Saturday, August 09, 2008

Round Robin Challenge: Night Shots

Click on the above photo to see it in a larger version!

"Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man resembles his fragmentary self, and grows with the calm of a tree."

-Antonine de Saint Exupery

LOL. Apparently, I control the weather. See, I chose my friend, and RRC teammate Steven's topic, Night Shots, because it's summer, and I thought it would be the most comfortable time of year to tackle the subject, but just after I posted it in the announcement entry, a cold snap hit the Bay Area! LOL. If it hasn't been cold and rainy, then the fog has been a factor! LOL. One night this past week, it actually registered 52 degrees at 9:00 pm! In August!?

So forgive me, but with my bum knee, which I have some news about, and will sharing with you next week, I had to do some looking around in my photo files, for some photos I hadn't posted before. I was delighted to find some that I had previously thought unworthy. It's funny how you can take a picture, just hate it, and go back months, or sometimes years, later and see it in a whole new light. Anyway, here is my contribution for this round. By the way, please click on the black and white photo above, to see it larger. I am rather proud that I could get both the pumpkin and the moon in clear detail.

Night Shots...

A Storm Rolling In

Happy Christmas Bear

Winter at Justin Herman Plaza

A Rainy Night In Berkeley

Coit Tower At Night

The August Moon Over San Francisco

San Francisco Skyline At Christmas

Orange Trees

Be sure to pay a visit to Steven at his blog, (sometimes photoblog) to see what he has for us, and then click on the links below to visit all the participating Robins for this challenge. If you want to join us, there is still plenty of time, just pay a visit to the official Round Robin Challenge blog to get all the details.

Linking List

Steven... (sometimes photoblog) (P)

Carly... Ellipsis (P)

Vicki... Maraca

Gattina... Keyhole Pictures (P)

Karen... Outpost Mavarin (P)

Celeste... C's Life (P)

Jennifer Robin... Robin's Woods (P)

Molly... Return Of The White Robin (P)

-rRose... Wait-Not Yet

Jama Hameed... Sweet Memories (P)

Robinella... Robinella's

T.J. ... TJ's Photo Expressions (P)

Jill... Letting Crazy Take A Spin

Marie... Photographs and Memories

Or... Photographs And Memories Too

Sandra... Strong Chemistry (P)

Annie... Pictures Of Craziness

Gina... Gina's Space (P)

Momma... Sandcastle Momma (P)

Sahvvy... The Instantaneous Exsistence Of Me (P)

"Howling At The Moon"
October 31st, 2006
Berkeley, California
Early Evening

Friday, August 08, 2008

Black And White Perspective...

Click on the photo to see it in a larger version.

"Having spent the better part of my life trying either to relive the past, or experience the future before it arrives, I have come to believe that in between these two extremes is peace."


It was cold and foggy the other day in San Francisco. I love it when it is like that. The city smells so good on misty days. It's peaceful. And As I stood at the observation deck, on the 9th floor of the DeYoung museum, I could look in the four directions at my beautiful San Francisco. Sometimes it can seem like such an old city, then at other times it is almost as if it was just created 5 minutes ago. I never get tired of looking at it, whether it be from the bridge or Twin Peaks or here at the museum. On cold days, like this one, it takes my breath away.

"Black And White Perspective
DeYoung Museum Observation Tower
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
August 6th, 2008

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Elvis Update: He Loves Me Like A Rock

"Ever has it been that love knows not it's own depth until the hour of separation."

