Saturday, December 09, 2006

Steven's Feline Friday: ZzzzzzZzzzzzzzzzzzz

"There is something about the presence of the cat... that seems to take the bite out of being alone."

-Louis Camuth

Steven's Feline Friday

Elvis is my boy. He and I have so much fun together, and we even have real adventures from time to time. He takes care of me when I am ill, and never leaves my side when I am too tired to do much, because of my Fibromyalgia. He loves me, but he adores Alan. :) They are the best of buddies, and at times, I have even seen Elvis try to sit like him. LOL. At night, Elvis puts his daddy to bed at about 10:00 PM, and then usually snuggles in with him for a while. Right about 3:00 AM, my kitty will come into my office, and lay at my feet on a pillow, next to a space heater, where he stays with me until time for me to call it a day...ummm...night... morning...umm... until the clock strikes 4:00 AM. :) Last night however, he didn't keep to is normal routine, so I went to check on him. I found him at the foot of the bed, cuddling his daddy's foot. How cute is that? Elvis is my best buddy, and he loves me, but he is a guy's cat... he adores his daddy. :)

It's fun playing along with Feline Friday! It's easy too. Just post a photo of your kitty pal, and leave a link to your entry over at Steven's. Just click the link above.

"Elvis Loves His Daddy"
Berkeley, California
December 8th, 2006
Early Morning

Friday, December 08, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #142: Kill These Christmas Songs

"Did you ever notice that life seems to follow certain patterns? Like I noticed that every year around this time, I hear Christmas music."

-Tom Sims

Weekend Assignment #142: Your Christmas/Holiday gift is the ability to expunge one highly annoying, yet popular Christmas/Holiday song from the history of the world. Which one is it?

Extra Credit: Fruitcake: Ever actually eat any?

Sigh. Christmas music. Bah... freaking... Humbug! LOL. OK, that was a minor overreaction. I am trying to get over my dislike of it. Really... I am! There are a few Christmas songs I really enjoy, but for the most part, I am not a big fan of holiday music. I wouldn't want to see it all go away because I know there are a lot of folks who enjoy it as a part of the season, but the assignment is to do away with one song of yuletide significance, so I guess that song would be, "I'll Be Home For Christmas."

I have some very personal reasons why I dislike that song so much, but I will share that it is just way to sad for me. It reminds me of those I have lost. Friends, relatives, pets, and how we can't see one another at Christmas. I know the over all message of the song is about being reunited, but when one really feels a deep loss during this season, that song can be such a sad thought to have running through you mind...

I'll be Home For Christmas

I'll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please bring snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree
Christmas Eve will find you me
Where the love light gleams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams.

xtra Credit: Fruitcake! Have I ever tried it? Yep... I have. I love fruitcake, and in fact, I used to purchase a special one, each Christmas, from a bakery in New Orleans. Since Hurricane Katrina the bakery is no longer in business. :( I sure miss that special treat, but it has inspired me to make one myself. I like playing recipe detective, and last year I came close to discovering the exact recipe, so this year I will give it a go again. Wish me luck. For me, it is one of the best traditions of Christmas. :)

"Christmas Present"
Berkeley, California
December 7th, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

See! This Is Why I Have A Yule Protection Pumpkin On My Desk!

"I think most people consider the reality of reality TV, as they do the reality of Santa Claus."

-Robert Thompson

Fear! We all know what it's like to be afraid of something. Bees, marriage, commitment, ghosts, Income Tax Day, Election Day, crabapples, string, upholstery, ants, water, math, thimbles, nudity, sugar cookies, motor oil, flat tires, soup,but do you know what the number one scariest thing this time of year is, at least for me? Yep, you guessed it... Santa Claus! The jolly old fellow scares the elfin cookies right out of me! I have been known to walk way out of my way at the mall, during this time of year, just to avoid the Santa house. It's the weirdest thing really. I mean, I love the image of Santa, and what he stands for, I love the Coke-A-Cola Santa's most of all. I love the movie "Miracle on 34th Street," especially the 1973 TV which starred Sebastian Cabot, as old St. Nicholas. Wasn't that the best version? See, I know Santa isn't real, yet fear him I do. Of course it doesn't help that he has a evil sidekick named Krampas!


