Saturday, February 14, 2009

Photo of the day: White in Yellow

Ah, Valentine's Day. Cards and chocolates. Roses and dinner reservations. And, of course, wine. Luckily for my "yellow" theme this particular vintage is clothed in the appropriate color.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Road Trip
The smell of the first rain on hot sage in the desert. Coming down the long sweep of the mountain to that sleepy 4-way stop at the bottom, roads stretching endlessly flat in three directions. Empty roads. On the radio Patsy Cline was going Crazy and I had the windows rolled down, drinking in the scents and feeling thunder echo around me. Jackrabbits in the distance, flashing impossibly long ears in and out between the manzanita. Patsy gave way to Johnny Cash. Johnny to Elvis. Elvis to Willie.

The rain came harder now. Falling in fat drops, crying dust tears down the windshield. In the slate-colored sky lightning frescoed brilliantly and was gone. In its absence the sky flattened and smoothed itself into a sheet of gray velvet. One solid sheet, no clouds, no definition.

Left, right, or straight? Signposts hinted at options but gave no answers. And the absence of cars gave me time.

I could see trees and the beginning of a town to the left. Ahead, nothing but a long stretch of pavement. To the right, more flat -- but a road ribboned out in a more interesting fashion, hints of curves hidden and discovered by the landscape.

Willie faded away and Hank began to berate Your Cheatin' Heart. I smiled and turned right.

Cat of the week: Ob-La-Di
My choice for cat of the week was extra hard this time around. In fact, it was a three-way tie between Mann (a polydactyl orange with a sweet personality), Kitty (a 10-year old sweetheart who's a perfect lap cat), and this guy. Ob-La-Di won because he has the sweetest, loudest purr of any cat I've ever met. Seriously, you can hear this cat purr in the next county.

Actually, Ob-La-Di (ID#434606) was going to be my CoTW when he first came in a few months ago, his photo wasn't available yet. He came in with his brother who was adopted in December. This guy is truly one of those "why hasn't be been adopted yet? This doesn't make sense!" cases. Ob-La- Di (or Obi, as I call him) is a perfect kitty. He's a bit shy at first but after a few minutes came into my lap (which he generously shared with another cat). Once there he purred non-stop, snuggled against me, bumped noses, licked my hand, and generally charmed me entirely. He's a sweet, gentle, loving little guy who just needs a good home. I cannot understand why he hasn't been scooped up. He's a charmer.

He's only 10 months old so he still has a lot of kitten energy and he obviously has a heart larger than his sleek little body would suggest. You can find out more at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA website.
Photo of the day: The Yellow Aisle

Now that I'm carrying a camera with me everywhere I'm always looking for things to photograph. With yellow as this week's theme, I was amused to turn down the canned fruit and veggies aisle and notice entire shelves of yellow. Apparently they stack the corn next to the pineapple. Add to that their yellow "on sale" signs and it's a whole row of yellow. Too bad I'm allergic to pineapple.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Photo of the day: Qwack

Ah, the long-suffering rubber ducky. Heralded in song and story. Well, song, anyway. (Thank you Ernie.) Ours sits by the tub and has never actually joined either of us in a bath. But it taunts the cat who glowers at it from across a watery expanse. Cipher (The World's Most Amazing Cat, Screw You if You Don't Agree tm) wants the duck but just can't figure out how to get it without getting wet (something to be avoided at all costs). Thankfully it has never occurred to her to try for it when the tub is empty. It's as if it doesn't exist then. Perhaps she thinks the water brings it when it pours into the tub and once that's happened, it's all over, the Red Sea has been flooded again. But one day I know I'll come home and find this guy lying in the hallway, tiny bite marks marring his happy little bill.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stella Mare
Years ago I knew a woman named Stella. She was big and brassy and spoke like a Joan Blondell character in a pre-Code film, only with a Polish accent. Stella was what is known in literature as "a character." I met her when I was Assistant Manager at a bookstore. Stella loved three things, her husband, Leo; her family; and romance novels. She would purchase all the series romances every month. Once I got to know her, I would put together a box with all the latest ones and she would always ask for me when she came in. Over time we got to be friends.

