Friday, May 29, 2009

SOMALI WILD ASS at the San Diego Zoo

Take a look at this adorable baby ass ... photo courtesy of the San Diego Zoo e-newsletter today.

I mean, is that not the cutest foal you have ever, ever, ever seen?!

If you click on this blog title, you will be taken to a San Diego Zoo site, for information on their preservation program for the Somali Wild Ass(es).

You can also find out more here, at the St. Louis Zoo website:
I mean, listen. I am just crazy for this little one. Just look at those striped legs - like legwarmers, they are. Brings back "Flashdance" memories - er, nightmares.

-- Davielle
the adult who used to be the kid who went straight to the Przewalski horses at the Zoo, every time.

500 Miles

My blogging mentor and artistic friend, Ann Deakers { }
hit a milestone today - her 500th blog post! To celebrate, she posted a YouTube video that brought a big, happy smile to my face ... I hope it will to you, too ...

Just so you know ... it's THE PROCLAIMERS, doing a live acoustic version of I'M GONNA BE 500 MILES. You might know the song from the movie with Johnny Depp, BENNY & JOON. Or you just might remember hearing it all day long, for about a full year, on the airwaves - it was quite popular in its day.


-- Davielle

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

the TRANSFORMATION of a SPACE, continues

With a window like this, who wouldn't want to work in this spot?

Okay, so if you've been following my blog for awhile now, you know that late last year, I got my heart set on a spot here at home to do MESSY ART STUFF. Things with paint and glue and such. After much deliberation, I settled on a nice corner of our garage, and although it's adjacent to our water heater {and thus causing me that niggling voice that says 'what if the water heater blows, or something?!'}, it's going to be just fine.

but it had to get from THIS, to something I could move into and work from ... I mean, seriously. is that the most UNDER-UTILIZED spot imaginable?!

So that was a photo taken months ago, of what the corner looked like for the last 5 years, ever since we finished the house and moved back to the property.

And then, I found an image in a magazine that inspired me -- it inspired me to really PUSH FORWARD and achieve this goal. It's just a simple shot, a vignette, really, of a tiny spot in someone's studio. But it made me smile and it hangs here next to my computer corner in the library {which doubles as my home office}.

this is that photo ...

Now for the piece de resistance ... a vintage pine armoire that I found last Friday at "etceteras" in La Jolla, that Mark saw on Sunday, and made an offer for just yesterday. And here it is, one day later, just waiting for me to get in there tomorrow and get my MAS {that's Messy Art Supplies} all organized and situated in their new cupboard.

fast forward to this afternoon, and the man who made this all happen for me ... my Marky Mark.
and this is a very happy me, with my new cupboard

just look at all that space -- drawers and shelves and hooks, all within a nice roomy 60" wide armoire.

And within the last month, Mark and I have been clearing that corner diligently, purging and tossing and re-assigning things to a more appropriate location. I've been hunting & gathering, nesting, basically; pulling together the little things that will make my Messy Art Space a real 'home' for my creative moments. Like a radio/CD player, and a braided rug, and a colorful seat cushion from Pier 1 Imports to tie onto the vintage painted stool that we've had since we lived in Leucadia.
All of us, especially our kids, have perched on that stool to have telephone conversations thru the years, and it's got sentimental value for me. I'd like to paint it, but I don't know yet if that will take away some of the 'heart' of the piece. We'll see.
that's the back of the painted stool - do you think I should paint it in more of "my" colors?
With another blissful sigh, I sign off for now .. we're headed up to San Clemente Art Supply for a quick walk-through, so I can show Mark where I've been taking HAPPY PLACE art classes. And then we're heading to Iva Lee's for dinner with our friends, Doug and Marian.
Another beautiful day in So Cal.
-- Davielle
P.S. So ... CAN a water heater blow up?! I'm just asking.

our OWLETS have fledged !!!

