Saturday, July 29, 2006

"Summer Gardens"...A Round Robin Promotion

"It's good to be in alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought."

-James Douglas, "Down Shoe Lane"

When I heard from rRose, author of the journal, " WAIT-NOTYET-/" what her choice was for our next Round Robin challenge was, I immediately thought of one of the most beautiful examples of a summer garden I have ever seen, the Mission Rose Garden, that sits right across the street from Mission Santa Barbara, in Santa Barbara, California. There are over 500 varieties of roses, blooming during the summer, with the gorgeous backdrop of the Santa Ynez mountains. Originally the garden area was a working area where natives of the Chumash and Yanonali learned trade.

Today, the same area is filled with the beautiful fragrance, of every rose you can imagine. Especially gorgeous were the "fire and ice" variety. So lovely, and the houses in the area are historic as well, they are Spanish-Colonial, not neo-colonial, which adds to the beauty and history of the area. I last visited the garden in June of 2005, on my birthday, and it was pretty special. I loved just sitting on the bench, in the shade, and taking in all the gentle beauty around me. It was a treat to be able to photograph so many different colors and in so many different lighting opportunities. Maybe I will get the chance to visit there again later this year...we'll see. :)

So do you have a favorite summer garden? Is it a public historic garden, or is it the one in your own yard? Grab your camera, take some photos, write an entry and play along with our challenge. You have almost two weeks to come up with an entry. The date of our next challenge will be, Wednesday, August 9th, as usual you can post your entry any time between the midnights of that day! You can post one photo, or a series of photos featuring the current subject. You are limited only by your own imagination. :) Click here to visit the official Round Robin blog, where you will find all the information you need to play along with the challenge. If you find you have any questions, feel free to send me an email and I will respond ASAP. :) Please say you will join us, we so love your company!

Mission Rose Garden
Mission Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California
June 29th, 2005

Friday, July 28, 2006

My Date With Monet

"People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it's simply necessary to love."

-Claude Monet

Yesterday, I finally made it over to the,"Monet In Normandy," exhibit at the Legion of Honor, in San Francisco. I have to admit, while I have had a lifelong love for Impressionist art, and the works of Claude Monet in particular, I wasn't prepared for the amazing beauty I saw in that exhibit! I was stunned at the vibrancy, the colors were so alive, and the brush strokes of the master's that at times seemed almost manic in one work, would turn soft and ethereal in another. It would catch me off guard as I studied each one of the nearly 50 paintings in this exhibit, and a few that were on display another collection.

The sight of his actual brush strokes, sent chills up my spine. I was in the presence of love. Claude Monet loved the subjects he chose to paint, I know this absolutely, because of what care and passion was present. A little bit of his soul was on display with those amazing images. The beauty of "Water Lillies" was so stunning and mesmerizing that it actually brought tears to my eyes. For the first time I was able to see a small sampling of Monet's life's work, and at the end of the day, I left the museum with a new, and deeper, love and appreciation for his talents. That was something I never thought to be possible! Below are some of the works of Monet, and other pieces of art that especially touched me. Enjoy!

Also currently on display at the Legion of Honor...

"The Thinker" by Rodin

Guiseppe Antonio Guarneri del Gesu

English Worcester, ca. 1770-1772

Necklace, Cypriot, mid-5th century B.C.

"La Comtesse de Morel-Vinde & Her Daughter"

By Baron Franc-Pascal-Simon Gerard

"The Broken Pitcher" By William Adolphe Bouguereau

"Still Life with Skull, Leeks and Pitcher" By Pablo Picasso

"Mother and Child" By Pierre-August Renoir

"At The Milliner's" By Edouard Manet

"The Gorge at Varengeville" By Claude Monet

"Dorothy Spreckles Munn" By Salvadore Dali

"The Kiss" By Rodin

"Grand Canal Venice" By Claude Monet

The "Monet In Normandy" exhibit runs through September 17th of this year. If you live in northern California, please don't miss this amazing exhibit! Truly, it will be a day you will never forget! :)

-OndineMonet 7/27/06

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Alive Again

"That beautiful season this summer!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
and the landscape
lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood."

