Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Cloudy Skies at the Hilo, Hawaii Yacht Club

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tag and a Story - from Bhavesh Chhatbar

A young Indian photographer,  Bhavesh Chhatbar, ( I certainly hope I get to meet him and all my Indian blogger friends in the fall when I plan to go to India for a six month stay! ) has tagged me in his Tag and a Story post. The game is easy…

• Open your first photo folder and select the 10th photo

• Publish it and tell the story of the photo

• Link back to the person who tagged you

• Tag 5 friends and inform them.

My first photo folder is a "Miscellaneous" one and the 10th picture is one taken of me and a group of dear friends, who accompanied me on a four day cruise on Celebrity's Mercury to celebrate my 62nd birthday.  The ship sailed from Seattle to Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia.  In the front row, from left to right are: Joy Householder ( sadly, Joy died last year ), me, Carmen Henesy, and Sherry Arndt.  In the back row, from left to right, are:  Diana Faugno,
Diane Huddleston, Jeannie Stephenson, Madeline Marini, Claire Nelli, Phil Zaragoza, and Sally
Thresher.  In this group, eight are nurses, one ( the man ) is a social worker and one is a police detective.  I've cruised with Sherry, Phil, Diane, Jeannie, Claire, Madeline and Sally on multiple other occasions, in Europe and the U. S.  One couldn't ask for dearer friends.

I am tagging the following five people and asking that they follow the above instructions:

1.  Joanne Olivieri at Poetic Shutterbug

2.  Stevie Wren at A Little Birdie Told Me So

3.  Icy BC at Dances With Dreams

4.  Kat_RN at kats corner

5.  Lakeviewer at sixtyfivewhatnow

For those of you who haven't seen the amazing photography of Bhavesh Chhatbar, check out his blog:  His work is available for purchase at his website:  I will definitely come back from India with a couple of his beautiful photographs.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Carmen's Chronicles Meets Enchanted Oak

For well over ten years now, I've made a spring trek to the Cliffs Resort at Shell Beach to attend our annual CA Sexual Assault Investigators conference.  The drive is pretty routine, through a lovely part of California.  Sometimes, I vary it and head down the coast route of Highway 1 from Pacifica, past Santa Cruz and pick up 101 in the Monterey area.  Before long, the fertile farmland of the central California coast lies ahead, with acres of crops, fruit trees and vineyards, with the blue Pacific off in the distance.

I had never even noticed the Templeton exits, some thirty miles from Shell Beach.  Had I not become a blogger, I might have driven to and from my conference without ever veering off Highway 101 in Templeton.  To miss this charming, old Western  town, unofficial population of about 5000 in 2000, would have been a shame, indeed.  When Chris Alba of Enchanted Oak suggested we meet for lunch there at McPhee's, it seemed like a perfect spot.  I'm always up for seeing a new locale and dining out at a new restaurant, especially one that came with such a great recommendation from Chris. 

When I took that Templeton exit, it was almost like entering California's past.  The town was founded in 1886 as the final stop for railroad passengers from the north.  It is in a rural setting with a Mediterranean climate and its products - grapes, wines and olive oil are much like you would find in a Tuscan setting. 

Central California coast vineyards, near Templeton

Rolling hills, farmland

Leaving Templeton

Templeton, California

Two four-legged welcomers

McPhee's Grill

Decorations at McPhee's

Mr. Pig

McPhee's Bar

Yummy sweet potato fries

Our sweet waitress, Lindsay

Macadamia encrusted salmon

Jambalaya with shrimp and chicken

Our delicious shared creme brulee!

Carmen, Carmen's Chronicles and Chris, Enchanted Oak

Chris and I had a wonderful lunch and visit together.  Aside from brief comments and interactions over our blogs and a few emails, we had never met before but we talked like old friends.  I hope it will be the first of many stops I make in Templeton to see her.  Now that we've met, I certainly won't go to the San Luis Obispo area without meeting up with my fellow poet and blogger!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday - Resort Shadows, The Cliffs at Shell Beach, CA

Join in the fun every Sunday at:  Hey, Harriett: Shadow Shot Sunday

During my conference at Shell Beach recently, I had the opportunity to photograph all sorts of shadow shots, including yesterday's Bloody Mary. 

I loved these palm shadows in the swimming pool!

Palm and beach chair shadows

Plant shadows

This is the plant that created the previous shadows

More plant shadows

I love this shadow of the ceiling fan on the lobby floor!

Cheers! Bloody Mary Shadow

Friday, March 26, 2010

I've Been Playing Hooky - Flash 55 Friday, 3-26-10

I’ve been playing hooky,

And having lots of fun,

I’ve even forgotten blogging,

Which I’ve seldom ever done!

