Saturday, July 15, 2006

Ye Olde Watering Hole...A Round Robin Promotion

"Why doe man kill? He kills for food. And not only food, frequently there much be a beverage as well."

-Woody Allen

We have a nifty new Round Robin Challenge to ponder. Our friend Maryanne, author of the journal, "Inside The Gilded Cage," has chosen, "Ye Olde Watering Hole," as our new photo challenge to meet. I love this idea. :) I do have a specific place in Berkeley where I like to go for a little relax and refresh, Caffe Strada, at the corner of College avenue and Bancroft. It sits right across the street from the University of California Berkeley. It's a fun place where one can go to read a book, do a little work on a laptop computer, or just sit an people watch. That's what I enjoy doing the most, the people watching. The cafe itself is is a lovely place with gorgeous trees all around it to keep it cool in the summer, and outdoor heaters to keep it warm, on the cold rainy days of winter. They have lots of coffee and tea choices, but the hot chocolate will curl your toes, especially with a dash of Torani raspberry syrup. If you ever go there never, ever, miss the Chocolate Mocha cake they have...OMG...yep, that's the stuff!

In the summer, I enjoy buying the Italian sodas. Usually I will order a Watermelon soda, but the Melon and Pink Grapefruit is pretty tasty also. The melon flavored sodas taste just like biting into a chilled Honeydew melon. It can be a nice treat on these hot summer days we have been having. :) No matter when you go there, you will always have something interesting to see or experience. I enjoy sitting at my favorite watering hole in autumn. The kids are back to school at the university, some for the first time, and there is a youthful enthusiasm in the air. An energy.

That feeling of passion for the future, that you can see on the faces of the young students who go their to grab a refreshment, is addictive. Sometimes you might overhear a good natured debate between them, sometimes in several languages. It all goes so well together. A lot of the time I can hear laughter among the patrons, and doesn't the sound of laughter just sound good in any language? Also, it doesn't hurt that the cafe sits less then half a block from the,Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive. :)

It's not always about the beverage being served. Sometimes we visit our favorite watering holes to enjoy the ambiance, sometimes because we need human contact, sometimes we have a craving for a soda, or coffee, or even something a little stronger. It's all good in moderation. Sometimes one needs to try new things. If I had never ventured into that lovely little cafe, I would have never discovered Italian sodas. Now sometimes, I make them at home, when I am not feeling well enough to visit Caffe Strada. I love inventing new recipes, and I want to share this one with you from the watering hole I visited today..."Ye-Old- Backyard-Of-My-House-Watering-Hole." LOL. I call this drink, "Apricot Autumn."

Apricot Autumn

8 oz Sparkling Soda
1/2 oz. (I Tbs.) Torani Apricot Syrup
1/4 oz. (1 1/2 tsp.) Torani Cinnamon Syrup
1 Apricot quartered

Fill the glass with ice...and go for it! :) When the drink is done, the apricot quarters will have a lovely, light cinnamon taste. MMMMMMMYUMMMMM.

Your turn, join the Round Robin Challenge, and share with us about your favorite ,"Ye Olde Watering Hole." It could be your favorite Tea House, neighborhood Bar & Grill, Coffee House, Juice bar, Smoothie Joint, Soda Shop, or maybe even the best little Lemonade Stand in your town. So, grab your cameras,venture forth and snap away. Show us where you like to go to wet your whistle. If you prefer to make your own libations, that's cool too. Show us that favorite drink that you make yourself, and then share with us how, why,when and where you most enjoy it. The date of this challenge will be, Wednesday, July 26th. You can post your entry anytime between the midnights of that day. You can find out all the information at the official Round Robin Blog. Hope to see you on July 26th. :)

"Apricot Autumn Soda"
Berkeley, July 13, 2006

NOTE! There have been some additions to the Rules of Play. Please go and read the new rules posted in the ***Welcome Entry & Rules of Play***, BEFORE, you sign up to play. Please everyone, lets try to stick to the rules, they are there to make things fair for everyone! Your cooperation is needed to keep things flowing smoothly!

Friday, July 14, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #120

"The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names."

-Chinese Proverb

Weekend Assignment#120: Do a Web search on a pet's name and let us know some of the interesting things that pop-up. It doesn't necessarily have to be a current pet... if you've got a previous pet whose name will elicit more interesting Web results, by all means use that one instead.

-John Scalzi (By The Way...)

