Z is for Zoo

Yes, another obvious one: zoo! This is the entrance to the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero, CA. You used to be able to get a better picture of the tiger statue, but they recently moved the flamingos out there, so they had to fence it and make it tougher to get a good shot. I actually haven't been to the zoo since they remodelled last year; I might have to do that this summer!

Hope you have all enjoyed my photographic journey through the alphabet during this year's Blogging from A to Z Challenge! See you next year! Cheers!

Best of 2007

Yellow Flower, originally uploaded by LapisBlue.

A collection of what are (in my humble opinion) forty of the best photographs I took in 2007. Enjoy!

Update List

13 Random Update-type Things

1. You know how when you come back from a fantastic vacation - like, oh, say, Hawai'i! - a few days later you fall into a deep melancholy? Yeah? That's exactly what happened to me when I got back from the Big Island. The past couple of weeks I've been depressed and frustrated and quick to anger. I hate it, but what can I do? I tried drinking, but that only made it worse. Kidding. Maybe. Luckily I spent last weekend in Fresno with my BFF Jewel, who was in town visiting her folks. I had a great time hanging out with her, visiting with her parents and older brother, and enjoying a scrumptous BBQ pork loin prepared by her dad!Sunday we went Power Shopping at Catherine's, Avenue, Lane Bryant and Torrid, and indulged in traditional and crab cake eggs Benedict at Mimi's Cafe (I got the crab cake one, Jewel got the regular one, and we shared them). There may or may not have been Weinerschnitzel chili cheese dog/burger involved, but I don't admit to anything.

2. Speaking of Hawai'i, I am still working on the final couple of journal entries about that fabulous trip, but the first three are up here, here and here. Enjoy! I still have to write about the evening at the Ranch and touring the Palace and Hawai'i's first Christian church, checking out St. Paul's Catholic Church and an nearby alter. I have no idea when I'll get those entries, done, but I promise you I will.

3. Also, the garden is growing by leaps and bounds! We've already harvested three green bell peppers and about four cucumbers - all of which were delicious, by the way! The tomatoes are coming on, and we have some zucchinis, but they don't seem to be thriving; they're kinda withering on the vine, so to speak. I think they might need to be pollenated. Also, the honeydew have tons of blossoms, but nothing that even remotely resembes a melon. Yet.

4. A couple weeks ago, mom and I went to the Atascadero Wine Festival, then I toured the Charles Paddock Zoo while she rested in the shade. It was a fun in-town escape from our usual weekend rut of walking up to the cafe formerly known at Carlene's for coffee and breakfast, getting groceries, buying plants for the garden, playing on the internet, napping all afternoon, cooking dinner, then going to bed. I plan to break the rut as much as possible this summer by planning a day trip to Santa Margarita Lake, going to Farmer's Market in Paso one Saturday, walking on the boardwalk along Moonstone Beach near Cambria and the newly completed one that runs from Pismo Beach to Grover Beach, and visiting Cayucos and Morro Bay just for the heck of it.

5. I know there's been a lot of talk about that new diet drug alli. Well, lemming that I am, I bought some. And, now, with all the bad press and scary news about it*, I'm terrified to try it. And, yet, I will. Because I bought it, and I'm too embarrassed to try to return it. So, I spent yesterday cleaning out the fridge, freezer and pantry in anticipation of starting alli - no more creamy, high-fat salad dressings (Farewell Lighthouse Thousand Island and Bleu Cheese! How I loved thee!), no more mayo (maybe light or fat free, but I'll have to look into it), no more regular Bumble Bee Tuna Salad kits, no more regular ice cream, and perhaps maybe no more Lean Pockets. I'm not sure. I'm also not sure about cooking with olive oil, or eating salmon or avacados. All I know is I can't eat any fat while taking alli, or whatever I've eaten will suddenly and horribly whoosh out of my body like a six-year-old shooting out of a water park slide. I'm planning on taking my first alli pill this Saturday. I figure the weekend will be a safe time to try it, as I will be home, and very close to a bathroom!

