Saturday, November 16, 2013

Round Robin Challenge: All Natural Colors

"Some people like living in a black and white worlds. Let them stay there. Appreciate all the colors you see in your world though."

~Ashly Lorenzana

RRC: All Natural Colors

I love Karen's choice of, All Natural Colors, for this edition of the Round Robin Challenges! Autumn is my favorite season of year, because of all the natural colors. There is a variety to this time of year like no other! Trees that have bright green leaves as autumn begins, suddenly burst into the leaves so bright and alive with color, just a few weeks later, you can't help but feel in awe of them! Even when the very same leaves finally transition into the deep earth tones of dark purples, browns, deep mustard, and burnt orange, as autumn comes to a close, it just warms me inside, like I have just put on and old favorite sweater! It is the perfect way to prepare for the dark, stark, barren days of winter. But it's not like winter doesn't have it's all natural color as well. That's when I love to get out with the camera, and try to find scenes that have color, but appear black and white naturally, due to lighting. I hope I did a good job here of demonstrating the effect of light on natural color.

All Natural Colors...

Okay, that's my contribution for this assignment of the Round Robin Challenges! Now, go see what the other participants have posted! Just click the link at the top of this post, to be redirected to the official Round Robin Challenge blog! Better yet, please join us! You can find all the information on the blog!

Thanks Karen, for yet another fun challenge!

Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Friday, November 15, 2013


"In my food world, there is no fear or guilt, only joy and balance. So no ingredient is ever off limits. Rather, all of the recipes here follow my usually... sometimes... rarely philosophy. Notice there is no NEVER."

~Ellie Krieger, The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes For A Healthy Life

 As my newsletter pointed out yesterday, it was World Diabetes Day! I knew that the whole month of November was dedicated to diabetes awareness, but I hadn't realized that there was one particular day in November that was observed as a special day. You see, I have been backsliding a bit when it comes to my diabetes, which isn't very bright of me! When I was first diagnosed, back in the summer of 2007, I really took the whole situation as a kind of fun challenge for myself. I wanted to start taking my health more serious, and Alan decided to join me in the adventure! Together we were amazing! He toned up. He lowered his cholesterol numbers, and we coached each other in being more physically active. It was fun!

And then we both went through some heavy stress times...

Elvis got cancer, and died a few months later!

Alan's brother, Darrell, passed away, suddenly, at the age of 50. 

Governor Schwarzenegger put a financial noose around our necks, when he decided to impose a 3 day forced furlough on state workers.

Our brand new Saturn cars began to fall apart, exactly 13 months to the date of purchase. Go look up all the problems Saturn cars experienced during that time. The troubles ranged from the minor annoyance... to the downright dangerous. But they were never deemed a lemon. Make no mistake, any owner of a Saturn ION from years 2002 -2009, will tell you, they might as well have been Corvairs!

Then there was the case of the neighbors from HELL, Donny and Nina (not their real names).

And finally, two of my major coping mechanisms, All My Children and One Life To Live, were MURDERED by that cad, Brian Frons. Which, by the way, have both been shelved, yet again! Grrrr.

I know. I do.

Excuses, excuses. 

But hear me out. When I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I was sad. I felt like I was a failure! I thought I had done things right over the years! I had watched what I ate. As far as my other numbers went, I was doing pretty good. My cholesterol was perfect, much to my doctor's delight. My blood pressure was fine, at least it was, it has since become a cause for mild concern, but back in 2007 I did what I thought was right, and I got diabetes anyway! I guess I took some things for granted. It happens. Right? So, instead of beating myself up over my folly, I got proactive, and dropped my A1C drastically within 3 months, and I did it without giving anything up! I did it by educating myself on nutrition!

I ate scheduled meals.
I portioned out a proper serving, and didn't go back for seconds. 
I set a total caloric intake number for myself daily, and stuck to it!
I ate what I wanted, but learned which foods gave me the best value, in terms of satisfying my appetite and not affecting my blood sugar.
I made sure I spent no longer than 30 minutes eating. 20 was ideal.
I read labels. I learned what was in the food I was eating.
I went back to taking long walks with Alan. It was as good for our bodies, as it was for our marriage.
I checked my blood sugar, to learn about how different foods affected my blood sugar.
I learned that when it comes to blood sugar levels, stress also plays a factor.

