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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Steven's Feline Friday

Click on the above photo to see a larger version!

"The word 'happiness' would lose it's meaning if it were not balanced by sadness."

-Carl Jung

I had a rare chance yesterday, to photograph Elvis when he was crying tears. It doesn't happen very often, the last time I remember it happening, was about 3 years ago, when he had found one of his opossum friends in the backyard, that he thought was ill. As it turned out, it was doing what opossums do...it was playing opossum. At that time we didn't know much about those wonderful little creatures, so it had Alan and I a bit worried as well. With a little research, I came to find out what marvelous creatures they really are. Now, Elvis has many opossum friends in the back yard, and they don't fear him, because of how sweet and friendly a cat he is.

Elvis has a best friend, Ernst, who comes by each afternoon to romp and chase Elvis, and sometimes another neighborhood kitty, Sabastiani, will hop the fence and that makes for a great time. I have been amazed at how these three play together with such spunk, and fun, while always remembering their manners. :) It's pretty cool. Lately however, there has been a new cat that has been showing up in the yard, a large Russian Blue. He is trying to establish his identity in the neighborhood, so he has been beating up on the cats in the neighborhood. Sigh. Elvis, had a run in with the new neighbor...and I think he got his feelings hurt.

Elvis will be 9 years old on April 27th, and so he is not as quick as the other cats, but then it was never really an issue. He can run and romp, and when he gets tired, Ernst will usually just curl up with him till Elvis gets his second wind. Yesterday, when the new cat began to beat up Ernst, in our yard, Elvis flexed his muscle, and tried to run the mean cat out of the yard. Well, Elvis got knocked down, no injuries, we saw it happen, but Elvis did get his pride hurt a bit. Ernst ended up running the new cat from the yard, but Elvis got mad...really mad, and so he actually hissed at us. He needed to be left alone, so that's what we did.

About 5 minutes or so later, Elvis came to the back door, and asked to come in. He was so sad. He refused to purr. He jumped up on the end of the bed and curled up with his monkey, Cap-n-Federick. I tried to reassure him, but he would have none of it. He was in full pout mode. I didn't give up on my best little fella. I got a jar of his favorite baby food, Beef in Beef Gravy, and a small cup of milk, and he and I had some parent/child bonding time. We cooed and mewed for a couple hours, and finally he began to purr, but in the mean time, he just needed to cry those tears, and then let himself feel better. I will never be a mommy to a real child, but I have this little guy who depends on me for everything. That is a good feeling. He has always been there to pat my tears when I cry, and I am there for him. :)

Be sure to drop by Steven's blog to see Pickle show off a little cat-attitude. :) It's fun to play along with Feline Friday. If you have a kitty you want to show off, just drop by Steven's blog to get all the details. Fridays are for Felines! Thanks Steven for this fun meme. :)

-OndineMonet
"Tears"
Berkeley, California
April 6th, 2006
Evening

Friday, April 07, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment # 106: Scalzi's Somewhat Pathetic Cry For Help


'Believing hear, what you deserve to hear:
Your birthday as my own to me is dear...
But yours gives most; for mine did only lend to me the world
Yours gave to me a friend"

-Unknown

Weekend Assignment # 106: Suggest a really cool birthday gift for my wife. By which I mean...if you're a women, what would you want for a birthday gift, and if you're a man, what would you get for your significant other?

Now, here are the ground rules:

1. Money is not necessarily an object, but come on, be reasonable.
2. Don't suggest anything that Krissy couldn't unwrap in public.
3. Your gift idea doesn't actually have to be something you can buy...if you want to suggest something intangible, go ahead.
4. Don't tell Krissy I'm doing this. Like, shhhh.

Extra Credit: How good of a job do you do in getting your spouse/significant other gifts they like?

-John Scalzi (By The Way...)

I love birthdays. :) I especially love birthdays since Alan and I were married. :) He always makes the day special for me, in one way or another, but in recent years he has been giving me a special gift, see, he has been writing me a "Book Of Carly." On a golden, crisp, autumn morning, several years ago, I woke up to find on the pillow next to me, a beautiful, "Fire & Ice" rose, and a poem that he had written for me, as he watched me sleeping the night before...

