Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 31: Halloween

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 31:  Halloween
Being in an apartment complex and in a city, we don't have kids come to our door.  Nor have I dressed for Halloween in years.  However, with the help of PicMonkey, I took this photo of me bedecked in all my Kirk's Folly fantasy jewelry.  It was for an event with Jennifer Kirk, one of the owners and the designer of Kirk's Folly jewelry.  As you can tell, I have a fair collection. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 30: Costume

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 30:  Costume
Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of me in this, but it's the last Halloween costume I wore. 

One company in which I worked, took Halloween very seriously.  I dressed as a white witch and a seer.  I wore an black ankle-length dress under a purple-blue asymmetrical jacket on the back of which I had used glitter and a gold pen to paint a pentacle encircled with astrological signs.  At my waist, I wore a black scarf with the symbol of the goddess in gold in silver.  Around my neck, I wore multiple necklaces, including a pentacle.  I also wore this fabulously sparkly midnight-colored scarf.  It's about 12' long so I wrapped it once and then just let it flow when I walked. 

I had straight, hip-length hair, which I wore loose but held somewhat in place with a moon-face pendant necklace around my head.  And rings, I wore lots of rings, including two that were moonstone.

The staff, or walking stick, is clear lucite with a ball on the top, looking like a crystal ball.  At the time, I had affixed numerous charms which dangled from just under the ball. 

I had taken a large, bright-colored shawl in to cover a small table just outside my cube.  On it, I placed my real crystal ball, my i-ching coins and a tarot deck.  I even did a few readings that day. 

It was fun and I've held onto the outfit hoping, one day, I'll be small enough to wear it again. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 29: Moon

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 29:  Moon
No matter than we have been to the moon, that man has walked on it and explored it; the moon is a magical place.  It has always been the symbol of magic and romance, celebrated in poetry and song.

I love all things celestial.  Whether it is the actual moon, or decorative interpretations, it is a theme very much present in my house. 

Hail to the moon, bright queen of the sky

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 28: Looking Back

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 28:  Looking Back
Looking back at only six of the 13 homes in which I've lived. 

Top Left:  From ages 2 weeks to age 6 - Atlantic, IA
Middle Left:  From ages 7 - 9 years (we rented a house for a year while this was built) - Atlantic, IA
Bottom Left:  9-10 years old - one of two houses in Fremont, NB

Top Right:  11- 13 years old - first house in Morris Plains, NJ
Middle Right - 13 years old through high school and until my parent moved from Morris Plains to Kansas while I was living in Boston - Perhaps my favorite of all our houses
Bottom Right:  The 3rd place I lived in Boston - An 1830's house in which I rented the right side from 1972 until I moved to California in June of 1975

There are a lot of memories associated with each of these houses.  It's fun to look back at the houses.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 27: Vehicular

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 27:  Vehicular (Four in one)
The last time I drove home from Petaluma, there I was, driving alone in relatively heavy traffic on the section of 101 with only two lanes in each direction. 

I noticed this pickup hauling a wonderful classic car.  I desperately wanted a photo of it for today's prompt.  I also didn't want to kill myself or anyone else in the effort. 

The joy of digital cameras is you don't have to look at what your shooting.  However, you also have no idea what you're going to get. 

I was doing 65 MPH; cars in front, cars behind.  I had one chance so, camera strap on wrist, camera in right hand toward windshield, left hand on the wheel and eyes on the road - CLICK!

Imagine my surprise and delight when I realized I had captured not only a good bit of the car, but a motorcycle I hadn't even seen was there, the back of the truck and my dash all in one.  Best of all, no one was injured in the taking of this photograph.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 26: Stone

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 26:  Stone
When I lived in Boston, Deb Simmons was my friend and traveling buddy.  We'd toss a mattress in the back of her "Blue Bomb" station wagon and hit the road on weekends. 

One of our trips was the Kancamagus Highway in Northern New Hampshire, a 34-mile stretch of fabulous scenery on Route 112.  One of the stops we made was a walk back to Champney Falls.  It was the walk from hell!  The no-see-ums--nearly invisible biting midges--we fit do drive one mad.  They'd get into your ears, nose, mouth; everywhere.  We had no idea how long was the walk and kept threatening we'd turn back but, at the same time, thinking we were almost there.  We had no idea the walk takes about 1.25 hours each way.  But we wouldn't give up.

