• 100 Happy Days: THE END

    JULY 10, 2014

    WOW. The Happy Days challenge is done. Over. Finito. I’ve got to say, 100 Days is a LONG time. I think the biggest lesson in all of this, beyond even “finding the happy,” is discipline. Doing something every day for a 100 days is tough, especially the (self-imposed) task of writing a blog post every day.  (more…)

  • 99 Happy Days: EVENING DRIVE

    JULY 9, 2014

    The minute I walked in the door from work,  Bondorella’s siren song called to me from the garage, Come drive me! Come drive me! Brian wasn’t home from work yet, and I’d been wanting to get her out for a picture with a very cool new shirt I got (more on that in a minute).  (more…)

  • 98 Happy Days: SCAVENGED ART

    JULY 8, 2014

    So after a long hot busy day at work, I came home to my super swell feller, and sat down at our breakfast nook table to share a plate of food. Romantic, right? We’re like that. (Not really). Sharing meals with my man is always a highlight of a day, and therefore a significant part of my 100 Happy Days. (more…)

  • 97 Happy Days: LAMEST POST

    JULY 7, 2014

    Seriously. Unless the next three days are really pathetic, this will have to go down as my lamest 100 Happy Days post. This sailboat.

    Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with this sailboat and I did get a moment of pleasure watching it glide across the ocean, but as my feller so kindly pointed out, I hated sailing. (more…)

  • 96 Happy Days: DRAFT REVISIONS DONE!!

    JULY 6, 2014

    I’ve mentioned a couple of times in the last fifteen or so days my Happy Days blog burnout. It hasn’t gotten a whole lot better although I did finish one major chore that will help! Remember back to Day 13, when I got notes back from an agent on my novel CALIFORNIA COTTON? Two and half months later, I have at last finished the revisions and hit SEND.

    96 CCI can’t tell you what a relief it is. While I love writing, editing can be quite tedious. What I do like about it, is watching the story grow better with each round. Thanks to the help of one of my writer/critique-r friends, and the notes from the agent, I think it’s in pretty darned good shape. Wish us luck.

    I had some help from The Professor while working today. Always good to have a smart guy around. And yeah, the neighbor’s cat spends more time at our place than his, and we’re not even feeding him!96 Cat Helper

    In between mad bouts of writing, I managed to try out a new wheat bread recipe to replace the one from DAY 33, and it was AWESOME.

    96 Day Draft TWO

    Why replace the old one? Not only is this one 100% wheat instead of the old half/half number I used to make, it was WAY easier to make! Winner winner!!

    96 Bread Dough 96 BreadMan. I feel like the last twenty or so daily posts have been really weak. I think I’ve depleted the old writing stores. My apologies.

    I’m mighty happy there are only FOUR MORE DAYS to go!! Yee haw!!!

    Until tomorrow…

    Later gators.



  • 95 Happy Days: THE LITTLE THINGS

    JULY 5, 2014

    Wow. I hadn’t realized how much I needed a relaxing long weekend at home. Every weekend, we’ve been running off somewhere, so kicking back and simply playing with my patio plants, running a couple of errands, cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner with my best feller has made me exceptionally happy. Often those tiny little moments make for the happiest of days.

    So what are all of these “happy days” things picture above? Let me tell ya:

    (1) I walked into the kitchen this morning to make our coffee and breakfast, and found a swath of sunlight across the counter, with yesterday’s apple pie smack dab in the middle. I didn’t move the pie an iota for this picture. Clearly it was a sign we needed to eat pie for breakfast. So we did.

    95 Pie(2) In case you haven’t figured it out, we eat a lot of homemade tortillas. Probably more than we eat bread. It’s a staple. Tonight, after spending the day working on the patios, a nice dinner of guacamole, cold tri-tip, and homemade corn tortillas hit the spot. And hey. I enjoyed watching Brian from my relaxed position on my patio.

    95 Hubby(3) In some ways, not having a yard kind of stinks. In another, we have three really cool patios, with no grass mowing needed. The lights we put up on two of the patios gives it a party like atmosphere. A party for two. ‘Cause we crazy like dat. Woot! Woot!

