Saturday, March 06, 2010


I put in some extra time at the shelter today. We had a professional photographer volunteer her time to take pictures of some of our long-term cats so they can show their best on our website. I've never been in a position of having to keep a cat focused for extended periods of times. Cats, I've discovered, are not cooperative when it comes to posing for pictures.

When I socialize the kitties, it's all about keeping them entertained. If they want to run around and play, that's what we do. If they want a lap, they've got one. The cats pretty much dictate how the visit will go. But today I had to try and get them to sit still and look up, preferably towards the nice lady with the camera.

I had no idea how hard it was going to be. it may have been one of the silliest things I've done in a lifetime of doing silly things. Standing there, waving pipe cleaners or squeaky toys. Snapping my fingers. Making odd noises. Anything to keep them focused. In all we photographed about seven cats in two hours and only one was cooperative. This guy sat there, still and charming, and let her snap away. It only took us about five minutes to get a dozen good shots. Other cats we had for 20 minutes at a time and only at the end got something usable. The poor photographer got lots of lovely butt shots, tops of heads, or nice close-ups of side markings. But getting a full on shot of a kitty when he or she has her eyes open, looking at the camera, and still -- that was a work of epic proportions.

The one thing I keep learning from working with the cats is patience. Today was another lesson is that. But I think she did get some lovely photos and I can't wait to see the results on the website.

And, in spite of the fact that we worked with several red cats, I came away with only one scratch. (Laramie, some day you and I will be friends!)
Photo of the day: The Train to Reno Don't Stop Here No More

So you'll have to go by buggy if you're heading up north.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Love in the Soup Aisle

Here's the scene:

An old woman, probably in her 80s, pushing her cart slowly down a supermarket aisle. Coming towards her is her husband, carrying two boxes of cookies. He looks at her, smiles broadly, and says happily:

"Look, those cookies you like are on sale!"

That, to me, is love. This man was so happy that he could do something, however small, for his wife.

I want to be just like that when I'm in my 80s. And I know Husband is just the kind of man who would look out for those cookies I like.
Photo of the day: I Do the Rock

From beautiful downtown Davenport, California.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Hotter Than Hot

Speaking as a happily heterosexual woman....could Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not be any hotter? That smoldering look. The husky voice. That sassy personality. There are some women I just "get". I get her.

On the other hand, there are some women that are considered sex symbols that I honestly do not get. I mean even if I were a man, or a lesbian, there is no way on earth I would find Angelina Jolie sexy. I just don't get her. To me she's all lips and not much personality. I get Halle Berry. I don't get Natalie Portman. I get the classics (Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly) I don't get the moderns (Liv Tyler or Keira Knigtley). So I suppose it's a good thing I'm straight, otherwise I wouldn't have anyone to lust over.

Or maybe I was just born in the wrong generation. To me the sexiest man ever was Cary Grant.

It seems to me that actors in the Golden Age of Hollywood used to have charm. A certain grace. And, most definitely, intelligence. Today's actors often lack all three. I'm not saying that Angelia Jolie is a dumb woman. For all I know she could be a Rhodes Scholar. But when I look at her I don't see wheels turning behind the eyes. And charm, that most elusive of all qualities, is a dead commodity. Occasionally you will see actors that have real charm, but today what passes for charm seems to be snideness. And it seems anyone even mildly attractive, with a large enough chest, can be a star. Talent is secondary. In the old studio system I believe it was the same, but if you didn't have talent you were stuck as the best friend or the smart-cracking waitress. You weren't given star billing and paid $25 million dollar to look nice in luxurious clothing.

All of the classic actress of Hollywood had acting talent. They may not have started off with it, but they learned and they got better -- or they got canned. You many not like Joan Crawford, but you can't deny she had a way of conveying evil that could be quite chilling. Grace Kelly, everyone's favorite cool blond proved she was not just a pretty face in roles like Dial M For Murder Country Girl and Rear Window. And many would dismiss Audrey Hepburn as just a pretty,charming actress with not much depth. Until they see The Nun's Story where she struggles with her imperfections as she tries to find faith.

These are deep, thoughtful performance were actresses we required to show depth of emotion, not how well that could ass-kick a ninja. (Although personally I think Katharine Hepburn could take on anyone). It's just odd to look at the all those classic actors and wonder if they'd have a career now. I mean who would hire Humphrey Bogart. He's gruft, he's got a scar and a bit of a lisp. Not terribly handsome. No, they'd make Sam Spade into Matthew McConaughey, with perfect teeth and clear blue eyes. And run The Maltese Falcon.

