A salute to the pickle


homemade pickles 

I secretly (or maybe not so secretly) really enjoy pickles.  There is something about the crunchiness and the saltiness that really pleases my palate.  As a kid I would always get a kids hamburger meal at McDonalds with “just pickles.”  My brother Nathan doesn’t like pickles. Cooper doesn’t like pickles.  My mom likes pickles…maybe that is where I get it.  Yes, I thoroughly enjoy them.  If you ever get a sandwich and don’t want the pickle on the side…I will eat it! Thus, I take this moment to salute the pickle. 


Last night was a bit lame (and I feel like a doofus).  Two of the remaining gals from an office in Palo Alto had planned drinks after their last day at work…not a lot of people were on the evite list so I knew it wasn’t going to be a big deal, but because I had talked to one of the girls about meeting up to get drinks, I assumed that they were still planning on doing something and I felt like I should say my goodbyes.  After confirming with one of the gals a few hours before we were to meet, Cooper and I made the trek which was far enough away that it wasn’t too bad, but time consuming enough that it ate up a good portion of the night (all while Cooper really needed to be working on some albums).  We got there about 20 minutes late, but that wasn’t a big deal because the rest of the party had not yet arrived.  We ordered some delectable beer and decided to wait a little while longer.  We waited, and waited.  Our stomachs began to talk louder than my little voice can carry.  Finally after about an hour we decided to get a table and eat dinner.  To make a long story semi short…they never showed.  Not a single soul who was invited showed.  Wahh wahhhh wahhhhhhhh.  Cooper and I ended up having a really good time together (thank goodness he was there with me!), but I did feel a little foolish. I felt like I did when I was in elementary school and my friend had a costume birthday party…everyone else was dressed in elaborate costumes, but I forgot and was wearing just my silly little white sweat pants and white sweat shirt (probably with jelly shoes tied with florescent colored shoestrings).  Yup, it was a lame night.


In the words of my one and only favorite niece, Amelia: “Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi.”


Amelia’s lunch hour 10.20.2006

Wonderful news

We can breathe a sigh of relief…I am pleased to report that my mom’s biopsy results came back cancer free.  I feel like everyone these days has cancer.  Cancer of the shoulder, cancer of the toe, breast cancer, brain cancer… cancer, cancer, cancer.  Although my mom would have caught her breast cancer early, it would have been a big blow right after her best friend past away in September of the same disease.  Now my mom can sleep a little better at night and can devote more time to helping the family of my mom’s friend who passed away rather than battle cancer herself.


Cooper and I were talking last night about upcoming months…we have some busy times ahead of us!  Next weekend we have a wedding to shoot in San Fran.  A few weeks after that we are off to Hawaii for my brother’s wedding during the Thanksgiving holiday.  Then comes Christmas and to our perspective homes.  January will be the calm before the storm…A few weddings in February and in March Cooper will go to Vegas for a wedding vendor convention while I am in Morocco with my mom.  Shortly after that we have wedding after wedding after wedding (California, Mexico, and Colorado).   I think I am going to have to start bulking up for all these events or something.

Not to deviate too dramatically, but….

A strong suggestion: Halloween candy is now half off in most major supermarkets and drug stores.  If you see a package of Take 5….get ‘em!!  They are fantastic!

Baby Got Back


Papa Beckord  10.20.2006

Who would have thunk it…Alferd Packer the Musical! Not only was I unaware that the life of the notorious Colorado cannibal was material enough to make a musical out of, but his name is Alferd…not Alfred.  I learned a lot today, Mom.