    95Lights(4) A couple of years ago, we bought a glider off of Craiglist. In addition to the glider, the woman asked if we’d give her potted Meyer Lemon Tree a home too. We obliged. This will be our third season of Lemon’s from this wonderful little tree. Hello first lemon of the season!! Can’t wait until you’re ripe!

    95 Meyer Lemon

    (5) Speaking of lemons. I love them in just about everything. Favorite beverage? This right here. A wedge of lemon in a glass of ice water. Makes me happy every single time. Silly, right? And don’t start telling me how bad it is, how I’m drinking bacteria, blah, blah, blah. I don’t care. It’s way better than what most people drink. So there.

    95 Lemon(6) Seedlings. Brian’s Anasazi beans and my sugar pumpkins are growing strong!! Brian planted a couple of beans from the bag of our very favorite frijoles, and I planted a couple of seeds from one of our friend Mark’s sugar pumpkins. Look at them go! Hopefully the pumpkins will survive today’s transplant.

    95 Sprouts

    So see?? Lot’s of silly little things that totally made me happy. Oh, and one more. Writing this post made me want more pie. And some home-roasted decaf. So yeah… I did it. Like I said, I’m crazy like… okay. One ghetto phrase a post is plenty.

    95 More Pie

    Until next time…

    Later gators!


  • 94 Happy Days: APPLE PIE AND AMERICA

    JULY 4, 2014

    I write this while firecrackers explode outside the house. Can’t see them, but I can hear them. Our place is surrounded by big Eucalyptus and Pine trees, so we can never see far beyond our patio, even though the firework shows are close. But that’s okay. I’ve seen fireworks before. We’d planned to take off out of town for the 4th weekend, maybe even dash to Winslow, but we’ve been on the go so much lately a weekend at home sounded pretty good. For our Fourth of July celebration, I made pie. A delicious, All American 100 Happy Days Apple pie.94 APPLES 94 APPLES 3
    I’ve been making the same pie for a while now, using my Dustbowl crust, so thought I’d mix it up a bit and make Joy the Baker’s signature buttermilk crust. It didn’t come together nearly as easily as mine, but it tasted pretty darned good, and Brian and I both liked the shaggy look.
    94APPLES2 94 Apples 4
    Here’s my plan for the next pie: combine the two crusts. Use the elements and technique I like from my pie and some of ingredients from hers. I think it will be epic.
    94 Apples 5 94 day Apple Pie 2

    And now… in my sugar-pie-coma… I’m off to bed.

    Until tomorrow…

    Later gators!

  • 93 Happy Days: WORKDAY AT THE BEACH

    JULY 3, 2014

    I’m going to apologize right off the top for anyone who had to sit in an office today, under fluorescent lights, behind a desk, in the confines of four walls. Or a cube. Especially a cube. There may not be tons of 100 Happy Days opportunities there. That’s one of the nice things about my job. Yeah, there’s a lot of crap, but then there are days like today, where I got to hang out at the beach all day.

    20140703-205206-75126007.jpgLest you think I lounged around for hours on end, remember I had to haul 50 pounds of gear through the sand. It really is hard work. But yeah… I was at the beach. Plus, I got to work with Hetty, and we had a special appearance by my chief photog, Sean, who drove all the way to Huntington Beach to swap our vans (Long, boring story about equipment failures).

    Anyway… My feet are a wee bit sunburned and I smell… so I’m going to get a bath. Huh. Think I’ve been ending most of my posts that way lately.

    Until tomorrow…

    Later gators!


  • 92 Happy Days: CAT ANTICS

    JULY 2, 2014

    I’ve mentioned in a few of my 100 Happy Days posts, my neighbor’s cat The Professor. He’s a super cool dude. And the best part? He’s not mine, so I don’t have to feed him, scoop his poop, or put up with misbehaving. Lately, he’s even been meowing at the door to come in, and we oblige.


    Then there’s the other neighbor’s cat, Whitney (seen here in the upper right of the screen… the pointy ears up on the roof). Unlike The Professor, Whitney doesn’t have time for people, and even though we like her a lot, she could care less about us, or so she likes to let us think. She rules this building (we have one shared wall with Whitney’s people). She doesn’t deign to allow humans to pet her. She lurks around on our railings and roof, and even makes herself at home inside our place when she thinks we’re not around.


