Sunday, November 29, 2009

Princess on a Bodyboard

Princess on a Bodyboard, originally uploaded by cleopatra69.

Urban Mermaid

Urban Mermaid, originally uploaded by cleopatra69.

No More War Vigil

No More War Vigil, originally uploaded by cleopatra69.

Here is a sentiment I believe we can all get behind during this beautiful holiday season and behind. I will continue to blog photos of fun and peace as they demand to be posted.

Evonne's Kind of Christmas

Evonne's Kind of Christmas, originally uploaded by cleopatra69.

Now that Thanksgiving is past, the Christmas Season has officially begun. Here is a vintage shot of Evonne showing off her front yard in celebration of Christmas in San Diego, California.

Three Heads Are Better Than One

Friday, November 27, 2009

Go ahead--hug that tree * - by Don Williams

It’s true.

I’m a tree-hugger.

I make no bones about it.

Call me a tree-hugger and I’ll thank you for the compliment.

I once hugged a tree in California that was alive during the time of Christ. I couldn’t resist. I had to get next to such ancient life. To walk among that grove of redwoods was to walk in the hush of a cathedral, only one more ancient, more holy, than any church. One still alive with flowing juices. One busy sucking moisture from the ground and giving it back to the sky. One busy drawing energy down from the sun and giving it to the earth. I couldn’t help looking up in the presence of such trees.

Naturally, I had to take their measure. Even with the help of my wife, Jeanne, and my sister, Kathleen, we couldn’t reach all the way around those trees, but it was awesome—in the original sense of that devalued word—to try.

Tennessee isn’t California, but we too have trees that are worthy of hugging. If you’ve ever hiked to Ramsey Cascades in the Smoky Mountains, you’ve walked between a matched set of world-class tulip poplars, ancient and gigantic. Usually, when I make that hike I stop and take the measure of those two trees, arms stretched wide.

You too have hugged trees, admit it or not. When you were a child, you hugged lots of trees if you were a climber, like me, or if you used trees as home base during hide-and-seek. Carrying a load of firewood is a way of tree hugging, if done with a certain attitude. And when cutting down the Christmas tree, an annual tradition in our family, here where scrub cedars sprout like whiskers, I’ve on occasion taken hold of trees in ways that could be described as hugging.

On the other hand, I’ve been known to wrap both arms around a scruffy old oak and utter thanks and blessings for what it’s meant to the scenery and the air and the critters of this garden-spot of the universe. It’s a way of giving thanks, and as Garrison Keillor said Saturday on "A Prairie Home Companion," giving thanks is the key to happiness.

Amen, Brother. It may be impossible to say anything truer than that about happiness, so let’s say it again.

Giving thanks is the key to happiness.

It’s a way of affirming life, of choosing hope over despair, faith over cynicism, if you’ll pardon a detour. I promise to bring this round again, so bear with me.

Abe Lincoln, a man who sometimes suffered what we’d call clinical depression--a man who suffered cataclysms and personal tragedies and incredible stress, said, "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

It’s true. To assess life by starting with your misfortunes is a sucker’s game. There’s no end to the misery you can catalogue. The first great principle of Buddhism is that "All is Suffering." While recognizing there’s some truth there, I don’t embrace that philosophy. I know it must seem true to some, but I’ve been blessed in so many ways, it would be chintzy and dishonest to pretend otherwise. For the privilege of being alive, I start each day with an attitude of gratitude. How lucky am I?

I would say, let me count the ways, but it would be impossible. Life is such a crapshoot, it’s like winning 50 million lotteries in a row to have existence at all. That’s how much luck is required. It took all the crazy detours of history to bring my parents together. If a million different ancestors over thousands or millions of years hadn’t done exactly as they did most every day of their lives—and partook of the blessings and curses of life in just the right order, down to feeling romantic or lusty in the right moments, I wouldn’t be here now. If a billion bits of space debris hadn’t interacted in just the right ways to send a giant meteor crashing into the earth about 65 million years ago, eradicating the dinosaurs—making way for us mammals--none of us would be here. If the Big Bang ("Let there be light") had occurred with just a fraction of one percent more velocity, the planets and stars could not have formed. A fraction of a percent less velocity, and the whole universe would have collapsed back on itself. If seawater were a little saltier, if the earth weren’t tilted on its axis just so, if the sun were a few miles farther off or closer in. If gravity were a few degrees stronger, we wouldn’t exist. All of these so-called coincidences don’t scratch the surface of things that had to go just right to make our lives possible. We are incredibly blessed to be alive and riding this silken beast called breathing—inhale, exhale--from the moment of birth until the instant of death.

