Saturday, July 22, 2006

Like Seven Inches From The Midday Sun

"The coldest winter I ever saw, was the summer I spent in San Francisco."

-Mark Twain

The Bay Area has been experiencing some pretty severe weather the last couple days. Unbearable heat, no air, no breeze, and temperatures that are breaking records. Livermore is estimated to reach 110 degrees later today, which is nearly 20 degrees above normal. Here in the East Bay hills it has been so oppressive, that there wasn't even the sound of children playing outdoors yesterday. That is sad indeed, because isn't that one of the very best sounds of summer? I heard very few birds today, and there hasn't been the usual visits in the night by the opossums. That worries me. Twice today I have gotten "Severe Weather" desktop alerts by the Weather Channel, and right now as I type this, it is 97 degrees in my cottage at 12 midnight.

Elvis isn't doing well, so I have had to be especially careful with him. I make him have some water every couple hours, and I wash him down three or four times a day with some cool water from the bathroom sink. He and I haven't been able to go swimming this year, my foot is too swollen from the dampness of the weather. In order to get into the pool I would need to take my pain medicine, which makes me woosey. I don't think it would be a good idea with Alan at work to swim by myself, so Elvis and I just dip our toes in. The sun overhead has been too much. And to think, on the 4th of July, it was 45 degrees on top of Twin Peaks in the city with winds at 35 miles per hour. The Bay Area microclimates can be difficult to handle, especially if one isn't used to them. Funny thing about the above quote by Mark Twain, according to, Mark Twain never said that! He may have mused on the strange weather patterns in the Bay Area, but he actually never said that particular quote.

Have I mentioned that I am longing for autumn? LOL. One thing however, the sunset on a Bay Area summer day can be stunning! This is a photo taken at the Berkeley pier, facing Angel Island. :) The scene to the left, is a magnificent view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Fort Point. Even on a day like yesterday, when the summer heat was so hot I couldn't seem to even think clearly, my camera will always help me find the relief I seek. :) I am not used to these temperatures, or the pain it is causing in my leg. Sigh. Send me some cool thoughts please. :)

By the way, we have an upcoming Round Robin Challenge, which is taylor made for a hot summer day. "Ye Olde Watering Hole." There is still time to sign up for the challenge, it's easy. All you have to do is pay a visit to the official Round Robin blog, and leave your name, your journal/blog's name and the full URL in the comment thread and you are all set. So tell me, what is your favorite summer drink, and where do you most enjoy having it? Or better yet, take a photo, and join us next Wednesday for the challenge!

KGO Heat Wave To Last Through The Weekend

"Berkeley Sunset"
July 21st, 2006
9:20 PM
Note: Thanks Redsneakz for the great error catch!

Friday, July 21, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #121: This One Goes To 11!

"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."

-Albert Einstein

Weekend Assignment #121: Do whatever you want, so long as it somehow involves the number 11. Memories of being eleven, lists that have eleven positions to them, collections of eleven similar objects...hey...whatever you want. As long as the number eleven is somehow involved, it's all good. For those of you thinking about being sneaky and using binary notation: no "11, base 2." We're talking binary number 1011 here, pal.

Extra Credit: Grab a book, open it to page 11, and write out the 11th sentence.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

How about a list of 11 things about the number 11, including a brand new original poem by me. :) I know what you are thinking..."Oh no...not one of her poems." LOL. Hey, practice makes perfect! LOL.

1. Eleven Minutes Ago, (A Free Verse Poem)
By Carly Gordon

I think it was in November when they met
Two human souls on one path
One walking toward and one walking away
From their individual pasts.

They stopped and spoke of polite things
For eleven minutes that November day
He and She thinking words not spoken
In a silent dialog of suppressed desires

The closer they came to each others life
The further they seemed to drift apart
Until a chasm was all that remained
Of a once great November filled day

Then both walked away in reluctant silence
As both momentarily considered the future
And what could have been changed in the past
Only eleven short minutes ago.

2. A rocket must travel at over 11km per second to escape the Earth's gravity.

3. According to Numerology, 11 possesses the qualities of intuition, patience, honesty, sensitivity, and spirituality, and idealism.

