Saturday, November 24, 2007

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment # 192: When Do The Holidays Start?

"Nothing says holidays, like a cheese log."

-Ellen DeGeneres

Weekend Assignment #192: When do you personally start celebrating the holiday season? Do you get into it at midnight of the Friday after Thanksgiving? Do you wait? Is Thanksgiving annoyingly in the way? Share your thoughts!

Extra Credit: Do you dream of a White Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or a Winter Solstice, etc), just like the ones you used to know?

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

In our house, the "holiday season" begins on the first day of autumn. Our fruit and vegetable gardens are usually at their best in autumn, and we have a lot about this time of year to celebrate. We have our wedding anniversary on October 13th, and then our official Family Day on October 23rd, followed by Halloween. In the time between Halloween, and Thanksgiving, we are making all kinds of plans for how we will celebrate Thanksgiving, complete with trying out new recipes with the garden veggies.

Really, as I sit here typing this, it has seemed like a blink between Halloween and Thanksgiving. :) I can't believe another one of our favorite made-up holidays, "Black Friday" has already come and gone! LOL. But I know it has, because later this weekend, we have plans to put up our Christmas tree, then go and enjoy the Holiday Fantasy in the Woods, in Tilden Park. LOL. It may seem kind of silly, the fact that we make up holidays, but we are happy with each other, and we enjoy this time of year so much, it may not work for everyone, but it works for us.

"The Season"
Pastorino's Pumpkin Patch
Half Moon Bay, California
October 21st, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's Black Friday, Do You Know Where The Bargains Are?

"I love to go shopping. I love freaking out the salespeople. They ask me if they can help me, and I say, "Have you got anything I would like? Then they ask me what size I need, and I say, "Extra medium.""

-Stephen Wright

Ah yes, Black Friday. Alan and I consider the day after Thanksgiving to be just as big a holiday, as Turkey Day itself. LOL. We love to get up really early, and hit the malls, just so we can watch the frantic mad-dashing of holiday shoppers. People watching is one of our favorite things to do, it has been a tradition with us since well before we even started dating. Yep, it's true, even back when we were just best friends, we would hit the malls the day after Thanksgiving, and just enjoy the crowd.

Now, as old marrieds, we also do a small bit of shopping, because it is our official day to pick out the advent calender for the season, but this year I may make one or two additional purchases. We will be in Union Square for a while, and for a shopper, Union Square is like visiting Disneyland. Tiffany's, Macy's, Sharper Image, The Disney Store, Victoria's Secret, just to name a few morsels of retail goodness. There are one or two things I would like to get while I am there. But after, when we aren't shopping, it's a lot of fun to just sit and watch the street performers, that make San Francisco so much fun.

So tell me, will you be hitting the stores bright and early? Or do you do more of your shopping online, or through catalogs? Have you already completed your holiday shopping for this year, or have you not bought nary a thing yet? Do you always take a list with you, or do you shop on instinct? Will you be spending more or less this year? Come on, share with me your holiday shopping style, you know you want to. ;) Don't forget to comeback here later this weekend, so see all the photos from Black Friday!

"Black Friday 2006"
Union Square
San Francisco, California
Late Afternoon

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off of your thighs


From our house to yours, we wish you a very...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Carly, Alan and Elvis

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Are We Having Fun Yet?

"I love Thanksgiving. It's the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts."

-Arnold Schwarzenegger

Are we having fun yet? Have your holiday pies burned? Is your bird improperly plucked? Did you buy sweet potatoes, when the recipe called for yams? Is your Flan, bland? Did cousin Ben bring THAT woman to your house? Did you roast your turkey upside down? Is your mother in law helping? Well is she? If you need a reason to smile, watch the above YouTube video, and laugh your cares away. Go ahead, you deserve it.

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble

Note: The original video I had posted in this entry went poof, so I am replacing it with this very cute, very funny, baby video. Tee Hee. A great stress buster as well. Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Thankful

Click on the above photo to see it in a larger, sharper version

"In this world of sin and sorrow, there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I am thankful I am not a Republican."

-Henry Louis Mencken

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show something you're thankful for this year. It doesn't have to be the thing you're most thankful for; even the little things count. But of course, picture whatever you'd like.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

I have a lot to be thankful for, over all I am a very happy lady, but since this is a photo shoot assignment, I thought I would keep to what makes me the creative side of me happy and thankful. Autumn. I love the natural light in autumn. The sun has a color to it, which makes me feel especially happy inside. It charges me up and makes me feel alive, but I also feel renewed and inspired on misty November mornings as well. So, there you have it, I am thankful for autumn, and all the beauty it brings. I hope that's not too hokey. :) But if it is... oh well! Tee Hee.

"Autumn Moonlight"
Berkeley, California
November 17, 2007
Late Afternoon

Monday, November 19, 2007

Susan's Spot

"Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen."

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that something profoundly devastating happened in my life in the summer of 2000. Something life changing. I spent the next three years, pretty much detached from life. I rarely took photographs, and when I did, they weren't particularly good. I became somewhat of a recluse, except for a few very special places I felt comfortable going to. To the people I saw often, I looked ok, but inside I really wasn't. Not at all. It was after "the event which shall remain nameless" occurred, I became so depressed I developed Anhedonia.

