If you have consciously or serendipitiously arrived here, welcome. I’m Fran, aka Redondowriter, and my interests include family, friends, writing, reading, art, computers, storytelling, spirituality, photography, animals—and exploring the layers of everyday life.
I am absolutely mind-boggled trying to do a collage in PhotoShop Elements. I have figured out several things, but I've spent about six hours so far. I have long wanted to learn this and I did find a few video tutorials at YouTube. This is the kind of thing that could keep me up all night. Maybe I'll go buy a book tomorrow; it's Barnes and Noble's Educators Discount Weekend.
Great day, all in all. I am brutally going through my closets and the garage preparing to bring things for the Redondo Beach Art Group's fund-raiser garage sale next weekend.
If any of you can direct me to tutorials, or send me your own directions, I'd love to hear from you.
Here's my baby looking pensive 'cause she doesn't like her picture taken, but she says to tell all of you who sent good thoughts and prayers for her that she appreciates it--woof!
Cookie was in the clinic all of yesterday where blood was drawn again at various intervals and when she came home, she was ecstatic and smelly. She completed her 14 day trial on the canine drug trilostane for the Cushing's disease.
This morning Dr. Yao called and Cookie's cortisol blood levels are now under control which is very good news indeed. She is officially "a Cushings dog," but responding to treatment.
It was a good day all the around, but this news had me doing a happy dance with her around the bedroom and saying "Yes." Cookie does like to dance, by the way.
And I stimulated the economy with my stimulus check of $600. That's about what it cost to diagnose her. Hey, I'd rather spend it this way than at Macy's weekend sale.
Don’t you just love it when you are introduced to an activity or movement you hadn’t heard of yet and it really tickles your fancy? (You can sure tell my age when you see a phrase like that last one.) That was me today when the Los Angeles Times ran an article called "Guerrilla gardener movement takes root in L.A. area." I was mesmerized with the concept—of being a neighborhood beautifier, a fairly benign eco-activist, and a tiny bit of a rebel. That doesn’t happen much at my age and stage.
The definition of guerrilla gardening varies but The Mirror Co./UK says, "Guerrilla gardening is the art of using a piece of land which you do
not own to grow something. One step removed from actual guerrilla
warfare, guerrilla gardening takes land not for the people, but for
nature; returning misused or disused land and finding a purpose for it.
Guerrilla gardeners come late in the night with watering cans, compost
and gardening gloves, and turn rotting sods of grass outside some
condemned building into a vegetable patch, a clump of daffodils, or a
flowering rosebush." You can also see the potted history of guerrilla gardening at this link.
The Times story was set in Long Beach where there are a lot of overgrown vacant lots and bare meridians. You don’t see that as much in the beach cities of Los Angeles where I live, but I see a lot of places like this when I'm out and about. I was at an estate sale today in San Pedro, however, and that particular area had gone to rack and ruin, frankly—and I thought, "fertile ground for guerrillas."
The premier website for guerrilla gardening is Gorilla Gardening Dot Org, a UK-based organization where you can find out everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask.
The Times article has an online photo essay on how to make seed bombs, but you'll find recipes several places when you Google.
My jade plants, aloe vera, lilies, creeping Charlie, and spider plant cuttings can be a place to start. But, I have to find an appropriate run-down parkway to plant during a full moon night. I’ll admit I don’t have the courage to start in a meridian.
"Lost" is probably more exciting, but Reuters shows us a guerrilla gardening night attack below. Are you intrigued yet? If you have already done guerrilla gardening, please share what it is like to do it.
This is a picture of the gas pump at the Torrance, CA Costco this morning when I filled up my 2001 Honda Civic EX. Gas was $3.97.9 per gallon (87 octane) and I knew it was the last time I would ever pay less than $4. Let's face it, the oil barons or whoever can be faulted for this obscene turn of events know we are screwed and there's not a damned thing we can do about it. My friend Roz in the UK says gas is nearing $11 there. Holy moley. My fill-up was over $46 and I'm kind of like the proverbial little old lady from Pasadena, only it's Redondo Beach. I rarely take long trips and my work commute is 7 miles each way. I'm one the lucky ones. The mileage on my 7-year-old car is 58,000 miles. I realized, however, that I'm going to have to begin cutting back on my already conservative driving habits.