4. NBC 11 is my local NBC affiliate

5. Eleven, 11 lettered words.
1. Caressingly
2. Dressmakers
3. Foolishness
4. Truehearted
5. Documentary
6. Foretelling
7. Girlfriends
8. Knucklehead
9. Summerhouse
10. Tranquility
11. Yesteryears

5.The symbol for the 11th anniversary is STEEL.

6. The 11th president of the United States was James Polk.

7. Eleven Pipers Piping, from 12 Days Of Christmas, would cost $2,053.

8. 11 is the atomic number of sodium.

9. The 11th moon of Jupiter is called Himalia

10. In Astrology, the 11th house is of Ideals, Friends and Allies

11. Apollo 11 was the first mission to the moon. July, 1969.

Extra Credit: The 11th page and the 11th sentence of my favorite book, Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman. Autumn will be here soon, I read this book every autumn. :)

"She did not as the aunts for special favors, or even request those small rewards she deserved."

"A Day In The 11th Month"
Berkeley, California
November, 2005

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Beer Bad

"Maybe because popcorn explodes."

-Brian Lehman, owner of, The Amish Country Popcorn factory, answered,"Maybe because popcorn explodes," when asked why he thought his popcorn factory was placed on a list of potential terrorist threats.

Sigh. As President Bush, delivered yet another smug speech from the White House yesterday, I mused to myself about how odd, and surreal it was to hear him dictate about morality and human ethics, after vetoing a bill which would have allowed an increase in federal funding into stem cell research. Research which would have the potential to improve, if not actually save, the lives of countless Americans who suffer from various cancers, Alzheimer's disease and debilitating spinal cord injuries. It was frustrating and infuriating that the impassioned pleas of such proponents of stem cell research as, Nancy Reagan, and Michael J. Fox, fell on the ever deaf ears of our president.

Is it because he has never had to face watching a loved one suffer through an illness such as Alzheimer's? Or had to sit up with them all night because they were lost in their own mind. Or face watching a loved one die a little every single day, as their personality and memories slip away into oblivion? There were days when my mother, didn't know me from a door knob, there were days when she would become violent, and some days when she simply played as if she was a small child, her favorite comfort toy was a stuffed giggle doll I bought her. She could play with it for hours. My fear, pain and sorrow was nothing unique, many, many American families face this struggle every day. It is both financially, physically and emotionally draining. And sometimes I wonder , in that my mother suffered from that hideous disease, will that be a part of my future as well?

I think about the struggle of Dana Reeve. She loved her husband, Christopher Reeve, so much, and she stood by him after his near fatal horseback riding accident in 1995, which left him with a broken neck and devastating spinal cord injuries. It was their dream to see him walk again in his lifetime. It wasn't to be. I think about how sad I was to hear that Dana Reeve lost her own battle with Lung Cancer at the age of 44 earlier this year. Is there ever enough money to research medical atrocities? Heart disease, Leukemia, Alzheimer's, Lung Cancer, Spinal cord injuries, are killing American's at an alarming rate. It's unconscionable to me, that he could so smugly surround himself with people who share his views, for the sole purpose of having a cheering section while he yields his mighty pen. To date over $297,285,156,121 has been spent on the unecessary war in Iraq. And we still have no clear exit plan, at least while Bush is in office. A war which carries various American made atrocities of it's own, and a still missing couple billion dollars.

And in other mindless spending, a recent congressional audit of the, Department of Homeland Security, found some unusual expenditures which may rise to the level of fraud. My personal favorite expenditure was for a beer brewing kit, for the Coast Guard to brew it's own alcohol, while on duty, as a social activity for the Coast Guard Academy. What is this, McHale's Navy? Nope. It isn't anything that entertaining...just more governmental incompetence, greed and selfishness taking place while no one watches. The Department of Homeland Securities problems don't end there. Just last week came a report of the uneven disbursement of funds for increased security measures against potential terrorist targets. According to the inspector general of the D.H.S, the Nation Asset Database is so flawed, that as of January, Indiana, with, 8,591 potential terror targets, had more than twice as many potential terrorist targets then California, with 3,212. Indiana is now the most targeted place in America.