Finally, we reached our goal.  Oh, no!  We also hadn't thought about having come at the end of the summer so the falls, which are not very high, were only a trickle.  However, nature compensates.

The falls are set amongst the pine and hardwood forest.  The pool below the falls was stunning and absolutely crystal clear. 
We barely talked, while we were there.  It was green and quiet.  We let the peace surround us.  We waded in the cold, mountain water and truly felt that this was where God lives, however you define her.I took very few photos there, but this one of the stones at the bottom of the pool seen through the water with the dancing light is one I've always particularly loved.  It reminds me of the beauty and sharing the experience with a special friend.

Our walk out was similarly blessed.  I'd like to think it was due to the sense of total peace we'd gained but I'm certain it was more to the time of day.  Whatever the cause, the no-see-ums were gone and we strolled quietly out of the forest and back to the car.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 25: People

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 25:  People

It's not the beautiful or famous people who fascinate me.  It's the ordinary, every day people; people just like me.  I never tire of looking at the faces of strangers.

At the same time, there are those people who are part of my life and for whom I am immensely grateful.  Some are true family, such as my parents, and some are friends who have become family over the years.
Both groups of people enrich my life and remind me that I am never truly alone.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 24: Weather

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 24:  Weather
It was a beautiful day in the the Bay Area today; about 61 degrees, partly cloudy, no appreciable wind.  A warm shirt was all one needed.

This was taken around 4 p.m. up in the Oakland hills near Mills Collage, looking across Oakland, the Estuary, San Leanadro Bay, across the San Francisco Bay to the Hills on the Peninsula.  Our entire view was a panorama from the Hills of Marin down past the San Mateo Bridge. 

I am very blessed to live in such a beautiful place.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 23: Broken

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 23:  Broken
This little guy found me many years ago at an antique store.  I know almost nothing about the piece except that the man is jade, the rolo loops are, I believe, jadite as are the round green beads.  I don't know what the red beads are. 

I rarely wear this piece as the beads are very heavy.  Sadly, one of his feet is broken and the piece between his shoulder and head on the left (as you see it) broke.  I now have both chains of beads fastened on the right side. 

No matter that it's not perfect; I still love it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 22: In Your Town

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 22:  In Your Town

Oakland covers 78 sq. miles, of which 28% is water.  It is made up of 7 major districts and 50 distinct neighborhoods.  I live in the Fruitvale/San Antonio District, and The Diamond District neighborhood. 

The top photo is looking over to Downtown Oakland in Central Oakland.

One of the many things I love about my neighborhood are the murals.  Thus mural, on the bottom, is on Lincoln Avenue, which leads to my street.  It's wonderfully done and is named "The Diamond Gateway."

Oakland has its problems, there is no denying that fact, but having lived as long as I have, it has become home. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 21: Calm

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 21:  Calm
The woods, for me, are always a place of calm.  Whether sunny or inclement, much of the world is hidden but it is always there.  You can smell the loaminess of the earth and the scents of all nature and beings.  You know the animals and birds are there, but even they are silent in the early hour.  You also know there are magical creatures living within, but they are not for us to see.

In the forest, there is a peacefulness and quiet that reaches in and touches my soul.  This is my church. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 20: Stripes

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 20:  Stripes
It's remarkable the way you can see things every day, day after day, and not really notice the patterns in them.  Then you're given a prompt; a simple word:  stripes.  You sit, you think, you try to come up with something different; something original.  Suddenly your eyes focus and there they are.  Stripes--vertical stripes; horizontal stripes.  Those simple horizontal stripes created by your metal blinds, in the construction of a wooden chair, in the wood grain of your furniture, in the shadows cast by the building's stairs and by the stairs themselves. 

Stripes are everywhere. All you have to do is notice them.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 19: Letters

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 19:  Letters
Needlepoint was my obsession for over 25 years.  During that time, I stitched countless large Christmas stockings, small Christmas stockings, various samplers and gifts.  One thing each of those has in common is the need to graph out the letters for the stocking or the design.  I also taught many people to stitch, including a good friend.  To this day, 23 years later, I still the graphing of names for her. 

I have an entire shelf of needlepoint books and many of those are alphabets for needlepoint and cross-stitch.  One can never have too many alphabet books.   

Here you see just a few of my books and some of the graphs in English, French, Italian, German and even Cyrillic Russian.  It's always good to keep them, both as a reminder of what alphabet you used when, and as a remembrance of that project. 

