Saturday, January 19, 2008

Pretty Birds

"When birds burp, it must taste like bugs."

-Bill Watterson

Just a quick entry today. I am super tired after a long day of spring cleaning. Time to get rid of all my out of style clothes and clothes that no longer fit. Gosh that's difficult. When I find a piece of clothing I enjoy... I hang on to it for dear life! LOL. Oh well, Alan has promised me a big day shopping in the city, this coming spring, and I bet it wouldn't be too difficult to talk him into making a day of it, complete with dinner afterwards. We'll see. YAWN. Well, I am off to bed, but first, tell me, do you have a difficult time parting with clothing, or are you happy to pass your used clothing along at the end of a season?

"Pretty Birds"
San Francisco, California
January 15th, 2007

Friday, January 18, 2008

Karen's Weekend Assignment # 199: When Do You Sleep?

"Night has brought to those who sleep, only dreams they can not keep."


Weekend Assignment #199: What is your usual sleep schedule on weeknights? Are you an "early to bed, early to rise" sort of person, or do you stay awake far into the night (voluntarily or otherwise), and get up as late as your work schedule permits? Do you give priority to getting adequate sleep? If so, how is that working out for you?

Extra Credit: If you had no work or family scheduling obligations, would your sleeping pattern change substantially?

-Karen Funk Blocher

Sleep. Yawn. Yawn, yawn, yawn... stretch. Excuse me, I was just enjoying a bit of a snooze. LOL. I am sleeping really well these days, especially since last summer, when I set about changing my sleeping schedule 360 degrees. I have been a lifelong sufferer of insomnia. My first bout began when I was about 12 or 13. I went through long periods of not being able to go to bed and sleep like my friends did. In retrospect, I think I know what probably kick-started the situation. My father worked the graveyard shift when I was a wee folk of about 2 and continued to do so until I was about 6 years old. My mother would allow me to stay up until my father came home, and then he and I would play or talk or listen to music. So, I am pretty sure that my sleeping habits were conditioned at that young age.

As an adult, it wasn't and isn't reasonable to keep those hours, although when I began blogging I did. Alan is a loud snorer, and there was no sleeping with that, so I sat up at night and blogged and when I was finished, I did whatever housework that was needing to be done, and then climb in bed next to him just before his alarm went off, so we could spend some time together. It worked out ok, it made since to sleep while he was at work, that way everything got done, and we wouldn't have to miss spending any time together because of chores. But life kind of played us a few cards I wasn't counting on.

First I got Fibromyalgia and that zapped all my energy, then I got diabetes, and that brought with it challenges of it's own. The Fibro was bad enough, now throw on top of everything, having to adjust my whole lifestyle to suit the diabetes, and what you get is a girl who better learn to go with the flow and life like most of the real world, whether she likes it or not. But actually... I really kinda do like it. :)

I began by taking some classes in sleep hygiene and with the new meal adjustments such as eating lighter dinners, and getting some exercise several times a day, I feel much more relaxed and ready to sleep by the time we go to bed. In fact, I look forward to it. It wasn't any more difficult to change my sleeping habits, then it was to change my sleeping habits. The additional exercise has aided my relaxation and so put it all together and you see a happier, healthier lady then I was a year ago.

It's undeniable. Keeping yourself on a proper schedule with nutrition, sleep, play, and exercise is good for the body and the mind. I still blog, I still get my housework done, I still go out and take photos, I still read, I still watch David Letterman, only now I watch him on the DVR. :) I have David Letterman with my Special K Red Berries in the morning. YUM. DELICIOUS even. So what about the only other part of my staying up late... talking on the phone and texting with my pal H.P.? Well, our friendship is going on 5 years now. He makes time for me, even if it has to be in the middle of the day. :)

So, to directly answer Karen's question... I usually go to bed at 10:00 pm and rise at about 7:30 am, unless Elvis decides otherwise. On the weekends I might stay up a little later, if there is a good movie on, or something special on TV. I have a few friends, that keep later hours, and sometimes I stay up to talk to them, because, I would miss them very much otherwise. Sometimes Alan and I will play a board game, and we will usually play it out, rather then go to bed and try to resume it the next day, but mostly it's 10-7:30 for me :) Boring... but true.

Extra Credit: Nope, I am doing something right with my diabetes and my general overall health, so I would have to say NO, nothing would change dramatically.

"Sundown In Moss Beach"
Moss Beach, California
Tuesday, January 15th, 2008
Early Evening

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Winter Carnival Of Colors

"The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life."

