Team Edward or Team Jacob? Pffft! Team Barnabas!

I know a lot of older women have succumbed to the lure (lair?) of werewolf Jacob and vampire Edward in the Twilight books and novels, along with their teenage daughters who lead the charge. I too love the whole vampire genre, though I’m not swooning over the current vamps/wolfs characters. I love all of the Anne Rice Vampire chronicles and Mayfair Witches books. (Though a blonde Tom Cruise in the character of Lestat left me cold. Ha!). No, I was first exposed to vampires via that great Gothic soap opera of the 60s, Dark Shadows!

Oh Barnabas Collins, you rocked my young world. You were scary, clever, yet on the surface suave and debonair. I recently turned my husband on to the camp classic series thanks to Netflix “Instant Watch”. While he was more indulgent than impressed, and while even I had to admit to the cheesiness of the series, I was secretly thrilled to be watching it again. We probably watched 8 episodes or so before he really lost interest, but knowing I have a way to view what I haven’t seen in almost 40 years makes me very happy. The best setting for watching the episodes is in a darkened room, only a candle or two lit for flickering effect. If you can watch it on a stormy night, all the better. Barnabas was the reason I slept for a long time with the covers pulled up tightly around my neck, and was the reason I eventually stole some garlic from the kitchen to help ward him off – even as I secretly wished for a midnight visit. Really!

Picture source

Now just take a look at Barnabas (played by Jonathan Frid originally). Oh, he doesn’t have the six-pack abs of Jacob or the pale-yet-sparkly skin and strong jawline of Edward (well, perhaps Barnabas has six pack abs, but it’s deliciously kept from us so all we can do is imagine…).  By the way, Edward’s last name in the Twilight series is “Cullen”. A coincidence? I think not. I’m onto you, Stephenie Meyer… 

What Barnabas has, though, is the maturity of an older vampire (he’s 175, after all), an incurable thirst for blood and an incurable broken heart as he pines for his beloved Josette. While on the surface he’s a perfect and worldly gentleman, inside we know he’s a cold and calculating monster. The really sexy part about that? He had no regrets about it, though if you’re familiar with the story, as a younger man he did. Barnabas doesn’t sparkle in the sun like Edward; no, he’s a classic vampire who sleeps during the day (in a coffin!) and avoids the sun like the plague. My kind of vamp. The first bad boy character over which I swooned!

I have a lot of catching up to do in watching the episodes. Barnabas will wait for me, though. I mean, he was chained inside a coffin for many years until Willie Loomis inadvertently turned him loose on the fine folks of Collinwood, the family estate. Yes, he’ll wait for me to indulge.

The thing I’m REALLY excited about? One of my two favorite actors, Johnny Depp, is slated to play Barnabas in a Tim Burton remake of Dark Shadows, due out in 2011! Oh, you teeny-bopper Twilight fans  (and their Moms, who should know better…)  just you wait. You’ll see what a REAL vampire is all about!

Picture source


Flower Angel Redux

I previously posted a photo I took earlier this year, in the spring, entitled Flower Angel:

Flower Angel

And I explained:

My next door neighbor has what I believe is a Tabebuia, or trumpet tree (I’m terrible with tree identification so someone correct me if I’m wrong please). The tree has stunning yellow trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom in brilliance then start falling, and all this happens in Spring. Her yard becomes a blanket of yellow. My daughter fell into them and began making a “flower angel”, and I like how it looked. We don’t get snow here so this is as close to a snow angel as we can get…LOL.

Now I want to share the other photos in the series.  These shots show how quickly the flowers fell…after the flower angel shot, the time elapsed between the first and last photos is 2 – 3 days. I think it’s amazing.

I wish I had a photo of the flowers, all on the tree. But you’ll just have to imagine that…

Day One Flower Fall

The accumulation after two days.

A lovely carpet of flowers!

A wider shot. When cars would drive by my neighbor's yard, invariably they would slow down to enjoy the beauty.

The bare tree after all of these flowers fell. The tree is stunning when flowered - not really much in the way of leaves, it's almost all flowers and a brilliant, beautiful yellow!

