12 posts categorized "Donna"

April 25, 2011

Easter 2011

This year, we spent Easter with my brother, Kevin, at his home near Los Angeles.  The girls were worried about the Easter Bunny knowing where to deliver their baskets and since I forgot to bring the baskets (doh!), I had to tell them the truth about Ol’ Mr. EB.  Luckily, the disappointment was mitigated by Aunt Cindy who hid eggs all over her backyard!

blog IMG_6632 kevins house Maddy loves the thrill of the hunt and quickly scored big bowl of candy-filled eggs.

blog IMG_6624 kevins house   blog IMG_6630 kevins house

With the help afforded her after donning her pink super-hero cape, Gwen did pretty well for herself too!

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blog IMG_6627 kevins houseblog IMG_6638 kevins house

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Three dogs and one slimy green tennis ball sure can be fun!

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Kevin, Cindy and Moi

IMG_6748 kaelee and sophie

My neice, Kaelee, with her sweet pup, Sophie.

kay donna lady framed 10 by 10

This is Kay.  I’ve called her Mom since she and my dad married (when I was somewhere around Gwen and Maddy’s age).   She and Dad divorced when I was in my early 30’s and our relationship took a detour sometime around that time too.  This weekend was the first time I’ve seen her in more than 15 years but I really hope it’s not the last.  Oh, and the pretty dog is Lady.   She barked her head off but her wildly wagging tail betrayed her intentions.   She’s as harmless as she is photogenic!

Tonight, we’ll take Daddy to the airport so he can go back to work tomorrow and Gwen and Maddy and I will head down closer to Disneyland for the rest of our Spring Break.

September 12, 2010

9/11 {my birthday}

My birthday was this weekend and, as usual, my kids were more excited about it than I was.  My birthday treat was a gourmet cupcake from Kara's Cupcakes in Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. 

We each picked our own flavor:  I picked lemon, Daddy picked chocolate with caramel filling, Maddy picked carrot cake and Gwen picked pure decadent chocolate.  I think she has an animal attraction to Chocolate.  I can relate to this because this is precisely how I eat chocolate when nobody is looking. 

Gwen kara cupcake 50 ambrosia

I stopped getting excited about birthdays a very long time ago but my kids can't comprehend why I'd want to do that so they continue to insist that we hold an annual celebration of my graceful but steady descent into old age. 

Getting older sucks but I sure do love those homemade cards, big squeezy hugs and 800 calorie desserts!

This year, my present was a three hour Bay Cruise with my two favorite talk radio hosts and about 200 of their most loyal local listeners.    I've listened to these guys for four hours per day for the last five years so it was exciting to get to finally meet them in person even though it felt really weird to encounter them outside of my radio!

Joe donna jack
While we were on the Bay Cruise, Michael and Kelsey were watching the kids at a nearby hotel.  I told the girls that Mommy and Daddy were going on a date and Michael and Kelsey would babysit them at the hotel and Maddy remembered that we did this one time before.  She has an excellent memory and she was quick to recite details of that previous instance - casually including that, last time, she and her sister and her big brother and his girlfriend watched porno while Mommy and Daddy were away.  Yeah, that's what she said. 

Obviously it made me blink a few times while I tried to wrap my mind around this tidbit of information. I knew what I heard was impossible so I reverse-translated it into the language of a 6 year old child with a repaired cleft palate and a slight speech impediment and came up with the 'correct' pronunciation of porno:  Ponyo. 

They watched Ponyo while Mommy and Daddy were away.   

The whole thing took about 5 seconds and I burst into laughter and grabbed my cell phone and called Michael to share the joke with him.  Maddy had no idea what we all thought was so funny and there really was no way to explain the joke to her.  :)

After the Bay Cruise, we walked back to our Embarcadero hotel and the next morning we all walked from the hotel to Fisherman's Wharf.  The girls were on their bikes and Andrew and I were walking.  We weren't sure how successful we'd be but the girls did really great!  They're able to ride in heavy pedestrian traffic and remain steady and upright even at a semi-slow walking pace.  When it got really tight, we held onto their arm to steady them but most of the time, they were biking along at a comfortable speed and were very skilled at not running into anyone. 

Here's Gwen on Fisherman's Wharf posing with a big (new?) sculpture of a macaroni. 

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We locked up the bikes and strolled through Fisherman's Wharf - pausing to check out the sea lions (there weren't many of them) then went into the Aquarium Of The Bay.  It's been at least three years since we did this so it was all new again for the girls.  Man, do they love this place!  It was really awesome and we even got a 50% discount with our SF Zoo membership.

