Saturday, March 29, 2014

Oh, Okay, So That's Why That Happens!

I580 Angel 
Spring 2005

"When you wake up with a song stuck in your head, it means an angel sang you to sleep."

~Denise Baer

I love music! Almost all genres of music, except country. I have never much cared for country, however there are some country songs I have always enjoyed, and certain country artists as well. So now that I think about it, do I really dislike country music, or is it just way down on the list of types of music I enjoy? Hmmm?

Sometimes music makes an otherwise sucky day, so much better! Who doesn't love turning up the music, super loud, and singing along with a song that makes you feel really good inside? I do it all the time! But usually only when I am in my car, because my singing usually scares the cats! Well, mostly Hendrix, who does his best to comfort me. Dylan merely stares at me in annoyance. It's a hazard of naming your cats after musicians.

The worst time spent with music is when you get a song stuck in your head, and can't get it to go away! I once spent 27 weeks of my life with Take The Long Way Home by Supertramp, going around and around in my head like it was hopelessly stuck on a turntable! Don't get me wrong, I love the song, but really, one can only take so much!

Hey, looking on the bright side, at least it was a song I really love! It could have very easily have been a song I loathe like MacArthur Park or My Ding-A-Ling. LOL. Yes, Take The Long Way Home was much better! A couple months ago I had This Old Man in my head... why? Shrug... I have NO idea, but there it was! And it was playing LOUDLY! What the HELL was that about?

But see, the quote above has finally solved the mystery! We are all at the mercy of angels, who apparently have very strange sense of what is soothing... or very strange sense of humor! Personally, I think mine has a strange sense of humor! That makes sense, I just know God, who also has a strange sense of humor, would pair me with a silly angel!

Not that I am complaining! It's better than an angel who only listens to country music! Or 1960's television theme songs. Can you imagine getting the theme to Petticoat Junction hopelessly stuck in your head?

No, lets not do that! At least Supertramp's Breakfast In America was my favorite album ever! :)

Take The Long Way Home...
Supertramp from the Breakfast In America album.


Mood: Quiet But Content

Me :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Art About Town: San Mateo "Stilt Walkers" By Dennis Smith

"Stilt Walkers" By Dennis Smith
Leo J. Ryan Memorial Park
San Mateo, California 2009

"Art an love are the same thing: It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you."

~Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself To Live: 85% Of A True Story

Just a short post tonight. I am tired. My Fibromyalgia has been raging all week, and my whole body aches. There isn't much I can do but wait it out. It will turn around again... with rest. Plus, I am not in the best of moods for other reasons. Someone I care about, a pal, is going through a tough time, and there is very little I can do to help. It's a frustrating situation, but time heals all things. In the mean time it's hard to see someone in pain, from hurt feelings, and not be able to help. Life is kinda stupid that way. 

So... it's into the art for me! :) Nothing on earth makes me happier than climbing into art, as a way to dust off the head noise and cares. 


This is a sort of repeat. I first posted it back in 2009. I love this piece, it's truly one of the loveliest works of art around the bay! It sits in Leo J. Ryan park in San Mateo. The park itself is absolutely stunning, with a sizable pond, and plenty of shorebirds, but it's also lovely with roses and amazing trees with plenty of shade. Just talking about it right now brings a smile to my face. I must stop by there again, the next time I am in San Mateo.


"One eye sees, the other eye feels."

~Paul Klee

Mood: Quiet

~Me :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Car, The Lock And The Key... The GM Recall Of 2014

"The worst dream of the night, when you are parted from someone you love and you do not know exactly where he is, but you know that he is in the presence of danger. You are tormented by a desire to keep the one you love safe."

~Whitney Otto, How To Make An American Quilt

The Lock. 2007 Saturn ION

I am just going to say upfront... this is a RANT! It has to do with the HUGE General Motors Recall Of 2014. It has to do with the fear I feel deep down in my soul, every single time my husband, Alan, gets in his car to leave for work, and then come home at the end of his work day. It has to do with the sleepless nights I have spent, after reading about the various problems other proud G.M. customers have had with their Saturn ION's and other G.M. cars. The repeated repairs at the owners cost. The dismissive behavior of G.M. and their dealerships. And the full on lying about there being any problems with the vehicles at all, because of G.M's bottom line... their loss of profit!

Here is what happened...

On a beautiful day in September of 2006, Alan and I decided that the time had finally come to trade in our 1998 and 1999 Saturns in for new ones. They had served us well, but they were ready to put out to pasture. It was a hard decision, at least for me, because I get attached to inanimate objects, and I absolutely loved my Saturn SL1! Her name was Angelica, and she took me through some profound moments during those years. You never really put it together... how much a car can mean to you... until you go to sell it, and you realize all the memories you make in your car. Vacations. Long drives on Sunday afternoons. The trip to the cemetery to say a final goodbye to your mother. 


