Saturday, June 23, 2007

Parenting: The Not So Simple Life

"Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers."


I love Berkeley sometimes. You can find the most bizarre forms of free of speech. Isn't it wonderful? I spotted this "Free Paris" display last week, while on my travels, and just had to share it. I wonder if the person who put it up was wanting to see the heiress go free because they feel she has served enough time, or if they feel like she has been jerked around by justice a little bit. I have no way of knowing what the thought process was in making this appeal, but I do know how I feel about the whole mess.

I think when she is released on Monday, it needs to be the end of it. I think she has done her time, per the law as it is on the books, and enough is enough. I would like to see something positive come out of it for this girl. I am hoping she will emerge a more mature, and thoughtful human being, and I for one, am willing to give her that chance. So many folks want to hate a celebrity who gets into trouble like this, and those folks always seem to want the book of justice to be thrown at them, seemingly as a punishment not just for their legal misdeeds, but for their lot in life as well. You know... I just don't get it. We all have to play the cards we are dealt. It's not always fair, but it is up to ourselves to make it work, and what they guy next to us has or doesn't have is really none of our business. Drunk driving on the other hand is our business. Punishing Paris Hilton doesn't make the laws on drunk driving tougher. It's up to each of us to demand tougher laws. It's our responsibility.

"No one writes about my charity work, they'd rather write about me dancing on a table, which I have never done."

-Paris Hilton

I wondered sometimes when I saw Paris Hilton in the media how her parents, Rick and Kathy Hilton, must have felt to see their daughter engaged in all sorts of immature and sometimes dangerous behavior. A lot of folks feel that Paris's behavior is their fault somehow. Well, perhaps, but it is difficult for me to blame the parents of a 26 year old woman, for her sins. It's so strange, I was just two years older then Paris is now when I got married. I felt like such a grown up, and yet I had a little more maturing to go. As life goes along, we all learn lessons. Sometimes harsh lessons. One day you wake up, and the whole world will have changed. Like the day when a close friend or maybe even a parent passes away, and suddenly you realize... life isn't forever. Everything can change in a heartbeat.

"When people you don't even know hate you, that's when you know you're the best."

-Paris Hilton

Sometimes, I am so aware of the fact I never had children. I would have loved to have had a child, but I never really felt like I would make a good parent. I didn't want to bring a child into the world because I was lonely or because it was what was expected of me. I used to have a doctor, who asked me on every office visit, "why I don't you have any children." I would sigh, and tell her yet again, the time wasn't right, or because it was my choice not to have children. She would shake her head in disapproval, and go on with whatever reason I had scheduled an appointment with her. I had no desire to tell her I was pregnant once, and lost the baby early on. I hadn't even known I was pregnant. It was just over. I never regretted trying again, but sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to see a little me or a little Alan tiptoeing about the house, however, based on my own experience with my parents, I just didn't feel I would make a good parent.

My heart went out to that couple I heard about yesterday, who regretfully signed the consent forms, for their 16 year-old daughter to marry her 40-year old track coach. Sheesh... that guy needs some serious therapy. Yet at the same time, I will never understand why they caved. That young girl seems to have come from an average, middle class background. She seemed to have two loving parents, who had tried their best to raise their daughter right. By all appearances she was a good kid, who got good grades, and had a bright future in front of her. Her downfall seems to have been meeting that track coach, who in my opinion, corrupted her relationship with her parents.

Her parents signed the consent forms, because they felt they had not option left, after asking repeatedly for help from the the school, the school board, and the law. In the this case, the parents tried all they could to stop her from making that mistake, with little or no help from the proper channels. It's discouraging to be sure. I am sorry for what all of them are going through. It's situations like that one, and the Paris Hilton situation also, when I know I made the right decision not becoming a parent. I don't think I could take seeing my child go through that much pain, and wonder how much was my fault. Hopefully when both of these young women, who are from such different lots in life, get to the other side of the mistakes they have made, folks will offer them another chance at life... and going forward. Hopefully their families will be there to love and support them. One thing is for sure, we need tougher laws in this country for so many crimes, especially ones that directly affect our children.

Coach 40, Weds 16-Year Old Girl (ABC News)

How To Harness A Headstrong Teen (ABC News)

"Free Paris"
Berkeley, California
June 22, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

Spirit Of The Moonlight

"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world."

