Monthly Archives: February 2013

Otters, Turtles and Dragons… Oh My!

We realized a couple weeks ago that the past weekend would be the last long one until May.  So, we decided to pack it up and take a little family break.

First stop: Monterey Bay Aquarium!

It turns out, we weren’t the only ones trying to take advantage of the 3-day weekend.  Luckily, we had purchased our tickets prior to going and were able to bypass the ticket line… and head straight to the going inside line.  We finally made it in and the place was packed like… well, sardines!

Okay, these may be mackerels.  Funny… fish, am I right people?

It was just droves of parents, walking around the aquarium, clutching their sleeping children in their arms.  So we fit right in.

There was a huge tank with a bunch of sea animals… two of which were very large turtles.

I imagined that the two turtles were in love.  At one point, they were swimming towards eachother (very slowly and steadily) and I got excited thinking they were going to kiss!  But they just ended up colliding with eachother, head first.

Of everything we saw, our favorite exhibit was the jellyfish.

Their graceful nature was mesmerizing.  They are like nature’s lava lamps.

After the aquarium, we had dinner overlooking a boat parking lot.  But because everything is a million times more romantic in the ocean, it was the perfect view!

I admit, it was weird eating for dinner, what we had just been admiring at the aquarium.  I also admit, it was delicious!

Traveling with a little one requires lots of preparation.  We brought the bath, baby shampoo, wash cloths, a bedsheet for the crib the hotel provided, hooded towel, pajamas, sleep sack, and air filter.  And that’s the stuff we needed for bedtime only.

We always go to the same hotel where the closet is large and has a curtain that we can drape over the crib.   Yes, I put the crib in the closet.  It’s dark and cozy… don’t judge me.  That way, our baby happily slept while we kept the lights on and even watched some Downton Abbey!

The next morning, we headed to Santa Cruz Boardwalk where we rode a few rides and ate a swirly potato.

It was a wonderful family weekend.  May can’t come sooner!


My husband approached me last weekend with his (one of many) deck of cards and gave me a challenge: Take pictures and write a post about this deck.

Say what?

So, I racked my brain about how to spell “rack” (is there a “w,” no “w?”) and then I racked my brain about what to write (is there a “w,” no “w?”).

As usual, my mind was completely empty but for a song made popular by one my favorite rappers, Shawn Carter.

Then my mind started to wander.  Are the cards like people and I am one of the cards?  Do the cards represent different facets of my life?  Can the mind exist without the cards when the cards can’t exist without the cards?  My ideas became very abstract… almost as abstract as the challenge itself.

So I stopped trying to be profound (and I use that term very loosely here) and simply stared at the cards… for a really long time… a whole week, in fact.

This particular deck has special meaning.  There’s really nothing intrinsically unique about the cards but my husband used them while learning card manipulation (they are even kept in a special case resembling a torture device when not in use).  This is the deck he used to audition at the Magic Castle and the deck he used at a magic show for my niece’s 1st birthday party.  They are special, his toes… I mean, these cards.

And as I studied them more closely, I started to see the many creases and tears.

I thought about how many hours my husband spent, practicing with them.  How he loves his craft and excels in it more than he admits.  Then I started thinking about my husband and how he perpetually inspires me to practice what I love.  How lucky I am, how well he suits me, how he doesn’t let me get lost in the shuffle, how he helps me deal.  How I wouldn’t even have a blog if he hadn’t set it up for me and didn’t encourage me with random challenges.

So I guess this post didn’t end up exactly on point… or even end up having a point.  I guess it’s less about the deck, itself, but rather about the man behind it.  And how he makes these ordinary Poker Size Bee cards… super extraordinary.  Well, that’s what you get when you give me blog challenges.  May this be a lesson to the rest of you (all none of you).

Mike, Julie, Maddie and Sophie – Mountain View Family Photography

It was a perfect sunny afternoon in Mountain View when I met Julie and her family to take some family photos.

I had not seen Julie since our days playing trombone in the UCLA Marching Band.

Needless to say, we are just as cool as we were back in college.  Actually, Julie might have gotten even cooler, as if that’s even possible.  Go Bruins!

It was wonderful to see Julie again and meet her husband, Mike, and their two adorable daughters, Maddie and Sophie.

Maddie was outgoing and full of smiles.

Sophie was shy and sweet.

What a beautiful and fun family they are!

Mike and Julie make such a stunning couple that I couldn’t resist taking some mom and dad only pictures, while the kids took a brief break…

… and played in the background (mom and dad were totally prepared and brought some fun things to play with to the photoshoot).

Julie, Mike, Maddie and Sophie, thank you for taking time to allow me to photograph you!