Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas in Yosemite

I have just spent Christmas in the most wondrous of places I could imagine. We had perfect weather with a blanket of snow on the ground and ice cycles hanging from eves and rocks and branches. With ice and snow crunching under foot we walked through the meadows and along trails to falls, cliffs, and the banks of the Merced River.

My photo set here, and Will's here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Merry Campbell Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone.
My husband and I will pick up Casey, my mom-in-law, and hit the road to Yosemite tomorrow morning. I hope we arrive before dark and maybe see some sights or catch the sunset as we cross Tunnel View. We have the entire day Thursday and Friday to explore. I picture snowy domes and strolls down tree lined lanes, walks through meadows in crystal clear and chilly air with my sweetiepie. I'm sure I'll be bundled up and wearing my wool cap most of the time, but we are packing our formal evening wear for the Bracebridge Dinner on Christmas. My husband is very dashing in a tuxedo.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Happy Thanksgiving

As the sun sets on our last night in Death Valley this Thanksgiving my wonderful husband is out happily riding his bike to an abandoned structure in the distance, and Ranger, tuckered out and licking tender paws, is snug as a bug in the camper, I point my camera at the lake and know that the images I am able to capture can in no way depict how truly wondrous Death Valley is and the love and the joy they all bring to my life.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Hey. Froggy.

My husband poked me this morning and suggested I update my blog. I know it's been a while. There's been a lot happening since our trip to Bug Sur soooooo many weeks ago. The newest addition to our family are three tree-frogs. We call them Hop, Skip and Ajump. They're hard to photograph but I finally got a pretty good one here. They have settled in real nice and when they bark the dogs don't bark back anymore. Just part of the family. And I get endless enjoyment out of watching them catch them crickets.

My Mom came to visit a couple of weekends ago. She made the trip West and her first stop was my Brother's in Reno, then on to Grandma's in Redding, and the final stop was me. Will was in San Diego at a conference until early Saturday evening so Mom and I were able to hang out just like old times. She used to come visit me (before I was a married lady) every May, and I'd go visit her every Thanksgiving. My agenda for her visit was pretty loose, we sat on the porch, went to a craft fair and farmer's market, strolled a couple of shops in my Silver Lake neighborhood and ate really good food. I often wish she weren't so far away. It'd be nice to call her up and go do something together. There's so much we have in common. She's better than any best friend I've ever had ('cept my husband). We are two peas, that's for sure. Will also treated me and both our Moms to the Mark Taper to see "Parade". And that was about the best play I've ever seen.

Halloween was a success. We added to our graveyard collection of bones and skulls, tombstones and ghosts. Really nice turn out and the neighbor kids came by to check it out. Photos on Flickr.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Big Sur Coastline

Taking a few days off leading into the Labor Day weekend, we headed to Carmel and Big Sur for a brief and welcome break. So many wonderful sights and beautiful trails along rocky creeks and redwood forests. Ahhhh. A wonderful mash up of land and sea indeed.

More on Flickr

Monday, August 03, 2009

Master Shots

Shots of the mostly finished master bedroom and closet. The beginning

Ahhh. Me and hubby sharing space w/room to spare

shot from the left

shot from the right

shot w/cat

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lion in Wait

My Mom and her husband, Lorne, both retired, sold their house in Reno, and hit the road in an RV oh about 6 or 7 years ago. As Mom scaled way back the plan was to furnish the RV with what was necessary, sell or donate what they didn't want to keep, and pack up what they wanted to keep and store it at Grandma's house in Troy, MT.

When Mom asked me if there was anything I wanted I said "The lion picture". I've long coveted that lion picture but I have also been satisfied with seeing it over the years when I would visit Mom in Reno. I've never really asked about it. I think I've just assumed it was a yard sale or thrift store find. But there it always hung over a table with a lamp and a short stack of books, and I found my eyes always being drawn to it. So, the lion picture got packed up and shipped to Grandma's in Troy, MT , which is some 1,343 miles away, awaiting the day it would be mine.

During our road trip in 2007, Will and I were at Grandam's house in stunning Troy, MT, for the 4th of July. A small town along the Kootenai River, and a stones throw from Glacier National Park, it's also where my Uncle Jim and the lovely Elva live. Since we were driving the plan was to take the lion picture back home with me, but it was not to be found and I reluctantly left without it, not knowing when I would have the opportunity to get it again.

