Earth Day 2013

Today is Earth Day and a time to volunteer to clean a park, or the beach or any other favorite place. It’s also a day to teach our children about caring for our beautiful planet and the awful effects of climate change.

The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. According to http://www.earthday.org:

The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.

As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Here’s a film clip from that day. Sorry about the quality.

Lastech and I try to use the lessons of Earth Day all year. When we go hiking, we pick up trash. It’s not only ugly, but it’s harmful to the wildlife. I encourage everyone to do the same. Every little bit helps and Mother Earth is more fragile than she appears.

Pink beauty
Pink beauty by Lastech
Miner's Lettuce
Miner’s Lettuce by Lastech
Gazania
Gazania by Lastech


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A tree with a drinking problem

It was one of those WTF moments. We sat on a bench on a hill to enjoy the view. Then we looked up. 🙂

I've never heard of a gin swilling tree, but there's a first time for everything
I’ve never heard of a gin swilling tree, but there’s a first time for everything

The bottle wasn’t the only thing in the tree. Lastech spotted this one.

Maybe the tree got drunk and lost the other shoe
Maybe the tree got drunk and lost the other shoe


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Today is brought to you by the number 9

Three squared years ago, Lastech and I tied the knot. Since then we have shared magnificent views and wonderful kitties.

San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge
We have shared beautiful sunrises. Photo by Lastech

There has been plenty of wildlife viewing right here in the City of San Francisco.

This beautiful hawk was sitting about ten feet from the trail and at eye level in Golden Gate Park
This beautiful hawk was sitting about ten feet from the trail and at eye level in Golden Gate Park

Lastech is very patient with me when I’m yelling STOP! Actually, I try to keep it from sounding like impending doom and thus scaring the crap out of him as he’s driving. I’m not always successful. This pic is the result of one of those moments. 🙂

I found this Great Egret at the reservoir in McLaren Park
I found this Great Egret at the reservoir in McLaren Park

We have even gone storm watching on Bernal Hill.

Rain over San Francisco
Rain over San Francisco

The last nine years have been wonderful and I look forward to the next nine.

Today, we hope 2013 will be a turning point for marriage equality.

Flag in The Castro
We look forward to being able to wish EVERYONE a happy anniversary.


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Goodbye winter: a cold retrospective pleading for color

Forty-three days until the beginning of Spring, we are ready to say goodbye to bad colds and high gas bills, aching bones and gray mornings. As Winter plays its last notes like water on metal…

Winter's notes
Winter’s notes

…  The Sun is barely warmer than the Moon.

Wintry morning
Wintry morning

Naked branches without color…

Naked tree
Naked tree

Damp earth holds on to bird tracks for warmth…

Leroy was here
Leroy was here

Yet, already the ice has begun to crack.

Cloud of ice breaks
Cloud of ice breaks

Give us a few months of color before we welcome Winter back, only to curse again.


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Two mostly unrelated photos

I was suddenly reminded by a Facebook friend that I had these photos. The only thing they have in common is that they were taken on the same day in Golden Gate Park and involved water.

Just a rock in a pond
Just a rock in a pond

The American Coot has very cool feet

American coot feet
Feets!


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2012: JBoD’s year in review

Happy New Year!

Now is the time to take a minute and look back on this past year, and the ways it affected the JBoD microcosm.

We spent much of 2012 watching sunsets and wildlife (fins!) from local beaches, but in April, we chose to visit the neighboring hill known as Bernalwood where stunning California poppies in full bloom awaited. On another more recent trip, amazing clouds treated us to an ‘air show’…

California poppies on Bernal Hill
California poppies on Bernal Hill

In May, we finally managed a trip to see the California Academy of Sciences. The albino alligator named Claude is a real beauty.

Academy of Sciences
Claude on his warming rock. He’s quite a handsome devil. Photo by Ron DeCloux.

I took a lot of photos, so it’s in four parts. One, two, three and four.

In May, our glorious Golden Gate Bridge turned 75 years old. I’ve lived here for ten years and I never get tired of seeing her.