While home in Colorado, I had visions of my dad and brothers becoming an Alferd Packer scenario of their own (without the music)…while the girls played, the boys hunted.  My dad and brothers are by no means hunting specialists, and in their conversations the night before they started their trek…it sounded like potentially a bad idea for the three of them to prance around in the woods with guns.  I am not a gun lover and I am not a “hunting as a hobby” lover, but to each their own.  Luckily they all came back without eating one another, but my big little brother (younger than me, but larger than all the guys in our family) had the most horrific experience.  Towards the end of his day, after departing from my dad and other brother, he shot a deer in the rear with his last bullet.  Being the compassionate guy he is…he decided he couldn’t leave the deer to suffer, so he continued to follow it until the poor thing couldn’t go any further (the deer, not my brother).  He then pulled out his trusty little pocket knife and had a moment I would not like to discuss.  Brian left the deer in the woods (dehydration and fatigue prevented him from lugging the 150 lb animal 2938579237 miles through the woods).  I can’t imagine what my little brother had to go through, but I think it was a sign that he has the guts and to become a doctor.  Once the boys returned with their loot…we went out to a steakhouse.

In other news, Cooper and I shot our first traditional Jewish wedding this past weekend at a hotel in San Francisco.  I wish that all weddings required the guests to link arms and circle around for a half hour…much better than dancing to “Shout” or “Baby Got Back” or the “Electric Slid” (although these are also enjoyable, just not as enjoyable as the hora). The best moment…trapping Cooper in the middle of the circle.  

little chicken

Yeah, so, I didn’t do what I had planned.  I am a little chicken. People at work were too nice and showed so much love on my birthday that the moment was never quite right.  Plus, we had margaritas during lunch so I didn’t want the alcohol to speak for me. Maybe towards the end of the month I will be the jolly green giant and have the strength to do what I wanted to do.   Shucks.

I think i have made a decision…

I think I have made a decision.  With my birthday coming up I think I may give myself a big birthday gift, but I have to wait and see if it really happens (chances are pretty high that I won’t have the guts to do what I want to do).  After a terrible day at work and a great conversation with my mom, I think I have made a decision.  Perhaps 2007 will my year of decision making…where I will make a greater effort to be more decisive.  Life is too short to let things pass by and be passive.  I have to make myself become more active with what I want.  Speaking of decisions, my mom my and I are planning on actually going to Morocco.  Not just talking about it, but actually doing it.  Now I have decided to go eat a brownie.    

The joys of life number 9287987532

Joy of life number 9287987532: Going out for a long breakfast on the weekend with friends.  I love nothing more than having the free time to eat a long and leisurely breakfast and chat.  This morning Cooper and I met Greg and Emily at the Sunny Side Café, a fantastic breakfast joint on Solano Avenue.  The “speckled pear French toast” was out of this world and Cooper’s breakfast sandwich/eggs benedict was so savory.  I don’t need to do anything else with my day other than enjoy such a gastronomical event. But, Cooper and I decided that we did need to stretch our legs and do some shopping for new wedding photographer attire…Cooper needed new “slacks” (that word sounds so old fashioned) and I needed something a little warmer to wear now that fall is upon us.  Walnut Creek is such a clean place…I never see a dirty spot anywhere.  People are so clean that the stores in all the shops and major department stores allow their dogs to join in on the shopping fun.  After each shop Cooper and I would report back what type of dog we saw.  I love that this world (or at least the bay area) is becoming such a dog friendly land.  Rock on dog lovers.  Rock on.

Oh my. How time flies

The past couple of months have passed by me just a little too fast.  It is good to be busy, but I also think a little down town is necessary to stay healthy.  I am curious to see if and how my brain will be able to recall the events from August and September. So, in no particular order:

My goldfish of nearly 7 years passed away on the 25th of September.  Cooper and I gave him as best a service as we could considering our lack of a yard to bury him in.  This was his obituary:

“At approximately 2:37:34pm today, the 25th day of September in the year two thousand and six, Wienerschnitzel passed away.  He grew to the final dimensions of 7.75 inches length, 2.89 inches width. Wiener had lost all of his orange color except for two little spots by his left gill.  He is survived by his owner, Assie, and ”friend” Cooper Hans.   We will miss the sounds of him kissing the air, the eating of Nathan’s scabs, the energetic wagging of his tail when he was ready to eat in the morning, and the splashing of the water all over the floor when he would pretend to be a dolphin. Yes, he will be missed. A service has already taken place.  A moment of silence in his honor will happen at 2:37:24pm on Tuesday, September 26, 2006.  No gifts please.  “

The day after Wiener’s death I “replaced” him with 4 $0.27 goldfish…two of which were attacked and killed by the more dominant fish.

