"The only reason for making a buzzing noise that I know of is because you're a bee. The only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey. And the only reason for making hones is so I can eat it."
~A.A. Milne, Winnie The Pooh, The House At Pooh Corner
Bzzzzzz. I love photographing busy, buzzy things flying about in my rose garden. And I marvel at that because there was a day when just the thought of being in close proximity to bees or any other creature with a stinger would have terrified me. Well, I had good reason, you see my mother was highly allergic to bees, and apparently somewhat suicidal, because she planted in her garden every bee enticing flower she could find. On especially hot summer days, she would put on her garden hat, and her gloves, and head out to tend her flowers, or as it seemed to me and everyone else in the family, to dare the bees to sting her.
My mother did things like that.
One day, after my father went to work, and my sister went to school, mom set about on her daily walk on the wild side, because the "plants needed tending." I didn't go with her as I usually did. I was happy to sit inside with my dog, but I did watch from the window. It was the usual drill, she visited each plant, checking for aphids or some loathsome creature, but in the middle of all the usual, she suddenly stood up straight, grabbed her arm and promptly fell backwards.
My pup and I went running to her, to see what had happened, but deep down I already knew... she had been stung. I could hear her laboring to breathe, and without reacting I screamed for the next door neighbor to come help, as I ran inside for the small brown kit the doctor had prescribed for her. By the time I got back to the yard, my neighbor was there and talking to her. The neighbor took the syringe from the kit, and injected her with the Epinephrine.
I only saw that happen one time, but believe me, once was enough.
I am not allergic to bees. I always knew this, but just the thought of them being around me made my skin crawl. It took many, many years to learn to appreciate their magnificent beauty. I love Bumble Bees, and Honey Bees, and I have had definitely made my peace with them. I could live without Killer Bees, and Wasps. Hornets just plain give me the creeps, but not as much as they once did. Mud Daubers are dreadful little creatures. One day, Alan and I found a nest over the door on the inside of our storage unit. Blech.
I think I am mostly happy about being able to get past my aversion to flying creatures. I have learned that if you have aphids in your garden, and Home Depot doesn't have a supply of Lady Bugs for sale, you can instead purchase Praying Mantis (The State Bird Of Texas By The Way) and they will eat all the aphids in your garden in a relatively short amount of time. They are good guys, but I will always ask for the Lady Bugs first. It's hard to be put off by anything called "Lady." LOL.
Sometime I will share about why and how I know that the Praying Mantis is the state bird of Texas. I will have to save that for another time. But as a teaser... it involved a bus, 3:00 AM, a roadside diner, in Where-The-Hell-Am-I-Texas and (and I kid you not) a waitress named Flo. LOL. Ahh yes, summertime, summertime... good times, good times. LOL.
Okay, so tell me, do you mind small flying creatures? Which ones do you kinda dislike? Are you allergic to bees?
"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."
"Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic."
Do you see what I see? Do you see that little woman with the red curly hair? When I looked at this lifeless little dahlia, I saw a little old grandma with reddish/brown hair. When I first showed this photo to Alan, he said he saw a Raggedy Ann doll. Alan gets the creeps from any kind of Raggedy Ann or Raggedy Andy dolls, so the dahlia really gave him the creeps.
I don't get the wiggins from Raggedy Ann or any random little grandmas with red hair, so I am not put off by it, but at the same time it's not like it's not weird that it so closely resembles a doll of some sort. Sometimes you can put such things down to the mind simply filling in details that your eyes can't focus on. And that can be good or bad.
When I was a little girl, a dear friend of my mother's showed up one afternoon with a surprise gift for me. It was a painting by Thomas Lawrence called, "Pinkie." It was a painting of young Sarah Goodin Barrett Moultin. She posed for the painting when she was about 11 years old, but unfortunately died a year or so later. Had she lived, she would have been the aunt of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
The painting, and the story behind it makes for interesting reading. But long before I had heard of the details of Sarah's life and demise, I had to admit... I HATED THAT PAINTING WITH A GREAT PASSION! In fact, it scared the SHIT out of me. I was pleasant to the lady who gave it to me, but I would have nothing of it actually hanging in my room. KICKING AND SCREAMING as I recall. My mother finally gave in and put it my parents bedroom, but it didn't work out there either.
