Saturday, December 23, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #144: Holiday Greetings

"Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. but it warmed more than your body, it warmed your heart. Filled it too, with the melody that would last forever."

-Bess Streeter Aldrich

Weekend Assignment #144: Make a holiday greeting for your friends here on AOL Journals, and online. You were going to do that anyway, I bet, but now it'll fulfill your Weekend Assignment, too. See? Told you it would be easy.

Extra Credit: Uh, name your favorite of Santa's reindeer.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

It's not easy to know what to say to a fellow human this time of year, and at times, so many seem to be walking on egg shells when it comes to greetings of any type, be it written in a card, or upon meeting out in the world. Still, the assignment John gave us was to make a holiday greeting that could be posted on our blogs, so, after a lot of thought on the matter, here is what I came up with.

From Our House To Yours...

May your life, and the lives of those you love, be touched with hope and peace. May you find joy in the simplest of things, and may you experience good health and cheer, today, and everyday all through the year.

Whatever each day means to you, may it be lived to the fullest, never taken for granted, and remembered as one of the best days you had on earth. May happiness and prosperity be yours in 2007!

Love, Carly, Alan and Elvis too :)
December 23rd, 2006

Extra Credit: I have to admit, I never thought of which of Santa's reindeer might be my favorite, so, I took a quiz and found out I am most like reindeer Cupid. LOL. If you would like to take this quiz, click on the above graphic. :)


**Oops. LOL. Originally I put 2006, of course I actually meant 2007. LOL. Tis the season! :)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Steven's Feline Friday: Here's Your Host For This Week... Elvis!

"One of the nice things about Christmas is that you can make people forget the past with the present."


Welcome to another edition of Feline Friday! This week Elvis and I are hosting for Steven, and what a wonderful group of kitties we have participating. :) I am so pleased to be able to show off my cat, Elvis, and his official Christmas portrait for 2006. I will be sending it off in the New Year's cards I have made for family and friends. As you can see, Elvis is a born "Super Model." He loves wearing his blue sweater, which keeps the rain off him when he plays outside. I think it's safe to say, he is a pretty snazzy dresser. Always the gentleman. LOL. I can't wait to give him his presents this year, there are some wonderful new clothing pieces, and of course, a new toy or two. I may have to do another portrait of him for Valentine's Day. :)

Doesn't he have a wonderful smile?

Now OnTo The Featured Felines Of The Week!

1. We find Antonette's cat inspecting a snowflake here. :)

2. Here is Steven's niece Hannah, carrying Pickle. :)

3. Here are Deslily's cats, Peanut Chew and Boo-Boo Kitty, in a warm embrace. :)

4. Theresa's kitty Angel can be found here. :)

5. Tracy's cat, Felix, takes a nap. :)

6. And HestiaHomeSchool's kitty looking for an afghan. :)

7. Suzanne's kitty, Socks, is all set to enjoy his first Christmas!

Great turn-out, and a wonderful week of cat photos. Feline Friday returns to Steven's blog next Friday, December 29th. If you want to play along, post a photo of your feline friend, and share a story if you like, then come back here and leave your link in the comment thread for this entry. Next week, when Steven returns, a link your entry will posted to Steven's blog, (sometimes) photoblog. If you haven't visited her already, be sure to drop by the blog of last week's guest host, Julie, to see her entry from last week. You can find her here.

Berkeley, California
December 21st, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Absolutely We're Winning

"Yes, that was an indication of my belief we're going to win."

-George W. Bush, December 20th, 2006, White House Press Conference.

Earlier this month, I took a short car ride to the East Bay town of Lafayette, to see for myself, the memorial that has been placed on the side of a hill, honoring U.S. military troops killed in Iraq. You can read my original entry here. This particular memorial has been the subject of a great deal of debate, both pro and con, but I wanted to see it for myself, before deciding how I felt about this expression of remembrance for the fallen. I did see it in person, and I left feeling a good deal of sadness, mostly because the crosses themselves represent sons, fathers, wives, husbands, daughters, sisters, brothers, best friends, mothers, and almost any combination of relationships you care to think of. I took that photo on December 2, which at that time, there were 2,885 lost forever to this war, created through lies, and fought with the blood of our nations soldiers, to the ends of some unknown agenda. As of today, the total climbed to 3,284, but the point I want to make here has to do with what we hold as truth, as Americans and humans.

The owners of this property in Lafayette placed this memorial here, on their own private property, to honor those who have died for our freedoms. Freedom of speech being one of many. The owners of the property have the right to display this memorial, and yet, they have been the subject of a great deal or community ire from the mostly conservative town, in which are some who consider the crosses not as representational of the fallen, but more as an affront to their memory. How can this be true? Help me with this one here. Are we not supposed to acknowledge to ourselves, and others, that those horrible numbers are people, not just numbers? Does it make the war somehow more palatable, if we can possibly find a way to march on to "victory," without feeling the pain of loss? Who is honoring who? I hear all the time, mostly from war supporters, that those very same sons, fathers, wives, husbands, daughters, sisters, brothers, best friends, mothers and any combination of relationships you care to think of, are in Iraq, to defend our freedoms. Is freedom of speech, one of our freedoms or isn't it? You can't have it both ways. I am offended that someone vandalized this memorial, sometime in the last couple days. Deeply offended.

