Friday, June 29, 2007


I hope the colors come through on your screen. On mine, I need just the right angle to see the deep blues. This is the California coast, just north of Santa Cruz. There is a flat, easy bike trail along these bluffs, and a new "wow" around every corner.
Family photo (minus me and 8yo):

OK, it doesn't suck to live in California, that's true. But I'd like to see some Beautiful Days in your part of the world too. Any suggestions for an html illiterate like myself? I was thinking you could email me a photo and a note about it and I could post it here. Or I could link to your blog if you post it there. Thanks to Cunning Runt for already giving us a nice taste of Western Massachusetts!

Don't even think about doing this until you've written your Blog Against Theocracy post, though!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Miss you!

Hey blogosphere. I'm playing with my family...not far from home, but spending much time outdoors on many beautiful days. Brought the camera, brought the computer, forgot the cable.

Just wanted to say that I miss my blog, your blogs, and comments (here and elsewhere).

I'll be back as soon as I can!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Happy Summer Solstice

Welcome to my church of the Summer Soltice. This is where I went yesterday evening to appreciate the longest day of the year.

It is my favorite local nature place, and it is where I was headed (but didn't get to) on one of my first days as a blogger, when I posted California Poppies instead.

Imagine creek sounds.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More from San Francisco

This one is a bit post-card-typical, but I guess there is a reason so many post-cards of San Franciso look like this. It's gorgeous.This one is more interesting. My 10yo daughter took it. In fact three of us took pictures of this bizarre sculpture made of scrap metal, but hers was the most interesting.

Monday, June 18, 2007


The animals. Recently, I took a walk through Lundy Canyon (near Mono Lake, on the Eastern side of the Sierra Mountains). We saw this beaver dam in the lake,
and then we saw this,
and this.
And then we started seeing chewed off tree stumps everywhere.

I don't know about you, but for me, beavers had only really existed in cartoons and Narnia. So I had a back-to-childhood experience (meaning I got ridiculously excited) seeing real life evidence of real life beavers doing their real-life thing.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

San Francisco on a Beautiful Day

Today I get to share some pictures of San Francisco on a beautiful day. Both are of the Golden Gate Bridge.

This shot is from the SF/Sausalito Ferry, and this one is from Telegraph Hill.

Imagine the perfect, soft breeze for the full, pleasing effect.

Methods of transportation we used today:
  • Car
  • Bus
  • Ferry
  • Cable Car
  • Trolley
  • Foot (almost never uphill, though...good planning!)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bring back Joycelyn Elders!

Cunning Runt left this comment on one of my previous posts.

No doubt you've heard of The Shrub's nomination for Surgeon Freakin' General, a reeel perfeshin'l feller who thinks gays can/should be "cured" by reprogramming. That ought to bring some sorely-needed sanity to the table.

Sigh. Remember Joycelyn Elders? What a cool lady. She's the ex-Surgeon General who suggested the ABCD's for sexual health: A-abstinence, B-be faithful, C-use a condom, or D-do something else. She got fired for that last one because God forbid that anyone in government acknowledge the safest and most common sexual act of all.

What a comparison, eh? Here's a place you can click-and-send or compose your own letters to your Senators, asking them to reject Dr. Holsinger for Surgeon General. Or maybe you're one of the 43,445 people who have already sent their letters.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Happy Michael Tolliver Day!

I was so sad when I finished the last of the six books in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series. I mourned. I grieved. I turned back to page one and started over again. I did not want to part with his characters.

But today, 20 years later, I can stop grieving and start celebrating (and reading). In honor of Maupin’s latest book, “Michael Tolliver Lives,” Mayor Gavin Newsom has declared June 12 "'Michael Tolliver Day' in San Francisco."

For those lucky enough to have not yet read the books, “the City” is San Francisco, in the 80s. Many of the characters are gay, and the stories begin before the AIDS epidemic, and continue through it. The central character is Michael Tolliver, nicknamed, “Mouse.” The story lines are crazy, hilarious and touching.

More importantly, these were the first gay and lesbian characters I’d ever read about who were not portrayed as disturbed in some way. What a wonderful, liberating feeling that gave. What a gift to be handed a whole new set of people living funny, happy, sad, full, wonderful lives. Some might say I’ve taken these silly fictional books way to seriously, but…hey, I live in my books!

Happy Michael Tolliver Day! Read the books. They are perfect for summer reading!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sometimes, on a Beautiful Day, ...

...the thing to do is to build yourself a catpult. So that's what 8yo and I did, with help from power-tool-dude (Dad).

Too bad I won't post videos of my kids here, because the first attempts were priceless.

1) We didn't have anything to stop the catapult arm, ... except the concrete ... so we launched the water balloon right into the concrete. Well, actually, the bowl that holds the water balloon tried to keep going, past the concrete, but couldn't, so some parts went right, and some went left. We got a new bowl.