Golden Gate Bridge

In June, a contractor working a few doors down from our home base cut into a gas line, resulting in a gas explosion and fire. Purely by chance, prevailing winds minimized the spread of the damage, a very good thing considering how long it took to shut off the gas. The kind of scene best left in movies, not real life. The Pointy Eared people weren’t amused…

Gas fire and explosion on San Bruno Ave
Firefighters in action. The tan and brown building on the far left is where the construction was. The dentist office was in the white building.

Then in July, we lost our sweet, comical tyrannical food thief Kitsy to FIP. It was sudden and awful and I still haven’t been able to write a proper post for him. As for Lastech, he is still coming to terms with the possibility that the virus which took him might have been introduced by Miss Jenny. So little is known about FIP and no test being available, it remains a painful mystery.

Kitsy narrating LOL woman in black
“… Don’t go chasing shadows, Gigadoon…”

In August, we went to the park on a foggy morning and came across some wildlife with a pissy attitude.

Belligerent crayfish Hey stupid

In September, Miss Nightshade Jenny brought me a most bizarre gift.

Miss Nightshade Jenny
Don’t let those innocent blue peepers fool you

Later in September, we got to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor fly over the Golden Gate Bridge. Incredible!

Space Shuttle Endeavor by Lastech
Space Shuttle Endeavor by Lastech

In November, we went to the Japanese Tea Garden and Arboretum for a bit of zen. We wound up having a wonderful surprising encounter with a hawk.

The hawk was sitting in the tree just above eye level and only ten feet from the path.
The hawk was sitting in the tree just above eye level and only ten feet from the path.

A week or so later, we went exploring the Coastal Trail near the Golden Gate Bridge. We encountered another hawk, a couple of hummingbirds, a slug and a wonderful sunset.

Anna's hummingbird
Did I mention that hummingbirds like the pretty purple flowers?

We finished off the year by exploring the cliffs around Battery Mendell, a coastal battery that was built before WWI.

Battery Mendell
Photo by Rudha-an

That was our 2012 for the most part. Some was good and some was bad. Hopefully, 2013 will be an even better year.

Happy New Year from JBoD

Rudha-an, Lastech, Tito, and Miss Nightshade Jenny


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Tito and the art of the Dead Bug

Tito and Jenny are both nervous wreck kitties. In Tito’s case, it has taken him 4 years to learn to relax…mostly. He’s still terrified of shoes and he smacks the crap out of anything that doesn’t look right to him. Aside from smacking inanimate objects that make him nervous, he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He’s a gentle soul and he adores Miss Jenny.

I managed to get some photos of him practicing the dead bug. He’s getting quite good at holding the position for a long time. Miss Jenny is still too nervous to attempt this position.

Tito dead bug
Lazy semi-dead bug
Tito dead bug
Happy dead bug
Tito dead bug
Dead bug with a bit of a twist

Speaking of dead bugs….


YouTube video by Carmichaellynch


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Moody Tuesday: silver skies and grey waters

Counting down to Halloween on this gloomy Tuesday morning, let’s stroll through Autumn, Ray Bradbury’s country.

I hope you’ll enjoy these photos as I do, taken between the beaches of San Francisco, Golden Gate Park and the Shoreline at Mountain View, CA.

“That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.”

― Ray Bradbury, The October Country

Gulls over Baker Beach

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We got to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor!

I remember when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon in 1969. Our TV had died and we had to run to a friend’s house to watch it. I remember the first shuttle launch in 1981. I was watching when we lost the Challenger and now I’ve seen Endeavor airborne for the last time. Endeavor was riding atop a 747, and they did a slow flyover of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was magnificent.

These photos aren’t perfect, but I don’t care. I was there and I got to see it! Lastech deserves extra thanks for the trip to see it. He didn’t get near enough sleep and had to go to work this afternoon. I married a heckuva guy.

Space Shuttle Endeavor
Space Shuttle Endeavor by Rudha-an
Space Shuttle Endeavor
Space Shuttle Endeavor by Rudha-an
Space Shuttle Endeavor
Space Shuttle Endeavor by Lastech
Space Shuttle Endeavor
Space Shuttle Endeavor by Lastech


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