-Jean Giraudoux

This past Tuesday, I visited a special exhibit at the Conservatory Of Flowers, in Golden Gate Park, called, Color: A Winter Carnival. Any visit to the conservatory will probably leave you in a better mood then when you walked in, but this visit was something special. It is a lovely, gentle, beautiful place all on it's own, but this special exhibit was nothing short of spectatular! It is truly one of their very best of recent years.

The special events room, which is located to the far left inside the conservatory, was transformed into a scene reminescent of a Victorian carnival of flowers, complete with a working "Wheel of Fortune" that children can spin, to learn more about plants and flowers featured in the exhibit. As you walk among the fabulous assortment of plants, flowers and citus fruits, you are treated to some old fashioned carnival music! "Let Me Call You Sweetheart, I'm In Love With You."

Beautiful. A truly perfect day for the amateur photographer who is currently winter logged. LOL. Orchids of every color combination you can think of from, creamy white to vivid red! Citrus trees, potted plants, and large silk lanterns make a splash of vibrant color at every turn. Among the natural plants are whimsical touches such as the silk lanturns, colored crystal teardrop trees that refract the ample lighting that comes through the conservatories many windows, and the special feature of some amazing carousel animals, crafted by a local artist.

I can easily see both small children and adults enjoying this special exhibit. The entry into the conservatory is a mere $5.00, which includes the carnival exhibit. The Conservatory Of Flowers is one of San Francisco's great buys for your spending dollar. If it's a sunny day, consider bringing a picnic lunch like Alan and I always do. You can't beat the grounds around the conservatory as a place to eat a leisurely lunch. while enjoying the natural beauty of the park!

Here are a few photos from my visit. But I have to admit, I really didn't do it's beauty justice...

Wheel Of Fortune

Pincushion Plant (Coffee family)

The special exhibits section of the conservatory

Conservatory Of Flowers ( from 2006)

"Color: A Winter Carnival"
Conservatory Of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
Tuesday, January 15th, 2007

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Flirting With Kinda Cute Guys In The Park Burns 11 Calories :)

"There are times not to flirt. When you are sick. When you are with children. When you are on the witness stand."

-Joyce Jillson

It was a good day yesterday. I finally got out of the house, with my trusty camera by my side, and I did a ton of photos. Like I said in my previous post, there are a lot of different micro climates in the Bay Area, and yesterday pretty much covered them all. I started out the day a little disappointed, there was a very dense layer of fog covering everything, both across the bay, and here in the East Bay. My first instinct was to forget about shooting yesterday, but soon changed my mind and decided to go anyway, hey, sometimes you can find super lighting opportunities in the fog. Overall I was pretty happy with what I came up with. It was a nice mix of colors and mist. I long for that kind of day in autumn, but we rarely get that where I live, and when we do, it burns off really fast. Winter, however, does bring the kind of long-lasting fog I look forward to.

The fog finally burned off a bit by late morning, so around noon or so, we went across the bridge and up the coast into San Francisco. It was a beautiful drive. The sky was crystal clear, and I felt excited to be out with the camera. I stopped at Starbucks for a little treat, and was very pleased to find a new drink, well, new to me anyway, that was fantastically delicious, and was perfectly acceptable to have with diabetes. A 16 0z., (Grande) Green Tea Light Blended Cream Frappuccino. 187 delicious calories, without whipped cream, 295 with! OH MY GOD! It is delicious, light tasting, and doesn't give you that icky heavy feeling that regular milk shakes do. It actually put a little pep in my step. :) My usual drink of choice at Starbucks is the Passion Ice Tea, and I will still be ordering that more often then not, because this new drink could just become an obsession with me. Really... it's that good. You must give it a try. :)

Another thing that put a that made me smile yesterday, was the fact that I got flirted with! Very mild flirting. Innocent really, but flirting all the same. :) I was taking a picture in Golden Gate Park, when I looked up away from my camera to see a kinda cute guy with a very cute smile, waiting patiently for me to be finished with my picture taking. :) I smiled back, and then offered to pose for me. I laughed, and took his photo and then he said it was my turn. What the heck. I smiled and waved back and before you know it I was in FULL flirt mode. LOL. Alan puts up with a lot from me. LOL. But he also understands how nice it feels to still be getting a little attention at the old age of 45. :) And hey, look at that, flirting actually burns 11 calories! I had just attached that pedometer to my hip, and when our interaction was done, that is what my reading was! So, a case could be made for flirting for scientific reasons. Right? ;)

After the flirting, came the Conservatory of Flowers. I am saving most of that for another entry, because I visited a special exhibit yesterday, and it will have to be it's own entry. It was gorgeous, so be sure to tune in for that. But here is a peek at what I will be showing you. Orchids... fabulously beautiful orchids. :) It was just what I needed. Lots and lots of warmth and color, and a little music as a bonus. There is always music in Golden Gate Park. There are several jazz players right outside the conservatory. Street performers really. And it always sets a relaxing mood. I look forward to that. Yesterday was a good day. :)

"Beautiful Orchid"
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
January 15th, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

On Such A Winter's Day...

