February 08, 2016

Shooting For India

Did I mention I am going to India?

After all of the mental worry about the cost and seemingly selfish aspects of a potential trip to India-- especially before a wedding, my friend and fellow adventurer,  Stacey Osterman, took the decision making process away from me.  Such a nice thing for a tormented Libra!  In an unfathomable great act of kindness, this fellow wild heart used her airline miles to purchase a ticket for me.  There's more to it than that but I'll just leave it at this... She's friggin' AWESOME, dude.

She has taken the reigns on every aspect of our trip, something my vaccinated, visa dredged and wedding fried brain is incredibly grateful for!  We'll be visiting the Golden Triangle area which will include a few days in Delhi, Agra (home to The Taj Mahal), Jaipur (the pink city!), Jodphur (the blue city!) and we'll spend time in Rajasthan to visit an orphanage there.  Occasionally she throws out words like 'cooking class' or 'riding elephants' and my little grinch heart grows three sizes!!!

By clicking on the link above, you'll find that Stacey is an accomplished photographer.  Having recently purchased a Nikon D7000 for myself, we're both very excited to experience the heart of these cities and see what we can capture digitally. Unlike Stacey, I did not go to photography school.  Instead, I purchased an overwhelming camera that is going to take me years to learn because it was an amazing deal.  Ha!  With that said, I need help and LOTS of it!

I mentioned to her that everything here is eight feet of WHITE right now and how India, in comparison, couldn't be a richer sea of vibrant COLOR.  Not to mention the nearest photography school or class is probably 12,000 miles from our little hamlet in the mountains.  How could I possibly prepare for this technically and creatively?  Stacey, the patient teacher (which I keep forgetting to mention to her might be an inspired career path) has given me a photography challenge!  


The assignment is to take and submit one picture for every color of the rainbow.  Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, etc.  What fun!!!  When it comes to creative projects, I'm much more focused when I have an assignment.  Endless possibility in life is great!  Endless possibility in art makes my head spin into space and the only art I have to show for it is the remnants of a two day maple bacon biscuit binge creatively displayed on my hips.  Yay!!!

So here are some of the photos I took when I was out on this challenge.  These photos are NOT my submissions but rather some extra photos.  They're also the duds I'm not submitting.  Because you're worth it.  ;)

Click to enlarge.

This is our fence to the Chicken Coop.
The snow has reached the top!

I bought these little mini cups at work.
I just can't get over how cute they are...
The perfect (and cutest!!!) buttered rum mugs.

Lliam says he doesn't enjoy this picture because
there's too much 'Spring' in it.  

Winter is beautiful.

There isn't really any composition to this... 
I purposely overexposed it... 
But she's just so cute I had to... 
Look at her little nose freckles.
:) :) :) :) :) :)

This is the inside of 'The Beast!'  
Lliam built this 3/4 ton Dodge truck to working condition for me 
so I can get to work safely when it snows.  It's a TANK. 
I could run over children and wouldn't know it! 
Um... I might have.

This was almost the red submission but I know if it's too
There's little light but I really like where that little 
light falls.  That's what makes it interesting to me?
I don't know.  Ha!

I really need to put our Christmas decorations away.
In the meantime...

This is the first time I've played around with the
Tokina 12-24 lens that came with the camera.
  A new favorite!

Hannah Honda looks like a sleek, new car 
in black and white with a 12-24 lens!  
You wouldn't even know that her front right splash
guard fell off and I ran over it in the dark!

Just playing with this lens to see what it looks like... 
Didn't plan on taking the 12-24 to India but knowing 
we'll be visiting so many structurally beautiful 
places, I think I'll kick myself if I don't!

Our beloved Chicken Coop just totally overwhelmed
in snow.

Our spice drawer... EESH.
"Nothing says 'I need to dust' like a DSLR!"
-2016 Stepford Housewife Slogan

And that's it!  On that note... I'm going to go dust.  *snickers*

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day!
20 days to India and counting... (Holy crap)...


