Saturday, December 22, 2007

While Visions Of Sugar Plums Danced In My Head...

"The earth has grown old with it's burden of care, but at Christmas it is always young. The heart of the jewel burns lustrous, and fair, and it's soul full of music breaks the air, when the song of angels is sung."

-Phillip Brooks

Just a short entry today, I am up to my elbows in the ingredients for an Apple/Pear Cinnamon pie, with a Gruyere crust. I was inspired to make it by an episode of my new favorite show Pushing Daisies. Have you seen it yet? It is very funny, and very dark, all at the same time. It's kind of like an Alfred Hitchcock narrated by Dr. Seuss. LOL. Anyway, it is one of the best new shows of the season, or any season for that matter, in the last few years! You must see it! And now, back to the pie baking...

"Plum Pudding"
Berkeley, California
December 21, 2007
Late Evening

Friday, December 21, 2007

Goodnight Autumn

"Now autumn's fire burns along the woods, and day by day, the dead leaves fall and melt."

-William Allingham

Autumn ends today, at 10:08 P.M. PST. Sigh. I already miss it. The colors, the sounds, the scents... everything about it just climbs into my soul. I know it sounds strange for me to say that I always feel a little bit of mourning when it is gone, it's just a season, it will comeback again, but I long for autumn all through the year, and it never lasts long enough for me. I know I would never grow tired of an eternal autumn. Oh well, here is a last look back at my favorite season, and what it brought me this year...

"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."

-George Eliot

"Sweet Spicy Autumn"
Carson City, Nevada
October 25, 2007
Late AfternoonH

Thursday, December 20, 2007

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment # 196: Plans For 2008

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

First the important news: This is the last Weekend Assignment I'll be doing here at By The Way. Next week is the last full week of me doing By The Way, and also we'll be in the thick of the holiday madness, so I think it's best to wrap up this very long-running feature here and now. It's been lots of fun, though, and I hope you've all enjoyed playing along as much as I have.

But I don't want to spend too much time with the past here, because the future is so much more interesting to me at the moment. With that in mind, here is the topic for this week's Weekend Assignment;

Weekend Assignment #196: What are your hopes or plans for 2008? Any big projects for the year? Anything you hope to accomplish or change? Or will you just relax? Because, you know, that's okay, too.

Extra Credit: How was your 2007?

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

Well, I will get to John's question in a moment, but first I want to once again tell John how much I will miss him and the Weekend Assignments, in 2008! Somehow, I wish there were just a few more weeks in 2007, so we could make it to an even 200 Weekend Assignments. LOL. Can you believe I just said that? The lady who began praying for New Year's Eve, just a couple weeks into 2007? LOL. Oh goodness, this was a bumpy year for me personally. I don't want to look back right now, because that is not the focus of this assignment. The point of this assignment is to look into the future. And when I do that, I get excited at the possibilities. :) So when I look into my future, through my crystal ball, here is what I see...

**I am going to take some additional classes on meditation and yoga, in an effort to improve my overall well-being. I need to cut some stress, as that is my number one trigger to my diabetes. Stress is even more dangerous to me then sugar. Don't get me wrong. My numbers are fantastic, my doctor is thrilled with what I have accomplished since July, and on this course, I will be officially diabetes free as of July, but I need more than one good A1C test before I get the full ALL CLEAR.

**I am planning to take a ceramics class. I want to learn something new, and hopefully make some new pals. It's time to climb out of my shell a little. I like people, and I like life, and hopefully they wont hate me on sight. Right? I remember our Blogfather once said, Internet friendships are wonderful, but nothing beats the relationships we have in real life.I am paraphrasing of course, but you get the idea. It sounded like sound advice to me. I have spent too much time in my own little world. I am so done with the past! I am over it!

**I want to volunteer for a political campaign. I have always wanted to do that, and I think it would be a great experience. It's something new, that I have never tried, and I can kind of choose how much time I want to devote to it. This is an important election coming up. Something has to not just change, it has to change for the better! If I am going to put myself out in the world, I want to help make a positive change, even if all I do is stuff envelopes. You know? It's time to do my part for the future.

**In terms of creativity, there is nothing more important to me then my photography. I need to really work on it, not just stick with the same old comfortable subjects, but rather really push myself to go to the edge with it. There are some photography classes available at the community colleges in my area, so why not expand my horizons a bit? :) I took a class online, in Portrait Photography, earlier this year, and I found it very enjoyable. :)

**Overall, I want to just experience life. That's all. My priorities have changed, since I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I am so lucky that I wasn't told it was cancer, or heart disease or any one of the other things that tend to punch us down for no apparent reason. Since I began blogging in 2003, I have lost 2 good blogging/journaling buddies, Frank and Pam, to those things. I still miss them terribly, and they remind me of how short life is. It's too short to be afraid of the future. So, here I am, thrilled about 2008, and all it has waiting for me, good or bad! Maybe I will do all the things I have listed, maybe I will do none of them, maybe I will do other things that I can't even conceive of. Who knows? Isn't it exciting? Stay tuned, because you just never know with me!