San francisco-1644 jellyfish fix

No trip to the aquarium is complete without the jellyfish.

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The girls loved touching these colorful starfish and other squishy sea creatures.

San francisco-1657 strange fish sharpen
I know this one is weird looking!   I'm so glad he was willing to stop and pose for this pic!

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Maddy and Daddy in front of a HUGE school of little fish!

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We ate some amazingly awesome little mini donuts.  Oh gosh, these were good!  They were fresh and hot from the fryer and sprinkled with sugar and impossible to resist once you started popping them into your mouth!  At only 50 calories per doughnut, they weren't the worst thing we could eat on Fisherman's Wharf but since they let you refill the empty bag for just $2.50, we did some major damage anyway!   Thank goodness we can't get these closer to home! 

Next stop was Musee Mecanique, a collection of antique arcade machines that were almost as fascinating as they were freaky.  

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Maddy was seriously horrified by this one.  And when you deposited a quarter and pushed the button, the six foot tall monstrosity did a terrifying dance.   We all might need therapy.

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Daddy had to arm wrestle this red faced guy to win our release!

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About five hours after we started, we finally turned around and headed for the hotel.  All in all, we walked (kids rode bikes) all the way from the Ferry Building at the Embarcadero to Ghirardelli Square and back again (a four mile round trip).  They did great and we had a wonderful weekend!

August 07, 2009

99 Things

I saw this on a few other blogs and it looked interesting and fun!

Here are the rules:
Bold the things you’ve done and post this list on your blog then leave me a comment and tell me you did this I can go see!  You don't have to add photos but I thought that might be fun too.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyworld
8. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Written something that was published
11. Bungee jumped or parachuted
12. Walked across the Golden Gate Bridge
13. Been in a fist fight
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Seen the Rings of Saturn with a telescope
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when not ill
24. Built a tree house or snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Fired a gun
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke!
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal
44. Visited Africa
45. Cried yourself to sleep
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Visited the Eiffel Tower
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain 
53. Pretended you cooked something from scratch when you didn't.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie or commercial
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold something door to door
62. Gone whale or dolphin watching
64. Donated blood, marrow, etc
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter (I was the pilot!)
69. Held onto a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten frog legs or caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Time Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Done something illegal
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Sang a solo
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Climbed a mountain
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had surgery
89. Directly saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Seen a loved one die
94. Given birth to a baby
95. Visited the Alamo
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Sent a text message while driving
99. Been stung by a bee

And the freebie I'm adding.....
100. Given yourself a shot  

2002 Waikiki flower
#4

Capture the magic, if you dare...
 #7

Face Painting
#14 (facepaint) 

adoption day gwen landscape sm
#15

adoption day maddy sm
#15

Altrincham
#34

Gwen and Donna at Eiffel Tower - Paris
#50

April 2008 Great Wall China
#56

manhattan2005
#73

Michael - 2 minutes old framed
#94

July 23, 2009

My kids will never experience life in 35mm

Back in the old days, we shot a roll of film and paid 11 cents per image to view the results (with a discount for double prints - remember that?).  One Hour Photo was as instant as the gratification got but it was still incredibly satisfying to hand over my little perforated top-of-envelope receipt, pay ten bucks and get a thick stack of memories in return. 

Since we couldn't preview anything, most of the pics were duds and there was no scrap booking back then so everything you didn't send to Grandma went into a shoe box -- along with all the negatives.    And that's where they've stayed for 20 years.

I have a really hard time throwing anything away -- especially when it's as tiny and flat as a negative -- so I can proudly proclaim that I've kept them all.  We're talking two decades, folks.  Not thousands of pics (because you're a bit more prudent about photo taking when you're buying film and paying to have it developed) but there's still a fair bit of frozen memories in my trusty, dusty, old shoebox.

good thing I'm a packrat

Early this week, I found a device on sale at Bed Bath and Beyond.  I applied a 20% off coupon to it at checkout and, for about $40 bucks, walked away with a goodie that would help me produce decent quality copies of images from those old negatives.   Then, while the kids napped, I explored the contents of about 1/8 of my archive.  It was amazing!  I have much to share but I'll start with this one photo because it says so much about old photography and it documents an important part of  my life.  (I was in the Army, a Chinook helicopter pilot, young, living in Klein- Winternheim, Germany.)
 

