Friday, November 30, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 30: Roadside Attraction

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 30: Roadside Attraction
It's odd how one establishes patterns of where one goes, even within one's own area.  I drive up Lincoln Avenue all the time, but almost never go past where it intersects with Mountain Boulevard.

One day that changed.  I headed on up, past where the Lincoln changes to Skyline, on a morning when I was looking for a photograph for the prompt "calm".  I knew exactly where I was headed.  Yet I also had other prompts in mind and was on the lookout for those as well when I saw this building on my left.

Rather than stop then, I finished taking my intended shots, and pulled over at this roadside attraction on my way back down the hill.  I am so glad I did as I was astonished at what I learned.

This little house, known as The Abbey and The Hights, is where poet Joaquin Miller lived.  

I move now to information from Wikipedia:  "From 1886 to his death in 1913, Joaquin Miller resided on a hill in Oakland, in a home he called "The Hights" [sic]. He planted the surrounding trees and he personally built, on the eminence to the north, his own funeral pyre (not used) and monuments dedicated to Moses, explorer General John C. Frémont, and the poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The Japanese poet Yone Noguchi began his literary career while living in the cabin adjoining Millers' during the latter half of the 1890s."

For those unfamiliar with Joaquin Miller, as was I before moving to California, I provide the following information also from Wikipedia:  "Joaquin Miller was the pen name of the colorful American poet Cincinnatus Heine (or Hiner) Miller (September 8, 1837 – February 17, 1913).  Called the Poet of the Sierras and the Byron of the Rockies, he may have been more of a celebrity in England than in his native U.S. Much of his reputation, however, came not from his poetry but from the image he created for himself by capitalizing on the stereotypical image of Western frontiersmen."

When traveling a road, one just never knows what one might find.  Now, I shall always remember what I found simply by taking the suggestion of Robert Frost, and when, finally

I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 29: Oxymoron

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 29: Oxymoron

This was a tough prompt, particularly as two people already did "jumbo shrimp" and I couldn't use the obvious subjects of anything political or religious.  But I scoured my cupboards and came up with packaged salad dressing.  Unfortunately, I thought it said "Artificially crafted" and "All Natural".  Nope; it said "Artfully crafted."  Sigh - so I need new glasses.

Here is my second attempt--an ebook of Restless in the Grave.   

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 28: Boat

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 28: Boat
Each time I come down the hill toward home, I look to see how many ships are in the Bay.  Although it makes me sad to see so many products coming from China, it makes me happy knowing Oakland has a deep water port that employs so many people.  And it always makes me happy looking across the Bay.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 27: Leafless Tree

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 27: Leafless Tree
A study in textures and colors; looking out the screen door at the leafless tree set off by those still dressed in the autumn colors on the other side of the fence against an early morning sky. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 26: Communication

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 26: Communication
Communication is an important and wonderful thing. 

I'm such a tourist; I become so excited when I finally see something about which I've read for years.  I think my driver must have thought me a bit nuts when I insisted on taking a photo of a London telephone box.  It's not a blue police box, but you take what you can find.

As a reviewer of mystery books, it's important I communicate an honest opinion.  Even in reading, I'm a tourist--only one of these books is set in the US.

Communication between friends is the most important.  Our friend Gerry took this picture of Carol and I communicating before watching the movie "Lincoln" last night.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 25: Cream Pitcher

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 25: Cream Pitcher
Confession time.  This very heavy, deeply etched, 6" crystal pitcher was purchased as a gift for a friend.  However, I so seriously fell in love with it, it became mine and I gave her something else--equally nice--instead.  I do love all things Scottish. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 24: Ear(s)

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 24: Ear(s)
All the members of this house are blessed with very good hearing.  Of course, with the two furry being, the hearing my be selective. For the human, my hearing is sometimes annoyingly good as certain frequencies will cause vertigo, and repetitive sounds drive me crazy, but I am still every grateful for my hearing--and for cz earrings; lose one and it costs less than $100 to replace the pair.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 22/23: Turkey / Empty

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 22/23: Turkey / Empty
From the glorious turkey ready to be carved to the very empty dessert plate, it was a glorious Thanksgiving spent with good friends.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 21: Cook

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 21: Cook

Those who know me, know cooking is something I can do, but don't enjoy doing.  At parties, I'm the one who volunteers to bring green salad or, if I must, the vegetable dish, but leave the main course and dessert to others.  I've also been blessed to have friends who are wonderful cooks and do enjoy it. 

That said, I do have about four dishes I make moderately well; meatloaf, honey-glazed chicken legs, pork roast with stuffing and veges, and pot roast. 

