Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day 2018

"Touch of the wind, touch of the water, touch of the spring flowers... none of these are as great as the touch of love."

~Mehmet Murat ildan


HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

I hope your day is filled with friendship, laughter, love and all the wonderful feelings of joy and togetherness!

 It's what the day is about!




Mood: Happy
~Me


 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Our Love Story Began In 1977

"February is merely as long as is needed
 to pass the time until March."

~J. R. Stockton

 
I had a day out with the camera last week. Well, it wasn't just a day of photography, it was a date with Alan. An early Valentine's Day date. After I did some photographs, of some early blossoms, we bummed around the East Bay a bit. First we visited Berkeley for a little while, and it was fun to be back home, then we went to see When Harry Met Sally, at the Orinda theater. When Harry Met Sally, is very similar to how Alan and I first met, and the journey to how we became friends first, then how we fell in love.

The movie even begins 1977, which is the same year Alan and I met. And there are more similarities, like how I always order certain elements of my meal, on the side, just like Sally does, and Alan, at times, is just as analytical and quirky about things as Harry. And it took us the same amount of time to fall in love, as it did Harry and Sally. Really, that movie could have been written about us!

Alan and I had ourselves a Harry and Sally day, and it was nice to have some time with him, especially in our old stomping grounds, the place we love most, Berkeley. Visiting Berkeley is always somewhat magical for me. Whatever stress I feel, seems to be lifted off my shoulders as soon as we hit the city limits! It's beautiful, it has everything anyone could want. The food is magnificent, and there is always something to see. It's a wonderful place and I miss it very much, so it was the perfect way to begin our mini vacation. 

But that was just Thursday, we got four full days of each other's company!That's something we haven't been able to do too much of recently. Work, and overtime call, as we continue to struggle with bills, taxes and all things tedious and necessary in the world of adulthood. You know how it is... time waits for no one, and February has less days than any other month of the year, so like the saying goes...

"Time flies whether you are having fun or not."

~Mary Engelbreit

But isn't it great when you are having fun?




Mood: Relaxed
~Me :)




 

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

A Strange Diner In A Strange Place

"There's safety in thinking in a diner. You can have your coffee or your milk shake, and you can go off into strange dark areas, and always come back to the safety of the diner."

~David Lynch
Catching The Big Fish Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity

After almost 2 years of living in Stockton, I am still getting used to the quirkiness that is the Central Valley! One of the biggest changes seems to be that there are more of these little diners and independent boutiques. Well, it makes sense, because there is a lot more room to work with! The Bay Area is pretty much filled up with Starbucks, McDonald's, Wendy's, and every restaurant and chain shopping outlets possible! And again, we have all that, but we have the choice of discovering delightful little options as well, and this is just one!

I haven't actually eaten here yet, it was closed the day I visited, but I will get to it eventually. I think it would be fun to try a photo series first, then I will go back and revisit them and do an actual review of the food, or shopping experience. I am still feeling emotionally overwhelmed, but I know picking up the camera gives me strength. It gives me consciousness and it gives me creativity, so I am going to work on that, as I make my way through the next six months or so. Anyway, while I am processing things, I don't want it to play a part in how I think about the experience of each place I photograph.

Does that make sense, or am I being too careful?

I don't know. We'll see.

Anyway, I am trying to breakaway from the self imposed isolation, and embrace my surroundings. There is a lot too see in the Central Valley, and good, bad or otherwise, this is my home, so I have to deal with it. I know I will probably not live in the Bay Area ever again, but it's certainly not too far to visit, when I just need a good dose of fast moving life. Lord I miss the sounds of the East Bay. The whirling sound of BART trains. Airplanes flying over. The sound of the Ethereal Musician playing his sax on warm afternoons. But I am getting used to the quiet, and it's okay too, but I have to say, whatever that monster is that roams the neighborhood at 2:30 am  makes me smile every single night, but because of the lovely sound of dogs barking! 

It Is What It Is.

