Saturday, January 05, 2008

Rain Likely With A Good Chance For Thunderstorms

"Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes."

-Oscar Wilde

Politics And Pop Culture

Like A Spider's Web In The Rain...

Do you ever feel a little like a spider on or about New Years? What I mean is, a year begins and you spend the rest of your time either facing difficulties or happily tidying your little web in the universe. Sometimes something will land in your path. It might be something that enriches your world, or it might be something that can ruin everything. Most of the time however, you simply build and watch for rain. I made my peace with 2007, and yet I felt a little sad when it ended because I had felt like I turned the attitude I had when the year began completely around to the point I was happy. So now what?

I had finally felt in control once again. Now, it feels like I am starting all over again, because there is a New Year on the calendar. Hmmm... I guess what I am feeling comes from my inability to let go of things. "To Move On." I will work my way out of this slump again soon.I know it's just the universe playing tricks on me. Heck, my horoscope even told me as much recently. I know that usually all I need is a good day with the camera. I am going to venture out of my cottage in a couple days... sunny or not. I wonder what I will find in the elements?

Rain With A Chance Of Hail...

Sigh. This child is lost. That photo of her breaks my heart. Not because I was particularly a fan of her, but mostly because I am a woman. Yep. I am feeling a little bit maternal, as much as I would feel if this were happening to a neighbor or someone I actually knew. But I don't imagine there is much guidance in this child's world. Her mother has some problems and we will leave it at that. Being a celebrity means a little less to someone Britney's age, because she has never had to claw from the ground up.

How can the rest of us expect her to grow-up? She never had a chance the first time around. But enabling her is the wrong way to go as well. So, what to do? Well, the first step has already begun, in that the judge in the custody case between Britney and Kevin Federline, finally removed the children from her care. It's life lessons like this that bring about maturity. This young lady is starting from a place of drug abuse and alcoholism, which will make it worse, but waking up in a hospital, with the DT's and no one to stop the mental and physical pain can mature you as well. It's the rain that teaches us to seek shelter.

It's Like Thunder And Lightning The Way You Love Me Is Frightening...

Ok, Iowa had it's lessons. Thunderous lessons. Hillary Clinton had a good chance of walking away from the Iowa Caucuses the big winner. She began her campaign a year ago, and she has held most polls ever since. But now, Obama is a big threat, and surprise, so is John Edwards. I tend to look at the results with a grain of salt. There is a lot about it I can't take too seriously. Such as the Republican choice, Mike Huckabee who is a scoundrel in true Republican manner. He proved as much with that dirty little trick of his, regarding his "negative" ad. He made the ad... then decided to hold a press conference to say he wouldn't stoop to that level. Then he gave out copies, and according the, it still aired at least 10 times, on four different stations in Davenport and Cedar Rapids Iowa. It's all a lot of thunder, with no lightning in my opinion.

No matter who the chosen Republican or Democratic challengers are, there is one statistic that both parties might want to take very seriously. Who came out into the cold to vote in Iowa. Michael Moore pointed out in his newsletter, that 239,000 showed up to vote for the Democrats, while only 115,000 turned out for the Republicans. That statistic makes me smile. It gives me hope. I imagine every one of the 239,000 has had enough of the dirty tricks, the backstabbing, and the lies coming from Republicans. Are the Democratic candidates exempt from that kind of behavior? Apparently not. But I can tell you this, most American's are fed up with the lies. Most Americans are ready to see integrity brought back to the country. I have my ears open, and my mind set on what I want to hear and more importantly... see. Fair weather promises I can do without. I am a little more weather savvy then that. I don't fall for every pitch from every umbrella salesman who comes my way.

So, it's on to the New Hampshire debates. Tell me, will you watch tonight?Oooh, did you hear that? Probably not, because that big clap of thunder took place outside my window. It's raining here in the Bay Area, and it's hailing too. I like weather like this. It makes me feel alive and appreciate change. It makes me look to the future and all the sunshine coming my way. Observing politics is a lot like observing the weather. Sometimes you hear a lot of noise, that does nothing but make you feel scared and alone, while the best of days tend to go by in hopeful silence. The California primary is being held on February 5th, when is yours?