I'm not stitching these day--too focused on crocheting for charity--but I'll get back to it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 18: Antique

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 18:  Antique
Please ignore the ugly metal table leg and cord. 

I love antiques.  I always wonder at their history.  Who owned them?  Did they love them?  Did they use them?  Or were they just sitting in a corner, taking space? 

I particularly love desks.  Desks have a particular life.  I found this little 1800's inlaid-oak captain's desk quite a number of years ago at an antique shop in Burlingame, CA.  As are so many, the shop is closed now.  The moment I saw it, I knew I really wanted to make it mine, but it was not inexpensive and really not within my budget so I didn't buy first.

I couldn't get it out of my head.  It called to me.  I had a space just the perfect size for it.  It wanted to be mine. 

A week or so passed and I couldn't stand it any longer.  I called a friend to go back to the shop with me.  My feeling was that if the desk was still there, it was meant to be mine.  How's that for justification. 

It was there, waiting for me.  We looked it over carefully.  My pragmatic friend kept saying things such as:
"But LJ, it's not in perfect condition.  The finish is very worn."  
"That just means it was well used and loved." said I.
"LJ, did you notice the crack in the wood in the back?" 
"Yes, but it doesn't make it less stable and no one will see the back."

I was not to be dissuaded.  I only wish I knew who had owned it.  Did it truly travel the seas with a ship's captain?  Where did they go?  Is this where he kept his ship's log and wrote letters to his family at home?

I'll never know the answers to those questions.  All I can do is assure the previous owners that I love the desk, will take care of it and, hopefully, will one day pass it on to someone else who loves it as well.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 17: Fruit

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 17:  Fruit
Fruit.  I love fruit.  Apples, bananas, melons of all types, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, tomatoes; these rank very high on my list of favorites.

Then there are strawberries. Fresh, ripe, strawberries.  When they are at their best, they are my favorite.  Eating them plain, newly picked is heaven, when you can.  But otherwise, whether I eat them topped plain, or quartered with a bit of sugar, or with really good vanilla ice cream, or dipped in chocolate--really, really good chocolate; it doesn't matter. 

Their color is a feast for the eyes, their taste is a feast for the body.  I do love strawberries.

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 16: Wheels

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 16:  Wheels
Wheels are something about which we really don't think.  We take them for granted. Yet the are everywhere; a part of our everyday life and something on which we depend.  After fire, the wheel was mankind's greatest single advance toward civilization.

From my steering wheel, to one on a motorcycle, and on my car; those on trucks--large and my small Gabbie Marron, the UPS truck--to shopping carts, to hauling carts to the wheel on my yarn winder; wheels serve us, provide us and make our lives much easier.

To the ancients who created the first wheel, I say thank you.  Job well done!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 15: Fountain

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 15:  Fountain
There are a number of fountains in my neighborhood; the ones at the Mormon Temple, the simple one at the Greek Cathedral, the aerating fountains in Lake Merritt.  Somewhere I have photos of numerous fountains from my trip to France.

However, I happened to be at a friends house and remember the fountain in her backyard.  Everything about this spoke to me of the coming of fall.  The last vegetables on the vines which may, or may not ripen; the drained fountain and, of course, the fallen leaves. 

The choice became very simple and very clear.  This was my fountain for today.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 14: Chat

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 14:  Chat
Digging back into the archives of younger, thinner days.  This was taken in my old house in December 2000. 

There were actually five of us together celebrating Jody's birthday.  One of our friends shot this.  It is, by far, my favorite picture of my pal Jody and me.

I loved that living room, I loved decorating that house, particularly that fireplace, for Christmas, and I do love my friends.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 13: Steamy

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 13:  Steamy
My little Revere Ware whistling tea kettle is the best.  It lets me know when the water is boiling, but it sure makes the area steamy if I don't get to it fast enough.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 12: (De)Construction

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 12:  (De)Construction

There is/was a gas station up the hill from me.  It has been closed for sometime now.  Finally, they are starting to deconstruct it by removing the old gas tanks.  I've no idea what will be there in the future.  It will be interesting to see what happens to the space.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 11: Something Close Up

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 11:  Something Close Up
A combination of poor eyesight, a lot of large furniture, and living in a place with very few straight lines of passage makes walking around my place in the dark very hazardous to ones health and limbs. 