My madre sent me flowers at work ‘Just Because’ (she knew I was having a couple of hard days at work).  Receiving the flowers made me realize 3 things 1.) I love my parents, 2.) flowers really do have uplifting powers (especially when they are a surprise), and 3.) in the future, when I am having a hard day…I am going to send flowers to someone else who might not be expecting them.

My mom’s best friend, Julie Farr, passed away from breast cancer shortly after her daughter’s wedding.  Julie will never be forgotten…she had such interest in our family and our lives, and always put others before herself.  I have encouraged my mom to get a new dog and name it jfarr.

While I am on the train of thought of my mom…she also had a cancer scare…the doctor found calcifications in her breast.  She will be getting a biopsy this Monday or Tuesday (my fingers are crossed and I am saying my prayers).

Cooper has been amazingly busy with his business.  We shot a reception for Stan and Chi (she had three dresses to change into throughout the evening…lucky gal!) and the wedding of Jamie and Matt (www.coopercarras.com).  I never thought I would have the pleasure of getting to know couples on the day of their wedding and feel like I am part of the party/family.  I hope it continues this way!

My own job has had its ups and downs.  Taking on the job that three people had once done while training two new gals during the absolute busiest season of the year has proved challenging.  I did find a pretty solid patch of gray hair the other day (as well as a few new wrinkles).  I just have to pull through the next couple of weeks with the hope that things will die down.  I am not sure what it means when you are at your job and turn in to a snappy monster…is this what happens when you have more control and need to manage people?  Does it mean that I can’t handle the pressure? Am I just changing in general?  Not sure.  Maybe it is a sign that the year 2007 will need to bring change into the career aspect of my life.  What that is, I do not know yet.

I had a moment on my bike ride home the other day (a not so great day at work) and as I was riding I started to yawn.  When I looked across the street the bike rider coming the opposite direction was also yawning.  Just one of those moments in this big little world when two people are doing the same thing but going different directions (or he caught my yawn…which is still a fascinating event).

At the moment I am enjoying spicy hot chocolate from the chocolate café down the street from my apartment.  I sure do enjoy watching people at cafes when they get so excited about something semi-minute ….I heard a little girl say that her hot chocolate was a good hot cup of coffee.  Then she said, “No, it is a latte.  No, it is a cappuccino.”

I have been attempting to make a dress for myself for my bro’s wedding in Hawaii. So far it looks like a mermaid costume/Christmas present.  Not sure if this going to pan out, but perhaps I should get back at it….

A meek little turd


Last weekend Cooper and I moved into our new apartment during the record breaking heat wave. Unfortunately, that weekend was the only time we had available to cart all of our crap so it was “move it or lose it” as they say.  I don’t think I was prepared for the physical exhaustion required during the move.  Cooper was an animal in getting stuff packed, loaded and unloaded, but I turned into a meek little turd who couldn’t even handle lifting a feather.  The tipping point was on Sunday, at 3:00pm.  After having trekked to Home Depot, Ikea, and Target we then went back to the old place to take another load.  It was hot, I hadn’t slept well the night before, I was dehydrated.  I looked at a pile of stuff on the floor and the thought of trying to move it made me nauseous.  So I took a seat on the couch, drank a little water, and attempted to gear up some energy to tackle that pile of stuff.   I got up to try and be of a bit of help, but again the sight of that pile made me nauseous.  I went back to the couch and ended up napping.  Yup, I napped.  My mouth was open, I had a good drool going.  I napped.  Who does that?  Cooper was also in pain and I am sure would have loved to take it easy on the couch, but he is one of those special beings who has the mental power to keep going even when you don’t want to.   My hope is to grow up to be like him (in female form) someday.  It may take a bit of weight lifting and numerous psychiatric sessions, but I will get there. Oh yes, I will get there. 