-Oscar Wilde

The garden is progressing nicely. I should have some nice photos by the end of the weekend. It was a beautiful day yesterday, and I had planned to take a trip up to Santa Rosa, but I was tired and my energy wasn't 100%, so I decided I will go in a week or two instead. So, while I was at home, I did a little more work in the garden, and planted a couple more planters worth of summer flowers. After I was finished, it was nearly dark, so I grabbed the camera and got in some practice with the low light. I was very pleased with the little pink rose buds, the plant food I gave them has been great. They are looking so nice, and smell so spicy, it was really lifting my mood just to be near them. I was snapping away, practicing with the macro setting, and I didn't even realize that my little garden fairy was sitting in the pot. I can't believe I was so focused on the rose, I completely missed her. When I uploaded the photos, I was very pleased with what I saw. It was a good day with the camera, and a lovely night with the cool air... and a beautiful summer moon.

Spirit Of The Moonlight (Haiku)
By OndineMonet

A Moonlight Spirit
Dreams Among Summer Roses
As Her Heart Lies Still

"Moonlight Spirit"
Berkeley, California
June 21, 2007
Late Evening

Thursday, June 21, 2007

In The Last Hours Of Spring

"A liberal is a man or woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future."

-Leonard Bernstein, The New York Times, 30 October 1988

If Leonard Bernstein's definition of a liberal is correct, then I guess you could say I am a liberal. I have been putting a lot of thought lately into what I consider myself to be. It keeps changing, sometimes without my permission. I just found out the other day, that I am officially a "cougar." "Huh?" Said my therapist Sarah, "Where did that come from?" Well, I explained, "there is this new reality show on NBC, and the premise is that a 30-something hunky guy looks for the love of his life, by choosing the newest love of his life from within two groups of women. The first group (the kittens) are in their 20's and the second group (the cougars) are in their 40's. If being in my 40's, actually officially 45 next week, makes me a cougar... then I guess I am a cougar." MEEEOOOWWWW.

I used to refer to myself, when asked, as a Woman/Democrat/Liberal/Native Californian/FemmaNazi. The FemmaNazi part was to humor the whichever conservative poophead who was insisting on restricting me to labels they made up, so they could fit everyone into a neat little box. It helps some folks think more clearly, if they don't have to use much energy by considering that some folks think for themselves. I vote most often Democrat, so therefore I must agree one hundred percent with everything being said by the democratic party. Sigh. I loved how one blogger used to constantly insist that because I am a liberal, then I must have voted against raises for police and firefighters. I have never voted that way in my life. Not once. Sigh. Equally shocking to some of my conservative friends was the fact that I voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger. What can I say? He was the right man for California. I wasn't alone in that assessment, he won the election quite readily last fall, when some republicans in the nation were being replaced in the house, and the senate.

I have been a democrat my whole life, and a card carrying one as soon as I could vote. I am not so sure anymore. The lines have blurred for me. I don't think enough has been done, since the change of leadership in the house and senate. Nancy Pelosi is trying her best... and that is what worries me. As if it isn't bad enough that we couldn't get enough votes to override the president's veto of the proposed Iraq war budget, it looks like there will be no overriding his veto of the bill that would increase federal funding for stem cell research. An issue close to my heart. A bill that was endorsed by the AARP, the American Medical Association, and the American Diabetes Association, which are just three, among over 500 medical and scientific organizations that supported the bill. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that 68% of Americans also support stem cell research. But it doesn't really matter how we as a nation feel about it, Bush has proven time and again, that we will not have a say in what direction the country moves in, as long as he is the "decider."

"If this legislation became law, it would compel American taxpayer for the first time in our history to support the deliberate destruction of human embryos. I made it clear to Congress and to the American people that I will not allow our nation to cross this moral line."

-George W. Bush, June 20th, 2007 (White House)

There he goes again, playing to that imaginary base he thinks he still has. With George Bush in office, programming what our will should be, it makes me wonder if I need worry about having a voice. I could just sit back and let the "decider' decide how I should feel about everything. I thought when the democrats took control of the senate and congress, we might finally get something done. Nope. Not if it furthers humanity. I can't believe that a man who rushed into a needless war, woefully unprepared, and with no realistic way out, was vetoing for a second time, a stem cell research bill, and dictating what my morality should be while he did it. Sigh. I hurt when I saw the latest U.S. American soldier update today in Lafayette memorial. I visit there once a month, and as the seasons have changed I have watched the numbers grow. Sometimes time does not make things better. Nothing could have saved my father who died of series of strokes, while battling stomach cancer, or my mother who died a few years later of Alzheimer's. There is still no cure for that, and now it will be at least 2 years longer before federal funding is freed up for this much needed research.