So what's in Indiana that makes them so attractive to terrorists ? How about The Amish Popcorn Factory. It doesn't end there, the citizens of Columbus, Tennessee, can feel safer at The Mule Day Parade, the residents of Woodville, Alabama, can go to Old MacDonald's Petting Zoo, without fear, and the ever mysterious, "Beach at the end of the Street," wherever that is, has received it's funding. The Department of Homeland Security, which hands out the antiterrorism grants, cut funding to New York City, and Washington by 40 percent. New York City, had their funding cut by 40 percent, so that a tackle shop, a donut shop, and Nix's Check Cashing, could be added to the list of possible targets by terrorists? 571 nursing homes, 1,305 casinos, 163 water parks, 3, 773 malls were also listed in categories. I resent the fact that antiterrorism funding was cut to California, in favor of states such as Montana, one of the least populated states in the union. Montana received more assets then North Carolina, New Jersey, and Massassachusetts. Tell me, do you feel safe?

Anyone can surround themselves with "yes" people. Just once, I would like to see our president make one of those smug speeches, like he did yesterday, with an accurate audience of the American voice. According to a poll on AOL, 82 percent of American's support the increased funding for stem cell research. Unfortunately, as long as George W. Bush is in office, our voices will fall on his deaf ears.

There really isn't much to say is there? The word of the day is...


1. Not guided or controlled by conscience
2. Excessive, unreasonable
3. Shockingly unfair or unjust

"Tow Away Zone"
Berkeley, California
July 19, 2006

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Well Stocked Camera Case

"Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be."

-Duane Michals

One thing every good amateur photographer must have, is a well stocked camera case. Extra batteries, a good digital camera cleaning kit, maybe even an extra lens cap. It's also a good idea to have a pen and some paper for writing down notes about the weather, and special notes about the area one is photographing. I always check my camera case before I leave the house to make sure I have everything I need...and then some.

Being one of those, "girlie girls," there are quite a few items that I take with me on photo jaunts, that you probably wouldn't expect to find in most camera cases. See, instead of dragging my purse along with me, I simply add all those, "girlie girl," necessities to my camera case. Only the most essential items mind you.

1.Breath spray... in case I happen to meet David Duchovny.

2.Make-up... in case I happen to meet David Duchovny.

3.Jasmine Perfume... in case I happen to meet David Duchovny.

4.My cell phone... So I can call all my friends if I happen to meet David Duchovny.

5. My Voo-Doo sock monkey Ernst, because I like monkeys.

6. A CD of music to inspire me, I just love the David Duchovny song by Bree Sharp.

7. My wallet, in case I meet David Duchovny and he hasn't had lunch.

8. Sunblock, so I don't look like a lobster, if I should meet David Duchovny.

9. Sunglasses, so I will look cool if I should meet David Duchovny, but I never wear them to take pictures outside in the daytime. :) Your pictures will come out better if you have an accurate view of the lighting around you. :)

10. An extra set of car keys. Trust me on that one! LOL.

11. Some feminine needs products. Again, trust me on that one! LOL.

12. A plastic shower cap. LOL. When it rains, sometimes it pours. LOL.

13. 2 Tea bags, 2 Hot Chocolate packets, 2 Hot Apple Cider packets, 24 Equal packets, 4 Lipton Chicken Noodle Instant Soup, 4 napkins, 4 plastic forks, 4 plastic knives.

14. A nail clipper. There's nothing worse then having a hang nail while trying to take a photo.

15. 6 medium and 6 small band-aids, for when the hang nail bleeds. Sheesh! LOL.

16. 1 Lavender eye mask, so I won't have tired looking eyes should I meet David Duchovny.

17. 2 Hair clips, for putting my hair up. There's nothing worse then having very long hair on a windy day. I should really cut it one day.

18. A small bottle of aspirin for those unexpected aches and pains.

19. My wallet... it costs $3 to cross the Bay Bridge, and $5 if I am coming across the Golden Gate into the city. It's all in the paths you choose. :)

20. Apple Dippers. I always stop at McDonald's, on my way out to wherever the picture is, and grab some Apple Dippers in case I don't have time to stop and eat. Apple slices pick me right up. :)

I have managed to put everything I need into my camera case, I like being well prepared. I also have a spare T-Shirt and pants that I keep in the trunk, because sometimes birds can be wacky. LOL. And yep, my camera still fits in it's case just fine. :)

So tell me, what do you carry in your camera case? Just the basics? Or do you have some specialty items of a "must have" nature? Come on you guy readers of mine also... fess up... do you have anything in your camera case which might be considered out of the ordinary? Share. Tell me what you never leave home without... not including your American Express card! :)

A Well Stocked Camera Case"
Berkeley, California
June 18th, 2006

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Life In Negative

"There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are."

