Saturday, May 03, 2008

Round Robin Challenge: Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning
By Susan Reiner

March bustles in on windy feet
And sweeps my doorstep and my street
She washes and cleans with pounding rains
Scrubbing the earth of winter stains

She shakes the grime from carpet green
Till naught but fresh new blades are seen
Then, house in order, all neat as a pin
She ushers gentle springtime in.

My Round Robin teammate Steven, chose "Spring Cleaning" for our photo subject this time around, and we also have the additional task to come up with 3 more challenge topics each for the challenge pool. The last time we did this was in November. Every 6 months seems about right to do these new challenge subject roundups. You Robins have submitted some really great ideas, I am looking forward to seeing what you have come up with this time around. :)

As for the subject of Spring Cleaning, well, see, I thought I was in a bit of a fix with this one. See, I am not a "Spring Cleaning" gal, I am an "Autumn Cleaning gal." I do everything backwards. It's just that I really like getting the house in shape before the cold winter months set in. Because of my Fibromyalgia, I am often limited in the winter in terms of my energy. My hands swell, and I am really tired a lot of the time, and therefore things can get away from me before I know it. So, what's a girl to do? Well, she does a deep house cleaning no later then a couple weeks after Halloween, that way she can take better care of herself during those difficult winter months. But that didn't help me much with this challenge.

So I thought... and thought... and thought. What to do? What to do? Yikes. Would I have to sit this one out? Hmmmm... then it came to me. I did have a bit of a mess on my hands this spring, in the form of those yucky aphids in my beloved rose garden! It was a mess! But all was not lost, in fact, I didn't have to do much cleaning at all to get rid of those intruders, I simply called in the cleaning ladies... The Ladybugs. After a brief trip to Home Depot to purchase them, I put them to work, and within four weeks, we were back to a nearly all clear lovely garden again. In fact, in the photos below, you see a beautiful, spicy scented rose I had all but given up on! Isn't she gorgeous!

Now on to the new challenge ideas!

1. Quench My Thirst

Take a photograph of your favorite beverage, in an artistic light. Include a recipe if you have created a completely unique drink.

2. Politics

Whether we like it or not, at least a little politics is a part of all of our lives. City government, state and federal it affects us all. With the upcoming elections, there will be a lot of campaign signs, and political statements being made. Photograph something that says "Politics" to you. Have some fun with it. Buttons, yard signs, a candidate's personal appearance in your town, a protest, a political bumper sticker, anything to do with politics that strikes your fancy.

3. Numbers

Photograph anything dealing with numbers. The face of a clock or watch. A cash register, a pair of dice or dominoes, a math equation, a scale, a measuring cup.

Okie doke. There are my three new subjects for the challenge pool. Now, go visit the participating Robins on the list below. If you haven't played along with this challenge yet, there is still plenty of time. You have up to one week from today, to take your photos and submit an entry. If you can't play this time around, but would like to submit some ideas, well that's cool too. Just send them to either Steven, Karen or myself. You can find our email addresses on the RR blog sidebar. Hope to hear from you soon!

Linking List

Steven... (sometimes)blog POSTED!

Carly... Ellipsis POSTED!

Karen... Outpost Mavarin POSTED!

Momma... Sandcastle Momma

Gattina... Keyhole Pictures POSTED!

Wammy... The Ellis Family Cincinnatti

Martha... Perception

Lisa... Lisa's Chaos POSTED!

Sarah... Charish Me POSTED!

Vicki... Maracas POSTED!

Angela... Chocolate Syrup For The Soul POSTED!

Marie... Photographs and Memories

Kiva... Ecletic Granny POSTED!

Kim... Nekked Lizard Adventures POSTED!

Julie... Julie's Web Journal POSTED!

Jennifer Robin... Robin's Woods POSTED!


Friday, May 02, 2008

Karen's Weekend Assignment #214: Fresh Starts

"Sometimes it's the smallest decisions, that change your life forever."

