Saturday, August 04, 2007

Beep Beep :)

"Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put an orgy in my office, and I wouldn't look up. Well, maybe once."

-Isaac Asimov

This was a fun moment last week. It was absolutely gorgeous in Golden Gate Park, the dahlias are really putting on a show, and there were a few winged creatures flying about. Especially the bumble bees. I am still pursuing my goal for the summer, of capturing a perfect photo of a bumble in mid flight. It came close a few times last week, but it was really windy, and that made it almost impossible. I caught a few, but either they were too far away in the photo, or they were out of focus, or I would get just a part of the bee. A leg here, a head shot there. LOL. It was a lot of fun, but it was a lot of work, especially after a particularly rough therapy session with Sarah. Therapy is a lot of work too.

I really didn't mind the work of either though, because they balance each other quite nicely. Both sides of my brain get a workout. LOL My concentration was pretty high that day, and it was an intense moment when I settled in on this flower, with the bumble bee in the center. I had been watching it for about 5 minutes, floating in and out of the other dahlias, and I thought I had my timing down, as to when it would lift off. I steadied myself, leaned in, and just as I thought she might take to flight, I took the photo. LOL. She of course didn't move, but as I went click, a lovely skipper butterfly, zoomed past the bee, the flower, and my lens. Tee Hee. I had to laugh, because it was amazingly fun to capture the skipper in flight, but at the same time, it also felt a bit like I had stepped into a Roadrunner cartoon, and I was the coyote. As the skipper flew by, I could almost hear... "Beep, Beep!" ROFL.

"Beep Beep"
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
Aug 1, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #177: Feedback and Suggestions

"Remember, man does not live by bread alone: sometimes he needs a little buttering up."

-John C. Maxwell

Over the last month or so, there's been a downturn in the participation with the Weekend Assignments - enough so that I think it's worth taking a momentary break from the usual format to check in with you folks about your thoughts on the feature.

We've been doing the Weekend Assignments for over three years now, which is a good long time for anything to be going on in the blog world. But with any long-running feature, it's worth looking at it to see what can be done - or if anything need be done - to improve it.

Weekend Assignment #177: Are you happy with the Weekend Assignments as they are? Do you have suggestions on improving them? Should we continue the Weekend Assignments, or try something new? Remember, the reason I do the Weekend Assignments is so you'll have something fun to write about over the weekend. It's dependent on you guys, basically. I want to know where you are with it.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

Dear Blogfather

I enjoy the Weekend Assignments very much, I always have. I look forward to stepping out of my own programed blog world, and stepping into each new challenge you provide us. I have always viewed the assignments as a learning experiment in what it's like to write on demand. Not that you demand anyone participate, but indeed you provide a way to stretch our writing wings a bit more then we would probably do on our own. :) The Weekend Assignments have been good for me. I think I have grown as a blogger as a result of doing them. And isn't that the goal of any challenge? To grow as a person in some way. :)

I have participated in almost every single one of the 177 Weekend Assignments, with the exception of ones with subjects I felt I may have already covered recently on Ellipsis, or if I feel that I have nothing in particular to add to the general theme of the assignment. Once in a while, it has seemed like you have repeated an assignment theme within what I felt was too close a period of time, but that has been a rarity. I can only speak for myself of course, but I want you to know that I look forward to the assignments, and the chance to sometimes have to research a topic that I might have perhaps not delved into, if left to my own imagination.

One great example would be when you asked us to write a Haiku. Oh my. Poetry has never been one of my strengths. I was really nervous about even trying to meet the assignment, but I gave it a try anyway, and to my surprise, I found I enjoyed it very much. :) Thank you for that. I am a happy camper with the assignments, but I would like to suggest new ways we could possibly do some assignments, just to shake things up a bit.

1. I think a monthly Haiku would be fun. There are million or so topics you could challenge us with.

2. How about one week out of the month, we could tie the Monday Photo Shoot, to the following Weekend Assignment of the same week.Kind of like, take a picture... write a story, either fictional or real, that ties in with the photo. :)

3. Remember when you asked us who our Super Hero alter egos would be? How about the flip side? Who would our dastardly inner villains be? There are a lot of assignments that you could offer us an either or option on.

