Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Still Smitten with the BBC

My latest BBC addiction..."Lark Rise to Candleford." It ran for four seasons, and I've now watched three on my beloved Netflix....alas, I don't want it to end! Of course, it has all the fixings of my usual BBC addictions -- small village, quirky characters, loving relationships, and British accents.

The story is told through the eyes of Laura, on the right, the daughter of a poor family in Lark Rise, who moves to the "big city" of Candleford to work for her mom's cousin, Dorcas (on the left), who owns the post office there. Laura is sweet and really sharp, and constantly torn between her small village roots, and her desires to not only educate herself and have a career, but to also fall in love and settle down. Dorcas is inspirational...single, never-been-married in a social world where this is completely taboo, incredibly sharp, and completely content with who she is -- well, most of the time. She is incredibly strong, yet tender and loving to a fault. I can really admire that.

Met this handsome fella first in the modern BBC series, "Coupling" -- across between "Sex in the City," "Friends," and "Seinfeld." So, weird at first to see him play Sir Timothy Midwinter, the squire who lives in Candleford, but is the squire for Lark Rise. He's the "guy-she-shoulda-married" for Dorcas, so lots of sexual tension there in the first couple series.

Thomas is a mail carrier for Dorcas at the post office, and is incredibly pious. But in the most enchanting way. He is married to Margaret, the deceased pastor's daughter, and it took him FOREVER to admit his feelings for her -- to himself, never mind everyone else.

This is Robert and Emma Timmins, Laura's parents, and I adore them. She's a Lark Rise girl, and he was a stonesmith traveling through when she captured his heart. They are stubbornly liberal-minded and progressive, and have an equitable, loving relationship. And are still hot for each other, even after four children...that's cool!

Alf lives in Lark Rise, and is a farmer, raising his younger siblings by himself. He's childhood friends with Laura, and early in the series, he's in love with her, but it's unrequited -- alas, he's in the "friend zone." He plays the accordian and sings songs that get everyone in the tiny village dancing. And he's got a heart of gold.

And Alf loves Minnie -- at least he does at the end of Series 3. I don't know what happens in Series 4, so don't spoil it! She is a maid and cook for Dorcas, who rescued her from the work house. She's naive, always has a twinkle, and is intent on bettering herself -- she's often hilarious.

Queenie and Twister live in Lark Rise, and are the most lovely couple. She keeps bees, engages in earthy, pagan practices, and is always ready with not only natural ways to heal just about any ill that takes you, but is sweet and wise beyond words. Twister? He like beer and whiskey and playing music -- and he loves Queenie fiercely!

And these two! Sisters who own a dress shop in Candleford...gotta love their matching outfits and snobbery-mixed-with-heartwarming-tenderness!

Finally, one of my FAVE actresses USED to be on the show -- Dawn French! She's Caroline Arliss, Alf's mom, but, well, she's in prison. Seriously...love these quirky folk!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Santa-Racer-Chicks, Baby!

Christmas cards. Love creating them, sending them, receiving them. Pitifully pathetic at sending them. And 2011 was no exception, as the majority of them are still sitting on my kitchen table.

Though the fall semester was ridiculously busy, I did manage to organize my second annual Santa Racer Chick photo shoot with good friends Denise (bike riding/racing/training buddy since the very beginning), Allegra (former-student-now-good-friend and bike riding/training and True Blood-watching buddy), and Felicia (bike and run coach who I'd NEVER be able to train with because she's pro) at Woodward Park so that I'd have pictures to create my cards. And of course, Tomas Ovalle did the shoot. I realize he's not MY personal photographer, but I like to think he is. As he did last year, he made the shoot so much fun, and since I only was able to use three photos on my card, I wanted to showcase a few more here.

So, the idea this year was to highlight our running side; last year, we focused on cycling. My thought was that he'd get some shots of us jogging in the park...ummmm...it turned out a little differently, and certainly way better!

First, we warmed up with just some easy, casual poses. Had to make sure those Santa hats were on all proper and all.

Tomas then tried this "wrap-yourselves-around-Kathie" pose, and he was quickly reminded of how the four of us can feel a little awkward when he's trying to get us to do relaxed poses.

Then we took it to a bench, and things got a little less awkward.

Of course, when he told us to grab our balls, well, all hell broke loose...

We returned to the bench, and as good friends do, Denise, Allegra, and Felicia supported me and leaned on me.

And Felicia couldn't resist pinching me. This reminds me that Tomas's 17-year-old son was there to assist him, and I think we may have damaged him. We tend to get a little racey (pun intended), and there's typically lots of comments about boobs and butts, as four women can't get this cozy with each other without some accidental rubbing and some purposeful grabbing...it just seems natural in this group!

Then Tomas tried to appease my desire for some running shots...we got a bit awkward again...

It finally felt a bit more natural, but then Felicia's hair started fanning out.

She tucked her gorgeous hair in, but you can see how well that turned out.

We gave up on the run, and Tomas had us jump. This was quite unexpected, and though I'm not sure, I believe he probably had to take 157 pics before this worked. We all needed to get our hands up and our legs up, and this took some doing. Denise was a pro from the beginning (what's that about?), Felicia did great on most shots, so obviously, Allegra and I were the most challenged.

Finally, though, success! And Tomas swears this isn't photoshopped.

Then we went back to a little more traditional...

But who could resist this?

So much fun! Merry Very Belated Christmas!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bob's Christmas Present

Ok...so Christmas break has come and gone, and I STILL haven't put up any more Scotland photos. Well, darnit! I'm just too busy living life, but I have to say, I DO miss blogging. I'm a little superstitious about making New Year's resolutions (New Year's Resolution=Failure), but I do tend to set goals for myself at the beginning of new years and new semesters. Given that we're in both, I'm feeling like I really want to start blogging on a more regular basis again. No pressure. Just some little stuff here and there. And when I find enough moments, some big stuff, like the rest of that amazing trip to Scotland.

So here's some little stuff...well, big in meaning, but little in blog space.

Bob and I had our first Christmas together, and because this past year with him has been so amazing, I wanted to give him something really special. So I gave him a photo shoot with his daughter, Michelle, in Yosemite, where he was born and raised. I regret that I don't have any nice "father-daughter" photos with my dad, and I wanted Bob and Michelle to have that. Tomas Ovalle did the photos, and I swear he's magic! He did photos for my freelance writing website, and for my last two "Santa-Racer-Chick" Christmas cards (oh, yah, gotta put those up on here, too!), and is amazing.

Anyway, Tomas has put some of the photos up for us, so I wanted to share a few of my faves so far. There are many more to come, as he took TONS. It really was a special day, and I already cherish these shots. See what you think.

Can you say, "Genetically photogenic"?!!!

I have quite the knack for hiding how excruciating the modeling process is, as evidenced here.

Forgot for just a second that there was a photog leaning over us...

I simply love this.

When Tomas told me to get on Bob's back, well, I felt like I'd break him. I momentarily forgot that he's such a "burly-man"! This was fun!

Seriously...have you ever seen anything so beautiful?

I am a lucky, lucky woman. Truly blessed.