Saturday, January 21, 2006

Silly Animals...A Round Robin Promotion

"Ever consider what pets must think of us? I mean, here we come back from the grocery store with the most amazing haul...chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth."

-Anne Tyler (The Accidental Tourist)

Does it get sillier then a cat who enjoys apparel? Ok, so Elvis is a little on the pampered side, but he deserves to have his little quirks, because his silly nature brings us a lot of happiness. I am pretty sure it's true that owning a pet lowers the blood pressure of it owner, I know that after some terrible days, all I had to do was spend a little while with Elvis, and before I knew it I was feeling settled and content again.

So, I thought it was very cool that our next Round Robin challenge subject is "Silly Animals" as chosen by Celeste, author of the journal, "My day and Thoughts." All of our pets have a certain quirk or funny trick they can do, and sometimes even the animals in the wild like a bird or opossum will come by to share their lives with us, and in doing so, we get little glimpses into their lives which at times can be very silly. Like last summer, when I saw Elvis's opossum friend Agatha, walking across the back yard, carrying her babies. Some were in her pouch, some were on her back, but the silliest thing was watching her littlest baby, Ipson, following behind her. One night, as she made her way to a bowl of food I had set out for her, somehow Ipson was left behind. In a mad dash to catch up with his mom and siblings, he made one, big, jumping, leap and landed right on poor Agatha's nose. LOL. Poor girl. Silly it was! :)

If you would like to join us for this Round Robin challenge, we would love to have you come along. Just pay a visit to the official Round Robin journal and leave your name, the name of your journal and the full URL of your journal address, in the comments for this challenge, then post your entry on Wednesday, February 1st, anytime between the midnights. If you haven't played before, please take a moment to read the *Welcome Entry & Rules Of Play.* You may want to read that entry even if you have played along with us before, because a few of the rules have changed since last year. I hope you will join us this time around, the sillier the better...right? ;)

"Silly Elvis"
Berkeley, California
Spring, 2005

Friday, January 20, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #95: The Best Money You Ever Spent

"Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, and scorn in the one ahead."

-Mac McCleary

Weekend Assignment #95: The best money you ever spent. Welcome to the first of five journaler-suggested Weekend Assignments, leading up to the 100th Weekend Assignment a few weeks from now. This week's special Weekend Assignment was suggested by Teeisme57:

"My ex-husband always said the best 10 bucks he ever spent was buying his dog, Ace, from the local animal shelter. What's the best money you've ever spent? Whether it's something you love, something you use all the time or something that doesn't owe you a nickel, what is it?"

Extra Credit: Aside from food, what's the next purchase you plan to make?

-John Scalzi

In 1998 it became real apparent that we were going to have to make a new car purchase. Ugg. I have a difficult time buying things like new cars, because I get hopelessly, emotionally attached to inanimate objects...especially cars. Cars do so much for us. They take us to work, to school, and sometimes they take us to profound moments in our lives such as births and funerals. Yep, in good times and in bad, a car is a place of comfort and a shield when we have to travel in fierce weather. So, imagine how completely displaced I felt when not only did we end up having to replace Alan's car, but my car as well.

Off we drove to the Saturn dealership. He was wanting a slightly bigger car then he had been driving, so he chose a Saturn wagon. A week later I chose this Saturn, a 1999 SL1. We have been extremely happy with our cars. They have never given us a moment of grief and have already lasted 2 years longer then the cars they replaced. They were moderately priced and worth every cent. I love my car, Angelica, and when the day comes that I will have to put send her to live on a farm, I will be a mess. She is a friend, she was there the day I went nuts, and then she was there later to drive me home. ;)

Extra Credit: We are thinking about buying a new Bakers rack for our kitchen.

Land's End
San Francisco, California
March, 2005
Late Afternoon

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Out Of The Past

"One need not a chamber to be haunted; one need not a house; the brain has corridors surpassing the material place."

-Emily Dickinson

I read an interesting article last week, about research that is currently being done on a new drug that may have the capability to ease the bad memories we store after we experience a traumatic event. Even in such extreme cases such as rape, other types of violent attacks and, maybe even after surviving a natural disaster. The pill, Propranolol, would be given to the sufferer in the weeks following the traumatic event to help block the naturally released hormones that help store the memories in the brain. During times of stress, the body produces adrenaline and other, "fight or flight" hormones which over time can produce panic attacks, and post traumatic stress disorder. Propranolol is from a class of drugs called beta blockers.In initial testing the new drug shows some promise in easing the traumatic experiences, according to a Canadian and Harvard research report. It is hoped that one day a cure may be found for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I personally, have suffered from panic attacks in the past, but I was able to successfully gain control of them after attending a 13 week stress management group therapy program that was offered by my HMO, Kiaser Permanente. The group was called, "MAP" (Managing Anxiety and Panic). One of the elements of the therapy was to learn to recognize the "triggers" of our panic and anxiety. With panic attacks, this can be difficult, because often, one is not aware of what the trigger might be. Sometimes a scent, a sound, a sight which may not register as an obvious trigger, may in fact have a stored memory attached with it of something traumatic. So, we students had to play detective, and find out what symptoms of the panic feelings bothered us the most, and in that more then likely lived our trigger. For me the sudden onset of a pounding heart and the almost out-of-body, surreal feeling was most troublesome. Even today however, I am not sure if it was one event stored which brought about the type of PTSD I was eventually diagnosed with, or if it had been a series of events.