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always believed that my pet's came with their names. I have looked into the eyes of baby, chickens, ducks, cats, dogs, goldfish, parakeets, hamsters, bunnies, geese, squirrels, trout, guinea pigs, turtles, toads, grasshoppers, and even a road runner, and let them tell me their name. Ok, yes I know, animals can't talk, but somehow it was always like they told me their name, because before I knew it, a name would be in my head...and it ususally seemed right for the animal. Like when I looked into Elvis's eyes for the first time. Somehow I just knew his name was Elvis. His baby picture is below, now I ask you, could his name have been anything other then Elvis? LOL.

I Googled the name Elvis, and came up with the usual sites that feature "The King" Elvis Presley, but I also found sites for Elvis Costello, who just happens to be one of my favorite singers as well. :) I also checked for the name of Elvis's brother from the same litter, Jack Kerouac. He is the one featured in the above photo. He was a beautiful cat, so soft and so wee sometimes. We couldn't keep him, and I miss him at times so much, but I will never forget how loving he and Elvis were to each other. I think that is where Elvis learned to be such a humanitarian. Elvis took good care of his brother. :)

Elvis's name is Scandinavian in origin, and it means, "all wise." Yep, as it just so happens, he is the wisest soul I know. :)

Jack's name is Hebrew in origin, and it means, "the Lord is gracious." Jack was a very gentle soul, who was kind and shy. :)

I was very lucky to have been raised with a lot of different types of pets, and to learn to have a strong respect for them. I am pretty sure, that my pets came with their names, I could be wrong, but I really couldn't imagine having called either of my cats, Elvis Aaron P. Gordon or Jack Kerouac Gordon, any other name.

"Jack Kerouac"
"Elvis Aaron"
May, 1997

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Steven's Feline Friday: This Is What A Bad Kitty Looks Like!

"There's no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast."


Monday, of this week, was not a good day for my boy. He was hot, he was tired of the summer weather, he woke-up in a snit, he was mad because his father had the gall to leave for work, he couldn't find his Incredible Hulk doll, Ernie still isn't coming around much to play with him, he stuck his paw under the back door, trying to touch paws with his friend Molly, and got it stuck...and he tipped over his water bowl. He was not in a good mood on that Monday morning, at it was only 6:30 AM. LOL. Add to it, I had tell him "no, he couldn't go out and play because the gardener was coming,"and know what you get? Psycho Kitty! :)

He pounced on the bed, he pounced on the bags ready for recycling, he tried to use the phone to turn me in to kitty protective services, actually he was just replaying the saved messages, lol, over and over again, he decided to make a light show by touching the touch lamp on my desk. He got into my bathroom cupboard and lined up the rolls of toilet paper in neat aisles of 6. I swear he can count. He mewed, me meowed, then he pulled out all the stops and put on his
MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW!! Which makes the neighbors think I beat him. Sheesh. So, I got up, with about 20 full minutes of sleep, and let him out into the backyard to play. You can bet, when the gardener came with that big annoying thing that makes all the noise, a lawn mower, Elvis was only too happy to let his mommy bring him in the house, in her arms. :) He has been a good kitty ever since, he even let me brush his teeth with the new tooth paste and clean his ears with the Q-Tips. He is a well groomed little boy. And he is never really a bad cat. He's just Elvis. :)

Feline Friday is being hosted this time around by Julie, and her kitties, Midnight and Abby. Be sure to drop by her place and say hello. Steven will be hosting Feline Friday again this Friday on his journal, (sometimes) photoblog. And like he says..."Cats Rule!"

"This Is What A Bad Kitty Looks Like"
July 10, 2006
Berkeley, California

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Round Robin Challenge: Americana

"If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you."


In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt, while on a hunting trip in Mississippi, displayed an act of compassion and respect in a moment when he didn't have to. He chose that day to spare the life of a tired, frightened bear which had been caught and tied to a tree for his presidential hunting party, because he felt it would have been unsportsmanlike to take it's life. This act of reverence made national headlines the following day, when Clifford Barryman, an editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post, wrote a cartoon montage of the incident. The title of the front page story was, "Drawing The Line In Mississippi." After reading the story in the Post, a shopkeeper in Brooklyn, N.Y. began displaying bears in his shops window that had been crafted by his wife, who made them from soft plush and gave them two shoe button eyes. The shopkeeper, Morris Michtom, enjoyed an instant success with the sales of the handmade bears, and eventually asked, and then received,permission from the president himself, to call the bears..."Teddy Bears." The rest is cuddly, Americana history. :)

I have always been an avid bear collector. At one time, I had almost 200 bears of all shapes, colors, and sizes in my collection. One day they were stolen from my storage, in my sorrow, I made a decision to not continue with that hobby, but every once in a while I do treat myself to a new bear, which mostly sit in areas around my desk. I now have about 15 bears...and a moose, named Ross. LOL. And now I only purchase them from Boyd's Bears, of Gettysburg Pa. Each of my bears holds a special place in my heart, and because they are handmade, each one has their own special personality. LOL. Yep...on those difficult days when nothing seems to go right, I have been known to hold a conversation with my bears. But only if my cat, Elvis, is busy. :) Now remember...