If you don't follow my other blog, ... then you haven't yet heard of or seen my BEST SHOT MONDAY (BSM) image for this week -- it's a photo I took on Monday evening, standing right beneath one of our two Great Horned Owlets :-) ... aka, Bubo Virginianus.

And I just learned that a GH owlet (as I refer to them; it's probably not the technical term for a baby GHO) is known as a "brancher" when it first leaves the nest - not a "fledgling". Interesting.

Owlet Number One {smaller of the 2}

So I thought I should post a number of the images I captured on Monday (and a couple from Tuesday evening, of one of the adults perched atop a nearby Torrey Pine tree), for you all to enjoy.

Owlet # 1, again

this is one of the proud parents - because it seems smaller than the Mama we've been seeing, we think this is Papa G.H. Owl

the adorable Owlet # 1 {again}

and yes, Owlet # 1 again !!!

So these last two shots were taken around 7:45 pm Tuesday, 5/26/09 - you can make out the silhouette of the Great Horned Owl atop the Torrey Pine tree -- right?

and I hope that if you click on this one, it will open up for you, because the eyes are bright on the owl atop the tree, caught by the flash of the camera !!

That's it for Owl Pics, friends.
If you want more information about the Great Horned Owl, check out these links:
(this one has links to Owl Calls, but I could not get those to play ... if you do, great! the info is fantastic, though, so worth including this link)
(another great link, especially for kids)
(and this link will take you to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the link here to the voice DOES work ... check it out!)
Hope this was informative and interesting, dear readers.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How to Treat a Friendship

"I do not wish to treat friendship daintily, but with the roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest thing we know."

... Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was recently 'introduced' to not only the blank journal designed by Jen Lee of New York, through my read-along with Dr. Brene Brown ... Brene also introduced us all to this amazing collection of short stories by Jen. Because I was so taken with the journal Jen had put together for people to write and discover themselves in, I placed my order for this gem of a CD right away. It is the best $10 I have ever spent on a recording, bar none.

Anyone who knows me, knows that is saying a lot, because I am a lifelong lover of music, and I have quite eclectic musical taste and quite an extensive collection.

But "books on tape" never appealed to me (I find that I can't stay 'involved' - my mind wanders when I am listening to a story out loud, so I read voraciously instead). But these SHORT stories captured me from the first word.

The CD is short, short enough to keep my attention span. But more than capturing my attention, Jen and her six soulful stories - they captured my essence. They captured my thoughts. They captured my interest. I'm held captive by the words!

Solstice: Stories of Light in the Dark” is a collection of six short stories that are poetic and poignant. They engage and inspire, weaving a tapestry of the theme presented in the first track:
We are all connected—even in the night.”

Blending stories with sound effects and music, “Solstice: Stories of Light in the Dark” brings to life a new kind of myth for the digital world.

You can visit Jen's site at this link, and see what you think:

While it may not be for everyone, it sure 'works' for me.

-- Davielle

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Seeing by Faith

My Facebook friend, artist BERNIE BERLIN, had this amazing quote on FB this weekend:

“The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason.”

-- Benjamin Franklin

This touched me so hard and so fast, I couldn't believe it.

We have friends and relatives who don't necessarily have a lot of FAITH, or who don't quite get comfortable with what FAITH they do have; or who just argue from their left-brain all the time when it would be nice, once in awhile, for them to just go to the right side and just "let things be" what they are ...

Thank you, Bernie, for this very powerful reminder - and from someone that I personally always thought of as a pure intellectual. :-)

-- Davielle

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Okay, so this morning I had two tests done at the neurologist's office to try and find out what is happening with my hands. For those of you who don't know, they've been swollen since late March, and painful since April 8th. The pain started in just one finger, and within days, had spread to all fingers on that hand. Within 10 days, it had started in the other hand. Now, it's rather annoying, any way you look at it.

Haven't worn my wedding ring in 2 months; haven't worn my other rings, which are a little bigger (my "just for fun" rings) in weeks & weeks.

