Sticking to Principles, or Just Plain Stuck?

For readers who do not follow U.S. politics (a wise bunch), some background: in November 2012, our most recent presidential campaign concluded. Obama and Biden won re-election. Their opponents were Romney and Ryan.

Every day I walk my dog around the neighborhood, twice. I try to vary our route but over a week we pass the same homes repeatedly. A couple blocks from me is a neighbor I have never seen on any of those walks, but fantasize meeting, to inquire about this obsolete campaign sign, getting weathered and worn on the front lawn:

A sign of defiance?

A sign of defiance?

What I want to ask – but let’s face it, never will – goes like this: Are you aware the election is over? Are you trying to will a different result? Is this a signal of your refusal to accept the outcome? (Insert rant about kneejerk intransigence in the federal government.) Should we call the SWAT team – have you been held hostage in your house for more than 12 months, unable to walk out front to remove the sign?

Please advise.

(This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge wants to see habits.)

Guaranteed Me Time

Parents and other grown-ups know that as life’s demands escalate, it gets harder to take care of our own needs. I attend an exercise class that starts at 530 am because that seems to be the only way that I can guarantee fitting exercise into my daily routine. Lately I’ve been getting up even earlier, to crowbar some writing into my day. Four am is so early that even the dog is still asleep. (By 5 am, her optimism kicks in and she follows me around, hoping for a very early breakfast.)

My exercise class is outside. I love that. I love seeing sunrises like this,  instead of the walls of a gym:

The view shortly after class began this morning.

The view shortly after class began this morning.

Admittedly this was one of the nicest sunrises ever. But you get the idea.


The view as class concluded.

Outside, you cry? Are you nuts!? Maybe, but I’m not a masochist, I’m a southern Californian. There are scant few days each year when it is unpleasant to be outside.

(This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge wants to see habits.)

Rush Hour at the Cat Door

It is important to be the first one out in the morning. On this morning, Bo (orange, left) seems to have the advantage. He does not. As soon as the cat door opens, Arrow will squeeze under his chin and shoot outside before he takes a step.


On your mark!

I am a cat. I pace and meow to exit, and then, soon after, I return to lounge indoors. Sometimes the pacing lasts longer than the trip outdoors.

There are three cats here, one obscured by another's bushy tail.

There are three cats here, Arrow is obscured by Leo’s bushy tail.

Giant orange tabby Leo is usually third of the three to leave. He doesn’t get the fuss about the morning exits, but competes because his buds do.

Didn't we just do this yesterday?

Didn’t we just do this yesterday?

A rare photograph captures the exit of the usual winner. Arrow does everything at warp speed. This morning, the others haven’t yet realized the door is open by the time she is outside.

The others don't even know the door is open, yet.

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing fast.

P.S. to discerning blog readers – yes, these photos are missing two of the five cats. The youngsters use this cat door to the backyard. The oldsters prefer to leave by another door.

The oldsters avoid the youngsters at rush hour.

Oldsters Bop and Luna avoid the youngsters at rush hour.

(This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge wants to see habits.)

Creatures of Erosion – A Beach Rorschach

A very low tide at Santa Barbara, California’s East Beach reveals a sea wall whose barnacles, mussels, and erosion combine to suggest some magical creatures. Anyway, that is what I see. How about you?

A fantastical biped with another grazing behind?

A fantastical quadruped with another grazing behind?

The creatures look even more mysterious in shadow:

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Here are some close-ups of the creature’s hide:

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Note the anemones nestled at the creature’s feet:

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Eerie Erosion

The WP Weekly Photo Challenge wants to see eerie in black and white.

An unusually low tide exposed this heavily eroded metal sea wall at East Beach in Santa Barbara, CA.  I wondered if it was possible to strip the beauty from an ocean photo. To convert beauty to eerie,  I changed the image to black and white and then tinted using Photoshop. This was as eerie as I could get.  I believe the answer is no. Even post-apocalypse, sun on ocean remains beautiful.


Photoshopped. I like the way the sun bleeds into the water.