January 18, 2016

MockingMe: Catching Breath

I like to pretend I'm Katniss Everdeen.  I'm a fighter and perfect champion that is passionate about what is right.  If I was just given a bow, I know I could propel myself to life-affirming greatness and, in my humble confidence, change the world!!! But in reality,  some of that time, if not most,  I am disappointing myself, apologizing for something careless I've said and am catching my breath rather than catching fire.

When I was in Chicago and re-starting life as I knew it, I was on a positivity bender.  Working with some teachers in Los Angeles, I learned a lot about how our thoughts control our destiny.  How what we think and feel can become reality.  Simple and mind blowing. With this in mind, I went to the other extreme of madness.  Everything was positive and inspirational and magical and "Hey guys!!!" with wide eyes and a big smile... and it was awesome!  There is truth to that.  I have brought some incredible stuff into my life by being positive and only expecting great things! I am grateful.

But I've also learned that there's a fine line between being positive and being grounded in reality.  True positivity is grounded in love.  It comes from a place of peace and love within yourself. (I have a really hard time loving myself).  Positivity should never be threatening or demanding.  It should never separate you from the world. There has to be compassion towards yourself and there really has to be compassion toward others.  Positivity isn't something to sell. It's just a choice you can make.  And it absolutely makes no one better than anyone else.

A few nights ago, my honey and I watched 'Inside Out' which I feel speaks to this tremendously.  It is in our human-ness, in our utterly grand mistakes and sad feelings that we learn the trait of compassion and how to relate with others. That human-ness is beautiful. And I'm really glad that there is a kids movie that helps open the door to that conversation.  Maybe it will allow my kids to know, at such a young age, what it took me till 37 to begin to discover.  *fingers crossed*

This month I had my ass handed to me.  We've had such great snow, the store has been slammed since before Christmas.  I worked too hard, didn't take care of myself, ate crap, helped a friend with her chocolate business, computer died, had to get a new computer, but had to get my wedding invitations designed, had to do all this yesterday, had to download photoshop and other programs, wouldn't download, had to drive 15 miles to library one night, had to get help, had to print invites, had to assemble invites, had to get visa, had to print documents, had to get stamps for invites, had to send out invites, had to make vaccination appointments, had to drive to Wenatchee, cancelled trip to Wenatchee for bad weather, still busy at the store, working, working, working, going to India, new trip planned for Wenatchee and-- BAM!  GOT SICK.


Yup, reeeeeal good and sick. Out for the count.  (Um, Katniss Everdeen is never out for the count).  I was home an entire week.  All of that overtime I was so happy to make, and the hours of my life I traded for it, became pretty pointless as it just went to pay for the days I was sick.  Granted, I love to be of service to where I'm working but in hindsight, it felt so silly.  Of course I'm not invincible. 

And the 'fails' just continued!  Once I was back at work, it was slow again at the store.  So was my mind. I was still hazy from the whirlwind, the wheels still spinning like they hadn't forgiven me for not taking care of myself while having too much on my plate.  In my absentminded lack of presence and grounding, I made biscuits without baking powder.  Little dense pucks, not acceptable.  A lot of them.  A day later, for various reasons and in my absentminded lack of presence and grounding, I made a quiche that was waaaaaay too spicy.  I mean, the local Burn Ban should have been in effect kind of hot.  

Life is messy and I'm not perfect.  (Um, I find that really annoying. It gets in the way of my belief that I'm Katniss Everdeen.)  And dang it if there are not always consequences for that human-ness.  BUT... the great but... is that life is also beautiful for it.  The messiness is beautiful.  The just 'sitting in the shit' is beautiful. And when these experiences happen that knock me on my ass, it helps me remember that I am, too.  

I broke the quiche in half and crumbled each half into a bowl.  I cut up the dense old biscuits, added extra egg filling and a ton of great cheese.  I added a teaspoon of sugar to each and sweet red peppers to cut the heat,  and long story short, I turned it into two pans of  'Chili Biscuit Strata.'  Pastor Randy came up after enjoying a piece, fishing for the recipe. He said the spices were 'just perfect.' Ha!  Gotta love it. But that's life, dude!  

