gaeln9796: (icon holiday_month_february_valentine's_)
All pretty in pink!!
HeartCloud_Kunze_960.jpg
A heart cloud that needs no description
AND The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble which really doesn't but I will describe anyway :)
From: NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, HLA; Reprocessing & Copyright: Raul Villaverde

Explanation: To some, it may look like a cat's eye. The alluring Cat's Eye nebula, however, lies three thousand light-years from Earth across interstellar space. A classic planetary nebula, the Cat's Eye (NGC 6543) represents a final, brief yet glorious phase in the life of a sun-like star. This nebula's dying central star may have produced the simple, outer pattern of dusty concentric shells by shrugging off outer layers in a series of regular convulsions. But the formation of the beautiful, more complex inner structures is not well understood. Seen so clearly in this digitally reprocessed Hubble Space Telescope image, the truly cosmic eye is over half a light-year across. Of course, gazing into this Cat's Eye, astronomers may well be seeing the fate of our sun, destined to enter its own planetary nebula phase of evolution ... in about 5 billion years.
***
gaeln9796: (icon holiday_month_february_valentine's_)
All pretty in pink!!
HeartCloud_Kunze_960.jpg
A heart cloud that needs no discription
AND The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble which really doesn't but I will describe anyway :)
From: NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, HLA; Reprocessing & Copyright: Raul Villaverde

Explanation: To some, it may look like a cat's eye. The alluring Cat's Eye nebula, however, lies three thousand light-years from Earth across interstellar space. A classic planetary nebula, the Cat's Eye (NGC 6543) represents a final, brief yet glorious phase in the life of a sun-like star. This nebula's dying central star may have produced the simple, outer pattern of dusty concentric shells by shrugging off outer layers in a series of regular convulsions. But the formation of the beautiful, more complex inner structures is not well understood. Seen so clearly in this digitally reprocessed Hubble Space Telescope image, the truly cosmic eye is over half a light-year across. Of course, gazing into this Cat's Eye, astronomers may well be seeing the fate of our sun, destined to enter its own planetary nebula phase of evolution ... in about 5 billion years.
***
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gaeln9796: (icon holiday_angel_b&w)
Late in December, we took a little drivey-drive up to The City and after dining at
Tommy's Joint, we arrived at our final destination, Union Square, a shopaholic's dream which, while lovely year-round is even lovelier at Christmas-time. Below are a few of the photos I took as we wondered relatively aimlessly amongst the many shoppers.
Down the up staircase at William Sonoma which is, in this case, four or five stories, I forget, of terrific kitchen stuff.
A photo of the Neiman Marcus Christmas tree taken up toward their entryway's glass dome.
Taken down towards Macy's escalators which number five in this photo.

And, as I always seem to do when we go there & I post about it, I include a photo of the St. Francis Hotel which is where David & were married :)

***
gaeln9796: (icon interest_movies_film)
So, I wake up too early this morning, 6am-ish, and having nothing better to do, started flipping through ideas in my mind. One thing we've been trying to do is bring a few more layers to the holidays and although this year we have done that pretty well, I rrealized that something was still missing...movies.

During my kidhood, we always watched 'Christmas' movies which meant anything from It's A Womderful Life to The Wizard of and realizing that we aren't, mainly probably because we don't own any having just Rise of the Guardians, which I love, and Patrick Stewart's A Christmas Carol, I decided that we should get us some.
   
The question became, by 6:15am, how to remedy this, how to get us some more. Well, buy some, right? I decided to add A White Christmas and then thought it might be nice, and inclusive, to see what David and Aaron would like to add. Satisfied, I went on to other pressing ideas and problems until it became a reasonable time to arise, around 8am-ish.

Fast forward to 9am, I explained to Aaron the situation to get his contribution which was The Nightmare Before Christmas, to be viewed at Halloween, and How the Grinch Who Stole Christmas plus It's A Wonderful Life for well...Christmas. I explained to David the situation to get his contribution and he offered his favorite from his kidhood, Laurel & Hardy's The March of the Wooden Soldiers.
 
By 9:30am they were all ordered and by 10am confirmed by amazon. It's almost too easy and yet, I feel strangely satisfied by this whole process. Come up with an idea, run it by mi familia for their input, and a couple of hours late, it's a fait accompli!! Cool :)

***
gaeln9796: (icon personal_us)

putting it at the top of my mission101 where I'd see it often helped ensure that real and true improvements were made.
So on to 2017



-----------------------------
Resolutions

Resolution 1A_Presentation_Dress more my age which doesn't mean slacks but which does mean more tailored pants (ie: Levi's trouser jeans). Continue with heavier yet flow-y sweater-blouses, Hawaiin-y short-sleeved shirt, and classic-styled plaid shirts.