One night, about two weeks or so after my mother hung the painting in their bedroom, my dad got up in the middle of the night, took the painting off the wall, and hung it in the spare bedroom where my brother stayed when he was commuting between San Francisco and Sacramento. It didn't work out well in that room. A few nights later. my brother, again in the middle of the night, got up and took the painting off the wall, and set it next to the sofa in the living room. No questions were asked. We all knew it was a spooky painting.
Everyone except my mother, who insisted we were all full of beans, and had watched one too many Creature Features movies. She took it upon herself to hang Pinkie in the living room, coincidentally on the wall opposite the large brass mirror. The mirror my dad could see from the desk in his office.
Once again, in the middle of the night, my dad got up, this time from his desk where he had been working, walked to the living room, took the painting off the wall, and turned it around and hung it backwards toward the wall it was hanging on. I just happened to be passing through the room when he did it, and felt a good bit of satisfaction at seeing others feeling uneasy. There is safety in numbers... right?
"Well, it's just that the eyes kinda follow you around" said dad. "Yep." Said I.
The next day the picture was moved to Mom's plant room, where it hung for about 20 years or so. About a month later another coincidence took place... mom stopped watering her plants before bed, and started watering them first thing after breakfast each day. We never talked about it, but I am pretty sure Pinkie had finally gotten to her to, but being the good natured, respectful daughter that I was I never said... I TOLD YOU SO!
Is creepy in the eye of the beholder? Is one man's creepy another man's beautiful? Is creepy subjective? Had we watched too many episodes of Creature Features? Were the eyes in the picture following us around the room? Was it all just our imaginations? Was it all just the power of suggestion? Was it a haunted painting?
I'm thinking... ummm... yes! And we will leave it at that.
Now, tell me, do you see the face in the dahlia? If so, do you find it cute or spooky/creepy?
"In dreams you don't need to make any distinctions between things. Not at all. Boundaries don't exist. So, in dreams there are hardly ever collisions. Even if there are, they don't hurt. Reality is different. Reality bites. Reality, reality."
"Summer makes me drowsy. Autumn makes me sing. Winter's pretty lousy, but I hate the spring."
Yesterday, Alan and I decided to take the new toy to San Francisco. Golden Gate Park is great this time of year, everyone is back at school, and the tourists are waning off. It's so much easier to find a place to park this time of year. The summer can be downright frustrating, so we didn't spend a lot of time there this year. Now it's time to make up for lost time!
The gardens within the park are absolutely gorgeous! One of our favorites is the garden at the Queen Wilhelmina Windmill. During the spring months, the landscape is usually covered with brightly colored tulips and California Poppies. But in the autumn the garden is transformed with flowers of crimson and rust colors. It's lovely. I got a nice surprise while visiting yesterday, when I spotted a Black Phoebe resting for a bit on one of the small rock walls. Happiness! I wish I could have gotten closer to the Phoebe, but I wasn't planning on doing birdwatching, so I am just happy I got this photo no worries!
Vacation officially starts Monday, and I am planning on doing a lot of bird watching. I am hoping to post at least one new bird photograph per week. If you want to join me, we can designate one particular day to post our cross posts. Let me know what you think!
Only 40 more days left in my project, "A Photo A Day For 6 Months." If you haven't participated, and would still like to, you are more than welcome to do so. Jump in anytime. Just post your photo, of whatever subject catches your eye that day, and leave me a link to it in the comment thread. I will make sure your name is added the the participation list with the next post. Joining in couldn't be easier! At the end of the 40 days I will announce whether or not I will be relaunching the Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot (EMPS). Let me know how you feel about that project. If there is no interest, no worries, perhaps it was time to let it come to it's logical end, but if you really enjoyed it, I will be happy to host it.
