Wednesday, May 31, 2006

La Jolla Village Cove

Due to some people (you know who you are) who are broadband-challenged, I uploaded these images in small format so you wouldn't have any difficulty loading them. For full affect, please click on each image. After it opens, double click on the lower right corner and you'll get to see it enlarged. Really, it's better that way.

On Tuesday Apollo and I went to La Jolla Village Cove. Both of us had never been there. I didn't realize how close all the shops and businesses were to the ocean. I drove around the corner and there it was!

Here's the Cove when you first drive up from the North. I parked in the first spot available thinking parking would be tough. I was wrong. But, here's the view we saw. It was beautiful.

After walking quite a bit, we found some tide pools. Unfortunately, the tide was coming in so we didn't see much other than some crabs, sea anenomes and a couple fish. But he incoming tide was making a loud, splasy statement that demanded attention and respect.

I'm mesmerized by the ocean.

A silhouttte of a tourist taking in the scene. I've always felt the ocean is awe inspiring. It's one bit of Mother Nature Man has not been able to tame.

Just seconds after I took this photo, Apollo walked away and a big wave came in and washed over all the rocks you see here.

At this point, I really wanted to go swimming.

I thought this was so sweet, this couple had their small child (about four years old) take their photo. She was so small, you could tell the camera was too big for her too.

We smelled them before we saw them. It was like a thousand wet dogs creeped up on us but no...instead it was a bunch of seals sunning themselves on this rock. We watch as a baby seal tried to climb up on the rock and join the adults. The adults would have none of that. They were braying at the baby and trying to push it off with their flippers.

Just a bit further from the smelly dogs of the sea, we saw the infamous Children's Pool. The Children's Pool was built in 1931 with a grant from Ellen Browning Scripps as a sheltered swimming area for children. It has since been taken over by seals whom use the beach for pupping. The babies also hang out there as it's a safe location for them. They can safely play around in the water without worry from predators.

Part of the problem is all the fecal matter that builds up making the water toxic. Of course, there's always arguments from people who want to use the beach as originally intended and then arguments from environmentalists who think the seals should be left alone. After visiting the beach and seeing all the other beaches available to the public, I think this one should be left to the seals. It also helps to raise public awareness about seals.

These baby seals of varying size are pretty cute. Here they're trying to get brave enough to go up on the beach and join that other big fat adult seal that's burrowed itself in the sand (see lump to the left).

The teenage seals were the bravest and once one of them would wash itself up on the beach, others would soon follow. After they hurled themselves up, they would flop around until they got to their destination, which ended up not being near the sleeping seal.

The smallest were the last to get out of the water and rarely did they make it up to the others. This little guy was so cute. He wasn't quite brave enough to leave the safety of the wet sand.

Not all of them left the water though. Several stayed behind and continued playing in the water, much like otters. They flapped their tails on the water and generally caused a rucus. I realize it's hard to see, but if you click on the image you can see the splash one of them has made with his tail while flipping around in the water with a buddy.

After a while, we finally got smart enough to walk down and join the others who were watching the seals on the beach. The cool thing about this area is there's park benches at the top of the hill near the road. So if you're handicapped or have small children, you can sit there and watch the seals without missing out on much.

I really do love the image above. I love the shadows of all the people watching the animals. In the end you wonder, who's watching who?

Here they are of varying size and color. Some had more spots then other as obviously, they lose them as they get older. The funny thing about these guys is they would all congregate to one area but they didn't want anyone touching them or near them. They were constantly fighting, pawing at each other with their flippers, barking, rummaging around, etc, trying to get a good spot without someone else touching them or in their space. It was pretty funny.

Some scuba divers came over and entered the water - yes, the foul stinky water - and freaked out the seals. Once one seal entered the water, it was a domino affect and they all slinked in.

It's hard to see, but all the seals poked their heads out of the water and followed the divers who were over by the rocks. They didn't swim around and have fun but continued to curiously follow the divers.

This is also a nice shot that shows some of the buildings in La Jolla. It definitely is a beautiful place!

Balboa roses

Some roses from the rose garden by Balboa Park. Of course, the photos don't do them justice.

Lunch break

Last week I went to the beach near work and watched the waves roll in while I ate my artery hardening fast food. It was nice to get away from buildings, computers, the sound of typing, and the engineers talking about their three day weekend. (Tech Support does not get real weekends.) The sound of the water was so soothing.

I then decided to spread the love and gave some french fries to nearby begging squirrels. They multiplied from one to oh ...nine? Needless to say, they really liked the french fries.

