Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Cactus Garden - Photos by Patty Mooney

Around this time of year, when Spring springs at Balboa Park, one of our favorite places to go is the cactus garden. This is a place from which I am sure Theodore Geisel aka "Dr. Seuss" drew some of his inspiration. This showcase of indigenous San Diego plant life draws visitors from all over the world.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Five Fingered Lily - A Poem by Patty Mooney

The Tiare Apetahi
perfumes the air,
a flower so rare it is mythical,
growing only on a Raitea cliff
that juts from the sea.

Three of us climb, slipping back,
then punching forward endlessly as
volcanic loam seeps into our boots.
Cloud underbellies murmur of rain.

Nutea disappears over a hill,
and behind him, my husband.
Alone, my frustration unleashes
its tropic downpour.

I shake the dirt from my shoes,
rub my complaining knees,
then continue the climb.
Nutea & Mark wait at the top
of a waterfall like eagles.

I’m nearly up when I slip
on polished rock, plunging
down a vertical river, a waterslide.
Mark descends to pluck me up,
and shoves me to the summit.

It's flat up here, the sky sapphire,
storm system gone. Nutea shouts,

"Tiare! Tiare!" pointing at glossy
green bushes
fisted with succulent five-fingers
named for the hand of a Princess
who died of a broken heart.

Nutea pulls a plastic container
from his pack,
and begins to fill it.
Suddenly, a heavy wind
conjures black clouds.

We look at the sky as the Tahitian
clamps his lid on fifty fingers.
The temperature plummets
ten degrees.

Thunder cracks the sky,
lightning fireworks.
Gusts of hail
sting flesh, plaster our clothing.

We race down the cliff,
weather chasing like Rottweilers.
At the base of the waterfall,
the sun chews through the clouds,

the wind drops.
Those unruly dogs
jog back
to their master.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Dalai Lama serves hope to SF homeless

"You know, I'm homeless too." - The Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Dalai Lama was trying very hard on Sunday to make the homeless guests at Martin's soup kitchen relax. The guests included some of San Francisco's most desperate, reviled citizens, men and women who carry their life's possessions in shopping carts and sleep under bridges.

read more digg story

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Austin Powers, Yeah, Baby, Yeah - by Patty Mooney

One of the funnest evenings I have ever experienced was the time that Mark and I hosted an Austin Powers party. It was back in 2002, when "Goldmember" had just hit the theaters. In it, Austin must travel back to 1975 to save his dad who was kidnapped by Goldmember in cahoots with Dr. Evil. Mark and I invited a bunch of our rowdiest and most fun-loving friends to come to our house for cocktails. Then we all carpooled to a local Chinese restaurant where we dined lavishly on several exotic dishes. Afterwards, we went to the movie theater where we all spazzed out from laughing at Mike Myers playing multiple sides of himself.

Kudos went to Mark, who coordinated the evening. He had made arrangements with both the restaurant and the movie theater, and everybody enjoyed an unforgettable evening for $20 each.

I'll bet if you were in the party mood and could gather up a nice crowd of your buddies, you could create a similar scenario. Dining establishments and movie theaters would probably bend over backward to please you, because that's just how the economy is right now. Even just an evening at your place with a DVD, some popcorn and your best friends would bring a smile to everyone's face.

And that's something to blog about!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Art and About - Photos by Patty Mooney

From time to time I take my camera out on various excursions and capture some great art work along the way. Let's call this series "Art and About" and you will see more as the days and weeks go by.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Rodeo - A Poem by Patty Mooney

I feel like an imposter in my down-under hat
with kangaroos on it, I'm a downright hippy.
Would rather see a rattler sunning itself
in the outback than skinned for boots.

The cowboys have it figured, how to:
separate one bull from twenty,
rope a calf in five,
be a barnacle on the back of a bucking bronco.

The rodeo Bozo pops in and out
of an aluminum beer barrel
as inflamed bulls toss riders, snort
and stamp dirt. Those bulls

put on a show but in the end
they're roped and funneled back
into the holding pen, seething,
quelled. Tough meat.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

San Diego's April Flowers - by Patty Mooney

This is a view of Mission Trails which is right in our "backyard."

I do not know the technical names of these flowers but that doesn't stop me from taking photographs of them. Let's just call them San Diego wildflowers. Aren't they beautiful? When you look at them you will realize one of the many reasons I love to go out and ride my mountain bike in the hills and valleys of Mother Nature.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Snake In A Pear Tree - A Poem by Patty Mooney

How strange to suck the sweet juice
of pears in their brief season,
as the snake mistakes these trees
for apple, attracted to the red blush.
Gnarled branches scratch its belly
as it winds along limbs
mottled by sun, blending in
with the hissing leaves.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Day At The San Diego Zoo - Photos by Patty Mooney

I highly recommend a day at the zoo to put you in a good mood. The best time is during the week when most people are at work and the kids are in school.