And by the way, stress is stress. Any extreme, will affect my blood sugar. Some time ask me about how high my blood sugar went when I was watching Woody Allen film Blue Jasmine! 

I ate what I wanted, only I was eating it with the proper perspective about what food is! Food isn't a blanket, the purpose of food is to nourish the body. Yes, it's great, but it's not healthy to let it replace the real needs we have. 

I knew all this! I had learned it for myself. And I still backslid. My A1C as of this last Tuesday was...

Standard range is... 4.6 - 6.0

Not bad enough to require medication, but if left unaddressed, it's the road to daily shots of insulin, possible blindness, loss of limb, increased chance of kidney failure, and other assorted badness! 

I am smarter than that! So what happened? Well, there are no good excuses, but there were plenty of reasons. Some of which I explained above! But really, why did I let myself give up so easily? Why did I hand Donny that victory? Why did I let him get to me to the point I gave up? When Darrell passed away, why did I stop taking care of myself? He wouldn't have been really upset about that! He loved me, and would have been the first one to have said... "Hey dummy, what are you doing?" When Elvis died also, it was almost more than I could take. I was devastated watching him slowly lose his zest for life. I have never seen anyone, human or feline alike, who lived life quite as full as Elvis did! He loved me, which meant that he would have wanted me to be the best person I could be!

Looking back, I know all the reasons, and excuses, and again I am doing a full assessment of how to, once again, begin again. Like last time, I am giving respect to the mistakes, and owning them, but I am not beating myself up over it. That is a waste of time. Instead I asked my doctor to schedule me another round of blood tests in 3 months, so I can have a focus point to look forward to. A goal. You see, I have set a reasonable goal. I just want to see that 6.6 A1C measure, become a 5.9 measure. It's perfectly reasonable. I did it the first time! When I was first diagnosed, back in 2007 my A1C was...

On July 23rd, 2007, my A1C was 6.7, but by November 14th, it was ( 5.9 ).

Life is an adventure... right? I had a blast inventing new recipes, and taking a scientific approach to not just my experience with diabetes, but indeed, life in general. At the time I blamed my diagnosis on George W. Bush, and in truth, he did kind of play a roll in that he was such an irritating little beast! And now, we have the likes of Sarah Palin, and the obnoxious Tea Party, and Gun worshippers, but I plan to take the ire I feel, and turn it into power walking, and meal planning. LOL. It can work. I know from experience... It will work! but just for the sake of releasing just a bit of tension...

Mr. Frons, wherever you are, I still hope you never work again! Poophead! 

Even if you don't have Diabetes, it might be a good idea to educated yourself on it. If not for you, than someone you love. Diabetes can be managed, I am living proof of that! Please click the link below to visit the Center For Disease Control Website, and the American Diabetes Association.

(CDC) Center For Disease Control: Prevent Diabetes

Wish me luck, okay? I will report on my progress on February 14th 2014, just in time for American Heart Month!


Mood: Inspired

~Me :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanks A Lot Old Friend!

"A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy."

~Rumer Godden, Power Of Simple Living, By Ellyn Sanna


My rose garden is a never ending source of pure joy for me. There are definite signs that all the trees, shrubs and flowers are about to curl up and sleep for winter. While there is still a little over a month to go, I can ignore the coming chill, but alas, they cannot! But all the roses are strong, and the garden smells like cinnamon, from the heavy sprinkling of the spice to ward off pests, I did over the summer, and the color of the roses against the overcast autumn sky is nothing short of magical... at least to me!

I needed a bit of gardening joy this week! You see, the former owner of the property, that my little rented cottage sits on, sent me a computer virus. Sheesh! How can a businesswoman be so absurd? Not only did she inflict the likes of Donny and Nina on the property, then refuse to intervene when they began to act abusively toward us, but she apparently knows nothing about suspicious email attachments!

Thanks a lot old friend!

I was kind of lucky in that I only lost my photos from the last 14 months, with the exceptions of the posted photos which I save to a cloud. And the computer itself had to be booted back to the factory reset, which means I will be spending the next few days reinstalling programs, but at least I won't have to purchase a new computer! I wouldn't want the expense, or have to deal with Windows 8! Don't get me wrong, I have made my peace with it as far as my laptop goes, but I am much happier with Windows 7 over here on the desktop!

All's Well That Ends Well.

