Saturday, June 17, 2006

Come Saturday Morning

"How does one become a butterfly?" she asked. "You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a catapillar."


I made plans this last week to head down to Pacific Grove, to drive along the gorgeous 17 mile drive, relax, take some photos and see some public art, but by the time Thursday came around, I simply didn't have enough energy for the long drive. The weather fluctuated too much last week. Monday I was wearing a big comfy sweater, by yesterday, I was wearing summer clothes. My body didn't know what to think. Oh well, like I said in an entry earlier this week, sometimes the "Plan B" days can be just as wonderful adventure as well. My "Plan B" turned out to be a trip across the bay to the Conservatory of Flowers, to see the Butterfly Exhibit.

The Special Exhibits hall of the conservatory was filled with many different varieties of plants and butterflies, and will be through October. They rotate new types every four weeks or so. Right now they have Monarchs, Gulf Fritillary, Julia, White Peacock, Buckeye, Zebra Longwing, Little Wood Satyr. It was magical to walk into the room, and see them floating along, paying no attention to me and my wonder. In fact, I had something really fun happen. As I was walking into the exhibit, just as a young man and his little girl, I think she was about 2 or so, were coming out, and with them came a large Monarch. The butterfly had escaped!

Yikes! The Monarch fluttered around the little girls head, then floated over to me and sat down on my shoulder, from there it moved down to the back of my hand, where she stayed as I gently returned her back to her home. It was a strange feeling to have the butterfly sit on my hand, and it was an even stranger sensation when she licked the back of my hand. LOL I guess she thought my jasmine perfumed smelled good. :) That made me smile. She, Miss Monarch, was enjoying my company as much as I was enjoying hers. The two butterflies, in the above picture, sat together the entire time I was there, looking out of the conservatory window as if longing to be fluttering together in the fresh air. It made me a little sad, but it also made me smile to imagine them as the best of friends.

Admission into the conservatory is only $5.00, and that includes the special exhibit. I am going to be going back to photograph as many of the butterfly varieties as possible. I highly recommend it. Be sure to dress cool and comfy, it is very humid inside the conservatory, but there are a lot of benches to rest on. It is a lot of fun...don't miss it!

The Ethereal Musician was playing today...I have been listening to him playing his tunes for over five years now. He is my invisible friend, somewhere up here in the hills, who plays his music like a whisper to the wind. I still can't figure out where the music is coming from. That's ok, I'm glad that he is still one of my life's favorite mysteries. He is my invisable friend who comes by once in a while, to bring a little magic to my afternoon. The song he chose for today, was "Come Saturday Morning," by Dory Previn and Fred Carlin. So beautiful and so haunting. I will probably be humming it all weekend. Now I am sharing it with you. Enjoy! :)

Come Saturday Morning
By Dory Previn & Fred Carlin

Come Saturday morning
I'm goin' away with my friends
We'll Saturday-spend till the end of the day
And then we'll move on
But we will remember, long after Saturday's gone

Come Saturday morning
I'm goin' away with my friend
We'll Saturday-laugh more then half of the day
Just I and my friend
Dressed up in our rings and our Saturday things
And then we'll move on
But we will remember long after Saturday's gone

Come Saturday morning

Just I an my friend
We'll travel for miles in our Saturday smiles
And then we'll move on
But we will remember long after Saturday's gone

Come Saturday Morning

"Best Friends"
(L) Gulf Fritillary (R) Buckeye
Conservatory of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
June 15, 2006

Friday, June 16, 2006

Elvis & I Guest Host : Steven's Feline Friday

"Cats are magical...the more you pet them, the longer you both live."


This week, while our good friends, Steven and Pickle take a little time off, Elvis and I will be hosting the best cat meme on the Internet, "Steven's Feline Friday." Cats rule! So, each Friday has been reserved just for them by Steven. I always liked that idea...cats should definitely have their own day!

This is my entry for this week. I took it just this morning, while giving Elvis a good grooming. He wasn't feeling very good because of the warm day we are having. Like his mommy, Elvis doesn't take the summer months as well as the rest of the year. So, he and I do things together to make it a bit easier to take. Today, we might just go swimming or maybe better still, would be to play with the sprinkler in the yard. One of his favorite activities is to sit really close to it, and let the water sprinkle down on him. It's cooling, and then he doesn't have to fuss with putting on his water wings for the pool. The only thing he needs for the sprinkler fun is his shaded goggles. I sure do love this cat. :) If you it's true that both Elvis and I will live longer just by my petting him...then I kinda think we will live forever, because I can't help but pet him. He's my little boy.