2) The springs that provide the force to swing the arm around were pulling in a direction to KEEP the arm in the firing position, so 8yo let go to fire and .... nothing happened.

3) The springs were in the right position, but didn't pull hard enough, so the ball "doinked." 8yo cried, "Aaaw, that sucked!"

4) After a few more tries, we got it go about 30 feet. 8yo's verdict: "That was pretty good!"

Friday, June 8, 2007

Activism takes a break

I hope you enjoy this taste of the High Sierra. This is Elizabeth Lake, and behind it is Unicorn Peak, in Yosemite National Park.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Don't Agonize, Organize...

I stole the title for this post from BAC, over at Yikes. I don't think she'll mind.

So, after feeling wilty for a while, I got mad and swirled into action.
This is me, calling congress about the impending increased funding of ineffective, amoral abstinence-only education programs.

With friends like these, who needs conservative Republicans?

James Wagoner, of Advocates for Youth, says it so well, at RH Reality Check:

"Today, the House Democrats will waltz into the mark-up of the Labor HHS Subcommittee and proudly present a bill that puts their stamp of approval on domestic abstinence-only-until-marriage programs—an ideological boondoggle that threatens the health and well-being of America's youth.

The most appalling aspect of this sell-out is that that the Democrats will not only fully fund the worst of the failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs—they'll give them a $27 million increase—the first in three years!

Shame on Congressman David Obey for brokering this "deal;" shame on Congresswoman Nita Lowey for agreeing to it; and shame on those other Democrats on the Appropriations Committee who have already promised not to offer any amendment that would cut funding for abstinence-only programs and thus "upset" the deal.

In one inglorious motion, the Democrats have sold the health and well-being of young people down the proverbial drain, delivered a public slap in the face to evidence-based public health, and made a mockery of their "prevention first" message.

Consider this irony. The first domestic policy the Democrats will endorse on the prevention front will be to fund abstinence-only-until-marriage programs for young people up to the age of 29! ..." read more; it's worth your time

"Now is the time for advocates to hold these Democrats accountable. It would be the height of hypocrisy to go mute when this kind of damage is done to young people because "our friends" are in power."

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Sigh...and a CALL TO ACTION

This is how I feel, having heard that Congress appears poised to increase funding for domestic abstinence-only education, despite a recent report showing that it is ineffective and deprives our youth of life-saving information about prevention of unintended pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases.

I agree with what this commenter at the RH Reality Check blog says about the democrats:

"They are trying to dodge responsibility for capitulation on the war in Iraq, but they have just capitulated on one of the easiest issues to deal with in the Culture Wars."


Monday, June 4, 2007


OK, I couldn't limit it to one photo. And you need to understand why.

Mark Twain said this about Mono Lake:

"Its sluggish waters are so strong with alkali that if you only dip the most hopelessly soiled garment into them once or twice, and wring it out, it will be found as clean as if it had been through the ablest of washer woman's hands."

We joked a lot about those ablest of washer women this past weekend.

And we made sure to rinse off the Mono Lake water. It is so alkaline (like Lye soap), and salty, it eats away at stuff. Mark Twain's "soiled garment" probably would have dissolved if he'd dipped it one more time.

So picture me, my little camera in a water-tight box hanging from my neck. I get into position to take a photo (using my best, but novice, paddling skills), stop paddling for a moment and:
  • shake Mono Lake water off my hands

  • open water-tight box

  • remove camera

  • turn on camera

  • zoom camera

  • frame shot

    Oops. My kayak has drifted.

  • hang camera by its strap from my teeth

  • maneuver kayak back into position

  • frame shot

  • click

  • turn off camera

  • put camera back into water-tight box and close it

  • find even better angle

  • repeat

Don't feel sorry for me; it was great fun! Having this blog makes me look at the world more closely. Thank you for being here and giving me a reason to really see things.

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Oops. Sorry. Well, maybe it's ok.

Did any one sign up with IdealBite at my recommendation? Some recent tips have me feeling like maybe I recommended a targeted marketing list (...sorry, didn’t realize at first).

Here are the guidelines for products recommended in their tips. They're pretty good.

So, while I don't like getting tips like "Nip/Tuck Alternatives," I do like getting tips like this one, "Insider Trading," on how to swap and trade rather than buy things new.

·BookCrossing - leave used books in designated public places for other email-alerted bookworms to pick up.
·Freecycle - join a local group of swappers online.
·LendList - a share site where you compile a list of things you have to loan out, then send the list around to your friends.
·Swapagift - someone give you a gift card you'll never use? Swap it for cash here.
·Zunafish - swap books, CDs, DVDs and video games for $1/trade, plus shipping.

How the heck do you pick one photo from a weekend like this?

What an awesome weekend. Here's the photo I picked for the "I'm back from Mono Lake" post.
I figured it was similar enough to the professional shot below to demonstrate that I am truly an amateur, but it's still pretty cool.
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