The bright side, because there is always a bright side (a choice I still very much believe in), while I was sick, I got to re-watch three seasons of Gilmore Girls (fun!) and got all of my wedding invitations done and sent.  It took way longer than I thought it would so if I hadn't gotten sick, they probably wouldn't have gone out til March. I had the money from a few weeks of overtime to pay for the week I was sick. (Huge blessing!)  I planned to start a new nutrition program when I got sick and regardless of getting sick, I started the program and have stuck to it, a pretty big deal for me!  I also bought a bunch of new cookbooks because I'd like to work more with alternative flours as part of this lifestyle change. And also because alternative flours are fun, unique, a new challenge and can add great depth of flavor!  #cookbookbender

In many ways I live a charmed life.  I love my honey, love our little house, love baking... I have it all!  That is the choice I make. But to say I don't have my days that are cloaked in oversensitivity, self righteousness, rage and loneliness, would be a terrible lie.  Sometimes it's a really deep loneliness, missing family that have the same shared memories or friends that love the same things I do or always understand when I'm joking.  Some days it's totally stupid, a childish rage I can't just order a pizza or stream Netflix.  I'm learning to come to terms with the messiness because it's absolutely a part of who I am.  But I'm also learning that part gets to be beautiful, too.  I have a sneaky suspicion that this path leads to more love and compassion for others-- probably the path that really changes the world.

The Girl Who Has Quiche On Fire,

December 30, 2015


Dear Sweetie,

As I type this, my stomach is turning.  I've been in bed all afternoon utterly nauseous. I just can't believe it... I know where you are.  I know who you're with. And I know what you're doing.  Your watching Star Wars without me.  There's really no other way to say it.

I have to be honest, I have never felt more betrayed.  I know we never made plans to see it together, (though we talked of upcoming date nights), but I assumed we would go together. Foolishly, I was wrong. I'd like to say I'm being naive, I wish I was... but I've asked other people and everyone agrees-it's just what individuals that were born before 1980 and are in a relationship do together!????

I just feel so stupid.  Like a girl living in a My Little Pony fairytale, I dreamed we would go together.  I dreamed we would drive down to Wenatchee in your Audi (we'd lovingly call it The Tauntaun) and reminisce about our favorite Star Wars moments.  We'd share childhood memories of what Star Wars meant to us... How my dad back in the early 80's brought home a magic cardboard box that housed a  VCR so we could watch it at home, how my sisters painted our pool inner tube with the words Millennium Falcon, or how they would braid my hair like Leia on Endor in Return of the Jedi. Intimately, I would share that sometimes when we're sitting together watching your car makeover shows, I daydream that you're Han Solo and I'm Leia, happily married and retired from the Rebellion. With the Imperial Fleet destroyed, we're finally able to think about kids.  Sometimes wacky Uncle Luke stops by...

But NO.  While I dreamed we would share a big bucket of popcorn and watch in wonder-- laughing, crying, experiencing Carrie, Harrison and Mark together, fully confident that JJ Abrams is a Jedi and would do it right,  I was truly living in a dreamworld.  I thought you knew me.  Really knew me.  But again... I was horribly wrong.  You don't know me at all.

Instead, you're with 'our friend' Kurt.  He was supposed to be the best man at our wedding.  I just knew he would do something like this.  He had to have known I would want to go with you but selfishly, he drove you to Wenatchee and called it 'a Christmas present' so you couldn't say no.  Could you have said no?  Do you have it in you?  Is this the man that snuggles with me and tells me he loves me?  Because what partner, again born before 1980, would do this to his future wife!???  What man, WITH THE HEART OF A JEDI, would do this???

Well... the damage has been done. And if I'm being perfectly honest, I'm not quite sure it can ever be repaired. I know to the world, it is just a movie.  But to me, it was the world.  A world that your betrayal and disloyalty tarnished like a double crossing Lando.  And if you're capable of THIS, how can I trust that you're going to wait for me to get home before watching the next disc of Fear The Walking Dead????  How do I know you'll actually DVR the next season and not just watch it live???? Will you even care if I watch it or will you just go straight to Kurts!?