The insomniac me started thinking last night about when I was young (and I think I remember gas like 20 cents a gallon) and how we all walked to grammar and high school. It's easier in California than the proverbial snow and ice of the east. Few of us had cars in those days. If we did go out on weekends, we each paid our fair share of the gas. When I began working at Lockheed as a young girl, we all carpooled. Most of us then had parents who had gone through the depression; we were raised frugally and most of us carry that frugality with us to this day.
Some weeks back, Mrs. Kenju at Imagine What I'm Leaving Out had this symbol on her blog and it really struck my fancy. Vulgar? You bet, but I tend not to put vulgar things on this blog. (Ha! You should see what is on my private blog.) But, I have managed to justify the BFing because we are being exploited, abused, molested by the powers that be. Acknowledging our boundaries is sacred, I've reasoned.
Then I found this poem by Charles Roach of Dearborn, MI which ran on the blog of the Detroit Free Press. He has given me a grin, a way to blow off steam so I don't feel so enraged.
The Gas Crisis
Again, the price of gas has soared. I think it’s at an all time high. Now, just how much can we afford before it makes our bank-rolls fly?
Who owns the oil, now rules the land, for they control inflation’s rate, and all things spiral by their hand – the cost of beans, the price of freight.
But we, like meek and humble sheep, must man the pumps and pay the price, and help to make their profits leap. While they live high, we sacrifice.
Lead on, you greedy profiteers. We human herds can’t disobey. Take all we worked for through the years and, like the sheep, we’ll soon eat hay.
On July 3, 2005, my
daughter-in-law Laura's 29-year-old sister Jess's life ended after a careless driver hit her
from behind when she was biking in the country near her home in Madison, WI. I
wrote about this tragedy on July 5, 2005 at Sacred Ordinary with a post called
Honoring Jessica Bullen.
This post is a follow-up, both sad and poignant, but a continuing tribute to Jess whose short life touched so many other's lives. On Laura's blog, Lake Dawn: Life Beneath
the Olympic Mountains, my daughter-in-law wrote how hard it was for her this past Saturday when she was
unable to attend the dedication of the Jess Bullen Memorial Garden in Madison. Jess’s
friends and other community activists have been working hard to complete the
garden by the dedication date. Laura is on bed rest awaiting the birth of her
second son, my next grandson, so she was unable to travel. Instead, she took
private time with her 2-year-old son Zach, whose middle name is Jesse after her
sister, to introduce him to her via the lake and environment near
their home while her dad Bill was speaking on behalf of the family in Madison at the dedication. Laura and Jess shared a love of the outdoors and gardening.
I will never forget Jess and Laura walking through the forest toward the clearing by the lake at Lake Crescent Lodge where Joe and Laura's wedding took place. It's the photo you see above. As I write this tonight I feel so sad for Laura, her parents, and all the people who loved Jess.
It's Memorial Day, which I spent quietly at home gardening, cleaning my rooftop deck after the long winter, reading, writing in my journal, creating some new ATC cards, visiting some friends, and finally buying airfare online for my July 30-August 9 trip to Oregon and Washington. I always had a dream of driving up to Washington with Cookie some summer; I have done some other road trips with her over the years. But, with gas at $4 per gallon, road trip days are over. Purchasing airfare is bad enough. By the time I get to Port Angeles this time, I'll have a new grandson. And I'm going to take Amtrak from Portland to Olympia to visit my sis and Amtrak again from Olympia to Seattle when I leave. That will be a new adventure for me.
I was mindful today of all military personnel, past and present, remembering some of my brothers-in-law specifically. I really liked this video by Capt. Kirk on YouTube, with Tim McGraw singing "Already Home." It's very nostalgic, but the show gave me an opportunity to pay tribute.
The indy film “The
Visitor” was released in April 2008, but in Los
Angeles it is playing in very few theaters, which is mystifying to me. I saw it
tonight at a small theater in Manhattan Beach and it’s one of the best films
I’ve seen in a long time. So far it has won at the Toronto Film
Festival, Sundance, South by Southwest Festival and the Miami Film Festival. I
sure missed this one on my radar screen.
