Saturday, May 24, 2008

Question Mark Butterfly

"There are four questions of value in life... What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love."

-Johnny Depp, as Dob Juan DeMarco

Being able to visit the butterfly exhibit at the Conservatory of Flowers, has been so good for my frazzled nerves. Elvis has regained some strength, and the wheezing coming from his nose is a lot better, and overall things are a lot less turbulent then they have been in months, but I am still a little on edge, and a lot tired. With the rising gas prices, I don't know if we will be able to go across the bay to see the exhibit all summer. It costs $4 to cross the bridge, on top of the cost in gas.

I have to put Elvis's medical bills, and our own basic living costs, first, then if there is anything reasonable left over we can think about recreation. Sigh. These are sad times in our country, but I will save my frustrations over that for another entry. Right now, I am focusing on how happy these little spirits make me. How when I visit the exhibit, I am actually stepping into another world... a world of sanctuary and peace. Aren't they lovely? Little question marks floating on the wind. I could watch them all day. Some questions are easy to answer... Are these butterflies beautiful? The answer is... Yes!

"Question Mark Butterfly"
Conservatory of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
April, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

Steven's Feline And Furball Friday: Elvis's New Hat

Kathleen Kelly: Once I read a story about a butterfly in the subway, and today I saw one. It got on at 42nd, and off at 59th, where, I assume, it was going to Bloomingdales to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake, as almost all hats are."

-Meg Ryan, as Kathleen Kelly, You've Got Mail

Elvis has a new hat! I was in Target the other day, looking for a flea comb, and there it was. There were elephant hats, and monkey hats, and even bunny hats, but of all the hats there were to choose from, I thought the giraffe hat suited my boy best of all! Elvis looks good in hats, and he loves wearing them. I, however, do not look particularly well in hats. Well, except for newsboy hats and berets. I look good in those types, but as Kathleen Kelly said in the quote most other hats are a mistake... at least for me.

I would love to find a fedora for Elvis. Kind of like the one worn by Indiana Jones. LOL. Couldn't you just see my Elvis dressed like the handsome archaeologists? Elvis could be known as "Berkeley" Jones, action-adventurer. LOL. He would travel the world looking for rare feline artifacts, you know, like the Holy Salmon, or maybe the Temple of the Golden Mouse. LOL. As my good friend H.P. says, "Elvis is an awesome little dude!" :)

Have you played Steven's meme, Feline and Furball Friday? You should... it's fun. Friday is the day for celebrating our pets. You can find all the info you need to play, by visiting the link below.

Steven's Feline And Furball Friday

"His New Hat"
Berkeley, California
May 22nd, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Adventures With Purchasing A Pushy-Sucky

"Our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy."


Vacuums are a fact of life, especially if you own a pet. I love my kitty, but another fact of life is that cats shed, and lately Elvis has had some problems with agitation, due to some mean aggressive fleas, and that has equaled enough excess cat hair that I am thinking of either knitting a new cat, or making a toupee for Elvis to cover his bald spots. LOL. Poor kitty. Poor Mommy. LOL. Poor Alan! LOL.

I have a small, sweeper type vacuum that I had used for years. It works well, since we don't have a lot of carpet space, but the problem with the small sweepers is that they don't last forever, and they can't handle the bigger jobs that come up with much efficiency, so, it was time to get a newer model with a little more lift power.

That's how I spent my Wednesday, shopping for a new vacuum. Alan and I went to both Wal-Mart and Target to do a little research. Lot's of models to choose from, even those cute little robots. I liked the idea of one of those, but Alan thought that it might scare Elvis. He has never been able to tolerate loud noises too well, so, we decided against the cutting edge in home maintenance, and instead we concentrated on the more traditional vacuums.

After looking through about 100, at least it felt like 100, we narrowed it down to the ones you see below. There was a really pretty one, which cost several hundred dollars. Sigh. Alan quickly said "no." LOL. How come vacuum manufacturers can't make a pink model in a more reasonable price? I mean, I am the one who is going to see if most often. You know? Yes, I know, the color isn't the most important feature to consider when purchasing an appliance, but heck, do they have to look so guy-friendly?