I hope you will forgive me,

I know I’ve been remiss,

I promise now to tow the line,

Because I do love doing this!

I must get busy, I’m truly in a tizzy,

I am feeling dizzy!

Carmen Henesy

If you would like to tell a tale in exactly 55 words, post it and go tell the G-Man

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Recent Forensic Nurse Rendevous at the Cliffs at Shell Beach, CA

Our CA Sexual Assault Investigators Association holds an annual spring training at the Cliffs Hotel, a beautiful spot on the central CA coast at Shell Beach.  The setting gives us a nice respite from the days spent engaged in classes related to the serious work that we do in our specialties.  It is also a occasion for us to get together and renew friendships.

The conference started this year on St. Patrick's Day.  The largest number of nurses ever attended this event but I was happiest to see my old friends, the "queens," as we call ourselves.
We had dinner Wednesday night at the Cliffs and I invited Katie ( the girlfriend of my son, Jeremy ).  She is a senior at Cal Poly.  In years past, when he was also a student there, the two of them would usually join our group for dinner ( poor starving college kids, always glad to get
treated to a free meal! ).

The pool at the Cliffs looks out on the Pacific Ocean, a spectacular setting

The restaurant and some of the rooms look out on this view

The bar and St. Patrick's Day festivities were already in full swing by the time I arrived from the San Francisco area at 7PM.  I had thoroughly enjoyed my 3-1/2 hour drive down the California coast.  The hills were a beautiful green, quite fitting for the day, after all the winter rains and, in some places, fruit trees were already blooming.  It was just spectacular.  I kept wanting to stop and take pictures but kept myself focused on the task at hand - partying with my colleagues!!

Sherry and Diane, fellow queens.,

Sherry and I went to Japan together twice, once to see our jazz singer friend, Sony Holland, and again as guests of Japanese forensic colleagues to do presentations on forensic nursing and child forensic interviewing.  She and I have also done several cruises together, one transatlantic and another from Ensenada to Honolulu, in addition to assorted smaller jaunts here and there.  Sherry, is sort of the "mother" of all the original California sexual assault nurse examiners having taught the SART courses in the very beginning of our education.  We owe her a great deal.

Diane has been actively involved in the sexual assault field as well and is a dear friend and cruising buddy.  She and my friend, Jeannie, did a Mediterranean cruise with me for my birthday year before last. 

Wendy and Claire

Wendy is a RN with a miles of alphabet soup after her name.  She is a doctor of nursing science who has taught in such exotic places as Abu Dabhi and Hong Kong and has been involved in projects for the World Health Organization.  She tried to talk Jeremy into going on after Cal Poly and becoming a nurse practitioner.  Claire runs a sexual assault examiner program in the San Diego area and is one of the original queens.  We have shared many cruises and wonderful times together.

Queen Madeline, as you can see by the pin on her jacket

Queen Madeline is the funniest, most delightful person and SANE. I first met her at a training and I have not stopped laughing yet at the comment she made then ( it's been ten years, I think! ). 

Jeannie and Sandra

Jeannie is a native of Los Angeles and we've been friends since we met at our annual forensic nursing conference many years ago in Irvine, Calfornia.  We don't spend as much time together as I like because she is an avid sunbather and, Southern belle that I am, I do not lie in the sun!!  She is a brilliant SART nurse and one of my treasured cruising buddies.   Sandra, along with Sherry, is the "other mother" of the original California SANES.  They taught us well and really instilled the passion for forensic nursing in our hearts.

Katie with her three "birthday" desserts  (  I couldn't decide what to order ) - she'll be 23 on Sunday!

Katie, blowing out the candle on her birthday wine!

Claire, Katie and Carmen
Our Irish group!

The restaurant at the Cliffs with the seagull sentinel on top

Standing guard

Drooping flowers

Beautiful weather

Diane and Jeannie, working on their tans

Happy 101 Award from Secret Forest

A very dear blogging friend, fullet at Secret Forest, gave this award to me and I consider it a great honor.  He states that this award is given to blogs that make you happy.  You should list ten things that make you happy and then pass the award on to ten blogs that make you happy.  Several of the blogs that fullet listed are my favorites, as well, so I won't list them and I won't select Secret Forest though I find great delight in his blog and his friendship.  I only regret that we did not meet when I was on his doorstep in Barcelona last October - as I may never have the opportunity again.  I  hope, if he wins the Spanish lottery, I will, at least, see him in San Francisco!