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the lonliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show."

-Andrew Weyth

Just a picture tonight. I had a wonderful day with the camera, lots of different microclimates in the Bay Area, and today provided me with plenty of different lighting, and weather opportunities. :) Lots of beauty to show you this week, but I am just exhausted tonight, so, stay tuned!

Cull Canyon Park
Castro Valley, California
January 15th, 2008
Early Morning

Monday, January 14, 2008

One Day Your Life Will Flash Before Your Eyes...

"One day your life will flash before your eyes, make sure it's worth watching."


Did you watch the Golden Globes last night? Nah, me neither. Frown. I don't know, the thing I enjoy the most about those dumb awards shows is the glitz and glamour, but with the on-going WGA strike, the ceremony was transformed into a news conference, as opposed to the usual delightfully cheesy "you like me, you really like me," "I can't believe you chose me," big todo shows. Sigh.

I can't help but think of my dear old friend June, who passed away in 2005. She used to throw these silly, yet amazing, Academy Awards parties, where all who attended were expected to dress as if they were going not just the Oscar's, but one of the parties that followed. It was fun to get all dressed up in some gorgeous gown or snazzy cocktail dress and make a big entrance. The food, the guest list and the conversation was always great fun. I miss her company a lot sometimes, and I can almost hear her saying, "I wish they would just pay those people what they are worth and get on with it." LOL. Yeah, that was June.

I am also glad I didn't bother watching last night because my favorite new comedy, Pushing Daisies, lost in it's category, Favorite New Comedy, to HBO's "Extras." I haven't actually seen the show, it might be a terrific comedy, but Pushing Daisies is nothing short of pure genius. It is fresh, and new, with a good cast,including Kristin Chenoweth, formerly of the West Wing. She is great on this show, and even treats us to an occasional song, like in a recent episode when she belted out a sweet little version of the Olivia Newton-John tune, Hopelessly Devoted To You.

Pushing Daisies hasn't been airing the last couple weeks, and I really miss it. For all it's flights of fancy, it really does have a serious underlying message. Simply, don't take your life for granted, and don't take those you love for granted either. True love is a very rare thing, about as rare as love at first sight. Relationships take work and aren't always easy, even under the best of circumstances, and remember, second chances are even rarer then love at first sight, if you ever get a second chance, you have probably found a miracle. Okay, so the shows messages aren't all that simple, but they are true.

"In love, it is better to know and be disappointed than to not know and always wonder."


So, if you want to share, tell me. If you could bring a certain someone back into your life, for 60 seconds, would you? And do you know what you might ask them? I have a small list of folks, some friends, maybe even a past love, who I would like to ask about a couple curiosities I have, but at the same time, I might just let the door remained closed. I am happy right now, so why bring all those old feelings back, to run free through my mind. Right? God I sound well adjusted, so strong... don't I? LOL.

Oh well, I am not going to any big Academy Awards parties this year, assuming that the show will go on, no, I will probably just put on one of my comfy nighties, and pop some popcorn and watch the show on TV with Elvis. I will miss my pal June, who would be very angry at me if I ever considered bringing her back to life for 60 seconds just to ask her what she thinks about the WGA strike. LOL. I am pretty sure if I ever did that, I wouldn't have to miss her for long, I would be right there with her... Pushing Daisies! LOL. She would have loved that show!

"Dream as if you will live forever, live as if you will die today."

-James Dean

Pushing Daisies

Golden Globe List Of Winners


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cynicism... Does It Have It's Time And Place?

"Idealism is what precedes experience, cynicism is what follows."

-David Wolf

If it's Sunday, it must mean I am running a video on Ellipsis. I think I am going to give myself a break, and make this a regular feature on my blog, at least until the big thaw in the spring. We will see how it goes. If you hate it I will lose it, so be sure to leave me some feedback. I want my blog to be interesting and fun to visit, so your input means a lot to me. Now, let's talk about cynicism.