When I think about what could have been the triggers, I think it would be a good thing to have a medication that could ease those memories. I don't tend to dwell on the painful times in life, if I can help it, but sometimes I wonder if I didn't make myself ill because I didn't face the hurtful memories head on before now. If there had been a magic pill offered to me when I was in deep excruciating pain, I would have more then likely taken it...who wouldn't welcome the relief? But the thing I am wondering about now is, could it be a bad thing to forget the initial psychological pain associated with, as an example, assault? Would it make one a less reliable witness if the psychological pain could be eased? Would it make someone less likely to report a crime? Or press charges? How could this drug be manipulated? Could someone request the medication to forget long term abuse, because the patient wants to remember why the care about their abuser?

Ok, I know, my questions are kind of in the abstract, but I do wonder about most psychological medications. I have gained greatly by them personally, and at the same time I have seen them mask some larger illnesses in my family. Like with everything, it is an individual choice and they must be monitored closely by the right physician or therapist. I am not sure today, as I sit here, that I would want to take a medication to lessen the degree of stress should an incident happen again like ones that have happened in my past. I think for me, at this point, I am personally better off facing the trauma as it occurs rather then suppressing it. How about you? Would you want to try this medication if you were in the position to need it, such as surviving a natural disaster? Tell me your thoughts.

Trauma Pill Could Make Memories Less Painful

January 18th, 2006
Berkeley, California

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Round Robin Challenge: Super Model

"My boyfriend thinks I lost my true calling to be a librarian."

-Paulina Porizkova

I was thrilled when I heard what Becky's choice was for our current Round Robin challenge, because I could think of so many different images that could apply. Like these mannequins for instance. Now they are Super Models! I hate the new department store mannequins that have no head. To me it's...I don't know... creepy! So, when I happened onto this fun, trendy, very cool clothing store here in Berkeley, one day last year, and saw these girls I just knew had to photograph them. Suddenly I got to live out the fantasy of not being a Super Model, but a Super Model photographer! Now that would be a dream come true for me. I would love to have one of my photographs featured in a beautiful magazine like Vogue, and know that I got it right! Thanks Becky, cool challenge subject!

Be Sure to pay a visit to the other Round Robin participants

Becky, Karen, Derek, Kimberleigh, Betty, Tess, Gem, Nancy, TJ, Julie, Steven,
Sassy, Dorn, DesLily, rRose

"Glamour Girls"
Berkeley, California
Spring, 2005
Late Evening

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tagged By Wil...What Are My Top 5 Guilty Pleasures?

"Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it."

-Soren Kierkgaard

My good friend Wil, author of the fabulous journal, "Daily Snooze," has tagged me to list for you my Top 5 guiltiest pleasures. :) Ok. I love doing memes, I find them challenging and fun, so it will be my pleasure to share with you my top five favorite guilty pleasures. Let me know if I surprise you...

1. Food. I love fresh fruits and vegetables, I like trying new cuisines and experimenting with creating new recipes. Food is art, and that is how I view it when I start with a few ingredients and then eventually come up with something good. It's art. Food should always be great to look at.

2. Music. I have a pretty wide variety of favorite songs in my Real Player. Alan is always making fun of the homemade CDs I make for long car rides because the music I put together never seem to go together. One such CD included Mozart, REM and Alvin & The Chipmunks. He actually asked me about 45 minutes into the 4 hour car ride, " I need to phone Sarah?" LOL. Sarah is my therapist you see. LOL. "No darling," I explained, "I am doing just fine now." Tee Hee.

3. Humor. I LOVE the sound of laughter, either my own or someone else's. It's one of those universal things that can break down the highest wall and put one at ease. I remember I made a joke one time, at a moment when everyone around me was feeling very serious, it was a simple thing and the reaction could have been anything from anger to total indifference...I got lucky and the humor was understood. Laughter, caused by humor, is a nice sound.

4. Chocolate. I am not a big chocolate eater as far as it goes. I don't consider myself a chocoholic per se, but when I do have some I like specific chocolate experiences. Black Forest cake, Hot Chocolate with Raspberry syrup from Starbucks and I like Chocolate Mint ice-cream. I enjoy white chocolate as well, but again in moderation.