I really enjoy Feline Friday, because it has lead me to some pretty neat kitties in the land. Here are some great links...

Midnight poses for Julie, as his friend Abby gets his attention.

Theresa's kitties Angel & Eclipse play a game of Chess, which is pretty cool, because I'm terrible at that game.

Boo-Boo Kitty and Peanut share a box of beer. LOL. The beer does not belong to Pat by the way!

Phinney's cat Jinx, stuck her tongue out at her! How rude! LOL. but very, very cute all the same. :)

And Julie's kitty, Brooklyn, shows us the proper way to groom.

All fantastic kitties, so be sure to click on the links to see them do their thing!

If you have a kitty, and want to play along with this week's edition of Feline Friday, all you have to do is leave your comments in the thread for THIS entry. I will gather all of them up, and send them to Steven, for next week's Feline Friday edition.

"Melting Elvis"
Berkeley, California
June 16, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #116: Things We Share With Dad

""Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes."

Weekend Assignment #116: Tell about some personality trait or quirk you got from your father...or, if you're a father, some personality trait or quirk of yours you see in your kinds.

Extra Credit: Did you ever get dad a tie for Father's Day?

-John Scalzi

Well, where to begin. For most of my life, my relationship with my father was really strained. Dad had a lot of sadness, mostly about things that happened long before I was born, so he had a lot of demons to fight. He did that in his own way, and in fact, usually refused all help, but before he passed away in 1995, he and I made our peace...and it was complete. He and I had long talks about how much of our personality he and I shared. It was comforting to know that he and I could bring out the best in each other. Here is a list of what we shared...

1. Politics. He was a staunch democrat and a liberal, and he taught me about what that meant. The night Bobby Kennedy was killed, dad came home from work so sad, I was only a little one, but he and I talked about why he was so sad, and he explained it so a I could understand...and then we both felt better.

2. We both have a wicked sense of humor. He and I could speak in whole conversations with just a grin. We always knew what to say or do to make the other one laugh, and as sad and confused as dad would get...he never really lost his sense of humor. He knew the importance of a good, solid laugh.

3. Sugar. LOL. Dad had a sweet tooth that went straight to his soul...and so do I. :)

4. The arts. Dad and I both enjoyed museums, the ballet, and music of all kinds. He and I would often talk about art and the lives of artists. He was an avid reader and he shared his library with me as a child. It opened a lot of doors for me.

5. He encouraged me in photography. When I became clinically depressed back in the mid-eighties...he put a camera in my hand and told me to snap away. He knew it would help me come out of myself. He had a camera, and he loved going up to wine country and photographing the vineyards.

6. San Francisco. We both love that city...but I bet you already knew that.

I could go on, but you get the picture. I guess what he and I shared the most was political ideals, our sense of humor, and our love of all thing beautiful, from the arts to the city of San Francisco. :)

Extra Credit: I gave my dad a tie, the first Father's Day after I got married. It was the one he wore on my wedding day. He loved the tie, so I bought it as a surprise. After he died I put it in my cedar chest...where it still is today. :)

"From The Bay Bridge"
San Francisco, California
June 15, 2006

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tell Me, Do You Phoon?

"The goal is not to change your subjects, but for the subject to change the photographer."

It is my belief, and my experience, that fate comes around to visit me most often when I have my camera in my hand. While fate may not allow me to become a millionaire by picking the correct winning Lotto numbers, or to accidentally encounter David Duchovny coming out of my favorite deli, it has managed to put me in the right place to discover some amazing people, places and things, while out in the world with camera in hand, but it hasn't been exclusive to the real world, sometimes it has introduced me to some pretty great and amazing people and things here on the Internet as well. :)

Last Sunday, I was researching an upcoming trip I was planning this week to, Pacific Grove, California. There is a specific sculpture that sits in Lover's Point Park, that I have been interested in photographing for quite some time now. The sculpture is titled, "Boy With Sailboat." So, off to google I went, and a few web sites came up, but most were simply photos of the sculpture, but one certain web site actually had a small amount of information indicated in the link box, so that is the one I chose to go to. It indeed had some info about the sculpture, but that wasn't the focus of the site. See, fate had lead me to a different kind of art form. And what fine art it is. See, I had, by luck, just discovered the world of Phoons.