Just know... NO worries either way. Okay?
Okay, that it for me, now go visit my pal JR. He has been a great and loyal friend. Its those like him, that make me thankful that I took on the MPS, because I have enjoyed viewing his photography very much! If you haven't been by his blog... go... view... be happy!
"Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror."
It's a boy! Well, at least I think it's a boy. It's blue. Or is that sexist? I am not sure. What do you think? I mean when a baby is born, the hospital usually puts little boys in blue blankets, and girls in pink ones. At least they did the last time I saw a new human. When my nephew was born, about 28 years ago, he was wrapped in an cornflower blue blanket. It was a lovely color. That blanket came home with him. Every time I see that particular shade of blue, I can't help but think of the day I met my nephew.
The color of our new car is quite similar. So yeah... I think the car is a boy. :)
And now I have to think of an appropriate name.
What do you think of the name Corny? Too corny? LOL.
Oh well, there's time. I will figure it out. I will be out driving around and it will come to me.
Right now, I am exhausted. I was sad trading in my lovely Lilith. I wish Saturn/GMC would have stood by it's cars. I wish they wouldn't have been so damned underhanded. I wish there was more oversight to protect the consumer against lemons. But you know the old saying... "If wishes were horses... "
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."
Now, go see what my friend JR is seeing with his camera! He is awesome!
"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."
~Charles M. Schulz
A truly well done Hot Chocolate is a thing of beauty. :) One of our favorite traditions in autumn, is to spend the day after Thanksgiving in San Francisco, watching the mad dash of holiday shoppers going here and there in Union Square. Alan and I consider that day, known in shopping circles as, Black Friday, one of our favorite holidays. We have our turkey feast the night before, pass out cold by 7:30 pm, and get up in the wee early hours of the day after Thanksgiving, to get a head start on watching the shopping crazies try to beat their fellow shoppers to Macy's or Bloomingdales or even Walmart, with the goal of getting one of the specialty priced... oh... say... left-handed monkey pliers for Great-Aunt Mauggie. You remember her... right? She is your aunt 17 times removed. LOL But she always remembers you during the holidays by sending you an over sized, musical Christmas card, with postage due.
Oh... I kid the strange aunt. LOL. Alan and I don't have anyone all that dramatic to deal with, in fact except for his parents, that's the only family we have. Otherwise we are just us in this world. Gosh, I miss his brother this time of year. Daryl passed away in 2008 at age 50. We talked a few times a year, especially during the holidays, so I think of him and miss him, but I also smile because of all the games of Monopoly we played on holidays when we were kids. I met Alan and Daryl on Memorial day in 1977, and after that when our families got together for Christmas breakfast, or New Year's celebration, the three of us, and whoever else was there, always played board games after dinner. But that was back when I was a kid, and could eat a heavy Thanksgiving dinner, without succumbing to a carbohydrate coma.
Daryl was a great guy, it doesn't hurt to think of him anymore. In fact, this might sound strange, but sometimes I swear I can hear him laughing. Especially during those times when I trip or some other self embarrassing moment. LOL. He and Alan were the only ones who could get away with teasing me about my stumbles. LOL. We were the best kind of family, family you wanted to have as opposed to the ones God, in his odd sense of humor, gives you. I have a lot to ask God about. LOL. Daryl was a gift to everyone who knew him. He knew Alan and I were in love long before we did, but he let us come to that realization on our own, and in our own time. The day we got engaged, we called to tell him, and in a voice soft with happiness he asked... "What took you guys so long?"
Daryl would have loved Black Friday as much as we do. I can almost see the three of us, sitting at the shiny silver outdoor table at Emporio Rulli Il Cafe in Union Square, laughing at all the shoppers fighting over the awesome bargains. LOL. Is there anything more relaxing than finding your zen in the middle of complete Chaos? LOL. But it's just Alan and I and our memories of all the holidays, and laughter, and wild debates about whether or not Alan and I make up our own words when playing Password. LOL. If I had a nickle for every time Daryl said... "THAT'S NOT A WORD!"