And those trees, exhaling oxygen and inhaling the poisonous carbon dioxide from our own breath, exist in a relationship to us that is at once symbolic of the fragile web of life and a crucial part of it. That fantastic web of life is a feature of this awesome universe we must love and adore. It is reason enough to thank God in this season of thanks. And reason enough to hug a tree.

Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, short story writer and the founding editor and publisher of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of literary stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Michigan Journalism Fellowship, a Golden Presscard Award and the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize. He just finished a novel, "Oracle of the Orchid Lounge," set in his native Tennessee. Publishers or agents may inquire via email. His book of selected journalism, "Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes, the Best Writings About People" by Don Williams, is due a second printing. For more information, email Or visit the NMW website at In 2007, he gave up his weekly column at the Knoxville News-Sentinel rather than see it cut back to every-other-week by editors who endorsed Bush-Cheney.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Leaves of Autumn - A Photograph by Patty Mooney

Leaves of Autumn, originally uploaded by cleopatra69.

Wishing all my blogster peeps a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday. Please don't forget to express your gratitude for all the good things in your life. As my friend, the writer Don Williams, says, "Giving thanks is the key to happiness." I have certainly found this to be true in my own life. Gobble-gobble!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Erin Has Always Loved Balloons - A Photograph by Patty Mooney

My niece, Erin, knows how to enjoy balloons

Erin and her Unicorn Balloon - A Photograph by Patty Mooney

Erin and her Unicorn Balloon, originally uploaded by cleopatra69.

Some things do not change. And shouldn't.

A Letter About the Importance of Mammograms - by Amy Kitchens

Good morning ladies,

I am sure you have heard the latest buzz in health care that you do not need a mammogram so soon/often. Well I am here to enlighten everyone. I was diagnosed at 40 years old and two months with breast cancer. I have NO family history (I am it) and I do not possess the gene(s) for the disease. I breast-fed all three of my kids for a minimum of 9 months (Mattie). My cancer was detected by a routing mammogram that my gyn guy said I should have since I was “40”. His wife had breast cancer at 41 and 45. She is still alive 20 years later to enjoy her family. One of the many doctors I met with told me that “by the time you detect it yourself it is often stage 2+”. It is staged 1-4. Stage 4 being time to make arrangements for your loved ones. Mine was stage 1 with no lymph node involvement. The higher the stage numbers the lower the odds of recovery and or reoccurrence. It is like VegasJ. That being said it is coming up on 5 years in February. I am, knock on wood, totally fine and fulfilling my “bucket list” in 4 weeks as I make my annual trek to Durango, Colorado. The very place I went after diagnoses and treatment with Cathy Patrick and our boys in the summer of 2005.

Amy is wearing green baseball cap and orange vest

That was an amazing trip on all levels as I challenged my greatest fear……water, and went in a raft down the Animas River after having a mastectomy and chemotherapy (still was bald) and I rowed the raft! What a sensational feeling that was. Getting the air knocked out of me by waves and water while trying not to pee my pants from sheer joy and terror. On that note…..whether you have to pay for it, lie for it (make up a family story) or demand it……GET A MAMOGRAM EVERY YEAR. It could save your life… saved mine and I am so glad I did it. Find a facility that now does digital mammography. Any questions are always welcomed. Enjoy your life!!

Take care my friend.

~ Namaste ~ Amy

Friday, November 20, 2009

Red Hand Means Stop - A Photograph by Patty Mooney

Red Hand Means Stop, originally uploaded by cleopatra69.