Extra Credit: How was your 2008? ROFLMAO! Well, at first I thought it sucked! Then things kind of tapered off, and now, well, I can look back and see, life has a way of working itself out. All in all... it wasn't the worst year I have ever had. :)

"You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest, that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present."

-Jan Glidewell

Christmas Fantasy In The Woods
Tilden Park
Berkeley, California
November 29, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It Was A Good Day...

"There is a harmony in autumn, a luster in it's sky, which through the summer is not seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been."

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

I had a nice day, it was one of those quiet, peaceful days that comes along all too rarely. I started out at my favorite coffee house here in Berkeley, Caffe Strada, then I decided to do a little Christmas shopping down in Jack London Square. Everything was decorated up so lovely for the holidays, including the presidential yacht the Potomac. But my favorite sight had to be the gorgeous Snowy Egret I saw. This is my favorite bird, so I am always excited when I have the chance to spend a little time photographing one. It was doing a little fishing alone the shoreline, and as you can see, it already has it's winter plumage. Beautiful. :) It isn't difficult to make me smile. :)

The view from Stradda, looking toward International House. The trees in Berkeley are still alive with autumn. Ahhhh. :)

Yum. My favorite breakfast. Hot chocolate with raspberry syrup, and a buttery croissant. I don't indulge in this often, which makes it all the more decadent when I do. :)

Oh yeah! I got my hair done yesterday! It looks like I will be a redhead for the holiday! Alan calls my new look, Nouveau Beatnik. Yeah... I agree. :) I wear a lot of black, and I love beat poetry, so it is definitely my style.

A beautiful ship

All decorated for the holiday. I would love to take a cruise on it next year, maybe when it warms up. :)

"Snowy Egret with Winter Plumage"
Port of Oakland
Jack London Square
Oakland, California
December 19, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Without You (Haiku)

"Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you many step on a piece of the forest that was left out by mistake."

-Winnie The Pooh

Without You (Haiku)
By Carly Gordon

One Day You Were There
With November In Your Eyes
It's Cold Without You

"Autumn Light"
Carson City, Nevada
October 24th, 2007
Late Morning

Monday, December 17, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: What's On Your Porch?

"Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought."

-Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show us something of interest on your porch. If you don't have a porch, you can substitute front steps and patios. If you've none of those things, then just find something out the window. If you don't have a window, move.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

This is one of Elvis's newest pals, Puzzles. He comes by, and very politely waits just below the back porch, for Elvis to come out and play. Elvis is a very social creature, and many, many, times I have stepped out on the porch area, to see a friend of his waiting patiently for his company. :) It makes me happy. :)

"Porch Friend"
Berkeley, California
December, 2007
Late Afternoon

Sunday, December 16, 2007

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #195: Be Nice

"Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness."


Weekend Assignment #195: Do something extra nice for someone you know. Which is to say, something above and beyond your general level of niceness. Could be for a spouse, or a friend, or a co-worker, or a child, or someone you've met randomly as you're walking around the mall.

Does this mean I want you to do it and then write about it? No necessarily: Some acts of kindness or niceness are better shared just between those who perform than receive them. See, this is one of the reasons why this Weekend Assignment is different. On the other hand, if you want to share, I wouldn't mind hearing about it.

-John Scalzi, of the blog, By The Way

Be nice? Be NICE? That's our Weekend Assignment? Nice? Hmmmm... how am I supposed to do that? Should I let someone go first in traffic? Nah, that might anger the guy behind me. I know, I could take that spooky spider I see in the corner and set him free in the yard, rather than squishing the life out of him! Nah, it's cold outside, and he might catch a cold. Who needs a spider sneezing on your Christmas lawn ornament? I guess I could volunteer at my favorite charity, Schoclocker's Home For Wayward Cats. No wait, that's right, they close every year about this time for their annual Neuter-off Festival. All neuters, all week. So, what to do, what to do...

I know! Alan did some repairs in the bathroom yesterday and made a HUGE mess. A big, gnarly, splintery mess of a mess. He promised to clean it up. LOLOLOL. His idea of cleaning it up and my idea of cleaning it up, are NOT the same. Oh well, he tackles the big hairy spiders, and the big creepy unknown creepy crawlies, so I will be a good wife and go above and beyond my usual pleasant self and finish the cleaning job for him. And to be extra specially nice, I won't even put him in the dog house for not finishing the job he promised to do in the first place. And if that wasn't bad enough, he managed to beat me at Monopoly last night, without having an actual monopoly! LOL. Honestly Alan! This ought to earn me some points... you know? Tee Hee. Sometimes, showing a little extra understanding to your spouse, is as big as any gift you could give them. :)

"Naughty Me"
Berkeley, California
December 15th, 2007
Late Evening