+Mix it up more by using the other handbags & belts that I already own but that currently languish at the top of the closet

+Find a signature item to add color & whimsy to wardrobe (ie: break out the tons of old 50s jewlery, especially necklaces & bracelets I already own)

+Upgrade shoes moving away, however reluctantly, from Vans.
----------

Resolution 1B_Coping_do not take anger out on inanimate objects, cussing at them will not help (ie: throwing a book at the TV will NOT change the election results OR calling my laptop stupid will NOT make it run any faster OR hitting my keyboard will NOT changemy inability to spell)

+Be more controlled, less excitable when things don't go immediately my way especially when driving or moving through a crowded mall or, or, or...

+Be less judgmental, less sensitive_example: (less judgmental) if David wants to listen to a different comcast music station than 943 that's okay, it's his house too _example: (less sensitive) in public spaces, if people are talking, even fairly loudly, when I'm reading that's okay, it's their public space too

Improve
focus_Scattered I am. Aaron's buying me a book! Remain in the moment since true multi-tasking is a myth.

----------------------------------------------------------------
Resolution 2_Speech

+Listen & Think before speaking_pay attention & remember that not every discussion has to be brought back to me.

+MINIMIZE negativity_laziness_swearing

+Improve spelling

+When texting use actual English

----------------------------------------------------------------
Resolution 3_Aaron

+Listen & Think before speaking_pay attention & remember that not every discussion has to be brought back to me.

+Encourage_advise NOT criticism, prompt him for his opinion before offering mine, in something new, try his way before defaulting to what I would think best

+Minimal handling_Adult

----------------------------------------------------------------
Resolution 4_David

+Listen & Think before speaking_pay attention & remember that not every discussion has to be brought back to me.

+Inform_Parse information in proper order, begin at the beginning, don't assume he remembers prior discussions, preface discussions (ie: Daivy, remember last week when we discussed...)

+Include_Don't assume he's not interested

----------------------------------------------------------------
Resolution 5_Friends be they in RL or on social media

+Listen & Think before speaking_pay attention & remember that not every discussion has to be brought back to me.

+RL_Instigate meet-ups instead of waiting until someone invites me & when invited, join up as much as possible
Less judgmental_We all have a right to our own opinions I'm told

+SM (mainly Livejournal)_Comment whenever possible but thoughtfully
+Stay involved

----------------------------------------------------------------
Resolution 6_Organization

+Keep up mission101 & House/ Yard & Month End goals

+Look for ways to improve current habits, ways of doing things_remember old dogs can not only learn new tricks from others, but they can even teach themselves

***

gaeln9796: (icon holiday_christmas)
presents

apparently, California is in fact on the edge of the world, or maybe that's Hawaii, and so last to everything, I think I'll go ahead and post this now because well...why not. A little early here, a little on-time, or late, everywhere else..
no title
***
gaeln9796: (icon science_NASA)
The way the International Space Station is staffed is that the normal crew of six is periodically rotated with three older crew members returning to earth while three new crew members are sent.

This little vid about how the holiday is celebrated aboard ISS, especially about the food and how that differs between cultures, is presented by the three most recent, Expidition 50, crew members, Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency.



I love the way they handle things, the hand-offs and such. So cool!!

^^^
gaeln9796: (icon holiday_christmas)
...doing them became a thing.

And so, as a present for him for Christmas last year, I got us a puzzle which we just now finished putting together.

The especially cool thing about this puzzle is, while it may look pretty boring, it is in fact our neighborhood with Aaron pointing at our very own little house amongst the slew of others. North of our house is our local mall, Princeton Plaza and just a couple of blocks south, though hard to see, a river does run through it, the Guadalupe. It's the suburbs, baby!!
        This year, it now having become tradition, I got Aaron another, a puzzle,from uncommonGoods featuring any past front page of the New York Times. He chose, good democrat that he is, November 7, 2012, the headline being when Barack Obama was reelected. It's on its way to the above-referenced house even as we speak. Should we eventually get it done, I will post a pic :)

***
gaeln9796: (icon interest_movies_film)
Let me tell you about last Friday night & you can decide.
National Theatre Live, if you haven't already head about them, you can find out more here, with the below as a brief summary taken from their site...
----------

'National Theatre Live launched in June 2009 with a broadcast of the National Theatre production of Phèdre with Helen Mirren. We’ve since broadcast more than fourty other productions live, from both the National Theatre and from other theatres in the UK.

Our broadcasts have now been experienced by over 5.5 million people in over 2,000 venues around the world, including over 650 venues in the UK alone. Past broadcasts from the National Theatre have included Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller; War Horse; Man and Superman with Ralph Fiennes; and Everyman with Chiwetel Ejiofor.'
----------
...has presented several productions in our area. In fact, Aaron and I saw Peter Boyle's Frankenstein at our local Century 21 movie theater at our local Oakridge Mall a couple of years ago. So, when I heard that NTL was going to present


at a much posher venue, The Hammer Theatre, I decided to get David involved and we all three had a terrific time. The cast was excellent, the stage design and music were excellent. Just everything in general was excellent. I swear Benedict is near tears through half of the production, an amazing performance. Left is from our seats before the start of the play/film while right is from the stairs into the lobby as we were leaving.