Some early Memorial Day vacationers were taking on the beach. It wasn't really that warm either. Oh well, they were enjoying themselves.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I guess I AM an adult now

Today I received an interesting letter in the mail. Actually, I received two of them. One I had to sign for, the other was a duplicate. At first, I thought it was a bill collector for some lost long bill. I cringed when I saw the big "Oregon" in the return address area on the envelope. But as I looked closer, I realized it was from the Oregon Department of Human Services. The letter started out,

"Dear Rayleen:

The above named child(ren) are in foster care with the Department of Human Services (DHS). We understand that you may be a relative of this child/these children. When children cannot live with parents, DHS must consider placement with family members. It is our policy to ask family members whether or not they would be available as a possible temporary or permanent placement home for a relative child."

The letter continues to explain fostering and a little how it works. And then asks if I'm interested. One of the children, the one I'm related to is around 5 years old. The others age is ambiguous, all I know is he's younger than the older one but is no blood relation to myself.

My first instinct was to call my Mom. After several attempts, I finally reach her. She sounds angry. She is angry I would even consider it! (I'm sure she doesn't think that's how she came across.) She believes it is the responsibility of the father, who is a relative, and the grandparents to take care of these children. She believes the father should have first dibs on the 5 year old no matter what - he is the father after all.

I call my sister, she hems and haws with me. We have different ideals in life; she likes kids but doesn't want any, I like kids and do want some but my eggs are getting old (and possibly defective). So, we both look at this from different angles. We both agree that while this is just more family drama, maybe someone should think about the kids rather than not hurting someone's feelings. And after all, why is the father having difficulty getting custody?

I talk to Apollo who was in the foster system until he was 18. He is angry and bitter about what he calls "The System." He says the longer a kid is in The System, the harder it is to get him/her out. His experiences with all foster familys were negative; he was either abused or mistreated in each family. Since he was separated from his brother, he believes kids shouldn't be separated and should be kept together. He's also angry that nobody in his family stepped up to take him (he overheard family members talking about how they didn't want him).

This is a big decision, definitely life changing. Saying 'yes' to the letter doesn't necessarily mean anything but, it is a commitment that shouldn't be taken lightly. I don't even know how this could even work out, simply due to my living about 1200 miles away.

All my life, I've been making decisions based on my feeling like a kid still. This letter changed things. I have a lot to think about.

Fun in the sun anyone?

I'm thinking we should do something in the next few weeks that involves grilling, the beach, fun times, etc.

Janet, Laura, Katrina, Maka...anyone that lives in SD, call me! Or leave a comment with your email address.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Colorful character

It was once suggested I occassionally post about people in my hood because there's so many interesting people who live here. It's just like any other neighborhood, if you live there long enough you'll start to meet other people who've lived there for a long time too. And when I say a long time, sometimes I mean a long time.

Meet Carl. Carl is cool enough, but he scares me sometimes. I know this is mean, but he looks like that Tales from the Crypt guy. I was taking this photo on the sly so I couldn't used my flash, hence you can't see all his blackheads and many lines in his face. He claims to be 65 but I'm thinking he's probably 80.

Carl walks to the store (one block away) every day to buy something, whether it's a can of beans, a lightbulb, a bottle of Icehouse, etc. When he does, the guys start going thru their pockets cause they know what Carl is going to say. Sure enough, once he gets close enough he starts talking about how he only has .73 cents and he needs another quarter to buy green beans. He'll even pull all the change out of his pocket to show you how little he has. Of course, nobody minds. But it's funny because he's predictable.

Carl often complains that his conservator steals the money the government sends and doesn't buy him anything. We later found out this was a lie, as he told on himself when he was talking about all the new clothes his conservator keeps buying him. He doesn't like new clothes or clean ones for that matter, he prefers the ones he has on, thank you very much. We all think his conservator is smart, Carl would definitely drink away his money if he had control of it.

Dont' get me wrong, Carl is smarter than he looks. He lives in building full of seniors. He makes trips back and forth to the store buying things for the other seniors so he can keep their change. Doesn't that sound like the sneaky plan of a child?

Word on the street is Carl's upset about the Walgreens that's being built nearby, even though it's closer than the other store he visits. Why? Because "they don't sell booze!"

What else can I say about Carl? Well, not much. He really likes talking to Apollo and Big Mac plus his blackheads freak me out. So I end up staring at them the whole time he asks for money, talks about his cat, booze or well, asks for money. I didn't know people in his age bracket could have blackheads.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Apollo's hamburger

Apollo is the master of cooking meat, IMO. For example, I never liked meatloaf...hated it really. But then, I had Apollo's meatloaf. It was the best meatloaf I have ever had. Now, I only eat his meatloaf...nobody elses. Anyway, all of his meat dishes are absolutely delicious, it doesn't matter what it is. You can ask Faythe!