-Keri Russell

Weekend Assignment #214: Sooner or later, pretty much everyone makes one or more major changes in their lives, sometimes several at once. We leave home, go off to college, get married, get divorced, change jobs, have kids, move to another house or another state, etc, etc. These things can be very stressful, but we do them in the hope of being better off in some way. Tell us of one change you voluntarily made in your life at some point, that worked out really well.

Extra Credit: Tell us of a little tiny change that also went well!

-Karen Funk Blocher, of the blog, Outpost Mavarin

It's funny that this subject came up for a Weekend Assignment at this particular time, because it crossed my mind last night to write a little about it. Today, May 2nd, is the 7th anniversary of when we moved into the little cottage we live in now. I love this place, it is more then just the roof over my head... it's the LOVE SHACK! LOL. We moved in here, during a really turbulent time in our lives and in our marriage, but we found this place set back from the road, up here in the hills, and from our first night here, we have been happy, safe, and did I mention happy? :) It has some really charming quirks to it, including a huge backyard that one can get lost in. Three seasons out of the year, we will get nightly visitors to our yard, in the form of opossums. A very misunderstood creature if ever there was one. And on most summer days, you can close your eyes and hear the Ethereal Musician playing his saxophone off in the distance.

In the seven years we have lived here, we have never been able to figure out which direction the music is coming from. He is a great, mysterious force that plays music on the breeze, and so many times he has sent me into a daydream, that gave me the peace I needed inside to face whatever hurtful thing that might have been present. One of these times was in the late afternoon of 9/11/2001, when there were suddenly no airplanes in the air, and no children playing joyfully out in the yard, and everything had taken on an eerie silence, as we all sat paralysed in front of our TV's waiting to see if more devastation would take place. At one point I got up to let Elvis out to play in the yard, and when I opened the back door, I could hear the Ethereal Musician playing America on his sax. It was one of those profound moments you don't forget. The sight of the sun setting on that day, and the sound of the music being played somewhere off in the distance. So sad, so sweet. The fresh start we made by moving into this little place, was the best fresh start I ever made.

Extra Credit: One recent change was from using the One Touch Ultra 2 meter, to the One Touch Mini. I use the Ultra 2 when I am at home, and the mini when I am out with the camera. It has been kinda nice to take the sleeker little meter with me, and it fits well in my camera bag. And besides, it's color is a fashionable PINK GLOW!

"I Want Pluto To Be A Planet Again"
January 4th, 2007
Berkeley, California

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Steven's Feline And Furball Friday: Caring For Elvis

"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not."

-Mark Twain

Thank goodness times have changed! LOL. It's not as difficult as it used to be. Take having diabetes for example. There are new insights and products coming along for we humans everyday. I was diagnosed with Type2 diabetes just last year, but from what I understand it I had been diagnosed even 5 years ago, my daily maintenance would have been much more difficult. Just the invention of the newer blood glucose meters that make checking my blood sugar throughout the day, is a big relief. I have read, that in the past, folks would stop checking their glucose readings, because of how painful it was. I can't really complain about that, I mean my fingers get tender and it isn't my favorite thing in the world to do, but I also know who lucky I am to have been diagnosed early on in my diabetes, and to have these wonderful new products and resources available to me. A lot is being done for we humans, I just wish more was being done for our furry friends as well.

Just like with myself, I didn't pay too much attention to the possibility of Elvis developing diabetes. Who wants to think about such things, until faced with it. Fortunately there is some course of action once your kitty is diagnosed. We immediately put Elvis on Petsulin, and a diet that was rich in carbohydrates. We began using Diabetic Management by Purina. He did pretty well on that. He didn't care much for the flavor, which made me a little sad, but he didn't fuss too much. He seemed to understand. I was diagnosed with diabetes just three months after he was. Elvis and I put our heads together, and decided to move forward together. We would just share that darned old diabetes... and kick it's butt. LOL. To a big extent, I am successful with my diabetes because of him. I decided that I wouldn't eat anything that would make him ashamed of me. If he had to be strong, how could I look him in the eye and not be strong as well?