24335 N Hwy 99
Acampo, California 95220
209-334-2233

 Mood: Hopeful
~Me
 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Winter Is Calling

"Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and fairer and stronger. She calls her family together within her innermost home to prepare them for being scattered around upon the face of the earth."

~Hugh MacMillan
Rejuvenance 
The Ministry of Nature, 1873 

Well, if you follow me, you might have noticed I took several days off from blogging, right after the new year. I was ill, and a little tired in general I suppose. Trump is making every single day of 2018, so far, stressful, and at times, downright absurd. That's a strange combination, created by a truly strange man... Donald John Trump. Anyway, between being ill, and being stressed out, I haven't had a chance to get out yet with the camera, and document the winter, but hopefully I will be able to soon!

If possible, I hope Alan and I can go up to snow country! That's one good thing about having the Sierra foothills practically in our backyard, it's not as long a drive as it was when we lived in the Bay Area! And now I feel better about going on those long drives, because we recently installed a basic home security system. Our contract was up with Xfinity and I was going to downgrade a lot of the channels we had been getting, but as it turns out, there was a pretty good deal that gave us more channels, faster Internet speed, and the basic home security system, for only about $10 more a month.

So, when hubby has to work late, or we do take one of our long drives, I can feel better about leaving the house, and returning! When we lived in the Bay Area, I had a few people who could check on things, but out here I haven't made any new friends, because, you know, it's difficult after a certain age to bring new people into your life. I am at the age where either my pals in real life have either died, moved, or are living just far enough away, that it makes it difficult to make new pals.That's life. Lots of doors open and close, it's just the nature of things.

Anyway, winter is a lonely time of the year, but I kinda enjoy the solitude. I read more. Watch movies. Listen to music, and cuddle with the furbabies a lot more. All terrific things, including the alone time, but I admit I feel that old familiar urge to get out with the camera and see what the winter has to offer! Clouds. Sunshine. Rain. Snow. Whatever happens to be waiting for me. Like the other day, when we had a rainstorm come through most of California, and the Central Valley became absolutely soaked. Cold, but definitely relaxing, and quite photogenic!

That's what the picture above is all about, making art out of a cold, rainy day. I like the way it turned out. I took it right here in Stockton, in fact right in the front yard! It's the top of my neighbor's tree next door. Most of the trees in the neighborhood have, of course, lost their autumn leaves, but there are still a few with, with enough color remaining, that I thought it gave the photo a nice look, then I added a "vibrant" filter, to give it a somewhat artsy, ethereal look! I am looking forward to doing some fog or snow photographs soon, but I will definitely take a rainy day too! 

Mood: Quiet/Tired
~Me

 

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

2018 Or Whatever (The Elephant In The Tree)

"Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, 
 but then, for the love of God, tell a joke."

~Joss Whedon

Do You See The Elephant In The Tree?

It's 2018! How the actual HELL did that happen? I was so sure that we, America, wouldn't make it out of 2017, but somehow, someway, we did! I am exhausted, but not disappointed in our fortunate luck of surviving the first year of the Trump presidency, but here we are, in the second day of the second year, although it won't technically be the second year, until after January 20th, but whose counting?

Anyway, I was going to post a nice New Year's reflection on December 31st, but I caught a cold, or something, that laid me out in a coma like state for most of the weekend, and by the time midnight came around, on New Year's Eve, I could barely raise my head to kiss Alan a HAPPY NEW YEAR kiss!

My temperature fluxed a little, and my body ached like crazy, and as I said, I was in a coma like condition, but to be honest I am not really sure if I was truly sick, or just suffering from Trump fatigue at the end of what had been a very long, stressful year of crazy! As I sit typing this, I am barely able to do so, because I still feel achy and tired, but I just need to do something normal, because I could see myself just staying in bed, the rest of my life.

So is it a cold, or is it Trump fatigue?
Can you run a fever with Trump fatigue?

Shrug.