Initial bloodwork showed all normal levels (we were looking for low thyroid as a possibility - wouldn't that have been nice? having a GOOD REASON for gaining weight AND having puffy fingers that hurt?! but NO, it wasn't to be).

So my migraine specialist sent me to his associate to do nerve & muscle testing on my hands and arms (since the nerves that serve your hands, start in your arms - imagine that!). After you read this, you will understand WHY I am so darn happy that those nerves don't go any further UP the body.

HOLY CRAPPY COW, the shock part -- to test the nerves -- was a wee bit shocking (pun intended) and a little uncomfortable. But I got through that, and all was normal.

Then the doc comes in - we chat, he says "needles are involved", and offers me a lie-down while he does his testing. HECK YEAH, I'm lying down for this. (me, I hate needles)

I ask "will it be kind of like acupuncture needles?" (naive me). He says, after a quite pregnant pause, "well, sooooooooort of. not exactly, though." I thanked him for his honesty and closed my eyes.

First needle -- upper left arm -- you know, one has more fatty tissue up there, and it seemed to absorb the needle prick a lot. Then the little shock wave runs into the needle and I cringed, then he had me attempt something easy, like 'push against my hand'. I hear the machine buzzing and recording data.

Second needle -- further down my upper left arm -- OUCH -- and yes, I said it out loud. Then apologized. I usually don't verbalize like that when it comes to pain.

Third needle -- close to the inside of my elbow -- HOLY CRAP -- and YES, I said that out loud, too. Loud. Then apologized.

Fourth needle -- down in the tender skin near my wrist -- by now, I'm gritting my teeth so no words will come out. I made it without saying anything.

Fifth needle -- right in the tender skin on my hand, somewhere. By this time, I was A LITTLE FREAKED that he might stick a needle in my eye or something -- :-) -- and again, I said OUCH out loud. And gave a big sigh.

"Good", he says. "Now move the pillows to the other end of the table and we'll do the other side."

Yes, they have to check both sides. I wonder if only one had was in trouble, if they would have had to check the other one? Doesn't matter, 'cause both hands are messed up these days.

Now I'm thinking, 'okay, I know what to expect - I can do this. I can let him do this to me (again).'

RIIIIIGGGGGGHHHHTTT. That stinking first needle in my upper arm - hurt more than the first one on the other arm. But not SO bad.

It was downhill from there.

There were more "OUCH"es voiced, and a really loud "HOLY CRAP" (again). And then I apologized, and told the nice Doctor that I hope their other patients didn't think I was in a torture chamber or anything. He just laughed and said "oh, we've had worse.".

That made me feel SO MUCH BETTER. (yeah, sure; whatever you say, Doc).

And then -- all done. The results: ALL NORMAL. Hmmm. Cool beans; yet, frustrating. Not having an answer (yet). You know?

We chatted about our mutual problem with migraines -- he told me I should read the book MIGRAINE by Oliver Sacks (Sachs?) - they guy who wrote AWAKENINGS (which Robin Williams starred in, playing Dr. Sacks/Sachs). I plan to get that book at the library, MIGRAINE. It sounds good. My very nice doctor studied under Dr. Sacks, a neurologist of some renown on the East Coast.

Yup, I'll find that book.

Just as soon as my bee-sting-feeling arms recover from this morning's adventure.

That, and after I get done at the LAB this afternoon, where they'll take MORE BLOOD to look for charming things like "all things rheumatological" ... you know, like arthritis. And rheumatoid arthritis. And lupus.

Oh, yeah, and after I have my acrylic nails REMOVED this afternoon. Yup, they have to go - we have to rule out ANY and ALL possibilities for this malady. But when one's hands are so fat you can't wear your rings - who the freak cares if you have pretty nails? I mean, without rings, who's going to gaze at my hands anyway? Right? Right.

:-) but I'm still smiling. And I'm still here.

