Saturday, June 21, 2008


"As a thinker, and planner, the ant is the equal of any savage race of men."

-Mark Twain

Meet the Uber-Ants! They first showed up in our little cottage, high in the Bay Area hills, in July of last year. Strange invader. We tried 14 different products in our attempts to eradicate them from our midst. No luck. It was an expensive project, I wish I had a dime for every ant stake we purchased, but in truth the dime spent last year, isn't worth a penny this year, but that's another story. Let's just talk about ANTS. Ok?

As I went from Home Depot to OSH to Longs, to Rite-Aid, looking for earth friendly poison, lol, I began to hold a dialog with the different helpful individuals working in those various stores. Each told me that last year was a big year for ANT spray, and traps. They even commiserated with me about their own negative adventures with the strange breed of ant, which also seems to be nocturnal! No one had any good ideas for what to do. Right about January, I was ready to give up and maybe concede that perhaps our little house was on a never before heard of Uber-ANT hill, proportions of which just might make either a great book for Stephen King, or nifty new movie for M.Night Shyamalan, when they suddenly got a big burst of winter, and went away. I was hoping it was to the afterlife, but I think it might have only been to a bear-like hibernation.

This new ant could be a product of Global Warming, or maybe a new type of Global Terrorism inflicted on us by our own government! LOL. I am not much for conspiracy theories, although I do have an open mind, and will listen for the case being made, but in this case, I think I believe that it could very well be a situation caused by, the lesser evil of, Global Warming. Stupid, weird stuff is happening everyday. Earthquakes in strange places, Iowa is under water, New Orleans was very nearly erased from the earth, we don't just have fires anymore, we have fire storms, new species are being discovered as the rain forest diminishes, and according to the back of my Haagen Dazs cup, the honey bees are disappearing and no one knows why!

So is it my fault I am being invaded with Uber-Ants? Was I a bad earthling and didn't recycle as much as I should have? Is this my payback for whatever shortcut or laziness I have taken or committed in the Global War on Global Warming?Is it maybe just a case of dumb luck? Who knows? Only the UberAnt knows for sure! Just in case, I think I will spend this weekend recycling some plastics and paper, and maybe sprinkle some cinnamon around, as it is a natural ant repellent. Ants... can't live with um' but somehow we must!

Ok, so tell me, what do you do about ANTS? Do you have ANTS now? What are some of your favorite earth friendly tips and tricks for doing away with unwanted household pests? Speak. Help a girl out.



"UberAnt Morning"
Berkeley, California
June 21, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Elvis Update: Beating The Heat And Enjoying A Treat

"I doubt whether the world holds for anyone, a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice-cream."

-Heywood Broun

Summer begins today at 4:59 PM Pacific Time. Spending the day in Santa Cruz would be one of the best ways to welcome summer, but Elvis tells me there is a much better way! Today, mostly at his suggestion, we are BBQing and then sharing a little bit of cold dessert together afterwards. Elvis was put on a new medication this week, to fight the infections in his nose, and Dr. B suggested giving it to him hidden in a big scoop of Vanilla flavored soy ice-cream. I sampled a little taste last night, and to my surprise, it is very pleasant. :) That makes me happy for him, he has been through so much in his little life, especially lately, so to see him lap up the treat and know it will be something he will enjoy, makes everything so much easier. While Elvis enjoys his ice-cream, I will be enjoying a little Haagen Dazs Orchard Peach Sorbet, while Alan has his favorite, Haagen Dazs Chocolate ice cream. We are happy campers right now!

So tell me, what's your favorite flavor of ice cream? Do you prefer ice cream to sorbet or the other way around? Do you have an alternate favorite "beat the heat treat" in summer?

"He Mews For Ice-Cream"
Berkeley, California
June 20th, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Martha's A-Z Photo Challenge: "G" Is For Garlic

"What garlic is to food, insanity is to art."

-Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Time for the letter "G" in Martha's A-Z- Challenge! I have always wanted to photograph a bulb of garlic on it's own, I find them very photogenic, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity! I had a good time playing with lighting and shadows, and I even considered photographing the bulb of garlic in black and white, but in the end I thought the color mode gave the photo a more realistic and softer touch. Tonight it will used in Spaghetti ALA Carly! :)

If you would like to play along with the A-Z challenge, just drop by Martha's journal on AOL for all the details!

Berkeley, California
June 19th, 2008
Early Morning

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

This Week's Dragonfly

"I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June."

