Saturday, February 21, 2009

Photo of the day: Shell Game

Sometimes the most interesting thing about water is what's underneath. Oh the places we call home...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cat of the week: Edward

This week's CoTW is a true gentleman, tuxedo and all. Edward and I met yesterday and he decided my lap was a fine place to be. He purred, he played with a straw, he basked in attention. He's a sweet, gentle, friendly guy with lots of curiosity about the world around him and lots of capacity for love.

His reference number is A437380 and you can find out more at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA website.
Animals doing cute things. Or cute animals just being cute
As you know, I'm a sucker for animals. Love them. Every day I visit one of my favorite websites, the ever-adorable Cute Overload for my daily fix of kittens, dogs behaving badly, tiny pigs, and other critters designed to make you squeal.

Today the BBC is adding to my cute quotient by these videos. In a world that is, sometimes, sadly lacking in reasons to smile, I share these with you in the hopes of brightening your day.

Snow-crazed stoat goes berserk
Baby meerkats make their debut
Jack Russell tree-climber
Photo of the day: Bay View

I did manage to tear myself away from the fish sink to actually look at the bay. It was gorgeous out there yesterday, perfect for photographing water. This was taken across from Coyote Point. Looks like a nice day for a sail, doesn't it? I'll get the Dramamine.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Photo of the day: Fish sink

Yeah, it's a fish sink. By the bay. Looks far more scenic than a fish sink, doesn't it? Today was a beautiful day in Northern California and I stopped by the bay on my way to cat duty. The bay was gorgeous, but I was struck by the fish sink. Go figure...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

To sleep. Perhance not to sleep
I've been an insomniac all my life. Even as a child I'd lie awake half the night, waiting to fall asleep. I shared a room with my two sisters and I'd listen to them breathe (or snore) while playing little mind games to get myself through the night. I'd doze off and on and was OK living life on 3 or 4 hours sleep a night.

I'm still an insomniac. Only it's harder and harder to get by on so little sleep. And so, after a lifetime of yawning and dragging my way through the day, I've given in to sleeping pills. And I cannot tell you what a revelation it is.

I've tried everything. Cutting out caffeine. Hot milk. Warm baths. Holistic herbs and meditation. But nothing as ever worked. Now the little Ambien-wonderpill has made me fall asleep and I love it.

Friends, don't worry. I'm not an addict. I take maybe 2 or 3 a week, but those 2 or 3 nights have made a world of difference. I fall asleep, for the first time in my life, within 30 minutes. I sleep deeply (until the cat wakes me up at 3 am) but then I actually fall back asleep again fairly quickly. Again, for the first time in my life.

Without the pills it takes me anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours to fall asleep and then it's only for an hour or two at a time. I'll wake up, be wide awake for an hour or so and then drift off again for another few hours. This is honestly the very first time in my life when I'm getting continuous, quality sleep and I'm amazed at how it makes me feel. I have more energy. My back hurts less because I'm not tossing and turning and my muscles can actually relax for a bit. And it's easier to get things accomplished during the day because I'm not dragging my tired ass around.

On the nights, like tonight, when I'm not taking a pill I'll do my best to fall asleep naturally. But I know from 40+years of experience that it'll be a lost cause. I'll curl up in the darkness and try to shut my mind off. I'll do my best to relax. And two hours later I'll give up and watch a movie until I can't keep my eyes open (by which time the cat will be awake). But just knowing that in a night or two I'll be able to catch up on my sleep has made me much happier and makes the white nights easier to bear.

And, for those of you who are asleep, I wish you sweet dreams. I'll be having my own on Friday.
Photos of the day: Swirls

Oh the fun you can have with a camera, a glass of water, and a box of food coloring.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Photo of the day: Blue

Last week it was yellow. This week it's water but today it's also blue. From the fountain in front of Memorial Auditorium at Stanford.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Album
In the crowded antique store, next a hideous lamp featuring a coy shepherdess casting a longing glance at a long-misplaced shepherd, I found the album. The cover was battered maroon leather with “Our Photographs” lettered in flaking gold leaf, the final “s” just a smear of color after an “h” missing its neck.

The pages were thick and black; corners felt-softened through the years. Inside was a parade of black and white faces secured in place with black cardboard triangles. Weddings. Vacation trips. A graduation. But mostly just snapshots of people captured for no special reason except to save their faces. A few of the pages had captions written in silver ink, someone identifying individuals for ancestors who apparently didn’t care enough to save the book.

“Edgar and Tommy at the Lake” showed two young men mugging for the camera. Twenties’ style bathing suits looking laughable to modern eyes. The blur of a running dog suggesting movement denied to the forever-young faces, caught for posterity in exaggerated poses of the circus strongman. In the background the unnamed lake glistened flat and still like a Sears portrait studio backdrop.

“Janie, Mirella, and the Quigley’s, Logan Street” was written under a photo of children standing in front of a white house, the shade of some unseen tree rendering half the group in shadow while the others squinted into the distance.

The photo I liked the best had no caption. It depicted a young woman with a preposterously large had seated proudly in the driving seat of an immense dark car. Beneath the hat was an oddly modern-looking face. She looked more like a contemporary woman in her grandmother’s clothes than a woman of her day. Put her in jeans and a sweatshirt and she’d fit in at The Gap. But here she was an early daredevil with a Ford. I wondered where she was going, or where she had come from. Did she know Edgar and Tommy and Janie or was she another branch of the family?

Towards the end of the album there were blank pages waiting to be filled on, and one snapshot tucked in between pages, not stuck down. It was a crooked picture, slightly out of focus, of a couple sitting on a rock. Even with the bad photography it was easy to see that he looked at her like she was the sun and the moon. She was gazing towards the camera, past the photographer, at something that made her laugh. There was something about them that told me they were in love.

I turned to the inside front cover. $15.00 it said in faint pencil on a white label. Little enough for someone’s memories, I thought, and tucked the book under my arm.
Photo of the day: In the gutter

We had a lovely storm this weekend. Much needed rain fell pretty much all day yesterday and there's more threatened today. This week's theme is "water." It seems appropriate for this stormy Monday.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rectangular newspapers overflow round tables, but the large cup of coffee anchored it securely.

15 Across: Like Shakespeare's Ariel

The muted sounds of bad light jazz (is there such a thing as good light jazz) played over the coffee house's sound system as the man with the studiously artistic hair worked the puzzle.

9 Down: Chile capitol

In between thinking, drinking, and checking out the legs of the redhead sitting under the reproduction Toulouse Lautrec, he clicked the pen in a habit that would have been annoying, had anyone been close enough to hear him.

23 Down: Terminal stiffening of sinews (two words)

Across the room a couple with matching laptops and expressions of boredom ignored each other. She tapping her foot to something other than the jazz. He casting surreptitious glances at that redhead.

33 Across: Guess Who's _____ _____ Dinner?

Behind the counter the girl with the nametag that read "Oslo" filled a glass jar with Madelines and counted the hours until she could get back to the latest Nora Roberts. Her co-worker, who had no nametag, expertly poured foam and wondered where the readhead got the shoes.

51 Down: Chandler's Philip

Under the poster the redhead wondered why she bothered coming to the place anymore. It was always filled with losers doing the damned crossword puzzle.
Photo of the day: Jazz is yellow

The final picture in my "yellow" series was taken at KZSU, where jazz is yellow. (For the record, blues is blue, world is orange, reggae is pink, and country is red).