There, I just presented a few ideas to consider. You know, I have been blogging almost 4 years now, and one trend I have seen consistently, was that my hit counter and comments always drop during the summer months. I really believe that is why you have been seeing a lower then average turn out for the assignments. It can be discouraging to put thought into an entry, and not receive any feedback or participation. It happens. Just hang in there, and know we are still out there, looking forward to each new assignment. :) Please keep bringing them to us. :)

Always, Carly :)

"Summer Smiles"
Santa Rosa, California
August 2, 2007

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Butterflies Flying In Formation

"Nerves and butterflies are fine - they're a physical sign that you're mentally ready and eager. You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation, that's the trick."

-Steve Bull

I have been experiencing some butterflies recently. The stress has been coming in waves. I don't know, a lot is going on for me I suppose, and I only have three more sessions with Sarah, before I officially retire from therapy. Sometimes when the stress gets bad, I wonder how long it will be before I go back to therapy, as opposed to standing on my own two feet, and apply what I have learned when times get rough. As bad as those moments of self-doubt can be, I know that I will be ok. I tell myself that I am not alone, and that everything I am experiencing, while new to me, isn't any different then what many others have gone through as well. Thank goodness those dark moments don't come around all that often. For the most part I have been visiting websites with information about diabetes, and learning for myself, at my own pace, what comes next.

Yesterday, I got a call from my doctor's office, telling me that she had ordered my new, OneTouch Ultra-2 starter kit, contains the meter, the test strips and the lancets. It was ready for pick-up at the Kaiser Pharmacy, so all I had to do was pick it up. Sigh. I had a full day planned, which is almost always so on Wednesdays, so I decided to pick it up on my way home from San Francisco. I needed my day in Golden Gate Park. It is my down time, after therapy. So, off I went to my appointment with Sarah, ready to face the fear of the day, learning to work my new glucose meter. I had some butterflies in my stomach most of the day, I know it won't be all that bad learning to work the meter, the fear I have is if I fail somehow. If my diabetes gets worse, even if I do the best I can to watch my intakes of sugars and carbohydrates. Sometimes, it has crossed my mind not to eat at all, because how can I go wrong that way? LOL. Yeah... I know... that would be pretty dumb. :)

So anyway, I planned out my dinner, which was take-out from Boston Market. Alan never asks me to cook on Wednesdays. :) I chose lean Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potato Casserole, and some veggies. I looked up the nutrition guide on the Internet before I left the house, so I could pick up something that would fit within my dietary guidelines. Isn't it neat the age we live in? We have it so much easier now then ever before, for most things. That is another thing helping me feel better about my situation, the fact that I can do a little research, and plan what to eat before I leave the house. No worries that I am about to consume something that will be very, very, bad for me. LOL.

Everything was all set. I started my day, and put the fear of picking up the meter behind me, for most of the day. I had a few butterfly moments, a couple big ones, but like the above quote, I was reminded that I was alive, and aware of the new challenge. By the time I got to the pharmacy, I was all set to pick it up, and have a consultation with the pharmacist, where I assumed they would teach me how to use the kit. LOL. Nope. When I got to the consultation window, the pharmacist told me that I needed to bring the kit to my diabetes class, which is on August 15th. Silly me. I should have realized that is when I would be learning how to use the meter. Jeepers... I need to get a grip. LOL. It's strange being diagnosed with diabetes, everything seems like it has to change right this minute. All these changes have to occur right now... and yet... there is time to go slow, and learn your way. So that's what I am doing, going slow, and learning my way. Tonight, for the first time in a couple weeks, I feel like the butterflies are flying in formation.


Cabbage White Butterfly
Dahlia Garden
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
August 1st, 2007

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Driving Peeves

"You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen, it said, " 'Parking Fine.' "

-Tommy Cooper

This just makes me crazy. I cannot understand why folks are so damn inconsiderate of others! Last May, I wrote a post about this very situation. I had attended a Chili cook off in Castro Valley, and while I was trying to find a place to park, I came across numerous examples of folks taking up two parking places, to park their over sized vehicles in. This was in a parking lot that doesn't have a lot of spaces to begin with, so when you come across a situation like that, it can be damn infuriating. Some of you agreed with me, others didn't, which I understand, because we all have different things that push our buttons. This just happens to be mine.