What's a Phoon you ask? Well, it is the craze that's been seen, and posed, around the world. The art of Phooning was created in 1980, when John Darrow, the main Phoon himself, decided to strike a fun pose for some family vacation photos. That was over 20 years ago, but while on a business trip in 1999, the muse struck John again, and he saw the opportunity to Phoon once again. From there...the Phoon was reborn. Phooning is not easily described in has to be seen to be understood. It's fun, it's creative, and it is a genuine phenomenon that has gone international. If you care to, you can phoon as well. John accepts and posts submitted photos from the four corners of the earth, but there are some rules and requirements that must be followed before your phoon photo can be posted. Nothing scary or too detailed mind you, just a few guidelines to make the experience of phooning a lot more fun. You should drop by and see for yourself, what a cool web site I happened upon the other day.

John is a nice man. He is also very creative and helpful. In addition to his Phoon site he also has a pretty nifty blog, right here on Blogspot. I will leave the links below so you can pay him a visit, say hello neighbor, and enjoy all the hard work he has put into his site. Someday the word "Phoon" will be in the dictionary, I have no doubts about that at all. Next to the description it will say... "See fun." :) Thanks John, for making me smile. Don't you just love fate's little detours?

Phoons From Around The World

Personal Effects (John's Blog)

"An Alcove In Berkeley"
Berkeley, California
June 14, 2006

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Round Robin Challenge: Emotions

Click on the above image to see a larger version

"There can be no transforming of darkness, into light and of apathy into movement, without emotion."

-Carly Jung

This was a difficult challenge for me. I ran into some trouble choosing one particular emotion to try and capture with my camera. Oh I sure, I could have posted someone laughing, or maybe even capture one of those rare moments when Elvis cries...maybe even a moment when I was feeling sad. I had them this week. It wasn't that bad mind you, it's just that I find myself standing at a crossroad, about more then one thing, and at times it can be hard to handle. Still, I am ok, just maybe a little blue. I suppose blue really isn't an emotion. So, in an effort to try and step out of my own sadness this week, I decided to do something that would scare myself instead...LOL...I wrote a poem.

Now, as all of you know, poetry is not my greatest talent. So what. It is my belief that the only way to become good at something, is to practice it until either you do become good at it, or poetry police come and get you. LOL. I came up with this photo I took last autumn at the Pacific Grove Butterfly Sanctuary, and when I looked at it, I remembered how the eucalyptus tree seemed to be growing the monarchs. Each branch was filled with the most gorgeous splashes of color and flutter. I was having a really emotional time last fall, I was still trying my best to recover from something that happened to me late last summer. I spent most days avoiding things, because it all hurt too much. So, as I watched the butterflies, floating softly on the pacific coast breeze, somehow it made it all a little easier on my weary emotions. Looking at this photo other night, inspired the following poem. I hope you enjoy it, but feel free to be honest, if you think it's just awful, tell someday I can do better. :)

As A Spirit Complete
By Carly Gordon

An ethereal life of moments
A child of waning light
Born a gossamer of autumn
Her dance is her delight

Sleeping through the darkness
Awakening in the light
A season of emotions
Escaping a lover's plight

Counting not the days nor the moments
She rises to greet the morn
Then carries her feelings of love alone
As the rose has it's thorn

She does not despair in the darkness
As her eyes close gently to sleep
The lifetime that she lived today
She lived as a spirit complete about going out on a limb! Thank you Chris, for choosing a very challenging subject for all of us to enjoy! If you would like to play along with the Round Robin Challenges, just pay a visit to the official Round Robin blog to find out all the details. And be sure to visit all the Round Robin participants to see some wonderful interpretations this subject. The Robin members always amaze me with their creativity. Just click on the links below, and see for yourself.

"The Monarch Tree"
Pacific Grove Butterfly Sanctuary
Pacific Grove, California
Autumn, 2005

Round Robin Participants

Chris... My Photographic Life POSTED!