"If the person you are talking to, doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear."

-Winnie-The-Pooh :)

Cosette, author of the journal, "Pandora's Bazaar" chose "Americana" for this edition of the Round Robin Challenges. Thank you Cosette, this was a lot of fun. Tis the season after all. :) Please pay a visit to the other members of the Round Robin Challenges, simply follow the links below. And if you want to join us, you are most welcome to come along. Simply pay a visit to the official blog of the Round Robin Challenges, read the current entry, leave us a link as requested, and you are in! If you haven't played before, take a moment to read the ***Welcome Entry & Rules Of Play*** And don't forget to come back to the Round Robin blog on Thursday, to find out what our next photo challenge will be. :)

"My Bears"
Berkeley, California

Linking List

Cosette... Pandora's Baazar

Carly... Ellipsis... Suddenly Carly

Karen... Outpost Mavarin

Julie... Julie's Web Journal

Valorie... Retrospect USA

Maryanne... Inside The Gilded Cage

Pamela... My Photos


Tammy... The Daily Warrior

Suzanne... New Suzanne R's Life

Steven... (sometimes) photoblog


Janet... Fond Of Photography WELCOME NEW MEMBER!

Amy... My Life And Pictures

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Way They Weren't? What Happend To "The View?"

"There are two dilemmas that rattle the human skull: How do you hang on to someone who won't stay? And how do you get rid of someone who won't go?"

-Danny DeVito "War of the Roses"

I wanted to wait a few weeks before I did an entry about the venomous goings on over at ABC's morning talk show, The View. I wanted to see how things might play out between the ladies, Joy Behar, Barbara Walters, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Star Jones-Reynolds. Would it be possible that a smooth transition for the ladies would take place, after Meredith Vieira departed for her new job, filling Katie Couric's shoes at NBC's, "Today Show?" Would it all be smooth sailing or would there be there be any power control issues going on?Would there be clear signs, even to the audience, that things would not be resolving themselves without hard feelings forming between the ladies? Or would everyone take the attitude of, the show must go on? Well, given the jabs, slams, and general cattiness of late...there is no longer anything to consider. The View is clearly not what it used to be. Of course the question really is...was it ever?

I liked Barbara Walter's idea of putting together a panel of women from different backgrounds, and experiences, who would share their unique perspectives regarding American culture, politics, family life, current events, and fashion trends. It was a good idea, and I was an avid viewer for a number of years. The ladies seemed to have a genuine affection for each other, despite the comings and goings of the co-hosts over the years. Debbie Matenopoulous, followed by Lisa Ling, then, most recently, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, filled the seat as the up and coming, younger member of the morning panel. It was that seat that changed most often over the years. Each of those ladies couldn't have been more different, yet they all share the same enthusiasm about the world that kept the topics fresh.The View, in general, seemed to keep that original vision, as the years went by. So what could have changed so soon?

When Meredith Vieira announced she would be leaving, The View, to begin her new gig at, The Today Show, the search began for someone to replace her as co-host. It wasn't long before it was announced, that Rosie O'Donnel would be the new member of the panel. Frankly, it surprised me a little that she was chosen so quickly. When I thought about who might be chosen, I have to admit, she wasn't on my list. Don't get me wrong, I like Rosie O'Donnel, I think she is funny and very genuine, but at times I also find her to be a bit brash. I also thought that she really hadn't handled herself well, in that now famous incident with Tom Selleck, over gun control. Now, as you know, I am a big proponent of gun control, but the disrespectful way in which she handled things that day, kind of made her look rude, and so in effect, she set back her own point. But that's just my opinion about one particular incidence. Rosie herself, has been through a lot in life, and has made many decisions for herself that took a lot of courage to make. When I really considered the idea of her being a co-host, I could see how she would be at least an interesting replacement for Vieira.

Then fur began to fly. I read rumors here and there about how there had been a feud between Rosie and Star Jones-Reynolds regarding Star's recent weight loss. Apparently Rosie had made some pungent remarks that the weight loss that Star achieved, prior to her 2004 wedding, must have occurred by way of gastic bypass surgery, as opposed to Star Jones-Reynolds assertion that she lost the weight do to diet and exercise. Calling Jones- Reynolds, "dishonest." But according to Barbara Walters, Star Jones-Reynolds knew months ago, that her contract with The View was not going to being renewed, and no mention had been made about it being about Rosie O'Donnel. Still, it seems the hurt feelings were mounting, yet nothing seemed to be at the boiling point until after it was confirmed that Rosie O'Donnel would be next in line to co-host The View. Can it be that this is really what caused such backstabbing and public displays of ire to take place? Or was there a bigger problem behind the scenes all along?