They had faces then. Actors. Even the extras. The glorious Thelma Diamond, the delicious Eric Blore, each had a distinctive personality so a movie was packed with real people. A real waitress who would give you a bad time for ordering tea instead of of coffee, or a cop who you can charm out of writing that parking ticket. Small interactions with minor characters that gave those sorts of films that charm. A charm that is, sadly, lacking in contemporary cinema.

Now it seems if you see an extra it is only as a prelude to them having their lungs removed by a snow plow.

No, I don't want body part and blood. I want Hichcockian suspense.. A good plot, A strong hero meets a strong heroine and together they save the world from birds, anarchy, and yet another verse of che sera sera. Put that on, I'll watch it all night long. But give six idiots small amounts of clothing, lock them up in a soon-to-be-abandoned movie studio where various murderious attacks have taken place and let the hijinks begin. Woo whoo....can't msis entertainment with that one can you?

No thanks, I'll still wit Cary Grant and James Stewart, Katharine Hepburn and Barbara Stanwick, Gene Kelly, Fred & Ginger, for me, I like my movie stars with glamour, with grace and brains, and a filter systems that lets than turn away crap So I see fewer ,movies that my contemporaries see, but I will happily see all of mine multiple times. Casablanca for instance I could probaby watch ever day until I die and still see something I hadn't noticed before. I would derve more pleasure from my 53rd viewing of Singing in the Rain than I would from my first viewing of anything by Quinten Tarintino.

Unless his film stars Gary Grant.
Photo of the day: Husband's Bow Ties

Husband wears one to work every morning, I'm sure during the interview process they thought he was trying to make a good impression. He did, But I think they were surprised to find its an everyday thing with him. He's become so known for this look that last Haloween the rest of his team dressed up as him. Dark slacks, a dress shirt, and a bow tie. It was so funny. None looked quite as dapper as he, but perhaps I'm partial. Anyway, it's nice to have a style and bow ties are his.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Photo of the day: All I Need is a Lock

Old keys are so much more interesting than new keys. New keys just unlock doors. These keys unlock the imagination.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Photo of the day: Drops

From our dear friend, Mother Nature.

Monday, March 01, 2010


Overheard at the grocery store:
Man on cell phone: I'll be so glad when the Olympics are over and I can go back to watching sports.

Overheard at the gas station:
Woman talking to her husband who is putting gas in the car: Don't forget we need to stop at Walgreens before we go home. You're out of whopee pills.
(My first thought was Viagra. But I suppose it could be Vicodin.)

Overheard at the shelter:
A woman to her friend: It was an OK first date but it would have been a lousy second date.
Photo of the day: Bygone Necessities

It used to be that everyone had silver-backed dressing table accessories. These two brushes have the initials of both my father and my grandfather, so I'm not sure which one owned them. But the live on my dresser. Never used, but a graceful reminder of an era long ago.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What's Wrong With Looking Out the Window?

I saw some horrible minivan/SUV ad today that features dual DVD players "for the kids." Oh, great. I think one is a lousy idea. But two? Who needs two?

What's wrong with looking out the window? I used to love it when I was a kid. Hell, I still do. I love it when Husband drives and I have free reign to look for deer and birds, read odd bumper stickers, look into people's yards. It's great fun. And don't give me that crap about "keeping kids entertained." That does keep kids entertained.

When I was a kid we used to all pile into a huge station wagon (no SUV. No pop-up table. No cup holders. No DVD player.) We had an 8-track player and AM radio. Eight people in one station wagon for a six-hour trip up to the mountains. Sure we fought and got bored and got on each other's nerves. But we also sang cheesy songs, played the license plate game, and played the "three things" game. Everyone had three things that had to find on their trip. Like a red pick-up truck or a motorcycle with two people on it. If you were the first to find your three things, you won.

But mostly we just looked out the windows. I think that's where I got my interest in photography, and my appreciation for seeing things that most people overlook. I would love thinking I was the only person to spot that herd of cows grazing on the hillside. Or the river playing hide-and-seek with the highway.

I think it's sad that we're raising a generation of kids who will never look out the window. Whose idea of a road trip with the family is to strap on headphones and watch their own movie. No talking. No interaction. Just you and Finding Nemo. But I recall our trips as a time when everyone in the family learned all the words to the Glenn Miller music my parents loved so much. As the time when we told bad knock-knock jokes, made up word games, and got inordinately excited when we saw a sign that began with the letter "X".

Remember that the journey is half the fun. It's not something to be gotten through quickly, ignoring each other, and not interacting. It's the perfect time to get your kids to keep an eye out for wildlife or to play the alphabet game with billboards. It's the time when all those camp songs you thought you'd forgotten should come back to you and be passed down.

I am so grateful my parents didn't have DVD players in the station wagon. Hell, if I remember correctly, they didn't even have enough seatbelts for all of us.
Photo of the day: A Rich Flower

It must be rich. It lives on the Stanford campus.