Grandma finally traded in the hard winters of Troy, MT for the more gardening friendly climate of our native Redding, where I grew up. Now Redding is about 543 miles away and when Mom and I flew up there to visit, the picture was presented to me before leaving and I wrapped my arms around it and wrapped it up in some paper, stuck it in a plastic garbage bag, fashioned a handle using duct tape and carried the lion picture with me on the plane and home. Not knowing where I would hang it, the lion picture was propped up on my dresser, not being shown to its best advantage, but where it has stayed for over a year.

It was then again put in a box with some other frames and taken down to the basement where it lived through the renovation this year. This morning, as I sat here waiting for my new washing machine to be delivered some time between 12:00 and 4:00 I did some furniture arranging in the conservatory, pulled my old trunk out and dusted it off, stacked a trunk that Will found curbside on top of it, and on top of that an old thrift store suitcase that still holds my TSOL and Social Distortion records in the silk pockets inside. Next to the trunks is a rattan end table used as a phone stand on one side, and an old iron chair on the other, and on top of the suitcase the hat I wore to Africa in 2001.

Then staring at the big blank wall I went looking around the house for some artwork to hang. The space above the trunks was telling me it was a good spot for that lion picture. Down to the basement I went and pulled the lion picture from the box along with another old frame that had previously hung on that wall. In the old frame I inserted the mat, cut a piece of wrapping paper to attach a photo from our trip to Africa in 2005 of a male lion sitting in profile, mane blowing in the wind. Now I have the lion picture I've longed for and a lion photo together. With some help from Ranger it now looks like so.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Happy Snails

After an early morning jaunt to a construction site to pick up some long coveted wood with my sweetie pie, we then drove through McD's for a couple of Egg McMuffins to take with us up to the top of the world for a panoramic Los Angeles breakfast. There are three ways to get to the overlook; 1) drive up to the visitor center's parking lot and it's a short trail to the overlook; 2) park at the bottom and take the meandering and gradually inclined 1 mile switchback trail; or 3) face the bazillion steps and march straight up the dang thing.After finding the gate leading up to the visitor center's parking lot locked up until 8:00 am (40 minutes nigh) we parked on the road at the bottom and headed straight on up those steps. And these are no 7 x 11s, they are 18" plus, which is a big step.

Once we got to the top (yeah, we made it to the top) we chatted with another early bird. One woman who scaled the hilltop ahead of us, in breathable cotton knit active wear, and a colorful print scarf around her head topped by a straw hat, carrying hand weights, headed back down after looping the hilltop trail, and did it all over again. I don't know how many laps she did but she made the climb several times while we were there. And she was no spring chicken.

What does all this have to do with happy snail? Well, we saw a lot of them perched everywhere along the trail on stalks of fennel and other flora, and well, they seemed happy to me.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The 4th of July

What a gorgeous summer day in the city. No really. I mean it. See.
We've got steaks for the grill, corn on the cob, macaroni salad, watermelon, cherries and peaches. All set. Oh yeah and beverages; a box o' Chillable Red, Coronas, and Lemonade.

I have a couple of photos of what we did to soffit the duct in the dining room nook. The nook was a catch-all space with a few inadequate shelves and no trim. So unsightly that I just put up a tension rod and draped it. So I decided to wrap it in bead board. Well not me, as in I built it, Jesus built it, but it was my idea...In progress.
And add molding and trim like the existing built in next to it. Oooh. How nice it turned out. Now a place for my cook books, and silver pieces, crockery from Germany, and linens from France.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Time Travel

For as long as I can remember all my adult life my Mom and I have talked on the phone every Sunday morning. Rarely did a week go by that we didn't talk. Then Mom and Lorne (and their 2 cats) hit the highways and back roads in an RV for some adventure, and we got computers, I got married, the phone calls ended. Now she's settled in South Carolina and though we don't talk on the phone as much we email regularly and follow each others blogs. Modern times.

She emails my brother and uncle and calls Grandma regularly and continues to be our connection to each other. So, she emails me that Grandma's 89th birthday is coming up and that Grandma is becoming friends with the folks at her local Farmer's Market, which I had the opportunity to visit during a trip there last year. So on my list this weekend was to write my Grandma a letter. And in doing so I included a photo of a Farmer's Market that Will and I visited Zanzibar.
And I wrote my Grandma a letter.

