Painting is just another way of keeping a diary ~Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tournee du Chat Noir

Born July 31, 2000 in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,
Luna has logged a lot of moving miles in her little cat carrier.
12 years, 7 homes, 6 moves, 4 states, 3 countries, 2 continents, 1 AWESOME CAT!
And for her birthday she got some of her favorite things...
a box, crinkly paper, and string!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ferris Wheel Abstract

I have to admit I took a lot of ferris wheel photos.  The lights change so quickly that each photo is amazingly different.  I don't plan to post anymore of these (at least until the Yolo County Fair next month)  :^)
I really wanted to post this one though because this effect was so interesting to me.  My tripod has a neck adjustment that allows me to change the angle of my camera, and sometimes after I adjust it, it doesn't lock into place properly.  So that's what happened here.  When I tried to zoom out the tripod neck wobbled around a little and it made this cool pattern.  I think maybe the ferris wheel was moving a little at the time too, so the pattern in each row is slightly different.  There's a physics problem here I'm sure. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

View from the Ferris Wheel

Well today is the final day for the California State Fair, and last night I finally rode the big ferris wheel, so here is a view of most of the midway.  There are four ferris wheels: two in this photo, the one I'm on, and another one that is off to the right out of the picture.  The pink-glowing buildings way in the background are the arts buildings, and beyond that is the food court and exhibit area, then the animals, and then the grandstand, so it's a very big fair.  The monorail, winding its way through the midway in this photo, is one way to comfortably view all the fairgrounds.  I never got around to riding it this year; guess that's something to put on the to do list for next year!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tomato Saucing Party

This was our second year attending the Eatwell Farms tomato saucing party.  Eatwell, our CSA, supplies all the tomatoes, peppers, garlic, basil, etc.  The tomatoes are considered seconds because of blemishes, so they don't go out in the weekly boxes, but they're still perfectly good tomatoes for canning.  We supply the stove and all the pots, pans and cooking utensils we need.   We were much better prepared this year, canning 12 quarts of tomato sauce.  I'd say about 100 people attended, so we got a chance to walk around and survey different cooking and canning methods.  Some people were much more productive than we were.  I think this is because we had to boil down our sauce, and we don't have the really huge pots and only have a small camping stove.  This one isn't my pot, but it sure does reflect nicely. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fair Lights

I had so much fun playing around with my camera at the state fair the other night.  This is the biggest of the ferris wheels, and I really wanted to ride it, but the line was too long.  Ferris wheel lines move so slowly!  I took a lot of this type of photo though; this one came out closest to what I had imagined, but not exact.  I'll admit, I really want to go back again for one more try!  I have until Sunday because that's when the fair ends.  If I time it right, I'll ride this ferris wheel too!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fun at the Fair

Maybe this goes without saying, but I opted not to get the unlimited ride wristband :-)  
So I just wandered around with all my camera gear; my own kind of fun.
I saw about a half dozen kindred spirits who were also lugging their tripods around.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Looking for Shade

I was starting to think that I had adjusted to the weather here, but maybe not.  It seems like July has been a lot of really hot days in a row.  I find myself trying to run all my errands in the morning, and hiding out in the air conditioning in the afternoon.  Parking at the far end of the lot just to get a little patch of shade.  And it's really put me out of the photography mood too.  (At least I'm choosing to blame the weather!)  This was taken in June.  Right now all that undergrowth is completely dried out and brown. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Star of the Garden

How is it that my zucchini plant is growing a zucchini a day?  Each morning I go out to inspect the garden, and pick a zucchini, thinking I won't need to pick another for a few days.  And the next day, I do just the same thing!  And don't get me wrong, I love zucchini, but I've never had such an amazingly prolific plant.  (Is prolific the right word here?)  When you include the fact that we get a bag of zucchini in our weekly CSA box, it's all I can do to keep up.  Last year I went to a book talk by a local author, Spring Warren.  She wrote a book titled The Quarter Acre Farm: How I Kept the Patio, Lost the Lawn and Fed My Family for a Year.  I'm going to start employing one of her zucchini strategies this week: run some of my zucchinis through the food processor, and shape them into zucchini pucks on a cookie sheet.  Freeze the pucks and store them in the freezer for a quick addition to winter meals. 

My Jellyfish Offering

Everyone who goes to the Monterey Bay Aquarium takes a variation of this photo.
That's because they have such an amazing jelly fish exhibit!
*Technically I'm calling this yesterday's post, since I forgot to post it then.
We dug through old VHS tapes after dinner, and started watching old family videos and I just forgot about all else...

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Today was the open house at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.  MBARI is located in Moss Landing about half way up the bay, and right on the water of course.  Here they develop all the mechanical equipment for their deep sea explorations.  Scientists and engineers were on hand to explain the elaborate machines that allow researchers to collect data, video deep sea life, and expand our knowledge of the deep sea.  After viewing all the presentations we took a stroll along the beach.  This old boardwalk is on the sea side of the all research buildings.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Garden Salad

These are the ingredients of my first garden salad of the season!  Early Girl tomatoes, Hungarian peppers, sweet basil, Japanese basil, and Thai basil.  All grown in my little backyard garden.  The olive oil was from an olive festival that we went to up in Kelseyville.  And I should have included the garlic which was from the Co-op; I've never grown garlic, but maybe I'll try that this year.  And of course I don't grow and press my own olive oil, although I bet that would be fun to try too.  Anyway, the salad was absolutely delicious, and just the first of many garden fresh salads this summer!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Art - i - choke

When I was in high school, my freshman English teacher would give us these word puzzles.  There would be a sentence or two with some of the words left blank.  The idea was that some of the blank words would combine together to make the final blank word.  Usually these were compound words, but not always.  My friends and I just loved figuring these out.  The one that I remember best is the one that stumped us...