I am the Queen of Nightlights.  I have at least one in almost every room.  There is something reassuring about never walking into a darkened room--too many mysteries read, I suspect--and not having to turn on a bright light if I get up in the middle of the night. 

The challenge is finding fun nightlights.  I don't do fru-fru, but love the LCD lights.  My lights will go through a succession of different colors if I want, but I usually set them to whatever level of light I want for a particular path; white close to the floor for brightness, blue in the kitchen wall sockets, red in the bathroom which allows me to see without really waking me up. 

Whenever I travel, I pack two nightlights and I have one that permanently lives at my friend's house. 

Isn't it lovely that they have become so inexpensive and that stores such as Costco sell them in packets of 10 or 12.  I do love my nightlights.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 10: Emotion

Photo-a-Day - October 2012 - Day 10:  Emotion
In looking for today's prompt, I realized how few, if any, photos I have that show emotion.  So, I reverted back to this. 

In my blog of September 17th:  Mythical, I told the story behind this and included this photo within the text.  However, those who are new, or many not have read it, won't have seen this photo before. 

The short explanation is that I was completely surprised and overwhelmed to see what my friends joined together and stitched for me as a gift for my 50th birthday.  I am one very blessed lady.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 09: Hands

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 09: Hands
The best friends are those who will stand will you, side-by-side, and who will lovingly allow their lives to be intertwined with yours.   Never take your friends for granted, cherish them, appreciate them, be every mindful of them.   Always let them know they are they are important to you and that you love them. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 08: Angle

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 08:  Angle
Thanks to the angle support, this shelf holds my hats and most of my coats.  The USPS cap, and a sweatshirt, I received at a magnificent cocktail party they hosted during the October 2001 DMA (Direct Marketing Association) conference.  It was held at the top of the Sears Tower with a view overlooking Lake Michigan and Lakeshore Drive.  The USPS was sponsoring the US Pro-Cycling team.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 07: Light

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 07:  Light
No matter your mood, or how dreary the day, a stained-glass lamp just seems to brighten things up a bit.  I've always felt they add a bit of warmth and elegance, or charm, to a room.

The upper-left lamp is the only old lamp I have.  When I moved to California, I had practically nothing.  The only lamps I owned were two old lamps my parents had been given early in their marriage.  I still have, and love, both the lamps.  But I needed a little more light.  A trip to Mammy Pleasants' Parlour on Clement Street in San Francisco proved to be a treasure trove for me.  Among the many things I bought there was this lamp.  Look what it started.

A short side trip in this story.  One of the reasons I loved Mammy Pleasants' Parlour, was the fascinating woman after whom the shop was named.   Mary Ellen Pleasant was born a slave around 1814, and claimed to be descended from a long line of voodoo queens of Santo Domingo.  She said that her father was John H, Pleasance, the white son of a governor of Virginia.  Mary Ellen was very fair-skinned and throughout much of her life she passed as white.   Mary Pleasant became celebrated as a philanthropist and business woman, amassing a $30,000,000 fortune with her secret partner, Scotsman, Thomas Bell.  Called "the Mother of Civil Rights in California" from work begun in the 1860s, scholar and performer Susheel Bibbs is quoted as saying "Pleasant was Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Malcom X all rolled into one".   Sadly, as often happens, she lost everything and died homeless and penniless at the age of 92.  Her ghost is said to walk where her mansion used to be before burning down. 

The two lamps on the right were actually bought through QVC.  First the one on the bottom, as I love anything with a Celtic flavour; then the top lamp, which is only 18" tall, to add something cheerful to my office cubicle.

The Merlin lamp was somewhat accidental.  A friend had called looking for a birthday present for her nephew.  The first Harry Potter book had come out and he was fascinated by it, and by wizards.  I don't remember where I found this lamp--it could have been QVC--but it was incredibly inexpensive at $15.00.  I ordered one for her nephew and, being a fantasy fan all my life, ordered one for myself, as well.  It's on my bedroom dresser and always makes me smile.

My lovely lamps both add light to my rooms and to my spirit.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 06: Grateful #2

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 06:  Grateful #2
It is such a blessing to still have both my parents.  Dad is now 90 and Mom will be 86 in November.  It's an even greater blessing that both are in good health.  I am incredibly fortunate and come from a good gene pool.