-Kahlil Gibran

Elvis is home from his latest round of chemotherapy. Dr. B. said Elvis is doing well, his weight is maintaining, and the swelling around his nose from the cancerous tumors have come down. He is responding well to all his little medical treatments, which is such good news. His chemotherapy is being done ever 4 weeks now, which is a good thing, meaning that for the time being we have successfully gotten his cancer under control. It's good news for now. I asked Dr. B how much time we might have left, but he simply said, "we aren't putting a time limit on things." Vague, but it's his way not to simply give up and expect death. I appreciate that reasoning, but the logical side of me is saying, "it's better to know what to expect, and when to expect it." Still, the advice Dr. B always leaves me with is, "enjoy each other, and the time you spend together. Don't let the word Cancer rob you of the time you spend together." Yeah... I know. :)

Now about the strange bedtime behavior. Dr. B says, Elvis is waking me up in the middle of the night, and following me around, because of separation anxiety. He doesn't want to be away from me, even if it is because it's time for bed. It's so funny, he used to put us to bed at 10:00 pm, every night. As soon as he heard the 10:00 News come on the TV, he would come over to where we were sitting and stare at us, until we turned off the TV and went to bed. If we didn't respond to the staring, he would pace between the bedroom and the living room, and meow. LOL. He has always know what's best for us, and especially me. He loves me.

So, beginning tonight, I will spend about 15 minutes with Elvis, engaged in extra good attention time. I will brush him, and put his powder on, and maybe plan his outfit for the next day. He has been favoring the scarf from his pirate costume lately, he even asked to wear it to the doctor for his cancer treatment. So funny. We get the pet carrier out, and he knows he will be going to see Dr. B and Mary and Donna, and he will tug at what he wants to wear. It has been really chilly here in the Bay Area lately, so a scarf is a wise choice. Seriously, he has very good taste in clothing, and he's practical too. What a cat!

Separation Anxiety In Cats (

"Mr. Man"
Berkeley, California
August 7th, 2008

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Art About Town: Foster City, California

"Life beats down and crushes the soul, and art reminds you that you have one."

-Stella Adler

Alan and I decided to take a long walk yesterday, alongside the lagoon at the Leo J. Ryan Memorial park in Foster City. It was a lovely day, however it was unseasonably cool, and yet it was a big muggy due to the monsoon clouds making their way through the Bay Area. There is a good chance for some thunder later tonight and tomorrow. Fingers crossed, I love a good thunder boomer!

Anyway, the park was as gorgeous as always, and is a beautiful way to remember Congressman Leo J. Ryan, who was killed in Jonestown, Guyana, in November of 1978, by members of the People's Temple cult. Ryan's murder occurred just prior to the massacre which took place at the People's Temple compound the next day, when the head of the cult, Jim Jones, ordered his followers to "drink the Flavor-Aid," which had been laced with cyanide. Three journalists, and a former member of the cult were also killed the same day Ryan was.

There are several pieces of art within the park, all of them bring to mind lightheartedness and wonder, but this is one of my very favorites. "Stilt Walkers" always makes me smile, maybe because I such a shorty, at only 4' 11. I have always wondered what it would be like to be tall, with legs like a Rockette! LOL. As a short girl growing up, I always admired those who could actually get the bread down from the shelf at the grocery store all by themselves! LOL. I like this park, and this particular piece of art so much that I always make sure to see it when I visit, as if it is an old friend. I love public art, it's good for the soul!

"Stilt Walkers" By Dennis Smith
Leo J. Ryan Memorial Park
Foster City, California
August 5th, 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

New Monday Photo Shoot: Tell Tail Photos

"Don't be content with being average. Average is as close to the bottom as it as to the top."


New Monday Photo Shoot #32: Show us a tail. It can be part of your pet, or the back of an airplane, or something more esoteric. If it's called a tail, it counts.

-Karen Funk Blocher, of the blog, Outpost Mavarin

I don't know, that might be more of a bottom then a tail, but in any case, I still find it hysterical! I had the best time that day, photographing the swans at the Palace Of Fine Arts in San Francisco. I took that photo in 2005, but it remains in a folder on my desktop, which I call, "My Favorite Days." All the photos in the file are my original photos, which left me with a strong emotion of some kind when I took them. I have serious photos, and happy photos, and like the one above, some of the photos are just plain silly. I like it when I am out with the camera, and I have no preconceived idea or notion of what I am looking for, and then suddenly a moment will present itself. That makes for a good day with the camera.