"Quietly I listen as you fill each corner of my life with
the sounds of angels, and hues that would inspire a muse.
I know the reality of winter and the promise of spring
but in the eyes and arms, of my autumn, I find the greatest love."

-Alan

So John, here is my suggestion. Make Krissy her own, "Book Of Krissy." Take some photos from little moments past, take some current, candid, photos, and maybe some photos of the two of you together, and as a family, then write her short poems to put alongside the photos. It could be done pretty easily in this age of computers, then when you have compiled it all together, have it bound in leather, with a unique title. In short, Mr. Author, write her a book. :) A book no one else will ever own but she, and don't forget to autograph it! :) Homemade gifts mean so much, and so does being able to really see your life through the eyes of the person who loves your the most. :) Trust me. :)

Extra Credit: It is hit and miss. LOL. Alan usually writes me a wish list. It works for us.

-OndineMonet
"Passionate Sunset"
Point Montara, California
Winter, 2005
Early Evening

My Pet Goat!

There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington...And if there's a leak out of the administration, I want to know who it is. And if a person violated the law, the person will be taken care of."

-George W. Bush, September 30, 2003

In a December 15th, 2005 interview with Fox News, President Bush said he was confident that House majority leader, Tom DeLay would be found innocent of money laundering charges.

"I hope that he will be cleared, 'cause I like him, and plus, when he's over there, we get our votes through the House."

When asked about his relationship with Karl Rove, he had this to say...

"We are still as close as we have ever been. You know, when we look back at the presidency and my time in politics, no question that Karl had a lot to do with me getting here, and I value his friendship. We're very close."

His displeasure with White House leaking information to the press...

"I've constantly expressed my displeasure with leaks, particularly of classified information."
-September 30, 2003

"Mr. President, the country is under attack."

-Andy Card, September 11th, 2001

And Mr. Bush sat there, still, for an additional 7 minutes. Sigh. How much more evidence does America need? This man is an irrational, liar. He looks at us in the face every single day...and lies to further his own agenda. How much longer, before America stands up and collectively says the word..."IMPEACHMENT!?

-OndineMonet

Thursday, April 06, 2006

You Want Me To Eat What?

"Insanity is my only means of relaxation."

-Unknown

One day I was driving south on Hwy 80, on my way to the Bay Bridge, when I saw this car. I thought it was the neatest thing. He is probably one of the many enthusiasts of one of our favorite days to party, here in Berkeley, "How Berkeley Can You Be? Day." :) That is the day, we folks of Berkeley, celebrate the unusual, the eccentric, and the wild side of life. For me it is a time to go out into the world, and just experience...life, sans it's inhibitions. You know, that inner voice that says you must be proper, follow all the rules, and be normal to be accepted. Now, I believe in being on one's best behavior, treating others they way I would want to be treated, remembering that manners is a GOOD thing, and so on, but every once in a while I like to just go and enjoy, and see and be a part of life less routine.

Maybe it is because one day, a few years ago, there came a terrible day in the universe, a day which in effect changed my life, and how I live it, and it wasn't necessarily for the better...at least not right away. See, everything crashed in on this one day, and be the late afternoon of that day...I had lost my ability to speak. I didn't know what to say. People kept asking me," what is wrong?" "How can I help you?" All perfectly good questions, but I had no words to tell them. It was like, for a brief time, I had lost the English language. I had gone eccentric.

So, off I went on a brief adventure to, "The Home For What-The Hell Happened." LOL. Now THAT is a place where one should really have a digital camera with them. Nah, it is actually a place of many things, sadness, loneliness, but in a strange way, it is also a place of hope, when you realize that you are not alone, in having a day that changes your life. So, there is I was, on my own, in a very strange environment, Alan had just left, and I wasn't really sure what was going to happen next. I had no real feeling at this point, I was just going on faith I think, and I was just along for the ride.