A dear friend gave me a crock pot, thinking that would help.  I don't think she had in mind that I used the liner pot for making pot roast in my oven.  However, it came out really well.  So for lunch today--lunch being my main meal of the day--I'm having pot roast with roasted carrots and coleslaw.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 20: Grateful

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 20: Grateful
I'll freely admit there are days when it's hard for me to step back and realized just how blessed I am.  Assembling this collage reminded me of just some of the things for which I am grateful:

-  My dear friends Carol and Ron who have made me part of their family
-  SASsy Stitchers; my Facebook and Ravelry group of wonderful women who love working with fibers and have become my friends
-  Books and my passion for reading which transports me to other times and places
-  The other members of the fabulous foursome--Georgianne, Jody and Priscilla

-  My wonderful, wonderful parents
-  Picture This! which has become my on-line family; I can't say how much I love them all
-  Nature which sustains my soul and connects me to the universe
-  T.S. Elliot and Tigger, my buddies, cuddlers, source of amusement

-  Crocheting for charity which keeps me mindful that there are millions of others whose lives are much harder than mine
-  Doctor Who but more for all the friends who indulge my love for that wonderful show.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 19: Family

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 19: Family
Or at least, one side of it.  In 1961, we knew we'd be moving from Fremont, Nebraska to Morris Plains, New Jersey.  The immediate family all gathered, sadly for the last time.  Grampa and Grandma Roberts (dad's parents) were also there but I don't have a photo with us all. 

This is the Bingham, Nissen, Roberts side:
Back row:  Gram Nissen,  Great-Gram Bingham,   Mom,   Nancy
Front row:  Me,    Dad,   Grampa Nissen

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 18: Flow

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 18: Flow
I love clouds and find them endlessly fascinating.  To see them from the air, watching them flow across the sky and shadow on the landscape below is a special gift of nature and technology.  May I never lose my sense of wonder.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 17: Giant

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 17: Giant
It was GIANT that I was able to celebrate my mom's 86th birthday with her and dad.  I am one very lucky girl.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 16: House of Worship

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 16: House of Worship
Traditional religion and I parted ways a long time ago.  However, I do love history and architecture.  So I chose these three as examples.

The spire-topped church on the left is All Hallow's Church - Founded in 675, it is the oldest church in London, and contains inside a 7th-century Saxon arch with recycled Roman tiles, the oldest surviving piece of church fabric in the city.  It is next to the Tower of London.  The church was built on the site of a former Roman building, traces of which have been discovered in the crypt.

The church in the center with the square tower is St. Andrews in Sonning-on-Thames.   In 909 AD, this became one of the two cathedrals of the Ramsbury and Sonning.  Some Saxon stonework can still be seen in the church today. The north aisle dates from the 13th century and the south aisle dates from the early 14th century. However, the church as it can be seen today is largely Victorian, with major restoration done in 1852–3 and 1876.

On the right is domed St. Paul's Cathedral.  Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604.  The present church dating from the late 17th century was built to an English Baroque design of Sir Christopher Wren, as part of a major rebuilding program which took place in the city after the Great Fire of London,  and was completed within his lifetime. The cathedral is one of the most famous and most recognizable sights of London, with its dome, framed by the spires of Wren's City churches, dominating the skyline for 300 years.

Thank you, Wikipedia, for the fascinating information.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 15: Lips

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 15: Lips
Sorry, it was all I could come up with on the fly.  Lips; painted and plain.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 14: Salt Shakers

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 14: Salt Shakers
Who knew I had so many salt shakers?  From my large everyday, counter-top stainless and black (top right), to my very fun English Austin Min-Cooper (middle right), my wonderfully fanciful Kirk's Folly shaker that was always in my desk drawer at work and is now on my desk at home (bottom corner).  Then we have the shaker which goes with my Price Cottage Ware set and finally, the salt to my Waterford set for company and special occasions. 

Each has it own personality and associated memories. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 13: Shoes

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 13: Shoes
Perhaps because it was so hard to find my size when I was younger (5 1/2 AAA with quad A heel), I never developed a passion for shoes.  Over time, my size has increase (7 med), but my ankles have been sprained one too many times and a bone broken.  Now I go for flat and comfortable.

My around the house, every day footwear are my very old, very broken in Dr. School's wooden sandals.   I don't know how long I've had them, but I hope they last until my very last breath.

My going-out almost everywhere shoes are my red Reika's with Velcro straps.  They are the lesson in buying more than when pair when you find them as they are now discontinued.  I would have loved a pair in black, but I did find a pair in whiskey brown.

