• 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.

    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!

  • 88 Happy Days: BLUE BALL MASON JARS



    JUNE 28, 2014


    Uh… I just read that title again, and I totally–totally–didn’t do that on purpose. But now that I’ve seen it, I really don’t want to change it. It’s pretty doggoned funny. Forgive my crassness. Maybe it’s the Saturday night thing kicking into to my Happy Days madness.

    For the first time in many, many weeks, we stayed home on a Saturday. Whoa. Crazy, right? Got some housecleaning done. Had a hair appointment. I look like I’m dozing off waiting to get my hairs done. And MAN! Did they need to be done!! Remember the HONEY MOON? When we dashed out to the desert to see the “special” moon and I missed my hair appointment and we got a flat tire and missed the moon?? Crazy man.

    That’s a terrible picture of me. Why did I post this? Sigh. Anyway, it’s up here, so I’ll leave it.

    Came home to awesome Anasazi beans and of course homemade tortillas. Eating dinner with this dude always makes me happy.

    While we were in Arizona, we bought a bunch of old Ball Mason jars to hold our green coffee beans. Today while cleaning the kitchen, I finally unwrapped and washed them. I can’t explain why… oh why!! I love these babies the way I do. They’re just so doggoned pretty!

    So it’s a simple 100 Happy Days post today, of a simple, utilitarian thing. A blue, Ball Mason Jar. And yes… it made me happy.

    Until tomorrow…

    Later gators!

     

     

  • 87 Happy Days: BEACH READ



    JUNE 27, 2014


    Covering Orange County for NBC, I often find myself at the beach. Extra warm day? Shoot crowds at the beach. Holiday Monday? Videotape the hoards of beach goers. High Surf? Go to the Wedge and photograph people getting splashed as the raging water pounds against the shore. Any day at the beach makes for happy days for me. It’s why I wanted to move to California.

     

    Today’s beach assignment: Rip Tides.

    Conveniently, this hit around lunchtime. My first assignment of the day, a change in food truck taxing options, ended up a bit of a bust. The food trucks didn’t show for the Board of Equalization press conference. With nothing more to shoot there, I grabbed a sound bite, and headed to Sunset Beach for the rip tides. Rip tides aren’t really something you can shoot. They’re not particularly obvious. BUT… you can grab shots of people in the water. It was a beautiful day in Sunset Beach, with a nice cool breeze.

     

    After I got what I needed, and fed the shots into the station, they put me on lunch break. I had a banana with me, and instead of heading somewhere to grab real food, decided instead to take the little folding chair from my news van to sit on the sand, and read.

    The book is on the history of Wintersburg, a small agricultural enclave once owned by Japanese immigrants, and recently put on America’s 11 Most Endangered Historical sites. I covered this story a couple of days ago, and the woman running the press conference gave me a copy of her book. It’s fascinating to read about Orange County before it became a haven of strip malls.

    My little moment of bliss didn’t last too long, though–maybe twenty minutes–before I got called to head to Laguna Beach, twenty-two miles down the very scenic Pacific Coast highway. Doesn’t this just scream California?

    The story I was headed to, though, was not a fun one. The parents of a missing firefighter whose body was at last found, live there. Thankfully, one of our managers agreed with me that hovering at their house would be completely inappropriate and insensitive. I parked up on Coast Highway and walked down (they have an ocean front house) just to see if there was any activity, and there was none, so I thankfully got to call it a day.

    After tucking the news van away at the bureau, I headed to our workshop, where we had a visit from our friend Barry, along with his daughter, and his father Roger, who we’d really been wanting to meet. Barry shared pictures from his recent adventure, when the three of them drove Roger’s Model A truck from Colorado to California, finding dirt backroads, dressing the same vintage of the car, and camping in a canvas tent. His photographs were truly spectacular. (Of course. He’s a professional photographer.)