What came next was a series of tests. The usual ones. Ink sqigglies on white cardboard, Where's Waldo? And my personal favorite...Free Expression drawing...with Crayons. LOL. It was a bit overwhelming, and it was a bit funky, and like it or not...there I was. So, I did all the tests, and passed all of them fabulously, but still, NO words could be spoken. The doctor, a nice man 5 or 6 years younger then I was, UGG, didn't prescribe me any medication, because he wasn't sure what was going on with me. I think that was a good idea, I have never been one for weird stuff like that. Now there were folks who had clearly been diagnosed, all around me, because when it came time for medication time, the nurse brought a HUGE cart of drugs onto the floor where I was, and I am pretty sure it contained more then Valium.

About an hour after med time, came the dinner hour. Now this was an event. A tiny little nurse of about 4 ft tall called all of us to line up so we could, "attend the dining hour." Oh my goodness, was it dinner already? No, as it turns out I was a bit confused, it was time for breakfast! I guess I got my hours backwards, when I lost my ability to form words. It didn't matter, I was just going along with the flow anyway, so off i went to have breakfast. Funny thing...I still didn't care about where I was heading to. It could have been Denny's for a "Grand Slam," or the IHOP for a, "Rooty Tooty Fresh & Fruity." It was all good...or was it all bad? Whatever.

So, we all lined up, and went into the elevator, and down to the diningroom we went. I had the tune, Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Work We Go," in my head, thank goodness I wasn't speaking at that point, or I may have burst into song! LOL. As the others each took a tray, I was whisked away by the hospital Laison, which is another doctor who basically sits with you, to help you feel more comfortable. My person was a nice little lady of about 50, who was wonderful. She didn't talk down to me, she didn't speak in hushed tones, she just spoke to me like I was normal. "Carly, since this is your first morning with us, I am going to prepare your breakfast tray, then every day from now on you can go through the line yourself." "Ok," I thought silently to myself..."Whatever."

When the nice doctor came back to the table, she had a 16 oz. glass of orange juice for me, and a juice box for her, she then excused herself and said my meal was on it's way. I looked around, and suddenly I became VERY aware of those around me, and what they were eating. It was huge. All the platters were piled high with food. "It must be an all you can eat," I reasoned. Shrug. That must be nice. :) As it turns out, it wasn't an, "All you can eat," it was, "this is what we want you eat." It all sunk in as my liaison put my tray in front of me.

It contained, 12 scrambled eggs, 2 Lg Blueberry muffins in a cute little basket, 4 slices of toast, a Lg. fruit cup, 8 pieces of crispy bacon, and 4 sm. Buttermilk pancakes. Ugg. Huh? LOL. Ugg again. "Carly, I know it looks like a lot, but we need to keep your strength up, and get plenty of all the right nutrition in you. So eat up. I sat there, began to cry, began to laugh, felt completely lost, and all at once, suddenly I felt found. I began to eat. I picked up my fork, set it back down, and looked at my liaison and asked of her, "You want me to eat what?" Sigh :)

She looked at me, and gave me the biggest smile. "So, the cat doesn't have your tongue." "No, I guess not," I said smiling through my tears. I hadn't spoken a word in 24 hours, I kinda thought maybe I wouldn't speak again, but here I was...speaking, because somewhere in me, I thought it would be rude to not say why I couldn't possibly eat this meal. LOL. As it turned out, I wouldn't have had to eat all that anyway. That meal is given, on a very limited basis, to those who have been prescribed some of the more serious medications, usually in higher doses. It helps them to have a lot of proteins and other nutrients to help with digesting their food properly. The next words out of my mouth were, "can I have a toothbrush?" This made the doctor smile as well. If I cared enough to ask for a toothbrush, then I would be ok to go home. And I was released a couple hours later. Slowly over the next few months, I got back up on my feet and regained my ability to express myself. :) Therapy is a good thing.