-- Davielle

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ah, Youth

At last, the season finale of DANCING WITH THE STARS has come and gone, with a new, oh-so-youthful winner crowned - er, Mirror Balled ??

Congratulations to Olympic gymnastic GOLD MEDALIST Miss Shawn Johnson, and her professional dance partner, Mark Ballas - you might recall, Mark won an earlier season with former Olympic medalist Kristi Yamaguchi. :-)
{those Olympians sure do well on DWTS - this is the third overall winner, if I'm not mistaken - Apollo Anton Ono - then Yamaguchi - and now, Shawn Johnson}

To read a nice little write-up on the winner and the season overall, follow this link:

And remember - KEEP ON DANCING. Be a dancing, dancing, dancing ... be a dancing machine.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Show Jumping - Requiem For A Dream

This sport has always been a passion of mine, and always will be:


Thanks to Patti Digh for posting this video clip on Facebook this morning, because my granddaughter Kaia and I just viewed it and enjoyed it oh-so-much.


-- Davi

I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST ME (but it isn't) - read-along hits the newswires!

The READ-ALONG I've been doing with Dr. Brene Brown and her masterful I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST ME (but it isn't) book has hit the newswires ...


and here:

Check it out !!!

-- Davielle

Commencement at USC, Part Two


Sierra with her Diploma !!!

Sierra with her very proud dad {my partner-in-parenting} and step-mum {me!}

Sierra with her brother Luke and her mother, Jennifer
{my other partner-in-parenting}

Mark's parents, Marion & Gene ... with the first Huffman grandchild to graduate from college, Sierra Huffman !!!

As a postscript to my blogpost of Thursday, I want to offer up a couple of links that will take you to either a YouTube video of California Governor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER's commencement address at USC on Friday, May 15, 2009 ... or to the LA TIMES blog page, where you can read his speech - they also include a link to listen to his address.
Mark and his mother, Marion, very much enjoyed hearing Arnold address the new graduates, especially our Sierra.

While Mark and Marion were attending Arnold's address, Mark's father Gene and I sat in the Annenberg School of Communication TENT, holding seats for our entire "Sierra Huffman Cheering Section". I have to admit - it was cool and quiet in there ...

So here you go:
link to arnold’s COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS to USC
the LA Times blog story includes a transcript of his speech, as well as a link to HEAR his commencement address

Let me close by saying, once again, how very proud our entire family is of Sierra and her accomplishments. She not only received her Bachelor's Degree in Communication, with a minor in Business -- she also earned a spot in the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society (the nation's oldest scholastic honor society, established in 1776 to honor scholarly excellence in Letters, Arts, and Sciences) AND a spot as a Lambda Pi Eta National Honor Society member (Lambda Pi Eta is the official communication studies honor society of the National Communication Association. Lambda Pi Eta represents what Aristotle described in his Rhetoric as the three ingredients of persuasion: Logos (Lambda), meaning logic; Pathos (Pi), relating to emotion; and Ethos (Eta), defined as character, credibility and ethics.)

Congratulations again, sweet Sierra.

Sierra with Chase ... at their alma mater's TOMMY TROJAN

With love,
Davielle {your step-mum}

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sierra Noel Huffman

"Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future."
-- Charles F. Kettering

Today we head up to Los Angeles, Mark and me, along with Mark's parents, Marion and Gene, to spend the evening celebrating Sierra's biggest accomplishment to date: her graduation, with highest honors, from USC (University of Southern California). We'll have dinner together tonight, and tomorrow, we'll all be there to see her receive her diploma.

From the time Sierra was in the 4th grade, her mind was made up: She was going to attend USC. She worked diligently at her grades all through elementary, junior, and senior high school, and she made it. She worked to make her dream come true.
Four years ago, we all sat together at my alma mater, Torrey Pines High School, to see her graduate. Tomorrow, we'll gather again to see her realize yet another one of her goals: To graduate from USC.