KRAMPAS! YIKES! Just the name makes me tremble with dread. I came across and interesting article tonight about him, while searching through Yahoo news. It seems Krampas is still making his annual visits to small towns in Europe, as he has been for years and years, chasing away evil spirits, in the same manner as the gargoyle, always around December 6th, during the feast of St. Nicholas. Actually, it is almost always young men dressed up to resemble Krampas, but oh how scary they can be! So scary in fact, that some towns in Austria are considering the banning of Krampas impersonators, because of how bad they have frightened the young children of the villages. On the other hand, according to the article, as many as 3,000 people, including children, packed the city streets of one town, to watch the Krampas's arrival. I guess sometimes it's kinda fun to be scared. :)

Ok, I admit it. I would probably be one of those people who would be sitting in my backyard, on the dark cold night of December 6th, just awaiting for Krampas to appear. I have been known to sit in the pumpkin patch in my garden waiting for the Great Pumpkin after all. I don't know. Hmmmm.... remember last December when that weird little gargoyle thing suddenly appeared on my fence? I wrote about it here. Do you suppose a Krampas had visited me in the night? The strange little statue disappeared, as strangely as it had appeared, a couple days later. Maybe a neighborhood cat, opossum or raccoon dragged it off. Still... spooky! :)

Weird, unnamed friend.

I suppose I can use all the help I can get, in that we are coming up on the "hexed" days of December. Something strange always happens to me on December 10th, and you already know about my Christmas Eve tradition. LOL. December 10th of last year, came and went, and was relatively uneventful. Do you suppose I have my very own Krampas? Did he chase the "Curse of December 10th," away? Hmmm... maybe I should keep an eye on the back yard, and keep a trusty protection pumpkin at the front door, the back door, and on my desk, just in case a fat, white stranger tries to bring me presents.YIKES! I just love a traditional Christmas. ;)

PS If you happen to know what that strange little statue is, feel free to leave me a comment in the thread for this entry. :)

Berkeley, California
December 6th, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fate? Ramdomosity? God? Dumb Luck? Happenstance?

"A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it."

-Jean de La Fontaine

Last summer, on a certain hot day here in the Bay Area, I decided to skip fixing dinner, and instead, grabbed some Chinese food take-out. It was 109 that day, and to be honest, I had thought about not having any meal at all. I don't do well on days like that, in fact, all thinking tends to come to a full stop for me, if it is too hot outside. And on that day it was TOO hot! But there had been a raging heat wave for most of that week, so I think I was sorta getting used to it. No such thing as Global Warming my pet goat! LOL. Anyway, the restaurant was blissfully cool, and I knew that if I spent a little while, in a different setting, my mood would more then likely improve. It did. :) I brought the meal home, and when I was finished eating, I broke open the fortune cookie closest to me. The message, in the above picture, is what I found.

"You will have good luck in the autumn." How strange that I would get a fortune cookie, that would contain a message of such specific hope. How did the cookie know that I regard autumn as the best season of the year? As the season when all good things would happen to me? My whole life I have been convinced that autumn held some special power over me, and that nothing wicked or evil could possible occur in the autumn. I still do. I have to admit however, that some incredibly bad incidents have happened to me in autumn, yet for some reason, I never blame the season. Go figure. After all, don't most things happen randomly? I have had some bad luck in most all the seasons, just like everyone else. Yet here I sit, almost lamenting the fact that soon, my wonderful season of leaves, and harvested fruits and vegetables, and darkening days, is almost over for another year. :(

What about the fortune cookie prediction? Well, as luck goes mine wasn't bad at all this autumn, but I was thinking tonight, as I looked at that photo, 2006 has treated me pretty well, personally, as years go. I had a great time with my camera, and learned a few things about natural lighting and patience. I did some fixing up of my house, it's so comfy right now. The T'ai Chi has been an amazing experience in discipline. I do the Qi Gong while sitting at my desk, and it has helped a lot with some of the stress I feel from time to time. Like when AOL drops me off every 35 minutes. Tee Hee.