We humans should never think we have to handle life alone. I get so frustrated with people who think the hard work Princess Diana, in trying to bring awareness about mental illness out of the shadows and into the light, was a waste of time. She was one of the first of the big celebrities to have the courage to stand up and share her problems, to provide hope for depressed individuals, and those suffering from eating disorders. It takes courage to do that, especially given her life, and how appearances seem to be what matters in certain circles. Therapy is hard, painful work, but so worthwhile. Here I am, years later, and while I really feel that somehow my vocabulary was affected by my momentary snap, I feel emotion again. I can enjoy days like, "How Berkeley Can You Be?" While it may not be for everyone, it is a day to shun the inhibitions that hold us back from sharing ourselves...our true, eccentric, free, selves. We all have joy and fun in us, but if we don't use it once in a while, we stand a good chance of losing it. ;)

Go somewhere today and be silly! Make a child laugh! Make yourself laugh, and give yourself a, "How Me Can I Be Day." :)

How Berkeley Can You Be Day? (2005)

-OndineMonet
"Baby, You Can Drive My Car"
Berkeley, California
Spring, 2005
Early Afternoon

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Return Of Madlibs :)

"Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one."

-Dr. Seuss

It has been way too long since we have played a round of Madlibs. :) I thought it might be fun to bring the game back , because all of us just need a little time for whimsy. Life can get so...so...sad. I think we could all use a healthy dose of the silly. Balance in all things...otherwise one can become unbalanced! LOL. Trust me! :) Maybe one day this week, I will share what they fed me on the first day I spent in the "Home-For-The-What-The-Hell-Happened." I hope you will play along, as always there will be a nifty prize for the winner. This month I will Pimp the winner outrageously, and email them an original photo taken by moi, which will be retired and will belong solely to the winner!

Here is your word list...

1. Color
2. Plural noun
3. Adjective
4. Exclamation
5. Silly word
6. Verb...Past tense
7. Plural Noun
8. Verb
9. Plural Noun
10. Verb
11. Plural Noun

Here are the rules...

Compose a list of words following the list above exactly. The words you send me must be in that order, so that they fit the short Madlib story, which has already been chosen. Email your list to me. (OndineMonet@AOL.com). DO NOT POST YOUR LIST IN THE COMMENTS! Feel free to ask me a question in the comments if you need to know something, that way we can all share the answer. Please put "Madlibs Submission," in the subject line, so I know it isn't SPAM. You must submit your entry no later then Wednesday, April 12th, at 9:00 PM Eastern Time. The winner will be announced on Thursday, April 13th! The winner will receive an email from me, and as I said before I will give their journal a good promotion. Alan is back on board as the official judge of the game, to keep it all fair. Instead of playing once a month like we did on AOL...how about once a week or twice a month? Leave me your ideas. :)

Ok, tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your friends neighbors...everyone is invited. :) Lets see if we can have a good turnout for our return to fun!

-OndineMonet
"Sign Of The Time"
Daly City, California
April 2nd, 2006
Afternoon

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Opening Day!

"If people don't want to come to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?

-Yogi Berra

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Present a picture of something baseball related. It could be of opening day, if you happen to be at opening day this year, or it could be a picture from previous years of you enjoying a day at the park, or just batting a ball with friends.

Remember that although this is called the Monday Photo Shoot, posting your pictures on Tuesday, Wednesday, or even Thursday morning is perfectly acceptable as well.

-John Scalzi (By The Way...)

I love baseball. :) I haven't been to a professional baseball game in a number of years, however. I don't know...it seems things, life, keeps getting in the way. This is a condition I plan to remedy this season. I want to head out to the ball park, if we can work it into Alan's schedule, but if not, I am going to spend my weekends getting reacquainted with my favorite sport. :) I thought it might be fun to do this entry with more then one image, and to share with you some of my favorite quotes from baseball great, Yogi Berra. He was quite a character. :)

"Never answer an anonymous letter."

" The future ain't what it used to be."

"If you come to a fork in the road...take it."

" I don't remember leaving so I guess we didn't go."

This is a madame Alexander doll I keep on my desk. It is called, "Team Mates Girl." She came to me by way of an McDonald's Happy Meal, sometime back. Yes, I buy the Happy Meals for the toys. LOL. I used to collect the original Madam Alexander dolls for a while, and I was feeling kind of nostalgic, so I bought her. :) Hey, it's my way of keeping in touch with my inner child. :)

"If you don't know where you're going, chances are you will end up somewhere else."

"It's deja-vu all over again."

"It's not too far, it just seems like it is."