Sure, he may not have the faintest idea what to do with vegetables but that's OK.

Today Apollo grilled some two inch thick burgers. He mixed some sweet rellish into the hamburger and added some hydrated bacon bits - I've never heard of such a thing but I don't question Apollo. I'm pretty sure he knows what he's doing.

When I saw my burger, I instantly thought of Faythe. Girl, you missed out.

Prom time in the gaytto*

Yep. According to local news reports, it's quite normal for girls to spend $5000 alone on this one night. I asked Erv and he guessed he spent around $600 on the prom. This of course doesn't include the $400 grill he bought months ago.

Sorry, I haven't quite mastered the art of lighting when it comes to my brothas and sistas. But you can still see Lil' Erv's stylin looks, including lavender/purple alligator shoes, complimentary tie and shirt, and bling-bling jewelry.

*sigh* I do not understand the appeal of the grill. Doesn't this all originate from low income people not being able to afford tooth colored dentistry and getting caps or big silver fillings? I had a cap on a tooth when I was little. It was big and predated the grill. I guess I was hip before my time.

Check out his haircut. I'm sure there's a name for it. Someone is telling me it's imprint. I'm not that cool, I don't know what this kind of haircut is called.

Another angle for the ladies to drool over. heh! Oh, this angle shows the cool star carved in on this side. It wasn't until I saw the star that I understood (if you want to go that far) the star earrings. Is it just me or did Madonna wear something like this back in the 80's?

*gaytto - when the gay of Hillcrest merges with the ghetto, where regular people who cannot afford to live in the nice neighborhoods like Hillcrest go, the more raggedy and beat up part of town...yes, this is my neighborhood, the gaytto

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Another celebrity birth

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had their baby today in Namibia. It's a girl, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. I like the name...I'm still reeling over "Apple."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


is looking a little beat up. Or somethin.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ever wonder what happened to this guy?

The Anthony Michael Hall we know and love in The Breakfast Club.

And now, the updated version. Anthony has a new show on USA called The DeadZone. I took a double take when I first heard his name during the commercial so I checked and yep, it's him.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Google honors Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's birthday

Most famous for his Sherlock Holmes creation, Doyle's birthday is today. Click on the headline for more information about this famous author.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

In a funk.

I've been in kind of a funk lately. I think it's this cold but it may also be related to a few other things as well. I just haven't had the desire to knit. Of course, this calls for a shopping spree! Shopping cures most ailments! Unfortunately, I don't have any money so the shopping spree has been postponed. Meanwhile, I'm trying to get motivated enough to start my Christmas presents. And a baby item for Peanut. Maybe that will take my mind off jerks and bronchial issues.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Beanie Palooza

I think Faythe really enjoyed her beanies. Now that she's seen it, I can post a photo!

There's a minor detail I need to work out, but I'm pretty happy with this simple beanie I whipped up. I hope it was the right size, I'm working out the fine details of how many stitches to cast on for different size hats.

Is this pattern masculine enough for men? I sorta think it's a winter hat. It makes me think of ski hats. Except, well, it's a beanie. Gotta love beanies! BEANIES BEANIES BEANIES!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

And then there were two

Well, I'll make this short and sweet. Tonight was Elliotts last night on American Idol. I don't remember the exact numbers but the votes for the three contestants was nearly evenly divided.

As you can see in the image, Elliott raised his fist, shook it and yelled out "GAH!" when Ryan gave him the news. Just kidding. :) That would have been pretty funny though.

Tonight I was struck by the pleasant personalities of each contestant as we visited their hometowns with them and went on little adventures. I wish we had seen something like this sooner in the show. But then, maybe people would have voted based on their personalities and not their singing.

The three seem close and very likeable people.

Oh, I forgot to mention something from last nights show. Last night Clive Davis was talking to Katherine and he mentioned something similar to, "When we record your album..." hmmmm

Play-Doh perfume

That's right, perfume!! You can find it at Demeter

Play-Doh has released its perfume to celebrate its 50th Anniversary. It's $19 for 1 ounce or $39.50 for 4 ounces.