The black pair are my grown-up pair. They have a wedge heel, are black patent but the top and side have elasticized fabric.  Attractive and comfortable; perfect!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 12: Sport

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 12: Sport
I love water; fresh water, salt water, being next to the water, being in the water, being on the water.  I have a friend, now living in Portland, who took me sailing with her and even take the helm.  I was one very happy lady sailing on the Bay.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 11: Anachronism

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 11: Anachronism
From the Tower of London:  Period costumes on a modern sidewalk in front of a rubbish bin, bench and fence. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 10: School

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 10: School
This is rather self-explanatory--my high school graduation photo and commencement program. 

From here, I attended one year of junior college (hated it!), and then went to Katherine Gibbs School in Boston.  KGS was the Harvard of executive secretarial schools--and cost only $300 less than Harvard.  Most of the secretaries to the Presidents of the United States were Gibbs graduates, as well as CEOs.

My life took a different route.  Although I began as a secretary, even for the Director of KGS Boston, I quickly moved into administrative management, managing a team of 25 people at 22 years old, and then on to my true love, marketing.  It also lead me from Boston to California.

It just goes to show that you never know where life will lead you.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 9: Tapestry

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 9: Tapestry
 Perhaps in a previous life, I froze to death or at least lived somewhere where I felt I would never be warm.  For whatever reason, I have a passion for afghans and throws.  And, of course, also have a passion for books and collectibles.  When I saw the tapastry woven throw on the left, I fell in love with it.  My lovely parents gave it to me for Christmas one year.  Not only does it perfect match the chair on which it resides, but I love the colors reverse from a positive to negative, light to dark backgrounds--my personal favorite.

On the right is me at my parents place standing next to a tapestry from the Manufacture des Gobelins in France.  I was honestly a bit surprised, but very pleased, that my mother enjoys it being "just a little bit naughty". 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 8: Transport

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 8: Transport
I was determined that my first car would have a standard transmission.  In 1970, I bought my beloved 1968 122S Volvo and then had to learn how to drive it.  We lived in a pre-Revolutionary War town and my friend, Margaret, spent one entire day with  me driving around the town green with lights at every corner, until I mastered starting in first gear.

I loved my Volvo.  I could drive it almost as if it were a 4-wheel vehicle and it held it's own in all weather conditions.  It went with me to Boston and came to California.  Only after my ex- had dinged it up numerous times and it needed it's dual carburetors replaced--too expensive for me to do--was it retired.  I sobbed when it went away.

In the center, is Gabrielle Marron looking very sporty in her tarten touring cap.

At the bottom is my wonderful Jeep Liberty Sport which is, indeed, a 4-wheel drive.  One of these days, I'll actually drive it somewhere that I can use that feature.  That said, I love my Jeep, almost as much as I did my Volvo.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 7: Tools

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 7: Tools
I do have all the standard tools of hammers, drill, jigsaw, screwdrivers, etc., but these are the tools I use almost everyday.

I did crochet when I was young, moved to needlepoint, and came back to crochet about 2.5 years ago.  When I did, I had nothing; no hooks, no yarn.  That's changed.

My guest room is stacked high with yarn bins.  I have several sets of standard hooks, plus some Tunisian (long) hooks and a set of interchangeable cable hooks.  Scissors, tape measures, row markers, large pins, a calculator, and my MagEyes are indispensable.  The other two things which have proved really helpful are a therapeutic glove for my right hand which allows me to stitch without pain, and cardboard templates in 6", 7", 8", 9", 10" and 12" for making squares for charity. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 6: Vase

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 6: Vase

I have cats and I absolutely adore them.  The down side, however, is that because of them, I can not have fresh flowers or plants in the house.  Cats eat them...and regurgitate them.  Not pleasant.

Still, I do have a few very simple vases.  I also have a lovely Lenox china and a Belleek porcelain vase.  Those are safely tucked away from harm. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 5: Well-worn Book(s)

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 5:  Well-worn Book(s)
 There are threebooks I've had for years.  They are much loved, much used and, sadly, falling apart.

The top book, whose sad, worn spine also shows, is "The Volume Library:  A Concise Graded Repository of Practical and Cultural Knowledge Designed for Both Instruction and Reference  -- Profusely Illustrated (c) 1933.  It originally belonged to my Grandparents, then my mother, and now to me.  It is, in essence, a encyclopedia but is chock full of the most fascinating information and a book in which I can get lost for hours. 

The Goody-Naughty Book belonged to my mom.  I was always fascinated by it, as a kid, for the way it had been printed in the two directions.  I snagged it for my collection when I was still young.