We arrived downtown early and so, after dinner, at a little hole-in-the-wall Iguanas Burritozilla, we wandered over to San Jose's annual for-over-25-years Christmas in the Park festivities.
          Below is a not-good photo of a vast number of little trees that local organizations, such as firestation, boy and girl scout troops, various elementary and middle schools etc, decorate

They take up half of the park with the other half taken up with displays and rides, the big tree and Santa's little cottage. Below are photo snagged from google images.

Cesar Chavez Park with Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph in the forground.
park.jpeg
I love palm trees wrapped with lights & the city tree with the ferris wheel.

A whirl-y twirl-y ride & Santa's Cottge.

And, finally, two of the many life-sized animate scenes.

So, what do you think? Is a film of a play, even if a really well done film, a film done by the very people who put on the play, still a play? I don't think so personally. I think you have to be breathing the very same air the actors are but still, these guys do a really good job bring culture to the (unwashed) masses. And that you're watching at the same time as many around the world are makes it feel quite special.

***
gaeln9796: (icon holiday_christmas)
Little story, okay?

When young, I did the normal hippie-ish stuff like macrame plant hangers and design 'love beads' and, more to the point of this post, I arranged pressed flowers in picture frames. In fact, when I inherited my parents' possessions, one was an oval arrangement I'd made when I was 18 that they'd actually kept. It now hangs quite nicely in our master bedroom.

To encourage me in this pursuit, my dad spent close to four years, from 1972 to 1976, collecting and pressing flowers, stems, and leaves of every sort, giving me this amazingly thoughtful present for Christmas probably in 1976. I know the dates because leaves were pressed in newspapers, one declaring Diane Feinstein the first mayor of San Francisco, and delicate flowers in dated medicine bottle, one for me from October 1972 when I would have been 18. Everywhere I have lived, this little flower & leaf kit has traveled with me but, sadly, I never did anything with all the beautiful bits of nature dad had given me.

Until now. On my mission101 I included the task of using his present to me to make presents for several close friends, ladies from my bookclub and from my coffee klatch, six in total. My deadline was Sunday December the 3rd because that was when the coffee klatch ladies would be gathering for our severl-years-running Christmas Breakfast at Susan's. Gifts are exchanged with the one restriction being that the gifts must be no more than $8 each. I bought little 6in by 6in frames for around just that. Otherwise, Aaron and I made two each which were very well received and which I forgot to photograph.

But I still have the two that I will give to my bookclub ladies in January. Kinda cute, yeah? I just love how all three generations were involved, dad, me, Aaron. And isn't it amazing how beautiful these materials still are given that they are around 40 years old!

***
gaeln9796: (icon holiday_christmas)


I want to thank Lyn, the fabulous Ms. M, for once again, third year in a row I think, including me, along with nine fortunate others, to receive Jacquie Larson's Seaside Advent Calendar where there are wreaths and trees to decorate, snow flakes and snow people to design, and fun games to play among many others happinesses!

Thank you, Lyn. Every day is made a little brighter having this calendar to look forward to :)

gaeln9796: (icon personal_Black angel)
I got this from Delancyplace who send out nonfiction reading selections in a 5 times per week email.

the origins of Halloween:
"Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
Snap-Apple Night, painted by Daniel Maclise in 1833

"To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

Irish Halloween turnip (rutabaga) lantern
"By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of 'bobbing' for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.
"By the 9th century the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. ... In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints' Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The All Saints Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. Together, the three celebrations-the eve of All Saints', All Saints' and All Souls' were called Hallowmas."

***


gaeln9796: (icon holiday_month_february_valentine's_)
Image Credit & Copyright: Michael Kunze


Explanation: Can a cloud love a mountain? Perhaps not, but on a Valentine's Day like today, one might be prone to seeing heart-shaped symbols where they don't actually exist. A fleeting pareidolia, the featured heart was really a lenticular cloud that appeared one morning last July above Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand. A companion video shows the lenticular cloud was mostly stationary in the sky but shifted and vibrated with surrounding winds. The cloud's red color was caused by the Sun rising off the frame to the right. Lenticular clouds are somewhat rare but can form in air that passes over a mountain. Then, vertical eddies may form where rising air cools past the dew point causing water carried by the air to condense into droplets. Unfortunately, this amazing sight made the fascinated videographer late for breakfast.

***
gaeln9796: (icon holiday_month_new years_glasses)
I begin, as usual, with my from-off-the-TV photos of Times Square only, unusually, this isn't our house, this isn't our TV. We hung out with Lauren where she was dog-sitting, a much nicer house than ours, and had a lovely time, a little pizza from Blue Line, a little champagne from BevMo, with happiness all around! Oh, and excuse the capions, apparently someone in the household is a little hard-of-hearing and we decided to just leave well enough alone and not mess with their settings.



I'm also including a short relevant little article from Altas Obscura on the history of:
How New Year's Eve Came to Times Square.

Here's to all of us experiencing the very best that 2016 has to offer!!

***
gaeln9796: (icon holiday_christmas ornament)
'The Corning Museum in New York has a glittering holiday tradition of its own'

Read the article at Smithsonian Magazine online

***

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