Sounds weird, I know. But it's peaked my interest! If I can find it, I'll definitely take a whiff. Pay-Doh has one of those sorts of scents that brings back a lot of fond memories of childhood for some people. While I admit that I've been a Play-Doh sniffer on more than one occassion, I'm not sure if I'd want to wear it on my body!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Final 3 on American Idol

First, I'd like to preface this with "I am sick." There, thank you for your sympathy. *sniiiiff*

There's been a lot of speculation as to why Chris was voted off last week. I could share my theories but instead, I wanted to share the numbers of posts on each contestant's forum at the American Idol Message Boards:

As you can see Taylor clearly is more popular or at least has a majority of the posts. I guess this blows a hole in the theory some people hold of how only "old people" like Taylor Hicks. I have a hard time seeing "old people" posting on an AI message board which is on the scary internet where Big Brother is watching you. Whether you like him or not, he has sparked almost three times as much interest as other contestants.

Now, on to the show. Clive Davis is giving the kiddies advice this week and picks out their first song.We really don't see much of Clive other than an approximate ten-second shot of him with each contestant and then another snippet of why he chose each song.

Elliot is up first and sings Open Arms by Journey. He's doing OK. I stopped paying attention a few measures into the song so I could blow my nose and eventually got distracted by Zoe. From what I heard, and as Faythe would say, the goat is under control. And he's not wearing a goofy tie! Randy talks about how he was in Journey so of course they're one of the best bands, Paula says something pretty, Simon says, "You have to loosen up and believe you can make it to the finals next week."

Clive chose R. Kelly's I Believe I Can Fly for Katherine. During her one-on-one session you can hear that she's lost her voice a little. Let's see how she does tonight. Wow, she looks gorgeous!! She reminds me of a mermaid. Randy doesn't really like her performance and points to the song choice (which seems to be the standard excuse to not like a performance), Paula talks about her dress and how beautiful is (because you know she has to say something nice about how they look if she doesn't like the song), and Simon disagree's with Randy saying that he's being unfair and she did a good job. Randy says she could have picked a better song and but Kat sticks up for herself and says "But I didn't pick it." Good for you Kat! And good for Simon for sticking up for her! Apparently he's still making up for a couple weeks ago when he was in a horrid mood and said nothing but bad things about her singing.

Next is Taylor. Clive picks Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark and says, "I think he's going be great." This song is a pretty good pick for him and he does sound great. He ends up going over to Paula, grabbing her by the hand and dancing with her on that platform behind the judges. Of course, Paula loves this and even as Taylor continues on, Paula keeps dancing. During the judges comments, she says she wishes she knew she was going to dance, she would have used double stick tape cause she was nervous about things falling down (and she adjusts her dress). Randy doesn't really seem to like her comment. I don't know what Simon said, but Paula ended up throwing herself at him, they look really cute. It's apparent that this season, they all really like each other...well, at least compared to the first season.

Next, Paula, Randy and Simon each choose a song for the contestants.

Paula chooses What You Don't Do for Love for Elliot. Paula is trying to explain why she chose the song but Simon is being his usual pain the butt and keeps making "wrap it up" hand signals. Elliot's doing great! He's not wowing me or anything...yeah, and the arrangement was boring. Randy says he was sharp (I didn't hear it), Paula says "this is the kind of artist you are, you have an amazing R&B tone." Simon says it's not the best song in the world, but the style suited him very well.

Simon picks Somewhere Over The Rainbow for Katherine. His explanation is he knew from the first day he met Kat, this song would be perfect for her. She starts out acapella with some trills and runs and then starts the main melody...I'm getting chills!! She's sitting on the floor (I know Faythe doesn't like this) but she's beautiful and she's singing even better! Simon says, "that was the single best performance of the competition to date." I'm not sure if compliments from Simon get any better than this.

Randy picks You are So Beautiful by Joe Cocker for Taylor. He says Taylor is like an old soul and this would be perfect for him. OK, you can hear a pin drop in the studio. I think Taylor needs to work on his facial expressions, but other than that, Taylor is spot on! Randy says, "You did the song proud, you did it Dawg." Simon says "Taylor for me, that was so far and away your best performance ever" and then claps. Ryan and Taylor point out that Randy is clapping and smiling!!

At this point in the show, I think it's clear that Elliot is being out-sung. Sure, he's great but not good enough.

Now it's the contestants choice. Elliot is singing I Believe to My Soul by Ray Charles. He finally seems to be loosening up and is comfortable on the stage. It's like he's in his own element with this song! Randy says he doesn't believe it's the perfect song for him but, "You can definitely sing." Paula rambles on about how he is very soulful and a funky white boy. Simon says, "Your songs are not going to carry you on to next week" and "You will make your Mom very proud for what you've achieved in this competition."

