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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Beginning With A Blank Canvas

"Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.

-Mrs. C.W. Earle (Pot-pourri from a Surrey Garden) 1897


Like I said in a previous entry... it's been a few years since I did much with my flower garden. I am basically starting all over with the corner of the garden. I like this area, because it is right inside my garden gate, and the ground is pretty good here. I have a rose bush against the fence, which was here when I moved in. The roses are nice, but they wouldn't have been what I would have chosen for this spot. I will prune it and by next autumn it will be in good shape again. I want to try and get it moving along the fence as a cover. We'll see. I am putting the new roses I bought the other day into medium sized containers on Sunday, and I am placing the campanula in-between each pot.


Last night, I made another trip to Home Depot to pickup some potting soil and decided to get a few more seeds while I was there. I saw some seeds that were specifically packaged to encourage hummingbirds and butterflies. It is your basic wildflower mix. Black-Eyed Susan, Painted Daisy, Alyssum, Purple Cornflower and some assorted others. I haven't decided if I want to try the large planter or if I want to place them directly in the ground and just let them spread. Again I might think on it for a couple days. I know for sure I am going to put the Cosmos and the California poppy in containers, but I might decide to extend the planting area so that whole side just comes alive with color.


If I do, I will probably get some decorative border rock or bricks. Or maybe some small picket fencing. That might be kinda cute. I want to see how the flowers do first. I suppose, in a way, this is an investment in next spring, but who knows, roses tend to bloom right into winter here in California, depending on the weather. :) What's nicer then roses in December?

Sunday afternoon is my day for gardening. I'm looking forward to that. Alan is working on his vegetable garden as well, then he is making dinner for us on the BBQ, so it should be a nice relaxing day together. He is excited about my renewed interest in my garden, he hasn't seen me really animated about it in a long time :)
This is going to be a good summer I think.



Hopefully, the Ethereal Musician will be home, and playing his sax on Sunday. I heard him for a few minutes today, he really loves the summer. There's lots of beautiful music here in the hills in summertime. It's hard not to think of him as a friend after all these years. He has brought a lot of smiles to Alan and I with his music. Maybe someday I will get to meet him, but for now I just think of him as a summer spirit. :) I'll post an entry on my gardening progress soon.

-OndineMonet
June 15, 2007
Late Afternoon

Friday, June 15, 2007

Steven's Feline Friday: LolCats

"There is a close relationship between the " ha-ha" of humor and the "aha!" of discovery."

-Roger Von Oech




It's Feline Friday time, over at my pal Steven's. Gosh this week has certainly got away from me. I had planned on doing this entry days ago. :) I had also planned on getting some new photos of Elvis. It just all got away from me. Oh well. I will be doing some new photos of him this coming week for sure, so y'all will see some new ones soon. In the mean time I hope these bring everyone a giggle or two. This is the first time I did a LolCat. I Can Has CheezBurger, is an intersting and fun site, but I am not sure if the photos I did are good enough for submission... what do you think? Should I try to make my Elvis a star????? Be sure to drop by (sometimes) photoblog to see the other submissions for this week.

Elvis Health Update: There was good news at the vet yesterday, it seems that increasing his insulin to 4cc twice a day is doing the trick. He is looking like his old self... and he is giggling more often. :) We are a happy family. :)


-OndineMonet
"Elvis Is Awake"
Berkeley, California
Summer, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment#170: Kitchen Tips





"Cabbage: a familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man's head."

-Ambrose Bierce

Weekend Assignment #170: Share a useful tip for the kitchen. It can be about anything from cooking to cleaning, as long as it involves something in the kitchen (which, for the purposes of this assignment, includes the pantry and the table you eat at).

Extra Credit: You're ten and allowed to cook a meal. What do you cook?

-John Scalzi (By The Way)



I like this Weekend Assignment John, as I am always looking for new ways to get things done, especially in the kitchen. I spend a lot of time cooking. I love it, but it can be kind of time consuming if you aren't prepared before you begin. I have learned over the years, that sometimes you simply have to invest time, to save time. So, here are a few of my ideas for making things run more smoothly in the kitchen.