-Ernst Haas

Your Monday Photo Shoot: With photo editing tools, take a picture of yours and turn it into a negative. The idea here is not to take just any picture, mind you, but one that you think will look particularly striking with the colors inverted.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

I hope it doesn't break any rules to display more then one photo, but I couldn't decide which one I wanted to display. It had never occurred to me to invert the colors of a photo, so I had lots of fun with this Monday Photo Shoot. :) The photo above is one in a series I am doing on the discarded couches of Berkeley. It is quite a phenomenon, but every late summer/early autumn the streets around the University of California at Berkeley, become lined with discarded couches as new students fill the frat and sorority houses. I have never seen this in other college towns, just here in Berkeley. I don't know...somehow I just found it inspiring and unique. :)

Here are some other subjects I found fun...

Squirrel Eating A Cracker

Bathtub Diva (Mannequin)

Pink Lily

Queen Dananus gilippus Butterfly

Drum Set (Greg Kihn Concert)

Lone Cypress, 17 Mile Drive, Monterey

Hot Air Balloons

The Moon Over Lake Tahoe

There they be. :) This was a fun assignment. :)


Monday, July 17, 2006

...And Someday I Would Like To Learn To Ride A Seahorse

"My life has a super cast, but I can't figure out the plot."

-Asleigh Brilliant

Sigh. Things have been stressful lately. There I said it. I think for the most part I am a fairly upbeat person. I have my moments, like most humans from the planet earth, and most of the time all it takes to set it all straight again, is a little time away from the problem. Meditation works, so does Qi Gong. Sometimes however, it doesn't matter how many five-minute sessions of thought processing I do, things simply don't fall back into order. See, I can't change the world outside myself, and I can't change the people in my environment...nor should I try. The problem is, I have certain expectations in life, and I expect things from others, such as believing that commitments made to me should and will kept.

Things happen, mistakes are made, and unforeseen circumstances will occur. It's an absolute part of life. But how many times does a pattern have to occur before one realizes that there is a problem? Then what? I can't make the people in my life keep their promises to me, all I can do is ask that an effort be made to rectify the pattern of dropping the ball when it comes to whatever the situation is. Right? So, does it make me a bad guy that I insist that a commitment made be kept? From my perspective, if I have tried to deal with it and the same pattern continues over and over, how does it help anyone, if I just swallow my frustration and say nothing...pick up the slack myself, because it's easier then possibly hurting someone's feelings by being honest with them about how I feel.

I think most of you have known me long enough to know that I try to be fair. Ellipsis is about my fascination with the world around me. The sun, the moon, music, art, politics, animals, the strange situations I find myself in at times, my hopes, you name it...I am fascinated by it. But at times, like this past week, I just feel a little alone, because sometimes even I need to say that life isn't always a bowl of cherries, not even for me. Sometimes I have to insist that I be treated with respect and courtesy...period. And being in that position just doesn't feel very good, you know? But I have learned from my past that saying, "it's ok you didn't keep your commitment to me, I understand," when I really don't feel that way, is a cowardly way to live one's life.

I think everything is going to be ok, I have said what I need to say and I think the situation is on the mend, yet I still feel this sense of damage in me, because I stood up for myself and didn't let the other person off the hook. It's important to me to treat others the way I want to be treated. I always had this goal to hopefully leave those I meet a little better off then when I found them, but in reality, maybe that is unreasonable as a goal.

In a different situation this week I had to set a different boundary. I had to say to someone that they couldn't do something, because there is an ethic against it. I would never hurt someone's feeling on purpose, it gives me no happiness to think someone is hurting because I had to draw a line. Still, that doesn't change the fact that their feelings are hurt. I have tried to explain that I wasn't attacking them personally, and I tried to reassure them that it was my hope that they would understand my position. I really tried, but they are so sad that anything was said at all, that they can't seem to move beyond the intial hurt.I just needed to make a situation clear, so that in the future it doesn't happen again. Sigh. It's the most helpless feeling to not be forgiven for a slight. It's lonely, and it makes me question myself.