Anyway, we finally decided on the Dirt Devil Purpose for Pets upright vacuum, in a lovely shade of slate blue! :) It is especially rated for dealing with pet hair, and actually has a pet brush attachment. I love the super long cord, and as I used it this morning, I was pleased with it's suction power. It seems we found the right one for us. The only thing I am not crazy about... there is a picture of a puppy on the canister of the machine. I think this is discrimination against felines. I think I might need to add a photo of Elvis to the vacuum, after all, he is why we bought it in the first place! LOL.

Oooh... a Robot!

Yummy, good price, and it reminds me of limes. But... nah.

Nope, I love the cranberry color, but it's not quite right.

Yep, that's the one!

My Dirt Devil's Baby Picture

So tell me, what kind of vacuum do you own? When did you buy your last one? What was most important to you when you made your purchase? Price, Color, Dirt Elimination Ratings, Upright vs. Tank. What is the next home maintenance appliance you are considering buying? Do you do some research before purchasing? Tell me all about it!

Emeryville, California
May 21st, 2008
Late Afternoon

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Want A Monkee And A Monkey

"Without music life would be a mistake."

-Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

I have researched all kinds of music quotes to go with my entries about my great love of music, but somehow I keep coming back to this one. It sums up how I feel about music completely. It is also how I still feel about Micky Dolenz. If you have been reading me for long, you know I have been hopelessly in love with Micky Dolenz for about... oh... 43 years or so. LOL. Some of you probably remember my great excitement a few years ago, when I got to go to one of his concerts on the beach in Santa Cruz in 2005. It made my year, and fulfilled my lifelong fantasy of finally getting to see him preform in person. He came into town, broke my curse with Santa Cruz, and hasn't been back since. And I just checked, and he is not on the list of scheduled performers for the summer concert series. So, is there a new curse? Will he ever comeback? Or is it actually that the curse wasn't broken, and that is why he hasn't been back since? LOL. Micky... I miss you!

Give me your opinion. Will Micky ever comeback to Santa Cruz? Do you have a favorite Monkee? And what type of animal monkey is your favorite. Personally, I love chimpanzees. I would own one if I could. How about you? Would you prefer a monkee or a monkey?

The Monkees


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dude... Where's My Fur?

"It is foolish to tear out one's hair in grief, as though sorrow would be made less by baldness."


LOL. I mentioned in an entry last week, that Elvis has been pulling his hair out. Needless to say, it was a long weekend. We had no clue why he was doing this. I looked on the Internet for possible reasons, among them was that he was perhaps sensitive to the chemotherapy drug, Doxorubicin, the first does of which he got just last Tuesday. In humans, it causes body hair to fall out, and it causes skin irritation, and can be some pretty nasty stuff. In felines, it has a lot less side effects, but it can also cause the skin to become itchy and hot. The thought of my kitty possibly having to live with this side effect hurt my feelings like you wouldn't believe. Just when I think I love this guy to the limit of human love, I find myself ever deeper. I love him more then anything. So, I have been more then a little stressed over the possibilities. Fortunately, Elvis had an appointment with Dr. B today, and instead of hearing the worst, I got some really good news. Happy news.

Elvis isn't pulling his fur our because of the chemo, he is pulling his hair out because of an aggressive case of fleas. A few weeks ago, when Elvis had visited the doctor for his first dose of steroids, Dr. B's nurse, Mary, gave Elvis a dose of Advantage, along with his medication. We thought we were good to go, but unfortunately, the oil glands in his back, which help distribute the Advantage, are not working properly, probably due to the cancer. As a result, Elvis didn't get anywhere near the full effect of Advantage, and he had a nice collection of fleas eating at his lower back. He has never had a flea problem before, so for the first time in his 11 years, he was being irritated to a monumental degree. Of course he started pulling his hair out! It would be like someone suddenly threw itching powder all over me! I totally understood! Eureka... problem solved!

