March 29, 2009

I'm back on again...and loving it!

The first time it happened was right before I graduated college. I had heard about an author, Nicholas Sparks, on Oprah or something like that, and a book called The Notebook. It'd been out for a few years, but was really gaining widespread renown, so I went out and bought it. I read it in a few short hours, and then I was hooked. Hooked on reading....for pleasure.

I remember my Mom telling me that I was never able to comprehend....even when I was little. I was always better at numbers....even though I could only count to 29 when tested during kindergarten. That didn't change much, as I never really enjoyed reading my text books in school. In high school I'd be the one reading the English assignment during lunch or in the hallway right before getting into class. In college, I got excited to get my books for the semester, but got more learning out of going to class and taking notes than I ever did from reading the materials. This didn't come out well for me when the test questions were from the books. Oops!

But, there is definitely something different about reading when it's on your own merit, pace, and purpose. It was like I'd discovered something that I never knew before, and went out to read as many books as I could. I turned to Oprah, and read a lot of the ones she suggested back then....Where the Heart Is, The Reader, House of Sand and Fog, and many more.

I've fallen in and out of the pattern a few times in the last 10 years or so. When I get on kicks, I really do, and read for days on end....just devouring books. I've done that recently, and even though it might take an entire day feels good to revel in someone else's story for a little while.

I read Eat, Pray, Love in October of 2007, and that had been the last book I'd read in a really long time. It took me about 6 months to read The Perfect Match, and then about a month ago, I started reading again. I read The Shack pretty quickly, Redeeming Love in about 4 days, and then just this week, The Atonement Child in a day and a half.

Here are a few authors that I just can't get enough of.....Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Piccoult, Joshilyn Jackson, Meg Cabot, Ceclia Ahern, Francine Rivers....and I know that there are a lot more out there. I once had a pictorial view of all the books I'd read. It was pretty nerdy, but maybe I need to find it. I thought it was fun. :)

Well...needless to say, I'm on that kick again. I went back to the bookstore today, and I couldn't help but walk out with 3 books. And....the saddest part about it, is that I caved. I did it. I bought the Twilight book. I think that about 80% of my girlfriends are talking about how much they LOVE these books...and so, after watching the movie last night (which was a LOT better than I was expecting. Not great, per se, but not horrible), I was a little intrigued. So...I did it. And now I'm going to read.

March 26, 2009

Ding Dong!! Delivery for Annemarie

What a pleasant surprise I got on Monday when a Victor's Flower Truck pulled into Brett's driveway. My mom sent me (and Brett) some Gerbera Daisies!!!

Thank you Mom!!! Love you!

March 25, 2009

A Puppy and Mommy Short Story | Toni and Olive

Before I left, Toni asked me to snap a few pics for a work thing, but since Olive was out there with us, I couldn't help but keep the shutter going for a little bit. I was able to capture the love that this Mommy has for her little baby.

Toni and Olive are a great pair....and if Olive could laugh, I'm sure hers would sound just like Toni's! The bond between people and their dogs is so pure.....and I think it's evident in these images!

Love and miss you both!!

March 18/19 - Wednesday & Thursday - Day 3/4, A Day of Rest and then onto the Final Destination

After doing all that driving, and making it all the way from TX to NV in 2 days, with a few stops, we decided to take a day to rest and visit with Brett's family. We got up early(ish) and decided to pull the same prank at Autumn's house and surprise her and Loralyn.

Brett got down real low and snuck up to her door, rang the doorbell and squatted. When Autumn looked out the door and didn't see anyone, she asked "Who is it?". Brett's response? "Girlscouts". He then popped up so she could see it was him, and she squealed "Oh my gosh!!?!", and opened the door to me holding up the camera and then started saying "Oh, no, no, no!!!". So, I won't post the awesome video that I took, but you can all feel the excitement from my typing, right? :) It was a fun morning as we had breakfast with Autumn and Loralyn...who was also very excited to see Uncle Brett and Hanbury (that's what she calls me).

Later that afternoon, Autumn, and Brett's Mom, and I all enjoyed Starbucks while we had our nails and toes painted. Such a nice treat!! Everyone came over for a yummy dinner of spaghetti that evening.

After dinner, we had just enough time to make a quick trip over to the carousel. Loralyn loves the horsies. Well, it's been years since I'd been on one, and I can't say that I remember it ever going that fast. After 2 rounds we were ready to say night night to the horsies.

We packed up and put everything back into the car on Thursday morning and we were off to Santa Barbara.

The final leg of the trip took us about 6 hours and we pulled into town right around 4pm on Thursday afternoon. It was kind of surreal to be pulling into my new hometown, in my own car. Right now it still feels like I'm here for a visit....but then I realize that I don't have a ticket back to Austin in my near future....and all of my things are on their way here!!!'s to a new adventure, and a new chapter in my story!!! Be sure to come back often to say HI and see how I'm hanging in there as a California Girl!!!

March 23, 2009

The Reach Family Story

When I first got an email from Shanna about 6 months ago proclaiming how much she loved Kara and Terry's photos....I knew that one day she and her family would be in front of my camera too!