I hope Daryl knows that when we meet again one day, the Hot Chocolate is on me! LOL. And I can already hear my friend/brother laughing about it!
Now go check out what my pal JR is up to with his camera!
"Thin clouds form, and the shadows lengthen out. They have no breadth, as summer shadows have, there are no leaves on the trees or fat clouds in the sky to make the thick. They are gaunt, mean shadows that bite the ground like teeth. As the sun nears the horizon, its benevolent yellow begins to deepen, to become infected, until it glare an angry inflamed orange. It throws a variegated glow over the horizon."
-Stephen King, Salem's Lot
There's more to autumn than earth tones and falling leaves. There is my favorite holiday... Halloween. Including today, we have 6 Mondays to get through before the veil between this world and the next thins to a silky gossamer shadow, like the ghostly cobweb that you sometimes see floating on an invisible autumn breeze. October is a magical month. The light begins to dim, which can make one see things that may or may not be there. What better time to start a new photography project? So, this October, I thought I would finally do something I have always wanted to do... start a photo essay of Bay Area cemeteries.
I have written in stone, pun intended, my plan to do just that. I know some would find that a bit creepy but I have found cemeteries to be places of great comfort. Not that I want to move in or anything, but there is a lot of history to be learned there. I definitely don't fear cemeteries because more often then not, I have felt a different, personal kind of comfort I am thankful for.
The town of Colma, which is just south of San Francisco, is known as the "City of Souls. There is a resident count of approximately 1600 above ground residents but a count of 1.5 million "souls" occupying the 16 cemeteries. I don't think I would enjoy being there in the event of a zombie apocalypse. LOL. Hey, it could be a thing, apparently the Office of Homeland Security is preparing for the possibility. LOL. So I can keep and open mind.
But Zombie Apocalypse aside, for a history buff like me, Colma, California, is a great source of inspiration. Among the permanent guests of the town are, Wyatt Earp. William Randolph Hearst. Joe DiMaggio. Levi Strauss and Emperor Norton. Emperor Norton... now there is a fascinating historical "soul." If you haven't heard of him, take a moment to read about him here. What a character!
Does it sound morbid that I am looking forward to just visiting as many cemeteries as I can on vacation? Perhaps. But at least I won't have to do too much waiting in line. Well, other than the line we are all waiting in anyway. So that will be one of my top projects in October, but I probably won't be in the cemetery on October 31st, well, if I can possibly help it, you know... just in case that whole Zombie Apocalypse is an actual thing. LOL.
"Autumn that year painted the countryside in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron and russet, and the days were clear and crisp under harvest skies."
~Sharon Kay Penman, Time And Chance
Okay, now I can post a new autumn photo every day, and no one can accuse me of trying to rush the year along! LOL. Truth is, I know I begin to miss autumn the day after Christmas each year. It's that week, between Christmas and New Years, that I begin to see the colors of autumn fading away. I don't mind winter, it holds some wonderful opportunities for a photo bug like me, but the smell of fireplaces, and the taste of apple cider and the delicious seasonal feasts of Pear and Havarti sandwiches, with a mug of freshly made French Onion soup, makes those short beautiful 90 or so days feel like a big warm hug. No other season comes close to giving me a sense of well being quite like autumn does.
"Squeeze your eyes closed, as tight as you can, and think of all your favorite autumns, crisp and perfect, all bound up together like a stack of cards. That is what it is like, the awful, wonderful brightness of fairy colors. Try to smell the hard, pale wood sending up sharp, green smoke into the afternoon. To feel the mellow, golden sun on your skin, more gentle and cozier and more golden than ever the light of your favorite reading nook at the close of the day."
~Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making
And now the beautiful "Amas Veritas" from the movie Practical Magic...
If autumn had a theme song, I believe it would be Amas Veritas.
Now, pop over to my friend JR's blog and say Hi. He is awesome, he always makes me smile. :)