    While the boys talked, I had a blast as always playing with Valentina. She’s a fun kid. As they were leaving, Barry gave me the greatest compliment. Said I was the prototype for what he wanted his daughter to be, and that he wants to have me around her as a mentor. Considering how much he adores his daughter, I was truly honored.

    Okey dokey. The weekend is here! Time to have some fun.

    Until next time…

    Later gators!

     

     

     

     

  • 86 Happy Days: BOUGAINVILLEA



    JUNE 26, 2014


    Dang! Falling asleep in the tub already. Quick!! Write this doggoned 100 Happy Days post!!!

    News story:

    Laker’s draft pick.

    My pal Martin from ABC 7 snapped this of me using the downtime to do a bit of novel editing!

    Happy Day Picture:

    Having a snack under this glorious bougainvillea!

    There. Done. This counts as a blot post, right??

    Until tomorrow…

    Later gators!!

  • 85 Happy Days: BRIAN “OZZY” LAW



    JUNE 25, 2014


    You know… I just felt happy all day. I’ve had a lot of days like that lately. I wonder if it has anything to do with the 100 Happy Days. Hmmm… Something to ponder.

    Goodness knows my story wasn’t happy. Another deputy involved shooting in Compton. What did make me happy though, was crossing paths with the morning crew, including reporter Toni Guinyard, who has the world’s most electric smile.

    So much sadness at the scene in Compton. Crying families. Anger with the Deputies. Chants of injustice. Not a lot of opportunity for a Happy Days picture. At one point, though, I posted a picture to Facebook, a cropped version of the family picture we took in Winslow. This is the original:

     

    And this is the crop:

    Brian thought he’d be funny, and put on his round glasses and pull his hair forward. It didn’t dawn me until today that it’s like being photo-bombed by Ozzy Osbourne. The comments from people on the Facebook thread totally cracked me up.  Leave it to my brother to pick up on the Ozzy/Bat thing. Ha! Totally forgot about that. So you see, it wasn’t just ONE moment provided by this picture, but several throughout the day, why I after the fact, made this my happy days picture. See feller? Even when you’re not around, you make me happy.

    Until tomorrow..,

    Later gators!

     

  • 84 Happy Days: HANDS IN THE DIRT



    JUNE 24, 2014


    I’ve had a couple of little dirt projects I’ve been wanting to do–because dirt makes me happy, and happy days are good–but I was out of dirt. You read that right. What a bizarre world we live in where we have to go buy dirt. It would be so cool to walk out the door, dig up a yard, and plant. But, uh, I don’t have a yard. Part of city life for me. While at the hardware store in Winslow, I saw the bags of potting soil, and bought some to haul back to OC. And yes… they sell dirt in the OC. I just never remember to get some.

    ANYWAY… while I was up in our kitchen making coffee, I stepped out onto the patio to check on the plants since we were gone over the weekend, and lo and behold!! The Anasazi Beans Brian planted a week ago SPROUTED! When he said he wanted to try growing some from beans, I thought he was nuts. Turns out, he wasn’t!

    Inspired by the bean success, I went out to the truck in my falling-down-track-suit, and grabbed the bag of dirt. At last I’d be able to cut a few succulents to plant in the oh-so-cool muffin tin my pal Cynthia gave to me (and became a happy day post #41 all on its own).

    And lastly, I FINALLY got around to planting the sugar pumpkin seeds our friend Mark sent us months ago! First time growing these for me! I’m super excited to make a pie out of this beauty. (I’m thinking optimistically.)

     THE NEWS DAY:

    So the day started out right, and continued to have a pleasant tone. First assignment of the day, the naming of a site in Huntington Beach to a historic registry, “11 Most Endangered Historic Places, 2014,” significant because it was a farm owned and operated by Japanese Americans who were interned during the war, yet managed to keep their property. The woman hosting the press conference–Mary Urashima–authored a book on the family, and was kind enough to give me a copy. Given my love for the history of buildings, I’m really looking forward to reading the book. Click the picture if you’re interested in checking it out.