I liked what Hillary Clinton had to say today about it...

"Let me be clear:When I am president, I will lift the ban on stem cell research."

Simple and to the point. John Edwards, who I have on my sidebar, posted his own message regarding this issue on his website. You can read it here. Everyone has something to say, but will anyone get anything done, even if there is a profound change during the next national election? Who knows. It's a depressing thought to be sure. I want to see an end to this insane war. I want to have reasonable gas prices, I want to see children really have a chance at a future, with appropriate funding for education, and I want to know that there is at least a chance that a cure for Alzheimer's will be found before it happens to me. Is it so much to ask that I survive to be a really cool old lady? A lady with all her marbles, and all the will to embrace life? I am no longer a kitten, I am a cougar. Ok, I can accept that. What I can't accept, is facing my old age, and all the scary moments that sometimes accompanies it, with little to no hope, because of the selfishness of politics in America.


On A Lighter note, I loved, loved, loved the Soprano's parody that Hillary Clinton did regarding her pick for a campaign theme song. If you haven't seen it, play the above YouTube video. It was a bit of humor, when it was really needed. I always appreciated that about the Clinton white house. They had a sense of humor, that wasn't unintentional or due to illiteracy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Spring Collection 2007

"It's a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself. Makes you wonder what else you can do that you've forgotten about."

-Alan Ball, American Beauty, 1999

For the last full day of spring, I thought it would be nice to post some of my favorite photos from this season. Although I didn't get out as much with the camera as I wanted to, I worked really hard with it when I did. I think slowing down has been good for me. I have been really running the last couple years, and in doing so, I think I might have missed some opportunities. The summer is looking ripe with photo jaunts, but I think I am going to set a goal for myself to take 50 or less photos per photo trip, in an effort to slow down and pay closer attention to details. I need a lot of work on dealing with the wind blowing my subjects out of frame. I shoulder has been giving me a difficult time, since I hurt it last December. I must remember... the tripod is my friend. LOL. I think after my appointment with Sarah later today, I might pay a visit to the Botanical Garden, in Tilden park. There should be lots of chances to relax and get in some time practicing with light and shadows. And, thank goodness, it is going to be a mild day as far as the weather goes. Sigh. Perfect for the last full day of spring. :)



Spring, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: You Look Terrible!

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

-Duane Michals

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show off a truly bad picture of yourself. One that's so bad it's not actually embarrassing, just, you know, inexplicably unrepresentative. If you would like, post a contrasting good picture, so people know what you really look like.

-John Scalzi

Bad picture you say? Got it! LOL. I have multitudes of bad pictures of me. Pictures going all the way back to 1974. I have bad pictures from every decade of my life! LOL. I hate pictures of me. I see them, and I always think... "That can't be right!" LOL. But alas... it is. LOL. I don't know. Either I have a goofy grin, or I have what Alan calls my "dirty," or I am looking away or, like with my DMV photo, I have just sneezed and my face is all wrinkled up like a peach that has died a horrible sun-drenched death in the summer noon sun. Tee Hee.

Now the terrible photo above is a special kind of terrible. As Dorothy Parker would say, "this wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was fancy terrible with raisins on it." LOL. It was my 39th birthday, and I had just finished a 12 hour car ride down to Santa Barbara and back. We were almost home, but really hungry, so we decided to stop for dinner at Red Robin. Somehow, (thanks a lot Alan) the good people at Red Robin found out it was my "special" day. LOL. I got a free burger, my picture taken with the hunky Red Robin, and a pretty pink balloon. Tee Hee. Oh well, it was all in fun. But jeepers... I usually look soooo much, if not somewhat, better then that!


Now this photo was taken last year, just a few days before my 44th birthday. Not too shabby I suppose. :) Well, not frightening anyway. Passable. It's nothing special... it's just me. :) Shrug.

"Always Me"
Red Robin
Pleasanton, California
June 29th, 2001
8:30 PM

Monday, June 18, 2007

When You Know You Are Doing The Best You Can

"People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy."

-Anton Chekhov

I didn't get as much done on my flower garden as I wanted to yesterday. The temperature outside was a lot warmer then the previous days, and there was little breeze blowing. I guess I picked the hottest day of the week to try and get it all done. LOL. Isn't that always the way? :) Oh well, I did manage to get some pruning done on the old rose bush against the back fence and I got the new roses transplanted, and I also got the herb garden done. In a couple months I will be cooking my Italian dishes with some nice fresh basil. Hopefully. :) I think in the next few days I might add a few more items to the herb garden, maybe some cilantro, which I love, and some lavender, which I am told should be planted for good luck! Who couldn't use a little more of that? It was a productive day, but it is still frustrating that my Fibromyalgia keeps me from doing more. Sigh.

