Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I have always been of the persuasion that inanimate objects are NOT inanimate at all. Dryers are hungry beasts who like to eat socks. Tupperware lids take off with the wrong size container. And many objects just get a thrill by moving positions while you sleep and watching you pull your hair out the next morning trying to locate them. Well now ladies and gentlemen.... I HAVE PROOF. And it goes far beyond just being animate -- apparently they have feelings too. I have, for the last 4 years, had blue and red balls on my Christmas tree. Yet, this year as I was taking down the Christmas tree I discovered a purple ball :O

All I can figure is that some little red ball fell in love with a little blue ball and nature took care of the rest. Here is a picture of their little family lol:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Latest creation

This is a medallion Richard and I made :) We can't decide whether to keep it, give it, or sell it... I love it.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Richard's Birthday.

I will do a Christmas Post later but first. Richard's Birthday is Dec 15th, But today he got a belated gift from his sister Amber. She told me about it this summer and I actually managed to keep the secret all this time :) Here is the box can you guess what it is?

Its a Vintage Stellar Microscope!

Needless to say he loves it!
I can't find much information on it. Even on the Vast World Wide Web :o
Here is the yellowing insert:

Oh and this made me laugh:

The seller threw in this little aluminum nick nack... Anyone know what it is?
Hint: I used to use one all the time.
Its an Eraser Guide for hand drafting lol!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I am a princess :)

If you have been following for awhile, or have known me awhile you will know that fitting a stereotype is not my style. I'm a peculiar yin-yang between Tom Boy and Girly Girl. I have many pictures from when I was little all dolled up in a beautiful dress, matched with freshly torn tights, a messy face, and grubby hands showing off my latest reptile catch! It didn't take long for my mom discover it was best to have me wear a pair of jeans under my 'ball gowns.'
Today was a bit of a repeat of that. Between helping our gecko 'Barbie' shed and doing laundry I was busy making these:
Here is the website if you want to make a custom princess of your own :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas is Coming

Living in the City during Christmas is icky. Being surrounded by all the corporate greed can really ruin it for me. The "Christmas Push" started even earlier this year. They had the products out before Halloween even! Then as soon as Thanksgiving hits people go NUTS! The stores and roads fill to bursting with frantic and rude people. I hate even going out for grocery shopping. This year I was so put off by the whole thing I decided I was going to skip Christmas all together. No nativity, no tree, no goodies, no stockings... Nothing! I had become a total Grinch.
Then I got this from my Yoga studio:

This is the time of year where we all seem to get so stressed out.....all in the name of celebrating. Doesn't make sense, right? Most of us turn our senses off in order to handle the crowds, deadlines and anxiety that the season brings. With the craziness of the recent weather, it's an especially stressful beginning. It's easy to get caught up in the idea that when Christmas is over, then you can relax. But I discovered something profound a couple of years ago when my parents died. There is another way....

I've told my family that Christmas needs to be chill, and whatever causes too much stress needs to go. House lights? optional... Tree? optional.... Baking cookies for the neighbors? optional. I want these things to happen, but not just because we always do it, but because it's beautiful in the moment. It's time to be happy during Christmas, not just on Christmas. If it's not working for us we postpone it or decide if it's something that works for us this year.

In Sanskrit there is a word, Desha ( daa-sha), that means right place or the term Sadha Desha which means a place to reclaim that which is divine in us. Understanding Desha can help us reclaim the spirit of the season. Instead of turning our senses off, turn them up! and then listen to the answers.

Is this the right environment for me to be in? Is this space enhancing my ability to enjoy the season or is it creating stress? Do I realize the true nature of who I am? or does my holiday rely on others being happy with what I give them? Can I recognize what is beautiful and sacred within me so the "perfect, meaningful gift" isn't so significant?

Re-evaluate what really works for you. And then have a happy season, not just a happy day!