5. My photography is my top guilty pleasure. I can spend hours working on my photographs, either editing them, or planning for them. I was absolutely manic last year taking photos. I have estimated that I put about 4500 miles on my car last year just on photo jaunts alone, and except for a couple special trips, we stayed mostly in the Bay Area. I like the variety of subjects, I liked that even places I had seen my whole life, suddenly seemed all brand new when I was photographing them. It was like making a great discovery that no one else ever saw before. I get lost when I am with my camera, and sometimes I don't want to be found. :)

There are my five! Now if could just find a way to photograph David Duchovny, eating some chocolate at Starbuck's, while all the while laughing at one of my jokes, and then singing along with me to whatever great jazz is being played on the stereo. Bliss. Do you wanna play? If so, list your five guiltiest pleasures on your journal or blog, then come back and leave me your link so I can see what you come up with. Come on, you know you want to. :)

"Pure Guilt"
Berkeley, California
Spring, 2005

Monday, January 16, 2006

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Whoops!

"The one good thing about repeating your mistakes is that you know when to cringe."


Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show us a picture that didn't quite come out the way you wanted...but is still interesting.

-John Scalzi

I could have sworn I had it straight! Even with the tripod I seemed to be missing the mark as far as having my subject straight in my photos. I am happy to report however, that I have improved in this area of photo taking, if you don't count the photos I take after I have either fallen, slipped or otherwise lost my footing. Which seems to happen a lot. God help me...I truly am a dizzy dame. :)

"Dizzy Moments"
Lick Observatory, Palace Of Fine Arts,Red Robin

Ellipsis Flashback : January 16th, 2004

"I can't believe out of a hundred thousand sperm, you were the quickest." -Steven Pearl

It's a brand new year in the fictional town of Berkeley California. As you know, I am no longer Mayor of Berkeley because I was chosen "Pork Queen" at the "Winter Ball" and I am no longer "Pork Queen" because of my illegally spreading SPAM on the Internet, so I have gone back to my previous occupation...Romance Writer/Brain Surgeon. I was performing a lobotomy on my 3rd and 9th husband Rex Juan Don-Carlo MacKinsey, when one of the muses bit me on my butt and gave me the inspiration for my next romance novel, titled "Heading Back to The Love I Lost On A Beach In Saint Lucia While Snorkeling Nude." I know the title seems a bit long, but it's a grabber huh?

The new year brought a few surprises. My half-sister, the longshoremen, Bitty, was unloading a trawler when she suddenly, spontaneously gave birth to twins. With one sneeze, out they came. She didn't know she was pregnant, so imagine her surprise! Two boys, one named Rumor and the other named Trivia. Rumor was born with a full set of teeth and 13 toes, Trivia was born with a full head of hair and an extra nipple. Now that she is a Mom, Bitty has gone back to her former occupation...Sword Swallower. Good thing there is a high demand for them, as Berkeley can be somewhat of a circus. Her ex-boyfriend the de-seated Senator, Phillipe Timothy Steven Montoya, is joining her soon to help raise the young ones. Oh no, not again...Really folks, don't take a nap after snacking on raw Oysters and Red Cream soda.

Note: I am still under the weather, so, I thought I would bring you an Ellipsis flashback. This entry was originally written on January 16th, 2004 and is part two of my soap opera parody "As The Stomach Burns."


"New Rose" 1/15/06

Berkeley, California

Sunday, January 15, 2006

And Now For Some Whine

"Never let yesterday use up today."

-Richard Nelson

Don't wanna! I don't wanna be profound, don't wanna be funny, don't wanna be cleaver, don't wanna be informative, don't wanna be intriguing, don't wanna be democrat, REALLY don't wanna be republican, don't wanna be pretty, don't wanna be a glamour puss, don't wanna be a writer, don't wanna be photographer, don't wanna be the first person to win the Nobel Peace Prize for blogging, don't wanna climb every mountain, don't wanna switch my long distance phone carrier, don't wanna sign a petition that says cell phones are instruments of the Devil, don't wanna have a debate on whether the Easter Bunny should be banned. I just don't wanna.

I do wanna find my heating pad, I do wanna be able to blow my own nose, I do wanna find my Buffy The Vampire Slayer 6th season DVD set, I do wanna eat some cantaloupe ice-cream with chocolate sprinkles and a half a can of Red-Whip on top, I wanna not have the flu...but I do! Kachoooiooooooooooooooooiiiooo! You see, I have the flu,which I apparently caught over the Internet from Karen. Thanks Karen :) Is there anything you, "Don't Wanna," or "Do Wanna?" Feel free to tell me all about it! Leave me a comment, speak up and speak out. Unless, you "Dont Wanna."

PS Drop by my photoblog to read an entry at least as interesting as this one!

"The Glass Is Neither Full Nor Empty"
October 24th, 2005
Reno Nevada
Late Afternoon