-L. M. Montgomery

I was back walking along the shore of Lake Anza, in Tilden Park, yesterday. After finding so many different varieties of dragonflies on my visit last week, I knew it would be a big mistake not to bring my camera each time I plan to visit. I have set a goal for myself this summer, to photograph the tiny blue dragonfly, but yesterday, I noticed an even smaller thinner dragonfly which was almost a turquoise color. I am not sure if it is the same as the larger blue ones, but it seems like a bigger challenge to try for the tiniest ones as apposed to the easier large ones.

The dragonfly in the above photo is one of the largest ones I saw yesterday. It appears black and white in the picture, but the body of the dragonfly is actually a very pale blue color. I did a little investigation and found out from BugGuide that it is a Libellua pulchella, or the Twelve Spotted Skimmer. It is a fairly common dragonfly in the U.S., although I have never saw one before, so it was kind of fun to be able to see one. They are a summer dragonfly, so I suppose I will have lots of time to enjoy observing them. I like my summer dragonfly hunting.


Note: Please click on the photo to see the picture in a larger version. The small size really doesn't do that beautiful creature justice.

"Twelve Spotted Skimmer"
Lake Anza
Tilden Park
Berkeley, California
June 17th, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekend Assignment #220: Beautiful

"For every beauty, there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth, there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love, there is a heart somewhere to receive it.

-Ivan Panin

Weekend Assignment #220: Tell us about one person, place or thing you find particularly beautiful and why it affects you in this way. If you can demonstrate its beauty with photos, great but as always, the primary emphasis for the Weekend Assignment is words.

Extra Credit: Does something threaten to disturb or destroy that beauty?

-Karen Funk Blocher, of the blog, Outpost Mavarin

There is so much to love about the Bay Area, and if you have been reading me for any length of time, you know I love nearly everything about it, but one thing in particular stands out as most important to me, when I think about it's beauty, and that is the amazing California coastline. I love the beaches, and the lighthouses that grace the coast, with equal passion. Since I got my current digital camera, in 2005, I have been as far north as Point Arena, and as far south as Santa Barbara, and on each little trek, I was swept off my feet by the beautiful coastal scenery.

The beauty of sunsets along the coast, always stop me in my tracks, but equally stunning to me are all the wildflowers that grow along the cliffs that look out over the Pacific. It would be difficult to narrow it all down to my favorite time of day, or a particular season, when I am out along the coast taking pictures, the different times of day and seasons make it look almost magical to me, no matter when I am there to see it. I suppose it all just speaks to my inner mermaid, but I always feel at home when I am near the ocean.

Sunset in Santa Barbara, California

Spring in Pacific Grove, California

Late Afternoon in January, Moss Beach, California

Summer in Monterey, California

February in Pacifica, California

October in Richardson Bay, Sausalito, California

October in Pescadero, California

Spring in Santa Cruz, California

:) You should come and see it for yourself. You would love it! It's... BEAUTIFUL!

Extra Credit: As a matter of fact, there are a number of environmental hazards to the California coastline. Not the least of which was the oil spill from the container ship, Cosco Buson, in San Francisco Bay last year. You can read news coverage about it here, and you can read my blog entries, which includes some photos, here and here. Just this past week, oil from the Cosco Buson washed ashore in Point Reyes, which is a few miles north of the Golden Gate. According to experts, we will more then likely be seeing residual oil from the spill washing up along the coast for many years. :(

"Dusk In Moss Beach"
Moss Beach California

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Summer Is Coming!

Summer Is Coming
By Dora Goodale

Summer is coming! the soft breezes whisper;
Summer is coming! the glad birdies sing,
Summer is coming! I hear her quick footsteps;

Take your last look at beautiful spring.

Lightly, she steps from her throne in the woodlands:
Summer is coming and I cannot stay;
Two of my children have crept from my bosom:
April has left me but lingering May.

What tho' bright summer is crowned with roses.
Deep in the forest Arbutus doth hide;
I am the herald of all the rejoicing me? She cried.

Down in the meadow she stoops to the daisies,
Plucks the first bloom from the apple tree's bough:
Autumn will rob of all the sweet apples;
I will take one from her store of them now.

Summer is coming! I hear the glad echo;
Clearly it rings o'er the mountain and plain.
Sorrowful spring leaves the beautiful woodlands,
Bright, happy summer begins her sweet reign.

Ok, I know, I know... summer is still a little over a week away, but it was a lovely nearly summer's day yesterday, and I just had to show you what I saw from my bike. :) I am seeing the most amazing things lately. I liked this scene very much. The angle, the color of the day... and oh the flowers. I turned a corner, and there they were in a small patch. They were tall and strong, and seemed to be reaching for the sun. Yeah... they were reaching for the sun!


"Summer Is Coming"
Tilden Park
Berkeley, California
June 14, 2008