"Bottom's Up"
Palace Of Fine Arts
San Francisco, California
May 31st, 2005

Monday, August 04, 2008

To Drill Or Not To Drill

"For 200 years we've been conquering Nature. Now we are beating it to death."

-Tom McMillian

Offshore oil drilling. First John McCain was against it, now he is for it. At one time Barack Obama was against it, now he is for it. Isn't it funny how the lines blur when a vote is at stake? Damn the truth and the environment, lets give the people what they want. Fools.

Now, I will admit up front I am completely partial when it comes to the subject of offshore drilling. I am now and forever against it in any form. I am a California girl, through and through, and I love, and at times, live for the natural beauty of the California coastline. Have you see it for yourself, other then in pictures? The beauty of the Pacific ocean, in itself is a little like glimpsing Heaven I expect. Add to it the sea birds, wildflowers and the shoreline and it beccomes heaven on earth, at least to me. I can't imagine my life without it.

In November of 2007, we in the Bay Area got a wake-up call, when the containment ship, the Costco Busan struck the Bay Bridge, which resulted in a whole in the side of the ship and the emptying of 58,000 gallons of dirty oil into the San Francisco Bay. Four days after the spill occurred, I took a ride along the shoreline in Berkeley, Emeryville, and Point Richmond. As I walked along the water's edge, I could see the sheen in the water, and large clumps of crude oil as it came to rest on the sand and rocks.

I waited for weeks, as shoreline, after shoreline was closed due to the contaminate, and I followed along on the news as it reported on the deaths of sea birds and other marine creatures, which had either ingested the oil or in some cases completely covered in it. The environmental impact was significant. Not only did the spill harm the natural life of the bay, but it took money from the pockets of crab fisherman, who were now banned from their occupation, due to the toxin that was now in the bay. And that was the result of a 58,000 gallon spill.

I have done my research, and I am sorry, but it simply isn't the answer to the problem. If the ban on drilling in protected areas was lifted tomorrow, we wouldn't see any lower gas prices for at least 19 years. 10 years! But that isn't what politicians would have you believe. Recent polls indicate that more and more Americans would be open to the idea of offshore drilling, if it would show us all some relief at the gas pump. The plain truth is... it won't. It's a fact.

But what would happen if we vote for offshore drilling would do is give Obama and McCain the power to make it look good. To make it appear as if they were doing everything they could to break us free from these outrageous gas prices. Everything except maybe, possibly, holding the oil companies responsible for their record windfall gains. It's a fact the oil prices have been artificially driven up in recent months by everything from our relationships in the middle east, to Bush's inability to deal with Saudi Arabia with any backbone what-so-ever, and market speculation. What needs to happen is we need to hold the oil companies, and the politicians that pander to them accountable.

There I said it, how about some good old fashioned accountability? Remember that? Sure you do. Think real hard. That is that thing that forced Bill Clinton to take responsibility for the blow job heard round the world. Since that time accountability has been forgotten, but it can come around again, if you and I refuse to be taken in by all the election year noise. That's right accountability can be the new "got away with it" if we send a clear message, and then mean it, that we are finished with "promise you anything" politics. I don't know about you, but I am damned tired of this crap. I am tired of the band-aids America puts on its problems. It is what has led us to where we are right now. Willing to once again, take the short cut, if it will bring us anything resembling relief. There is a gun to our head, and we are willing to let them pull the trigger, as long as the pain stops. But that's just my opinion, so, now I want to hear from you.

Opinions, Opinions...

Why does America continue to subsidize big oil companies? Are you in favor of offshore drilling? What do you believe is our best course for relief from these outrageous gas prices? What would your plan be? Do you believe that technology has made offshore drilling safe enough for the environment? Where do your concerns lie?

Interesting Reading On The Subject...

Subsidizing Big Oil (Union of Concerned Scientists)

Worth The Risk? ( USA Today )

The Facts About Offshore Drilling (Jay Bookman, Atlanta Journal Constitution)


Photo Series Taken In November 2007

Aftermath of the Cosco Busan spill in San Francisco Bay

Emeryville, Berkeley, Point Richmond, California

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Autumn Sausage And Sweet Potato Soup

"The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next."