The original image.

The original image.

Sinkhole to the Horizon

(The WP Weekly Photo Challenge wants to see horizons.)

I’m a disaster junkie. Natural disasters amaze me. I hate it when people get hurt, but the forces of nature that create the disasters leave me awestruck.

A couple years ago, I learned about Lake Okeechobee, a sinkhole that is the seventh largest freshwater lake in the United States. That’s a big sinkhole!!

I also learned that tragically, in the 1920s, hurricane winds blew water over the tops of Okeechobee’s levees, which killed hundreds of people. Since that time, the levee tenders say they’ve rebuilt to withstand anything the Earth can send their way. (Hmm. Where have I heard that before?) There is apparently some controversy about whether this is true.

Knowing all this, I had to see Okeechobee for myself. A family reunion staged on both coasts of Florida gave me the opportunity I needed. As my son and I drove from the Atlantic to the Gulf, he agreed to a detour so that I could see my sinkhole.

I only got to make one stop at Okeechobee, and that briefly. (I hope to go back for a longer visit someday — probably alone.) Still, it did not disappoint.

Here is what I saw.

Okeechobee is surrounded by a waterway lined with houses and boat docks:

The "moat" around Lake Okeechobee.

The “moat” around Lake Okeechobee.

The levees are maybe 30 feet high:

That human speck at the top of the levee is my son.

That human speck at the top of the levee is my son.

Boats go through locks to get from the moat to the lake:

Fishing boat heading for the lake.

Fishing boat heading for the lake.

A person works in a bunker, opening the locks for boats:

In the background, the bunker. In the foreground, my son jumping from post to post.

In the background, the bunker. In the foreground, my son jumping from post to post.

The lake is low on water, from drought and flood control, leaving a marshy area just below the levee:


That glint on the horizon is the water of Lake Okeechobee, which is 20 miles across:

Florida has a lot of sky.

Florida has a lot of sky.

Many of the levees are topped with biking and walking trails. It could be fun to circle the lake!… Maybe… The circuit would take more than one day….

That is indeed a large sinkhole.

Unexpected Benefit of a Gator Quest

(The WP Weekly Photo Challenge asked to see a horizon.)

On my occasional trips to Florida to see family, I have been repeatedly disappointed in efforts to spot alligators out in the open (not planted at a zoo or theme park).

Please understand, I don’t have a death wish. It’s not like I traipse through the Everglades calling here gator gator. I simply search for remnants of gator culture in Florida suburbs, under the assumption that surviving gators will shun humans rather than eat them.

They certainly shun this human!

At the golf course where some of my family lives, signs like this one promise gator action near the pond:

An unfounded claim.

An unfounded claim.

I’ve never seen any gators at the pond, but one late afternoon, looking for gators did bring me to this wonderful reflection of the horizon:

Horizon-tal symmetry.

Horizon-tal symmetry.

Finally and at last, as we left for the airport to come home, I saw one! A little guy running away from us, toward the horizon:


We almost didn’t get the picture – took us many precious seconds to figure out that speeding up to see him before he got away made him run faster to get away.

Graceful and Gorgeous

The Egyptian Theater is an old time movie palace and Art Deco masterpiece on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, currently the home of the American Cinematheque.

When I’m there I always notice the spectacular ceiling:

A glimpse of the ceiling.

A glimpse of the ceiling.

This time I discovered that even the stair railings and exit ways are special:

Classy stair railing.

Classy stair railing.

(The Weekly Photo Challenge wants to see lines and patterns.)

Rock Rorschach

If you read this blog much, you know I like to see stuff in other stuff.

Here is a rock that sits right in the surf on a Santa Barbara beach. It’s got a big hollow with ever-changing sand deposits.  Last time I was at this beach, the rock looked like a fossil shark tooth to me. What do you see?

What do you see?

What do you see?

Later that day, the surf developed the rock’s next persona:

Tide coming in.

Tide coming in.

(The Weekly Photo Challenge wants to see lines and patterns.)