February 28, 2009

Explore Your World: By Air

One of the coolest things I have done so far is fly in a vintage aircraft high above Sonoma Valley in California.

It was a little bit Meryl Streep in Out of Africa, except without Robert Redford, and a little bit Snoopy storming enemy lines across France a la Charles Schultz of Peanuts fame.

It would be fun to try and go up in a small plane during every travel excursion, whether in the States or in other countries. Since many other countries still use small planes as an important form of transportation it could be a viable goal.

Here are a few ways to explore by aircraft the next time you travel:
Savannah Africa - South Africa

Discover Ireland - Helicopter Services

Air Sahara - Charter Services

Exploring our surroundings in a small aircraft is personal and can bring you closer to the true nature of the area. Imagine gliding above fields of olive trees in Greece or the farmland of Ireland. How beautiful would it be to see the land from this perspective. I can only imagine the majestic beauty of the Sahara or the expanse of the African Savannah. Experiencing a land or region by air heightens your awareness and seems to leave a deeper mark than any photo. It is something to consider for any traveler even if it is only choosing the window seat next time rather than the aisle.

Update: Check out a great photographic retrospective by The Mainichi Daily of Japan from the air over the last 80 years!

February 23, 2009

Tour Tuscany this Spring: Creative Travel for Women

Sometimes we all need to get away and have a quiet holiday. We want to hang out with like minded people, and maybe pursue a creative outlet like photography, writing or painting in an exotic setting.

Tuscany Now
If you need this type of holiday my first suggestion would be to consider the Tuscan art retreat being offered by Women's Quest this spring.

Over the course of a week, you will paint outdoors at unique historical locations such as the spiritual abbeys of Sant’Anna (the church where the English Patient was filmed). Beside art making, the goal will be to slow down and enjoy life.

Savor local customs, drink wine, soak your bones in an ancient spa, enjoy yoga in addition to a week of exploring Tuscany.

Throughout the experience you will be creating a personal, illustrated journal with daily guided exercises designed to attune you to your inner heart’s desire, connecting you with the present moment, recording clues, making a personal map of the journey.

Go to Women's Quest to sign up for this unique travel retreat May 29-June 5, 2009. Learn more about this unique group and their other programs in Vermont, Hawaii, Utah and California. Expect to discover:

Comfortably challenge yourself in the spirit of self-discovery
• Learn powerful ways to unleash your potential and have fun
• Cultivate passion, vitality and balance in daily life
• Build a pathway between the body and mind
• Get the tools to create a plan for your “one wild and precious life”

February 20, 2009

Visiting India: Oscar-nominated Slumdog Millionaire

Indian Color
This past year I worked on a project with a large financial services firm and spent hours with our technology teams everyday. Most of my meetings were in rooms discussing system functionality with dozens of men and women from various parts of India. They lived in the Bay Area with the help of working visas and spent months on projects with firms like mine. I met so many interesting and talented people with first names like Manali, Samatha, Saroja, Preeta, Ali, Lakshmi and Rama.

The men and women I worked with gave me such a wonderful impression of the Indian people. They were warm and giving, almost to a fault when it came to deadlines. They did not like disappointing anyone. Many would offer to share some of their food that they had brought from home for lunch. All were ready with a genuine smile that was difficult to resist. They made the time spent there pass by quickly.

Oscar Bound
In 2008 we saw the amazing success of a little film called Slumdog Millionaire. It was a surprise hit after showing at both the Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. Now it is nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture and it has won five Critics' Choice Awards, four Golden Globes and seven BAFTA Awards, including Best Film.

Add that to the fact that my favorite movie from 2007 was The Darjeeling Limited. This film directed by Wes Anderson, and starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman was visually stunning. I became hooked on the notion of making travel plans to visit India right away. Seeing the colors, experiencing the long single shots on the train caught my attention more than any season of the Amazing Race.