The Ziploc Bag Is Your Friend :)

1. The Ziploc bag is your friend. :) When I buy the extra large containers of side dish products, such as Stove Top stuffing, I measure out into Ziploc bags what would constitute the correct servings for Alan and myself, and place the filled Ziploc bags back into the Stove Top container until ready to use. It also helps when I am busy, and Alan helps me out, if all he has to do is grab the pre-measured bag, and toss it in the boiling water for me. At Thanksgiving, it saves me a couple steps, and it also eliminates one more dirty thing in the sink to wash up, because my measuring cup doesn't get dirty. :) I like having one less thing to wash. :)

2. The Ziploc bag is your friend again! When I take meat or chicken out of the original packages for cooking, I always use small Ziploc bags on my hands to pick up the raw meat. That way I don't get bacteria on my hands. Then I fold and place the used package, and the smaller bags, inside a large Ziploc bag, before throwing it away. It is more sanitary then simply putting the package in the garbage, and it eliminates that yucky odor that sometimes comes up the next day, before you can take the garbage out. :)

3. When I purchase large quantities of frozen products, like say, a package of 24 frozen corn dogs, I take them out of the large box which takes up too much room in the freezer, and put maybe 4 or so into qt or gallon Ziploc bags. They stack easier, and all I have to do is cut the instructions off the box and place it inside one of the packages for referring back to when I go to cook.


None of my kitchen tips are anything new, and they probably aren't all the clever either, but they work us. :)


Extra Credit: Ok, I am 10 years old, and I am allowed to cook a meal. Hmmm. Well, with it being very nearly summer, I think I would probably prepare something cool and summery, like a delicious dinner salad.I like my veggies, but it doesn't have to be made with just vegetables. A really delicious dinner salad can be made with leftover steak cut into strips, or with cooked chicken or even ground beef. Taco Salads are yummy, and they are really easy to make. Also yummy, stuffed tomatoes with tuna/chicken or egg salad.

On the other hand, if you want a hot dinner, which isn't too fussy, how about Stuffed Peppers? Vegetable Lasagna, or maybe Chicken Pot Pie. All those sound much more complicated then they really are. Simple choice of meat and rice or risotto for the peppers, cheeses, veggies and a jar of Alfredo sauce for the Lasagna. The Pot Pie can be made really quick with some cut up chicken, a couple cans of cooking soup like cheddar cheese, cream of chicken, or cream of mushroom soup, a small bag of frozen veggies (can't forget the veggies) and a frozen two layer pie crust. :) My nephew asked me to teach him to cook when he was about 8, and I started him with those dishes. He did very well with them. I assisted him with the oven, but heck, who doesn't need help with that from time to time? :)


For dessert, can't forget dessert, chocolate dipped strawberries. All you have to do is melt the chocolate in the container and dip away. Chocolate strawberries are just yummy every single day, and they're fun to make. :)

PS Don't forget to check out the YouTube retromercial above. Stove Top Stuffing, circa 1985. :)

-OndineMonet


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Moving On To Summer

"Then followed that beautiful season, summer. Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood."

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow




I am ready to move on to a new season, and I think this is going to be a good summer. Alan and I have been really busy the last few days, getting the garden prepared for planting. He does the vegetables, fruits and gourds, and I tend to the flowers and herbs. It has been a couple years since I have felt like taking care of a garden, so it will take a little bit of work to get everything prepared, but I found some amazing miniature roses at Home Depot the other day, and they are all set and ready to go. :) I also bought some Cosmos seed and some multi-colored Four O' Clocks. I am hoping to encourage some butterflies to pay me a visit this autumn. I haven't had many in the yard the last few years. Since I have been too tired this year to do much traveling with the camera, I hoping the garden will bring me some good opportunities. :)

We also got some bird seed for the feeder, to encourage our Wrens, California song birds, and Robins to come by for a visit. A garden filled with happy sounds in summer is a good thing, in fact, it should be just what the doctor ordered. :) We have set up the canopy, so I will have some shade in the middle of the day. I like to go outside with the sketch book, if it isn't too hot. The last couple days have been really warm, but we will be cooling off by the weekend, time to play with Elvis outdoors I think. I am thinking about hanging some colored lights from the canopy, to create a nice mood. We'll see. I love setting a nice table, especially when Alan cooks. He is amazing with the BBQ, I am so lucky to have found a guy who likes to cook as much as I do. I can't wait for the vegetables later this summer, a nice veggie kabob, with either his favorite Raspberry Chipotle sauce or a Balsamic Vinegrette, is a nice low maintenance dinner on a hot summer evening. Summer begins in just 7 days... yikes... I better get busy! :) More pictures to come as the garden progresses.