"We were overwhelmed underdogs."

"We're lost, but we're making good time."

One night, Alan and I were at the first vista, after you cross the Golden Gate Bridge, on the Marin County side, taking some night photographs of the bridge and the Lone Sailor Memorial, when the most beautiful fireworks display began at the conclusion of a San Francisco Giant's Game. I was very lucky to be able to capture this photo. The fireworks over the San Francisco skyline was nothing short of breathtaking. Ahhh...magic! :)

"Little League baseball is very good, it keeps the parents off the street."

"You should always go to other peoples funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours."

"Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical."

"You can observe a lot just by watching."

"I knew exactly where it was, I just couldn't find it."

The first picture above, is of the direction you would go,if you were attending a game being played by the San Francisco Giants, and you were coming westbound across the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge. I took this photo sometime, early last year, before the ballpark's name was changed from, "SBC Park to AT & T Park." The Oakland Coliseum, home to the Oakland A's, has now become, McAfee Coliseum. There is a possibility that will change soon, the owners of the Oakland A's are considering moving the team down to Fremont, California. Still the East Bay, but closer to San Jose, then San Francisco.

And here are the scores for both Bay Area Teams, for Opening Day, 2006. Click on the team names to view their schedule for the year!

Oakland A's (2) Yankees (15)

San Francisco Giants (1) Padres (6)

-OndineMonet

"Baseball Directions, Team Mates Girl, After The Game"

Bay Area, 2005/2006

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Resting Place

"Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills."

-Voltaire

Recently, I decided to visit the Presidio Pet Cemetery. I wasn't sure how it would feel to see all the tiny headstones that dot the small piece of ground it sits on. Placed just beneath the approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, it is a place of peace and quiet reflection. This was a place, where soldiers of the military, stationed at the Presidio, could place their beloved pets, who served them so diligently. That sentiment is reflected over and over, through the epitaphs on the markers and headstones. Some speak of their pets as, "true friends,"while others remain blank, providing no information at all.

I was expecting to find tributes to mostly dogs and cats, but in actuality, there were many different types of pets who were laid to rest here. Hamsters, goldfish, birds, rats, rabbits, cats, and of course, "man's best friend." It was touching to think that soldiers of all ranks in the military, had this little spot to honor their pets in a dignified manner. Some monuments were made from granite, while others were made up of a simple wooden sign, with the animal's name and age written on it.

When I did some research into the cemetery, I found that this quiet, gentle, little place of rest has been the object of controversy over the years. It seems it was even used to make a political point when Representative John J Duncan Jr., (R) of Tennessee, in 1994, referred to the Presidio as the country's "smallest and most expensive national park. Duncan was drawing attention to the fact that the Presidio had been recently converted into a national park, and was therefore yet another burden on the national deficit. He sent out letters to his supporters with a picture of the Presidio Pet cemetery, with the headline, "Is This Your Vision Of A National Park?" All one has to do is walk around the cemetery, and read the headstones, to appreciate the compassion that was shown by the servicemen who had laid to rest their animal friends. It is a tiny, yet very powerful part of the park...it is a place of peace. Is there a more fitting place, for these loyal animals to be laid to rest?

The Presidio became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in late 1994, and it is believed that it was the debate regarding the pet cemetery's merits, that led Congress to establish the Presidio Trust, a public-private government agency which will attempt to make the Presidio self-sufficient by 2013. The cemetery has been officially closed since, 2001, but is being cared for by a nonprofit organization, Swords to Plowshares. Whether or not the tiny parcel of land will remain in the Presidio is unclear, there are plans for possibly building a new approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, which may necessitate the removal of the cemetery.

-OndineMonet
"Pet Cemetery"
Presidio
San Francisco, California
March 29th, 2006
Afternoon

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The National Pastime

"The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder."