Now comes the next step - planning for this visit so that my experience is authentic and filled with all the wonderful smells, people and color from the movies and from the stories told by colleagues. One new friend suggested that I stay with her family in Mumbai. She said that they have an apartment that is kept just for visitors. She also said that even if she was not there, her parents would welcome me.

Having learned the importance of small gifts and omiyagi in Japan, I asked what sort of gift of thanks would be appreciated in India. Small San Francisco gifts, including mini-photos of the Golden Gate Bridge and little desk calendars with San Francisco landmarks were enjoyed whenever we returned from a trip. Since it is a long flight and traveling light is key, the question is what can be carried safely and make it through Customs?

Searching online, most of the information is related to business travel. The list of gifts includes Cross Pens, digital cameras and Cognac. However most of these probably would not be that appropriate for this sort of trip. Traveling with bottles of California wine sound iffy since they may break, though they may be from local wineries. And again we have Customs questions. Since we would be going to stay with people in major cities, it does not seem appropriate to bring items more suited to a poor village.

Harmony and Karma
Bringing a gift is something that feels appropriate and in today's world an important gesture. Anything to further harmony between countries in this time of healing after an administration that seemed intent on dividing us. Starting our visit to India on the right foot and reaching out to embrace this country and its people is key to a successful trip. I'm sure with our planning well underway for this excursion, we will find something in time that will be appreciated. It is very exciting to imagine visiting these lovely people and experiencing this incredible culture in person. It will be life changing.

February 19, 2009

Win a 9-day trip for two to Costa Rica!!

Caravan.com, the number one tour company is giving away an all-expense paid, 9 day trip for two to Costa Rica. All you have to do is upload a photo of your greatest life adventure so far. This can be a picture of you skydiving, smiling under a waterfall, the birth of your first child, or your wedding day. The winner will be chosen from the Top 5 photos that receive the most votes.

The contest ends February 25 so check out the full contest details at IF.net and watch an intro video here:

IF.net is a social networking site that connects people by holding contests sponsored by major brands. After IF members submit their entry, their friends and families can vote for them everyday to increase their chances of winning.

February 18, 2009

View from Japan: Secretary of State Clinton

Expat Life
Living overseas can be a wonderful way to become familiar with not only the country and region you are living in but also a unique way to reacquaint yourself with your home country. If you keep an open mind, the education available to an expatriate is boundless.

Living in country such as Japan can be a situation where you live in one of the wealthiest and advanced countries, with some of the most archaic ["backwoods" as they say in the US] standards in their treatment of women, the disabled and the foreign-born. It was a surprise to learn that the country known for teeny tiny electronics, the CD and incredibly energy efficient cars, would give a tax incentive to married couples so that a husband received a tax break if his wife did not earn more than $10,000 a year. Today's women then have an incentive to not marry if they want a career.

At the same time, it is very enlightening to watch the "news hour" each night, and notice that the headquarters for CNN International news was Singapore rather than Tokyo. Also of interest is that the international news shown in Toyko each day, allows about half of an hour of American driven news. As an American living in Tokyo, this situation provides you with more news and information generated from outside the US and with a non-American perspective within the story being reported.

Anti-Social vs. Putting Yourself Out There
With the opportunity of living overseas, comes the benefit of gaining a tangible understanding of another culture. Putting yourself out there and engaging the citizens around you beyond the expat community is very worthwhile. Even if you are shy, the amount of education you can gain and bring home with you is worth the effort to get outside your shell.

Learning the language of the country you are currently living in will not only give you stronger ties and stability to your immediate environment, but it will open opportunities to gaining friends along the way. Each day you reach out to your neighborhood shopkeepers and taxi drivers with even a short phrase spoken in their language, is an authentic moment and memory.