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I was outside Tuesday night, lying down in the tent, and starring up at the stars, just praying for some relief from the recent heat. I was feeling bad for the folks in Danville, who have been without power for several days. I was thankful that during the whole 11 day heatwave, we never lost our gas and electric. If we had, I don't know what we would have done. I was thinking about how I thought I was going to lose my Elvis this past weekend, to that damn excessive heat. I HATE the summer.

But as I laid there, nearly crying from frustration, I began to feel the most wonderful feeling, it was the cool, gentle breeze I have always embraced, flowing up from the bay. The fog was rolling in at last! Was this some dumb joke of Mother Nature's? Was I really feeling some relief at last? I decided not to question it, instead I smiled to myself at how the air seemed to be tickling me. It was sensual...and nice. When I woke up yesterday morning, I felt relaxed and refreshed. It was the first time in 11 days that my kitty Elvis, was lying next to me. It's the best feeling to wake up to his smile. He now feels a little more like himself. Ahhh.

I found a brown leaf today in my travels. A sure sign that autumn is ready to come into her own for this year. Sigh. :) I would rather have a bouquet of autumn leaves, then a bouquet of roses any day. Not that roses aren't beautiful, and arousing, but there is real character in a leaf. They are as individual as fingerprints, and they offer such hope. Sometimes, they float on the wind, and you gotta love that! Their colors are inspiring, and while some might think autumn a melancholy season, somehow to me, it is a promise of sweet relief, from the dead still of summer. That leaf I found today, made me smile, and the gentle, cool breeze blowing through my office window right now makes me feel like taking a skinny dip. Ahhh... see...if we just stick it out long enough, time will always bring us such wonderful relief and some really good ideas! :)

Sweet Seasons
By Carole King

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose
And sometimes the blues get a hold of you
Just when you thought you had made it

All around the block, people will talk
but I want to give it all that I've got
I just don't want to waste it

Talkin' 'bout sweet seasons on my mind
Sure does appeal to me
You know we can get there easily
Just like a sailboat sailin' on the sea

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose
And most times you choose between the two
Wonderin', wonderin' if you have made it

But I'll have some kids and make my plans
And I'll watch the seasons run away
And I'll build me a life in the open
A life in the country

I'm talkin' 'bout sweet seasons on my mind
Sure does appeal to me
You know we can get there easily
Just like a sailboat sailin' on the sea

Talkin' 'bout sweet seasons
Talkin' 'bout sweet, sweet seasons

"Sweet Relief"
Monterey, California
Summer, 2005

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Round Robin Challenge: Ye Olde Watering Hole

"Three diseases without shame: Love, Itch and Thirst."

-Irish Saying

The temperature outside has been hot lately, really hot! LOL. But one thing certainly made it all a little easier to handle, and that was having a nice ice filled drink. My favorite thirst quencher, the past couple weeks, has been a tall Italian soda with just a splash of melon syrup. :) I have already shared with you that my favorite little watering hole is Caffe Strada in Berkeley, so how about I tell you about my favoite place in Nevada to wet my whistle, the famous, "Bucket of Blood Saloon," located in historic, Virginia City, Nevada.

Last autumn, Alan and I took a late anniversary trip to Reno, Nevada. There was a ton of things to see and photograph along the way. From the gorgeous autumn leaves, to the neon lights of Reno, it was a treat for an amateur photographer's soul. Well, you know what a history buff I am, so how could I possibly come all the up to Nevada, and not venture up into the hills to Virginia City, to take a walk back in time? So, on our second day in Nevada, up into the hills we went. :)

Virginia City, is a quaint little "Old West" town located about 40 miles or so from downtown Reno. If you were ever a fan of the television series,Bonanza, you might recall that the, "Bucket of Blood Saloon," was a favorite hang-out for the Cartwright boys. LOL. How many times did one of those, ruggedly, handsome Cartwrights get into a bar room brawl, and end up fighting it out in the streets? LOL. Well today, The Bucket of Blood, isn't quite so rugged, but it is still filled with some fantastic memorabilia. During the month of September, there are staged gunfights in the streets right outside the saloon. So while you grab something to quench your thirst, you can see a little bit of what it might have been like to have lived back in the days of the Comstock boom. And on a clear day, if you look out the back window of The Bucket of Blood, you can see clear across Nevada, or at least, that's how it seems. :) How much fun is that? Below are a few pictures of what you will see in this unique watering hole. Enjoy!