A belly full of Berkeley (and SF)

My parents were visiting for the past week and each night we indulged a bit too much.  How can you go wrong when you have some of the best Thai of you life one night, a homely Moroccan feast the next night, a plate of beer battered fish and chips the following evening, then margaritas and Italian, then plate after plate after plate of Vietnamese, then flat iron steak the next night, then Cheeseboard treats and Gregoire to finish it all off!  Waistline expanding, oh my!  Eating our way through Berkeley and SF really helps me to realize how special it is to live in this area.  What do you want for lunch?  How ’bout Hawaiian bbq?  Or Ethiopian?  Or Brazilian? or Indian? or Thai, or Vietnamese, or Italian, or Mexican, or a fantastic Jewish deli, or some of the best deep dish pizza, or even better…Cafe Gratitude where all the dishes have titles like “I am treasured, or I am elated” and the pizza isn’t “pizza” but cashew cheese on top of a cracker of some sort which is covered in greens.  My mouth is watering thinking about all this, but then I realized how absolutely stuffed I am and how I need to throw some sort of detox party for myself (but not to the extreme of my brother…I don’t think I could survive on water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper just to try to flush all the toxins/food out of my body).  Perhaps I will just try a salad every now and then.

At Cafe Gratitude the dreadlocked waitress asked before we ordered, “What are you grateful for?”  Today my answers include:

  • Spending some great time with my family.  Hopefully this isn’t too much of a copout answer, but I am really truly appreciative of having such a fantastic family.  I absolutely love my parents and am so thankful for them. 
  • Being a “square peg” and knowing how great life is with another “square peg.”
  • Going to Point Isabell with the parents, bro, and dog.  Who knew my dad would be so eager to trek through murky mud water to try to find the lost $6 ball that sunk to the bottom of the inlet. 
  • Finding a mamma stingray with baby stingray caught in the rocks at the dog park…crazy to find life that lives in liquid washed up on dry land.  May they rest in peace.
  • Watching big brown dog Finney carry home a doll and purse in his mouth.  Such a worker dog.
  • Beautiful weather in beautiful Berkeley with a belly oh so full.

Yes, I am thankful.

The book of orange

Several months ago I had a hankering to get creative and let any artistic juices inside me flow. I went into a local used bookstore in Berkeley and found the perfect book to play with.  Now dubbed “the book of orange,” my creative book buddy is/was full of instructions on how to decorate with flowers (late 70’s style).  Images include not only lots of flowers, but tons of knick knacks (like ugly ceramic dogs and bird figurines).  I don’t particularly like the flower arrangements, but i love the old-school aspect of the book (not to mention the fabulous orange canvas cover!). Will I be reading this book?  No, no! It has and will become a completely different type of book wherein I can experiment with colors and different painting/mixed media techniques.  The pages are huge and so smooth!  One of my favorite pages (the clincher that encouraged me to buy the $1.00 clearance orange item) was of a metal fish surrounded by flower arrangements (surprise!).  I painted over all the flowers (except two) so all the focus would be on the fish…and the once black and white image is now full of color.  When I wanted to experiment with the screen printing process, my book of orange said, “try it on me! try it on me!”  I created totally handmade (thus extremely crappy) screens of bacon and cherries and printed the images over several pages.  The possibilities are endless with what I can do with my book of orange.  On days like today where I have the entire apartment to myself and the hours to invest in something Aszi-fied my little orange book makes for quite possibly the best non-human or dog companion.   Time to go play! 

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