Anyway, tomorrow will come around, and it will be another day on earth... I guess. And we will all come through it, minute by minute. Come what may, it's mostly out our hands, but thankfully I have my camera in one of those hands. I just need to fight off whatever is attacking my body right now, be it Trump, depression, or possibly something else. It's cold. And it's January, but at least that's normal!

By the way, the photo in this post was taken on December 10th 2017, and is one of my last autumn photos of 2017. I couldn't resist posting it! It will appear in both Flickr albums for 2017 and 2018.


 Mood: Tired/Achy
~Me
 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Roses That Sing

"Maybe there's a whole other universe where a square moon rises in the sky, and the stars laugh in cold voices, and some of the triangles have four sides, and some have five, and some have five raised to the fifth power of sides. In this universe there might grow roses which sing. Everything leads to everything."

~Stephen King

"IT"


Alan bought us some roses for Christmas! They weren't just for me, they were for Hendrix too! Hendrix has always loved the taste of roses, and in fact, cries for them if he sees them anywhere in his line of sight! It all started one day, when we were living in the cottage in Berkeley. I had a rose garden, surrounding a Japanese Maple tree. There were roses of every color! Of all of the different kinds, I think my favorites were the white ones, followed closely by the Hot Cocoa roses. As it turns out, the white ones were his favorite too, because one day he decided to take a big bite... CHOMP... of the prettiest white rose in the garden! He ate those petals with such glee, that it was hard not to laugh, even though I had spent the better part of a year, caring and shaping them!




 I checked with several online sources to see if he was in any danger from that big bite he took, and as it turned out, roses are not one of the flowers that are fatal to cats. That was a huge relief! So, from time to time, we buy him some roses, and let them dry slightly, so he gets to eat them like potato chips. Taking that big bite was all it took, for him to form a lifetime taste for rose petals, which he now eats like potato chips! He only gets 3 petals every few days, as I can't go out and buy them as often as I would like to, but watching my little cat enjoy them over Christmas, has inspired me to put more thought into getting him a rose bush this spring!

He loves them so much, that's not a lot to ask for, considering how well he takes care of us! I only use organic soil and plant food, so he never gets exposed to anything that might harm him. I don't know for sure what type of rose I might get, perhaps I will try a new one, but my goodness, I sure do miss the Hot Cocoa roses, and truth be told, I miss all the varieties that I had in my garden. But there was a pumpkin colored rose that I had always wanted, but could never find, maybe this is the year to search for it! Regardless, I know my little boy will be happy with any rose I choose!

From The Archives
My Rose Garden

Apricot Nectar
Hot Cocoa


 Mood: Happy
~Me :)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Cold Hard Truth


"You start with a darkness to move through, 
but sometimes the darkness moves through you."

~Dean Young

True Story...

One time, way back in the late 80's, I dated a man who wasn't right for me, but I was head over heals in love, or so I thought, so nothing was going to sway me. He was a minister, and a republican, and I thought we could face it all, and still be true to ourselves. OH. MY. GOD. How naive was that? My father, the great progressive that he was, told me, "you'll change your mind about him" and sure enough, Dad was right! It only took the guy's mother, deliberately giving me, and everyone else at the dinner, including my future husband, Alan, food poisoning, to make me wise up!

 I felt so much better when I finished purging, not just the under-cooked turkey dinner she made us, but the man as well. See, his mother would poison every girl who dated her little boy, just to find out who had the "strength" to conquer adversity. The lady he finally married told me, that she had been poisoned as well, with some bad clam chowder his mother served her, but she married him anyway, because, as it turns out, she was strong enough to deal with not just the motherly stress test, but she was a republican, and she understood what kind of strength it took to be the wife of a minister!

 How could dad have been so right? How did dad know that guy wasn't right for me? In any case his family wasn't right for me, and his being a republican, really wasn't going to be right for me! And all it took for me to see the light, was 24 hours of vomiting, and finally realizing my dad had been right all along! It was a hell of a thing to have to admit to, but I wouldn't change the circumstances for anything! It was the cold, hard truth, that I probably knew all along, deep down, that I needed to deal with! Dad was very good about buying me all the ginger ale I needed and not laughing out loud at me, when I admitted to him, that he was right.