If you haven't seen it, the film is about a
worn-down-by-life college professor and his synchronistic encounter in the world of illegal
immigrants in New York City. Set predominately in Greenwich Village, the story,
the acting, the filmography, and the music are all incredible. The website says,
“In a world of six billion people, it only takes one to change your life. In
actor and filmmaker Tom McCarthy’s follow-up to his award winning directorial
debut “The Station Agent,” Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under) stars as Walter
Vale, a disillusioned Connecticut economics professor whose life is transformed
by a chance encounter in New York City. Through new-found connections with
virtual strangers, Walter is awakened to a new world and a new life.”
I don’t want to spoil this film with further descriptions. When I saw it tonight, I did not know one thing about
it except friends highly recommended it—and so do I.
From hot, balmy weather last weekend to a drastic cool down, rain and possible tornadoes, right here in Southern California. I'm feeling sad, really sad. What I need is "Here Comes the Sun," a return to simpler times before my own innocence turned to cynicism and an enormous sense of helplessness. In actuality, my own life is going well but I have family and friends who are really ill and I'm facing into the fears I have for them--and for me, and all of us, as we walk into the unknown a day at a time.
There was a flash flood in the canyon burn areas in Orange County this afternoon causing a lot of damage--and tornadoes are predicted. It sprinkled lightly on my buddy Cookie and I when we walked this evening. The media is encouraging us to get ready for the big earthquake, and I'm almost afraid to turn on the news. Today a student taped me for a history class talking about my own memories of the Viet Nam era which really tore me open. I want to say, "Here comes the sun" so badly because I need to remind myself that none of us are really in control of very much; we just like to think we are. I deal with memories and adversity better when the sun shines, however.
I am also feeling incredibly sad about Ted Kennedy's brain tumor diagnosis and I pray for grace and humor as he faces into his own upcoming treatment. My own memories of all his family, the assassination of his brothers John and Bobby, the death of his eldest brother Joe--that long-ago Chappaquiddick tragedy Ted was responsible for, their son Patrick's bone cancer when he was a boy, Joan Kennedy's alcoholism and their divorce, Jackie Kennedy's short life and death, and then John-John's plane crash, have been haunting me since Ted went into emergency on Friday. I've marked my own days in part because of the Kennedy's but I never realized it until now. There was once a camelot, or maybe it was always an illusion.
There was a sunny moment tonight watching the season finale of "Ugly Betty." How I hope she goes to Rome with Gio and that she doesn't move to Tucson with Henry.
The music I played as background in my iMovie for our school's retirees last weekend featured the Beatles "Here Comes the Sun." And I'll admit I've wept several times at the John Lennon Strawberry Fields Memorial in Central Park, standing in front of the Dakota, and whenever I think of George Harrison's untimely death. Oh innocence, oh camelot of the 1960s, how I miss you. But, if the sun comes up tomorrow (or if it doesn't), I'm focusing on letting go and letting God. You're just witnessing my little rant tonight--but I feel better putting my feelings out to the world.
It cheered me up tonight to watch "Here Comes the Sun" on YouTube, although there are some very poignant scenes. If you want a trip down memory lane yourself, click below:
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, especially when you don't have a lot of words to share on some blog post days. This is a photo taken by one of our Outdoor Education teachers last year when they were hiking and rock climbing at Joshua Tree. Click on it to see in a higher resolution.
My eldest son has long been a climber and the family went out a couple times to watch him teaching the then younger grandkids.
My mother loved Joshua trees which she called The Lord's candles and every time anyone visited from back East, off we would head to the desert.
When we were raising kids we camped a lot in the desert and I learned to appreciate and actually find great beauty there.
So what words come to your mind when you gaze at this desert sunset?
This is the first post I've tried in Typepad's beta testing and it took me a long time to figure out a couple of basics, but I love all the new features.
Leave it to my friend Dannie who often provides fun (or food for
thought) e-mails. This Sheep Dash Quiz was really fun. Especially so
because there was a time long ago when I collected sheep and I'll admit
that Babe is one of my favorite films. By the way, the middle sheep looks remarkably like my dog Cookie.
The automobile driving manual says the average driver's
reaction time is: .75 seconds...... or 1 car length for every 10
mph...... Test your average reaction time. Be very careful this can be
addicting. Click on the link below and good luck. By the way, I am an Ambling Armadillo.