My former Japanese language teacher who still regularly teaches expats in Tokyo wrote to me today. She is a living example of why it is worth the effort to learn a new language in your new country. She has become a friend of mine and continues to share with me her views and perspective. She continues to educate me on her generation and her country, even teaching me more about mine. She shared with me her views on why Hillary Clinton is a great chief diplomat for President Obama here:

Hillary Clinton in Tokyo
"I saw a TV news reporting that Hilary Clinton, the Secretary of State, arrived at Japan and not only met the government people but visited Meiji Jinguu, the Imperial Palace, the Tokyo University, etc. She looked great and worked very hard to communicate with various people in Japan, which gives us a very good impression. Now is the most difficult time that we have had since I don’t know when. So I hope we make a good relationship to make the world better."

February 14, 2009

For a million dollars, would you go on an amazing race?

Most of my friends love to travel and actively get out and about, even those with children which is impressive. Some of my friends are the backpack type of traveler. They like to fly on the cheap, stay in hostels or camps and go to more remote and physically challenging locations. On the other side, there are friends who fly a minimum of business class for any flight over three hours, they have minimum requirements for their lodging needs and their destinations are typically major cities, guided tours or island resorts.

Since this year it has been difficult for me to get on a plane for some reason, my personal travel excursions have been from reading the travels of insightful bloggers. Explorers like Cate a caffeinated traveler currently in Malaysia, and Gary who hasn't stopped moving since 2007. I think he is in Egypt now. I also consume lots of books, National Geographic and Rick Steves, besides all things Public Broadcasting (PBS).

Amazing Race
A guilty pleasure of mine, besides too much coffee, is watching a program called The Amazing Race. It is quite popular and has won several television awards for a number of years now. The premise is that 11 teams of two travel 40,000 miles in about 3 weeks. There are challenges along the way and for many they have little experience traveling or traveling together.

The excitement and drama come from the video of their time that is recorded and edited by the production staff. Just watching this I can only imagine what it would be like to - race - around the world like that. At least one team was filmed saying the same, in that they were in cab commenting on the new country they were racing through and how much they would like to return to explore it at their leisure.

Race or Walk
And this is why I find the show a guilty pleasure. It is fascinating to watch people, especially Americans given how few travel outside the country, and to know that these people agreed to have everything filmed. Laughter and tears. Also, up for discussion is the whole notion of racing or rushing through countries. My friends and I have joked about the tours in newspapers that are advertised as SEE 10 COUNTRIES IN 7 DAYS, and our complete rejection of that sort of travel.

The slow excursion is my personal favorite, with a minimum of a week in any new city. My "purist" friends avoid cities all together and head for the countryside. They go anywhere and get any vaccination shot listed on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website. My interest here is to find out more from readers, especially in today's climate:
  • If you had never been outside your own country, would you enter a contest like this?
  • Do you like moving through a country quickly?
  • Is money $1,000,000 enough of a draw to travel this way for you?
  • Who would you go on this race with?
  • Should I be ashamed of myself and stop watching programs like this since it can feed horrible stereotypes of Americans?
Tell me what you think. Here are the previous pair who won. And in case you can't guess, Season 14 of the Amazing Race will be starting on Sunday - February 15 at 8:00pm ET/PT on CBS.

February 12, 2009

Uptake - Loads of travel resources at your fingertips!

A couple of months back you might have noticed that I added a very lovely badge on my sidebar, announcing my new travel writer gig with Uptake - a comprehensive travel website. Well now I'm even more excited to share that we have officially launched, and we're telling everyone!!

Use UpTake to find information and pricing on all sorts of things to do, places to go and places to stay all over the U.S.A. ...see that rhymes so you know how excited I am.

Check out the many sassy and informative blogs that are being written by a very talented crew - including myself, and a few other experienced and intrepid travelers and writers covering the world.

In addition to hotels and restaurants, UpTake has smart, fresh blogs about attractions, beaches, lodging, and travel industry news.

Come check us out, and definitely get the Restaurants RSS feed. If we've been there before, you'll get an honest take on the dining experience!