I hope one day I'll be able to forgive you... But I know in my heart I could never forget.  I hope you are happy.  I do. I hope the movie was everything you and Kurt dreamed.  But know that my hurt is beyond words.  YOU have weakened the force in me.  And I never would have thought that possible.
I just hope it was worth it.

While I'm very angry,  and probably will be for a great while, I still believe there is good in you.  (I can feel it).  I am also writing to tell you that when you come home, I'll be gone.  Please don't try to contact me. I'm taking the good beer and The Small Dog.  I'll be on Dagobah with Yoda, someone that truly loves me.  I know he will help me find my inner Jedi again.  He has before...


P.S.  If you bring home a pizza, I'll think about coming back home.

December 28, 2015

New Year's Resolution: Joy

Now that Christmas has come and gone, it is that time of year for new hopes, dreams and aspirations!  For me, 2016 is already a game changer.  I'm getting married in June and I'm going to India for two weeks in March. Huge stamps in my life passport!  I'm so excited for next year and what it will mean to have family and friends at our big day, I can't imagine what else is in store that I DON'T know about!

Granted, there are LOTS of things I'm always thinking about and psyched to pursue... :)

1) Online photography classes.
2) Work on a cookbook.
3) Re-open my Etsy shop.
4)  Overhaul and rework this tired blog.
5)  Print some pictures and submit to hang work at the gallery here in town.
6)  Write something that really makes me proud.
7)  Take voice lessons with Seester
8)  Etc, etc, etc

But if I were to nail down a goal or intention for 2016, it would be JOY.  Finding joy everywhere and in everything.  That makes life fun!  Being grateful.  Living in the moment. Creating because I love it.  Performing because I love it.  Cultivating relationships that I really care about. Being open to opportunities that scare me.  Being open to possibilities about myself that I didn't even know existed.  With absolutely no expectation in return.

Between wanting to be a working actor in LA and wanting my own business in Chicago, I have a tendency to 'drive' and 'accomplish myself' into burned out fatigue.  It's not fun.  Man, I had some serious expectations that led to some serious disappointments.

My jaw drops at the awareness that I manifested all the things I subconsciously ever wanted because I moved to the middle of nowhere for a summer job at a bakery.  Am I famous?  Am I loaded?  Nooooo.  :) But I only wanted fame and fortune for the financial freedom to be able to live creatively, have Christmas in the mountains and go on vacations!  Ha!  I already get to do that?  What else do I need?  (Okay, after the wedding, maybe a kitty... )  :)

So JOY is my 'goal' for the New Year.  Lightening up and having a sense of humor.  Not taking things so seriously.  Pursuing other goals or areas because it's FUN not because it's a part of a plan or something else I've got cooked up.

On my way to help a friend make chocolates for her business (FUN!!!), I snapped a few pictures with the new camera.  I finally got to research and play with the manual settings so the pictures here aren't taken on auto.  It was a glorious day out that morning... The pictures aren't perfect but I had a blast taking them! Hope you can see a smidge of what I saw in the day.  :)

What's new and important to you in 2016?

Happy New Year!

November 30, 2015

America Runs On... Eggnog Bread

When I was little there was something dreamy about a box of Dunkin' Donuts.  Someone always brought them to special social gatherings or my family and I would have them on a lazy Sunday morning when my dad would sneak out to surprise us before we all woke up for church.  Not only do I remember the donuts being quality but the munchkin boxes themselves were little works of art.  The boxes had little mini elf bakers, what looked almost hand-painted on the sides, filling powdered puffs with jam or rolling dough in coconut.  It was magical to a kid.

When I was in junior high, both my mom and sister worked at Dunkin' Donuts.  Closers got to bring home what didn't sell so every other morning I would wake up to dozens and dozens of donuts.  It was awesome! My mom would give them away, take them into school or we'd bring them to church 'happy hour.'  Dunkin' Donuts is what got me up in the mornings and suffice it to say I ate a countless number of donuts that year.  Granted,  this was the early 80's.