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 06: Grateful

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 06:  Grateful
There are so many things for which I am grateful.  I can, and do, fill volumes listing them.  From that gratitude comes an immense appreciate for all that I have and, in turn, a desire to do something for others.  This is something which brings those two aspects together.

Crocheting for charity is extremely important to me and crocheting for Knit a Square means so much.  While I do it for the AIDS orphans and abandoned children, I also do it in memory of my friend, and the friends of my friends, who passed from AIDS-related illnesses.  Every stitch is made with love for them.

However, being unemployed, it's not always inexpensive.  While I am grateful this is something I can do, I am incredibly grateful to those who have sent me stashes of yarn, friends who have sent me weaving needles for the ladies in South Africa to assemble the blankets, and to a friend in the KAS group who just sent me several polybags all marked, address tags, completed customs forms and even some money to help pay for the shipping. 

After I've made a couple hats, I have everything I need to pack them up with my 30 squares and send everything off to South Africa.  The gift to me is, I believe, even greater than the gift to them.  Seeing photos of the children wrapped in our KAS blankets and wearing KAS hats fills my heart.  For that I am truly grateful.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 05: Shadow

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 05:  Shadow
The play of light and shadow can be fascinating, intriguing, and sometimes even mysterious.  In this case, I love both the soft wallpaper look of the leaves yet the hard metal of the fencing which creates the geometric shadow behind it.  Add to that the sepia tone but then realize these were the actual colors; it's not enhanced. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 04: What You Read

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 04:  What You Read
This collection of short stories, by British mystery author John Harvey, is more a case of what I read, and I am reading, to review for I Love a Mystery.  John Harvey is probably best known for his Charlie Resnick police procedural series, but he has also written a trio of books with protagonist Frank Elder, and numerous standalone mysteries.  Among his many talents is the fact that he is also a published poet, traces of which are very evident in his writing.

I was very lucky to have attended a reading and signing by Mr. Harvey.  It not only introduced me to his work, but I learned he is also wickedly funny and very charming in person.

Ordinarily, short stories are not my favorite reading.  By the time I am thoroughly engrossed in the story, it's over.  Mr. Harvey, however, is such a fine and talented author. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 03: Short

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 03:  Short
There is nothing more frustrating than coming up short of finishing the thing on which you're working.  It's even worse when you know, with absolute certainty, you've no more of that color. 

The good thing is that this is one of 30 squares I'm making to send off to Knit-a-Square.  The squares are then taken and made into blankets for the 1.9 million AIDs orphans and abandoned children in South Africa. 

Because the children love bright colors, I shall remove what I've done of this row, switch to another color, and finish the row and this square.  Only four more to go before I pack up all 30 squares, along with packets of plastic weaving needles sent to me by generous friends, and ship them off.

Thirty squares isn't a lot, considering the need, but it's something and it contributes to squares received from crocheters and knitters all around the world.  I only send 30 at a time, as shipping to South Africa is very expensive and that's all I can afford. 

If anyone knows a company who would either like to sponsor our shipping, or ships regularly to South Africa and would be willing to receive packages from around the US to ship on to South Africa for us, we would be grateful beyond words. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 02: Statue

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 02:  Statue
Strolling through the Louvre in Paris with my friend Linda, we came across the marble bust of this Athenian man.  Simultaneously, we exclaimed "It's Christopher".  Christopher was the man with whom I was living in Boston, during those years.  His hair and beard weren't quite as curly nor as long, but otherwise it is a bang-on likeness.  How could I not take his photo?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 01: Basket

Photo-a-Day - Oct 2012 - Day 01:  Basket
Although I took this at my friend Jody's house, it so made me think of my grandmother.  I first remember her using a wash tub and hand-crank mangle.  She would then take the wet clothes down to the clothing line, in her dress and stockings and flat shoes.  There she would pin them to be dried in the sunshine and fresh Iowa air.  Many years later, they did have an automatic washer and even a dryer, but she would only use the dryer on rainy days or in winter. 

There are many way in which my friend reminds me of my grandmother; her ability to do so many different things from very fine knitting (gram did all kinds of needleart), to gardening, to cooking and baking.  The only thing gram didn't do was household repairs, as that was grampa's job.  But as with gram, when she can, Jody dries her clothes on an outdoor line.

The one thing on which we all agree is that there is nothing like clothing and bedding which smells of sunshine.