Saturday, February 03, 2007

I Think Phil Is Right :)

"I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn."

-Henry David Thoreau

More pictures of what I saw in San Francisco last Thursday. While I was there, I paid a visit to Ft. Point and Chrissy Field, where there is usually a nice variety of birds to enjoy watching. It was really cold however, so there just wasn't as many different types as I would have liked to have seen that day, but there was a nice group of sparrows happily searching for food. I am thrilled with each new bird species that I can add to my library. This little guy was a new one for me, it is called a, "White-crowned Sparrow." According to my, National Audubon Society Field Bird Guide, this type of sparrow is one of the most studied birds of the western United States. I had a good time watching him look for food, and enjoying his soft little chirp.

White-Crowned Sparrow

There are little glimpses of spring everywhere. I know it is a little early to be looking for blossoms on the trees, but to my delight, I am seeing deep pink blossoms here and there, so I think Punxutawney Phil's prediction might be right, I think we will be seeing signs of spring early this year, which is fine by me. I am looking forward to the flowers this year. I have some seed packets on my desk right now, just waiting for a warm day for planting. I have Cosmos, 4 O' Clocks, Sunflowers, Mini Carnations, which will hopefully bring me some butterflies and bees through the summer and autumn. Tee Hee. I am already looking forward to autumn. :)

So tell me, what are you looking forward to this year? A special holiday or birthday? The flowers blooming in spring? Summer at the beach? Share if you want to, in the comment thread for this entry. :)

"White-crowned Sparrow"
Chrissy Field
San Francisco, California
February 1, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

Winter Time

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospection."

-Anais Nin

It was cold in the Bay Area today, the weatherman said there would be sun, but no, not even a little bit managed to peek through the relentless clouds. Sigh. So, what's a girl to do? Well, two choices came to mind. I could sleep the day away like I do most days in winter, or I could go across the bay, and see if there was just even a little hint of spring in Golden Gate Park. I found a splash of yellow in the form of some gorgeous California Poppies, which I will post later this weekend, but for this entry, I thought it would be nice to show you this amazingly beautiful swan I found at the Palace Of Fine Arts. Isn't it lovely? I wish I could have stayed there all day, just spending the whole day admiring the beauty of that swan, but the cold air was causing me a good deal of pain due to the Fibromyalgia. As much as I hurt, I was so happy for just a few hours out with the camera, and to be able to step outside myself for a little while. The weather is supposed to be warmer this weekend. Here's to hope.

Winter Time (Haiku)
By OndineMonet

Floating In Silence
Memories Of You Fill Me
As Time Moves Us On

Palace Of Fine Arts, San Francisco

"Winter Beauty"
Palace Of Fine Arts
San Francisco, California
February 1, 2007

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hey...There's A Thought...

"It's bad in Iraq...does that help?"

-George W. Bush, Washington D.C., December 7, 2006

As I was driving past the university today, I saw several protest stations like this one. I suspect as Bush continues along on this devastating path he is currently on, I will be seeing more and more of this sentiment. I wish... so often I wish... that he would follow the example of Richard Nixon, and resign the office of the presidency, for the good of the country he swore he would protect and defend. Alas, he has only HIS best interests at heart, not ours. So, I have to wonder, how do you suppose he will manage to change the constitution in order to keep his job as president even after his term expires? I mean really, where would an ego like his go after this? It's a depressing time in America...

"Make no mistake about it, I understand how tough it is, sir. I talk to families who die."
-George W. Bush, Washington D.C., December 7, 2006

*Bush Gets Earful On Ground Zero Health Fund (ABC News)

*$80M Believed Wasted In Iraq Police Training Camp (ABC News)

*Scientists Criticize White House Stance On Climate Change Findings (NY Times)

*On New Orleans, Not A Word From Bush (CBS News)

*Reporter: Libby Confirmed Wilson CIA Link (CBS News)

*Lawyer: Gitmo Inmates Shown Saddam Photos (MSNBC)

*Could Accidental War Happen? (MSNBC)

"And truth of the matter is, a lot of reports in Washington are never read by anybody. To show you how important this one is, I read it, and our guest read it."

-George W. Bush, on the Baker-Hamilton Report, appearing with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Washington D. C., December 7, 2006

"Signs Of The Times"
University of California Berkeley
Berkeley, California
January 31st, 2007

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dream Figures

"Photography, as you know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world."