-OndineMonet
"A New Mini Rose"
Berkeley, California
June 12, 2007
Early Evening

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Round Robin Challenge: Fabulous Freaks Of Nature


"How strange that nature does not knock, yet does not intrude."

-Emily Dickinson, in a letter to Mrs. J. S. Cooper, 1880

Our friend, and fellow Robin, Meg, author of the journal, "In Quest Of" has given chosen "Fabulous Freaks of Nature" as our current challenge to tackle. But she has also given us a secondary choice of subjects for the challenge, "Beautiful Butterflies." At first I was finding it quite difficult to come up with an example of a freak of nature. Not one potato shaped like a duck, or a tomato shaped like the Liberty Bell, or even a plaid purple people eater. LOL. What to do? So I began looking in my archives for some butterfly photos that I took at the conservatory last year. I came up with a few that I haven't previously posted, so I thought I might do a butterfly extravaganza! But then I remembered that in my files was a really cool example of a freak of nature... the double coconut I saw at the Conservatory of Flowers, special exhibit.

I know, I know... it's a little on the rude side. LOL. And as I passed by it the first time, I didn't even notice it's... ahem... strangeness. It was on the second pass through the line that I began to hear the silly snickers. LOL. I couldn't help but laugh out loud myself. I don't know... I think it's kinda cool. What do you think? Cool? Educational? Or just plain rude? One things for sure, I think it definitely qualifies as a "Fabulous Freak Of Nature." So, as you can see, I decided to do both suggestions for this entry. :) Thank you Meg, for this awesome challenge!



The Butterfly Extravaganza...


Great Northern White


Gulf Fritillary


Cabbage White


Skipper


Skipper


Skipper


Zebra Longwing


Crimson Longwing

Be sure to visit Meg, and the other Robin participants. You can find each entry by clicking the links below. If you have never played along with us, I hope you will consider joining us sometime. All you need is a blog, a camera, and a little bit of creativity. You can find all the information you need by visiting the official Round Robin Photo Challenge blog, which can be found here.

-OndineMonet

Linking List

1. Meg... In Quest Of
POSTED!

2. Carly... Ellipsis
POSTED!

3. boliyou... Percolation
POSTED!

4. Janet... Fond of Photography
POSTED!

5. Karen... Outpost Mavarin
POSTED!

6. Gina... Gina's Space
POSTED!

7. Marie... Photographs and Memories Too
POSTED!

8. Kerrin... Macro Capture


9. Suzanne R... New Suzanne R's Life
POSTED!

10. Julie... Julie's Web Journal
POSTED!

11. Tammie Jean... Long Drives To Nowhere


12. Steven... (sometimes) photoblog
POSTED!

13. Gattina... Keyhole Pictures

POSTED!
14. Teena... It's all about me!

POSTED!

15. Vicki... Maracas

POSTED!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: In Flight


"When you get to the end of all the light you know, and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly."

~Edward Teller

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Capture something in flight. Birds, insects, planes,bats, whatever - if it's getting around in the skies, it's fair game for this shoot.

~John Scalzi (By The Way)


Birdies. I chose three of my favorite seagull photos from my archive of winged creatures to share with you. :) The large photo above was taken in Monterey, along the 17 Mile drive. The second photo in this entry, of the brown seagull, was taken in San Francisco, at Ocean Beach, just outside the Golden Gate. It is also one of the first few photos I took with my digital camera. It was a beautiful, clear and unusually warm January morning in 2005. I know I have shown that particular photo before, but it really is one of my better photographs of a creature in flight. :) And the last photo, the one of the group of seagulls in flight, was taken here in Berkeley, at the marina. It is the view looking toward Richmond, California. I took that photo just a few months back. I like photographing seagulls, they make very agreeable subjects. :)

~OndineMonet
Monterey, Ocean Beach, Berkeley
2006 2005 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

1 Of 40 Million





"The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself."