"One Fine Day"
Berkeley, California
April, 2005
Late Afternoon

Friday, January 04, 2008

Going Dark

"Weather forecast for tonight: Dark"

-George Carlin

Well, as promised, the storm arrived! And it was on time, and get this, it is just as bad as they said it would be! If not worse. The Richmond/San Rafael Bridge is closed, there is a large amount of standing water at the toll plaza on the Bay Bridge, and all eastbound lanes of the San Mateo/Hayward Bridge are closed. There are power lines down throughout San Francisco, and debris flying across HWY 101 in San Rafael. Thunderstorms are being experienced and they will continue throughout the afternoon. Winds are upwards of 80mph in some places.

I guess you could call this the Storm of the Century for the Bay Area anyway. I was thinking about going out and doing some photos, but the news is saying to stay put, so, I think I will. My satellite is going in and out. That can't be good.I might put on my rainy day wear and walk up the hill, of course I might need a raft to get back... so wish me luck!

Click here for coverage from my local ABC affiliate KGO 7

Note: I have some thoughts about the Iowa Caucuses, and the latest Britney Spears meltdown, but I will have to get back to you. :)

Live Doppler Radar

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Things I Think About As I Batten Down The Hatches

"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship."

-Louisa May Alcott

There is a huge series of winter storms headed for the Bay Area, and Northern California. The predictions for the next couple days are downright hair raising. Rain, Flooding, Hail, Thunderstorms, High Waves, as much as 30 feet high, Blizzard conditions in the lower Sierra, High Winds, which could reach 80 mph in the East Bay hills, Power Outages... Oh My! My local ABC affiliate is asking for amateur photographers to submit weather photos, so I might venture out if the roads are at least a little passable.

I love Thunderstorms. I used to occasionally swim during them if the temperature was even just a little warm. It was erotic, and yeah I know it was a little dangerous, but it felt great on the skin. But now, those days are over. I was thinking about those days, while I was checking on the yard to see if everything was covered properly. Actually, I had a lot of stuff going through my mind.

Things I Think About While I Batten Down The Hatches...

1. Today is the Iowa Caucuses. While it is a pretty good indicator of things to come, it doesn't mean everything. After all, in 1980 George H.W. Bush won 32% to Ronald Reagan's 30%, and we all know how that turned out.

2. I think Jose Canseco should win the coveted " Used-Up Brat of the Year" award for his mudslinging ways. I didn't like him when he was playing with the Oakland A's and I don't care much for him now. America has taken such a beating in the last 7 years, and it saddens me that even my favorite sport has been brought to it's knees by greedy, selfish individuals, so do we really need Canseco's two cents?

3. The worst hairstyle ever, the Mullet, was all about "business in the front, party in the back." LOL. Just shoot me if I ever end up with a Mullet. Please.

4. I took the above picture exactly one year ago today. It looks pretty much the same outside.

5. The San Francisco Zoo reopened today, after having begun renovations to bring it's big cat exhibit up to industry standards. They had to bring it up to standards? It's a spooky thought that I had been right there, in front of those big cats on a number of occasions, and apparently they could have very easily have mauled me at any time. Sigh. All I can think of is... why?

6. "And if I can't find my way back home, it just wouldn't be fair." Name that song! Tee Hee. Sometimes I just sing to myself.

7. I need to pick up some batteries, and cat pan liners, and milk, and...

8. Did you watch David Letterman last night?

9. God, I am so in love with Stephen Colbert!

10. I think I am finally old enough to do really well on any one of the current television game shows! Except maybe Dog Eat Dog.

11. I just heard the rain start outside.

12. I found a great pair of tights at Target last night. They are black with little white dots on them. They will look great with my black dress.

13. I love clearance sales. Wal-Mart had some great little boots on sale on their website the other day. I got two pair for $30.

14. My hands hurt.

15. That burger I ate for lunch yesterday rocked! I wonder if Alan would like Shepard's Pie for dinner tonight?

16. "Macho, Macho Man... I've got to be a Macho Man." I told you sometimes I burst into song. :)

17. I miss Mr. Whipple.

18. I haven't watched General Hospital in two weeks! Alan was home with the flu and I just couldn't put him through it. LOL. I wonder if anything has changed in Port Charles since I last watched it?

19. I should probably take a ride on BART soon. It would be a good subject for my entry for the next Round Robin Challenge: Railroads. Join us if you can.