What that basically means is, I lost all ability to creatively express myself. All joy and the ability to enjoy even the slightest happiness was gone. When I tried do a simple craft project, I found I couldn't match colors. Nothing looked right to me. I could dress myself, but my clothes meant nothing to me. I would laugh at all the wrong points in a joke, and sometimes my sense of humor would kick in at times when there really wasn't anything funny to laugh at. It was almost as if the creative side of my brain had died, and I was walking around, just trying to do my best to hide the pain I felt. The weird thing was, the pain I was in, was a strange kind of numbness. How pain, and numbness can coexist is still a mystery to me, but trust me... it can.

In the late summer of 2003, I decided to start Ellipsis. I had no idea why, or for what purpose, but I know it felt right. My Anhedonia lifted off my shoulders one day, a few weeks earlier, as mysteriously as it had found me. I started picking up the camera again, and then Alan bought me a new digital camera for Christmas, 2004. I spent the next 8 months or so, running here and there, looking through the lens, practicing with color and light, looking for the picture. I felt better, but I still had a little way to go. As autumn approached, I asked Alan if we could take a long drive up to the Sierra's to see the changing of the leaves.

As we drove east along I-80, I must have stopped 30 or 40 times, between Sacramento and the Placer County line. LOL. Alan was being very patient with me, and I was very tired when I decided that I would make just one more exit off the freeway. Exit 165. As we took the exit, I closed my eyes, for just a couple moments,as my eyes were really tired. When I opened them, we had parked in the lot of Cisco Grove Gould Park. As I looked around, I felt stunned by the colors of the trees, against the amazingly blue sky. I had seen other beautiful trees that day, but somehow the lighting was particularly lovely at that moment.

When I stepped out of the car, the cool, clear air hit me, and I had the feeling that I was being welcomed home somehow. It's difficult to explain, but it was as if the park was surrounding me with warmth and love. Nothing bad could happen here. No shadows to frighten me, just color and light, and life everywhere I looked. I spent the next hour, or so snapping photo after photo, and smiling and laughing. It was pure happiness and creativity. I fell in love with this park that day.

I have been making annual visits to Cisco Grove Gould Park since 2005, but last month I found out something very special about this place. It seems it was also loved very much by artist Susan Cooley-Gilliam. In fact, she loved it so much, that it was dedicated to her after her death from cancer in... 2003. In life she loved coming here to photograph the beauty of the park and the South Yuba River, which runs through it.

She worked in earnest to help preserve the land for artists, and visitors who were drawn to it's ethereal beauty. According to the plaque, this was one of the last places she visited, prior to her death, but it was the following words inscribed on the plaque which made it all come together for me, as to why I always feel loved and embraced here...

"Her presence will always be felt by those who pause to take in the beauty of the river or the Fall colors, and especially by other artist drawn to this scene."

I knew when I read that part, that Susan was standing right next to me, welcoming me home. I believe in spirits, and our ability to leave our impression on the places we love so dearly in life. Susan's soul is still in every leaf, and every ripple on the surface of the river. She is in the quiet, gentle breeze that whispers through the lemon drop trees. She is that feeling of safety and comfort that embraces you. She guides me when I am there, she shows me the light. She helps me believe in myself, and my art through photography.

Again, hard to explain, but somehow I feel like I will always have a friend waiting for me just off Hwy I-80 at Hampshire Rocks road. By the way, this park is situated just down the road, from where I took the photo in yesterday's entry. It is a place of magic for the weary soul. It is a place of inspiration and love for the lonely artist. It is a place of magic.

Here are some of my favorite photographs that I have taken at Susan's Spot, over the last few years. As you can see many artists feel inspired here. On my last visit, there was an art class being taught along the banks of the South Yuba River.

"If you see the magic in a fairy tale, you can face the future."

-Danielle Steel

"Susan's Spot"
Cisco Grove Gould Park
Between I-80 165 and Hampshire Rocks Road
Cisco Grove, California
October 23rd, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Thanksgiving Road

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."

-Melody Beattie

Last week, I shared the good news, that I had managed to successfully bring my Type 2 Diabetes under control. Since that time, I have received so many comments, and personal emails congratulating me, that I thought rather then say thank you in the comment thread for that entry, I would write a special entry to let all of you know how much I have appreciated your stopping by to leave me your messages. I am so happy that I was able to take charge in my life, and bring my diabetes under control, but I don't think I would have done as well, without all of you encouraging me along the way.

That is the special thing about blogging, we can reach out to others a little more affectively sometimes, and touch many more lives then we can in our day to day lives. I am thankful for the friendships I have made in the Blogsphere, and the love and support I have received. All of you, have made me a better, stronger, happier, and most certainly, a healthier person. Thank you for that! :) I found this Thanksgiving poem the other day, and I thought of all of you...

I'm Thankful For You
By Joanna Fuchs

Thanksgiving is the appointed time
for focusing on the good in our lives
In each of our days,
we can find small blessings,
but too often we overlook them,
choosing instead to spend our time
paying attention to problems.
We give our energy
to those who cause us trouble
instead of those who bring us peace.
Starting now,
lets be on the lookout
for the bits of pleasure in each hour,
and appreciate the people who
bring love and light to everyone
who is blessed to know them.
You are one of those people.
On Thanksgiving
I'm thankful for you.

I visit the road, in the above photograph, every autumn just to sit and feel at peace, so how could I not photograph it?It is a very special place, I have always felt drawn to, so, I have a special entry planned for tomorrow about this road, and something I found on it, just last month. Please try to make it back tomorrow to read about what I discovered. Here's a hint... it's MAGIC.

Hampshire Rocks Road
Placer County, California
October 23rd, 2007