On some great ______  ___ ______, like the six foot __________ hanging at the local gallery.

Of course the clue was gallery.  And the answer?  On some great art I choke, like the six foot artichoke hanging at the local gallery.

Lucky that we have artichokes growing around here, and a few weeks ago we drove through Castroville, the self-proclaimed "Artichoke Capital of the World."  That's when I learned that this purple flower is actually an artichoke gone to seed!  So this morning when I drove past this patch of "thistle", I finally recognized it for what it is.  ARTICHOKE! The yellow flower is from last year.  I tried photographing it over the winter when I thought this was thistle.  The purple flowers in the background are this year's artichokes going to seed.  They are just growing wild here near the side of the road.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lion King Sunset

We've had the most interesting sunset for the last few days.  A huge red sun.  Wish I still had that 400mm lens I rented a few months ago; this would have been a good shot for it!  I think it looks a little like the Lion King sun, but I couldn't get the sky that red.  I had to really underexpose to get all those color bands in the sun.  The sun is emerging from a band of clouds, so maybe if the clouds weren't there I could have had my red sky. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

California State Fair

I missed posting yesterday because we got back late from a very fun and very exhausting day at the California State Fair.  We were there for 7 hours, I think, and we still didn't get to see everything!  After dinner we all met up in the midway with my youngest son who got the unlimited ride wristband.  I vaguely remember loving carnival rides when I was that age.  These days I'd rather photograph them.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Waiter's Race

Ok, this was a fun event!  Also for Bastille Day, if you can believe it.  It was the second annual waiter's race in midtown Sacramento last night.  There were about 50 waiters representing area restaurants, and they had to pour Perrier water into two water goblets and race around the block.  I thought this would be a short one block race, but actually they had to round all four corners of a block, twice!  There were judges along the way who would disqualify them for steadying glasses with a second hand, or having both feet off the ground at the same time (it was a fast walking race), etc.  I pretty much viewed this event through my camera lens, so I didn't actually see any spills, but I could hear them; there was also a guy who walked the route with a broom and dust pan! 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bastille Day Feast

What a beautiful table being set out at the Wolfskill Ranch this morning in Winters.  This inaugural Bastille Day Feast will raise funds for the Winters Farm to School Program.  Today's feast was organized through Slow Food Yolo.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Carmel Mission

We had the opportunity during our vacation to visit two of California's missions, San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo and San Juan Batista.  The California missions date from the late 1700s, and the architecture in both missions was very similar, including these long arcades which flank the outer walls. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Just for fun

My son made this plate in his ceramics class last year, and I put it on the table near the front door.  It's become a collection spot for these green rubber bands that hold the morning newspaper.  I must open the newspaper as I'm walking in the door, and toss the rubber band onto the plate in my half-awake state.  Today I couldn't help but notice that my random tosses have created this expressive face.  Maybe it's trying to tell me something.  But whaaaaat?!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tortoisey Flower

Well, if it's summertime and I'm not feeling inspired for photos, I can always walk one street over to this amazing rosebush.  The roses always look like this, almost neon, and such a range of color.  I have to go after 5pm because the roses are in the shade then.  I picked this photo as my favorite because the petal on the right reminds me of a tortoise face...Maybe because we visited the vivarium in Berkeley over the weekend? 

Monday, July 9, 2012


Well if you've ever been concerned with the plight of the anchovy in the can, then you can rest assured that the anchovies must actually like being crammed together.  Here they are in their tank in the Monterey Bay Aquarium, swimming frantically in a circle, all shoulder to shoulder, just like...oh I don't know, like anchovies in a can!!  I think that if you could see from the top of the tank, the anchovies have probably stirred up a little whirlpool, they swim so fast.  I let them swim through a 1 second exposure.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tree Line

Also on 17 Mile Dr.  I wish I knew what kind of trees these were.  This forest was so homogeneous and so linear, I just couldn't help myself!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bixby Bridge

I debated whether or not I should post this one.  It's a lot of landscapes in a row, plus I think everyone who visits here takes this shot.  It's listed on the "top 10" snapshots to get in the Monterey area, and they even tell you right where to park, so it's just a matter of time of day and weather. (Just before noon, and our best weather day...we spent most of this day in the aquarium...figures!)  Bixby Bridge is one of may old concrete bridges on this route, but it's the famous one.  I read that the stretch of Hwy 1 from Monterey through Big Sur was completed over an 18 year period by convict labor in the 1920s and 30s.  This must have been hard work, but the views are truly breathtaking!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Big Sur Coastline

One of many scenic views on Hwy 1 between Big Sur and Monterey.  We got to know this drive really well over the course of our time here; we were camping in Big Sur, which is a beautiful but remote and rugged stretch of coastline.  Each day we would drive the 25 miles of curvy coast-hugging road to get to the Monterey area.  You can see the road line along the hillside about halfway between the water line and the clouds.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sunset at Pebble Beach

My son, Eric, posing on the rocks at Pebble Beach in Carmel, CA.  I think he's posing like in Karate Kid!  We drove the 17 Mile Road after a full day in Monterey, and ended up at the beach just at sunset.