-Alfred Hitchcock

Did I mention that I was once a movie star? LOL. Well, actually, I was a movie extra, in the 1994, Danny Glover film, "Angels In The Outfield." I was featured in the crowd scenes, waving and cheering on the team. If you put your DVD or Video on still, then search frame by frame, I can be seen in the front row of the crowd, and the back row...and three seats to the left. LOL. You have to remember, we filmed all day, 11 hours to be exact, just to get about 20 seconds of actual material for the movie. Whew! That was some hard work. LOL. It was a lot of fun however, and we got to meet Danny Glover and we got a nifty T-Shirt and sports bottle that was available only to the crew. It was a long day, but it was tons of fun. Somewhere, I have more photos of my day as a movie extra, I might share them if I can locate them.

I am thinking a lot these days about the game of Baseball. There was a time when, I would rather go to an A's game, then just about any other outing. Most of my courtship with Alan was spent at the Oakland coliseum, or so it was called at the time, sitting in the bleacher seats, taking photos of the game Alan and I both loved. We even collected baseball cards for a while. It was a good time for us, and the game. The "Bash Brothers," Jose Canseco & Mark McGwire were hot, and the Oakland A's in general was experiencing a great time. There were rumors here and there about a rivalry between the two, but when one was at the game, it wasn't apparent. I remember thinking at the time, that even if all the rumors were true, every one of them, there was so much to enjoy about the game, and the other players such as Terry Steinbach and Dennis Eckersley, that I still just enjoyed the game. It was baseball after all.

Sigh. So much has changed since those days back in the late 80's and early 90's. There have been so many changes in life in America, that I wonder if there is anything left that hasn't been touched by some kind of scandal. I am thinking specifically, of course, about the Balco steroid scandal, and the trouble Barry Bonds has been going through. I got the chance to meet Barry Bonds, in October of 1999, when he appeared on a taping of, "Live With Regis & Kathee Lee." The show was taped live from the Marina Green, in San Francisco, and after his segment, he interacted a bit with the audience, chatting and signing autographs. He was there with his family, and he just seemed like a nice, warm, average person. There was no snobbery that I had seen other professional players display, Barry Bonds seemed...genuine.

Sigh. It seems like his life today, as opposed to all those years ago, has taken on a lot of shadows amid the claims of his steroid use. A once brilliant career, is in danger of being lost forever, if those claims turn out to be the true. I can't help but wonder, who gains if it is proven that Barry Bonds used the substance? If it is true, then the record books would wipe clean what he has accomplished. If he is innocent, it might be tough to prove, because of the admission by other players of the game, such as Jason Giambi. Could it be a case of guilt by association? Could it be Barry Bonds has actually lied about his participation in taking the illegal substance? Is he telling the truth? It's all become convoluted, but one thing seems apparent to me, the powers that be, seem to be conducting a witch hunt, rather then an investigation.

It seems to me, that the game of baseball has been hopelessly changed, not just through this mess, but with the gambling scandal involving Pete Rose. I can't believe the question is still being pondered, about whether or not he should ever be allowed into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Should he be forgiven. YES. Should he be allowed into the hall of fame? NO. Pete Rose's record as a professional player stands on it's own, and I realize that the scandal came along after he became a manager for the Cincinnati Reds, but doesn't his conduct as a manager count as well? Does the fact that he never bet against his own team make a difference? What circumstances do you believe must be met, in order for him to once again be considered for the hall of fame?

And what about Barry Bonds? Right now he is beginning another year with the San Francisco Giants. He has said that this will be his final year as a player, but he has said that before. He has let his feelings be known about how he has been hounded by the press, and that he contends the recent book that names him as a steroid user is all fabrication. I expect as the new baseball season begins, and the new investigation into this situation is conducted by Baseball Commissioner, Bud Selig, there will be a lot more information coming to the surface about what goes on in baseball.

Sigh. Do you think there is more pressure put on players today then in the past? Are their salaries part of the problem? Do the fans contribute to the pressures put on professional players? What part of a players record should be deleted, if the allegations are proven true? If there is widespread steroid use among today's players, should it be left to one player to be made an example of? And should it mean a banning for life? What about the record books...should they be wiped clean? There is a lot up in the air regarding this story, I wonder, is baseball still the national pastime, or is the pursuit of the latest scandal the way we Americans choose to spend our time now? Tell me what you think.

-OndineMonet
"Angels In The Outfield"
Oakland, California
October, 1993
Afternoon