1986 11 25 donna in germany

  • Like most women, the first thing I noticed is that I'm pretty.  I was 25 in this photo and I didn't fully appreciate how attractive everyone looks at age 25.  If I'd only known, I wouldn't have bought Cosmo magazines and cried and felt like I couldn't "compete".  Obviously, I could!
  • Those are Army socks.  Yes, they made us wear those with our uniform when we were on duty.  Although I can't tell for certain, It's almost a guarantee that I'm wearing cotton underwear since that was also a requirement.
  • The Mountain Dew was obviously someone else's since I only drank diet soda.
  • I shot ISO 100 film.
  • I had a green thumb (what happened to that?!)
  • I smoked Virginia Slims Menthol Deluxe Ultra-Lights.  I quit smoking back in 1996 and I've never touched a single cigarette to my lips since that day even though I still love the smell of a freshly lit smoke and love walking through smoking areas outdoors.  But I detest stale smoke -- especially how it makes my hair smell.
  • I can't remember how I hurt my thumb (I'm wearing a band-aide) but I'm getting a vague hit on it being preflight related.  It certainly wasn't cooking related!
  • I loved German beer.  In fact, it was my primary source of hydration back in the early/mid 1980's.  There are two bottles of it in this photo so I hope my photographer (my room-mate, Patty P?) was drinking one of them.  Even though I'm holding a horrible can of Miller Light in my left hand, I can almost guarantee that I'm using it as an ashtray.   Funny, when I think about my time in Germany, I don't even remember that American beer was available (who would want one?) but I'm holding one here! 
  • I'm really pale.  Nobody would ever believe that I'm from Southern California. 
  • My hair is short and curly even though it's been long and straight for the last 20 years.
  • I used to burn candles (??)
  • I used to be able to have candy dishes fully of Hershey's miniature chocolates.  When did that happen?!?  For as long as I can remember, I can't be within 200 feet of any chocolate confection without inhaling deeply and sucking it immediately to my lips.  All of itEvery last bit of it.

Today, I have nothing from this photo (other than those white legs).  A sad testimony to the fact that everything was 'temporary' back in those days.  When I left Germany, they were going to charge me $5 per pound for everything I shipped back to the USA that exceeded my initial allotment of 500 pounds.  So I had a huge sale and sold it all.  I don't have that sofa or that shirt or those socks or those candles or that table.  Nothing but memories.  But memories are suddenly sweet.  :)

I'm sure I'll have more memories to share as I sift through the rest of the contents of this old shoebox.

November 02, 2008

30 years ago today.... (and pizza!)

Today is a bit of an historical day for me and I'm almost embarrassed to mention it because it makes me feel so very old. But here's the short version of the story: I graduated High School when I was 16 and joined the Army just a few weeks after turning 17.  My active duty date was exactly (gulp, cough...) thirty years ago today. 

THIRTY YEARS??   OMG... is that possible? 

Army_1979

Wanna see a picture of me at age 17?  Yes, That's Farrah Faucet hair.  For anyone interested, my MOS was "Legal Clerk/Court Reporter" (extra bonus points to anyone who comments and can identify my rank and the unit I was assigned to). 

After a few years, I went to flight school and served the rest of my military service as helicopter pilot.  Ten years in total.

Today, I'm a stay-at-home-mom of three kids: a 20 year old son (away in college) and two 'twin' 4 year old daughters.    Having two very little girls does more to make me feel younger than any cosmetic product or surgical procedure!  Having a younger husband helps too!  ;) 

Maddy had a significant "Big 30" event today too:  She finally hit thirty pounds!  Before you shrug this off, consider that she's nearly four and a half years old and almost forty inches tall!  Thirty pounds is a milestone most kids pass by the time they turn three but it was starting to look like Maddy would have to be in a car seat until she was 12!  She still might (since the weight minimum is 40) but at least she's finally making progress towards that goal!  By comparison, Gwen is 16 pounds heavier even though she's only a smidgen over one month older.  But what Maddy lacks in girth, she makes up for in every other way!  Here she is with our friend, Benjamin, today.  They're marching in leaves and obviously enjoying every crunchy moment!

Nov_2_08_blog

(Above) After a busy afternoon at the park with Benjamin and his mom and dad, everyone took a nap then got up and made pizza for dinner.    Here's Gwen (right) and Maddy (left) rolling the dough and putting the sauce, cheese and all the yummy toppings in place! 

Honestly, this was the best pizza I've ever eaten!  My girls must have added just the perfect amount of sweetness just by dipping their little fingers in!

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