My angel, my beautiful daughter Brooke.

The World Is A Very Small Place

For about 10 years now I’ve been a member of an international online group – The International High IQ Society. In fact, for most of my tenure, I’ve been an Admin on their forums. I mention all that to set the proper context – I’ve had a lot of interactions through the years with people from all over the world. While I’ve learned much about cultural differences, how the United States is viewed around the globe, etc., I think the main thing I’ve learned is that people all over the world really are the same; same needs, same troubles, same desires.  Indeed, its made me realize that the world is really a very small place. Which leads me to a bit of a rambling thought.

Technology is a truly astounding thing. I’m not a well-traveled person, globally-speaking, but via the internet and instant access to the news, other media, and people around the globe, I’ve learned much. Centuries ago it could take weeks or months to deliver information or supplies from one point to another, whereas now the same thing is instantaneous or near-instantaneous. We are much more capable of learning about other cultures, if not via high-speed travel, then from a connection to the internet or phone. The point of my ramble is this: even as modern society is slowly (or quickly) homogenizing the world, the differences that do remain seem even greater fodder for battles, skirmishes…war. At least in the grand scheme of things. I wonder why this has to be so. We have all the tools to make for better understanding between nations, yet we never seem to be able to get there. Thanks to technology, we are gaining greater understanding on a human level, person by person. I’ve enjoyed discussions that include members from almost every continent. Ultimately, we all have the same needs and the same desires. Yet that same technology that allows me to connect with someone in a foreign land that I’ll likely never meet also allows for new weapons, new threats, and new wars.

Additionally, for all of our wonderful technology and connections, there is still far too much famine, basic health inadequacies, persecutions, human rights abuses – the list goes on and on. We can now see it, not just read about it and keep it at arm’s length. I now KNOW people in areas that have poor living standards and other problems. Yet…how much has really changed?


I think the hippies of the 60s and 70s had the right idea.


Some more of my photos. I hope you enjoy them!

The Essence of Happiness

I stumbled upon my cat Cleo sleeping in a sunny spot on my desk one day. She happened to position herself  right in front of a small book I keep out for daily inspiration: The Essence of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. I thought that nothing captured the essence of happiness quite like a cat napping peacefully in the warm sun. It made me smile so I snapped a pic!

Time For A Swim!

My best photos are ones I don’t plan; rather, subjects I happen upon unexpectedly. Perhaps it is that way for everyone. One day last spring, my husband and I were strolling around a lake at a local park; there were a lot of Mama ducks and ducklings. I watched as this mother lead her babies into the water; I snapped this as they swam off. I was quite impressed with how quickly they fell into formation!

Flower Angel

My next door neighbor has what I believe is a Tabebuia, or trumpet tree (I’m terrible with tree identification so someone correct me if I’m wrong please). The tree has stunning yellow trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom in brilliance then start falling, and all this happens in Spring. Her yard becomes a blanket of yellow. My daughter fell into them and began making a “flower angel”, and I like how it looked. We don’t get snow here (I live in Florida) so this is as close to a snow angel as we can get…LOL.

Paris Hilton Arrested Again? Who Cares!

It is time. We must come together as a society and Just Say No To Celebrity Worship.

Headlines today reveal that Paris Hilton has been arrested for cocaine possession (apparently this is BREAKING NEWS! too). Earlier this week it was that Lindsay Lohan was released from rehab and oh, look what she was wearing. I’ve also learned (against my will, mind you, being unable to escape the headlines on the various news sites I visit, which invariably have an “Entertainment” category) that Wyclef Jean has been denied the ability to run for President of Haiti (much to Sean Penn’s relief, apparently), that Heidi Montag, she of multiple plastic surgeries (at once!) fame, now desperately wants to reduce the size of those breasts she loved so very much just a few months ago, Levi Johnston (Bristol Palin’s Baby Daddy) is going to be on the CBS Morning show yet again, Leo Di Caprio’s stalker was arrested, Snooki of  Jersey Shore fame sneezed, and the Kardashian sisters single-handedly propped up the economy of the U.S. by continued spending on clothes and shoes.