Hi Grandma:

Mom emailed me last week with the family news and mentioned your 89th birthday is coming up, so Happy Birthday to you! I turned 50 this year.

As the 4th of July approaches I'm remember our trip to Troy 3 years ago. Will says that was the best 4th of July he has ever had. It was truly memorable for us. And I was so moved to see him riding grandpa's tractor.

The photo I printed to write this note on is one I took at the "Farmer's Market" in Stonetown, Zanzibar 2005. We have a couple of local Farmer's Markets here but I don't get to them nearly often enough.

Will and I went to a dance performance held in a 100 year old church in Echo Park last night. It was a cool and comfortable evening so we walked there (0.8 miles). The performance was a modern interpretation of the story about Eve. Very nicely choreographed with wonderful dancers and live music.

On the way home we stopped at a new bar in the neighborhood and got carded at the door. I guess in the dim light he couldn't see Will's gray hair and the wrinkles forming around my 50 year old eyes.

But, life is good here. We are enjoying our new upstairs space and our animals continue to provide us with much joy. My only wish is to have more time to travel, to visit my family, and to go to Farmer's Markets.


Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Other Side

We're in!

Friday I got the call from Jesus that they were done. They put one more coat of varnish on the stairs treads on the way out so it was taped off when I got home. I hauled out a box fan and aimed it at the tacky stairs hoping to accelerate the drying process. Finally Saturday evening we wiped down the bedroom furniture, took the bed parts up and assembled them, and moved the bed and night stands up to our new master bedroom. And we woke up this morning with one cat and a dog in the bed and we all watched the sun rise from our second floor vantage point.

Will also scored a great deal on two pair of closet systems from Costco (John Louis Home) saving us a whole bunch of money. I'm not totally in love with the mahogany finish (a tad too red) but it's a very nice unit. That installation project will come another day though. We're going to try and make some order of the rest of the house today.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Getting There Is Half The Fun

Getting there. After all the uncertainty Charlie presented he really nailed it. We've got us a proper bank of stairs here.

While I went down to Chinatown to stock up on my favorite Ten Ren Plum Green Tea, Jesus and his guy were here finishing up the stairs. The dark walnut stain is a near perfect match for the dark walnut stain of the bamboo on the landings and upstairs. The varnish really brings out the wood grain. He'll be back on Monday to paint the balusters and risers, then complete some finishing touches. So, since we're back to waiting for the paint to dry there will be no moving upstairs this weekend.

Last week also saw the electricians come back for the fixture installations. Ran into a bit of a problem in the shower. One of the electrical boxes was installed too close to the slope so the fixture wasn't sitting flush against the ceiling. Jeff had to come back, cut open the ceiling and move the box over. Jesus was not too happy about his beautifully finished work being cut open. But they'll make it right. Just means it has to be re-done, which is time, which is money.

Next weekend. For sure.

Monday, May 25, 2009


The stair re-do should have been done by now. But Charlie needs to get some momentum going, and unfortunately we think his momentum is at the bottom of a liquor bottle.

There's progress. And he certainly knows what he's doing. Charlie has removed all of the stair parts and saved every one. What he has done is good, just tainted by his poor work ethic. He has yet to show up on time (and I don't expect him to at this point), he takes lots of breaks (going down to his truck for a drink maybe?), he continues to complain about re-doing what someone has done wrong while adding "but that's old news" every time.

Too far in to fire him and start over, we are just patiently encouraging him in his progress, "home stretch" and all. So, he'll be back on Tuesday. Will he finish Tuesday? Who knows. If he got here at 8:00 am instead of 12:00 pm, maybe.

So it'll be another week before we move upstairs. Jesus and his crew are completely cleared out. They painted their way down the stairs on Friday. Stopping at where Charlie is still working on his part. Now they have to wait until Charlie's work is done and come back and paint and stain the rest of the stairs.Next weekend we should be moving in upstairs. Really.

Here's a reminder of the stairs before.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


This past week saw all kinds of finishing touches happening with the plumbing and fixtures stealing the show (more to see here). Charlie will begin the stair redo next week. The electrician will come back and install all of the outlets, switches and fixtures.