Ten ( of many ) things that make me happy:

-My three sons ( as long as they are not nagging me to exercise )

-Eating at American Sushi House in Pacifica, CA, Manivanh Thai Restaurant in San  Francisco, CA, Tutto Pasta and/or Zucchero in Miami, FL

-Being with the "queens" or other dear friends

-Cruising the seven seas


-Sony Holland, singing jazz, especially live, accompanied by Jerry Holland on the guitar

-A good book or movie

-Good wine that doesn't cost a fortune

-Letting people know that I love them

-Writing - my blog, poetry, letters

Blogs that make me happy ( several that fullet listed but I am choosing other so as not to be repititious ) -

-Chris at Enchanted Oak

-Joanna at The Fifty Factor

-Rainfield61 at My Journey

Friday, March 19, 2010

Another Spring Poem - Flash 55 Friday, March 19, 2010

Sunny California skies,

Warm refreshing days,

Flowers blooming everywhere,

Seals basking in the rays.

New growth in the vineyards,

Birds nesting in the trees,

It’s the season for rebirth,

Now we’re past the winter freeze.

Blankets hanging on the line,

Winter garments stored away,

Children playing happily outside,

Bringing mom a spring bouquet.

About time!

If you would like to tell a tale in exactly 55 words, post it and go tell the G-man

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"I" Is For India - Alphabe Thursday, 3-18-10

"I" Is For India - Alphabe Thursday, 3-18-10

I am participating in Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday

No, I was born in Georgia in the United States, not India - but India is the country of my heart.  Perhaps I lived there in another life, if you believe in that sort of thing.  All I know is that, even before my visit there in February of 1997, I had become intrigued by this country which is the seventh largest in the world, land-wise and the second most populous country.

India has over four thousand miles of coastline, with the Indian Ocean to the south, the Bay of Bengal to the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. 

  Sunset at Cochin by exfordy

Cochin, now called Kochi, is a city in the Indian state of Kerala, one of India's main seaports.
It is often referred to as "the Queen of the Arabian Sea."

India has one of the world's fastest growing economies, yet it still suffers from overwhelming poverty, illiteracy and disease. Many U. S. companies outsource work to India and pay workers substantially less than they would workers in the U. S. for doing the same job. I find this practice shameful. I feel that Indian workers deserve better salaries.
Street in rural India by mckaysavage

I became acquainted with many Indian crew members during my travels with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line which actually has a hiring office in Mumbai. Many of the crew have become personal friends and, because of their kindnesses, my interest in India grew. I found them to be such an endearing group of people who added so much joy to my life. I began to learn more about the culture and history of the country. I tried Indian food which I found incredible with its exotic spices and different tastes, depending on what part of India from which the cuisine came.

India is a country from which four of the world's major religions came - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.  In the first millenium, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam also were accepted.

India gained its independence from Britain on August 15, 1947 and became a republic in 1950.  The country continues to suffer from terrorist attacks and dissension from various factions from time to time.  Its military is the third largest in the world, consisting of an army, air force and navy.

According to Wikipedia, "India is the world's most culturally, linguistically and genetically diverse geographical entity after the African continent."  One must allow ample time on a visit to this country to adequately see all this diversity, from the Himalayas to the oceans.

Sunrise in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu ( formerly Madras ) is the southernmost state of India and its most urbanised.

Kalpa, India by snotch

Kalpa is in northern India in the Sutlej River Valley, in the Himalaya.  It is famous for its apple orchards and its many Buddhist and Hindu temples.

During my stay in India, I was the guest of a friend from Royal Caribbean.  He and his family made me feel like royalty as did everyone in his village near the Sahar airport.  I had brought two dozen small Energizer squeeze flashlights as gifts for the children in the village so our nights were lit with the sight of them running about, like fireflies, with thier little lights, calling out, "Carmen Auntie, look at us!" 

The women were so beautiful in their multicolored saris and matching scarves, especially on Sundays when they wore their most special ones to church ( many in this village were Catholic ).  I would walk the streets of the village and enjoy the wonderful smells emanating from each house and, often, I would be invited inside to taste some delicacy. 

One day, we went to Bandra to shop.  What treats were in store there - entire shops full of bindis and bangles, caftans, beautiful gold jewelry, Bollywood films ( ohhhh, those actors are so handsome and I have become an addict of Indian film! ).

My dream is to return to India in the fall and to stay an entire six months.  Hopefully, this way, I can visit the places I couldn't see with only ten days in the country, see many of my Royal Caribbean friends ( I am known there as "the American mother of the Indian crew" ), and truly get to know MY India on a much more personal level.

Indian market by mckaysavage

Dances of India by Hyougushi

Painted temple roof by mckaysavage

Taj Mahal by voobie

Beautiful mendhi artwork by mckaysavage

Palace at Jaipur by Ahron de Leeuh

Bangles by mckaysavage

Rural Indian women by mckaysavage

I would like to express my gratitude to all the wonderful photographers on flickr who have their work on the creative commons section which I have used here.  My post would not have been nearly as special without them.