The lower right book is the Scholastic Readers copy of Jane Eyre.  It was the first book I bought with my own money.  I bought it in 6th grade.  It has been read, and re-read countless times to where I can no longer read it as many of the pages have come away from the spine.  Although I now have newer, hardcover copies of Jane Eyre--Jane Eyre being my desert island book--this copy will always have a special place on my shelves and in my heart.  It started my passion for collecting book.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 4: Women

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 4:  Women
These are some of the women important in my life...

Top Left and Middle - Georgianne, Jody, Priscilla and Carol:  I'm sad that we don't see each other as often as we once did, but am grateful to have them as my friends and connect when them whenever, and however, we can.

Top Right:  Mom - She is even more uncomfortable being photographed than am I so I love this picture of her in a silly t-shirt; something she'd never normally wear.  If people think I'm reserved, it's a trait inherited and learned from my mom.  But she's a great mom, and I love her love her to pieces.

Left bottom:  Me, at age 10, with my Gram Nissen and her mother, my Great-Gramma Bingham.  I'm blessed to have known both my great-grams but Gram Bingham was in my life until I was about 14.

Middle and Bottom:  Gram Nissen at 90, and Gram and I in Kansas in 1973.  I could go on for hours about how large an influence Gram Nissen was and is in my life.  I think of her and feel her spirit around me every single day.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 3: LJ Ages 21-50

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 2:  LJ Ages 21-50
This is part three of the first half of my life in pictures, since I come from good genes and could possibly live to 100 years old. 

Upper left - 20 years old on the shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago
Lower left - 25 years old - my elegant Pamela and I in Oakland California.  My ex- and I always went to the opening A's game.

Upper middle - 31 year's old, taken by a friend of mine while visiting her in Marina del Ray, California. 
Lower middle - ~40 years old - working woman in my office (remember real offices?) with a view of the Bay toward Oakland.

Right - 50 years old -  I had gains a LOT of weight between the ages of 35 and 48.  After a severe respiratory infection, I decided to do something about it, joined Weight Watchers and lost 71 lbs.  I think there must have been a fire lit as I'm looking just a bit flushed.  I don't remember the occasion except this would have been taken around Christmas, 2000 after I'd reached my goal weight.    Sadly, my success did not last, but that's another story.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 2: Ages 6-20

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 2:  LJ Ages 6-20
Easter at 6            8th grade grad - 11      Junior Prom - 16                    Chicago - 18

Growing up, I was painfully shy and insecure.  I had gone through the typical awkward stage and been teased about my looks. 

Even at age six, I hated having my picture taken.  Age 11 and 8th grade graduation was the first time I felt I could be attractive.  I loved that white dress.  I only wish I had that when I got married.  I felt very grown up, sophisticated.  It was the first time boys actually took notice of me.  But it didn't cure me of my insecurities.

My Junior Prom dress made me feel like a princess at age 16.  It was simple and elegant, the blew actually being richer than it shows.  Opera-length white gloves; I'm sorry girls no longer wear those as they give such a special feeling.  My hair--loved my hair.  It was teased to within an inch of it's life in front and gathered into a mass of curls in the back.  But, oh, what a nightmare to undo.  I remember my mom and I in the shower together with a wide comb and a ton of conditioner trying to get all the teasing out.  But, oh my, I looked wonderful the night before.

The photo on the far right is one of my favorite.  I arrived in Chicago just in time for the Democratic National Convention; not good timing.  I was there to attend a small junior college and I hated it.  However, it was there I met Christopher, with whom I spent eight years.  Among his other attributes, of which there were many, Christopher is the one person around whom I totally relaxed and trusted.  As a result, he is the only person who took really good photos of me.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 1: LJ Up to Age 5

Photo-a-Day - November 2012 - Day 1:  LJ Up to Age 5

It's always fun to go back and look at pictures of when we were small.  Mine are a bit unusual as, due to having been extremely ill from ages 6 mos to 14 months, there are no photos of me during that time.  Happily, I was too stubborn to die, as was expected, plus I had a great doctor and was surrounded by lots of love, so I made it past that time.

These are just a few of my favorite photos:
Left  -  With my dad at age 4 - I don't think I was ticklish; I just always loved my daddy.
Right -
   -  4 months old - even then, I hated shoes
   -  2 years old - clearly very concerned about something
   -  3 years old - dad reassuring me that the new cocker spaniel puppy wouldn't eat me
   -  5 years old - the birth of a fisherwoman - yes, I did catch fish (bass) that day.