago and am still waiting for an ear to pop.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


On Thursday night I attended a Homecoming in an aircraft hanger. Number 244 to be specific. Not exactly a traditional "homecoming," but one filled with honored guests and special memories. For those of you who don't know, I am part of an oral history project documenting the history of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. I have been with the project since the very beginning and am currently working full-time as the Acting Director through the end of January. Thursday night the Orange County Great Park (funding behind the project) held the El Toro Homecoming for all of the project narrators (people who give their oral history). Over fifty narrators attended, many with family members and special guests, and it was wonderful to see these special people again or meet many for the first time. Having listened to or read scores of their interviews, it was a treasure to watch them interact, greet old friends, and share stories about their time in boot camp, Cherry Point, and, of course, tales about El Toro. The evening included bus tours of the base, a reception, group photograph, buffet dinner, and a display of donated artifacts and photographs of each narrator. To top it off, we even got some publicity. One of my first narrators, Faye Shumway, was interviewed by our local NBC affiliate for a news story!

This project is something I believe it, a reason to go to work each day. I feel like I am making a difference in someones life, insuring their memories live on. It's all about the people. They are the heart and soul of oral history. Having these amazing individuals welcome us into their homes, prepare delicious snacks, take us to lunch, serve tea in a tea cup their son brought back from Russia, barely remember anything about their past yet whistle when they see a picture of their wife saying, "Isn't she a beautiful girl?"and receiving a thank you note for our visit...these kind gestures make it worth it continue on. I may despise the corporate side and bureaucratic politics, but we can make a difference in our own little way. I can believe in the people and their legacy. Helping preserve their history truly gives meaning to my own life.

Here I am with Faye Shumway, one of my favorite narrators

Inside of hangar with guests milling about and catching up with old friends

Close-up of group photo

Group photograph taken in front of Hangar 244, the same hangar Faye
worked in while she was stationed at the base.

Ashtray made out of half of a missle (no kidding!) This was donated to the project.

Magnificent sunset, as seen from inside the hangar.
(Notice the Great Parks signature orange balloon.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My lunch break

Since my oral history interview was canceled this afternoon I decided to use my lunch break to buy more items for my graduation scrapbook! Of course, I found even more options since Michaels has an endless inventory of scrapbooking tools, and I happily spent more money on paper and decorations. Now, I just need to find time to put it together...hey, you only get a masters once!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Day in Julian

Wood flowers I bought to fill my bud vase.

Yesterday, some ladies from church went on a day trip to Julian, CA. Having never been there, I thought it would an interesting excursion. What was supposed to be a short day trip turned out to be a bit more than I expected. First, I'm not exactly the biggest fan of antique stores and crafty type shops, but Julian is an historic mining town and that aspect appealed to me. We split up into two groups, and our group had no trouble finding the little town. After a two hour and fifteen minute drive full of two-lane highways and multiple twists and turns, we arrived to find it was exactly what I had expected, a very quaint, little town with pretty much nothing to see. That in itself wasn't necessarily a bad thing provided we only stayed for a couple of hours, but the other car made a wrong turn and arrived four hours late! Aside from the annoyance of them getting lost, their detours affected us too because we decided to stay in Julian until they arrived. We went into every shop, checked out each restuarant menu, and walked up and down the street more than once. Now, mind you, there is one main drag about two blocks in length and a few shops off the main street. And that's it! By the time we left all of the merchandise was beginning to look the same. Eight hours later we got home, and I decided that one trip to Julian was enough for my lifetime!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Scrapbook Update

I'm still not done with the scrapbook. Nuts! I thought I would have finished it by Thursday, and until last night thought I was. But after the event additional contributions arrived, and I have a little more work to do. Fortunately, it's only another 4 pages or so. Now I'm all fired up to start my graduation scrapbook only I need more supplies first. I decided I didn't buy near enough to thought I had everything, but after working on this album I think I need a few more items really to personalize the book.

Here are some pictures I took (finally) of the scrapbook and a photo of the book being presented to Dr. Hansen. The reflection was not my friend for these pictures. :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Another Busy Night

Okay. I know I'm no longer a student, but tonight has felt like I was back in the throes of the never-ending cycle of deadlines and tasks. Unfortunately, I hardly accomplished anything on my to-do list for last weekend. I did complete one page in my grad scrapbook, decided I need more plain paper, and finished editing an interview. Period, end of story. Oh, I also made a much-needed trip to South Coast Plaza to take my LV bag in for repair. :( While I planned on redeeming my somewhat unproductive weekend by tackling a 'weekend project' this evening, I had a slight change of plans.

What has me frantically working is another scrapbook. We are having a celebration this weekend honoring the Center's 40th anniversary. Simultaneously, we will be vetting long-time and newly retired director, Dr. Art Hansen, and I volunteered to help assemble his congratulatory scrapbook. That probably explains why I have taken over the floor next to me with paper, a wide variety of cards, letters, and photographs, rubber cement, scissors, stack of completed pages, and tiny pieces of paper littering my floor. Yikes! And to top it off, I need to finish it by Thursday! No pressure, right? :) I'm having a blast putting together the pages, however I have to continually remind myself I don't have a lot of time to get every minute detail perfect. Creativity is wonderful, as long as it does not exceed five minutes per page. (I have only half succeeded in adhering to this deadline.) So, by Thursday I should have a 98% completed scrapbook of at least 50 pages. (The remaining 2% is reserved for the stragglers who submit their contributions late.) Regardless of the outcome, I shall take comfort in the fact that I am not being graded on this!