February 11, 2009

Cherry Blossoms in San Francisco, Japan and Washington DC

Amazing that in spite of the rains and cold temperatures, we have cherry blossoms galore all over the streets of San Francisco. I love this time of year. These trees are a different variety than what can be seen in Japan or Washington DC but beautiful nonetheless.

In Japan cherry blossom trees begin to bloom in March, in the southern part of the country. Television stations track their progress on a map, like the weather, and report back as trees begin to blossom further and further north during the months of April and May.

Ohanami: Cherry Blossom Viewing
I'm not sure about Washington DC but in Japan, people love to get out their blue plastic sheet, and sit below the cherry blossom trees and enjoy them. All during this season, people on the subway and in the office talk around the water cooler about the best places for ohanami. If you come to visit, don't worry about not hearing where the best places are to go. You can easily find directions to the shrines, temples and parks with the most trees in bloom at any particular time. My favorite spots:
  • Ueno Park
  • All around the Imperial Palace
  • Aoyama Cemetery

My husband told me that in his office, they would make the most subordinate guy assistants take blue tarps and leave work early to go stake out the best place before work was over. And in Japan, most office workers did not leave the office until 8:00pm at the earliest. When I would walk by the park near our place, you would usually see one or two young guys in suits sitting by themselves on blue plastic sheets.

Often sake - lots of sake - and food snacks like taiyaki or takoyaki accompany the viewing, and possibly some portable karaoke singing later into the night.

Japan loves sakura - cherry blossoms
The entire country seems to love and almost revere this time of year. You can find special foods for the occasion, like pink colored mochi. Department stores and specialty shops sell lots of products with the beautiful sakura motif.

Remember several years ago there was a Louis Vuitton series of bags that were all over the magazines and copied by street vendors? They were a wildly popular Sakura collection created by Takashi Murakami, a famous artist. I remember thinking at the time that this was an interesting partnership choice. Here is a quote I found about the artist to illustrate why I thought that - Like Andy Warhol, Takashi Murakami takes low culture and repackages it, and sells it to the highest bidder in the "high-art" market - which perfectly describes the consumerism in both Japan and the US.

From Hello Kitty to eyeglass cases made from vintage kimono scraps in a sakura print, Japan loves sakura and ohanami. To learn more, see photos and find information on cherry blossom viewing in Washington DC check out some of the websites located here.

February 10, 2009

Apple iPhone is using Technology to Plant Trees

God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying, "Ah!"
- Joseph Campbell

Apple has a lot of fans for its many products, including me.
My first job out of college was for an environmental nonprofit. My second was working for a small firm that had Macs (the original Apple Macintosh). These were the early Apple computers with teeny tiny screens and the entire machine could be picked up with one hand by a little handle in the back. My boss told me that if I wanted to stick around, I would have to learn how to use it by myself, with my own common sense as my teacher.

This is when I become a fan. The computer lived up to the hype of being "user friendly". It was so empowering to learn how to use a machine like this from scratch. It was the first time there was an "undo" function! Can you imagine how that felt? Oops, I deleted paragraphs of work that is due in ten minutes. Shit! Oh, hey, look, I can "undo" that accidental deletion and "poof" here it is back in my document. Cue sigh of relief.

The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.
- John Muir

Apple today
Today we are an "Apple" household therefore you can guess that I have an iPhone. It is a great way to include all of my favorite things: GPS, phone, address book, music and camera. Granted you don't have to stop there but can buy lots of fun applications knowns as "apps" for it. I know lots of people who play all sorts of games or have a pretend Zippo lighter or even a Light Sabre!

Seeing the phorest through the trees
Given my long term environmental leaning, I was very excited to learn recently that a company called iPhactory is launching an app called iPhorest that allows users to plant trees from their phone. By downloading the app, the user activates a seedling both virtually and physically. As the seedling on their phone grows, users can also send seeds to other phones, starting a new forest.

