Thursday, December 23, 2010

...And a Very Happy New Year

How perfect! After days of biblical proportion storms, we saw this double rainbow outside our back door and decided to consider it a very good omen for 2011.

We weren't at all good about sending cards this season, so we're sending this beautiful rainbow to all our friends and family. Wish we could be with each and every one of you this Holiday, but if what's in our hearts counts, we're SO there!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year From T & K
and Teddy and Dolly

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fishin' and Bloggin'

(This blackmail photo reluctantly approved)

The weather has been increasingly hot (and even humid) this past few days, so I was not surprised to discover I had overslept yesterday. I woke up about 9:30, and as I had to leave for work an hour later, I hurried to the kitchen for the first cuppa Joe, and wondered idly why Karyn hadn't sent the hounds in to awaken me. As I entered the kitchen, some movement in the family room caught my eye. I stopped dead in my tracks at the exact same minute I saw a man sitting in one of the leather club chairs and Karyn shouting out "Good Morning, it's Uncle Nick---are you dressed?"

Well, I believe I was some kind of dressed but the instinct to cover myself up manifested itself in a hasty raising of the arms, a mild shriek (trust me, I'm NOT a shrieker, usually) and me scurrying back to the bedroom to get "really" dressed. I stood in the closet, and tried to think what to wear. I settled on shorts and a t-shirt, and re-joined the coffee klatch in the family room.

After hugs and kisses and lots of laughing I said to Uncle Nick,
"I'm not gonna lie---I was somewhat surprised (uh...totally thunderstruck!) to find a man in my living room."

I didn't say it then, but later I confessed to Karyn that I thought the refrigerator had broken down, again, and the man was from GE. The badge on his belt and the weapon on his hip would have clued me in, but without coffee, I'm pretty clueless. Besides, my eyes weren't focused. And really? She didn't look awake enough to call GE...but I couldn't figure all that out in the nano-second of surprise.

So after a great visit and some photos, which Karyn says I must stipulate are "blackmail" photos, so OK, they are blackmail photos (she had only been up ten minutes longer than me), I decided I better get ready for work. I was in my closet, again, when I heard some ruckus in the bedroom. When I came out of the closet, no pun intended, I saw the gun case for the 20-gauge shotgun had been opened and the gun was missing. Now we've had this weapon for three years, under the bed, but we didn't know how to load it. So....yep, you guessed it, Uncle Nick!

Unfortunately he said the bullets were 8-shot and would just piss an intruder off; so, he recommended we pump it several times in a row and aim for the heart. Oh yeah, dayam! That would piss me off if I were the recipient! Oh my. I think Karyn will be doing that shooting!

Uncle Nick said he reads the blog all the time. I sheepishly said, well, I take some poetic license with the facts....there's some exaggeration in there.

Not a problem for Uncle Nick. He looked at me sternly, raised his hand, and said:
"There's no sin in lyin' when it comes to fishin', bloggin'."

Go, Nick! Damn, we love that guy! Having said that, I suppose I ought to tell my 9 readers (yes! I've gained two in the past couple months!) just who Uncle Nick really is.

Well, "the man in my living room" is from Lake County, in Northern California, and he is indeed Karyn's Uncle Nick, and Karyn's mom Kay's brother. And Teresa's husband. And Nicole's papa. And Staff Photographer Kimberly's uncle, too. He continually tells me I'm not only a part of the family, but a welcome part. So he's also my Uncle Nick, the way I see it.

Nick Bennett, a law enforcement legend in Lake County, CA, and currently an Investigator, Senior Officer for that County, had been on a top-secret mission in San Bernardino County CA. If you know anything about The Inland Empire, as it's somewhat facetiously called, then you know it's best to keep things secret. I can't say what actual city he was in, but it involved a rather high-level and ultra Confidential background check. I didn't smell cordite, so I don't believe Uncle Nick had used his weapon, but, of course, he'd neither confirm nor deny the details of his mission. ::sigh:: Cops! But I decided then and there he could stay for breakfast if he wanted. And lunch. And dinner. Actually, he'd be welcome to live here.

Now...about that fishing and blogging...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fire Update 4:30 pm PST 7/30/10

Update 5:35pm: We were NOT evacuated, and it looks like the DC-10 that was brought in to drop massive amounts of fire retardant really did its job. We were in the middle of what was meant to be a nap, after last night's exhausting fire vigil, when the amount of fire-fighting air power overhead woke us up, making that nap a 20-minute descent into what sounded like Viet Nam. The California Aqueduct is just on the other side of the hill behind us, and those pilots were zooming in and out of there like race car drivers with wings.

So, we're fine, but now we know that until they get this fire fully under control, the vicissitudes of the famous Antelope Valley wind is a game changer that no one can predict.

Joshua: Enduring Symbol of High Desert

The iconic Joshua Tree against the backdrop of a water-dropping helicopter and smoke covered Sun, during yesterday's Antelope Valley fire, captures the drama of the event.

Photograph By Brian van de Brug of The Los Angeles Times.

We're OK, But Lazy T Ranch Is Not!

The morning after (right) Mop-up crews begin to arrive in front of our house. You can still see the smoke in the background from the smoldering embers.

All Fire Photos: AP Photos/Dave Mills

Oh, Noes! Not the Lazy T Ranch! Most of it is actually still standing, but I thought this would be a great name for a new blog....The Lazy T! (No, not planning another blog right now! Besides, I'm not lazy; I'm a professional napper. There's a difference.)