Now Elvis has Feline Lymphoma. There is no cure. But, there is plenty of things I can do for my boy, besides sit around and cry. As an alternative to putting him on the chemotherapy, we have decided to start with a steroid injection every three weeks or so. Like with chemo, there is no guarantee's, but according to Dr. B, there has been a measure of success. Again, it won't cure his cancer, it merely shrinks the tumors and eases the discomfort of having them in his nose. He is happy, he is eating well, he is playing, and we have some serious cuddle time. He just got his first shot this past Tuesday, and it is a little soon to know how it is doing, but I think we are ok for now. I wish we could have afforded the chemo right off, I know that is his best chance, but the simple truth is, we can't. Sigh. That is the hardest part, but I am not letting that distract me from doing all that I can otherwise.

So, I am going to develop some nutritious and vitamin delicious recipes for my boy. I want to make his food, so that I am not giving him all the bad ingredients that are in store bought cat food. We learned about what canned cat food does to kitties, when Elvis developed some serious digestive troubles about ten years ago. As I have mentioned many times before, Elvis and I love to cook, and I have a little chef's hat for him. Beginning next week, we will be developing new recipes together. It will be a bonding thing for us. Hey, I have had to come up with recipes for my ever changing lifestyle, why not for my boy? There is a lot to be hopeful about, and that helps both of us deal with this time a lot easier. Attitude is everything when it comes to illness, and CATTITUDE is as well! :)

If you have a great cat or dog, you should consider playing along with my friend Steven's Feline and Furball Friday, which can be found at his blog, sometimes photoblog. It's FUN!

Elvis and his friend Nurse Mary
April 29, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On A Very Special Episode Of Ellipsis...

"He who sings scares away his woes."


My energy is super low tonight. I am really tired, and my Fibromyalgia is reminding me what pain feels like. Life has been a bit stressful lately, and my joints are swollen as a result. So, I have decided to take a little break from the usual and just enjoy some humor. Weren't the shows we 40 somethings grew up on just the best? I don't know, most of the time I would rather watch TV Land then anything currently on TV. For whatever reason, I have had this scene from The Munster's, playing in my brain. Like with a catchy song that can be relentlessly haunting, so is this clip. So, for your enjoyment, here is Herman Munster, performing "Dry Bones." Share it with someone you love! ;)


Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Dear Elvis, Happy Birthday To You

"If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear."

-Winnie The Pooh

Elvis was born at 4:30 PM, April 27th, 1997. He was the last of four kittens to come into the world, and the only one to be a tuxedo cat. He was tiny, and round, and had a huge bum. He yawned, and stretched, mewed, and then made his way to his real mommy. It was an amazing experience to watch him be born. One I am not likely to forget. He had me at "hello."

We had a really good time celebrating his birthday. Lots of fun. No tears. We did laugh a lot at his antics. He loves posing for photos, but he is not without his sense of humor. Just as I raised the camera, he hunched down in his hat. Yep. He planned it... no doubt. Like I said, he as a sense of humor. After I snapped the photo, he peeked out from under the hat, with a sly grin on his face. :) That's just him. I wouldn't have it any other way!

He got new crisp white tank tops, some new hats and some booties for sleeping in. He doesn't like a cold foot. :) I mean paw. LOL. It was a good 11th birthday, and afterward he came and sat at my feet, which is where he is right now. It's nice having him next to me.

There is a lot to share with you about his care, and what will be happening for him this week. I will probably share about that tomorrow after his appointment with Dr. B. I have some updates, but I want to wait just a little while longer, maybe tomorrow after his appointment. For now, lets just have some fun. :) Stay Tuned.

Oh Boy, A New Toy!

I want my cake, and I want it now!


YEA! Presents!

And Balloons Too? You Shouldn't have! :)

"People who don't think, probably don't have brains; rather, they have grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake."

