Saturday, January 14, 2017


"It was written... I should always be loyal
 to the nightmare of my choice."

~Joseph Conrad
Heart Of Darkness 
We are living in strange days. A presidential election in America had become something that I had never seen in my lifetime. A deeply divisive, dark Shakespearean play of dirty tricks and lies which led to Donald Trump's celebrated but unlikely win, and in less than a week, he will take the oath of office and become the next president. Since the election, two months ago, things have gone from depressing, to downright scary. In November, when the unlikely happened, I began to grieve. Hillary had lost to a man who promised everything to his supporters, with no details how it would be accomplished. Hillary had not promised everything, but did give a lot of details about what she knew she could change for the better. It all should have been a no-brainer for American voters. Experience. Concrete plans. Wisdom. Instead America had decided to go with Donald Trump, all because he promised to "shake things up" in Washington D.C. and beyond, and had brought the right tone of hatred to feed his supporters the red meat they craved so much.

But make no mistake... Donald Trump's win came by way of the Electoral Collage. He didn't win the popular vote by 2.9 million votes, but we have to stand by the voting system in place, so while most American's, who bothered to vote wanted Clinton, what we are apparently stuck with is Trump. Or are we? Things surrounding Trump has taken a strange turn. So strange that life right now feels like all of us are minor characters in a spy novel. We have an actual MI6 spy, Christopher Steele. We have a covert dossier on Trump, complete with salacious details, can you say... "golden showers?" We have international intrigue. And finally we have a bigger than life villain, bigger than Trump himself, Vladimir Putin. 

Trump will take the oath of office on January 20th. It's my fear that we are living in the last week of any kind of normal for quite a while, if ever again. It's my fear that when Trump takes the oath, our country will become something completely different than the free land I grew up in. Something spooky. Something less free. Something strange and lost. I feel this way because of the revelations that have come out this past week, contained in the information discovered by Christopher Steele while he was performing opposition research for one of the candidates running against Trump in the republican primaries.

There is something much worse than "golden showers" in that dossier. Something dark and unnatural. Something that apparently spooked the former spy to the point that he decided that it needed to be seen by the FBI. That implies a crime... a serious one. We all know right now that American's can no longer trust the FBI, at least the FBI under the leadership of James Comey. That fact was made perfectly clear Friday evening by democrats, upon leaving a closed door meeting with Comey on Capitol Hill. 

As Americans we all should have the right to know what shook everyone up so much. But you can't unlearn a fact, once it's in the open. When Trump's Access Hollywood tape came out, and I listened to his stupid voice bragging to Billy Bush about grabbing women's genitals, I actually tensed up so much I hurt my back and neck. It was like no other pain I have every experienced in my life. And to this day, it hurts every single time I think about what Trump said on that tape. Once it was played, once I heard it, there was no going back. Life changed.

Life is about to change again when Trump takes office. And it will change yet again when the investigation into the Russian influence on our democracy is all said and done. We won't be able to un-ring that bell. It will be horrific. It will be devastating. And it will change America forever. It will always be a part of our history, and it will probably change our path forward. And we won't be able to not know it. The America I find myself in now, is not the America I grew up in. On it's own that is normal. It's expected. But when I was a child, someone as unprepared as Donald Trump is on the surface, would never have gotten this far, but then when I was a child there was no such thing as "fake news." Or "reality TV." And Donald Trump wasn't even on the map. One thing that hasn't changed since I was a child. Monsters. And the evil deeds they do.

Will America recover, when all is said and done? 
I wish I knew.
Rachel Maddow said last night on her show that
 "knowing is better than not knowing."
 I hope she's right. 

 Mood: Quiet



Friday, January 13, 2017

A Splash Of Color

December 15th, 2014
Cull Canyon Park 

It rains.
And rains.
And rains.
But there is a sky above the rain
Nothing can rot the sky.
Earth has turned to mud.
What of it?
The heart of the planet is made of fire, of ardent sun.