For each virtual tree planted, The Conservation Fund will plant a native tree in real life - starting with restoration of vulnerable wildlife habitats along the Gulf Coast. They will work with the nation's leading public natural resource agencies to ensure the long-term protection of each iPhorest.

Click here to learn more and to sign up to be notified of the iPhorest release.

Photo credit to Pargon

I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow
to keep an appointment with a beech-tree,
or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.
- Henry David Thoreau, 1817 - 1862

February 9, 2009

The world of Lincoln

This week is the birthday of our 16th President of the United States, (POTUS) Abraham Lincoln. In honor of this, and with the recent media interest in all things Lincoln, I thought it would be interesting to take a look around and see what we can find with the name of Lincoln.

In the US we have 24 cities in 24 states called Lincoln, with many more with Lincoln in the full name. Not surprising but did you know that there are several places far across the world called Lincoln....
  • Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England, the county town of Lincolnshire.
  • Lincoln, New Zealand
  • Lincoln, a former name for Motu One (Marquesas Islands)
  • Lincoln, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Lincoln, Ontario, Canada
  • Port Lincoln, South Australia
  • Lincoln, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

There are mountains and ships with Lincoln in the name. There are roads and schools too. Interestingly you can also find Lincoln in the entertainment world.

Imps and Gore Vidal

  • Lincoln (novel), Gore Vidal's 1984 book on the U.S. President
  • Lincoln Imp, a purported evil sprite petrified in the Lincoln Cathedral
  • Lincoln Records, a record label from the 1920s, prominently featuring President Lincoln's image in its logo
  • Lincoln (variety show), a Japanese variety show

Biscuits and Sheep
  • "Lincoln", a slang term for the United States five dollar bill, which bears the US President's image
  • Lincoln biscuit, a short dough biscuit
  • Lincoln Logs, a popular toy
  • Lincoln (sheep), a breed of sheep originally bred in Lincolnshire, England
  • Lincoln Snacks Company, a manufacturer of caramel corn and popcorn mixes

I'm sorry to say that I only know the Lincoln Memorial here, and one of my favorite toys were Lincoln Logs. They were used to create Barbie's mountain cabin, that was perched on the white cliffs of my bedspread and that she drove to in a car made from Legos...with her boyfriend GI Joe.

The Japanese variety show sounds very intriguing. I googled it and they use Lincoln as a mascot?! Click here if you care to know more. The slang for a $5 bill sounds recent, like from a rapper who didn't have any "Benjamins"....

How about you, any experiences to contribute?

Facing Lincoln

Photos are from: sfcphotography

February 6, 2009

What does the year 4707 look like?

In San Francisco it looks like this.

...and it comes with a t-shirt.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

February 5, 2009

Top 10 Pet-Friendly Hotels: Bring your buddy on your travels

For many of us, traveling isn't traveling without our favorite pooch along. They are our best friend, our co-pilot and for some, our child. A fellow writer with a best friend reminded me recently that finding a place to stay can be difficult when your four legged companion is riding shotgun with you.

If you find yourself planning a trip to San Francisco and want to be sure they treat your buddy like the regal guest that they are, check out these 10 Pet Friendly Hotels:

Argonaut Hotel
Campton Place Hotel
Hotel Triton
Kensington Park Hotel
Metropolis Hotel
Omni San Francisco Hotel
Palace Hotel
The Sir Francis Drake
The Westin St. Francis
W San Francisco

My Buddy

And if you live in the Bay Area and need to leave your cat or dog in the lap of luxury, check out Wag Hotels. They are the all inclusive resort for your pet and little buddy.

February 4, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year - The Year of The Ox

It is time again for the big Chinese New Year celebrations throughout the Bay Area. Gung Hay Fat Choy! The events started last week but continue for another week or so. Checking out one of these events is an easy and inexpensive way to experience Chinese culture, without flying ten hours on Cathay Pacific Airways.