Dave Mills, AP photographer, took some dramatic shots of the fire that covered many of the western ridges surrounding Leona Valley and Rancho Vista areas of Palmdale. This morning the mop-up crews are cleaning up some of the hot spots, while the fixed wing tankers and water-dropping helicopters put the remaining flames down.

So...we're exhausted, but safe and sound, and the home is intact. The pugs are disoriented, and the hill behind us is still smoking. But another fire truck just pulled up in front of the house, so the mop ups begin. They begin in the house, too, as the ash fell for 18 hours yesterday, and we managed to drag 10 hours of it inside. There's a path from the garage, through the house to the back yard patio where we wore a trail throughout the night as we ran back and forth for different vantage points. The bottom of the pool is covered in black ash, the surface home to a billion floating pieces of charred...everything.

2 A.M. Update: All Safe From Fire

The first photo is the hill right to the west of our house, the second shows one of many Joshua tree groves that dot the hillside back lit by flames, and the third shot is one of four LA Fire Department engine trucks parked at the end of our driveway. Sorry about the quality of my pictures, but the real cameras were already packed in the getaway vehicle and the iPhone is not so good at night.

All safe so far, the firemen will spend the night in front of the house, we're hoping the winds lay down, and our nerves are shot from more adrenalin rush than I knew was possible! Thanks to all the family and friends who called, or tried to, and the offers of places to stay. We love you all but hope we won't be visiting any time in the next few hours!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Video of Fire Near Us

Fire within a half mile...see it at link below. We're fine. Two huge fire engines parked outside our house (we have a fire hydrant across the street). They started to evacuate us, then said wait, and now we're concerned because the winds are picking up. We'll report more if able. Sorry the quality of this video isn't very good---it's my first! ttt

SoCal Fire Report: Raining Smoke

It's not close to us---at least 10 miles---but you can see our sky is saturated with smoke and sun, and then it just began looking like smoke rain. That's our screened-in sun room, and that's our 'smokey' pink Oleander. We could use a good would be perfect!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

New Staff Photographer: Meet Kimberly

The newly designed Opinionhead features a headliner photo taken at The Huntington Library, a couple weeks ago, by the ever popular sister, sister-in-law and recent house guest to the Opinionhead household. I refer here to the Grand Partaker, Mrs. Kimberly M. Cecchini of San Francisco. An accomplished interior designer, and amazing photographer, Kimberly has exquisite taste, and we can only hope that she concurs with our choice of color palette to showcase her gorgeous photography. Watch for more soon!

Summer Redecorating

I'm fairly certain that Architectural Digest will not mind that I'm celebrating the new look of Opinonhead by pinching their cover, but, just in case, go here for a subscription. And heaven knows Cher probably doesn't need any more publicity--I mean if you were Cher would you rather be on the cover of AD or the cover of Opinionhead? Thought so. But Cher is a fave, so she stays (unless the attorneys say, uh, no). But here's a link to Cher, anyway.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Google Docs and Some Help From My Friends

My Mac is Back!

On 12/7/09, I finished the first draft of my novel. Since that time, I have been busy editing it. Only three copies of the first draft existed in the world, the night I went to work on my copy of the first draft (which, technically, would be a fourth copy of the first draft, except that I had done a massive amount of editing on my copy). Two copies went to friends, who live on opposite sides of the globe, and the reactions to the draft were almost as far apart in terms of response.

One friend basically liked it. The other read 16 pages and said something along the lines of "When the hell does the story begin, these first few pages are valuable real estate and oh by the way that was a cheap trick on page 6. A real person wouldn't do that! I won't allow it." I'm paraphrasing, but it was along those lines. (Thank G-d she didn't read the cheap trick on page 29!) I mention the latter because while I was glad that the first friend liked the book, I didn't hear copious amounts of love, and the comments from the second friend I found terribly helpful in that terrible massacre sort of way that makes one feel like wrist slitting is an option but only in front of a couple friends who can save one's life.

Both of the people who read whatever part each read are brilliant writers and multi-published authors. They are very different in their styles and content, and I like to read both of them. So anyway, when Mrs Clinton, I mean, Ms. Congeniality, expressed her dismay at the first 16 pages, I immediately knew her comments were exactly correct. No really, I was glad to be saved from myself, and though another person might have put it...ah, differently, I've always counted on this friend for the unvarnished, jesus-that-wood-is-peeling truth. I was assured I could do better. So I asked the first friend to stop reading until I could send her a hugely revised version. She agreed.

I began to revise. I revised on my my copy of the first draft. I did not back those revisions up. One night I tried to open Safari and the Grey Screen of Death showed up. Ten minutes later, the grey screen had a large question mark in the middle of it. The question mark symbol was probably Apple's sense of humor, as in 'what are you going to do now that you're really f***ed?'

My iMac hard drive had gone to heaven, and I was in hell. However...

Free Dinner!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

High Desert Snow: Day and Night

So far in Southern California, it's been 40 hours of pounding, monsoon-like rain, tornadoes, mudslides, debris flow, over-flowing catch basins, power outages, jack-knifed trucks, spun-out cars, flooded streets, flooded freeways, rock slides, waterspouts, high surf, sleet, snow and gale force winds---still, the BIG storm is expected this evening and tomorrow, with more snow on Saturday!

We got the snow, the rain, the sleet, the rock slides and the gale force winds. Fortunately, our resident landscape designer, had just last week put down the cedar chips winter mulch, so, hopefully, no one outside will freeze.

Ah, Paradise!