P.S. I decided to not take a literal photograph of my organized mess. Instead, I found this one on line. Like the date and place, Jackie?!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Remembering those who paved the way

You may have already read this, but I wanted to share.

Life After August

I'm excited. Why? Well, one might think it's because it's Friday, meaning I have a entire weekend coming up. Or perhaps I'm excited because it's Labor Day weekend, which means three days off instead of two, not to mention two days I can actually sleep past 6:30. These are very valid reasons, but, more importantly, it's Labor Day weekend, my FIRST one in seven years where I will not be doing any homework! And, that's what I'm celebrating this weekend. I remember my first semester of college, I spent Labor Day doing math homework and labs. Last year, I was writing a thesis proposal and trying to stay on top of reading for History & Theory. In 2008, I don't have to do any of that. Yah!!! I can do things Kira wants to do instead of sacrificing for the greater of academic good. :)

While I haven't made any specific plans for Monday, there are several projects I can either continue or begin.
  • Start my graduation scrapbook. I had the pictures printed two days ago and already bought the supplies. I could celebrate my first holiday with NO homework by reliving graduation. Hmmm....this would be fun.
  • Continue editing my oral history transcripts.
  • Transcribe another twenty minutes of my thesis oral histories.
  • Clean out my closet and make room for new clothes!
  • Vacuum the inside of my car.
  • None of the above. Spent the day sleeping in, watching movies, reading, or whatever my heart desires.

Whatever happens, it's just nice to know I have a life after August! Happy Labor Day everyone!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Highlights from Iowa and Wisconsin

On the road to Cassville, Wisconsin (population 1085!)
First town we stayed at, and one of the prettiest

Mississippi River. Illinois is across the river.

Me posing by the Mississippi

We saw enough red barns to satisfy anyone's curiosity

Another view of the Mississippi, this one from Cassville. Iowa is across the river.

Pictures do not do this view justice. We saw green and the river far as
the eye could see. This was a highlight of the trip.

Fox river in De Pere, Wisconsin

The clouds are gorgeous.

I think I have a problem. I seem to be addicted to my computer. Now that I am no longer a student, I technically don't have to be attached to my computer 24/7, but I find that I still take it with me everywhere. I do have several post-graduation projects I am slowly plowing through, and most require the use of MS Word. I still sit and watch TV with my computer on my lap. I take it with me on trips just in case I need it. (it did come in handy on my most recent excursion since we needed to look up directions several times) I can always think of something to that I have to do on the computer. I seem to have forgotten how to sit and relax. It is such a habit to always be doing something. Any tips on how to solve this little problem? Perhaps I should just quit cold turkey!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Welcome to Dubuque, Iowa!

Greetings from the Midwest. I have truly been all over the US today. I started in Orange, CA, traveled to Fullerton, flew out of Ontario, had a layover in Dallas, then Chicago, and finally land at our final destination of Dubuque. I just watched Bridges of Madison County and I admit, part of me was hoping for a glimpse of Francesca Johnson's Iowa. The other part of me was hoping for modernity to have hit the area. I think I ended up with a mixture of the two, however, it is definitely more rural than Southern California.

My day began dark and early at 2:30 am! Yes, I really said 2:30. All in all, the traveling part was fairly smooth. We didn't have any delays and or lost luggage. We also had some funny mishaps throughout the day, however the funniest by far was at DFW. We had a short layover and decided to grab breakfast (after all, it was 9:00 our time) and then I had a hankering for a latte from Starbucks. So, down we went to buy one. The funny thing was neither Janet nor I looked at the time and were talking about touring the airport further. We honestly thought we had time to roam the expanse called DFW. As we walked by our gate we noticed people were standing in line and Janet had the presence of mind to ask what flight they were waiting for. Turns out our flight was boarding and they were past the individual groups and move on to general boarding!!! Yes, while our flight was boarding we were down at Starbucks buying me a mocha latte. To top it off, our plane pulled away from the gate about ten minutes after we boarded. We laughed over that one for a while. If we had missed our flight how in the world could we have explained that one away...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Flying the friendly skies

Although it seems I just returned from one trip, I leave again on Tuesday for Iowa and Wisconsin. I'm going with a friend and co-worker to conduct 10-11 interviews for the El Toro Oral History project I have been part of as a graduate student and now as an employee. I'm going as interviewer and videographer! We will be gone for 8 days, two of which will be travel, and the rest will be interviewing galore. I hope to blog while I am gone, however we have a very intense schedule so it might not be possible. Much of our downtime will be spent driving and preparing for upcoming interviews. There is one rather large drawback to the trip, however...our flight leaves at 6:05 am. That means we have to be at the airport by 4:30, up at 2:30. You may all think of me as you sleep in your soft, comfortable beds on Tuesday morning!