 Alan and I began dating 3 months later, and we were married about 2 years after that! Here we are, after 27 years of marriage, and we are not only still in love, but we exchange love texts several times a day! I married the right man! And in our 27 years of marriage, not only has his mother never given me food poisoning, but she understood when Alan saw the light, and became a progressive! I wonder if dad saw that coming too? He was very happy when he found out we were getting married, so I still wonder if he knew Alan and I were in love before we did! Unfortunately, I never asked him, but somehow I think he did.

All those memories came back to me the other day, when I saw this funny little snow machine, at the Sacramento Holiday Ice Rink. It's funny how it all became a cherished memory. You wouldn't think that it be something one would want to ever think about again, but that is one of my best memories of my dad. That was when I learned my dad was pretty damned smart, and he had a wonderful sense of humor, especially when he was going through a difficult time. So I think he would have loved this little snow machine, as much as I did, because he probably has a memory of a time when his father had been 100% right about a particular life experience too! I just hope dad's memory didn't involve 24 hours of vomiting to come to his senses!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Holiday Leftovers

"What happens when you pray for an angel
 and get a vampire instead?"

~R.E. Mullins

I have always loved that quote! It kinda celebrates
 Halloween and Christmas in one shot!
 Tis the season!

Capitol Christmas Tree
Sacramento, California
December 23rd, 2017

New Year's Day is still a few days off, so I think it's okay to finish up the season by showing a few more holiday sights from here in the Central Valley and Sacramento. This is the Capitol Christmas tree, that usually goes up around Thanksgiving, and disappears sometime just after the start of the year, like in most towns I guess.  Sacramento actually has two holiday trees, this one, and one in Old Sacramento, which is traditionally lit on Black Friday! Of the two trees, I think the one in front of the capitol is my favorite! The lights seem more calming and nostalgic to me. Shrug. I guess holiday decorations are in the eyes of the beholder!

Christmas Tree
Old Sacramento
December 23rd, 2017

 

Mood: Happy
~Me :)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Wintumn

"There is October in every November and there is November in every December! All seasons melted in each other's life."

~Mehmet Murat ildan

Alan and I took a ride up to Sacramento last week, and on the way there, I was lucky enough to find some autumn leaves still clinging to the trees! It was very late in the day, on December 23rd, and the sun was obscured by just enough bluish clouds to make a coat necessary, the lighting outside breathtaking! A rare occurrence in the Central Valley! It sometimes feels like the seasons here, turn on a flip of a switch! They don't seem to move in gradual motions from one season to the next, like in the Bay Area, so I guess I imagined that all the trees would look like stick skeletons, and all signs that 2017 even had an autumn would be gone, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn't the case.

Winter is being kind this year. It's taking it's time this year, rather than hitting me over the head with frost, and bone chilling cold. While some trees were beautifully bare, other trees seemed to be defiant of winter's intrusion. I suppose they will give up their leaves eventually, but for now I have scenes like these, to keep my daydreams of a perpetual autumn, to keep me alive! And with any luck, maybe we will have another year like 2012, when I could still find autumn leaves, next to trees with beautiful apple and Quince blossoms, side by side! I would really love that! Another 2012 would be nice!



"Live in moments that consume your heart and mind,
 but be distracted by the music from the leaves,
 birds, wind, rain, sun and people."

~Val Uchendu

Live. In. The. Moments. That. Consume. Your. Soul.




Mood: Quiet/Happy
 ~Me


Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas


"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."

~Norman Vincent Peale

From Our House To Yours...

Merry Christmas!

Mood: HAPPY
~Me :) 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Magical Little Gifts



"The Christmas spirit
whispers softly in my ear
to be of good cheer."