I have a difficult time walking at times, especially if my legs are hurting or are swollen, due to my Fibromyalgia. I am not at the point of being disabled, but I am in pain at times, and I find it inconsiderate if someone takes up two places, because either they are too lazy to park their cars correctly, or they are so concerned that their car will be scratched, that they deliberately park in two places so they won't be dinged. I cannot understand for the life of me why one wouldn't check to see if they are in the space correctly, unless they simple don't care who they put out. My friend Wil, made a good point, that some vehicles are too large for some parking lots, which are striped for compact, or economy cars. He is right, in those instances I understand the need for a little more room, but as you can see, this space had ample room, but the driver simply paid no attention to how he/she had parked.

I will admit it, I have a thing about SUVs. Those who drive them, drive aggressively, and more than once, I have been nearly run off the road by one. It is the most difficult thing about driving for me, the aggressiveness of others. Sigh. Anyway, as I said, those who don't know how to park their vehicles is my personal peeve, and while I know I am not alone in that, I have to imagine what might be just as nerve racking to someone else. So, that is the subject of the new poll on the sidebar, " What Is Your Main Complaint About Other Drivers?" I only have eight choices on the list, so if I didn't include your personal pet peeve about driving, feel free to share what it is in the comment thread. With the exception of drivers talking on their cell phones while driving, I think that one is a given. The results of last months poll can be found on the poll results blog. Just click the link below.

Ok, chime in. Share what about other drivers, makes driving more difficult for you. We are all in this driving thing together, although sometimes it kinda feels like we are all alone... doesn't it?

"Which Fast Food Restaurant Serves The Best Burgers?"

Home Depot
San Ramon, California
July 24th, 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Juxtaposition

"Somebody who thinks logically is a nice contrast to the real world."


Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of things that are juxtaposed in interesting ways. "Juxtapose" means "To place side by side, especially for comparison or contrast." In case you hadn't run up against the word very much (it's one of those Scrabble words). Basically, if two things you see next or near to each other make an interesting picture, or seem to comment on each other in an interesting or ironic fashion, you're good to go.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

Ah yes, juxtaposition! It can be found everywhere... and yesterday... I found it at Starbucks. Here we also have the eternal question, well, one of the eternal questions anyway, coffee or tea? If we go with coffee, then you might enjoy the beverage Alan ordered, which was, Double Chocolate Chip Mocha Frappuccino, or if you are like me, you might go for something a little bit lighter, like, Tazo Passion Shaken Iced Tea. Actually, I enjoy almost everything Starbucks serves, but I am a little bit more health aware, since I was diagnosed last week with Type 2 diabetes. Anyway, no matter which drink you prefer, one thing is for sure, they are delicious, and very photogenic. Don't you think? Hmmm... which do you prefer? Coffee or Iced Tea?

"Juxtaposition At Starbucks"
July 30th, 2007
Castro Valley, California

Monday, July 30, 2007

Silly Laws & William Shatner

"There is hope for the future because God has a sense of humor, and we are funny to God."

-Bill Cosby

Ok, so I was sitting by myself yesterday afternoon, having a good old fashioned poutfest, when I thought to myself, "Girl... get over it." It's time to get over it. Granted, I don't let go of things easily, and I am highly resistant to change, but if 2007 hasn't taught me anything else, it has taught me that change is going to happen, with or without my permission. It's time to get my humor back. So, while I have to admit I am still holding onto certain people, some distant places, and things, I am back on the path to whatever comes next. The simple truth is, I would rather be at OzzFest, then wasting time feeling sorry for myself. I would love to go to OzzFest sometime, I think it would be a hoot. It may not be possible this year, with all the stuff I have coming up, but maybe next year. :) I think Ozzy Osbourne is kinda cool, as is his wife Sharon. That is one smart, snazzy lady who knows how to live. :)

What do I need to do to cope with my situations? What do I need to do to live? What could help me feel a little better about things? I know... the answer is always in my love for music and humor. Two things we mortals simply cannot survive without. So, to get your week, and mine, off on the right note, how about a YouTube video of William Shatner performing Elton John's, "Rocket Man" at the 1978 Sci-Fi Awards. LOL. The first time I saw this clip I laughed so hard I cried. Now THAT is good for the soul. For those of you who cannot view video clips, rest assured I thought of you as well, and have compiled a list of actual Dumb Laws, that are currently on the books in certain states. So watch and laugh, or read and laugh, but just remember to laugh!