Okay, so the decision was made. Our late 1990's cars were reliable and so we reasoned why not just upgrade to the newest model Saturn? Which is what we did. Alan and I bought matching Saturn ION's, his in gold, mine in green. Cypress Green to be exact! I named her Lilith, and she was beautiful! She was dependable and got decent gas mileage, right up until 2 days after the warranty expired in 2009. That's when, for whatever reason, the problems began to happen. And they happened with such frequency that we couldn't afford to keep up with the repairs. Selling the car wasn't an option, because we wouldn't have gotten anything for it, so basically it sat in the driveway as little more than a planter box, while we saved up enough money to get it fixed!


Along the way Alan's car began to experience problems as well. Some of the same that my car had, and some that hadn't affect mine. The repairs were less expensive, but a bit more constant. We were doing our best to hold on until we got to the end of the payments. We finally made it! The pink slips came in the mail, and with the added money we now had each month, we put it together with our full tax return for the following year and put it into fixing my car, with the idea of now, with it completely fixed, I would have a car that was practically new. It only had 20,000 miles on it, and it was 6 years old. So, $3700.00 later, my car was fixed and drove like a dream, for exactly six months. Then the exact same fucking problem happened again!

The car nearly stopped dead on I580! We managed to limp to the side of the road, then we took the nearest exit, but let me tell you, it was some scary moments! Alan and I pulled over, on a street we were unfamiliar with, looked at each other, cussed a while, and agreed... enough was enough! The next day we took the car to a dealership, and traded it in for our current car... a 2013 Chevrolet Spark. And things have been less stressful every since, except for the fact that Alan is still driving his Saturn ION. I want him to get rid of that car, but he has held on because, frankly he just wanted a break from having to make an additional car payment. 


But when I read about what has happened to others who have owned Saturn ION's... it keeps me up nights. I remember him calling me, late in day, and telling me that on his way home the power steering just stopped! Dead. Fortunately he was able to pull the car over, and then limp it home, but how scary is that? The dealership told us it was a faulty ignition switch, but that we would have to pay for it because it wasn't on a recall list. Between his car and mine, we replaced the ignition switch 3 times... at our own expense!

So, sleepless nights and now a letter sitting on my desk, from G.M. finally admitting that there is a problem, but also admitting that they knew there was a problem with the ignition switch put into G.M. cars as far back as the early 2000's. That means that they deliberately put that damn switch in our cars, prior to our purchase of them, knowing there was a safety problem of epic proportions. EPIC! And adding insult to injury, the recall letter reads as follows...

"G.M. is conducting a recall. We apologize for this inconvenience, however we are concerned about your safety and continued satisfaction with our products."

Then the letter goes onto say that they don't currently have the parts to fix the defect, but that they will contact me when they do. Until then, just drive the car with the key off the ring. In fact, drive the car with just the key, no fob. Nadda. Nothing. Seriously? SERIOUSLY?



Alan and I are in the process of considering our options. I don't know what exactly will happen. G.M. says they will pay for the past repairs, which I hope will go easily, but in that we have already sold one of the cars, who knows how that will go. Sheesh. In the mean time, Alan is still using his car to commute to work, and I am losing sleep every time he gets behind the wheel. Hopefully things will be decided soon, but I am not sure. We have had our share of sudden expenses, everything from Elvis's chemotherapy a few years back, to having to install a security system because the new owners of our cottage think they can walk into our gated yard any time they want. 

Life is dumb sometimes. And it's damn inconvenient. But at least we didn't die on the highway like some have. Whenever I get too far into feeling sorry for myself, I think of those poor souls, and I count my blessings, and remember to be grateful for this life. And for Alan. And I say a prayer of thanks, and then I pray for each new day, with the hope that all will be well, not just for us, but for others in the same boat we are in.

What else can I do?

Hey, at least there is a congressional probe underway. Gee, don't I just feel all better now?


~Me :)

*Here Is Why You Should Pay Attention To The G.M. Recall Probe
(The Wire)

*A Complete Guide To The Stunning GM Recall That May Be Linked To Over 300 Deaths
(Business Insider)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Art About Town: Berkeley... "In Topaz" By Toyo Suyemoto

"Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen."

~Leonardo da Vinci

Here is one more poem, from the Addison street poetry panels. I like this one very much, but then again, most of the poems in this project speak to me. 

In Topaz
By Toyo Suyemoto

Can this hard earth break wide
   The stiff stillness of snow
And yield me promise that
    This is not always so?

Surely, the warmth of sun
  Can pierce the earth ice-bound,
Until grass comes to life,
  Outwitting barren ground!

