Happy Birthday to the USA and Mom, life lessons and that anniversary thing.

Encinitas block party, and whiskey in the flask - N enjoying the afternoon.

We celebrated the birth of our nation’s independence with great friends, much imbibing, and – along with 95% of all Southern Californians – on the coast. Fireworks at Moonlight Beach – even though we glimpsed them from 15 miles away to the north, and south – were awesome. There was something very special about standing at the edge of the Pacific with the Yank, listening to the crashing surf, and seeing bright reds, whites, and blues explode in a cacophony of percussion from miles away.

Moonlight Beach - a little grainy from the camera phone - but you get the idea. Just think of all the sharks out there.

Even the sand bugs – the nondescript critters that take up residence in washed up seaweed – enjoyed the fireworks, dancing on our feet and biting our toes in the process. Let me tell you – it’s a little disconcerting feeling something that size land on your person. I think I yelped once or twice.

My Mom also celebrated her birthday yesterday – although she and my Dad are half a world away in Croatia. I’m happy that they’re traveling; it’s something that too few people really get to do. In the process, she’s taken some brilliant photos with her new iPad. She also got an iPhone right before leaving, but it met an early death by an untimely wave that struck her boat while she was peering into the Adriatic Sea. As great as Apple is, I had to (gently) break it to her, that the photos and information amassed on her new phone – were most likely irretrievable when said phone is laying at the bottom of the Adriatic.

But she has since sent me several brilliant photos from her iPad – and I’m happy to share. Happy Birthday Mom – I love you!

My Mom is amazingly creative - even if her iPhone decides to commit suicide a la Adriatic Sea.

As for those Life Lessons – well, I’ve learned a few good ones in the past week or so. They include (but are not limited to): a) In the morning, clean up the cat barf first thing – otherwise you WILL step in it two minutes later while carrying coffee; b) Don’t let a friend who you’ve just met cut your hair c) Be honest with your Other Half about your feelings, when he states that, “you’re hard to shop for – so I didn’t get you an anniversary present.” And then drops major $$$ on himself. It will get explosive.

Speaking of that anniversary thing – it took me a long time to finish my present for N. I really enjoyed making it – but can’t take credit for the original concept. Our friend Tristan made something similar for her husband, and walked me through it step by step. The act of painting and the creative process around the project was awesome – I found I could be extremely focused, detail oriented, forget the Big Picture Stuff, but also relaxed at the same time.

If you didn't realize it, N is a Huey Pilot and flies the "Yankee" version of it. Hence - "the Yank".

I think I will continue to paint. It’s very different from photography, which I love and will always love, but painting is another form of expression. Sometimes I feel like I need that. I guess that would be lesson #4.

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