The day after Star Jones-Reynolds, made the surprise announcement, on The View,of her impending departure, the fallout of the situation began with a striking bitterness.

"I love Star and I was trying to do everything I possibly could up until this morning, when I was betrayed,to protect her."

-Barbara Walters

"For Barbara to say she felt betrayed is the height of hypocrisy."

-Star Jones-Reynolds

Is this a situation of the sudden onslaught of hurt feelings? Was there enough betrayal to go around? Was it all a case of one straw too many, breaking several camels backs? Did Meredith Vieria decide to leave The View simply to pursue a larger, more lucrative career possibility? Or has a good deal of infighting been going on for a long time? Is there a possibility that Star Jones-Reynolds contract wasn't renewed because Rosie O'Donnel had once made a remark regarding Star's integrity? Was it a simple matter of popularity? Was Star losing her following? What is really going on here?

I have to admit, I was put off once by Star's admission that once, while working as a prosecutor, she "borrowed" the closing arguments of a trial she was currently prosecuting, from an episode of L.A. Law. It seems to me, that if you are talented enough to make it to the office of prosecutor, and entrusted with a case in that office, you should be able to come up with a closing argument compelling enough to hold a juries attention. She won her case by the way. And I do have to wonder about how fair that really is. To me that seems like a manipulative thing to everyone involved. It's situations like that which make me wonder, was justice served that day, or was it solely about the win?

Oh well, I keep imagining that perfect world. You know the one, where folks don't stab each other in the back, where integrity is still something one aspires to, where problems are solved between those involved, as opposed to in the tabloids, and the view is a little less depressing. Sigh. Tell me what you think. What's going on over at The View?


Monday, July 10, 2006

My Date With The Unibomber

"One never needs humor as much as when they argue with a fool."

-Chinese Proverb

My Date With The Unibomber...

On the 4th of July, Alan and I had plans to photograph the fireworks from up on top Twin Peaks, in San Francisco. That is one of my favorite places to go in the city, because of the gorgeous panoramic view. From up there you can see across the bay to Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley, and Hayward to the right, and to the left you can see, Angel Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, Richardson Bay, in Sausalito, and, of course, the whole of San Francisco sits at your feet. It is an awesome feeling to be sitting up at Twin Peaks, looking down upon what I believe is the prettiest city on earth. :) But when you are in a less then happy mood...sometimes that beauty can be seen as dull or maybe even ugly. The downside of frustration and anger is that it can take an object, that would ordinarily appear to us as beautiful, and distort it seem...well...less then wonderful.

Alan has learned how to bring out my sense of humor when I am in a bad mood. He knows all the right words to say to completely drop me head first into humor. LOL. Talk about a mood swing. LOL. When he came home from work that day, I was in a MOOD! LOL. Not mad at him mind you...mad because of world events. Hey, even I get frustrated every once in a while. LOL. I can get a hefty pout on, trust me, but in my own is a rare thing, and humor, both at myself and the object of my ire, will usually have me feeling all back to normal. I learned a long time ago, holding onto anger or resentment or even frustration will harm only myself. Ok, lesson learned. So, it has never bothered me when he pushes all the right buttons in my soul to bring me back to a content existence. :) My Alan invented a new game, in the car on our way up to Twin Peaks to defuse my's called "The adjective Game."

Do you know that game called, "The Preacher's Cat?" It is played to a beat, and each player in turn comes up with a new adjective to describe the preacher's cat. "The preacher's cat is a HAPPY cat," "The preacher's cat is a SILLY cat," "The preachers cat is a BLACK cat." Well, in Alan's version, the game isn't about the preacher's cat, no his version is about President Bush. LOL. See, it is his theory that if I am forced to come up with all negative adjectives to a beat, like the preacher's cat game, that eventually I will begin to laugh. But it didn't stop there...I then have to repeat them order! YIKES! LOL. He is a smart man. Alan knows I trust him, and I would feel guilty if I didn't at least try to stop feeling so negative, so I always at least try to go along with his diffusers. Because if the truth be told, I don't like dwelling on things, I would rather be laughing then crying, and I do like the world around me, especially when it has such a stunning view. :)