I gave the roses a fine misting this evening, with some plant food, and when I stepped back, it looked as each one had been edged with delicate lace. It was of course little water beads, but I thought it caught the sun just right. I took a few shots with the camera, and I really liked what I saw. I think I might try for the same photo, only next time with the softer color of a sunrise. My garden gets all the early sun, so it could be rather pretty I think. Lots and lots of color... yep... that's what I am looking for. Speaking of color... I am trying to talk Alan into getting a white-barked maple tree. I would love some autumn leaves to help bring the yard to life. Keep your fingers crossed for me. He and I are also talking about some additional dwarf fruit trees. I could go for that as well. :) I will be a happy girl either way.

Since I decided to come in from the garden early yesterday, I thought I might do a little online shopping for Elvis's Halloween costume for this year. I like to price things early. I think I have it narrowed down to the choices below...

I think the Bandito costume would suit him, but the vampire cape would be easy for him to wear. Still, with the Bandito costume, he would have a new hat. Always a plus with him. In previous years he has been a clown, a pumpkin, a yellow and black bug, a Devil, Micky Mouse, and a pirate. LOL. Sometimes he still asks to wear his pumpkin hat, of course I let him. He looks so silly, but way too cute. I don't know which one we will go with. We'll see. :)

My day was a bit fragmented yesterday, but I know I am doing the best I can. That feels good. I need to return a call to H.P. in a little while. He called, but I was elsewhere. Sigh. I sent him a text and told him I would call late. Thank goodness he keeps the same hours I do. LOL. Our friendship was definitely meant to be! I have had the Goo Goo Dolls playing a concert in my head all day, so I looked them up on YouTube a little while ago, and found them singing with Elmo. Tee Hee. I LOVE Elmo, but have never been able to figure out what kind of monster he is. Do you know? :) Enjoy the video, it's just toooo cute. :)


"Lace Roses"
Berkeley, California
June 17th, 2007
Late Afternoon

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Here A Host, There A Host, Everywhere A Host Host

"If you're in a bad situation, don't worry it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry it'll change."

-John A Simone Sr.

Once Upon A Time...

was on The View.

One day...

Had a fight with .

Suddenly, stormed away in a fit of... well... a fit.

And then there were 3.


was naughty. "45 days in the Hoosegow," said the judge.

"It's not fair", said . Sniff, sniff.


ate onion rings for the last time.

The Nation became infuriated... "Grrrr."

"I feel like I have wasted the last 10 years of my life!" said one angry fan.

And if all that wasn't melodramatic enough...

retires after 600 years of hosting The Price Is Right!

"Oh no," said the world.

"Who, could EVER replace?

"How about "said.

" ?" said the world in a gasp!

But wait...Who would replace on The View?

"How about ," said a caller to .

"Yes" said Barbara
"No" said Bill Gedde
"Yes" said Barbara
"No" said Bill Gedde

"I know!" said . How about...


And a new and improved gets her own reality show, "Paris Does The DMV."

All kidding aside, I could see Rosie O' Donnell hosting The Price is Right. Rosie O' Donnell is a lot of things, but mostly she is generous. She really does enjoy seeing folks happy. I think she would be a fine choice. Besides there aren't many female game show hosts, right now. I have always wondered why there haven't been, because look how good Meredith Vieira has been on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

As for Paris Hilton. Enough already. It's pretty damn easy to kick a person when they are down... isn't it? Here is the straight deal on the matter. She is indeed doing more time for that probation violation then most folks do. She is being treated differently because she is a celebrity. Shes being punished way more severe then the average person. It's the truth whether it wants to be admitted or not. I live in California, and I know this to be true. So, if her sentence for drunk driving didn't seem like enough initially, then stop whining about how unfair it is that a girl, who comes from an advantaged life is given probation, and put pressure on your political representatives to make tougher laws for drunk drivers, and demand those laws be enforced. It's my hope when she gets out of jail, folks will stop throwing those self-righteous stones her way. Remember... if you expect someone to fail, they probably won't let you down.

So tell me, what do you think about Rosie O' Donnell hosting "The Price Is Right?"