-Arnold Newman

I really liked how these two mannequins looked. I spotted them in the window of a boutique, just off Union Square, last December. As you can see, basic black still rules! :) It wasn't an easy shot to take, because I was in the car at the time, and while I was the passenger, traffic was still making me a little bit nervous. Traffic around Union Square is always crazy around the holidays, but knowing it beforehand didn't make it much easier to take. Still, my camera sees things I seem to miss, when I am just viewing the world with my eyes. As I was looking at this photo earlier today, it struck me about all the faceless people I seem to encounter in my dreams. Sometimes I dream about friends from my past, but the weird thing is that while I know it's them, I almost never see their faces. I see their clothing, or sometimes an arm, a stomach, but almost never their faces. Hmmm... I think I will ask Sarah about that! Anyone care to hazard a guess?

So tell me, do you see the faces of the people you dream about? Do you dream in color? What's your favorite type of dream? Have you ever had a dream come true?

"Dream Figures"
San Francisco, California
December 10th, 2006
Early Evening

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Let There Be Light

"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary."

-Aaron Rose

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Snap a picture of a really interesting lamp or light fixture. It doesn't have to be in your home, although it's nice if it is. Note that for this Photo Shoot I am explicitly excluding holiday lights and decorations; we already did that. These lights should be ones that you'd see on a non-holiday. Note also that, of course, shooting a picture of a light fixture can wash out the details of said fixture if you're not careful. It's a little bit of a photo challenge.

-John Scazli (By The Way)

I thought this light might be a good example for this week's photo shoot. What you see here, is an up close view of that little red navigational warning light that you see positioned on top of bridges. This type of light was once in service on the Golden Gate Bridge, and the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge, before being retired to the Caltrans museum in Oakland. This type of light was replaced in 1980, with a newer design of 360 degree rotating beacon. I thought it was kinda fun to be able to see it in person, although it was a bit smaller than I had imagined. :)

Here is how the navigational lights look now...

The Light At The Top Of The Tower

Light can be gentle, dangerous, dreamlike, bare, living, dead, misty, clear, hot, dark, violet, springlike, falling, straight, sensual, limited, poisonous, calm, and soft.

-Steven Nykvist

Navigational Light
Caltrans Museum
Oakland, California
Spring, 2005

Monday, January 29, 2007

Curious Carly Asks: Do You Believe In Soul Mates?

"Dreams are the illustrations in the book your soul is writing about you."


Ok, I will just jump in with this... Do you believe in Soul Mates? All my life, I have been intrigued by the thought of a Soul Mate, but I don't think I really understood what the truest concept of it was. Is a Soul Mate your perfect other half? Is it the one person God meant for you to find? Is it a romantic notion? Is it an element of reincarnation? Like the movie, "Somewhere in Time," can you know someone, and love them, in another time and place, and still find them even after death? Is love so powerful, that no matter what route we take, we will find out Soul Mate? I can't help but think about the words to the song, "It Might Be You." "If I found the place, would I recognize the face?" Have you ever looked into a total strangers eyes, and have the feeling you had somehow met before, even though you know you hadn't? Did you know that the term "Soul Mate" can be applied to friends, and companions, not just romantic connections?

Alan and I have been married for 16 1/2 years. We don't finish each others sentences, when I met him, I didn't get the sensation that I had met him before, in fact, other than his fabulous knees, I didn't even like him all that much. He was a republican, and I was a democrat. I loved rock music, he listened to county. I have a sweet tooth that goes straight to my soul, he really like salty snacks. You would think that he and I would have nothing in common, yet over the years, we have grown together, as we each allowed the other to grow separately. We managed to grow as a couple. We have faced some serious blows to our health, our finances, and our relationship. At one time, more than one person was pulling for us to get a divorce. Jealous friends, and unhappy relatives. Yet despite all these things, we are still together, still happy with one another, and still growing old together, although I have to say, I swear he looks the same as the first day I met him!

So, are he and I Soul Mates? Or are we just very well suited for each other? I don't really know that it matters. I love Alan, and I can't imagine not being with him, even if what could be called a Soul Mate did come along. I do know that there can be more than one person for someone. Every once in a while I write a little about "Mr. November." He was someone I first met years ago, just in passing one day. I had never before, and never have I since, met someone with more light in their eyes. I was instantly struck dumb. So dumb, that when we parted, I couldn't remember what he looked like. I could picture a nose, a jaw, those eyes, but I couldn't seem to put them together into one picture of him in my mind. Do you have any idea how stupid that felt? And this went on for years. As I sit here right now, I can't put it all together, unless I look at his picture...hang on...let me look...oh yeah...that's him!