The eastern states have had a dreadfully snowy season, and I am sure that the first warm spring day will feel like a little piece of heaven! But this poem speaks to me beyond the obvious. It gives me hope that like cold days, cold relationships don't always last forever. Eventually the sun comes out, again, and that cold is nowhere to be found. Not on the mind. Not in the season.

Just forgiven.

Just forgotten.

Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring And Monet

"It's on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly."

~Claude Monet

It's officially spring, which means I am going to be searching out all things pastel and garden! I am planning a trip, very soon, to the central coast. Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel, all along to coast of Monterey County, which will be an all day long event. One of which  that will leave me completely exhausted, but very happy inside! It will be a physical and mental workout to be sure, but nothing brings me to life inside, like a really good day with the cameras! The picture above was taken in the spring of 2005, at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. It's gorgeous there in the springtime. It should be absolutely stunning right now. I might pay a visit there this week or next. I will be in the park to photograph the tulips at the Queen Wilhelmina Garden, so I will probably try to take in as much as possible.

The following are some photos I did this past winter. Again I was inspired by Claude Monet and his attention to light and color. There is a small amount of enhancement to bring the original photo to a more artist feel. Most of the time I refrain from doing too much editing to my photographs, but when I set out to do something a little different, something slightly more romantic of just give the subject a softness, I will use the editing tools to create my version of impressionism. I am hoping to get the paint brush out later this year and do a painting, but then again I have been thinking of doing that for several years and have ended up procrastinating. LOL. We'll see if this is the year!

Three Of My Favorites By Claude Monet...

The Complete Works Of Claude Monet

Two New Original Photos From Winter

The Cliffs Of Pacifica...

I get excited just thinking about the outing with the cameras! The 17 Mile drive is full of amazing beauty, and the purple ice plant along on the cliff side in Pacific Grove is breathtaking, as is the Monarch Sanctuary! So much beauty! Spring may not be my favorite season, but it is full of a lot of my favorite things. If only we could drop autumn leaves in spring time, life would be just about perfect!

"Every day I discover more and more beautiful things. It's enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it."

~Claude Monet

Mood: Happy, Inspired

~Me :)

Monday, March 24, 2014


"We are all butterflies. Earth is our chrysalis."

~LeeAnn Taylor

The Conservatory of Flowers, in Golden Gate Park, just wrapped up it's incredible Butterflies and Blooms exhibit, last Sunday, March 16th. I meant to do a post about how much I had enjoyed the exhibit long before now, but something always came up. I did write multiple blog posts, as I visited throughout the year of the exhibit, but somehow, now that's gone, it seems that the year went by way too fast! I enjoyed it very much, just as in past years! Hopefully it will come back soon. In the mean time the conservatory has a new exhibit opening in April... "Chomp! They Came From The Swamp." It will be all about carnivorous plants. Excellent! I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon, then in the company of man-eating plants! 


My Butterfly Gallery
Conservatory Of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, 2013 & 2014

Waiting To Emerge...

Newly Emerged Great Southern White...

Great Southern White Enjoying Life...

Great Southern White On Daisy...

Beautiful Monarch...

Orange Alfalfa Sulphur...

Morning Cloak...

Anise Swallowtail...

Zebra Longwing...

Zebra Longwing In Motion...

Common Checkered Butterfly In Motion...

Such beauty! I have learned so much about photography, just from this one subject alone. Again it was a subject that Steven gave me a lot of encouragement with! We didn't know each other a lifetime, but in the short amount of time we were friends, I learned a lifetime of photography tips and it's still like his is just right here. :)

"Always be aware of the background, remember to look deeper into the shot." ~Steven

Mood: Grateful

~Me :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Love Bugs...

"Actually, it's nature itself that creates the most beautiful pictures, I'm only choosing the perspective."

~Katja Michael

When I saw these two love bugs on a wall the other day, I couldn't help but photograph them. Once again it was a reminder of my friend Steven. He used to occasionally post what he would call... "Bug Porn." Or sometimes, "Frog Porn." It just depended on what love sick creatures he came across. LOL. It was always funny, because Steven was such a gentleman. He was kind, and courteous of others, so he didn't say much flirty, although he would be flirtatious on occasion, but it was all in good fun. I miss his talent with the camera. I miss talking to him about stupid stuff, or laughing at one of his odd photos of two frogs mating. I don't know why, but sometimes it just comes up and hits me in the face, that he is gone. I don't know... maybe I am thinking about him because his favorite color was green, and that was the topic of yesterday's Round Robin Challenge, and I know he would have come up with something amazing!


I miss my friend. 

But I think of him often.

So somehow it feels like he is still here. 

I guess he still is in a way.


Mood: Quiet

~Me :)