Joyous Noel,

Corena Hammer

It helped me remember I DO like Christmas. I just like Christmas on my terms. The first is which is Christmas starts midway into December. Just like it did my entire childhood. We would always start the celebrations a week or two after Ben's Birthday (Dec 1st). Happy with my new approach to the season I started out by buying some tangerines and eggnog. Then on Saturday Richard and I had a fun time at his work's Holiday Party. And Finally tonight I tidied up the house, put on some Celtic Christmas Music and had the most wonderful time decorating for Christmas! I have a red berry wreath (leftover from the party) on the door, the Nativity set up, Lights in the window, the Tree out of the box and fluffed. And when Richard gets home we will decorate it together :) Here is a sneak peak:

So no matter what Holiday you find yourself celebrating this December I hope you can have a happy season and not just a happy day.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Yep that title gets all Caps! I don't really feel like saying much about it other than we got EXTREMELY lucky! Other than the entire neighborhood's leaves piling up in our entry and driveway (10 lawn and leaf bags and 2 trashcans worth), a 16 hour power outage, and the internet being down for 3 days we had no real catastrophes. And with hurricane strength winds, tons of our neighbors sustained some serious damage. The neighborhood has really come together though and things are looking better. Here are some pictures but they really don't do it justice:

Ya, we had to dig our way out with a snow shovel lol!
The Cemetery was heartbreaking, almost 3 out of 4 tree's were down
This is one of the cart keepers at WalMart!
Here is a gallery:

Happy Thanksgiving :)

We celebrated Thanksgiving at Eli's apartment this year (he has a dishwasher lol). The smallest turkey I could find was a 14 pounder! This was my second Thanksgiving cooking a real turkey. We use a modified version of Alton Brown's Thanksgiving Turkey. It turned out AWESOME!
Other than with the over-sized turkey we had a smaller feast than usual Baker spread. It was just Eli, Richard, and Myself, However, each of us put a serious dent on the food. We had my Deluxe Mashed Potatoes (a spin off of Mama's twice baked potatoes) we made them extra decedent this time by using whipping cream in place of milk! I also made Gravy from the turkey drippings, Apple Pie (with Baker Orchard apples!) and Pumpkin Pie. Eli provided lovely Hawaiian Rolls, Bacon and Cheese Green Beans, plus several varieties of Martinelli's. Richard made his Brownie Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Everything was spectacular! And though poor Eli barely made it til 7 or 8pm when it was all finally ready, we all had a lovely time.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

BEACH TRIP!!! (caution this may be really long)

Richard got 3 whole weeks of vacation this year. WOW! We are cashing in 1 of them but we used the second week as a great chance to have one last NorCal coast and Redwood trip. This time we rented a beach front cabin (lower rates for winter HOORAY!) for 6 whole nights! I used to come to these cabins as a kid with my aunt and uncle so I am especially attached to this particular beach. We stayed in Pelicans Perch (#6) here are some pictures of our adorable little home for a week.

I used this great online program to create a panoramic view from our back deck. Be sure to blow it up full screen then click and drag to see in either direction:

This place has a kitchen and have fresh made bread baking when you arrive!

We ate some of it but feeding the seagulls is so much fun not only did half of this loaf go to that but we had to buy a cheap loaf at Grocery Outlet. Here is a great video of that:

We got really lucky and it was great weather. It was a little more chilly then we are used to. We got some great sweatshirts (with woolly lining) and neoprene socks for under our teva's at this AWESOME little surf shop on the Crescent City docks called South Beach Outfitters. We had a great time talking with Lisa who was working the shop that day, then we went down to the docks to see the sea lions. We kept getting closer and closer. You can tell how nervous I am by my silly voice.

After the camera shuts off we sneak a little closer the big guy decides we have gone far enough and starts barking and lurching.... We booked it off those docks! Some people watching from the safety of the parking lot got a kick out of it lol.

Our favorite hike this time is called Damnation Creek Trail. It is a little over a 4 mile hike that has an elevation change of 1200 ft! It snakes from the redwoods down to the ocean. It was misty and fantastic!

I discovered my poor camera of 6 wonderful years is finally on its last legs :( barely any of these pictures turned out, and even those were kinda blurry. Oh well It still gets the point across :)

We also tried to see some lighthouses... They were all closed to the public but we still had fun taking pictures with this one:

We drove up to Bandon Oregon and had a good time stopping at all the fun touristy shops on the way back down. We got a great tour at a myrtlewood shop. Myrtlewood trees only grow in Southern Oregon and Israel! They take hundreds of years to grow and the wood of each one is unique in color and pattern ... Just like people :) Here is a great page that talks about them: http://www.myrtlewoodgallery.com/what-is-myrtlewood

On our last day we did a great redwood hike on Mill Creek Trail (near Stout Grove) and Tide pooling at Lone Ranch:

This is barely the tip of the ice burg of the adventures and pictures but that's all for now. We had such a good time! We are now ready to hunker down and endure the Utah winter before we run off for our Hawaii adventure.