Sierra, we are all so very proud of you.
I hesitate to "speak" for everyone, but I do know that your mother Jennifer, your father Mark, your "co-parents", John and I, and Jack and Michelle, and your grandparents, Marion and Gene Huffman -- are ALL so happy to have supported your desire to attend USC. You have made us all so proud.

In addition, Sierra, your relatives from my side of the family send their heartiest "congratulations" with much love: Kristina and Cara, and your nephew Trevor, and your nieces, Kiara and Kaia; Poppi; Jay and Haruko; and Francie and Darryl.

WE LOVE YOU, SIERRA !!! Fight on ...
-- Davielle {aka, your wicked stepmother :-) !!}

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


So Mother's Day has come and gone, and it's now Tuesday. I'm taking some time this morning to look through other people's BSM (Best Shot Monday) images, which means visiting the Best Shot Monday page ( )

and clicking on all the links -- scrolling through to see if they have, in fact, posted a BSM photo lately, making a comment here & there, etc. You get the picture {pun, intended!}. sorry it's grainy, but this is
Francie-me-Jay and our Mom - 1984

I came across the blog of someone in my adventure and it has inspired me to "borrow" her ode to her mother / the mothers in her world. I hope you find it as lovely and as powerful as I did. I've deleted her answers, and entered my very own.

My mother, Edith, died 5 years ago, and sometimes it feels like it's been 20 years, and other times it feels like it happened last month.

I have been blessed, however, with many wonderful "other-mothers" in my lifetime, and to them all, I dedicate this ODE TO MY MOTHER(s).

"In my lack of preparedness I have a lack of inspiration and I thought a meme would do the trick. I read some questions from this months REAL SIMPLE magazine and adapted my own from there. Leave a link if you participate I would love to read what you answer and if you are not a mother, still participate because you are an aunt, sister, cousin, friend and you fall in the mother category too.

My life has been blessed by MANY mothers: my natural mother, Edith (who raised me); a sometimes-wicked but sometimes wonderful (now ex) stepmother, Emilie, who taught me how to cook; a stand-in mother named Sandy, who with her entire family, took me in from Jr High on whenever my mother was in hospital; my other other mother, Melba, the mother of my high school sweetheart and the grandmother of my oldest daughter, Kristina; and my mother in law, Marion, my husband Mark's mother, who has become quite dear to me. They all, each and every one of them, have taken a role in molding me into the woman I am today.

1. What are some traits that you have picked up from your mother (whether you like it or not)? My mother (Edith) was very imaginative and creative, and her creativity sparked and inspired something in me for as long as I can remember. I eventually went into Interior Design, and now that I am somewhat retired, I am following my original passion for ART. My mother Edith was also a writer, and I do love to write; hence, my two blogs. I was also fortunate to have Sandy in my life, because she, too, is very artistic and creative. I like to think outside the box, and I owe that to them both. I do have to admit that the ONE TRAIT I got from mom, Edith, that I am not so crazy about - we both detest house cleaning with an enormous passion. And she was never a TIDY person - more of a "collector", esp as she got older - and I fight that battle all the time.

2. What is your mothers favorite flower? My mother Edith loved a fresh pink Stargazer lily. We shared a passion, too, for hyacinth blooms. I believe that Melba's favorite flower is the rose. And I believe that my mother in law, Marion, favors lilacs - although I am not sure.

3. What is a memory of your mother that you go to often? What, only one?! :-)
Mom – the time she was in the bath in the afternoon, where I was "never" to disturb her - and she got quite angry with me when I tried to let her know that our backyard was on fire. It wasn't until the firemen were running down our side patio with their fire hoses (and the bathroom window with no shades!) that she finally "got it" !!! And I always think of her setting me up with a TV tray and a box of scraps of ribbon & tissue paper, glitter & glue, and stacks of fresh white paper - so I could make a collage. And that she took me to New York City on several occasions, to see the fashion designers' new lines. What a treat!

