Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Animal Within...A Round Robin Promotion

"I like pigs. Dogs look up to us, cats look down on us. Pigs treat us like equals."

-Winston Churchill

I really like the topic for the next Round Robin Challenge. Derek, author of the journals, "Derek's Picture of the Day," and "Through My Eyes," has chosen, "The Animal Within," as our next challenge topic. I like topics that make me think and ponder a bit about what image I will use to properly convey my interpretation. Sometimes an idea will hit me right away, other times I really have to search my creativity to come up with the correct photo. That's why it's a called a challenge I suppose. :)

Derek has set no restrictions for the interpretation of this challenge, so while I know that Dragonflies are in actuality insects, not animals, there is a part of me that idenifies with them closer then most other creatures. In lore, the dragonfly is considered the power of light. When it comes to being an amateur photographer, I like to think that my photos are full of light, and that I bring that ambiance to my blog when I share what I see with you.

Also according to lore, dragonflies inhabit two realms: air and water and the influence of both of these will be felt by people who identify with dragonflies. They will be emotionally passionate in their youth, ( the influence of water) and they will be more balanced and possess greater mental clarity and control as they mature, (the influence of the air). I think this has been very close to the way life has been for me, especially now that I am learning about how important it is to find a healthy center in life, and achieve greater peace through meditation, T'ai Chi and Yoga. It is working wonders for me already. :) I think I will be adopting the dragonfly as my official symbol, but there are a couple animal traits that live inside me, and add to who I am as a person. So you will have to come back here to Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly, on Wednesday March 1st to find out which ones. If you have a guess as to which animals I identify with, feel free to leave a guess in the comments. I would enjoy reading your guesses. :)

If you want to play along with us for this challenge, you would be more then welcome to come along. Just drop by the official Round Robin Challenge journal and leave your name, your blogs name and the complete URL of your journal as your RSVP for attending the challenge. Please take a moment to read the full entry describing the challenge. We have had some recent "Rules of Play" changes that you should be aware of before playing. Nothing complicated I assure you. It's a lot of fun and so are those who play. I hope you will consider joining us, come on, you know you want to. WINK. ;)

Berkeley, California
February 17th, 2006

Friday, February 17, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #99: Making A Difference

"The purpose of life is not to be happy...but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that lived at all."

-Leo Rosten

Were one week away from the 100th Weekend Assignment, and for this week's assignment, we have the final AOL member-suggested topic, from Aim2theright:

Weekend Assignment #99: "What do others think they could do to make a difference? It doesn't have to be life-altering, as the smallest conception can bring the biggest results." In addition to things you could do, I'll also add in the if you are currently doing things you think make a difference, you can mention those too.

Extra Credit: Name someone you know who you admire for making a difference.

-John Scalzi

I have this really unreasonable goal in life, simply put, "I want to leave folks better off then when I found them." I decided that this is how I wanted to try and lead my life this way after watching the way my family treated others. Like hurting others was a sport or something. I had to do a lot of damage control, even from a young age, until one day I wised up and realized it wasn't up to me to make up for the shortcomings of people around me, nope, I was only really responsible for my own conduct...not the conduct of others. So, fast forward to August of 2003. I started my journal Ellipsis, with NO idea what to do with it, and then it became apparent. Sharing my life, the things I see and hear, the photographs I enjoy taking, the challenges I face, the joys that fill my soul, loves I left behind, and even the romantic specter, "The Ethereal Musician," all reaches out to those who read me and says, "Hey, your not alone, and neither am I." Isn't that a wonderful feeling? So, at this time in my life, that is what I have to offer. Myself.

It's simple but it's true. If I can make you smile or laugh, if I can make you ponder something you never considered before, if I can share an idea or political observation and you find it interesting or provocative, then I feel like I have done something to make that particular day worthwhile. I know every comment I have ever gotten, including the ones from folks who thought I was oh so wrong, have only made me strive to be a better writer and person. One of the most rewarding entries I have posted to date, was the entry I wrote about the "Port Chicago Disaster," and it's aftermath. I actually received more then one email from readers and friends who said they had never heard that such a situation had ever happened. It felt good to pass on what I had learned, and share that important piece of history that somehow didn't make it into most history books, if indeed any. So, I will toot my own horn here a bit, and say that I think I make a difference by blogging, because I have a lot to share...and learn. See how nice that works out for both of us? :)

"Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
-Dr. Seuss

"What I See"
Westbound HWY 24
Berkeley, California
February 15th, 2006
12:30 PM

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tired, Tired of, Or Just Tired

"Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made and forgot to put a soul to."