We met up in Georgetown, right near the county courthouse a few Mondays ago, on a nice and sunny Texas afternoon. I was greeted by the smiling faces of her little boy, Memphis and hubby, Jonny. Their family is so sweet, and loves each other very much.....and it was very obvious. Memphis was a doll, and I had a lot of fun chasing him around.

Near the end of our time together, Memphis took us inside the courthouse and we had some fun in there too!

Shanna, I'm so glad that we got to meet up and capture your family story!! I hope you like it!!

Check out the slideshow too!

March 17 - Tuesday - Day 2 Traveling West

On St Patty's Day, we had a great start to the morning. Since we were near Mesa, we called up Aaron and Kylie to see if they wanted to meet us for breakfast. Lucky for us, they said yes!! They suggested the perfect spot right near where we were staying - Harlow's Cafe. What makes it perfect? It's local and yummy!!! I'd met both of them in Vegas last month at WPPI, Aaron is one of the ShowIt Studs, and was happy to get to see and hang out with them again so soon. Now we just have to get them both out to Santa Barbara!!

Don't we all look so cute in all our GREEN!

After filling ourselves, we were back on the road. Today wasn't going to be as boring of a drive....we had a few spots to stop along the way. We first decided to take a small detour and drive through Sedona. I'd never been and all I could see in my mind was red rocks.....and well, my mind's eye was right. There were a ton of red rocks, but they were so majestic and beautiful....I wouldn't have expected that!

We went up towards the airport to get the best view and snapped a few quick pics. I learned to see all of the figurines in the rocks.....the tea kettle, cat and mouse, submarine, and a few others. The weather was gorgeous too! Warm enough for even me to be comfortable in a tee shirt!

Next we were off towards Flagstaff to stop in on another ShowIt Stud, Todd and his family. I finally got to meet Elisa and Keifer.....Cooper was napping, so we'll be introduced and get to play together next time. Keifer was really into the holiday, and had his hair painted green! He was so much fun, showed us all around his jungle painted room. We searched for all 10 frogs on the wall, played with the kings and queens in his castle, and also got to see Todd's lush and comfy work chair setup. It was great to get to spend some time with the Watsons while we were passing through AZ. Hope to see them again soon too!! stop....the Grand Canyon!! Yet another spot on the west coast that I'd never been to, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity for a planned detour. One thing that I didn't manage to grab a picture of, but what kind of blew me away, was the sheer mass volume of the cactus on the drive up towards the canyon. I mean, the mountains were covered with them. Imagine driving through other mountains that are covered with pines....and just replace them all with cactus. Yes, they were everywhere! Crazy!

So, we made it up to where the entrance to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon was, and spent some time exploring. We first stopped at the Desert View Drive Point lookout, and then went all the way into where the lodges were and got the best views. We taught some new tricks to some other tourists with the point and shoot camera so they would get the perfect shot of us. It was quite amusing watching Brett give specific instructions, and seeing the people's reactions (is this guy crazy?? what happened to "just push the button?")...but it was worth it in the end. We came away with some pretty good shots. :)

We used the stitch assist and tried to get a panoramic shot.....I stitched it together as best I could. Oh get the point.

After seeing all that we could see at the Grand Canyon, we got back on the road and started to head towards Vegas. It was just about dusk, and we had some more excitement that was totally unexpected. As we were headed towards I40, on the two lane highway, all of the sudden, the car in the other lane swerved into ours about 100 yards in front of us. Turns out that the driver was swerving to avoid hitting one of the two deer that were jumping on his side of the road.

Brett and I saw them, and were both instantly saying "Whoa! Whoa!!". The one deer managed to get himself across the road, but the other one got scared, and darted back to the other side. She then traveled about 50 feet on that side of the road, all the while we are still moving forward, and right about the time that we get to where she is, darts right out in front of us. She was less than a foot from the right front light when both the car and she stopped for a second...before she hopped all the way over to the other side of the road. We were a foot from hitting a deer!!

We were so fortunate that we didn't hit the deer, and that no one was behind us to slam into it was ok for us to laugh about what else happened during this quick few seconds. Brett had the bag of candy in his lap (surprise, I know), and when the car suddenly came to the stop, all of the candy flew out and down in between his feet. So, all of the SweetTart chicks and ducks were sprawled all over the floorboard. So sad....but that didn't stop him from reaching down time to time to grab one, dust it off, and pop it into his mouth. :)

Our plan was to make it all the way to Vegas and take a day to rest.....but Brett hadn't told his parents this plan, so we got to surprise them. Brett called as he was walking up to their door and asked "So, where are you guys?". Brett's dad was like "What? You called us at the house.....where do you think we are?", right as he walked in the front door. It was fun to be able to surprise them. We stayed up for a bit recounting our travels and tales over the last two days and turned in for some rest.

March 22, 2009

March 16 - Monday - Day 1 Traveling West

Last Monday, Brett and I headed out of Austin, TX at 924am and headed west. Our intended travel route was 290W to I-10W and then drive as far as we could, most likely stopping somewhere around Tucson.