By next weekend the crew should be outta here and we will be moving our bed from the dining room to the upstairs bedroom. Then we can get the dining room table out of the living room and back in the dining room, along with putting everything else scattered throughout the house that is stacked and boxed and on end back in their rightful places.

There's more work to do after the work is done. Closet system, towel racks and accessories for the bathroom, window treatments, etc. Then a cosmetic patch and paint job in the guest bedroom and bathroom.

But we'll be livin' in a complete and whole house that has been divided for 50 or more of it's hundred years. And I'm proud to have been a part of bringing this old house back together.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Stair Parts at a Standstill

Jesus made a mistake with the stair installation. As the box newels and hand railing were installed it wasn't looking right. We caught it and stopped any further progress in time so that it's not a total loss.

On Wednesday morning before the crew arrived for the day, Will and I took a closer look and determined that the starter step was just too high. Upon closer investigation it did indeed measure a precipitous height of 9", with each following step at close to the 7" mark as drawn in the plans. I called Jesus to tell him there was something wrong with the measurements and to stop all work on the stairs.

That afternoon I came home to talk to him about it. I asked him questions but didn't really get any satisfactory answers. My feeling is that the stairs are beyond his skill level and experience, and he can't admit that. I understand, and I'm sure he can do them and they'll probably look ok, but they're just not right.

I talked to Will about calling in someone else to install the stair parts and said I would call Bill Paul, my guy at Anderson Molding who was so helpful when ordering the stiar parts. Then I would search Angies List if needed. So I called Bill Paul and he gave me two referrals. I called the firts one, Dave Massey, and we set up an appointment for saturday to come take a look at what we're dealing with.

He arrived promptly and assessed the work. We talked about what needed to be done and he expected all the parts could be salvaged and his crew could get it done in a day. We talked about his schedule and I looked at his portfolio. He said he would email me a proposal by the end of day Sunday and we were looking t the week after next to get it done. Since then I have not received the email proposal, I have left 4 messages on his voice mail, and I have not received a return call or email. He just disappeared. I'm very disappointed in this approach. For whatever reason he can't do the job, just let me know so I can find someone else. Jeez.
In the meantime Jesus and his crew are tiling and painting. So it's been an exciting week seeing it come together. The colors are beautiful and they are working well together, just the right amount of contrast between the wall color and the ceiling color. It's transitioning well from the existing downstairs colors to the new stairwell color too.

Of course there's more to see on Flickr

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Time to Chill

Needing a break from the noise and dust and people that swarm the house Monday through Saturday,
Will and I took a little get away and walked down the street to El Casario for a couple of tall, cold drinks out on the patio.
Soothed by the sounds of the fountain pleasantly splashing in the background, a warm breeze, and food for the soul we chimed away an hour or so. Ahhhh.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

5 to 7 More Weeks

More is going in now than coming out. Electrical is upgraded and service panel moved. Heating and A/C work begins on Tuesday. Tile is going up and the shower has nooks. Windows are back in and the trim is being installed. 5 to 7 more weeks.

We're clearing out the basement today so the new furnace and ducting can go in, so I've got to get back to work.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Do You Speak Stair Parts

Anderson Moulding Showroom Steps

I now speak fluent stair parts. I know my balusters from my banisters, my stringers from my risers. Starter steps, box newels, treads, oh yeah. 7 11s. The whole shebang. I know my left returns from my right returns, rosettes oval and round. Up eases and climbing volutes for goodness sake.

I especially like telling the doof in the Home Depot stair parts section that I'm doing 7 11s and then see her head tilt to the side a little bit like when you ask a dog a question. While that's an adorable trait in a doggie , it only means ineptitude in a human. So's you can be as smug as me, in the world of stair parts 7 11s refer to a commonly used stair design consisting of 7" risers with 11" treads.

Thank goodness Bill Paul at Anderson Moulding gave me a nice little discount on my order, thereby beating Home Depot's price by several hundred dollars. I'd much rather give Bill my business than Doofus. And the stair parts were ready and picked up within 2 days of placing my order. Yay!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


After encountering a major issue with the upstairs project we are back on track. To stop was really not an option. But I needed time to wrap my brain around the increase in price and the decrease in space, and there may not be anything left over to do the kitchen.