-Henry Beecher

I am tired tonight, and not in the best of moods. I did some T'ai Chi today, and I am pretty sore tonight, but I it's down to below freezing tonight, after a week or so of higher then normal temperatures. February can be a moody month. Hopefully I will get down to Oakland soon to photograph the geese and other birds at Lake Merritt. It's kinda fun to have that to look forward to. If all goes well, I will do some Qi Gong in the morning then go out and do some photos. :) We'll see. :)

"From The Rain"
Berkeley, California
February 2006

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Round Robin Challenge: Laisser le Bon Temps Rouler (Let The Good Times Roll)

"If it's not fun, you're not doing it right."

-Bill Blasso

Sometimes I think maybe my "Kick up your heels and let the good times roll," days might be over. But in reality, I just need to pick and choose how I let the good times roll. Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and I woke up ready to celebrate the day. The sun was warm, so I was feeling pretty energetic, and when I went into my office I found I had a big box waiting for me. It was a gift from Alan. That nice man went out and bought me a gorgeous dessert set from Bed bath & Beyond. It is a serving for four and it is a country cats pattern. I was thrilled! See, Alan didn't know it, but I had reserved an ice-cream cake from Baskin Robin's. I called him at work and thanked him for my nifty new present, and told him I had something special for him to pick up on his way home. How does chocolate cake with chocolate mint ice-cream sound? :) I have to say, there is something completely decadent about eating an entire ice-cream cake in the middle of the afternoon, with someone you really kinda like. :) There was one more surprise waiting for me, he fixed dinner for us. A grilled steak and veggies. Ok, so maybe it wasn't party till you drop, but we had a really good time. :) Thanks goes to Tess, for picking such an awesome challenge! Be sure to visit the other Round Robin participants.

"Good Times"
Berkeley, California
February 14th, 2006

Round Robins

Tess...First Digital PhotosPosted!
Carly...Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly Posted!
Karen...Outpost Mavarin Posted!
Chris...My Photographic Life
Derek...Derek's Photo of the Day Posted!
Betty...My Day My Interests
Julie...Julie's Web Journal Posted!
Sara...Animated Seasons Posted!
Celeste...My Day And Thoughts
Dorn...Through The Eyes Of The Beholder
Sassy...Sassy's EYE Posted!
Steven...(sometimes) photoblog Posted!
DesLily... Here There And Everywhere 2nd Edition Posted!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

"Gravitation can not be held responsible for people falling in love."

-Albert Einstein

Omar Pigglesworth knew it was love the moment he looked into the eyes of one Miss Sophie Jane Pridenporker. Not only did she have the most astounding eyes he had ever seen, but she had a pair of chops that wouldn't quit. See, Omar was a chops man. He tried however, to keep a professional relationship with the delicate, yet comely chanteuse, but he lost his heart when they were requested to perform the song of the ages for all lovers at the Barnyard Valentine's Soiree..."Don't Go Breakin' My Heart."

Don't Go Breakin' My Heart
As sung by Pigglesworth and Pridenporker

Omar: Don't go breakin' my heart
Sophie: I couldn't if I tried
Omar: Oh honey if I get restless
Sophie: Baby your not that kind

Omar: Don't go breakin' my heart
Sophie: You take the weight off of me
Omar: Ah honey when you knock on my door
Sophie: Ooh, I gave you my key

Omar/Sophie: Ooh-hoo, and nobody knows it
Omar: But when I was down
Sophie: I was your clown
Omar/Sophie: Ooh-hoo, and nobody knows it
Omar: Right from the start
Sophie: I gave you my heart
Omar/Sophie: Ooh-hoo I gave you my heart

Omar: So don't go breakin' my heart
Sophie: I won't go breakin' your heart
Omar/Sophie: I won't go breakin' your heart

Omar: And nobody told us
Sophie: "Cause nobody showed us
Omar: And now it's up to us babe
Sophie: Ooh I think we can make it

Omar: So don't misunderstand me
Sophie: You put the light in my life
Omar: Ooh you put the sparks to the flame
Sophie: I got your heart in my sights

Omar/Sophie: Ooh-hoo, and nobody knows it
Omar: When I was down
Sophie: I was your clown
Omar/Sophie: Ooh-hoo, and nobody knows it
Omar: Right from the start
Sophie: I gave you my heart
Omar/Sophie: Ooh-hoo I gave you my heart

Omar: Don't go breakin my heart
Sophie: I won't go breakin' your heart
Omar/Sophie: Don't go breakin' my heart

Yes, alas, it was indeed love at first sight, they both knew it to be true. She was quite a babe, and he now knew he could no longer fight his feelings. The next song he sang that night was, REO Speedwagon's "I Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore," and it became their song. Sigh. :) Awww Amore! AMORE!


Monday, February 13, 2006

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Love!

"A happy family is but an earlier heaven."

-George Bernard Shaw

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show us a picture that represents love to you.

-John Scalzi

Is there anything more romantic then a love that never gets old, never wears thin and withers, and that never dies? When a pair of swans mate, they mate for life, and so does every generation after that. I watched this Swan family all last spring and summer at the Palace of Fine Arts, in San Francisco. There were groupings of about five or six families, but this particular family stayed pretty close to one side of the pond. It was sweet, romantic and life affirming to watch. Now that is what love should represent. Total and complete, unconditional love for each other.