The Summer Will Soon Be Over... Don't Get Caught Being A Scofflaw! :)

1. Bear wrestling matches are prohibited
2. You may not drive barefooted
3. You may not have an ice cream cone in your back pocket.
4. Nobody is allowed to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool.
5. It is illegal to wipe one's own car with used underwear.

1. A pickle is not officially a pickle unless it bounces.
2. You are not allowed to walk across a street on your hands.
3. You may not educate dogs.

1. In Delaware you may not sell dead people for money without a license.

1. A monkey was once convicted of the crime of smoking a cigarette and sentenced to pay a fine and trial costs.
2. It is illegal for a liquor store to sell cold soft drinks.
3. The value of Pi is 4, not 3.1415

1. Kisses may last for as much as, but no more than, five minutes.
2. One-armed piano players must play for free.

1. A woman cannot be on top in sexual activities.
2. Bullets may not be used as currency.
3. Defacing a milk carton is punishable by a ten dollar fine.
4. Mourners at a wake, must not eat more than three sandwiches.
5. Snoring is prohibited unless all bedroom windows are closed and securely locked.

North Carolina
1. Fights between cats and dogs are prohibited.
2. It is illegal to have sex in a churchyard.
3. Oral sex is considered a crime against nature.

1. It is illegal to milk another person's cow.
2. It is illegal to urinate on the Alamo.
3. It is legal for the blind to go hunting, as long as they have someone with them who can see.
4. It is legal to commit homicide, as long as you tell the person when, and where, you are going to kill them.

"Humor is the sunshine of the mind."

-Edward G. Bulwer-Lyton


Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Visitor To My Garden

"Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down the rainbow."

-Douglas Pagels

The weather here in the Bay Area has been nice this summer. The days have been warm... not really hot... and the nights very cool with a nice breeze. The garden is coming along nicely, and with the weather so mild, it has been a real joy to spend time outside in the afternoon, just waiting for critters to pay me a visit. I have a bird feeder up, but the birds have been scarce this year. Only a few from time to time, which is a stark contrast from last year, when I swear I saw 50 different varieties come in an out of the yard. I guess it all runs it's cycles. We haven't had many opossums this year either, one day last year my favorite opossum, Ipson Pendragon, just stopped coming by, but we have raccoons by the dozen. :) In fact, I think it might have been one of those wacky raccoons that made off with my herb garden. LOL. I am going to replant, and give it another go. I still have the cilantro, and the garlic chives, so all is not lost. :)

Yesterday, I set up the tripod in the garden, to try to capture the picture of a lovely little butterfly I saw sitting on top of the stock. It is a common male checkered skipper (Pyrgus communis). I had a good time photographing this little guy, it was very comfortable with me, and so I was able to take my time. I used the macro lens, and got in really close. I was able to get several good shots, before he scampered away. I like the skippers, they are tiny, but their markings are so beautiful. I need to check within the stock, to see if any females have laid eggs. I planted the garden so it would come into full bloom in the autumn, I would be thrilled if I have a lot of butterflies among all the flowers. :) That would make for a happy place I think. Right now the only thing blooming is the Nemesia, and the roses, both of which have a ton of flowers on them. Elvis has taken up sleeping between the containers of flowers, he likes the butterflies too.

"No vision and you perish; No ideal, and you're lost; Your heart must ever cherish some faith at any cost. Some hope, some dream to cling to. Some rainbow in the sky. Some melody to sing to. Some service that is high."

-Harriet Du Autermont

"Rainbow Across The Pear Tree'
Berkeley, California
July 28th, 2007