Friday, July 27, 2012

Please Pass the Tissues

Chris Helgren/Reuters
 You guys....I cried - CRIED - at the opening ceremonies, right into my chicken and lime fajitas. *sigh* I'm such a girl. Anyone would think that I'm pregs. (I'm SO not.) I cried right up until they did The Digital Age. (Danny Boyle, I didn't like that so much.) Also, the snotty commentary during the Parade of Nations killed the moment. And, also - I'm sorry, but I'm going to get really nit-picky here - if you are a presenter for the Olympic Opening Ceremony, PLEASE learn how to say the names of rivers and landmarks correctly. (I heard someone say "Thayms" and I wanted to throw my wine glass.)  But OMG - Rowan Atkinson? And The Queen and James Bond? Fabulous. Hooray for London, and for the spirit of unity!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What Do the London Olympics and Sweetpea Studios Have in Common?

The 2012 London Olympics start tomorrow - are you excited? I remember when London won the Olympic bid in 2005. There had been such a build-up - the city was filled with banners hanging from the lamposts and "London 2012" was everywhere. (2012 seemed SOOO far away.) When they made the announcement, it felt like the whole city was celebrating. The Red Arrows flew over the flat I was living in toward Buckingham Palace and I watched them from 15 floors up. (Yes, I lived on the 15th floor of a very tall building in east London. It was AWESOME.)

28 November 2011
Copyright: MOD Crown Copyright

So anyway, back to the Olympics. I'm excited to glimpse bits of the place I used to call home. I should make an Olympic hat to wear as I'm watching the Olympics...
Since I probably won't make a hat, I WILL offer 15% off of everything in Sweetpea Studios for the duration of the London Olympics. Just remember to use the coupon code "OLYMPICS" when you check out. Here's a peek at what's new:

Eye See London
London Parliament
King's Cross London Sunset

 I'll be adding more items over the next little while, so keep your eyes peeled, and don't forget to use the "OLYMPICS" coupon code at checkout!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Shocking news...

...I've updated my Etsy shop! That's right, Sweetpea Studios flows a little better and has several new necklaces and earrings just for you! Check it out...
Zen-Like $18

Diamond Filigree $18

Fly Away - Punk Rock $20
Flutter - Lavender $18
All this and lots more available now at Sweetpea Studios! Stop on by and say hello. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Daylight? What's that, then?

An Unkindness
What a loooong week it's been. Many events at the gallery means long days and utter exhaustion when I get home. Plus I've gotten ideas for artworks that keep me awake at night. Thanks, creativity. Your timing, as always, is impeccable. Also my cat is sick, and I don't know what that means yet. So all in all, a very long week.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July Reading

I read this and laughed until I cried. Several times. I had to put it away on the airplane because I was afraid of being "that lunatic who won't stop laughing."

I don't usually read Jodi Picoult or Anita Shreve. In fact, I often mix them up. It's probably because the covers of the books look so similar. But lately, I've been in the mood for "aga sagas," so what the heck. I'll probably move on to Nicholas Sparks next.

My favorite this month has been "Let's Pretend This Never Happened," written by blogger Jenny Lawson. She is hysterical, but sadly, James doesn't share my appreciation. He just doesn't see the humor in buying a giant metal chicken, naming it Beyonce, and then having it ding-dong-ditch your husband. Or the humor in smuggling a stuffed aligator dressed like a French pirate on an airplane and making it talk to your fellow passengers.

The best thing about this book is that once you finish it, it doesn't have to end, because Jenny Lawson is "The Bloggess" and writes her hilarious blog nearly daily. Now, thanks to her, I want to rent a sloth for an afternoon.

Friday, July 13, 2012

One Random Photo

New Jersey
Picture from the road. I wish I could have gotten out of the car and wandered around photographing to my little heart's content, but for now I'll have to be satisfied with this one snapped with my camera phone as we drove through New Jersey on the way to Newark Airport.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

And I Came Home with 11 Bug Bites

My parents, James, and me
 My grandmother lives in Pennsylvania, in what I would call the middle of the woods. Those of you who live on the east coast would probably laugh at me, but whatevs. James, my parents, and I drove from Grand Island to Grandma's house and spent the rest of our vacation just relaxing. It was super hot and we sat around reading and visiting and drinking wine and eating. And, of course, I took pictures.

See? Woods.

Grandma's Garage. She didn't know what to make of some of the things I photographed.

More Woods
 We were there over the 4th of July, which hasn't happened in probably 20 years. The last time I was there for the 4th, I don't think my age was in double didgets yet. We bought a ton of sparklers then, and didn't use them all up. And Grandma kept them. And we dug them out this year and discovered that they're as good as new! So for this southern California girl who lives in an area where fireworks of any kind are illegal, I was THRILLED to be able to play with sparklers again! And, of course, I took pictures.