-Benjamin Franklin


One of the good things about having a mother who was legally insane, was that it was perfectly ok for me to completely skip my bedtime in favor of watching The Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson. LOL. I don't know why I have been having so many memories of my family coming up in my brain lately, but if the truth be told, those memories aren't always so bad. Like the night my mother, my sister and I watched Tiny Tim marry Miss Vicki on the Tonight Show. It was December 17th, 1969, and I really thought that must have been the wedding of the century. Actually, I found out from TV.com that it was the highest rated episode of the tonight show, during it's entire run! We were one of 40 Million households that tuned in that night.


My sister and I always stayed up late watching TV or gabbing away as sisters do. She is 10 years older then I am, and so often times she is the one who took care of me. Mom would be in some dark, vacant place that depression takes you, so bedtime wasn't strictly enforced. Dad worked the graveyard shift, so it was just my sister and me... watching Carson. It's a happy memory, it only sounds sad. On the night Tiny Tim married Miss Vicki, sis and I went all out. We made cheese puffs in the oven, Jiffy pop on the stove, and drank a few bottles of very cold Coca-Cola, you know, out of those little green bottles. :)Yum. And we laughed. But when the wedding started, everything went quiet. Mom came in the living room about half way through, and sat down with us on the sofa. She smiled, then she laughed, then we all laughed. You could just feel the usual tension lift away.



I was hoping I could find a video of Tiny Tim's wedding to Miss Vicki on YouTube, but it was nowhere to be found. I did however find this video of him singing, "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. It is worth watching, so give it a look see. He will make you smile, if not for his quirkiness, then certainly for his charm. I miss his brand of odd charm and silliness. He was an original to be sure. Do you know, my whole life, whenever I get scared I sing. I have no idea why, but I do. I usually sing some novelty song, such as "People Are Strange" by The Doors, or "Home On The Range," or my very favorite for when I am truly petrified, "Tiptoe Through The Tulips." :) I think I have Tiny Tim to thank for seeing me through a lot of panic attacks! Thanks old friend! :)

Tiny Tim Memorial Site

Tiptoe Through The Tulips
As Sung By Tiny Tim and Carly Gordon :)

Tiptoe through the window
By the window, is where I'll be
Come tiptoe through the tulips with me

Oh, tiptoe from the garden
By the garden of the willow tree
And tiptoe through the tulips with me

Knee deep in flowers from the garden
We'll keep the showers away
And if I kiss you in the garden, in the moonlight
Will you pardon me?
And tiptoe through the tulips with me

Go ahead... sing that song to yourself and try not to smile. :) I dare you! :)

-OndineMonet
Pictures 1, 2, 3
Golden Gate Park
Tulip Garden and Windmill
San Francisco, California
March 21, 2007
Late Afternoon

Sunday, June 10, 2007

You Just Never Know...


"If we don't change our direction we're likely to end up where we're headed."

-Chinese Proverb




Isn't that cute? Tee Hee. I found this window the other day, while on my travels around Berkeley, and I just had to snap off a photo. "Wolf House" with a chihuahua in the window. LOL. It's graduation time in Berkeley, and there are lots and lots of old mattresses and dressers lining the streets, as kids either go onto greener pastures, or go home for the summer. Lots of changes going on. Soon, the redecorating will begin. It will be quite around the campus for the next couple months, and then one day I will begin to see the sofas sitting in front of dorms and the Greek houses. That signals the beginning of autumn. :) Ok, I can admit it, I find it all kind of fun to watch. Yes "Ms. Doesn't Like Change" can admit, some change is good. Like with my blog.

I am not sure if you have noticed, but I have dropped the "Suddenly Carly" and gone back to it's original name of "Ellipsis." I don't know... it just never seemed to catch on. I saw folks continuing to call it just "Ellipsis" so why fight it? :) It's a cool name all on it's own. It works for me. While I was making the decision to go back the original name, I also decided that now might be a good time to do some template tweaking as well. So, excuse the construction. I will be putting my sidebar links in a little at a time, so no worries, if you aren't there now, you will be added back soon. I promise. If you haven't been on my sidebar, but would like to be, send me an email and I will see what I can do. Like I said, I am going to take my time getting used to the new template. Hopefully I will be finished by the end of the summer. :) In the mean time, please bear with me. I might cut myself a bit of a break by showing a little more YouTube, but I promise it will be something fun, or worth looking at. Heck, maybe I will make a video and upload it for an entry... you just never know. Stay Tuned.

-OndineMonet
"Wolf House"
Berkeley, California