We got on the road a little later than we'd expected, so it wasn't long before we were already hungry for lunch. Lucky for us, Fredricksburg came across our path right around the time it was for us to eat. The neat little town has so much incredible sit down German food to offer, but since we were interested in getting back on the road quickly, we opted for yummy sandwiches at Java Ranch. It was a great spot, and filled us up nice and good.

After getting back in the car, I decided to setup my computer. We'd picked up an adapter at Fry's over the weekend, thought to bring my lapdesk, and plugged in my wifi I was just about as set as I'd been back at the house. I edited a few sessions while on the road and made good use of the time.

West Texas doesn't have much to offer in ways of was pretty much flat the entire way. We drove and drove, for hours, the only good thing being the 80MPH speed limit. At one point, we made an almost bad decision to keep on going until the next gas station, and almost ran out of gas, but thankfully, a lone gas station popped up on the horizon, and we were saved just in time. Phew.

A bit later we were upon Las Cruces and stopped at a gas station that gave us dining options of Burger King and Pizza Hut. After a Whopper Jr and a Pepperoni Pizza, we were back on the road.

The sun set right around Lordsburg, NM, and we hopped out to take a break and watch it go down. For the 30 minutes before that it was burning our eyes as there were no clouds, or anything else on the horizon to give us some relief...and so we thought it a good idea to pull off for a bit.

When we'd crossed into the Mountain Time Zone, I had switched the clock on the car, and the phones did themselves automatically. Well, around 720 PST, I looked and realized that we were in all 3 time zones according to the various technologies on in the vehicle. My phone had auto swapped to PST, car was still on MST and my Mac on CST. It was then that I went in and updated my computer to my new time zone. So weird. I've done a lot of traveling in my last few years, but never had a computer that had any of my settings on anything other than Central. It was kind of surreal.

We passed Tuscon, and kept on driving until we made it all the way to Phoenix. It was around 1045pm PST when we turned the car off finally. Talk about a long day. Brett drove almost 1000 miles, and it was a 15+ hour day.

Check back for Tuesday's fun!

March 20, 2009

The Sternfeld Family Story

Whoa, time is flying. It's almost been two weeks since I had an awesome time with this cute family. Sheena was a follower of my blog, and so when she saw I was moving, she got in touch with me to tell her family story. I am so glad that she did, and that we were able to meet somewhere fun in Austin.

Josiah has a wonderful view of the 360 Bridge from his office, so we met over there on a Sunday afternoon, and had a great time exploring all the fun spots around the building. Chaney had so much fun walking up and down the stairs, and discovering the rocks....but that was before we saw the doggies and the water. That was her favorite part I think. Grey was smiles the entire time....such an adorable little boy, and there was nothing that was going to get him down!

I am so glad that you found me, Sheena. I went to Sonic right after our time together, and ordered a cherry limeade, apple juice slush AND the sweet tea. After we chatted about it, I had to get all three!! It was wonderful to meet your family, I hope you love your story.

Check out the family slideshow too!

March 19, 2009

Pivot, pivot, PIVOT!!!

The containers, pods, whatever you want to call them...the huge 6x7x8 things, were delivered to my driveway on Friday morning. I was a little nervous that my Condo Assoc would come and fine me for having them there, but I think I got away with having them there. The beeping noise that the fork lift was making when backing up to drop them off was so loud, I was sure that one of my neighbors was going to turn me in. Brett was laughing at me, wondering why in the world I was so anxious about it all....I'm sure I was hilarious.

Anyways...the rain was still rearing itself on Friday, so we didn't start up until Saturday. Jeff came over (thank goodness) to help Brett get the big stuff downstairs, and the first item to go down the parted stairs was my couch. If you've seen the episode with Ross and his couch, it was as if we were trying to reinact it....Pivot, pivot, PIVOT!!! It was a tricky path on the way down, but they got it to the bottom of the stairs. Well, then, it got stuck. The boys tried to get it out of the door for a good 30 minutes, each and every way possible. We tried to take the banister off to no avail.....then tried to take the legs off the couch to no avail.....and when Hal showed up with Hudson and Hayden, I took the boys to Sonic, and right as I was getting in the car, they somehow made it through the garage. I wasn't there to see the magic happen, but I was thrilled that it made it out and we didn't have to cut it in half. It's a nice couch! :)

When I got back, they had all of the heavy stuff down and outside (phew!). We couldn't have done it without their, THANK YOU Jeff and Hal for lending your strong muscles to the cause!

Brett and I worked until it was dark on Saturday night. After church and brunch on Sunday, we were back over to finish up the rest of the job. I helped until I had to leave for my last shoot in Austin, and when I came back, he'd finished packing most of the boxes to the very top of one of the pods. I was so impressed....not only that he did all of that by himself, but it was all in there like a winning game of Tetris.

We finished up right before dark and then went through and cleaned up the place. I can't believe that it was empty. Not only because I had so much stuff, and it wasn't there anymore, but seriously, I am moving.

I also can't even express how much Brett was such an incredible man this week in Austin. He totally impressed me with his taking charge, and being so absolutely wonderful in helping, scratch that, doing everything, in packing. I couldn't have done it without his help.