Plans have been re-drawn, talk was veering towards giving up the tub and scaling way back, and we're forced to stay within the same dormer walls. I'm not happy about the compromises I've had to make and I told Will that I'm not quite done venting. But we've worked a solution that only eliminates the storage piece between the double sinks, and space. I know in the end it will be beautiful and I'll love it. I remember when Bink was a kitten and I had just brought him home. Shortly after that my bunny Button died. I was so sad for my loss that I couldn't love Bink, and I resented his presence in a way. Of course this is only a bathroom, but still.

So I've been lamenting, and venting, and even crying some. But it will be beautiful. And I will love it. And we are pressing onward with renovations.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Touring The Palace Theatre

After breakfast at the one and only Clifton's Cafeteria, Will and I walked over to The Palace Theatre for a 10:00 am tour, part of the Los Angeles Concervany's Broadway Behind-The-Scenes tours. From it's basement bowels to the lofty peanut gallery and all it's dusty corners, no place was off limits.One of 12 theatres spanning 7 blocks along Broadway, the Palace is in desperate need of renovation. Even so it is grand. In it's day it was one of the first of Orpheum's Vaudeville circuit theatres where the best acts on the stage performed.

Downtown is certainly coming around again. And there is renewed appreciation for it's history and architecture. This is a great concentration of theatres and with the right plan it could be very exciting. More information on Bringing Back Broadway.

Photos on Flickr

Sunday, February 08, 2009


After dropping off his truck at the shop Will and I walked home along the Silver Lake Reservoir where we spied this lovely tree. It reminded me of the Magnolia Plantation gardens in South Carolina.

On the way we stopped for breakfast at Local and pondered such trivial things as whether or not the homeless are ever arrested for stealing those shopping carts. Will counters that they aren't stealing them so much as finding them. So they are rescuing them I say. And I say, you know they have rolly carts that you can order online. To which he makes a point as to why that may not work since the homeless don't have a ship-to address ... or money ... or a computer.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

When The Dust Settles - Day 9

What can I say. It's going to be really nice stepping under this in the mornings.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

When the Dust Settles - Day 3

We're on the positive side of renovation. Flickr set is up. Lot's of demolition going on. Down to the the bones. And the bones are looking really good. The electrical wiring looks like it will need some upgrading. Which is ok, I figured it was going to be that way.

It started raining when they started on Thursday. But I guess they're used to it. So, all is going well as of day 3. Much more to come.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

When The Dust Settles - Day <-4>

When the container arrives this week to sit curbside in front of the house, the debri formerly known as Joe's apartment will soon occupy it. The first phase of renovation will commence on Thursday 01/22/09 with demolition. The project of transforming an upstairs apartment into a master suite will officially begin. Walls will tumble and light will pour in.

I visited a couple of tile showrooms this weekend to see and touch the vision in my head. Oooooo...I love the tile. At United Tile and Stone on San Fernando
there's classic pinwheel, black tumbled marble mosaic, subway and shelf-rail tile. Going deaper into the warehouse showroom I entered a colorful, yet dimly lit hallway leading to a couple of bathrooms. These were virtually big square rooms with basic toilet and sink fixtures, warehouse-high ceilings and large industrial windows. Nothing fancy by any means, but spacious with a cool stripped down feel.I guess it may seem odd that I found these two old bathrooms in any way interesting, but I did. Maybe it's the light, maybe it's the space, maybe it's the imperfections. Sparkly showrooms are alright, but I rather like things a little more lived in.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Illumination Installation

My handyman (aka my husband) installed lights along the hand rail leading up the front steps to the house today. Doesn't take a whole lot to make me happy. And my sweetie pie doing stuff like this around the house makes me very happy. The sun is beginning to set and I can see them from my desk next to the window in the library, illuminating.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


My life is like... this wandering map of roads leading to places I've never been before. I have a way though, of seeing where I want to be and finding the road that will get me there, which is not always a straight and paved road. Nor do I have a clear sight-line to the road's end. It is mostly made up of bends, and I don't know what's around those bends, but they keep drawing me in.

And if I stray, which has happened plenty, I will eventually find my way back to the road that leads me to where I want to be.
I have a decent sense of direction.

Yesterday, I realized that I will turn 50 this year. What, you say!?! Yup, I say.

Now, it's just a number, not a milestone, not a significance. No hoopla required, believe me. It was just a realization that I now find occupying my thoughts for some reason. Not sure why. I'd reason that it definitely has something to with the number itself. I do admit it is a big ol' round one.