To vandalize someone else's property, because you don't like their specific message, makes you a coward. A COWARD! And you do more to bring down the morale our troops, then any other slight that could be shown them. If you are for the war in Iraq, because you have weighed the situation, did your research, and came to that conclusion, I can respect that. If you are against the war, for the same reasons, again I have respect for you, but if you don't know why you feel the way you do, either way, then do something right now to educate yourself, and find out what you feel, and why you feel it. If you can't make that effort, then I don't think I even want to know you! Vandalizing this property is an act of cowardice, it isn't a statement that can be respected, and right now, if you are the one who did this deed, you are a criminal. Nice... real nice.

The Fallen

Lafayette, California
December 2, 2006
Late Afternoon

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

"If I were running the world, I would have it rain only between 2 and 5 a.m. Anyone who was out then ought to get wet."

-William Lyon Phelps

Winter is getting mighty pushy. LOL. This was the view this evening, looking towards San Francisco, from Grizzly Peak Boulevard, here in Berkeley. Over night last night, we experienced record breaking cold temperatures around the Bay Area. It was 31 degrees at 2:00 a.m. Brrrrrrrr. On the upside, Elvis is being a total love bug, he is staying right by my side keeping me warm, and I am planning two big days of baking holiday yumminess on Thursday and Friday. :) The weather man has been hinting that it just might be a white Christmas this year, which would be amazing, because I have always wanted to take Elvis sledding. LOL.

KGO (ABC) Weather Cams

Seven Day Forecast


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Festive Pets

"There are few things in life more heartwarming than to be welcomed by a cat."

-Tay Hohoff

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of your pet, festive for the holidays. Yes, you know you love dressing up your pets. No, your pets won't really be humiliated. At least not that they'll tell you.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

Is this guy the James Bond of cats or what? Tee Hee. Meet my kitty Elvis. Here we see our hero in a very fashionable red silk bow tie, which he wore for his date with me, New Year's Eve, 2004. I took this photo at one minute past midnight. Elvis is my best little buddy, and quite a little charmer. I have a million stories... all true... about how he can make even the most difficult anti-cat person, instantly change their mind upon meeting him for the first time. He is charming, and he loves clothes, so he is usually pretty well dressed for the holidays and birthdays. Is this guy handsome or what? :) Thank you, thank you very much!

I will be posting Elvis's official Christmas Portrait for 2006, later this week, on Friday, when I guest host Feline Friday for Steven. Last week Feline Friday was hosted by Julie, author of the blog, "Stately Barrett Manor," and her feline friends, Abby & Midnight. This is a very cool week for cats! And why not? As Steven says, "Cats Rule!" :)

To play along with, John Scalzi's "Monday Photo Shoot: "Festive Pets," or Steven's, "Feline Friday," see the links below. Steven will begin posting his regular schedule of Feline Friday, once again on Friday, December 29th.

Monday Photo Shoot: Festive Pets

Feline Friday (at Julie's blog, for week ending, December 21st)

Berkeley, California
January 1st, 2005
12:01 AM

Monday, December 18, 2006

Autumn...A Good Time For WooHoo! :)

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird, I would fly about the earth, seeking the successive autumns."

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

This coming Thursday, December 22, at 7:22 PM EST marks the beginning of the winter solstice. Sigh. Reluctantly, I will have to give up my favorite season yet again. I love autumn, so, I thought it would be nice, to give it a nice send off, by creating a WooHoo of some of the better photos I took during the autumn of 2006. To see all 35 in the series, you can click on the above graphic, or you can pay a visit to my AIM page. There is a nice viewer there, that displays them in a rotation. :)If you have an AIM page you can create an album of your own. It's a lot of fun. Enjoy!

Autumn WooHoo

Note: Click on the black space to activate the graphic viewer.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

San Francisco's Answer To Rockefeller Center

"Instead if being a time of usual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself."

-Francis C. Farley

Ok, so the Kristi Yamaguchi Holiday Ice Rink, at Justin Herman Plaza, on the Embarcadero, is not nearly as big as the ice arena at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, but it does a big job making folks around here happy. :) I have always wanted to see New York City, during the holidays, starting with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. In fact, I have a whole day planned out in my dreams. I guess I do my share of daydreaming about this or that... or who. LOL. I want to stand near Macy's to watch the parade, then take a long walk through Central Park, then have lunch at the Carnegie Deli, take a long, delicious nap, then finish the day by going to Rockefeller Center to watch the ice skaters. It would be nice if a nice soft snow could be falling, but one can't have it all! LOL.

San Francisco is wonderful right now... simply beautiful. Golden Gate Park is bigger then Central Park, and there is plenty to do and see. While it's not the Carnegie Deli, Tony's Cable Car restaurant does have some of the best hamburgers in the city. And the milk shakes are too yummy for words. I love going to San Francisco to look for adventures, relax, and feel inspired, and to seek out the amazing public art, such as "The Tulip" you see in the background. That is a 3-story concrete sculpture with lights, by John C. Portman. Isn't it amazing?

As much as I enjoy my fantasy about seeing, and experiencing, New York City one day, I am pretty happy with what San Francisco has to offer. I may never meet Woody Allen here, but Gavin Newsome could be kinda fun to meet at an ice rink. Damn that man is gorgeous! :)

Golden Gate Park
San Francisco Neighborhood Guide

Rockefeller Center Ice Arena

Kristi Yamaguchi Holiday Ice Rink

Kristi Yamaguchi Ice Rink
Justin Herman Plaza
San Francisco, California
December 10th, 2006
Early Evening