~Visar Zhiti
The Condemned Apple; Selected Poetry

It was a rainy day. Cold. It was December, so of course it was cold, but I had the best time taking this photo! Everything looked black and white that day, except for that beautiful robin, sitting in the tree. I love days like this. What might be otherwise sad or lonely suddenly a splash of color, or maybe a laugh happens, and the whole day becomes something completely different.

You know. Life. 

And now for a new photo...

 January 2nd, 2017
San Ramon, California

Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Snow In The Abstract

 June 2nd, 2015

"It was a curious day, slashed with fleeting,
 familiar impressions."

~F. Scott Fitzgerald 

One day, during the summer of 2015, I was getting my car washed and the soap was flowing down the window in such a way that it reminded me of an abstract scene of Aspen trees covered in ice and snow. I had seen some trees, covered in snow, years ago, in the Sierra, and one particularly cold January day in the Berkeley hills and again in 2014 on Mount Hamilton road. Aspen trees are so beautiful in autumn, their leaves look like tiny lemon drops, and even in winter, when they are completely bare, there is something beautiful about the way ice and snow hug the branches. 

The day I took that photo it was 103 outside. Dry as dust, and I was about as far from winter as I was going to get! I suppose I was feeling lonely for a truly cold day. It was June 2nd, 2015, which is granted, still spring, but summer heat sometimes imposes itself with no attention paid to whether I was ready for it or not. Seasons do that. How about you? Do you see abstracts in silly patterns like soap, or maybe clouds? Everyone sees shapes in clouds. My friend Steven once told me he saw bunnies in clouds no matter what kind of clouds would be floating above him. I guess on that day I saw trees, with a few leaves covered in snow.

 Sierra Nevada, November 2016

Mood: Quiet

~Me :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It's January, But May Is On My Mind

"Lots of people go mad in January. 
Not as many as in May, of course, nor June. 
But January is your third most common month for madness."

~Karen Joy Fowler
Sarah Canary

It has been raining, for what feels like forever, but is more closely 7 out of the last 10 days. Different amounts on different days. But the rain has been serious... it's not messing around! And where it hasn't been raining, it's been snowing! Yosemite should be absolutely gorgeous with snow, and since this coming weekend is promising to be full of bright sunshine, I know the roads will finally be open.

I can't wait! I am aiming for Sunday, as that will be the middle of the three day weekend. My files of winter photos are seriously lacking, so hopefully it will be a successful photo jaunt. All I need is Alan, my camera, some snow, and a little bit of wanderlust. Well, actually, it would help if my Fibromyalgia isn't raging, so I will have to cross my fingers about that.

But honestly, even if I am in pain from head to foot, I need to get out and just do my photos. It's important to clear the winter blues by smelling the cold, fresh air, and distancing myself from the things I have no control over. Life has a mind of it's own. 

Like the day I took the photo above. It was literally my last day in our cottage in Berkeley. I was dead on my feet, just exhausted from packing and moving, but I needed to get out of the cottage for a bit. The landlord was coming by for a walk through, and Alan knew I was hurt and upset, so rather than see me lose my composure, he held it all for me, and I took my camera and went to a nearby park.

These gorgeous flowers were in full, beautiful glory! I spent about an hour or so just taking in the lovlieness of the park. I sat under one of my favorite trees, and said my goodbyes. That was one of the most hurtful aspects of leaving the East Bay, saying goodbye to that park, which was a second home to me. I still visit the park when I need to go to the Bay Area, and it is just amazingly pretty no matter what season we happen to be in. And even though I am a million miles away, it still feels like home whenever I visit, or when I go hopping around my archives, and I see these white flowers.

Mood: Quiet



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Beware The Man You Think You Know

Quincy School House
Quincy, California
October 15th, 2016
Songs Of Sapphique

"Walls have ears. Doors have eyes.
Trees have voices. Beasts tell lies.
Beware the rain. Beware the snow.
Beware the man you think you know."