-Mignon McLaughlin

It's a quiet day at our house today. There has been a lot of stress lately, and I am still finding my way around in the dark. If you haven't read my blog for a while, "the dark" is a metaphor for what has been happening in my life lately. Elvis, the state budget, blah, blah, blah. I get so tired of it all. To add to things, Elvis has a new habit, and I wish I knew where it came from. See, for several nights in a row now, Elvis has begun to panic when the lights go out. It happens the same way each night. As soon as we get in bed, and turn the lights out, Elvis comes over to my side of the bed, and sits and stares at me. If I try to ignore him, he will eventually jump up on my side of the bed and begin tapping my nose in a very insistent manner. Like he is trying to tell me something. I have checked his bowls, both are full. He doesn't need his box changed, and he has plenty of toys about. What could it be? I have started keeping a diary, so I can discuss it with Dr. B on Wednesday, when he goes in for his chemotherapy. In the meantime, I am one tired lady.

In an effort to break out of the ickiness I feel, I took a walk around Tilden this morning. It is so lovely there, and I feel like it is my second home. I will really miss my routines up there when they close South Park drive for the winter months, in November. Driving in that part of the park gets treacherous during the icy rainy months, and the only access is quite a bit further up Grizzly Peak. So, I am enjoying it as much as I can for now. It was cold this morning, and my knees where hurting, so I didn't stay long, but to my delight there were signs of autumn everywhere. It won't be long now. I love autumn so much, and I always feel my best as the leaves begin to change. But you already knew that. :)

Last night I made a new recipe I created for dinner. I have been thinking about this soup for a long time, and with the little chill in the air it was a good time to give it a try. I am not sure what I want to call it, but I had apple sausage, sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables, red onion, cinnamon, just a pinch, and chicken and tomato bouillon. It came out really good. Alan ended up eating the whole pot, lol, so I am pretty sure we will be having it again. :) How does "Waiting For Autumn Soup" sound? Nah, that's not quite right, but the flavor did have a bit of Autumn to it, with the cinnamon and the sweet potatoes. Hmmm.

(Autumn Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup)
(Low Fat, Low Calorie)

By Carly Gordon

5 (hot dog sized) links Apple/Cheese Sausage

1 red onion, chopped

1 med. Sweet Potato, cut into medium chunks

2 cans Fat-Free Chicken broth

2 squares Knorr Chicken/Tomato Bouillon cubes

1/2 tsp. Granny Goose dry Green Onion dip mix

1 cup Barilla Orzo

1 cup Frozen mixed vegetables

1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Remove the sausage casing from the sausage, and chop the sausage into small chunks, then brown the meat in a skillet. As you cook the meat, add the cinnamon and continue frying and stirring the meat to coat with the cinnamon. When the meat is cooked through, transfer to a medium sized stove top Dutch oven. Add the canned chicken broth, bouillon cubes, dry dip mix, and 8 cups water, or until the liquid reaches 3/4 to the top of the dutch oven. Bring to a boil.

Let the water come to a full rolling boil, then add the chopped onion and the sweet potato. Continue boiling about a 1/2 hour, or until the sweet potato begins to soften. The time may vary, so check after 20 minutes or so. When the potato just begins to soften, add the orzo, and continue cooking another 10 to 15 minutes. Lastly, add the frozen vegetables and cook until the soup comes back to a boil. Cook for another 15 minutes. Serve with some nice warm French bread.

Makes 6 (1 cup) servings

Note: Sweet potatoes are really good for the blood. 1 medium (4 oz) cooked with the skin, has only 103 calories!

It's so strange, when I was a little girl, and I had a good deep pout on, nothing made me feel better then a hot bowl of soup. Soup. Yeah... that's the ticket! It's funny how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same.

Berkeley, California
August 3, 2008
Late Afternoon