Karen... Outpost Mavarin POSTED

Carly... Ellipsis... Suddenly Carly POSTED!

Amy... My Life And Pictures

T.J. ... Every Picture Tells A Story

Sara... Animated Seasons POSTED!

Julie... Julie's Web Journal POSTED!

Derek... Through Veal Eyes

Dorn... Through The Eyes Of The Beholder POSTED!

Steve... Paparrazi By Proxy POSTED!

Kat... Prima Luce

Terry... The Captain's File ***WELCOME NEW MEMBER***

Tammy... The Daily Warrior POSTED!


Valorie... Retrospect USA POSTED!

Suzanne... Suzanne R's Life POSTED!

Deslily... Here, There and Everywhere POSTED!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Bad Photos (That Are Kind Of Cool)

"A man's errors are his portals of discovery."

-James Joyce

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Find a picture in your files that is technically bad, but is still interesting to look at. By "technically bad," I mean things like people are partly out of frames, your subject is out of focus, everyone has red eye, people's heads are cut off, there are in appropiate blurs, so on and so forth. But even so, it's still an interesting picture to look at.

Remember: It's called the Monday Photo Shoot, but you can still post pictures for it through about noon on Thursday. That's a lot of time to find flawed photos.

-John Scalzi (By The Way...)

A couple weeks ago, as I was coming back into Berkeley, by way of hwy 13,when I saw this bit of graffiti art on the overpass where hwy 13 meets hwy 24. I only had a second or two to snap the photo, but thank goodness, as it just so happens, I have a camera growing out of the end of my right arm. LOL. That's what happens when your great passion in life is photography. LOL.

Don't fret gentle reader, I was once featured on a news segment on my local ABC news affiliate as a "model driver." So, even if something would have gone horribly wrong, like if my camera went to flight out of the window, while I was trying to balance it on my steering wheel, no worries...see...I have a cell phone growing out of the end of my left arm. ;) An amateur photographer must be prepared for everything. LOL.

A few days later when I drove by the same spot again, I saw that the sign had been removed, and replaced with a lovely shade of gray paint. The town of Berkeley is pretty good about keeping up with clearing graffiti. And that is a good thing, still I appreciated the little smile that the message had brought me that day. Simply... "Follow Your Dreams." You know me, I live for those simple moments of fate. You see, when you love taking photos as much as I do, you learn to recognize how wonderful those little moments of quiet serendipity can be. :)

I let it go, and didn't think anymore of it, until about a week later, when I was again at the same spot, at almost the same time of day, and again there was a message waiting for me...

How cool is that? Isn't that a great message? Like I said, it's those little moments that fate gives you, that sometimes mean the most. Even if they are a bit lopsided and a tad out of focus. ;)

"Follow Your Dreams"
"Seriously Follow Your Dreams"
Berkeley, California
13 at 24
June, 2006
10:30 AM

Monday, June 12, 2006

Charley's Friday Five

"A vacation is what you take, when you can no longer take what you've been taking."

-Earl Wilson

Last Friday marks the second week anniversary of the return of, one of my favorite memes, the Friday Five, which is hosted by Charley, author of the journal, "Courage." It is a lot of fun, and easy to play. All you do is answer the five questions he posts for each edition, and if you are the first to submit your answers, he will give your journal a hefty promotion the following week. You can write your answers as an entry on your journal or blog, or you can leave them in the comments of the Friday Five edition he is currently playing. If you would like to play along, you can find Charley and the Friday Five here. Don't forget to go back leave him a link. Now, on with the Friday Five...

1. What is (or would be) your dream vacation?

A. My favorite season of the year is autumn, so, it has always been a dream of mine to tour the New England states during that time of year.

2. What's one thing no vacation can do without?

A. Maps, maps, and more maps.

3. What has been the best trip of your life so far?

A. Alan and I love going down the central California coast to San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. We love it there.

4. Who was with you on that trip, and what is the role of that person in your life?

A. Alan is my hubby...15 1/2 years and counting.

5. What's the worst thing that can happen.

A. I think the worst thing that can happen is having the car break down. There you are, trapped, ugg. I don't even want to think about it. :) So I won't! LOL :)

Thanks Charley, for bringing us the Friday Five each week, you know I am a fan!