20. A nice mug of sugar-free hot chocolate would hit the spot right now!

21. Gosh I miss Mr. November sometimes, and sometimes I really don't.

22. I wish the Ethereal Musician would play me a tune.

23. Last night, in a fit of laughter, Alan and I created the character of "Babbles The Wounded Goat." Don't ask. LOL

And that's just a sampling of what runs through a girls mind, when there is a series of storms approaching. :) There is a good chance I will lose power sometime in the next couple days, so, if I go missing don't worry, I will be back online when the clouds clear, if not sooner then that! And probably with photos. :)

"The Storm From Last Year"
Middle Harbor Shoreline Park
Oakland, California
January 3rd, 2007

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

...While You're Busy Making Other Plans

"When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds, and diamonds are made under pressure."

-Peter Marshall

Well, the picture you see above wasn't supposed to be the first picture I took in 2008. No. Not at all. So why have I taken a photo of my lunch you ask? Well, see it all started last night after dinner, while I was doing the dishes. Alan and I had just finished our meal, and we were making plans to visit the Conservatory Of Flowers, in Golden Gate Park. They have a gorgeous exhibit going on now through March that is certain to pull anyone out of the winter doldrums. It is called Color: A Winter Carnival. It is supposed to be absolutely beautiful.

On display are all kinds of flowers and plants to lighten the heart. Beautiful. Fantastic. "And afterwards, lets have lunch and then grab an ice cream at Ben & Jerry's in the Haight," said Alan. "Okay, I can try one of the sugar-free flavors," I replied. It was all set. We would leave a little before 9:00 AM and we would drive up the coast by way of Half Moon Bay. Ahh... a long drive along the coast. But... well... my plans took a strange twist.

In fact, the twist is apparently in the pipes under my bathtub. LOL. Yep... we have a clog, and not just any clog, a holiday clog! See, while I was doing the dishes the pipes started making a festive little sound like, glopity gloop, gloop, gloop! And then it all backed up into the bathtub. Kind of like your tummy does when it hasn't made go for a while. Yuck!

So, we set off on a journey to Target, and Walmart, and Home Depot, to try and find some kind of unsticky, ungoopy, ungloggy plumbing stuff to remove whatever had decided to constipate our pipes. We found some that said, "DO NOT USE IN STANDING WATER," some that said, "DO NOT FLUSH FOR 48 HOURS," and one that actually said, "DO NOT STORE IN FOOD CONTAINERS," Well DUH! LOL. So we went with the one that simply instructed, "DO NOT USE TO PUT OUT FIRES," Oh, and by the way, it contains no peanuts or trans fatty acids! Hey, we were good to go!

A little while later, when we got home, we followed the label directions carefully, and nothing happened. So, two hours later, we followed the label directions again... still no go. With the night becoming more and more non-eventful, we decided to call it a day. We were both really tired and a little punchy at this point, so we both began to laugh at the same time about how we had begun 2008 slightly constipated! Tee Hee. Was this all a sign of things to come? I was kind of blaming myself at that point, because I had just read the night before about an old urban legend that says if you want to have a good year, you will wear pink underwear on New Year's Eve, and, of course, I ignored that warning and wore black! Yes, it was my fault.

I know what you are thinking. This is all very nice, but why is there a picture of my lunch? Ok... flash forward. It is now today, and I can't find the owner of the main house or his handyman. But I have left messages, and I am sure that someone will call us back soon, but in the meantime, I was starving. Alan decided to not make me cook, since doing dishes would be especially not possible, so off to In-N-Out Burger we went. Yum. I haven't had a big goopy burger in months. And French fries... yes... good. :) Today has been an adventure, it was definitely a plan "B" kind of day, but it has been fun. We take things like this well. Yeah. Humor and kindness is the best way to go. It's just the way life is... you know? Wasn't it John Lennon who said... "Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans." Sigh. **Grin** The conservatory will be there next week. :)

Can I take your order Miss? Tee Hee, he called me "Miss."

Be right Back...

Yum! Two Cheeseburgers with no lettuce, 1 order of fries and 1 Diet Coke.

"In-N-Out Burger"
San Ramon, California
January 2nd 2008

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

January 1st 2008

With the rose, the butterfly's deeply in love
A thousand times hovering round;
But round himself, all tender like gold,
The sun's sweet ray is hovering found.