It all seemed completely unreasonable, and to be truthful, I kinda resented the fact that someone could make me feel this way. Like I didn't have any control, even over my own memories. I am pretty sure, it was love at first sight, but I couldn't get past the off the charts attraction that made me go so completely stupid. It was too much. It was invasive. I could have never married someone like that, so that was that. He is my friend. He will always be my friend. He helped me a lot, and was a good friend to me when I really needed one. I don't think much about how I once felt about him, he is no longer in my life, but I do muse from time to time about how extraordinary it was to be able to experience love at first sight. A part of me will always love Mr November, and Alan knows that. He knew before he married me that a part of me still loved most of my ex-boyfriends to some degree. When at all possible, I always preferred to part friends. You Know? So of course there were things about them I still cared about.

Alan and I have a good, strong relationship, that still allow both of us room to grow as people, and grow individually. We continue to learn new things about each other, and we share the same goals for the future. We got here through love, respect, work, and of course, intimacy. Sounds like a Soul Mate to me. Right? Well, through my research, I found a couple really good websites that tackled this subject, and what I determined was that someone can indeed be in love with more then one person at the same time, and we can have more then one soul mate at the same time, but we have to determine who the right people are for us individually. Greed can't be a part of it. Affairs don't work, just watch those cautionary tales like "Fatal Attraction." LOL. Laugh if you like, but there was some real truth to that. Sheesh... who in their right mind would want to end up in a bad Lifetime movie scenario?

Sometimes, I think if I could change one thing about myself, I would change my heart. I would adopt one that didn't hang onto people, and places and things so tightly. Sarah, my therapist, uses the metaphor of my heart being like a big tall building, which just happens to have a lot of space available for people, places and things. Lots of different experiences, and memories. Passion. It makes sense to me, and I guess it's a good thing, when people tell me that they can be gone away from me for years, and when we reunite, they feel so comfortable with me it was like we were never apart. The thing is, once someone is in my heart, they are there forever. People, places, things...they are always there no matter how bad it hurts. Sigh. I don't know that I understand love, or why it can kick our ass so hard, or be the most wonderful feeling on earth. How it can be so warm, or so cold depending where you stand.

Recently, I ran into a man who had been in love with my mother for over 60 years. He was her insurance man, and one day, he realized it was love with her he told me, but he never acted on it out of respect for her marriage, and his own, but he never forgot her. He hadn't meant to fall in love... but he did. Funny thing he said... "I never loved my wife any less." Love is such a mystery to me, but what a great mystery. I kinda hope I never figure it out. :)

Your turn... come on... don't be shy. Participate in this one. I would really enjoy hearing your thoughts on this... share, share, share. With Valentines Day coming up, it would be good to get a nice dialog going. Come on... tell me what you think!

Soul Mate Resources

Soul Mates
Soul Mates - Wikipedia

Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
Summer, 2006

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The People In The Trees

"We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them. We say we love trees, yet we cut them down. And people still wonder why some are afraid when told they are loved."


The decision will probably be made this coming Monday, by an Alameda County Superior Court judge, regarding the fate of more then three dozen oak trees in danger of being removed by, University Of California Berkeley, in order to make room for a $125 million athletic training center, which includes a 900 space parking garage and the seismic retrofit of Berkeley's Memorial Stadium. The project, the university claims is badly needed, has been met with opposition for over a month now, by local environmentalists, and residents of Berkeley, including long-time resident, folk singer, Country Joe McDonald. Tree sitters have been keeping watch over the beautiful grove of Oak trees since early December, and have no intention of leaving. The new training center would provide accommodations for the over 300 staff and students who would use the facility. The tree sitters are in favor of the new center being built, just not at the cost of the trees, some of which are over 200 years old.

The tree sitters cause got a boost this past week, when three very brave Berkeley residents joined them in protest of the planned removal. 71 year old Shirley Dean, the former mayor of Berkeley, Betty Olds, Berkeley City Councilwoman, and Sylvia Mclaughlin, 91, co-founder of Save The Bay, allowed themselves to be hoisted up high into the trees, to demonstrate their commitment to seeing the trees being saved. What a snazzy thing to do! I am somewhat afraid of heights, so I am not sure I could be that brave. As I drove by the grove today, I saw that the protest continues, and I am glad. I am really hoping the decision will be to keep the trees in place. One of the nicest things about Berkeley, is the beautiful trees that surround the city, and outline the university. This particular grove provides a calm, natural escape from the narrow, sometimes, packed streets that line the university. The trees represent a part of Berkeley's natural history. What a shame it would be to lose that forever, in the name of progress. Sigh.

Here is some of what I saw today, as I visited the grove...

You can read more about the effort to save the trees at the "Save The Oaks" official website.

UPDATE: An Alameda County judge issued a temporary restraining order this morning (Monday 1/29/06) to halt the construction of the Memorial Stadium project. Go Trees! :)

"The Oak Grove"
2245 Piedmont ave
Berkeley, California
January 27th, 2007
Late Afternoon