"Berkeley In Autumn"
Berkeley, California
November 24, 2005
Late Afternoon

Name That Bird!

"Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel free to delight in whatever remains to them?"

-Rose Kennedy

With all the time I have been spending at home this year, I have decided to set up a tripod permanently in the garden to photograph the birds, and hopefully some butterflies this autumn. I bought two different bird feeders last week, one specifically for Hummingbirds, and one for miscellaneous wild birds. Yesterday (Sunday) was the best day for watching them so far, but because the weather has been so cold and windy, there weren't as many coming by as usual. Nice variety though. Lots of Hummingbirds, Blue Jays, California Song Birds, and of course, there were some Robins.

I need to stop by Barnes & Noble, on Shattuck avenue,this week and pick up a book on birds native to the area. I found the pretty little bird, in the photo below, down at the marina. I am not sure what it is...look familiar to anyone? If you have an idea of what it might be, leave me a comment. I will probably head back to the marina later in the week, hopefully there will be some clouds to provide a little natural shading, I had a problem with my photos being washed out last week. I have big plans later in the week, she said with fingers crossed, so I need to spend a few days at home to get ready for it. If I get the proper rest, my Fibromyalgia is a lot easier to manage. If all goes well, I will be able to make it down to Pacific Grove by the end of the week. :) There are some awesome photo ops along the 17 mile drive. So wish me luck!

Note: This is a Round Robin Challenge week. Be sure to drop by the official blog to find out all the details. Our challenge this time around will be, "Emotions."

"Rockin Robin"
Berkeley, California
June 11, 2006

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Man Bites Dog...A Game Review

"Half The Game Is 90% mental."

-Yogi Berra

I have been spending a lot more time at home lately, I have found that when I want to go to a special event, that takes a lot of energy do, such when I drove to Santa Rosa to photograph the Woodstock sculptures, I need to prepare for that type of outing by resting up for a few days before the trip. Well, I can't just sleep all day, every day, so I usually relax in the yard with a book, or by taking pictures, with the camera set up on a tripod. But sometimes, what helps more then anything else, is when Alan and I play a really fun board game. A good one will force me to think, a really good one will make me laugh. An excellent one will do both. I find I sleep at my deepest, after a good solid laugh. The game I am about to tell you about was a great find that accomplished that for me.

The game is called, "Man Bites Dog," produced by University Games. I've always been impressed by their games, and this one is no exception. It's simple and fun to play. Here's what you do...

The object of the game is to come up with a structurally sound "Headline" like one would find on a newspaper or magazine publication.

The dealer, deals five cards to each player. Each card has a word, or sometimes two words, and a number value. Each player then looks at their hand, and decides whether or not they want to discard any of the cards dealt them. The player to the dealers left discards first, up to three of the five cards. The play continues around until each player has had a chance to either discard or accept their hand as is. After everyone is done, the dealer lays down his/her best headline from the cards. As an example...

Acceptable: Man Bites Dog

Unacceptable: Refrigerator Marries Mob Boss

If you can't make a sentence, then your score becomes zero. The score is determined by the numbers found on each card. It is nearly impossible to not make some kind of headline, very rarely did we have cards left over in our hands at the end of the rounds. I purchased the travel edition, which contains just the cards. I understand their is a larger version, but this one works fine for playing a short, fun game in the back yard. It is rated for ages 8 an up, which seems about right. If you enjoy cute, lighthearted games, which are very low on the fuss factor, I highly recommend this one. I give 4 out of 5 popcorn kernels. :)

And by the way, you might notice that the latest poll on my sidebar is all about games. Do you have a favorite board game? Even if you haven't played in years, I would like to hear about your personal favorite family game, or even your favorite game to play at parties, such as Madlibs or maybe Charades. If it isn't listed on the poll, feel free to tell me about it in the comments. I will reveal the results of the poll at the end of the month on my new poll results blog, which can be found here. I set it up to make it easier to keep track of past polls and results. The current one listed on the new blog, is the last one I had on my sidebar, about the great mysteries. Hop on over if you would like to see the final result of that poll.

"Man Bites Dog
Berkeley, California
June 8, 2006