Occasionally Stella would join me on my break and we'd have coffee in the food court and she'd tell me about her latest adventures. She had a lot of them. At the time she was in her late 60s and was always doing wild and fun things. She tried surfing, scuba diving, karate and even roller blading. On the safer side she also took up yoga, Ikebana, and French cooking. She also told hilarious dirty jokes. I wish I could remember them, but I do remember hooting with rude laugher in front of the frozen yogurt shop.

Stella was a Holocaust survivor. She never talked about her time in the camp except once, in an offhanded way, as if it were no more a part of her life story than the guitar lessons she took for six months or the Vespa scooter she wanted for her birthday. I always wondered if her lust for life was due to her experiences with the Nazis. Perhaps losing her family and suffering so much herself made her appreciate life more; maybe feel the need to try everything so as to live life to the full.

I never asked her, though. There was always a "No Trespassing" sign around that time of her life. The fact that everything else was fair game made this silence all the more obvious. She told me about her sex life (great), her beloved dogs (the "angeldevils"), and about her sons, daughters-in-law and grandkids. But she never told me about her life before she came to the US.

Stella and Leo loved to travel and once she "adopted" you, you were bound to get some wonderfully tacky souvenir from her vacation. She brought me a snow globe from Hawaii, a dried pinto bean Rosary from Mexico, and a "can of flattened armadillo" from Texas. I gave her a hideous Halloween sweatshirt with a glow-in-the-dark pumpkin on it and she wore in in April. She also baked wonderful sugar cookies with little flowers stamped in them. They would literally melt in your mouth and whenever she came into the store with a batch work would pretty much stop while we all moaned in ecstasy.

A few years into our friendship, Stella and Leo moved to Phoenix to be closer to two of their sons and their families. I was happy for her, but sad to lose her from my life. We stayed in touch with cards and letters at first, but it was one of those friendships that was destined to fade from lack of face-to-face contact. She was, briefly, one of those "adopted family members" that come into my life now and then...given to me by fate to compensate for the emotional distance of my "real" family. She was an honorary grandmother for a while and then moved on. I have no doubt she adopted some other lucky people in her new home, bringing them cookies from her kitchen and ashtrays from Miami. I wish I knew what happened to her, I hope she's still alive, still happy. Maybe studying pottery or learning how to snowboard.

Stella, wherever you are, I hope you're doing well. Thanks for the memories. And I wish I could remember that joke about the nun and the cowboy.
Photo of the day: To be Read

They sit there. Those National Geographics. Silently mocking you with your lack of initiative as you grab for the remote control to watch something you could well do without. Meanwhile, the stack grows and, with it, your sense of guilt. I'm four months behind, you tell yourself as you look at the famous yellow-bordered covers. And you know if you pick it up you'll find out about mice and Mesopotamia. Tree shrews and Tunisia. The Amazon rainforest and life in the mountains of Chile. But still you turn away. One day, you say to yourself. But does that day ever come? Or do you have a shelf life on your magazines? Nothing older than six months? A year? Until your rack fills up? I know they're supposed to be a joy and yet, sometimes, don't you feel weighed down by all those magazines silently mocking you from the floor?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Photo of the day: Weeds

Day two of the yellow theme and I'm thanking the weed gods. While wandering around the neighborhood yesterday I noticed an unsurprising mid-winter absence of flowers. And an equally unsurprising abundance of weeds. This is one of my very own weeds. Yup, didn't need to trespass on anybody's lawn for this one. Just went out for the morning paper and there it was.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Photo of the day: 10

Well, since a fire hydrant inspired this week's "yellow" theme, what better way to start? I wandered up the street taking pictures of all things yellow, earning a few odd looks and one chatty woman asking me what I was doing, did I know anything about computers, how to copy music onto a CD, and had I ever been to Iceland?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Yellow. But not mellow.
I was talking to Husband about my idea of doing a theme week for my photo of the day. He thought it was a great idea.

Then I made the mistake of asking if he had a theme idea. The problem was, we were driving past a bright yellow fire hydrant at the time. His suggestion was, of course, "yellow"

Could you pick a more difficult color?

I've gone through my photos and I have nothing (NOTHING!) yellow in my album. So I have some shooting to do. (Yay!) I love a good challenge. So stay tuned, tomorrow....the first in a week-long series of yellow.
Photo of the day : Hardware

I ilke door hardware. The solid feel of an old doorknob in your hand. Not entirely round, but heavy and solid. A piece of ironmongery to be looked upon with approval.