-Winnie The Pooh

"Happy Birthday Elvis"
Berkeley, California
April 28th, 2008
Late Afternoon

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekend Assignment #213: Book Boosters

"A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy."

-Edward P. Morgan

Weekend Assignment #213: While it may be difficult to choose your favorite book of all time, there's probably a certain genre or category of books you prefer over other kinds. Do you love a mystery, or would you rather read about dragons? Are you thirsty for a good vampire take, or is science fiction more your style? Do you mostly stick with the classics, or look for the latest spy novel? Are you a biography buff? Do you like to read about real-world politics, science, history or sports, or would you rather escape the real world with a good romance? Tell us! And while you're at it, tell us your second favorite category of books.

Extra Credit: Do you ever loan out books to friends or family?

-Karen Funk Blocher, of the blog, Outpost Mavarin

I love to read, always have. I have so many books that I can read over and over. A few of those titles, I keep on my desk at all times, so if I need a quick getaway I can just take it down, open their well worn covers and dance off into another existence. I have wondered over the years, what would I have done, if I had never fallen in love with reading?

John Scalzi, had touched on the subject of reading, and what our favorite books are, many, many times, but I never tire of it because I am always finding a good read, and it is fun to share. I don't know why I don't write about my love of books more often on Ellipsis, I guess I am too busy complaining about Bush, or fascinated by the current political landscape, or distracted by whatever has chosen to flutter past my camera. My friend Suzanne sent me an invitation to join Shelfari a while back, and I did, but have done little about it since then. I don't know why. Just haven't. So, how about I give you a proper look into my favorite reads...

Silent Snow By Steve Thayer

I can't say enough about this book! I discovered it in the autumn of 2000. Probably my worst year ever! I was completely inside myself, and alone, except for my lovely books. Alan saw it at Barnes and Noble and bought it for me as a gift. It had me at the first sentence. "It always rains when a child dies." Now don't let that sentence put you off. This is not a sad book, it's a masterfully written book that blends the true life history of the Lindbergh kidnapping case, with a modern day story full of suspense and vivid storytelling.

You will find yourself actually feeling cold, while reading a particular description of a trek through the snow to catch the bad guy. You will feel like you are right there with the protagonist, as he races against time. It's one of the best edge-of-your-seat stories I have read to date. I cannot believe it hasn't been made into a movie! Of course, that might be a good thing, books don't always translate well to the big screen. Take my advice, if you are looking for a great read, I promise you will enjoy this book!

Here is a glimpse of what you will find on the book shelf in my office. I highly recommend all of these books!

Humor meets biography with Steven Colbert's
"I am America And So Can You"

My first diabetic cookbook. Delicious and Yummy.

A vivid story of love and fantasy, which will appeal to the witch in all of us!

I LOVE the Idiot's guides. I own 10 or 15, ranging in subjects from living with Fibromyalgia to the guide to Windows' Vista!

I pocket guide to Impressionist art. I take it quite often along with me when I go out with my camera.

Ok, ok, but what can I say? Cats Rule! Right Steven?

As it says on my sidebar, "I can sit in the autumn sun, and read Neil Simon plays all day long!"

My favorite novel

I love humor in storytelling.

This is a MUST have. Whether you are a diabetic watching your blood glucose numbers, or someone just wanting a healthier lifestyle, you should be informed about the decisions you make regarding the foods you choose to fuel you body with! Educate yourselves... live a good life!

Extra Credit: I don't think I break up my reading choices in terms of favorite genres, so to pick my second favorite would be impossible. I think for the purpose of the assignment however, I will say that Horror is would most likely fit into the category of second choice, as I seem to have less of that type of book then all my others. An excellent book from the Horror category would have to be, "Horror Show" by Greg Kihn. That's right, the rocker and Bay Area Disc Jockey can write too! LOL. I loved that book, and I also enjoyed "Big Rock Beat" also by Kihn. Impressive reading, that blends good genuine humor, with scary, scary stuff! Read it!

"Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it."

-P.J. O'Rourke