Elvis got a nice dose of Advantage, and a shot of antihistamine, and now we have a happy, content kitty once again. I need to make a stop later today to pick up a flea comb, to add to our grooming sessions, but we have fun with grooming, so I know he will appreciate a little added time and effort. Elvis has always been so good about such things, tilting his ears so I can clean them out with a Q-tip, sitting very still for toenail maintenance, and keeping his mouth wide open for toothbrush time. I should probably do an entry about our sessions with physical appearance. LOL. He's is such a cool cat, I hold the brush, and tell him to "brush your face," and he rubs both sides of his nose against the brush. He is so suave. LOL. What a looker! And guess what the best news of all was today... look at his nose. No blood. The chemotherapy is working! :)

That's my boy! :)

Elvis is happily playing with his new catnip mouse! I think I will take a nap now!


May 20th, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Weekend Assignment #216: Fire!

"Remember in elementary school you were told that in case of fire you have to line up quietly in a single file, from smallest to tallest? What is the logic in that? What, do tall people burn slower?"

-Warren Hutcherson

Weekend Assignment# 216: Tell us a story or anecdote that involves fire in some way. It can be a forest fire, a house fire, a campfire, logs in the fireplace, or even a lit match, a tale of comfort or destruction. Whatever comes to mind, if it's interesting and fire plays a role, we want to read about it!

Extra Credit: Is the area where you live subject to dangerous wildfires?

Karen Funk Blocher, of the blog, Outpost Mavarin

In September of 2007, two fires were burning here in the Bay Area, that kept the skies lit up for days. The Lick fire and the Acre Coe Park fire. The smoke was heavy, turning the sky an eerie shade of orange, as in the above photo, and there was that smell... I hate the smell of smoke. It brings back the terror I felt as a child, watching my father run in and out of a neighbor's house, which had become fully engulfed in flames.

It happened a little while after midnight, on hot night in the summer of 1965. I was only 3 at the time, but you never forget seeing the only father you have, run into a scene so scary. As a result of what I saw that night, nearly 43 years ago, I have experienced a life long paralysing fear of fire. I have never even lit a match. If I want to put some romantic candles out... Alan lights them for us. Maybe someday I will conquer my fear, then again, maybe not. The Berkeley firestorm of 1991 was another experience with fire I would rather not speak about. It served as reminder in my adulthood that fire commands a respect like no other fear can. Enough said.

Extra Credit: Yes, California is prone to forest fires, and this year we are at a higher alert then in most years, due to the lack of runoff from the Sierra. :(

Note: The photo in this entry hasn't been retouched. That's how it looked outside at 6:10 PM on September 6th, 2007. Click the photo to view it in a larger size.

"The Glow"
September 6th, 2007
Early Evening

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Martha's A-Z Photo Challenge: E Is For "Eclipse" And Egrets"

"It's only during an eclipse that the man in the moon has a place in the sun."


Time for the letter "E" to have it's moment! I usually only post one reference to the letter we are currently playing, but I couldn't resist showing off my two favorite "E" words. Eclipse and Egret. The egret is my favorite bird, and I love photographing the moon during an eclipse, so how was I to choose? This eclipse is from last August. It was so much fun to cuddle up with Elvis, and the opossums and my trusty tripod, to watch the show in the sky. It was a clear, hot night, and my imagination was running completely wild with memories and notions. I can't wait for the next one!

As for the egret photos, well, that was a delightful afternoon in autumn of 2006. I found a lovely little pond with leaves of every imaginable color floating in it, and among them was this beautiful snowy egret. These birds are amazing to photograph. At first they seem a little awkward and silly, with those bright yellow feet of theirs, and then all of a sudden, you see one take flight, and you know in an instant, you have just seen an angel. Grace and beauty describe them best I think. Yes, grace and beauty.

First the ECLIPSE of the August moon...

And now the Snowy EGRET...

"Gracefulness has been defined to be the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul."

-William Hazlitt

Why don't you join me for Martha's A-Z Photo Challenge? You can find all the links for the letter "D" by visiting here.

"Dancing with the Moon"
Berkeley, California
August 28th, 2007
Early Morning