~Richelle E Goodrich
 Being Bold


It wouldn't be Christmas eve, without a video of my little furball's, annual Elf Yourself video! They're adorable, aren't they? But I'm their mommy, so of course I think so, but the thing is, I know if they were human little boys, they would be the best players at their school concerts, I mean just look at them, they never miss chance to be adorable, and talented, and just the happiest little people! Dylan is one of those cats, that believes everything has to be just so. Hendrix takes care of his brothers, and Joey tries really hard to be a good child. If he thinks we are mad, or disappointed, in him, he does everything he can to fix his naughty behavior.

 I guess that goes back to the fact that he was discarded, when he was a baby. Someone gave up on him, which is very sad, because they threw away a sweet, intelligent, and considerate kitty! I wish they could know, what a wonder gift Joey has been. We got Hendrix, on October 29th, 2008, Dylan, on November 10th, 2008, and Joey on November 30th, 2013, so they all came along on holidays, in autumn, Halloween, The Presidential Election of Barack Obama, and Thanksgiving weekend, and they are my little autumn treasures! Good things always seem to happen for us in autumn, but with the sweet comes the bitter... we lost our Elvis just a few weeks before we adopted Hendrix. But deep down, I have always felt like he personally chose who would look over us, the way he did. I can see it clearly, Elvis told Hendrix it was time to go and take care of us, because, without him, we would need a little extra help.

Dylan and Hendrix did a very good job of filling our little cottage with love and laughter, but when Joey was thrown out, by his previous family, Elvis told him, about a family that would always have room in their hearts, for little cats who need a little extra help and a little extra love. And we haven't had a loveless day in our lives since! Hendrix and Joey became friends immediately, and Dylan, who wasn't thrilled there was a Joey, came around after a while, because Joey showed him that he knew his place, and he wasn't trying to steal our love away, now Dylan has a cuddle pal, and is less jealous than he was before! He has learned that I have plenty of love for all three of them!

 Dylan is a more self-assured kitty, but when we moved a couple years ago, he was frightened, and unsure of where he was! But Joey stayed right with him, and they bonded as, not just cuddle buddies, but best friends. Alan and I were lucky to find three, magical little gifts! Or did they find us? Or did the best cat in the world, send us three little bundles of joy, that fill our hearts with a lot of love? So much love, that even on days when nothing seems to go right, we always know, and count on, that there are three little people who love us unconditionally, and are each just a little bit of magic! Some of the best gifts come in tiny packages! 

Now matter where the 3 little boys came from, I always remember to thank Elvis, the heavens above, or whatever spirit or guardian angel, who sent them to us. I believe it wasn't just simple luck, that brought us all together, someone had to have planned for us to be a family! That's why, even when I am at my saddest, or during the stressful holiday season, or when Trump scares me breathless Hendrix, who is the family caregiver, seems to, know and he gives me a little extra attention, and love. He is an amazingly compassionate, and empathetic soul. Life is good! I have a loving husband, and the best children I could ask for! I guess Alan and I have become crazy cat people you've heard about, but so be it, we are happy and we wouldn't trade it for nothing!


Mood: Grateful
~Me

 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Priceless Gifts


"Existence is a priceless gift and
 the beauties of nature are the priceless gifts of the existence."

~Mehmet Murat ildan

I didn't get out of the house like I thought I would yesterday. I stayed home. I was tired. Really Tired. Depression tired I suppose. You know... so deeply tired that you sleep for 14 hours, and get up, and after 30 minutes, or an hour, you are tired again, to the point you sleep another 18 hours. 

Tomorrow I will get up, and try it all again. I might get further, you never know, but at least when I do get out of the house, to roam the world, like last Monday, I find some beauty here and there. Even in some weeds, growing along the road.  

If that's all the photography I get done, I will take it! I can appreciate the simplest beauty, just as much as anything else in the natural world. The weeds in the photo above are obviously dry and fragile, so I didn't touch them, I just let them be, and appreciated their natural earthy beauty.

Photographing them made me happy, and that's the real point!

Right?