But Seriously... Catie, If You Are Reading This...The Anti-Virus Email Scan Is Your Friend!

Mood: Mildly Irritated, But Happy With The Late Blooming Pink Promise Roses!

~Me :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Art About Town: San Francisco "Sea Change"

"Sea Change"
By Artist, Mark di Suvero
San Francisco, California
October 30th, 2013

 “All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn't your pet -- it's your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.”

~Joss Whedon

I have posted a lot of pieces by this artist this year... much to my own personal delight! Mark di Suvero is everywhere about San Francisco, or should I say, his art is everywhere! From Pax Jerusalem, which sits in front of the Legion of Honor museum, to the 10 pieces along Crissy Field, not to mention this sculpture near AT&T Park, his influence is a big part of the public art in the city. Personally, I have grown to love his art very much, and I am now able to see one of his sculptures, and instantly know it's by him! I haven't always been a fan of Abstract Expressionism sculpture, my very favorite sculpture is The Kiss, by Rodin, but the thing that is growing on me about Marc di Suvero's work is the way it provokes me to consider stepping out of the usual zone of what I call beautiful. His sculptures have definitely had an effect on my photography, in terms of angles and light. He inspires me! I want to get better with my photography, and I enjoy learning new things by appreciating others approach to their art! And that's what art is all about... right?

Mood: Inspired

~Me :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Someday, New York!

"Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love... that makes life and nature harmonize. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one's very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air,  while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."

~George Eliot

I know, I know... my blog has been a bit autumn heavy lately! You must be thinking, "Really, how many times can this woman go mad over a few autumn leaves?" Well, the truth is, I pass the same row of trees, along the road I live on, every single day, and I find myself in constant awe of the colors and the natural beauty of them, fresh each day, as if I had never seen them before. I know the ones that are beginning to go bare. The ones that have yet to have peaked with their color, and the ones that are nothing less than breathtaking with the colors of plums, and golds, and bright pinks! I know those threes like friends! Yes, friends. I love them for who they are, all through the year.

I love my trees, and I love California, but one day I would love to spend an entire autumn in Central Park, in New York City, just photographing the park, and it's autumn light form every possible angle, nook and cranny. So many movies have been filmed their in autumn, When Harry Met Sally, Autumn In New York, and of course, You've Got Mail. Nora Ephron set the scene for me...

"Don't you just love New York in Fall? It makes me wanna to buy school supplies."

~Joe Fox, You've Got Mail, (Nora Ephron)

Today, when I was out photographing the leaves in my favorite park, I could smell Ticonderoga #2 pencils. I couldn't help but think about all the movies that warm me inside, just by giving me the gift of autumn, any time I need it. Even in June. Oh well, maybe someday I will pick the right 6 numbers, or Publisher's Clearing House will arrive at my door, or I will be the millionth customer at Big Apple Bagel. You never know about these things. Although, it's a proven fact, luck has it's seasons also! I learn that lesson often, mostly when my camera is in my hand, and the light is shining just right.

Someday, New York!

Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Things That Make Me Go Hmmmmm?

Crabcakes And Sweets
Pier 39
San Francisco
October 16th 2013

"You can't have everything. Where would you put it?"

~Steven Wright

Say what? Crabcakes and Sweets? That doesn't sound like a combination that would be enjoyable, but hey, what do I know? Still, it was amusing so I took a photo of this shop sign. I found it at Pier 39, last month, while Alan and I were killing zombies during our vacation! Virtual zombies, that is, at 7-D Experience! I didn't have the nerve to try the food at Crabcakes and Sweets that day, due to my allergy to shellfish, but I did a little Yelp investigating of the establishment when I got home all the same. As it turns out, the crabcakes are the savory, and the sweets is the dessert of funnel cakes. As with most eating establishments on Yelp, it has mixed reviews, but I think I might avoid it all the same. Although, you never know... a girl can get mighty brave while killing zombies!

Mood: Hungry

~Me :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Face In The Crowd: A Ghostly Face In The Autumn Leaves

"Don't matter if you believe in them or not. If they're there... they're there, Mrs. Phillips said."

~Joan Lowery Nixon, The Haunting

The Final Chapter Of Donny And Nina(not their real names).
How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Ghost.

As you may, or may not remember, I have a neighbor that's a ghost. Well, perhaps not the same kind of ghost you might be thinking about, but rather he has some really strange habits that seem, somewhat, ghostly. Let me explain...