I snuck across the street to photograph the neighbor's display

James and I played with the camera and flashlights as the sun was going down.
So now we know. 20 year old sparkers work if you store them in plastic bags. Sweet!

I wish I'd been able to photograph the woods with all of the fireflies flitting here and there. I also wish we had fireflies here in southern California. Boo.

Sadly, all visits come to an end. It was wonderful to see family again - being on a different side of the country is hard, as I'm sure James knows as well. (He's in a whole other country, after all.) But we have to take the times we have with our families and appreciate them as something special. And you have to laugh together, even if it's at highly inappropriate jokes that your uncle and 15 year old cousin are telling you. Or at the cover art for your grandmother's current reading material:

It's a real Bible. It just has a motorcycle on the cover.
Me' n' Biker-Grandma

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What Happens at Chateau Motor Lodge...

There's nothing like getting away from it all, and for this California girl, a trip back east to New York and Pennsylvania was just what I needed. For years, almost all of my trips have been to cities that are packed with sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and artwork that I need to experience and James and I end up returning home more exhausted than when we left. So when my dad started putting together a family reunion in upstate New York, I was totally on board. Just think - nothing to do but relax and spend time with family that I haven't seen in about 10 years or more? Yes, please!

We flew out on a Friday morning. Early. Like 6am. Which means we were dropped off at the airport at 4am. And the check-in desks weren't open yet.

Grand Canyon

Beautiful Chicago, where the sun is shi-- oh, wait.
We made a connection in Chicago. Because the weather was so bad, many flights were delayed, and the descent was turbulent. Very turbulent. Someone (not me) threw up, and when you're a nervous flyer who feels sick during each and every descent, you don't want to hear someone throw up, because then all you can think is "someone just threw up" and then all you want to do is throw up. It's like if I tell you "Don't think about a pink elephant." What are you thinking about now? Exactly.

Buffalo to Grand Island
When we landed in Buffalo, the sun was shining and it was hot. All we had to do then was get ourselves onto Grand Island and check into the Chateau Motor Lodge. Which boasts color tv by RCA. Apparently.

All New!
The plan was simple. Relatives from Florida, New Jersey, and California would all converge on my uncle who lives on Grand Island, where we would have plenty of time to catch up over a casual dinner. The next day, all 15 of us would go into Canada to see Niagra Falls and spend part of the day at Niagra on the Lake. Then the weekend would end with a family BBQ in my uncle's backyard.
Niagra Falls, Canadian side. See that tiny boat? That's how close I got to the falls.

Niagra Falls, American side

Welcome to Canada

Lunch at Niagra on the Lake

James was given a really bizarre onion ring. I made him pose for a picture, because come on - how can you not?
On the bridge waiting to re-enter the US
 Canada was great. We all managed to cross the boarder in 3 cars and not get separated, and we all went on the Maid of the Mist right up to the base of the falls. James found a Mountie and had his picture taken with her. He learned several "Mountie Factoids," like the mounties were originally set up to help protect the North American whiskey trade (Disclaimer: This may or may not be correct). We also had lunch in Niagra on the Lake, which was a miracle because it was the day before Canada Day and the entire population of Canada was in Niagra on the Lake to celebrate. (I may or may not have slightly exaggerated that statement.) Basically, Niagra on the Lake felt like the love child of American and England, which was rather surreal.

Nighttime on Grand Island
James and I had drinks with my cousins to celebrate our return to the US. There are no pictures of that, because what happens at Chateau Motor Lodge stays at Chateau Motor Lodge.

American runs on crappy coffee, apparently.
 After a "reviving" cup of coffee and a bagel and some doughnuts, we all headed over to my uncle's house for our family BBQ on our final day in Grand Island. I turned into a bossy photographer and took probably too many family pictures, some posed, some candid. I think I got on people's nerves after awhile. You know what? Too bad.

The Killer Toad of Death
 The Killer Toad of Death made a guest appearance. Sadly, he did not feast upon brats, steak, burgers, and strawberry shortcake like the rest of us did.

Strawberry Shortcake with POUND CAKE
 Once it got too dark to see anything but the occasional firefly, we helped take in all of the chairs and tables, we put the food away and sadly made our way back to the motel.  It was a fun weekend with lots of jokes and laughter. For James, it was the first time he'd met most of my relatives since we're so scattered around the country. After several rounds of goodbyes, it was time to head out to our next destination: my grandmother's house in Pennsylvania.

Heading East
 Have you ever had a family reunion? What did you do? Do you plan everything or just let people do things spontaneously?