~Catherine Fisher

As we inch closer and closer to Donald Trump taking office, I am finding myself thinking about different years of my life. I sometimes think about the first I heard about him. I think about how disgustingly seedy his life seemed, when the details of his first divorce came out. I remember thinking that it was a shame that affairs happen in marriages, but I remember thinking Ivana Trump was probably better off without him. 

I remember looking at pictures of the "other woman" and thinking despite the fact that she had slept with a married man, there was something gentle and likeable about her. I remember when Marla and Donald got married. She looked so pretty, and so glamorous. She looked happy, he looked like every other picture I had ever seen of him. He almost had this implication of "next" written on his appearance. And as it turns out... I was right. Marla would be thrown aside about 10 years or so down the road. Just as predicted by some of Trump's lawyers and friends.

And now the seedy, unfaithful husband will be president in 10 days and the joke is on his supporters because Donald Trump doesn't care about anyone but himself. He surrounds himself with YES people, and resists any kind of critique with not just dismissal, but aggressive dismissal. He thrashes and destroys anyone who dares question him. Whether they have his best interest at heart or not. If it's one thing we don't need in a president, it's a childish, aggressive narcissist who refuses to listen to anything that doesn't suit his predetermined ambition or inner dialog. 

We, America, are about to enter into the most dangerous time of my life, and that includes the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of JFK and the attempted assassination of Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. All things that seemed to bring us together as a nation. But things are different now, and Trump doesn't want us to come together. So, I don't know what things will be like a year from now, assuming a year from now exists. Trump seems to get a great deal of joy out of seeing American's turn on each other over him. His decisions are dangerous and at least some of his early supporters seem to be waking up to that fact, but it's pretty late in the game to have an epiphany. I don't want to see another president impeached, but Trump seems like he is barreling toward that end with his alliance with Putin, and his MANY conflicts of interest. And there is nothing anyone can do but hold on, and hope that Trump can be stopped before real damage is done to the United States. 

Rainy days make me think about what's about to happen. I can't get out and do any photography, and my body tends to be in more pain on days like this one. This week is full of rain, and jammed packed with senate confirmation hearings of some people who have NO business anywhere near holding a government office! Also later today, is President Obama's farewell speech to America. I don't know if I can watch any of it. I have mixed feelings about him as a leader, but I never went to bed frightened for my life or with a sense of foreboding like I feel with Trump. 

I have appreciated many things President Obama did in office, and other actions by him perplexed me and exasperated me to NO END. There is ten days left, and then the world will literally change forever! As I sit here right now... I don't see anything good coming from Trump taking office. Even when George W. Bush was in office, I had to reluctantly admit he loved his country, it's a lot clearer now that he still loves his country, and I can see where I was wrong about him to a degree. It was a complicated time, much too complicated for one post on this blog. 

If Trump manages to stay in the White House four years I will be 59 years old, should I survive. The thought of him in office eight years is almost more than I can take. The GOP is poised to do away with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and they want to privatized Medicare. Trump's followers either weren't paying attention, or just plain didn't care because now it seems like they are caught off guard by the predicted cuts to most social programs. I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry that they got so caught up in the gitchy, never boring, "reality" of Trump's candidacy that they voted against their own interests! We on the left tried to tell them. We tried. God HELP US WE TRIED! It's no solace that the people who will probably be hurt the most by Trump, will be his own supporters!

But in that we are all on a collision course with fate daily, there is nothing that can be done. So I am just listening to the rain, trying to hold on and photograph the rain for what it is, a cold distraction from how cold and dark life is sometimes. It's strange how beautiful and scary a rainy day can be depending on what window you are looking out of.

"I went to bed and woke in the middle of the night thinking I heard someone cry, thinking I myself was weeping, and I felt my face and it was dry."Then I looked at the window and thought: Why yes, it's just the rain, the rain, always the rain, and I turned over, sadder still, and I fumbled about for my dripping sleep and tried to slip it back on."

~Ray Bradbury
Green Shadows, White Whale: A Novel of Ray Bradbury's Adventures Making Moby Dick With John Huston In Ireland

Mood: Quiet