In San Francisco we have one of the largest Chinese populations outside of China, and it shows. You can go to any street within Chinatown and enjoy authentic foods, like dim sum or wander through emporiums of dried herbs and delicacies.

One of the world's top ten parades, the annual Chinese New Year Festival and Parade in San Francisco is worth coming to see in person - this year it is on February 7th. The parade route can be found here and if you are unable to go, you might try to watch the coverage on the local television station KTVU Channel 2 at 6:00pm Pacific Time.

Parade Highlights
  • Elaborately decorated floats
  • Martial arts group
  • Stilt walkers
  • Lion dancers
  • Chinese acrobatics
and the Golden Dragon ("Gum Lung"). The Golden Dragon is over 201 feet long and is always featured at the end of the parade as the grand finale and will be accompanied by over 600,000 firecrackers! It takes a team of over 100 men and women from the martial arts group, White Crane to carry this dragon throughout the streets of San Francisco.

Great Dim Sum
I think one of the most fun ways to explore Chinese culture is through the food. The Bay Area has lots of great restaurants for all sorts of Chinese foods. You can also find great take away shops throughout Chinatown and the city, with steam tables filled with various dishes.

The San Francisco Chronicle recently put together a comprehensive and detailed list of food choices and definitions for this year's New Year celebration - way more than I possibly could - click here to read theirs.

My short list for consistently delicious dim sum outside of Chinatown but still within city limits are these two institutions:

- Yank Sing - located downtown

- Ton Kiang - located in the Outer-Richmond district

Dragon image above, courtesy of travel.latimes.com

February 3, 2009

Google Earth Oceans is a green travel tip?

Isn't it interesting that the media now uses the term "green" instead of "conserve or conservation". Is it because green includes more within its definition or is it because the latter is too closely associated to an undesirable word - and why would words like conserve, conservative, or conservation be bad?

Green replaces Conservation
It seems to me that the words "green" and "conservation" mean the same thing and one was replaced by the other for a new generation. I'm not that old but the words - conserve and conservation - remind me of the 1970s, when I was a kid. It was a time in the US when we had to wait in line for gasoline. Where I lived we had to put bricks or sand filled bottles in our toilets to displace water in order to use less. We learned to take "military showers" which meant - rinsing once then turning off the water, lathering down and rinsing off with water once more - using less than 5 gallons of water [or ~ 3.78 liters]. And if you hated this idea or just couldn't work fast enough, you could always sit in the tub and allow the water line to go as high as your knee [pressed flat against the tub bottom - no cheating was allowed].

Green Tips and Makeovers
There are ways we can all be a little more green, traveling locally or internationally. I believe we can change our habits and conserve more. People do it all the time, and not just little kids. But let's start with easy stuff like these:

- reuse your hotel sheets and towels rather than have them changed
- shut the water off when you brush your teeth
- keep your showers short
- turn off the lights and a/c when you leave the room
- bring your own toiletries

And let us take a page from the media and consider a make over for the word "accountability or accountable" just like the media did for conservation. We could create a wave of change that way!

Finally, what do you think of the upgrade to Google Earth... it allows you to look under the waters of the ocean. I'm all for ways to bring people closer to the notion that they need the ocean, and they need it healthy. Our lives are permanently connected to it...

Simon says follow me

Dear Readers,

First of all, thanks for stopping by. Secondly, if you enjoy what you see here why not become a fan - like these two on your right, below "my house". I've added this cool feature that makes it easy for you to be an armchair traveller and reader of this blog.

Why should you become a follower?
- it conserves energy
- you become part of the 21st century
- get to join a community
- show your global spirit
- reading this blog makes you think and laugh

Five reasons not good enough? Maybe you want to subscribe instead - that option is near the bottom on the right....

February 2, 2009

Getting to know me...