We went last Wednesday and were amazed at the size of the crowds until we realized, "Oh, it's Spring Break." It was still a lot of fun, but it's even more fun when there are no lines at the panda exhibit and Sky Bucket.

Note to parents: Try it without the kids, just to see how romantic it can be for you and your sweetie to stroll through the zoo, hand-in-hand and hopefully guilt-free.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hunting Fishing and Other Grounds For Divorce: Wife Logic at its Finest

I just found this ultra-cool blog by a woman who lives in Alaska named Jacki Michels. Here's the thing about Jacki..... In her own words.....

Jacki is especially fond of anyone who can shoot spaghetti out of their nose or
do similarly ridiculous things at a moments notice. Currently she is enjoying
her midlife crisis. Among other things, she' a Wife, a Lover, a Mother, a
Rebel-Redneck-Bunny Hugging-Alaskan-American and five-time Granny award winner.

After twenty some years, she is still totally in LOVE with her man! She's crazy
about her friends and (nuts) her family-or is that they make her nuts? Jacki is
also a humor columnist and a frequent contributor to her children’s baby books.
Her most recent works of fiction include: Why Santa Needs Low Fat Cookies,
Lectures From the Tooth Fairy and Why My Child Was Late to School for the Thirty
Seventh Time This Year. Her nonfiction works have landed in several servings of
New York Times best selling books, in magazines, on the walls of the classiest
rest areas throughout Alaska and Canada --and a few have landed in the trash.
Voted least likely to alphabetize her spice rack, Alaska-womom regularly admits,
“Yes, we live here, our house always looks like this.” It should also be
mentioned that she has great cuticles!

So now I suggest you go over and explore her blog and find yourself guffawing. I'm jealous of the way the humor and jokiness just trip off her fingers so easily. Well, maybe not jealous. But I can see I am going to have to work a whole lot harder to fulfill my own mission which is to make people laugh, giggle, snort and/or chortle, not necessarily in that order (and maybe not all the time.)

P.S. Jacki, I hope you are okay with me blogging about your blog and displaying your photo on my blog. But I figured that most bloggers WANT to be publicized, and therefore it's intrinsically okay. (I still want your permission!) It's like people who go to the San Diego Comic Con all dressed up like refugees from "Planet of the Apes;" OF COURSE they want you to take their photograph. Right? It's obvious, right?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vision Magazine Publishes My Story About "The Invisible Ones" - by Patty Mooney

Vision Magazine just published my story about how my husband, Mark, and I first learned about homeless veterans, and why we decided to produce a documentary about it, called "The Invisible Ones: Homeless Combat Veterans." Here's an excerpt:


How many times have you passed up a sleeping figure underneath a blanket or tarp on the darkened streets of your city? Have you ever considered that this could be one of our war heroes?

This question entered my consciousness in the summer of 2007. As partners of a video production company called Crystal Pyramid Productions, my husband, Mark Schulze, and I received a call from the Veterans Administration to document the 20th Annual Stand Down in San Diego, CA. “Stand Down,” we wondered. “What’s that?” We learned that in military parlance, a stand down is when a soldier steps away from combat operations and experiences a momentary rest and relaxation prior to heading back into the fray. Its definition has been extended to name an event which addresses the plight of homeless veterans on the streets of America.

The San Diego Stand Down sustains homeless veterans for three days with hot meals, cots, showers, shaves and haircuts, plus a change of clothing. The veterans can receive medical, dental and holistic treatments, as well as counseling and legal advice from caring volunteers—all in one location. They enjoy camaraderie with fellow veterans and best of all, they don’t have to worry about the “combat” that takes place daily out on the streets.

Robert Van Keuren and Dr. Jon Nachison are the two Vietnam veterans who founded this event. Van Keuren explains in his Stand Down Manual that “Stand Down is a belief in the triumph of the human spirit over extraordinary odds. It grows out of a conviction that the overwhelming number of homeless veterans is unacceptable, and that the veteran community itself must respond. Stand Down is designed to transform the despair and immobility of homelessness into the momentum necessary to get into recovery, resolve legal issues, seek employment, access health services and benefits, reconnect with the community and get off the streets—a very tall order for a three-day event.”

These men opened our eyes to the harsh reality that we have far more homeless veterans sleeping on our streets than most Americans know about. Homeless vets make up about 25 percent, and probably more, of the total homeless population. Dr. Nachison said that the figure of 200,000 across the nation is “the statistic now bandied about,” but he thought it was much too conservative a figure, since homeless veterans are difficult to count. He emphasized that he and Van Keuren had devised Stand Down because they “wanted to send a message to the nation that to have 25 percent of the homeless [as] veterans was a national disgrace.”