"You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need."
Oh well, another Black Friday has come and gone. I love Black Friday, it's been a big deal to Alan and I since before we were a couple... yes... that long ago... when we realized one day that we both like to watch people be people. But what's so special about people being people? Glad you asked. People, being for the most part creatures of habit, are also individual in their their daily goings on and pursuits. Well, DUH you say... and you would be right. It is an obvious thing for me to say, but you see, we enjoy seeing all those different individual styles and actions, and customs and attitudes come together in large groups.
Yesterday, we saw families, friends, friends of families. Loners. Friends and family of loners. Business folk, casual folk, stylish folk, generous folk. Happy people. Sad people. Bored people. Conservatives. Democrats. Those who want peace in the Middle East. Those who would rather have war. Homeless. Those who want to share the "good news." Those who don't watch the news. Those who would rather not see anyone, at anytime, wear fur. There were people protesting the support of some guy named Donald Trump... whoever HE is. Moms. Dads. Sons. Daughters. Grannies and Grandpas. Ladies who lunch... and shop till they drop. Tourists. The list of who one could encounter on Black Friday is endless... but it's never boring! And neither is the general scene that is there every year, and that can be counted on like a dear old friend.
"Budget: A mathematical confirmation of your suspicions."
~ A.A. Latimer
It would seem that consumer spending is up this year. That means confidence is up as well! That is a very good sign. Dare I say it? THINGS MIGHT JUST BE GETTING BETTER! America is finally healing! That is a really good feeling, being able to say it out loud and fully mean it! Yesterday was a lovely day, and there is still a lot of things to photograph on another occasion. I will be visiting the square again before the holidays are over. I want to do some night photography in and around Union Square, as well as other areas of the city, during the holiday season. It's a gorgeous city any day of the year, but it is especially lovely this time of year!
"The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her."
Is there anything better than shopping on Black Friday? No, really, what's it like? LOL. Black Friday is a BIG holiday in our house, but not for the reason you think. You see, Alan and I love to go to some shopping mecca, our favorite being Union Square in San Francisco, and watch others enjoying their post Turkey Day shopping. Hey, we ladies deserve a day of shopping porn. We work hard on Thanksgiving making loved ones feel comfortable, preparing the perfect holiday dinner, and generally seeing to every one's needs. Now don't get me wrong, we love all that homespun stuff, but the next day, when we are out hunting bargains, we get to step into another plane of existence! The RETAIL dimension.
Being a girl that likes a good bargain, I wouldn't mind trying that walk in the RETAIL DIMENSION sometime, but on Black Friday, I just want to grab a warm drink, and sit next to Alan, and see who can spot the most unusual shopping oddity! We like to people watch, and oh what people we have seen over the years! One time we saw two lovely ladies, rushing through the square, with bags from Victoria's Secret, the Disney Store, Tiffany's, Barney's and Bloomingdale's, all lined up... wait for it... wait for it... hanging from a shower curtain rod between them! Now THAT is resourcefulness! LOL. As humorous as it was, I had to give the girlfriends all the credit in the world, that rod made carrying all those bags much easier to handle.
"Don't waste your love on somebody, who doesn't value it."
~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
This year I had planned to go into Macy's and purchase a little something. Just one a small item, so I could say I was a part of the fun, but I am having a hard time trying to figure out whether or not I can bring myself to shop at Macy's ever again! I have to admit, I am not happy with how Macy's has handled the whole Donald Trump baloney. As you probably know, I am not a big fan of Mr. Trump, I think he is the worst kind of person, the kind that seeks to divide, for his own selfish gains. And I am not alone in that opinion. I am in the company of about 650,000 other consumers who signed a petition to let Macy's know how we feel about Donald Trump being a part of Macy's "magic." Macy's answered the petition with a resounding... SO WHAT?