Here it is 2015 and times have changed.  I understand a majority of America still 'runs on Dunkin,' but my junior high school self wants to protest outside their corporate headquarters and scream "Give me my childhood back!!!"  The donuts are a 'whiff' of the magic and quality that they used to be and everything is branded and corporatized to death, it makes me sad.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's the way things go and I probably am nostalgic about something that never really existed in the first place... But one day I will tell my children, and my children's children, about the magic that once lived in little mini donuts and the mini elf bakers that baked them!

Today I made an eggnog bread that is a little crumbly but reminded me of the flavor in those cake donuts I used to love long ago.  I'm not sure if it's the vanilla spice in the egg nog, the mix of nutmeg and cinnamon in the recipe, or the real rum I added because *hiccup*-- because, because... *hiccup*...I don't remember why... But if you're feeling nostalgic, it'd be a nice treat for you during the holidays.

For the record, I used the below eggnog for one major reason that may or may not be blaringly obvious to you.

Also, I bet it would be pretty fantastic if you were to pan fry it with a bit of whipped cream, and dare I say, some drizzle of raspberry.  Next time I will try baking blueberries into it because blueberry Dunkins were the bomb.  If you're a purist that likes his/her eggnog cake as is... just don't forget to dunk!  :)  The recipe is below...

In the meantime, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are now enjoying a truly blessed holiday season.  Happy Holidays, y'all!



2-1/4 c. flour
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
1/4 c. oil
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 T. rum
1 c. eggnog

  • Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a standard bread loaf pan.
  • Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, sugar, melted butter, vanilla and rum.
  • Add the flour alternately with the eggnog until combined.  Ex:  Add a third of the flour to the wet ingredients and mix.  Add half of the eggnog and mix.  Add another third of flour.  Add the rest of the eggnog.  And then mix in the remaining flour.
  • Bake about 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

November 23, 2015

The Way We Were: Technology

In Love...

It started with Netflix.  Oh, Netflix.  You great connection to the world!  You made me feel like I was back in L.A. watching Oscar nominees and catching up on series television.  My friends felt close again.  

"When you love someone, from Roosevelt to me, you go deaf, dumb and blind."--Hubbell

Things Are Off... 

Then I got the DSLR camera.  A major victory but aside from shooting on auto, I barely knew how to use it.  In order to learn and watch tutorials, I needed internet.  Maybe one day? We also have this wedding to plan! There are so many cost effective cute ideas online and you can search through dresses, invitations, etc.  I was down valley almost everyday using the library's wireless or going to cafes, spending money.  Everything requires internet!

"I don't have the right style for you, do I?... I'll change."--Katie

But We're Okay...

It was getting to be too much so we finally caved and got internet through DISH.  Yay!!!  I was certain that this would make flowers grow and would give birth to baby kittens that ride rumbas!  And because DISH is incredibly expensive and it seemed like such a slap in the face to pay so much for internet alone, we bundled it with the smallest cable package.  At the very least, Walking Dead, right??? 

"Maybe something terrible will happen-- maybe you'll have a good time."--Hubbell

No, Things Are Actually Very Off...

We didn't have a TV to get service installed.  They didn't tell us it was required or that we'd need one immediately.  Lliam quick got on it and borrowed a ginormous bulk tv from a friend.  We began to look for a cheap flat screen on all the local boards as our place is so small to have anything bigger feels like a boat is in the room.  We eventually got one online.  

"You think you're easy?  Compared to what, the hundred years war?"--Hubbell

Everything's Wrong...

It also became imperative to get wedding invitations done and printed.  I started to put something together when my Dell computer decided to crap out.  Hmmm... Wasn't planning on thaaaaaat eitheeeeeer.  With the camera and a photographer's future in mind, I upgraded on a payment plan to a refurbished MacBook Pro with retina display.  I figured I'd download Adobe Photoshop to edit photos AND do wedding invitations. Two birds with one stone... but many dineros! 

"People are more important than their principles."- Hubbell
"People ARE their principles."-Katie

The Break-Up...