-Heinrich Heine, "New Spring"

It's beautiful today in the Bay Area, and I thought I might go out with the camera to take my first photos of 2008, but it just felt too nice to laze in bed today. It's comfy warm under the covers. :) I am happy right now, much happier then I was a year ago. I guess that's why I have spent so much time today, daydreaming about what the next few months might be like.

I have some big plans. Really big plans. The first of those big plans is to get back into my walking and stretching that I have been ignoring lately. It's so easy to slack off in the winter time, especially when my Fibromyalgia gives me an excuse. But I have a certain goal I am working toward, so I want to be in shape for when the time is exactly right for hiking up Mt. San Bruno, in my quest for the Mission Blue Butterfly.

That's it in the above photo. Isn't she amazing? I have been wanting to photograph her for a long time, and I have done some extensive research into where and when to start looking for her. She is still on the endangered species list, but in recent years they have been coming back strong.

Apparently the only place in the world you can find her is right here in the Bay Area, mostly along the San Mateo coastline, atop Mt. San Bruno, and sometimes she can be seen on Twin Peaks in San Francisco. I have a small window of opportunity between late March and early July, and then she will be gone for another season. She is a tiny little butterfly, but that color, she just amazes me. Hopefully while I am up there I might also find the San Bruno Elfin butterfly as well. :)

San Bruno Elfin

I am starting out the year with a few other small goals. I need to do more with my YOGA, so I will probably be signing up for a class in a couple weeks, and I want to take another online class through the Disney Family Learning Center, and probably the biggest of the small goals, I want to take a pottery class that's being offered nearby. That's a big one for me, because I haven't done much in the way of craft projects in the last few years. But it seems like it would be fun, so why not try something new?

I have plans for my garden this year, but I can't really do much with that right now, it's all kind of a matter of hurry up and wait at this point, but I am doing some research into vegetables and flowers, so I kinda have some idea of who, what, where and when. I am probably going to focus on the roses and the small vegetables like Grape tomatoes and maybe some peppers. It will be fun. I might plant some flowers to draw in the butterflies, I got a late start last year, so not much happened, although I had a ton of skippers. It must have been a good year for them! :)

Red Admiral

Common Gray Hairstreak

So, wish me luck. I found and photographed the Grey Hairstreak and the Red Admiral butterflies this past autumn, both new butterflies to me, so now I just need to find that Mission Blue. :) I know she's there, just waiting for this crazy lady with the camera to find her. :)

Blue-Butterfly Day
By Robert Frost

It is blue-butterfly day here in spring
And when these sky-flakes down in flurry on flurry
There is more unmixed color on the wing
Than flowers will show for days unless they hurry.

But these are flowers that fly and all but sing
And now from having ridden out desire
They lie closed over in the wind and cling
Where wheels have freshly sliced the April mire.


Monday, December 31, 2007

The Last Sunset Of 2007

"We will open the book: It's pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and it's first chapter is New Year's Day."

-Edith Lovejoy Pierce

This was the view this evening, from up here on Grizzly Peak Boulevard. The lights in San Francisco hadn't even come on yet, so I thought it would be the best picture I could show you of the last sunset over San Francisco for 2007. It's time to tell the year goodnight... and thank you! :)


Note: Please click on the photo to see it in a larger version. :)

"The Last Sunset of 2007"
Grizzly Peak Boulevard
Berkeley, California
December 31st, 2007
5:05 PM

Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Favorite Political YouTube Moment Of 2007

"I never vote for anybody, I always vote against."

-W.C. Fields

2007 has come and gone. The Gulf Coast still hasn't been rebuilt. America's reputation around the world still remains, at best, tarnished. Osama Bin Laden is still alive and well, and apparently living somewhere in the mountainous region of Pakistan. We found out that the lies coming out of the White House went deeper then we ever imagined, and I would be willing to bet that we haven't heard anything yet. We saw health care denied to children, and the CIA quietly destroying documents that proved that America has engaged in torture. We saw our president commute the sentence of a convicted Scooter Libby, to no time served, because Bush considered the 20 month sentence too harsh. Scooter Libby was convicted of perjury, and obstruction of justice in the investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valarie Plame Wilson. And as if that wasn't a big enough slap in the face to American justice, I want to know why, to date, no one has ever stood trial on charges of treason for that outing.