Sometimes you'll find art in the most unexpected places. This one I found at a construction site in City Heights, San Diego, California. I wonder what becomes of this art once the construction has been completed. Is it just destroyed? Or is there a museum housing construction-site murals?

Maria - A Photograph by Patty Mooney

Maria, originally uploaded by cleopatra69.

A mural painted on a corrugated garage door, downtown San Diego. One of my favorite things to do is just stroll the streets of my city, find scenes like this, and snap away with my camera.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stars & Stripes - A Photograph by Patty Mooney

Stars & Stripes, originally uploaded by cleopatra69.

For a short time I lived aboard a sailboat, although not one as large as this. And it was moored in a marina for most of the time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dogs Are People, Too - A Photographic Slideshow by Patty Mooney

I have been shooting photographs of cute dogs over many years, and I have put a slideshow together, for your amusement.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Homeless women veterans need your help

Come and check out this wonderful story about homeless women veterans.
One of my photos was used in this story along with a couple of quotes.
- Patty

Homeless women veterans need your help

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Contemporary Klezmer with Solo Clarinet - A Video by Patty Mooney

I now have a "series" of cool contemporary Klezmer pieces, so this is the second one that I wanted to share with you. Klezmer seems perfect to enjoy during the onset of the holiday season. I also found some funny little archival clips that seemed to work well in three of the pieces because Klezmer celebrates laughter. This one features Clarinetist, Leo Chelyapov along with some comedy clips from the late 1800's and early 1900's. Unfortunately, these tunes are unnamed, as they are mostly improvisational so it is difficult to differentiate between them. Part of the beauty of music videos is that you can listen to them while you work.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Contemporary Klezmer Calls Forth Our History - A Video by Patty Mooney

The Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University recently hosted an evening of music with Hot Pstrami, Yale Strom's klezmer band that includes Yale, his wife, Elizabeth Schwartz and bass-player, Jeff Pekarek. Special guests were the Three Tremolos, leading clarinetists who performed traditional and improvisational contemporary music.

Leo Chelyapov won first place in the Shostakovich Competition in Moscow at the age of twelve. He has also appeared on several TV shows, including Beverly Hills 90210 and Late Night with David Letterman.

Gary Gould has lectured at universities and colleges for more than 10 years and has led a clinic, "Gary Gould and Friends: A Klezmer Experience," introducing local music pros to the art of klezmer for the Orange County Musicians Union Bash.

Robert Zelickman is a lecturer of music at University of California San Diego, where he has taught since 1983. He conducts the UCSD Wind Ensemble and lectures on the symphony and Jewish music. He is a member of Orchestra Nova San Diego and has performed with the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Opera.

I had my palm-sized video camera with me and captured a few tunes; thus I decided to edit another little "Pocket Production." Consider this a quick sketch, in comparison to a full-on professional video production in which the lighting, sound quality, picture resolution, etc. would be far superior. Imagine it shot with two or three cameras, with zooms and close ups, tilts and pans. This is merely the documentary of a stellar evening, a memory that would otherwise have faded into oblivion. I also included some great photographs going back 100 years, some of them taken in Jerusalem and the Middle East where Klezmer music originated.


Brad Pitt With a Beard - Yes or No?

Since I have been laid off from surfing the ocean, I was surfing the Internet today and found this photo of Brad Pitt sporting a beard with beads in it. "Oh no!" I thought to myself, "What are you doing????" Well, it's a good thing that beards can be shaved off, and I hope he does. What do YOU think?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sonny & Cher

Sonny & Cher, originally uploaded by cleopatra69.

You have not heard much of a peep out of me for the last week and that is because a second retinal detachment occurred in my left eye just as the first one appeared to be completely healed. Grrrrr! I have since learned that this is not such an uncommon occurrence. It could actually happen again, and again..... I am hoping that it won't. It's not the most fun thing that a person could do. Still, it doesn't prevent you from having fun anyway. I didn't have to play pirate with an eye patch on Halloween Eve at my husband, Mark's costume-birthday party (amazingly enough, as the surgery took place earlier that day). Instead, I was Cher. I think Mark was a much more convincing Sonny, though.