When you think of the word, what initially comes to mind? Do you think of cynicism in purely negative terms, or do you see a good, does of cynicism as more of a instinctual alarm? Do we become more negative as we get older? What does it mean to be a full, complete, card carrying cynic? Can being cynical have a positive outcome? How does cynicism work in your life?

Here's why I am asking. I find myself sometimes really getting in touch with my cynical side, especially during election years. But don't get me wrong, my cynical radar doesn't just go off when politicians talk, it happens when I hear, or see, certain other dynamics. One such subject might be when I hear those cheesy commercials which promise every man over 35 will suddenly burst into song and sing the "Viva Viagra" song, if they will pop that little pill, or that I could "Lose 300lbs In Just 5 Weeks," just by replacing all my meals with a liquid squid supplement, and 6 hours of exercise a day!

Do I miss out on opportunities because I am a "Doubting Thomas?" Are most folks honest, or do we, in an effort to avoid being labeled "cynical," fall for the lines in life because we want to believe that this party, that religion or maybe even that boyfriend, will make life perfect? I am a Christian, but I rarely mention that fact on Ellipsis. I am also a Christian who also knows she will more then likely never step back into a church again. I always came out of the services I was attending, feeling worse then when I went in, but it didn't have to do with God, it had to do with the people who were around me, including the church leaders. Sigh.

I have mentioned before that I dated a Church minister before Alan. In fact, I met him through Alan, and I fell for that guy... hook, line and sinker. He, come to find out, was the last person in the world who should have been preaching. I think I honed my cynicsm skills just by dating him, and all these years later, I still feel the same. Cynicism can creep, oh so subtly, into our lives, but is that a bad thing? Let's take a look at cynicism in politics.

Did you hear about the incidents this week, regarding the statements made by Bill and Hillary Clinton? Let's start with Bill Clinton's "misstatement" first. This last week, Bill Clinton used the word, "fairytale" to describe the campaign of Barack Obama. Afterwards, it was held up to scrutiny by S.Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, who told the New York Times that he found the remark to be "a slap at the image of a black candidate, running on a theme of unity and optimism." You know, I don't understand this reaction.

I saw the clip that caused such an uproar, and what I got from it was exactly what I have been saying about the Obama campaign. Other then using the word "change" ad nauseum, I have no idea what real change Obama will bring. He never really gets specific enough for me. His speeches do feel a little like a fairytale to me. Sometimes, he reminds me a lot of George Bush when he was running for president. Remember when Bush said he was going to be a "uniter?" He was going to bring a more "moderate" era to the White House? George Bush's White House, has been anything but moderate, and as for unification... well... you tell me.

I wish he would. I want to hear more before February 5th. I take my politics very seriously, but this pointing of fingers, and manipulation of everything that comes our of everyone's mouth is disturbing. We don't seem to be able to tell the true offenders from the good guys anymore. Bill Clinton was well liked among the African American population during is presidency, so has he suddenly become racially intolerant? I don't think so. But here we are, once again, distracting ourselves from real issues, and at the same time, embracing cynicism. Deciding to automatically think the worst. Ok, just a question here, was the incident being used to sway voters who might be on the fence, toward Obama? Am I asking an honest question or am I allowing my cynicism to run free.

Now, how about what Hillary said. Did she mean that Dr. King's role in the Civil Right's Movement was not as great as Lyndon Johnson's? Of course not. She was merely pointing out the relationship between what the White House can accomplish when pared with the talents, drive, and accomplishments of true American heroes like Martin Luther King. It should have been a nice thought. It should have been seen as yes, it's true, we can have a president in office who not only cares about the needs and well being on all classes, all races, all genders and all economic backgrounds, indeed an example has already been set. We can have that again. True unity. And you know what... experience is something to be embraced. So where is the cynicism coming from?

Do we all have "Bush fatigue" to the point we are looking for the negativity? Is it all a case of "preemptive strike?" Are we all so tired of the fact that it isn't all that easy or reasonable to try and figure out who is speaking from the heart and who is speaking from the hip? Are we lazy in our cynicism, because thinking positive can hurt us? Kinda like dating a really bad boyfriend, you never really get over how it feels to find out how wrong you can be, especially when you have had the fairytale right in your hands, and you want more then anything to believe it.

Share your thoughts with me. Do you think you lean more towards the positive or the negative in life. Do you feel you come into most situations in life with an attitude of cynicism or are you more inclined to be open-minded? Do only certain subjects cause your negative meters to go off? Religion, Politics, the Economy, the Military... what is your first thought about the futures of those things? Opinions, opinions please!

"Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth."

-Lillian Hellman