Trashy Pictures Redux

One year later, and I’m still talking trash. Kinda lame, I know. But there has been progress. After a year in our new house, our garage has finally gone from this:

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To this:

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Clearly, no car has taken up residence in this space — pretty common for southern California, actually. But we’re pleased with the progress.

Anyway, we don’t live in the garage. And we’re quite pleased with our new space. And yes, it still counts as “new” – amazing how quickly a year has passed. My personal favorite part of the house is the kitchen placement. Instead of being tucked by myself in some back corner of the house when I’m cooking, I can survey much of my domain from the kitchen sink:

my domain

So here I am. I’ve thought about this little blog a lot over the past year, came up with all kinds of reasons why I didn’t have time for it. And the longer I stayed away, the more I wondered if I could come up with anything worthwhile anyway.

Worthwhile or not, I’ve missed writing my little bits and pieces, and I need to make time for it once more. All of my writing has been of the PowerPoint, bullet point, reporting variety – it’s a living, sure, and I’m thankful for it.

But I need more. So here I am, back in this space, ready to fill it in with something – we’ll see what I can come up with.

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Trashy pictures

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These may not be the new home photos you’ve been hoping to see, but we’ll start here anyway, since it’s part of the beginning.

When we first knew that we would be moving, one of our first steps was to rent a dumpster. In the 30 years we’ve been married, we’ve moved many times and we’ve thrown away lots of stuff every time. And yet we still have unnecessary junk.

We are currently at our third residence since moving to California — something that still feels like a “recent” occurrence, though we’ve been out here for 10 years (an impression that I realize has much to do with age and relativity, but that’s a topic for a different day).

Regardless of whether or not we should still consider ourselves restless wanderers, the fact remains that 10 years is the longest continuous stretch of time we’ve lived in any one state, and this past 7 1/2 years was the longest time at one address. Which means, of course, we accumulated a lot of stuff, and of course, still had a bunch of dumb stuff left over from previous moves that we should have thrown away but didn’t.

When thinking about moving, the biggest scary thing was – the garage. From the day we moved in to our last place, we shoved into the garage everything we didn’t know what else to do with. (That sentence may or may not be grammatically sensible. If not, too bad. You know what I mean.) There were things that hadn’t been touched or missed for a decade. But they were still there. Lurking. Moldering. The garage was the main reason for the dumpster.

But even so, when I saw this thing that we could easily park our truck in, I thought, “How embarrassing and what a waste of money. Surely we will fill only a corner of this huge dumpster.”

And then we got to work. So much stuff. A lot of old documents and old technology, among other things. My husband opened up one manual that told us, “The internet connects computers all around the world.” Nice to know. Probably don’t need that book any more. Into the dumpster it went. Along with a lot of other stuff.

The picture below shows what we threw out after almost a week. Then the dumpster couldn’t be picked up for a few days, so we continued to heave stuff in. After 9 days, the thing was full. Then a nice man came with a large truck and hauled it all away. Seeing all of that junk drive out of my life gave me a very good feeling.

But I’m still not sure which is more embarrassing — not having enough to fill the huge dumpster that you’ve rented — or actually filling the huge dumpster that you’ve rented.

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Posted in life, marriage, memories, moving, new home, photos, random thoughts | 10 Comments

I really haven’t disappeared

So I continue to not blog during major milestones of my life. But here I am – not gone yet.

We bought a house at the end of August. First time in 30 years of marriage. Quite exciting. We are in the house, but still not completely out of the rental. It is very hot in Southern California at this time of year. I am very tired.

But the house is wonderful. God has been good to us and we are thankful for such a lovely place. It has everything we were looking for – plus a putting green. Really. Crazy, right?

I’ll be back later with photos. When there aren’t so many boxes sitting around the place.

 

 

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Rambling past milestones

Let’s see, what’s been going on since I last posted back at the beginning of January? We made our way around some pretty significant milestones actually, so I’ll quickly catch you up:

  • My husband and I hit the 30-year mark as far as the whole marriage thing goes. It’s a little weird when you hit that point when you realize you’ve been married longer than you haven’t.
  • We’ve been parents for most of our lives as well. And with children, there is school; and with schooling comes graduations — this past week we had two. We are now the proud parents of a Master of biology and a high school freshman. (He didn’t walk with the hood up – I made him wear it for the picture. Might as well get some use out of it.)

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  • We’ve lived in California for a full decade. Though we lived in the Philadelphia area for longer in total time, we moved away and moved back a few times. This is the our longest stretch of time living in the same state.
  • I lost my full-time job back in February. I was grateful that I could see it coming, so I had time to think about it and decide how I was going to react. I didn’t freak out. I understood the reasons. If someone had to be let go, I was the logical choice. It even came at a time when we had a bit of a financial cushion. I am convinced that it is better for me to be a free agent doing work on a contract basis. My time is more my own. I can make time for doing household and family stuff. I finally have the freedom to make time for some real writing, not just report writing.

I have been working — a former co-worker with her own business immediately gave me work. And I’ve found a job doing transcriptions. I’d like a bit more work, but I think it will come.  As far as the better use of my time — I’m not doing so well with that.

I am convinced that I should use the time to do more with creative writing. I haven’t even been able to bring myself to write a blog post. Not even a letter to my mother. Why?

I think being let go from a writing job may have hit me more than I was willing to admit. I tell myself and everyone else that it wasn’t because of any lack of skill or a bad work ethic — but for all my confident talk, I have to acknowledge that it affected my confidence. I haven’t blogged or written letters or worked on short stories because at some subconscious level, I figured no one would be missing anything that I didn’t write. I have to admit that I have been just plain afraid to write.