Okay, that's fair. And so is my rethinking what I "BELIEVE" in. Macy's loves to tell us to BELIEVE. I believe that Macy's is not where I want to spend money. But is it possible to find any retail experience that would line up perfectly with my personal values? Probably not on the scale of Macy's. Or any other large retailer, but I know independent stores can not only give me more personal service, but make me feel good about supporting my community. I think it's time that our household get back to some basics. It's time to spend money in Berkeley, and the East Bay. In fact, this Saturday is National Small Business Saturday! It's the day to support those small local gems of low stress shopping.
I am uncomfortable with boycotts, I feel like the ones who suffer aren't the CEO's or the Trumps of the world, but the everyday sales people just trying to earn an honest living. A living which might only be seasonable. It's a tough situation to consider. On the one hand, I don't want to put money in the pockets of companies that contribute to such negativity, but I feel for the people who show up to work for an honest days living, only to be put in the middle of such bitter sentiments. Sigh. Black Friday used to be a day for bargains, and fun, and a chance to get out into the world and relax, but now, it's already stressful, and as I write this, it's not even 1:00 am!
"Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury... to me these have always been contemptimtible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind."
Okay, tell me what you think? Black Friday... thumbs up or thumbs down? Donald Trump... winner or loser? Donald Trump... to dump or not to dump? Will you be shopping on Black Friday? How about Small Business Friday? Tell me everything?
"Here in Britain, of course, it's Thank Fuck We Got Those Weird Jesus Bastards On The Boat Day."
Yesterday, I shared about what I am truly thankful for, and I was happy with the list when I was finished with it, but if I am being 100% truthful, there is one more thing that I am thankful for. I am thankful that whatever family I have left, is NOWHERE NEAR ME! Well, blood relation family, not the family I married into. Alan's family is the only REAL family I ever had! I do miss my dad though, he was a difficult man, but we shared the same sense of humor, and I got my Progressive values from him, and for that I am forever thankful. Family... sigh... don't tell me God has no sense of humor. LOL. My dad also held the belief that if you couldn't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all. So dear Family, in that spirit, Dad and I wish you...
;) Everyone Else... From Our House To Yours... HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize
And your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
"Everyone needs a warm personal enemy or two to keep him free from rust in the movable parts of his mind."
Do I like Ice Plant? Do I not like Ice Plant? I like the pretty purple flowers that bloom in spring, and are still around in late summer. I LOVE the gorgeous earthy tones in autumn. But on the other hand, you can pack a picnic lunch and go sit in a patch of Ice Plant. Also, you can't pick a bouquet of those pretty flowers and put them in a vase. Although you can enjoy the loveliness of the plant as you drive up and down the coast of California. Plus... if your car runs off the road while you are enjoying said beauty, you will probably be okay, because Ice Plant will stop a moving car!
Okay, I suppose I like Ice Plant enough, but I kinda doubt I will be planting any in my garden anytime soon. But on the other hand, Ice Plant does well in properly planned rock gardens. Not that I am going to plant a rock garden, but its good to know. Ice Plant... it's a complicated thing. You would never think it just by looking at it would you?
And Now A Rose Garden Update...
RedGold November 2012
It's past the mid point of November, so I am getting ready to prune the roses back by 1/3 as is suggested. This will probably be the last week for garden updates, but there is plenty to see. The roses have taken the sudden change of weather really well, so it is still producing nicely, however one look at the edges and you can see the mild withering of the petals. We'll see how the next month or two goes, but with any luck, I will have a rose or two for Christmas. Fingers crossed!
"Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome."
Here is the latest scene that can be found in one of my favorite parks in the East Bay... Cull Canyon Park. It was raining yesterday, so there was a proper chill in the air, just enough to remind me that it's time to get the scarves and mittens out! There was a little bit of mist moving ghostly through the trees, and if you stood in one place, you could hear the fallen leaves dancing about. It's so strange, some years there are red, yellow, pink and orange leaves right up until December 21st. I love those years of Christmas shopping, while counting leaves. This year will be different. The color is already draining from autumn's face, and in it's place will be the cold wrinkles of winter.