I remember the day that I saw that "Breaking News" announcement, that Scooter Libby had gotten away with that treasonous act, because the anger was so great I began to shake all over. My head began to pound, and a deep sadness welled up in me. I don't know why, I should have known the Bush administration would do what they did. I should have known that Libby would beat the charges, but I always want to believe that Bush would just once do the right thing. And it was while I was grieving for America that I had to ask myself, "Is the pride I put in America worth it?" Our country is in the hands of liars and opportunists who have their own agendas. Is my writing about my opinions of their dirty deeds reaching anyone, and is it making any difference at all?

I have no delusions about who my simple blog might be reaching, but sometimes I hope that while I am showing you the beauty of the world with my camera, I can show you the more poignant moments I see as well. Maybe I can make a difference with what I choose to share, or maybe I can't. I guess there is no real way of knowing. I just sit down here at the keyboard and hope for the best. I haven't written much about politics in the last few months, because I am feeling like a lot of folks right now... I have Bush fatigue. What more can be said, that hasn't already been made known? I know that if I spend too much time watching the political news, my blood sugar goes sky high, which harms my health. I don't want to be a diabetic, and I don't want to be someone who lives in a rose colored world, afraid to speak her mind, and call a liar a liar. So what to do, what to do.


I can't give up on my ideals. I won't let the Bush administration tire me that much. In fact, I am going to aim my focus to the 2008 election. It's now 11 months away, and while that might seem like forever, it really isn't. So let's start talking again. If we do, we might actually put someone in office who will work for us, instead of the other way around. We might find someone who will actually protect us from terrorists, instead of pouring billions of dollars into the very country that is harboring these fugitives. Remember when America wasn't at war? Do you remember how you felt on September 10th, 2001? Do you remember when you didn't have to choose between buying your child an ice cream cone, and buying a gallon of gas? We can have those times back, but we have to be willing to get a little tired once in while. We have to be willing to be courageous enough to say ENOUGH!

Here is something I am looking for this next year, beginning with the Iowa Caucuses. I don't want to hear what's wrong with a politician's political opponent, I want to hear what the politician speaking to me plans to do with America. End of discussion. The mudslinging on the republican side makes me laugh. As usual they have learned nothing. It always comes down to, "I'm more religious then he is... or she is for that matter." LOL. They still miss it. They still don't get that I won't be voting in my moral leader, because I have enough backbone to be my own moral leader.

The Democrats seem to want to ignore the failings of the Bush administration, and focus on the future. That's both good and bad in my opinion. I am focusing on the future as well, but I will be damned if I will forget the past. And I have no more patience with those politicians who do. I am a big supporter of John Edwards, but lately I am seeing less and less passion from him. I liked Barack Obama, until he brought in Oprah Winfrey to stump for him. I don't know. Of course celebrities should be able to speak their minds like all Americans, but unfortunately we Americans also like to let others do our thinking for us. Let's face it... we can be sheep, especially when our spirits are tired. Is Barack Obama really a good choice for you, because you respect Oprah Winfrey?

Lately I have been turning my attention toward Hillary Clinton. There are several things about her which have gained my respect. She does plan to do more then bandage the nations deep cuts. She does have a viable plan for universal health care, she can be called a BITCH by a nitwit planning to vote for a republican, and she can ignore it with class and yes, courage. She isn't perfect, not by a long shot, but she has demonstrated a lot of the values that the republican party likes to claim is theirs alone. She kept her marriage together, she raised her daughter to be a wonderful young woman, and she has held her head high despite the nitwits of the world. So what exactly earned her the disparaging name of BITCH? Is it because she hasn't caved? She didn't say it was ok to turn America into a shadow of itself? Is it because she can admit that if she knew then, what she knows now she would have made different decisions? What exactly is it that makes her a BITCH?

I don't know... but I know I want to know more. And that renewed energy feels damn good!

So, this is my last political rant of 2007, and I say, let's get a dialog going. Tell me, how close will you be following politics in 2008, beginning with the Iowa Caucuses? How much do you know about the politicians currently running for office? What is your personal list of priorities when it comes to the next president? What do you want the next president to do as their first official act in office, regardless of the party elected?

Go ahead...tell me what's on your mind.