6. Yesterday I also cleaned out my closet to make room for all the fun new stuff I bought in Fresno: two pair of dressy capri pants, one pair of dressy bermuda shorts, and one white skirt. Yes, I bought a skirt (in a size 16, y'all!). I also bought two dresses. I've been feeling girlie lately, I guess. I also got a red tank top and brown cropped wrap cardigan to go with the bermuda shorts, and a white summer sweater to go with one of the dressy capri pants. I already have a couple tank tops that will match the colours in the pants, so I didn't need to buy anything new. I got a few black and white tops, too. I've seen a lot of black and white stuff lately, and really like it. I ended up getting two tops at Avenue (to go with the skirt, also from Avenue), three at Torrid (actually one, but I'm counting the other two I purchased on line not too long ago but long enought that I totally forgot about them) and the white sweater at Lanie B. Pretty much everything else is in combinations of my usual camoflaging earth tones - tan, brown, green, etc. The black and white is kind-of a bold move for me, but I'm excited to start wearing my new stuff!

7. I have not yet discussed wth TrainerDude about adding a Friday evening work out, but I plan to soon. He's hinted at it a couple times, so I don't think it'll be a schedulling conflict with him. I really hate to give up my Friday evening, though - that's when I get my mani/pedis, haircuts, etc. - but I really think I need that extra day of intense, physical, there's-no-wimping-out-of-this-work-out to jump start my fitness routine. I'm feeling a bit in a rut about it, and though I've lost weight, I think I can do better. I also plan to book lap times in the pool on Tuesdays and Thursdays (when I'm not mowing the lawn) for some different cardio. And also because I realized when I was in Hawai'i that my once-mad swimming skillz have faded with time. And, probably with the weight gain, too.

8. Last night I had a very strange, creepy crank phone call. Some guy called up, asked for me by name (though not by the name I go by now; the one that everyone except immidiate family and a very few friends call me, though they know I go by this other name now, but old habits die hard, and all that, so he obviously doesn't - or can't possibly - actually KNOW me), then when I asked who was calling, told me to guess. It's nearly 9:30 on a weeknight and I have to get up early to catch the bus to work, and this (pardon my French) asshole wants to play guessing games on the God-damn phone? Screw that! I told him no, I'm not guessing, and asked again who was calling. Once again he said, "Guess." I said, "I don't play guessing games." He didn't reply for about five seconds, so I hung up. I'm sure it was a totally random crank call, but I can't help being freaked out by it. I don't know very many men, and none of the ones I do know would call me up late at night and mess around with my head. At least I HOPE they wouldn't. I did not sleep well last night worrying that Phone Stalker might call again, or worse, actually be outside my damn house! Yes, I know it's totally unreasonable to be afraid like that, but it was just freaky, creepy and weird, and it's going to take me a couple of days for me to recover.

9. I'm still taking pictures of the lavender in the back yard. I'm not sure why I'm so fascinated with it, but I've been taking pictures all year and playing with them in both picnik and dumpr - my two fave photographic playgrounds. Why did I spend so much dang money on Photoshop? Why oh why? Both of these sites are ten times easier to use and they're free (so far)! Here's a couple examples of my work; the first manipulated in picnik, the other using dumpr:

070407lavender2800600picnic2 Lomolavenderjuly

10. And speaking of pictures, I finally got some Hawai'i shots printed up and clipped on the Art Board:


11. On the work front, things will be changing rather dramatically as The Kenyan is returning to his home country this weekend. For six. months. I'm trying not to be too freaked about it, because we are getting a temp (who is really super good, from what I hear), but I do feel a bit stressed about it, and just hope everything works out okay. I think I need to do some yoga breathing or something to calm down.

12. On a happier note, we basically have two Fridays this week, as we got off yesterday for 4th of July, so Tuesday felt like a Friday, then tomorrow we get our regularly-scheudled Friday! Fun, but confusing, because Tuesday felt like Friday, yesterday felt like Saturday, and today feels like Monday! I just hope I remembered to do everything I was supposed to do on THURSDAY!!

13. I'm running out of updates, so how 'bout another picture? These are some plumeria flowers from Hawai'i. Cheers!


* Links via Elastic Waist.


Atascadero Wine Festival

Yesterday mom and I went to the 12th Annual Atascadero Wine Festival. It was great fun! We hadn't been for a few years because I usually went to the CAPA Conference. Well, the Con was in San Diego this year, and I didn't have any time (or money) to travel down there to attend, so I went to the Wine Fest instead! It was, I can pretty much guarantee, much more fun! Read all about it here! Cheers!