Okay, those last two items aren’t real (as far as I know), but you get the point. This. Must. STOP!

That I know who these people are and have had my brain invaded by this unimportant drivel saddens me. I didn’t even seek this stuff out; I simply couldn’t avoid it! Why do people care? And these are just the headlines from this week. Are our lives so boring and unimportant that we fantasize about the shallow lives these celebrities lead? Okay, that may be a bit unfair, I’m sure their lives aren’t completely shallow, but a good portion of their lives must be – as documented by the endless headlines and photos. By the by, remember when headlines were used for really important stories? Despite my advancing age, I think I remember a time like that…maybe back in 1972 or something…

The world is a particularly difficult place right now. Economic recessions (will we double-dip?), wars, politics (UGH!), people struggling to keep their homes, unable to find a job, I could go on ad nauseam. I’ll stop now lest people begin to feel the urge to jump. Entertainment and levity is particularly necessary right now. But does finding out that (insert celebrity name here) has (insert salacious action here) with (insert another celebrity name here) constitute entertainment? Apparently, but it shouldn’t.

Read a book. Exercise. Play with your kids and/or pets (when is the last time you took your pooch to a dog park?). Call a friend you haven’t spoken with in awhile. Take up a hobby you’ve long thought you’d enjoy.

Start a blog about everything or nothing in particular. 🙂

Perhaps we need a pledge:

I do solemnly swear that I will not watch celebrity gossip shows, go to celebrity gossip websites, and I will keep my eyes focused forward in the grocery line and not succumb to the temptation of the screaming headlines and photos of scantily-clad celebrities on the magazine racks invading my personal space. I will devote my entertainment dollars and time to things that enhance my life, not fill it with mindless drivel.

Okay, perhaps that’s a bit much. But you get my point. Caring about celebrities (particularly celebrities whose claim to fame is simply that they are celebrities) is only one stop above getting a secret thrill out of watching Jerry Springer because it gives you reason to be thankful that your life isn’t as bad as those of the poor souls you see on his stage. We seem to want to find our life hierarchy through this sort of thing. You don’t have the (choose one or more: looks/money/clothes/love life) of a Kardashian, but at least you’re not wondering which guy (of 5) is your baby’s father or getting ready to reveal to your lover that you’re really not a woman (I still can’t figure out how people can’t tell, but…).

Stop the madness. Someone will always be in a better place than you, and someone will always be in a worse place than you. So?

As much as I enjoy seeing a not-so-flattering photo of a star who failed to cover her cellulite (I am not alone!), I am stopping the madness. Will you join me?

Becoming A More Positive Person

I’ve always been the sort that feels a healthy dose of skepticism is a very good thing in most situations. In recent years, however, I’ve found myself slipping over to The Dark Side with more regularity, and have developed the propensity to assume the worst in people and situations rather than the best. While I don’t want to be the world’s next Pollyanna, I do have to find a way to moderate my negativity.

Some would look at my life and things that have occurred as justification for my current nature, including me, but I know on some level that I have to change this. I don’t want to be a bitter person, I don’t want to be miserable. But I find myself like this more and more, and I know it has to change.

Frankly I’d rather just forget it and wallow, but I know I can’t do that. So, kicking and screaming, I forge on towards positivity.

Somehow I think this is going to take awhile. (No Laura, bad!)

What I mean to say is, I can do this. I will do this. And my life and my family will all be happier and healthier for it.



One of my favorite times of the week comes on Saturday mornings. I’m up early all week for my job, so my “sleeping in” on Saturdays means maybe until 7:00 a.m. My husband and kids have an uncanny ability to sleep until midday, so this early morning Saturday time is MINE.

I talk to my cat and dog. I sit outside and enjoy the weather before the brutal Florida sun makes it unbearable (which happens by about 10 a.m.). I take the time to read the paper, surf the ‘net, ingest some caffeine, and think about what I want to get done. So peaceful, compared to the usual early morning rush we experience all week.

Mostly I just listen to the sounds of silence. Ah, bliss.

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