If you look over the edge of the back stairway, you will seem like you have truly stepped back in time...

A gold mining sluice, probably used for mining both silver and gold during the Comstock rush.

The "old west" meets the "new west" with the invention of the coin operated slot machine. :) They even had one called, "The Mermaid." LOL.

This is the edge of the awesome, hand carved original wooden bar. All around it are quaint antiques from the 1800's. There is so much to look at, it's hard to know where to start!

In the corner was one of the Comstock Boys, playing the banjo. It was the perfect sound to add to the already visually stunning atmosphere!

As you walk down the back stairs to the observation area, you will see some clear warnings about the dangers of living in the old west. One of them rattlers! But if you just peek inside, you will see that what has really been captured are not baby snakes...but in fact are baby rattles. LOL.

One of my favorite sights of this lovely old saloon, were the antique lighting fixtures. The ceiling had about 50 or so hanging lights of different colors, styles and eras. This one happened to be my favorite. The colors were so appealing to the eyes. :)

So there you have it! This was more then just a place to stop along the way, to stop an quench a thirst. It was a place of history and it had an ambiance one doesn't find everyday. But you see, that is what was so cool about this challenge, and all the challenges for that matter, the chance to show the unusual in the common. To look beyond the obvious, and bring out the experience. Photography, is a wonderful way to step out of the linear view of things. Even if you favorite place to grab a beverage is Starbuck's, I bet there are plenty of things that make the one you go to special. Thanks goes to Maryanne, author of the journal, "Inside The Gilded Cage," for choosing this subject for us.

So there you have it! This was more then just a place to stop along the way, to stop an quench a thirst. It was a place of history and it had an ambiance one doesn't find everyday. But you see, that is what was so cool about this challenge, and all the challenges for that matter, the chance to show the unusual in the common. To look beyond the obvious, and bring out the experience. Photography, is a wonderful way to step out of the linear view of things. Even if you favorite place to grab a beverage is Starbuck's, I bet there are plenty of things that make the one you go to special. Thanks Maryanne, for choosing this subject for us.

Be sure to visit the rest of the Round Robin Participants. :) You can get the linking list from the official Round Robin blog, or you can simply click the links below! :)

Round Robin Participants

Maryanne... Inside the Gilded Cage POSTED!

Karen... Outpost Mavarin POSTED!

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

Pamela... My Photos

Suzanne... New Suzanne R's Life POSTED!

Julie... Julie's Web Journal POSTED!

Valorie... Retrospect USA

Tammy... The Daily Warrior POSTED!

Tess... First Digital Photos POSTED!

Janet... Fond of Photography POSTED!

The Bucket Of Blood Saloon
Virginia City, Nevada
October 28, 2005

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Yawn!

"A good laugh, and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book."

-Irish Proverb

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Get a picture of someone yawning and/or stretching. Clearly, pets are eligible for this photo shoot as well.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

This is Elvis's friend Ernst. No one embraces a good nap the way Ernst does. His way to beat the heat consists of taking long, lazy naps on his porch. I came home one day last year, to see him sleeping, upside down, on the back stairs of his house. I just happened to have my camera with me, lol, I don't remember the last time I didn't, so I captured this series of celebration of the NAP,the YAWN and the STRETCH. All three are among the great joys of life, no matter what species you happen to be. :)

The Yawn!

The Stretch!

John is absolutely right about a yawn being contagious. One time I was watching an episode of, I Love Lucy, the one where she and Ethel share a ride to Florida with someone they thought was, Evelyn Holmsby, the hatchet Murderer. LOL. And Lucy steps out of the car, in the Florida Everglades, to stretch, and when she does, she yawns. When she yawned...I yawned! LOL. That episode was more then 50 years old, but that yawn had lived on immortal. Tee Hee. Gee, YAWN, doesn't a nap sound wonderful right about now? :)


Ernst 1, Ernst 2, Ernst 3

Berkeley, California

Summer, 2005

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hell's Bells

"There is no need to fear the wind, if your haystacks are tied down."