And in still another frustrating situation, I have a friend that I haven't been able to connect with for whatever reason. We are up to 15 reasons the last time I counted, but see, when I reached that number I simply stopped counting. Sigh. Our relationship feels fragile right now. I don't know what to do. My friend has been having a hard time with life in general, and it is starting to hurt him...really bad. Sarah, my therapist, made me say outloud this past week, that "I can't save him." Sigh. She's right. To say it, or even type it right here in the safety of my blog, feels like a cold knife running straight through me. Again, helpless is the word, and yes followed closely by loneliness. But I know I had to say it, so, thank you Sarah.

Ok, have I whined enough? LOL. It wasn't like the whole week was bad, I loved going on the 17 Mile drive. On Wednesday, I grabbed a pizza for lunch from my favorite little pizza place on Shattuck avenue, The Cheeseboard, which tasted like God himself made it...but then all their pizzas do. They serve one type of pizza, which changes daily, and you can by it by the slice, half or whole. I have never tasted anything like it. This past week it was, domestic mushroom, fresh herbs, French feta cheese, mozzarella,and yellow onions. OMG. :) Now THAT is happiness. In fact there were all kinds of little happinesses last week.

I love the little moments, like hearing a song on the radio you haven't heard in forever, or the way Elvis's whiskers feel on my cheek first thing in the morning, or when someone says, "I love you," without saying a word. ;) And today, I get to start yet another week...isn't that great? :) I am sitting on the brink of a whole new week, with new opportunities, new challenges, new joys, new sorrows, new wonderful moments waiting for me, and I am ready to take on the adventure, and someday I would like to learn to ride a seahorse. :)

"For fast acting relief, try slowing down."
-Lily Tomlin

"Someday A Seahorse"
17 Mile Drive
Pacific Grove, California

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Beyond The Immediate

"The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach."

-Harry Beston

T.S. Eliot said, "April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain." I don't know, to me August is the cruelest of all months, and now it is sitting right in front of me, looming, and taunting. I hate August. It's only redeeming value is that every once in a while, during August, it will give you a little peek at the golden sun of autumn, as if giving one a little provocation to hold onto the future.

I drove down the 17 Mile Drive last Thursday, in an effort to escape the four walls of my cottage, and my mind. I knew the drive would be a physical strain, because my joints have been swollen and achy, but onward I went...and I am not sorry I did. It was a fabulous diversion from stuff that has been clogging up my brain. I was inspired by wild sea birds and animals, the Del Monte Forest, and the natural landscape ans seascape that changes by the moment. I have been on this drive many times, I have seen the usual sights along the way, but it is all so stunning and when you see it at different times of the year, and different times of day, it's like seeing it for the first time...every time.

I understand what Claude Monet meant when he said, "For me, a landscape does not exist in it's own right, since it's appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life...the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value." The air was cool, and a little misty. The sky was the bluest-blue I could have imagined,yet there was a blue/pink fog bank moving toward shore, the water was aqua and light blue in color, with waves of both shades coming together as one. It seemed like I was very close to what I imagine heaven looking like, when I dream of being my life on earth. It's fun for me to photograph certain places over and over, at different times of the year, and with different lighting opportunities. It's all such a gift.

Light, is a gift.

One thing that will make August a little easier to face is that I will be attending the, "Monet In Normandy," exhibit at the, Legion of Honor, in San Francisco. The exhibit is showing over 50 of his paintings from his time in Normandy, when he was inspired by the villages, the seasons, and the landscapes of the region. I am so excited to be able to see, for the first time, the actual brush strokes of the father of Impressionism. His paintings, and the Impressionism movement, has always inspired me as an amateur photographer. To look beyond the obvious, the immediate view in the lens, is to bring out the true life of a living scene. It is being able to show my impression of what I see, as opposed to the cold, uninspired reality of what life can be all too often...a never ending August of restlessness, that mixes memory with desire and a longing for a seemingly unreachable autumn of relief. I will always have that moment from the other day, when I was reminded by the light, that I will always have autumn, if I can just look beyond the immediate. :)

"Beyond The Immediate"
17 Mile Drive
Pacific Grove, California
July 13, 2006