    Tonight, when she saw Professor hanging out at our place, she got a little ticked.

    It was a hot day today, and frankly, neither Brian nor I wanted to cook, so we ordered a pizza. A great one, from Wise Guys. Because it was such a lovely evening, I decided to sit out on the patio with the visiting Professor. It didn’t take long before Whitney poked her head over the wall. She is not a Professor fan.92 DAY CAT WARS2It made for great entertainment watching these two jerks stare each other down, and then pretend the other doesn’t exist. Cats! What a bunch of idiots!

    Considering I’m not in the mood to write about the news day… Bath time!!

    Until tomorrow…

    Later gators!


  • 91 Happy Days: BOWL OF CHERRIES

    JULY 1, 2014

    Whew. It was a fun news day but an exhausting one covering the World Cup game between Belgium and the United States. Part of Pine Street in Long Beach became a gigantic street party as 1000s watched a jumbo-tron set up in the middle of the closed down street. Ah… happy days. 20140701-200001-72001189.jpg Even though I’m not much of a sport’s fan, it was hard not to get caught up in the crowd’s enthusiasm. 20140701-200226-72146046.jpg Because the game went into extra time (and no, that isn’t my sports ignorance talking–that’s what they call it), we were totally crunched at the end to write, edit, and get it on the air, but we did it, and quite frankly, it was pretty good! (Thanks to Hetty’s great writing!) So why the bowl of cherries and not the fun news coverage? Well… The U.S. lost, and when you’re hot and tired and hungry and remember the bowl of cherries in the news van, that’s a very happy thing.

    91 Day Cherries

      Life indeed is… A bowl of cherries. Until tomorrow… Later gators!

  • 90 Happy Days: CRESCENT MOON

    JUNE 30, 2014

    After a day too busy to actively seek my 100 Happy Days moment, I came home–at 9pm–and looked up to find this glorious crescent moon.


    I thought of the man in the moon and how much he’d enjoy sitting on the tip with his fishing pole, but then I remembered: That’s the DreamWorks Studios Logo. My, how pop culture invades our thinking.


    Maybe it’s the moon, maybe the long day, maybe the gigantic burrito I ate… whatever it is, I’m sleepy, so let’s just call this a blog post, take a bath, and say goodnight.

    “Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight light, and the red balloon…”

    Until tomorrow…

    Later gators!

  • 89 Happy Days: YUCCA VALLEY

    JUNE 29, 2014

    If you’ve been following along, you probably realize by now we’re a bit obsessed with the Joshua Tree/Yucca Valley area. In fact, we’ve been getting out of dodge and heading that direction nearly every weekend. The place quite simply makes us happy. Fewer people. Less chaos. Solitude. Peace. Beauty. Need I say more? The area has made it into my 100 Happy Days more than once and likely will again.


    In fact, we hope to buy there soon, and today found a likely candidate. Originally we’d been looking at places a bit more remote. Quirky homestead places. Homes that would require some major vision. But then we saw this place.


    Although it’s way more traditional than what we’d been looking for, the land, the mature vegetation, the impeccable condition sold us from the minute we pulled in.


    As for the interior, it wasn’t anything exciting, but nothing awful either, simply needs some fresh flooring, popcorn ceilings either scraped or filled, and undoing some modernization of fixtures. We love that the kitchen cabinets are original, and not tacky home depot replacements.


    Love the wooden closet doors.


    The stone fireplace.


    Picture all of this with maybe some parquet floors, or something period correct. We’d like to decorate mid-century California ranch. But most of all, we really love the lot.yv6 YV2 YV5

    The home was owned by the Skinners, who we believe may the original owners. We’ve traced them back to ’73 in the house (which was built in ’66), but the way the document was worded, and the fact that ’73 is the farthest record back, it seems they may have been there since the beginning. Considering the meticulous nature of the property, it wouldn’t surprise me. Someone truly loved this home.


    So… we’re contemplating. Stay tuned. Perhaps soon we will have a very Happy Day in Yucca Valley, with many more Happy Days to come.

    Until tomorrow….

    Later gators!