4. What is your favorite feature about your mom? (scent, eyes, skin, smile, personality trait)
Mom – her strength and her courage; she was a fighter, to the end. Her sense of style.

Sandy - her kindness, her graciousness, her welcoming heart. Her intelligence.

Melba - her loyalty to family and her ongoing love & support of me.

Marion - her laugh !!! and her faith.

5. What is your favorite meal your mother made? treat that she baked?
Mom – my mother's spaghetti, and especially her lasagna - heavenly. And ONE TIME, she baked a fresh peach pie, totally from scratch - and Mom did NOT bake, as a rule. It was to-die-for and I talk about it all the time - to this day.

Sandy - any and everything Sandy made, was delicious. her SHORTBREAD is yum!

Emilie - her apricot turnovers and her prune turnovers. DEE-LISH-US. And she taught me how to roast the perfect turkey ...

Marion - her Christmas cookie "collection", especially her Toffee.

6. Is there any mother other than your own that you honor or think about on Mother’s day?
Aside from the MOTHERS I have mentioned & remembered above, there was one other woman in my life that had an enormous impact on me - my mother's dear friend, Dorothy Smith. She was my biggest fan, my loyal supporter, and being childless herself, she took me in as the daughter she never had -- she taught me how to polish silver! :-) And one other - Elizabeth Kitson, who was my godmother. Losing Dorothy when I was in 10th grade was a blow; losing touch with Elizabeth around the same time was doubly so.

All in all, I am so very blessed to have had ALL these great women in my life.

If you would like to see the original of this mother's day missive, you can visit it here:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

All the Good

our back yard, several days ago - I just love the morning light ...
"Do all the good you can,
by all the means you can,
in all the ways you can,
at all the times you can,
to all the people you can,
as long as ever you can."
-- John Wesley

Thanks to my friend Ann, who had this quote on her blog, I was inspired to use it as the lead-in for my Mother's Day post this morning. And really, that's about all I have to say on this overcast Sunday morning.

Wishing everyone out there a BEAUTIFUL day to celebrate being a mom - or a child - or a sibling of a mom - or married to a mom - or the neighbor of a mom - just remember to wish ALL the mom's in your world a "happy mother's day" today and you will surely brighten their day.



Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Friends, if you are so inclined and moved after viewing the video clip, please support A PLACE TO BARK animal rescue ... every bit helps the cause.

Bernie Berlin, founder of A PLACE TO BARK, is a remarkable young woman. If you scroll down the left side of my blog page, you will find, near the bottom, a place where you can click on a video about A PLACE TO BARK, and a button there where you can make an on-line donation.

This time last year, donations (including grants) were at approximately $40,000. This year, they are down to about 1/10 of that. Bernie contributes everything she has to her amazing rescue efforts ... her time, her boundless energy and spirit, her whole heart ... and her personal financial resources.

It seems that in Tennessee, there is a high "kill" (ie, euthanasia) rate in the shelters. It also seems that a spay or neuter for your dog or cat in Tennessee is priced so high that most folks just can't afford to do it ... hence the need for A PLACE TO BARK.

Here in California, we are very fortunate to have low-priced spay/neuter clinics and "events". It just doesn't happen like that in Tennessee, where A PLACE TO BARK is located.

Please, please -- every dollar helps.

Thank you ...

-- Davielle

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Best Shot Monday

If you haven't visited my other blog {ever, or lately}, do click on over there to see my posts for BEST SHOT MONDAY.

Best Shot Monday is a weekly post of a photograph one has taken {I try to post only those which I shot the prior week ... I have yet to go back into my photo archives for one, but intend to soon}, and there's a whole list of individuals who participate.

It's a very cool community of people.

Please do take a look - at mine, and at the posts of the others as well. To see the list of who is participating, click on the BEST SHOT MONDAY button {on my other blog; this image is NOT an active link}.
To see my images, just visit my Princess Magpie each week.

Thank you!

-- Davielle