If the Mayan prophesy is true, as autumn ends, so will our existence. Actually, they didn't really foretell of the end of days, so much as a time of transformation. Personally, I don't believe it will be our literal end that day, but it certainly is possible to see dire times ahead. It's possible that someone, somewhere will make a decision that will... well... usher in a new reality. It's a shame about the escalating violence between Israel and Palestine. War for peace sake has never made much sense to me, but who am I to tell anyone how to achieve happiness. I don't have an opinion on that conflict. It's up to them to determine their destiny, but I do wish that there was peace and except when it comes to autumn leaves... I would love a hundred year war of autumn leaves. I wonder which color would emerge as the ultimate victor?
Red? Yellow? Pink? Orange? Green? Brown?
Only time, and the seasons, will tell! In the mean time, I will just keep counting autumn leaves.
You can't stop the future
You can't rewind the past
The only way to learn the secret is to press play
~Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why
I don't take many photos around Berkeley, I don't know why, I guess I take it a bit for granted. I don't do many photos in Oakland either, or Hayward, or Fremont. This is something I am going to have to do something about. The Niles district of Fremont has a rich history in movie making, it was especially popular during the silent film era, with stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Wallace Beery, and Ben Taupin, making silver screen magic. But the area is also known for it's railroad Niles Canyon Railway, and is somewhat of a mecca for weekend antique enthusiasts. It's a pretty area, and I think I will drop in there soon.
Tonight however, I need to concentrate on the city of Berkeley, a place that never ceases to inspire me. In that its a college town, there are certain quirks that can always be counted on. If it's August, that means you will begin to see old couches and chairs, in front of frats, sororities, and student housing sitting by the side of the street, for at least a two block radius around the college, as the new year begins, and new students replace departing graduates. It's fun to hunt the furniture. Sometimes you might see a pink plaid sofa, or perhaps an over stuffed easy chair, that has served it's owner well as evidenced by the white stuffing that can usually be seen coming out of it.
I like looking at the furniture, but as you know if you have read my blog for any length of time, I really enjoy looking at windows, no matter what town or city I am in. Furniture says a lot about a person, but windows tell the story. Just look at the picture above. One day back in February 2008, I spotted that sad little penguin staring out the window of an apartment, not far from the Cal Berkeley campus. I was intrigued with him from the beginning. What was his story? Why did he look so sad? Did he miss his owner? Did he owner feel sad? Did the human who owned him, pose him in the window so that when they came home, there would be someone waiting for them?
It was a mystery!
I wrote a couple different versions of what I thought the penguin's story might be.
A happy one.
And a sad one.
Neither seemed correct.
I gave up on the little penguin after a while, but the other day I found myself in his neighborhood, so I went to visit the penguin in the window. Well, he wasn't there, but in his place were some lovely, and happy little origami cranes! How do I know they are happy? Well, to be honest, I don't, but somehow they just seem to be happy... to me. I don't know, when I think about February 2008 I don't really think about happy thoughts. I think about how insane George W. Bush seemed to be. I think about how G-A-S, otherwise known as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, was making living in California a living nightmare. In 2008 I was still missing a friend who left my life due to the closing of a door that life tends to push us through. I was worried about my brother-in-law who had been unwell, and my Elvis wasn't doing well either.
There was a lot happening in my life. I wasn't happy.
It made me think... was it the penguin in the window who was sad back then, or was it me?
Four years later, I am happy. I have mourned a lot, and healed... for the most part. I had the time of my life chasing Woody Allen around San Francisco, as he filmed a movie. Something I NEVER thought I would get to do. As I sit here, we are guaranteed another 4 years of relative sanity in American politics, my health is better, our finances are better, and I have successfully conquered some major fears. I have an awesome rose garden, two kitties that love me, and need me a much as I need them, and finally, the best husband ever!
Life is good now!
And somehow, everything looks a little happier, even paper origami cranes that grace a window in Berkeley, Ca. I need to do a lot more photography in Berkeley I think.