Katherine has chosen I Ain't Got Nothin But the Blues by Duke Ellington (I think). She's wearing cute knee-high stilleto boots. She's definitely enoying her very bluesy song! I dig it! Unfortunately, Randy gets all wishy-washy and is about to say something negative when he passes for Paula. (I disagree with Randy!) Paula says Over the Rainbow was much better and Simon wishes she would have ended the night on Rainbow so that's what he'd remember her by. They all seem disappointed but my untrained ears thought she was great! What do you think?

Taylor picks Try a Little Tenderness as his final song as a dedication to "Soul Patrol." You know, he already behaves like a seasoned performer. He's obviously very comfortable as an entertainer. I noticed that he's really trying to tone down his dancing. WAIT... I spoke too soon, the funky dancing is back! The spasms have invaded his performance! But you know what? I don't mind! I find it charming and well, I like it! Randy says he's going to call him "Have a good time funky Taylor" from now on. Simon says it's a good song with a hideous ending and, "I'll see you next Tuesday." (Note how blurry Taylor is in his photo, he just wouldn't stop moving!!)

Well, I think Taylor's and Katherine are going to be in the final two. While Kat doesn't always sing the greatest, she is more of a well-rounded package than Elliot and that can help her go farther.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mixing it up

Warning: graphic image that may not be suitable for children coming up.

A hunter in Canada shot and killed a bear that, after DNA testing, turns out to be a grizzly/polar mix!

Check out the brown around his eyes and muzzle. Scientists say it's rare but obviously not impossible. For more info, please read the article by clicking on the title of this post.

On a side note, the American hunter spent $50,000 on guides and a permit just to go up north and shoot this poor animal! What I could do with $5ok...

Friday, May 12, 2006

I feel silly

In this world of frivolous blogging, I feel absolutely silly about my posts when I read about people such as Jessica. I'm a little overwhelmed. Somehow blogging about the results of American Idol or a hair squeezing out of a pore have made me ashamed.

Jessica died today after a two+ year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 33.

What is TMI anyway?

So a couple days ago I mentioned that my nose was swelling up. Well, it seems there was a pimple, infected hair follicle or something in there. This is bad timing because I also have a really bad cold or some other sort of cubicle disease acquired from work. Anyway, the inside bump goes away but now my nose starts to swell and turn red. I knew it was bigger than I thought when Apollo started singing Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. (Sick people do not have a sense of humor. Don't try this at home. Death threats may ensue.)

This morning after my early-bird shift, I look in the mirror and now the Thing is on the outside of my nose! I squinted at it and saw something black. So I sort of poked at it. With each poke, it got longer! So then I started thinking, well, this is just some sort of gross pimple or blackhead, right? WELL was I WRONG! The black Thing was a hair! I grabbed a pair of tweezers and pulled it out. A hair! From the outside of my nostril! After some investigation, it seems that this hair used to be inside my nose and made its way thru my nostril!

Is this even possible? Can something like an infected hair follicle make a hair migrate from one surface to another? Meanwhile, I don't even need peripheral vision to see my red nostril poking out hugely on one side of my face. Thank God I work from home today.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

American Idol shocker!

I'm addicted to Lost so I usually only catch about the last five minutes of American Idol on Wednesday night. When I switched back to AI, Ryan had separated the four into two groups; Taylor and Elliot were the group with the highest amount of votes and Katharine and Chris were the group with the lowest.

I'm telling you, Katherine had this look on her face like she knew she was going home. (Geeze, look how tiny Ryan looks standing next to the two kids.) Ryan didn't prolong the pain, he just spit it out as if he couldn't believe what he was about to say and wanted to get it over with. Though I had already heard who was going to be voted off tonights show, I was still shocked when I heard him say, "Chris, you're going home."

Chris was stunned and froze with this look on his face. Even now when I look at him, I'm really sad for him. Hopefully he'll still get that record deal, I believe he has a promising voice. I wasn't able to catch a shot of Simon, but he look absolutely shocked. Paula covered her face with her hands.

The three others stood near by, Katherine wondering how she was able to make it through this one alive.

Chris regained composure as he talked to Ryan and the audience. I noticed Ryan kept turning his face to the side, like he didn't want to face the camera straight on.

Chris sang his last song as the credits were rolling. Simon, Paula and Randy all stood for him (OK, Simon sat down eventually, he's not one for showing emotions you know) and everyone screamed and clapped.

Now that Chris, Simon's choice, is gone it'll be interesting to see what happens next week. This changes everything!

Sorry the photos aren't the greatest. I have to catch the images while they're moving without a flash and a very old digital camera.