Cut to the external hard drive... I ordered it online to transfer all of my files from my Dell to the new Mac.  It arrived completely dead.  Did I also mention that it's been almost five years since I've used a Mac and I didn't know how to use it then? Or the fact that Mac doesn't come with an internal DVD player?  I've been a Mac envying Dell girl my whole life, psyched to have something so fancy and stable and here I am trying to figure out how to cut and paste sentences.  I have used up 80% of our satellite internet for the month (!!!) trying to unsuccessfully download Photoshop!  And that was just by downloading the Cloud app to GET to Photoshop.  Ha! In the span of a month and a half, I am utterly overwhelmed as we are up to our ears in technology we never had or that I don't know how to use:

DSLR Camera
Flat Screen TV
A non-working 500 GB External Hardrive 
Refurbished MacBook Pro
Adobe Photoshop

"If I push too hard it's because I want things to be better, I want us to be better, I want you to be better.  Sure I make waves-- you have, I mean you have to.  And I'll keep making them till you are everything you should be and will be.  You'll never find anyone as good for you as I am, to believe in you as much as I do or to love you as much!"--Katie

The Last Hope...
Last night, I drove down valley, parked at the library, stuck my computer in the trunk and walked around for 4 hours in the dark until it completed downloading. It worked!!!

"Well then, why? ...Couldn't we both win?"--Katie

The Morning After... It's Really Over...

Today, I tried to use Photoshop for the first time to do wedding invitations... 


Trying to figure out Photoshop is like time traveling to the future. I now know how it would feel to live in a world with technology you can't understand. 

"You hold on and I don't know how.  And I wish I did.  Maybe you were born committed... I can't get negative enough.  I can't get angry enough.  And I can't get positive enough."--Hubbell

The Aftermath...

In the meantime, I am blogging from home and I've taken more pictures. I feel defeated but life continues... And it will continue always for the better.  

Click to enlarge if you'd like...

I posted this last blog as a black and white-- a bit too pixilated. Here it is in color.

A dreary day but everything is a picture if you look at it long enough...  There's so much to learn.

This looked so wintery sad to me...

"I don't see how you could do it."--Hubbell
"And I don't see how you can't."--Katie

The Way We Were...

It was quiet.  We were book readers before bed.  We went for walks in the snow with The Small Dog.  We raised chickens and ate 'farm fresh eggs.'  We gardened and drank craft beer on the patio Lliam made for us.  Life was good and full of possibility... 

"Wouldn't it be lovely if we were old?  We'd have survived all this.  Everything would be easy and uncomplicated; the way it was when we were young."--Katie

Your girl is lovely, Hubbell... 

November 05, 2015

Playing With The Start Of Winter

I'm in LA, Trick! 
Mazama is wonderful for so many reasons (especially the ones you'll see below), but once or twice a year, I really like to head south to reconnect with the crazy, creative energy that is Los Angeles.  I've had an inspired time the past couple of days talking with my friends and family that are auditioning, performing in shows, tapping into magic of their inner artists, whether creatively or personally in their everyday lives. 
It seems like the right time to be here. Everything in my world has been screaming at me, for me, to create. If I feel like singing, I start singing.  If I feel like writing, I start writing.  Unlike trying to make it as an actor in my early 20's, where I demanded so much of Inspiration.  I suffocated it and stuffed it into a very small box full of my plans for us. This creativity is my friend.  I want to take care of it. It isn't connected with expectation or demands.  I hang out with it solely for the joy of it.  What a difference...
Inspiration is kind of like The Small Dog, poking at me until I play 'pinecone' with it.  So here I am in LA, carving out a minute of alone time to be with this other very real and yet unreal friend.  Kind of crazy but that's how we're rolling these days.
My honey drove me to the airport on Monday.  I knew there was snow on the mountains but as we passed through on Highway 20 it was quite possibly the most sparkly, magical, hand-clappy beautiful that I've ever seen it.  It was breathtaking!  He offered to pull over so I could take some quick pictures. And then, because he is so perfect for me, encouraged me to break out the new camera and quick grab some shots.  It was a bit of a rush but I'm so glad I did.
This first one was shot with my iphone.
Camera phones are truly incredible.
This is with my Nikon D7000 and a 50mm lens.

Also, the 50mm lense.

I hope you enjoy!  I would love to hear your goals and projects... This friendship is such a gift.  I'm glad I'm relearning the value in it. 
Now back to the inspired flesh & bloods...  :)