Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year Mothers

"Just a few hours of 2008 left, the last time I'll write 2008, it'll never be 2008 again", I thought when I signed my last note at the jail this afternoon. I seem to be a bit more reflective, even morose, on the eve of the new year.

On the first day of the new year I like to hike to the top of Cowles Mountain in the frigid cold -- well, as frigid as it gets in San Diego, maybe in the 40's -- to catch the first rays of the New Year's sun. Tomorrow, though, I have to work. That means briefing at 6:00 AM, so no early morning hiking.

Here is my sunrise photo in lieu of tomorrow's ... taken out my tent first thing on wakening in the Andes a couple years ago.

A short time later, I crawled out of the tent and in the same direction was a mama llama (say yama, not lama) feeding her baby. A beautiful mama llama, one of the best photos I think I've ever caught.

Having dinner with a girlfriend one of those past end of the years that will never come again, I asked about any New Year's resolutions. Not that I think sustained changes happen from a New Year's resolution that wouldn't have come from a simple commitment without an occasion. Anyway, my friend responded she had a resolution to be a better person. I was impressed. I already regarded her as a cut above in the category of better people. No going to lose weight, make more money, stop smoking, exercise more, self-focused resolutions. Simply, to be a better person.

This quote from Mother Teresa has been taped to my computer for a while, waiting to be reinforced with a commitment at New Year's, so I offer it for thought:

"If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies. Succeed anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight. Build anyway.
The good you do today, people will forget tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be good enough. Give the world the best you have anyway..."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Joan's moved.

A major catastrophe has happened over at JournalSpace. Both of their drives have gone down - hopefully to be repaired but the prognosis is not good. The worst part of it is that Joan's Walk This Way blog has gone down with it. Four years of photos and funnies - WAHHHHH! Bloggers everywhere are mourning.

In the meantime, she's taken over Charleston Daily Photo, so go visit her there for your daily Joan fix.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Peace on Earth, Can It Be?

In 1977, the US was in an economic recession, New York City experienced a massive blackout on a hot July night, Ethiopia's president was killed in a shoot out at a council meeting, small pox was eradicated, and David Bowie, then age 30, showed up at Bing Crosby's "house" to sing my favorite Christmas duet.

Bing was on tour in England and filming was set up in London for his annual Christmas show at a studio just down the street from Bowie's house. In exchange for Bing showing Bowie's "Heroes" video on the show, Bowie agreed to sing a duet with Bing. Just hours before the show, though, Bowie declared he hated the song they were supposed to sing, Little Drummer Boy. The show's composers frantically wrote "Peace on Earth" in a little over an hour and worked it into Bing's Drummer Boy. Bing, age 73, died a month later with a heart attack. The song was finally issued as a single in 1982. What a beautiful legacy from the classic Crosby and quirky Bowie.

Peace on Earth, can it be
Years from now, perhaps we'll see
See the day of glory
See the day, when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again

Peace on Earth, can it be

Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can

I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too
He'll see the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again

Peace on Earth, can it be
Can it be.

As an extra treat, here is the "Heroes" video aired on the show.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath รน, Kurisumasu Omedeto and Peace on Earth to everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Confection Connections

I can remember in the 1950's my mother would go off to cake class and come home with a doll cake, almost too beautiful to eat. We learned from her how to make roses and pansies and those piped shell borders.

Looking to pass on some of the traditions and an alternative to iPod and YouTube for the grandbabies - well, they're not babies anymore - I found a young woman who was willing to come to the house for a weekend afternoon and we started in home cake decorating classes for Hayley and Jennifer. We've added a third, Kolby, and I can say these chicklets have the best time decorating, drinking Martinellis, and gabbing away.

For November, they used leaves gathered from the yard - washed, of course - and molded fall colored white chocolate leaves, made caramel and chocolate acorns dipped in chocolate sprinkles, and put together a striking fall cupcake wreath.

Yesterday was Christmas theme with ornament cupcakes. They learned a trick to frost the cupcake smoothly with a spreader cut from a plastic water bottle.

Gorgeous, aren't they. The tops are dipped in colored sugar. Um-yes, about 1000 calories/cupcake.

We awarded first place to the ornate string of lights, made by the teacher, Teresa, second place to the plaid ornament for design, and third to the string of lights on white background, for its simple elegance.

The best part...eating the result, of course.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


funny pictures of cats with captions
OK, I've not been blogging much lately - except at work (for real!) - because I've been busy painting, quilting, etc., but I just had to post this from one of my favorite sites. Can some nice carpenter come over to my house and build something like this for my 5 cats? We would love you forever...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Painted Hydrants

The little guy in the Mystery Photo is an astronaut, one of twenty six fire hydrants in the seaside village of Carlsbad, just 15 minutes up the coast. The city allowed the hydrants to be "adopted" and local artists or just plain local folk painted the hydrants. The non-professionally painted hydrants were, umm-m-m...unique.

We downloaded a "tour" map and set out on foot, naturally, with a six year old to find the hydrants. What a hoot! For a six year old, a treasure hunt with her map, just as exciting as an amusement park. And it was free.

We had to study and discuss each hydrant...

and climb around on them, just to get the feel and thrill of it all.

Check here for photos of all 26 hydrants.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

One More Mystery Photo

I couldn't resist one last black and white mystery photo.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tuxedo Tom

Turkey butt is a turkey! Whoever saw a black and white turkey? This guy lives at Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center, or should I say "rules" Bates Nut Farm. He gives new meaning to all puffed up, struttin' your stuff, full of yourself, King of the Hill. He still thinks he should have been the national bird*.

Here he is puffed up...

Not puffed up...

Puffed up again...

Not puffed up is pretty lame looking, eh?

He went back and forth between puffed up and not puffed up more times than I could count. Sadly, I seemed to be the only one impressed. I didn't see any turkey ladies around.

We visited the farm a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. I doubt he ended up on anyone's table.

*"For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America... He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."

--Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to his daughter

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Another Mystery Photo

Ask Jennifer, I was fascinated with this one. Must of taken 20 pictures of this one. Thank God for digital.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Face of the Mystery

Not only does Xochi have hair tufts growing from her feet -- they sprout from her ears!

Now, if I could get that wide eyed look of Janet's Kitties.