    It’s interesting this came on the heels of our latest Route 66 Adventure. In both Ashfork and Seligman, I spent time looking for any remnants–like building footings, or slab–of the Harvey Houses. Both towns fought valiantly to save them, and lost, Seligman just in 2008. I’m so pleased to see there are organizations out there fighting for these properties. It’s tragic to see them go.

    I could write more, but it’s dinner time.

    Until tomorrow,

    Later gators!

     

     

     

     

  • 83 Happy Days: CLASSICS ON THE ROAD



    JUNE 23, 2014


    Wow! So many happy things today, I don’t know where to begin!

    First off, it’s my mommy’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Maw! I’m so glad I got to see her at least close to her birthday, if not on the actual day.

    We had an odd greeting at the Motor Palace this morning. Up on the Northwest corner of the building, a raven sat squawking as a couple of little birds dive-bombed him until he finally vacated his spot.

    The goofball Raven then went to the trashcan, and proceeded to pull each piece of trash out, one by one, until he found just what he was looking for. These birds are so stinking smart.

    The official 100 Happy Days photo came just outside of Winona on the I-40. I love to see classics being driven, like this fabulous Pontiac. One of the best parts about it? The smile on the guy’s face. Pure joy. When we passed him again (after we fueled in Flagstaff), he STILL had the gigantic smile. His happiness totally made me happy.

    We’re always sad leaving Winslow, and try to prolong the day as much as possible, like taking the long way home. We stopped in Ash Fork, a small town we usually pass right by. I needed to do a bit of novel research there, so took a few minutes to walk around and check out some of the buildings.

    AND…we of course stopped in Seligman for Snow Cap Tacos. Again, I did a little walking around while we were waiting for food.

    To prolong the inevitable even more, we routed through one of my favorite Route 66 towns, Oatman.

    Why is it one of my favorites? BURROS!!!

    This nice old Evo looks like it’s on a fun adventure!! OH!! And want to hear something crazy?? While in Oatman, I heard a voice behind me, a very distinctive voice. I turned and said, “Ed and Jude?” Sure enough, the great couple from San Diego we met at the Motor Palace, had also routed through Oatman to stretch out their last hours on the road. Cool, right?

    Let’s see… It’s after 10pm now, and we’re still not home. I’m writing this on the road. Considering we left Winslow around 8am, I’d say we stretched the day out just fine, don’t you think?

    Until tomorrow back to work day…

    Later Gators!

     

     

     

  • 82 Happy Days: FAMILY CLOWNS



    JUNE 22, 2014


    The family came visiting in Winslow today, Mom, Dad, Jan (sis-in-law), Casey (nephew), Megan (niece), and Kayla the moto-girl (niece).  Happy, happy days, but I’m beat! We need to pack up for the trip home tomorrow ( NOOOO!!!! )… so I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

    Until tomorrow… traveling back to SoCal…

    Later gators!

  • 81 Happy Days: MY FELLER



    JUNE 21, 2014


    True Confessions time: I didn’t write this blog post on the 21st. I was way too happy on my 16th Wedding Anniversary to sit down and do it, but I really don’t want to miss a day, so here I am, on the 22nd, filling you on my day. So just pretend “today” (which was really yesterday) isn’t a lie.

    Here we go:

    Today was the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice, the day my feller decided 16 years ago we should be married. He’s not an outwardly romantic guy, but he’ll do subtle things like choosing our wedding date because he wanted the happiest day of our lives to be the longest. Pretty special, right?We had a truly lovely day.

    Watched the motorcycles go by.

     

    Met a nice couple…

    Ed and Jude from San Diego, even did a little book exchange with them.

     

    Went to a local talent show at the park…

    Where I got to be the “official” photographer of the event, when their photographer didn’t show up!

    We both feel so at home here in Winslow, and have made tons of friends. The entire day was filled with smiles.

    Okay. Time to write the real “today” post…

    Until a few minutes from now…

    Later gators!