Mood: Hopeful
~Me
 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Ding Dong Merrily On High


"When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things...not the greatest occasions... 
give off the greatest glow of happiness."

~Bob Hope

I haven't done any shopping for the holidays. Not for Christmas eve, not for Christmas Day. Not for New Year's Eve. Nothing. But later today, as I force myself out of the house, I will be doing just that! Shopping, with a few minutes, here and there, to catch my breath, and pray Trump doesn't declare war, or fire Mueller, or embarrass the United States, with some weird speech. All of which are pretty likely to happen! That's what's on my mind right now, and frankly, I am exhausted. Absolutely exhausted. Depression, fear and the holiday spirit, do not do well together. 

They are like water and oil, but I am pushing through it, and like one of the best therapists I ever had once said, "Doing normal things, makes you feel normal" and right now, that's all I really want, to feel normal again, by having a nice boring day, although I'd prefer to find a little something about the holidays, that makes me smile and feel happy inside, but boring works too. It's sounds easy enough, but at the moment, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack! I guess I am feeling sorry for myself, because I want to enjoy the spirit of the holiday, but finding it is proving difficult.

But I'm trying to. I really am.  


I guess I will just see how the rest of the day goes, before I make up my mind that I won't feel any holiday spirit at all. You never know, perhaps hope is just waiting for me to recognize it. One never really knows about these things! Here is what I have planned for the day... I am getting my hair styled, then hit Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, for some organic roses and a couple pieces of fruit. Then it's off to the mall to do a small amount of gift shopping, and hopefully Alan and I will end the day in Berkeley at some of our favorite food haunts. 

Berkeley always lifts my spirits! So, at least I'm putting some hope on the "To Do" list! Now, I have learned that it's always a good idea to have a Plan B, and when it becomes obvious that Plan A isn't going to work, one should just go with the flow and not fight it. Some of my favorite memories worked around, Plan B, so, wish me luck as I venture out of the house, in search of Plan A... finding the spirit of Christmas!Either way the day goes, I will probably come home and watch Bridget Jones' Diary. It has become one of my favorite holiday movies, because what woman doesn't identify with Bridget, at least part of the time, and let's face it, the holidays are the most difficult time of the year to deal with!


But whether it be the holidays or some other difficult awful time
 Bridget always finds her way!




Mood: Curious
~Me :)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Goodbye/Hello



"It seems everything sleeps in winter,
 but it's really a time of renewal and reflection."

~Elizabeth Camden
Until The Dawn

The Autumn Equinox ends today,
 and the Winter Solstice begins!



While I took both of these photos during autumn of this year, the one I chose to welcome autumn with, was taken during the last third of the season, on November 25th, and as you can see, the beautiful egret already has it's Winter plumage on! It's such a lovely bird, that I thought it would be a lovely, quiet way to welcome in Winter 2017! I will miss autumn, and mourn it for a while, and then I will find some new subjects, hopefully, that will see me through the necessary seasons until it comes around again next year! I am sure it will bring a lot of beauty, and life, and I just can't wait to see what it brings!

#21 Leaf Of The Day
December 21st 2017
Cull Canyon Park


Mood: Happy
~Me
 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

On The Last Full Day Of Autumn 2017...

"Autumn that year painted the countrysie
 in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron and russet, 
and the days were clear and crisp under harvest skies."

~Sharon Kay Penman
Time And Chance

It's the last full day of autumn, 2017.
 And as such, it's not about me, it's all about the leaves...



"The gold and scarlet leaves that littered the countryside in great drifts whispered and chuckled among themselves, or took experimental runs from place to place, rolling like color hoops among the trees. It was as if they were practicing something, preparing for something, and they would discuss it excitedly in rusty voices as they crowded round the tree trunks."

~Gerald Durrell
My Family And Other Animals


I could have sat under that autumn tree forever!

#20 Leaf Of The Day
December 20th 2017
Redwood Road, Castro Valley

Mood: Happy But Quiet
~Me :)