-Irish Proverb

Some people tell me I am cute when I am in a grouchy mood. I don't feel cute...I just feel grouchy! It's's WAY too hot, there are ants covering my entire house, I went out at 11:00 PM, to buy a bag of ice, but there wasn't a bag of ice to be found in the entire of the East Bay, I have a weird rash on my foot, my computer is trying it's best to die...more on that later...the situation in the Middle East has me on edge, I can't seem to connect with a good friend of mine, I am sweating so much that I look like crap, with the exception of my hair, because I am actually having a good hair day! Go figure! We are continuing to break records with the HOT weather, but the spooky thing is, they were records that were set just last year! Gas prices are ridiculous, and what does George Bush do? He rolls back emissions standards as an incentive for the oil companies to lower the cost. Hello, Global Warming! AND I AM STILL WAITING FOR THE LOWER PRICES GEORGE!

Elvis has me worried. He was so sick today, and on the news were stories of how pets across the Bay Area were passing away from heat related illnesses. I put my boy in the bathtub and cooled his body down. He liked that. Then when he wouldn't eat or drink, I got some cool water and gave it to him with a spoon. He didn't want to take it, but after a little bit of patience with him and some cooing, he had a little. It was something anyway. Sigh. With weather like this, folks have to remember that their pets have to be given some extra attention. Even if they are indoor pets with access to air conditioners and fans, check them a couple times a day to be sure they are eating, drinking, and doing all their normal bodily functions. It was hard to see a cat, who looked like Elvis, hooked up to IVs and an oxygen machine.

Why do folks, sometimes think other folks look cute, when they are actually grouchy? LOL. My whole life I have heard..."you're so cute when you are grumpy." Then again, I suppose there are worse things someone could say about you! And believe me...they have! LOL. Mummphff...I think I will sleep in my tent tonight. Oh yeah, I didn't tell you did I? I got a new tent a couple days ago. It's big and roomy, and there is a skylight. LOL. I can watch the airplanes take-off and land at OAKLAND. LOL. There's nothing like getting back to nature! LOL.


Gas Prices Hit All Time High

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Games People Play

"The cool thing about being famous is traveling, I always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff."

-Britney Spears

Well, we have a whole new poll on the sidebar! But before I tell you about the newest poll, and why I chose the current topic, I will just let you know that the results for the previous poll, "Favorite Family Game," can be found here. I really enjoyed that poll, I like playing board games, card games, and even some video games, like SIMS 2. My family didn't play any of those games when I was a little girl, so sometimes it felt like I had missed out on a lot. It wasn't until Alan returned from college, and we because best friends, that I ever even played Monopoly. I really enjoyed it a lot, and from there it was on to Dungeons and Dragons...YIKES...did I really just admit that? LOL. Hey, I made it all the way up to a 12 level warrior named Deidre. LOL. Anyway it was a lot of fun finding out what the most popular game is among those who read Ellipsis, so thank you for your participation!

Now, about our current poll, "Who Is Your Favorite Celebrity Behaving Badly." I have to admit, I am not usually one for the tabloids or celebrity gossip shows, but lately there seems to be so much bad behavior going on, that I find myself, at times, enthralled. LOL. Will Heather Locklear and Ritchie Sambora work it out? Will Naomi Campbell smack yet another assistant with that wacky cell phone of hers? And what the heck was up with our president giving that...uh...hum...umm neckrub to German chancellor, Angela Merkel, at the G8 Summit? Did you see the episode of Jay Leno, where that strange lady approached Colin Farrell? How weird was that? Inquiring minds want to know! LOL. Ok, the thing is, sometimes I prefer to contemplate this stuff, as opposed to the things in the news that frighten me. Lately, there has certainly been enough to be frightened of. :( So, if you want to, chime in and tell me which of the 10 celebrity silliness, listed on the sidebar poll, have you scratching your head in wonder. If your current favorite incident of celebrity who is misbehaving isn't listed, feel free to share with me in the comment thread of this entry! I look forward to your responses! :)

"Look guys, if you are just going to stare at me, I'm just going to bed."

-Elvis Presley

Note: My friend Patrick has posted an excellent article regarding some of these incidents. Drop by and give him a read. :)

"Celebrities Need A Reality Check...And So Do We!"