 You see, he moved in one day, a little over a year and a half ago. It was a warm, bright Saturday, a day when the property I live on is usually quite active. No one saw him move in. He was just there. Suddenly that Saturday evening, Alan and I were speaking with the neighbors who live toward the front of the property, when all of a sudden, the lights in his apartment went on. I know, I know... that's not particularly ghostly. But what is odd is the fact that no one saw him move in, let alone drive his car onto the property. No one.

He has some other assorted habits that I find odd. Like the fact that he apparently only sleeps a few hours a night, despite his age of about 80 or so. He doesn't seem to cook, no one has seen, or heard any noise coming from his kitchen. He doesn't have garbage. HE NEVER HAS GARBAGE! How, exactly is that possible? He doesn't get mail. He doesn't get deliveries. He doesn't get visitors. I don't understand it. He hasn't spoken to any of us, in the entire time he has been here, although he has had some assorted interactions with a few of us. Let me explain...

 Do you remember me telling you about the saga of Donny and Nina (not their real names)? Well, it wasn't just my life Donny made a living hell... he pretty much messed with everyone, including the ghost! The ghost puts all lights out by 10:00 PM every single night, and leaves for... somewhere... each morning at about 4:30 AM. EVERY SINGLE DAY! Winter, spring, summer, autumn, major holidays, every single day of the year! Well, late last winter, Nina decided to start letting her dog out to bark at or about 3:00 AM almost every Sunday morning. It was mostly to screw with me, for complaining about the dogs habit of barking for up to 8 hours at a time. Charming. Alan can sleep through anything, and I invested in a pair of ear plugs, so while it hurt my feelings that I couldn't fall asleep to the sound of Dylan's purring, I found a way to deal with it. No, the person it really messed with the most was the ghost. Poor man!

After a few sessions of the late night/early morning barking, the property management, and I use the term extremely loosely, finally tried to put a stop to it. I hadn't complained, but I am pretty sure Mr. Ghost did. A couple times I saw his light on, just after the barking began. The barking stopped for a few weeks, and then it began again, but only once a month. It was pretty miserable for everyone, but did Donny and Nina (not their real names) care? No. In fact, they only began making more noise! Slamming things around. Fighting. Crushing cans in the middle of the night. Inviting their friends over to party all night! You name it... they found a way to make noise out of it!

But something odder still happened one day late last summer. The ghost, who had never said a word to anyone, or made a bit of noise, suddenly... inexplicably... without reservation... smiled! He pulled into his parking place, which sits about 50 feet behind Alan's car, got out of his vehicle, looked toward us in my car, and smiled the BIGGEST, LOVELIEST, SMILE! He had the kind of smile that made you smile back, almost against your will! He looked like he hit the lottery, he was smiling like he hadn't seen us in YEARS, and he had truly missed us! He smiled like he knew something, we didn't! And he did it directly in front of Donny and Nina's (not their real names) window!

HUH? Had it turned out that we were Mr. Ghost's favorite neighbors?

Did the property managers finally give their word about dealing with Donny and Nina (not their real names)?

The next day, Mr. Ghost went back to his usual routine. No smiling. No waving. No cooking. No garbage. No noise, except the sound of his computer keyboard, and the occasional roar of his red hair dryer. How do I know it is red? Well, he lives on the second floor, and sometimes you can see him drying his white hair. His ghostly, white hair. Everything had gone back to... normal? Yes, normal for him. And normal for us now as well. I have gotten used to my quiet neighbor. As neighbors go, he is quickly becoming my favorite. And since Donny and Nina (not their real names) moved, it's been blissfully quiet. It's like a new place. I swear the sun shines a little brighter! Everyone on the property seems happier. And I am falling asleep to the sound of Alan's snoring, and Dylan's purring once again. All is right with the world. Sometime soon, Donny and Nina's cottage will be rented, And I only hope that when it finally is, it will be to another ghost. Maybe this time, a female ghost.

Can you imagine that love connection?


Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Mr. Ghost does take one day off a year... October 25th! He stayed home on that day 2 years in a row now! If I ever get the courage, maybe I will ask him if he enjoys autumn as much as I do. Who knows, maybe it's his birthday or something. For now however, he seems to want to be left alone, and I can respect that. After all, he is my favorite neighbor.