So tell me, how has 2006 treated you? Has this been a good year for you? How about for your creative pursuits? Have you felt creative this year? Do you feel like you have better luck during certain times of the year? Is life all directed by Fate? God? Happenstance? Dumb Luck? Or are we all apart of a bigger Randomosity?

Here are some random moments of 2006... Enjoy!

The end of a water lily's life.

Seals on a rock in the Monterey Bay.

Awesome kite sculpture and a rainbow sunset.

M&M snack attack!

The underside of a Buckeye butterfly. Amazing beauty!

Driving through the Caldecott Tunnel gives me the wiggins. I did it anyway, but I waited for autumn first! :) Maybe that was my good luck... a safe journey.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Winter Decorations

"They seemed to come suddenly upon happiness, as if they had surprised a butterfly in the winter woods."

-Edith Wharton

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show off your winter home decorations. If you've put up something seasonal (or have shots of decorations from seasons gone by) let's see what they look like. These can include lights and lawn decorations. However, don't post pictures of Christmas trees or menorahs. We'll save those for another Photo Shoot, probably next week.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

Ut-Oh... someone said the "W" word! Winter! Well, as much as I enjoy winter, I hold onto autumn for dear life. Autumn, as you know, is my favorite season and it always seems to go by the fastest of all the seasons. Sigh. Oh well, it's kinda fun to look ahead a bit, since I have some decorations already put up in anticipation of the winter holidays of Christmas and Hanukkah and New Years. In fact, Elvis and I have matching elf hats, but I will save that for a different entry. :) Here are some decorations that mean a little something to me.

My Favorite Nutcracker

Christmas in Downtown Berkeley, California

Frosty The Snowman & Friend

Heirloom Elves :)

The elves, aren't just decorations, they are family heirlooms. The green one is Alan's, and was his official ornament since he was a little boy. The red one is mine, and was given to me by my mother-in-law, for Christmas in 1990, which was mine and Alan's first Christmas as married's. :) She had bought a big set of elves when Alan, and his siblings were children. After each of her children was married, she handed out an elf to each new family member. The Christmas when she and Alan handed me my official elf, is one of my very favorite memories. :)

Berkeley, California
December 4th, 2006

Monday, December 04, 2006

Yule Shoot Your Eyes Out! Fantasy Poll Results & A New Poll

"I have always felt that a gift diamond shine so much better than one you buy yourself."

-Mae West

Oh yes Mae, you are right! Tee Hee. Well, it seems that y'all chose the Victoria's Secret $6.5 Million Dollar Fantasy Bra, as your favorite holiday fantasy gift! WOW! What a shocker! :) You guys are wild! So in the spirit of things, here's my offer. If there are any millionaires who read my blog on a regular basis, do indeed purchase this bra, comeback here and tell me, and of course provide proof of the purchase, and I will model it right here on Ellipsis! Tee Hee. Although, I have to say, I would in no way look as good in it as model, Karolina Kurvoka does. ;)

All this about fantasy gifts for the holidays, got me to thinking about what I would actually ask Santa for this year. I have so much, there isn't much that I need. After putting some thought into it, there are a few off beat things that I wouldn't mind finding under the tree this year. Take for example, the following toys I found on All of them look like fun, but I know, I know, with a marshmallow shooter I could "shoot my eyes out." Of course, a diamond fantasy bra could make one go blind as well! ;) Tee Hee.

Einstein Action Figure

Einstein was such a hunk! I would have dated him. He was smart, he had a wild sense of humor... and I have said it before... look at that crazy hair! Who wouldn't want to run their fingers through that? Tee Hee. I would place him (the doll) on my desk, and hug him every day! :) I bet you didn't know I lusted after Einstein! ;)

Stuffed Microbes

A little on the wiggy side I suppose, but too cute all the same. Especially the Mad Cow microbe. I always wondered what THAT one looked like. :)

Marshmallow Shooter

I could love this one! Yes, I would definitely ask Santa for a marshmallow shooter. It reminds me of the days, also know as the 1990's, when I used to play laser tag with Alan. :) I miss playing laser tag, but marshmallow tag would be so yummy!