But if my kids can graduate and move on to bigger and better things, and if my husband can stick it out with me for 30 years, how can I sit here and be a big baby? Very bad parental example and a none-too-helpful help meet. (I don’t usually go with King James-style English, but it seemed to fit here.)

OK, no more whining. I just needed to put it in writing. Publish it and face up to it. Done.

Thanks so much to those who stopped by to check up on me, refusing to allow me to just slip out the blogosphere back door. I have often talked to young folks about the importance of being careful of what they say because someone might be paying attention. It’s good to be reminded of the truth of that.

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Who’s that girl?

who is thatTesting…testing….testing. Hello, is this thing on?

How does one restart a blog? I’ve been thinking about that for a few months now. I’m not sure exactly why I’ve had such a hard time. I’ve thought about it almost every day. Maybe I was afraid it would hurt. Or maybe I just didn’t know what to say.

I’ve still not sure what to say — I considered just posting something, just picking up where I left off, like it had only been a couple of days instead of more than four months since my last post. I thought about trying to explain why I hadn’t been around, but I worry about sounding whiny. I’m still not quite sure how to ease back in, so I’m just doing it.

Do you like the photo? I think it’s pretty interesting. I walked past my daughter, close to the camera, as she was taking a picture. I think it’s cool, like you can almost see through me, or like I was moving super fast or something. (I wasn’t.)

Anyway, I’m back.

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Thanks J Paul

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So many fun pictures of ancient things from good old J. Paul’s collection, it was hard to decide which should sit at the top of this post. It was tough to choose between these fascinating 2,000-year-old incense burners (I do so want to see them in action) – one a comic actor and one a singer….

And then there’s this panel from the side of a slightly-younger (1,900 years) sarcophagus –

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Very elaborate! Theatrical masks, garlands, a Medusa head – who wouldn’t want to be buried in that? My favorite thing about it is that, when I posted it on Facebook, it showed up with little rectangles around the faces, prompting me to “tag” anyone in the photo who might be one of my Facebook friends. They may have Facebook accounts (you never know), but they’re not among my network of friends.

In the 1950s, oil tycoon J. Paul Getty became extremely interested in antiquities and started buying them up with some of his excess millions. He put them on display in his home and opened it to the public, but the collection grew so quickly, he had to build an addition to hold them. But of course he didn’t stop antiquities shopping, so in the early 70s, he made arrangements for a museum with the help of the architectural firm of Langdon and Wilson. They worked together to design a building based on the Villa de Paprii on the slopes of Vesuvius.

As you might imagine, the original Villa was buried in ash, and lots of it is still unexcavated, so architectural consultant Norman Neuerburg based many of the museum’s architectural and landscaping details on elements from other ancient Roman houses in the towns of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae—from bronze lanterns like those carried along the streets of Pompeii to herbs and shrubs grown by the Romans for food and ceremony, some of which you can see in yesterday’s post.

Sadly, Getty never got to visit the Villa, as it was not completed until two years after he died. But he left plenty of money for it to grow (and expand to additional larger site) and stay open to the public free of charge. Quite a lovely gift, which I always appreciate when I visit either of the Getty sites.

I have lots of photos, so this is my first go at creating a “gallery” – enjoy this look at the ancient past!

(You can see a few more of the museum’s pieces in my post from a few days ago.)

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Getty-up!

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First of all, I apologize for the silly pun in the title of this post (in case any of you horse-riding fans recognized it as such). But I still have plenty of photos from our New Year’s Eve afternoon at the Getty Villa, so here they are, for those of you unlikely to make the trip anytime soon.

There will be a mix of well-framed, in-focus photos (taken by my husband) and sight-seeing, point-and-shoot photos (taken by me). I’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which (hint: if I’m in the photo, my husband took it).

I think this post will be all outdoor shots, partly to keep the post from being too long and tedious (and to leave me a topic for tomorrow), and partly to gloat over share the gloriously sunny day that was December 31st out here.

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Is it just me, or are statues with the eyes painted in just plain creepy?

IMG_2103But on such lovely grounds, one can put up with a little staring from the statuary.

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SONY DSCAs you appreciate the architecture and shrubbery, you canSONY DSC see me demonstrating that if you stand in exactly the right spot, someone behind you will make you look like you have really high hair, or are perhaps wearing a helmet.

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Though the Villa is free, you have to get a timed-entry ticket. You can stay as long as you like, but it does seem to help keep things reasonable. We were able to wander around without ever feeling like things were too crowded.

SONY DSCEven this little side courtyard with twoSONY DSC interesting fountains was relaxed and private feeling.

There was another interesting fountain with some ugly baboons on it, but I decided I didn’t really want a photo of it.

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The mosaic design on this fountain looks stately and gorgeous when seen on its own, but I also love the crazy fountain faces on the lower part.

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The Socal climate lends itself to a display of the flora native to ancient Mediterranean cultures – there are little herb gardens – lots of varieties of mint. But the papyrus is my favorite – I’m so impressed with anyone who could look at these graceful plants and think, “Hey, I bet I could make some writing paper out of that.”

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And we conclude the outdoor portion of our Getty Villa tour with a little cuteness and fun with the kids – of the boyfriend/girlfriend variety and the brother/sister variety.

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Posted in art, history, holidays, kids, life, photos | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments