See that cutie above? That's my Dylan. You might say... we picked each other out. LOL. The day we met, he was sad, having just been left behind when his mother was hit by a car, and I was sad to, having just lost my cat Elvis just a few weeks earlier. I think we connected through our shared grief. Elvis was the last kitten in his mother's litter, so when she died he needed to know he wasn't alone, he needed a mother, and I needed a little boy who needed me. It's love. We are family.
But Before Dylan... Came Hendrix...
He is my boy to, but he and Alan bonded first. Alan is his person. But when he needs a mommy, he comes to me. LOL. They are my two boys! :)
Now, here are the rest of my Before And After subjects...
A Beautiful Butterfly
Potatoes Ready For Planting And The Leaves A Few Weeks Later
Fireworks From 2005...
Dahlias From The Golden Gate Park Dahlia Garden 2012
Okay, that's my contribution for this round. Be sure to go see what everyone else has posted for this challenge! We have some wonderful photographers who participate in the Round Robin Challenges! Just click the link at the top of this post to be redirected to the official Round Robin blog, where you can find the list of participants, and all the information you need to play along!
"Try to be like the turtle... at ease in your own shell."
Isn't that turtle the cutest little thing? I read somewhere that turtles think about turtles, which makes perfect sense, but I can't help but wonder if they don't also think about butterflies or grass, or the little islands they sometimes rest on. If I were a turtle, I wonder what I would think about? It's easier to realize what I wouldn't think about... like mortality. Politics. Pain. Disappointment. Spiders crawling across my leg in the middle of the night. LOL.
"The flesh in which we live is nothing more than a cocoon, and only when we step out of it do we truly begin to live."
~Nancy Stephan, The Truth About Butterflies: A Memoir
Yesterday, Alan and I went to the new butterfly exhibit at the Conservatory Of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. It was lovely to say the least. It opened on May 8th, and will be continuing through the summer and part of autumn. I was able to photograph a nice variety, and for the most part I am happy with the results. It's been several years since I have had a chance to get in practice with a collection of butterflies, so I found I was a bit rusty. That's okay, I will be visiting the conservatory as much as possible. I am looking forward to posting a lot of new photos of my favorite subject... butterflies.
"I would not know how I am supposed to feel about many stories if not for the fact that the TV news personalities make sad faces for sad stories and happy faces for happy stories."
It's been a strange week for news. The IRS targeting the Tea Party. Yet another sex scandal rocks the Pentagon. The government spying on the Associate Press. And it's only Wednesday! All very interesting mind you, but I think my favorite story so far this week has to be the CIA agent caught in Russia with 2 wigs, a map of Moscow and $130,000 to be used to hire a Russian security officer to act as a spy for the U.S.!
2 wigs, a map, and a relatively low amount of money? Hello? 1940 called, they want their spy back!
I think this story needs to be made into a movie, with maybe Bradley Cooper in the lead! The whole situation reminds me of the amazingly funny, "Don't Drink The Water" by the great Woody Allen! So it just seems like a natural for him film it. Woody, if you do make the film, all I ask is a minor mention during the end credits. Just something simple like... "As suggested by the weird girl who took my picture on 20th and Lexington, while I filmed Blue Jasmine in San Francisco! I will know who you mean!
"Pink is a beautiful color because it is one of the colors that the sun makes at twilight and in the dawn."
C. Joybell C.
This past Saturday had one of the deepest, loveliest, blues skies I had seen in a long time. And right in the middle of the blue sky, came this arrangement of yellow and pink balloons. Yellow and pink, especially in this hue, is my favorite color combination. I couldn't help but watch them and smile as the floated up... up... up... and away to some far off party, maybe on a distant planet, or perhaps a local car dealership holding a hootenanny. One never really knows about these things.
"I want to grow a flower for every time someone tells me "*F*** You!" Then I'll go back to the person and pin the flower on their lapel in a gesture of friendship. And while they are looking down on it in astonishment, I'll bunch up my knuckles and punch them in the face."
I hate Mother's Day! Hate It! HATE IT I TELLS YA! LOL. Nah, it's not that bad. I know most folks had normals moms, it just so happens I didn't. My mother was mentally ill by her own choosing, and stayed that way by her own choosing. She will be gone 10 years this fall, which is fine, we have never been closer! LOL. I suppose it isn't fair to complain about how insensitive it can feel to the child of a less than Harriet Nelson mother, to hear about all the ways she should be honored every second Sunday in May. Sigh. Mostly I ignore it, or like I am doing here, I mock it.
It just is what it is.
I don't really think about her that much, but when I do, it's usually the good stuff, like how she would fix me a bowl of Campbell's Vegetable soup when I had a hard day at school. Or how she taught me to care for and love animals. She had a funny laugh, and she gave warm wonderful hugs. She loved funny movies, and Coca~Cola. She bought me pink champagne cakes on my birthday, she loved me, when she was lucid. I wish mental illness didn't carry such a stigma with it. Maybe she wouldn't have fought fixing her problems so hard, had she not been so afraid to admit she had them.
"San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality."
Sigh. I see the Golden Gate Bridge often. It is visible, on most days, from certain streets and neighborhoods here in Berkeley. But even when I am crossing it, or in this case, standing just benethe it, I always feel as if I am seeing it for the very first time. Always. It takes my breath away!
"The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes."
~Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound Of The Baskervilles
I spotted this gate standing on a small hill in Marin County. I wonder what the small gate kept in, or what it was supposed to keep out. Either way I thought it was rather photogenic all on it's own. Especially with the three small birds dotting the scene. It's a tiny bit mysterious though. Hmmmm...
"Dock Lights" San Francisco Embarcadero. May 8th, 2013
"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."
I got off to a late start yesterday. I didn't have a chance to get out of the house until after 2:00 in the afternoon, so I knew I wouldn't be out as long as usual, which meant I should probably should have chose a specific goal or destination, but did I? Um... nope. I just grabbed the cameras, the laptop, and Alan and off we went!
Ultimately we chose to take a long drive across the Bay Bridge, then the Golden Gate bridge into Marin County. It's been a long time since I visited Fort Baker and different vistas on the Marin side, so it sounded like a fun jaunt... and it was! I was able to get some new shots of the Golden Gate and some more rustic areas around Sausalito. Plus I have a new public art image to share later this week.
"I wish you'd help me look into a more interesting problem... namely, my sanity."
I took this picture in, I believe, 2007. I was still going to once a week therapy sessons, and working really hard on eliminating the pain and sorrow that had plaqued me for what felt like forever, but in reality had been since the late 90's. A decade of pain... it can feel like forever, because it was difficult to sit on that couch every week, knowing that for that hour I couldn't ignore that pain.
There was a lot to look at in the therapist's office, but my eyes were usually drawn to his desk. There was a stuffed Sigmund Freud doll. A lot of books about love, and a stack of cups, which never seemed to go down in size. One day I happened to notice that the stack of cups, that usually sat on the side of the desk, was a little off from it's usual position. Rather than sitting on the left side of the desk the stack of cups was now on the right side, fairly close to the couch I was sitting on. The bottom cup seemed to have something written on it, but it was turned so I couldn't quite make it out.
During the session, and in an effort to change the subject we were discussing, I reached over and turned the cups around to get a better look at it. To my surprise, there was a face staring back at me! And the face, not surprisingly, seemed to understand how I was feeling!
I am not sure who drew the little face. Was it the supervising doctor? Was it a patient? I had no way of knowing, but over the next few months I made friends with the little face on the cup. It, in an odd way, made me feel less alone. Clearly the cup face had seen, and probably heard, a lot of stories. Some sadder than mine, some not as sad. The face had wisdom and experience. You can't ask for more than that in a good therapist. Right?
All I know... the face on the cup seemed to understand. :) I miss the face sometimes, but like an old friend I haven't seen for a while, I will never forget the times we spent making friends!
"Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature's laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to be keeping it's dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared."
~Tupac Shakur, The Rose That Grew From Concrete
The rose garden has gotten off to a slow start, but everything seems to be coming along nicely! The first to bloom within the garden is the Julia Child rose! It's so small and lovely. It starts out bright sunshine yellow, and as it ages gracefully, the yellow color fades, and a soft pink color forms around the edges. Amazingly beautiful. The scent is a soft lemon licorice. It's inspiring that something so fragile doesn't give up!
"Go spend time with the aspen trees. They'll tell you how it works. They'll tell you to look to your roots for energy. They'll tell you there's warmth below the surface."
~Kaya McLaren, How I Came To Sparkle Again
This photo is obviously from my archives, but hasn't been posted before. I hadn't posted it because it was a little blurry, but I was looking at it the other day and for whatever reason I just kind of felt warm inside when I viewed it. It's been a long time since we have visited Cisco Grove, but maybe we can remedy that! We found this stop one autumn day, while on our way to Reno, Nevada. It's about a 3 1/2 hour drive from our house to Reno, and this stop sits, tucked off from the road, a little more than half way through our journey. It's one of the prettiest places along the route to stretch your legs and take in the natural beauty... no matter what time of year, but I bet you can guess when I enjoy it the most! That's right! Autumn! The Aspen trees are nothing short of breathtaking! Alan usually has to pull me away when it's time to leave because I could literally sit all day and just watch the bright yellow leaves fall slowly silently to the earth. I think I might be longing for autumn this year more than in any other year in the last decade! I wish it would hurry up come! LOL.
I spotted this scene about a year ago, while I was out running errands. I was at a stop light, and as I sat there, just kind of starring off into space, something about the small strip mall had my attention, but at first I wasn't quite sure what about it was that had my interest. I was kind of an odd feeling! Then Alan began to laugh... "Hey, look at that, well that's certainly convenient! Do you think the nachos leave spots all that often?" "Umm... what? I asked Alan. "Here... let me pull up a little." Said he. LOL. Okay... that was it! The signs, slightly hidden from my perspective, but in clear sight from Alan's, told the whole story, and it all unfolded in a matter of 1/2 minutes. Now just think of all the times you have had an unfortunate accident with some nachos, or any delicious finger food for that matter, now tell me, was a cleaners that close by?
Thank goodness for conveniently located cleaners... oh and Tide sticks. Personally, not being a super lucky person, I never leave home without them! :)
I had a difficult time deciding whether I wanted to feature flowers, or vegetables for this Round Robin Challenge. I thought about visiting one of the many community gardens in the Bay Area to feature the lovely way they dress up a neighborhood, but in the end I decided to do a round up of some of the prettiest flower gardens I have been to in my travels with my digital cameras over the last 10 years.
Let's begin with the photo featured at the top of the post!
Pastorino's, Half Moon Bay, California
Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California
Conservatory Of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California
Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California
Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California
Capitol Rose Garden, Sacramento, California
A Lovely Balcony Garden, 20th st. San Francisco, California
The Brazilian Room Garden, Tilden Park, Berkeley, California
Now that you have seen my gardens, please be sure to visit the other Round Robin participants. Please click the Link at the top of this post to be redirected to the official Round Robin blog. :)