And look... we have a new poll on the sidebar. This month I thought I would address a little negativity surrounding the season, because lets face it, we all get a little stressed during this festive, yet, hectic time of year. For me, the worst part of it all is the holiday music. HATE IT! HATE IT! HATE IT! I love music, it's just Christmas music I hate. Alan, on the other hand, loves it. So, in an attempt to meet him half way, I have decided to purchase myself a holiday CD that we would both enjoy. It's only fair, he puts up with my choice of music all the time. :) In fact, many times he and I will find ourselves in great music debates. LOL.

So tell me, what is your least favorite part of the season? Take the new poll on my sidebar, and feel free to share your tales of holiday WOE in the comment thread for this entry. I will publish the results of this poll a little earlier then usual. This poll ends on December 30th. The results will be posted December 31st.

You can find the complete results of our last poll here. :)


Sunday, December 03, 2006

As Of Sunday, December 3, 2006

"There never was a good war or a bad peace."

Sometimes, we humans, fear the darndest things. Will the world cave in if we wish a stranger Merry Christmas? Or should we try at all times remember our manners and stay within the lines by wishing that same stranger "Happy Holidays?" I keep forgetting which has been deemed most correct, maybe it depends on where you hail from. I am thinking about "political correctness," tonight because of a recent debate which has taken place in the East Bay town of Lafayette, California, regarding this memorial to service members killed in Iraq.

Lafayette, is located in western Contra Costa County, which is a hop and a skip from my town of Berkeley, through the Caldecott Tunnel. I have been reading about this debate, over the placement of the crosses on the hill, for a couple weeks now, one side saying it is a "simple tribute," while others call it a, "travesty." When at all possible, I prefer to go and see for myself, before I make a judgement on expressions of free speech, such as this one. There is a big difference between seeing an image online, and seeing it in person. I have to say, I wasn't quite prepared for how I felt seeing those crosses through my camera lens.

Simple crosses, placed on a hillside. Some could say it is all about politics, some might say it is a object lesson in reality. It's really up to the individual how you see the crosses. It comes down to what you hold in your thoughts and minds. Life? Death? Tribute? Travesty? War? Politics? Freedom of Speech? Closed minds? Closed hearts? Facing the truth? Looking away in grief? Denial? Acceptance? Fear? Political Correctness? Nothing at all? 2885? 2885 Men and women?

I know what I saw. But that's me. What do you think? By the way, I usually wish strangers a "good day." That's just me. Christmas is weeks away, so it always seems odd to me to wish someone, who I don't know, a "Merry Christmas," when we have weeks to go before we are even at the holiday. When I go out on Christmas Eve, I generally go with the flow. Maybe I won't wish anyone anything. Maybe I will smile and say, "have a nice day." To be truthful, I don't put a lot of thought into it. I don't feel particuarly threatened if someone wishes me a "Merry Christmas," or a, "Happy Holidays," why should I? It's beats the heck out of being called a, "BITCH!" Which has happened to me every Christmas Eve for the last 19 years or so. It's ok, it's a tradition.

Here's the thing, no matter what the greeting, or the memorial, can't we humans try to remember what it stands for. It seems that in recent years, oh heck I will say it, since 9/11, everything is about politics and bullying. Freedom of speech is all the rage. Think about it. It isn't encouraged however, if we don't agree about the meaning behind a memorial, or the greetings and salutations of the seasons. And aren't we all just Johnny-On-The-Spot to decided what the motives are of other? We humans don't have to come up with the silly interpretations for things that we do. Coexisting doesn't have to be this difficult. You know? If you look on my sidebar, you will see a "Merry Christmas" animation, if I have offended you... I apologize... actually, no I don't. There... I said it. :)

Iraq Memorial Stirs Bad Blood In Town

Lafayette Memorial
Lafayette, California
December 2nd, 2006
Late Afternoon