I was lucky enough to live as an expat in Tokyo for a few years. It was a big change for me since I didn't speak the language and had to quit my job quickly before our move. The experience was an adventure and I found that coming from San Francisco helped me greatly, as did having an open mind and curious nature.

Being back in San Francisco and working in the blogosphere, I am still curious and reaching out to meet and learn about others. Brian at Life in the France Lane is one such fellow I met recently through Cate, my new friend from Caffeinated Traveller.

Brian posted on a great experiment that involves five questions and curiosity. Here are the questions he had for me - and at the end is how you can participate too:

  • If there is one thing about your country that really makes you proud and you would like to tell the world about, what would it be?
The one thing that stands out about the US for me is its foreign born citizens and their children. I appreciate that the fabric of our country is made up of so many people from other countries - from those who choose to come here to even those that did not. Through the decades and beyond the lives and dreams of so many have created such a unique place. I grew up appreciating diversity, and looking for it in my travels around the world. It is when I feel most comfortable.
  • If you suddenly found that you were financially secure for the rest of your life and no longer needed to work, what would you do to fill your days?
Travel more, write more and spend more time on photography. When I am doing any and all of these things, my days are filled with joy. When I travel, meeting others and learning about their lives motivates me to write. When I write, the conversations I have with others or in my own head motivate me to get out. When I get out more, I take more photos of the world around me. And so on....
  • I don’t know if you have children, but if you did have children which camp would you sit in, the ‘you have to make your own way in life camp to learn the true value of life’ or the ‘I am here for my children camp and will provide for you in every way I can, irrespective of the personal cost to me’?
I would fall into the first camp. My feeling is that you learn more completely in the first person. When you make a mistake, you get the chance to learn from it, again and again. If someone is there to stop that natural course of life, then I feel that the chances of you making more/prolonged mistakes is greater than if you were allowed to fall/fail. For most, touching the hot stove once, is enough.
  • What in the past has made you laugh out loud and every time you think of it, it still brings a smile to your face?
Watching Cleo, our rescue dog from the SPCA, become more playful and aware of her place within the family. We adopted her when she was about 2-3 years old. She is a Husky/German Shepherd mix so she was big when we brought her home, and after more than 3 years with us, she is now 90 lbs. She pounces like a cat. One of her nicknames is Kitten Feet. Her stoic personality is still present, but more than ever she does things that make me laugh out loud.
  • When you walk down a street and everywhere you look there is a CCTV camera recording everything you do, what do you think?
The era we live in has created this need to balance safety through 'watchful eyes' with 'secretive' big brother. So many people have given up on personal accountability and responsibility for their actions. People seem to believe it is acceptable to behave badly until they are caught - whether by big brother or their boss/parent. When I see CCTV it is disturbing on one hand, but comforting on the other.

So……would you like to be interviewed?

Just follow these instructions:
  1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
  2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
  3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
  4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

February 1, 2009

Wolves in Yosemite and a Yellowstone Photography Contest

Do you like the snow? Are you a photographer like me? I'm not one to enjoy the cold very much, but I love exploring new places and I love photography - and nice hotels on occasion. I am game to grab my camera and bundle up on the sweaters for the sake of capturing the world around me...

Yosemite in winter
On a road trip I recently had an encounter during an excursion to Yosemite National Park - with a wolf or coyote (anyone reading this post, if you can tell from my shaky photo, please tell me).

If you enjoy this type of excitement and want to learn Aperture while in Yellowstone National Park (another place I adore!), check out this contest:

The Third Aperture Nature Photography Workshops Contest....

Win one of four seats to Yellowstone workshop in April, 2009! They’ll be escorting four lucky winners to the Yellowstone area April 29 - May 2.

The submission site for this contest is on Flickr, use this address. http://www.flickr.com/groups/anpw/

Each winner will win a cash travel allowance, hotel, food, ground transfers, as well as prizes from our sponsors. It’s free to enter. You get to keep all Copyrights to your images. There’s no catch. Please read the complete contest rules for more information.

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