"The Family"
The Palace Of Fine Arts
San Francisco, California
Spring/Summer 2005

Steven's Feline Friday

"Cats are dangerous companions for writers because cat watching is a near-perfect method of writing avoidance."

-Dan Greenburg

I love this cat, but I have to admit the above quote is so true...watching Elvis can use up and entire day. :) I have owned so many pets in my lifetime, dogs, chickens, rabbits, a roadrunner for a brief time, a pair of geese, a hamster, a guinea pig, parakeets, love birds and an assortment of other animals, but Elvis is by far the most charming of them all. I have actually seen folks who swore to me that no cat has ever been worth what a dog is...fall instantly in love with Elvis inside of 10 minutes after meeting him. Maybe because he is a happy boy and anxious to please, maybe because of his gentle nature or maybe because his natural body oils make him smell like baby powder, but he charms those he meets, just like he has Alan and I. I adore this boy...he is my guy! :) Be sure to drop by Steven's journal and see this week's picture of Pickle for Feline Friday. He is quite the charmer as well. This week he is particularly cute. I can only imagine what it would be like to have both Pickle and Elvis in the same room at the same time. Tag team charmers. Ut oh! :) On a literary note, I did manage to gain some forward momentum in my book writing. I had been somewhat blocked, not because of Elvis so much as my lack of energy. I am pleased with them amount I managed to get done. Moving forward...that feels nice. :)

NOTE: Ooops. I mistook Harley for Pickle! LOL. Both kitties are too gorgeous, go have a look see for yourself! :)

"My Guy"
Berkeley, California
February 8th, 2005

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Vision Changes

"Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream so you shall become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil."

-James Allen

The drive to Lake Tahoe last week was stunning. I saw the clear, glistening water in the lake, the snow on the hillsides, so white with sparkling iridescence, and they sky was a shade of blue that I had never seen before. I even saw a few trees, with leaves that looked like they were left over from last autumn. Maybe that was just the color of the leaves for that particular tree no matter what the season is, but for a moment or so, I was back in autumn. For a moment, it was so clear that I swear I could taste warm, spice apple cider in my mouth. It was vivid, but it was only my perspective.

Do you suppose everything is equally specific to everyone? When I stop to take a photograph, it's because I see something specific in it. Something completely unique to me in the moment. Maybe that is why I tend to revisit the same places over and over, and then bring the images back here to my blog. I can see the Golden Gate Bridge, from Fort Point, a hundred times and yet I always feel little when I stand beneath it. The sky never looks the same, nor does the fog as it rolls under the gate. It's always like I am seeing it for the first time...everytime.

I am that way with people as well. I have shared with you about the first time I met the November man. How can 20 or so years can go by and he not look a minute different to me. I look into his blue/gold eyes and I am always hopelessly lost. Sometimes I think that if I could just sit and stare for an hour or so into those eyes, with no words being spoken between us, I would eventually see all there is to see. I don't think I would survive it. I wish I understood how he can have such an affect on me, and the minute I walk the other way, I forget what he looks like. Maybe it isn't poor eyesight on my part, maybe it is just my bad memory.

Memories fill us sometimes, don't they? Vision makes it all come together in color and depth. There are times, and places, and people I would love to forget, but not if it meant never seeing a visual phenomenon, such as an eclipse or the shade of a lovers eyes again. There was this day...forever ago...when I was moving to a new apartment. It was May and there was a warm late spring rain happening. I was moving some boxes to my car and he was helping me. The rain began to pour and I looked like a wet kitty cat. I asked him if he had a hair dryer, and he just stopped, looked at the top of my very unstylish hair, and slowly moved his eyes down to mine, where he just smiled and spoke not one single word. He just smiled, in a moment that lasted forever. In that moment...I was in that moment. How could it be? HE found me beautiful? Funny how sometimes the very best gifts we can get, cost nothing, aren't wrapped in pretty paper with bows, and don't ever have to be given back.

To the casual observer, I was a mess, to the November Man I looked beautiful. How different we all seem to see the same object or person. The beauty in a heart's smile, the ugly in a smug smile. Some go to the water and feel afraid of it's loud laughter, others like me want to join in and laugh with it. Some fear a big wave rushing onto the shore, I want to run out and meet it. It's a funny thing vision, it is all in what we choose to see. I wouldn't give up the bittersweet of knowing him, if it meant I had to give up looking into his eyes, then or now. What I would change I suppose, is that once I care about someone, I care about them for life. Just when I think every single empty room in my heart is full...along comes another thing to stretch my heart further, and that never leaves. Music, pets, art, foods, hobbies, books, life. Jeepers, I am such a schmuck! :)

"Looking Out The Window"
Placerville, California
February 8th, 2006