Well, it only took up until the "G's" to have me roaring with laughter. LOL. And per our agreement, I HAD to finish the game. And finish I did. It's important to me to keep my word to Alan. That means, being true to myself, feeling the emotion I need to feel, and then GET OVER IT! LOL. Besides being an excellent diffuser, it kept my mind off the fact that I couldn't find one single public bathroom open in the entire of San Francisco on the 4th of July. I simply HAD to hold it. LOL. Even the lovely paid bathroom available at Twin Peaks was out of order. LOL. Did I mention that the temperature up there that night was about 40 degrees with winds at 35 mph? LOL. IT WAS COLD! I was convinced that the lack of available bathrooms was because I had let the world get to me that day. Nah...not really. But just in case, I think I will remember "The Preacher's Cat" game, and keep it handy...and maybe make it my mantra.

By the way...the guy in the above photo is the most recent picture of Alan. Yes, once he got me seated, on the side of the cliff in my lawn chair, he decided to do his Unibomber impression. LOL. While I was setting up my camera, he quietly put on his disguise. (Insert eye rolling here). You should have seen the looks we got from my cackling. You see, I don't laugh little...I have been known to set my laughter free, complete with snorting and the occasional pitch that can neuter cats four counties over. LOL. Thanks a lot Alan! No really...thanks. :)

July 4th, 2006 Twin Peaks, San Francisco, Ca.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

40 Questions-A-Palooza, About Me-A-Palooza!

"One day your life will pass before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching."

-Flora Whittmore

I have been seeing the cute little 40 questions meme here and there recently, well, actually, I saw it first at Shelly's, and then at Pat's, from there it was at Patrick's and then Anna's...and also over at my good friend Wil's. So, I thought I might also take a turn at it. I wonder if any of my answers might surprise you? (Insert wicked laugh here).

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?
Yep...a long time a galaxy far, far away!

2. Do you close your eyes on roller coasters?
Nope, I enjoy the full experience of roller coasters.

3. When's the last time you've been sledding?
I have never been sledding, but it looks like fun!

4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?
Depends. ;)

5. Do you believe in ghosts?
Yes! :)

6. Do you consider yourself creative?

7. Do you think O. J. Simpson killed his wife?

8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?
Both are wonderful actresses!

9. Do you stay friends with your exes?
When at all possible! :)

10. Do you know how to play poker?
Yep, it's a fun game!

11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?
Yes, a long time ago.

12. What's your favorite commercial?
I like the California Cow commercials "Real Cheese"

13. What are you allergic to?
Aluminum, Pine Nuts

14. If you're driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around do you run red lights?
No, most cities have cameras mounted on the street lights.

15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?
Sure I do. ;)

16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?
Boston Red Sox

17. Have you ever been Ice Skating?
Yes, but I didn't do well at it.

18. How often do you remember your dreams?
Sometimes...when it triggers a memory.

19. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
The Fourth of July, Alan knows how to make me laugh!

20. Can you name 5 songs by the Beatles?
Here Comes The Sun, Yesterday, Penny Lane, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, In My Life.

21. What's the one thing on your mind right now?
Someone I miss.

22. Do you know who Ghetto-ass Barbie is?
Nope, I guess we travel in different circles. :)

23. Do you always wear your seat belt?

24. What cell service do you use?

25. Do you like Sushi?
No! Yuck!

26. Have you ever narrowly avoided a fatal accident?
Yes... :( Still scares me to think of it.

27. What do you wear to bed?
T-shirt and panties.

28. Been caught stealing?

29. What shoe size do you have?
6 on my left foot/8 1/2 on my right. An effect of Fibromyalgia. Although tonight it is a size 6 on both feet. LOL.

30. Do you truly hate anyone?
No, not really. Hate only hurts me.

31. Classic Rock or Rap?
Classic Rock

32. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?
David Duchovny. :)

33. Favorite song?
I love so many songs, how would I choose? "Here Comes The Sun" always makes me smile. :)

34. Have you ever sang in front of the mirror?
Yes. LOL.

35. What food do you find disgusting?
Sushi :)

36. Do you sing in the shower? the top of my lungs, LOL.

37. Did you ever play, "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours?"
Yes...many, many times! ;)

38. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back?
Yes, just like I know my friends make fun of me. :)

39. Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?

40. Have you ever been punched in the face?
Yes. :(

There you have it! If you have any questions you have been dying to ask me, that weren't a part of the above 40 questions, feel free to ask me in the comment thread of this entry. I will answer any questions specifically pertaining to me or my blog. So go for it! :)

Note: My friend Suzanne has also posted this meme, so be sure to drop by her place and read her answers as well. :)