Weekend Sky #93

It always fascinates me on how quickly weather can change. This morning we woke to 7+ inches of snow and by noon the sky was clearing to an amazing sky this afternoon.

All over the sky were separate clusters of heavy wispy clouds with thick bright centers that reflected the brightness if the sun. The one below seem to have a laser shooting down from it.

This one below is a favorite as it looked like a large white bird flying down the sky. I know my imagination gets away with me sometimes when looking at clouds but they are so beautiful. They remind me of a simpler time as children when we would lay on the grass making shapes out of clouds. Ah, the purity of youth. If life were always that simple and gentle.

Come along and join in with Hammad Rais and Weekend Sky and see the beauty after a storm or the gentleness of a peaceful sky.

And as always, I remind you of the beauty of kindness and how it can change the look of any sad situation.

Always Be Kind

Only 1-2…Really??!?

God bless our weathermen. They really try but no one can 100% predict what Mother Nature will do. At bedtime is was 1-2 inches but the roads are warm so it won’t last long, right? And 8 hours later…we had 7 inches…and it’s still snowing. Look at the size of those flakes.

It is rather graceful how this very wet snow clings to the trees. It gives them a covering of graceful lace on the bare branches of winter, although it’s weight plays havoc on the evergreens.

But the beauty it creates on the hardwoods is almost magical as it enhances all the twisted and curvy limbs.

Mother Nature, can be beautiful in most every way, but dangerously violent at times. I pray that the spring and summer storms treat you kindly this year. May the only thing we see is its beauty…or maybe it’s humor.

I am not sure the birds find the snow humorous…but a birds gotta eat and with everything covered in snow, the feeder is the easiest meal.

Since I actually have little to do this weekend, I was going to get some good shots of the sky for Hammad Rais prompt for weekend sky. Go check out his superman in the sky this week. Alas, mine is all gray, so maybe next weekend.

Remember as always, that kindness has a power that can melt a cold heart. Kindness covers like a soft blanket of snow and not matter how small an act of kindness you share, it creates ripples of love that fanout like the roots of a tree.

Always Be Kind

Honored Goodbye, Excited Hello

Those of us who are pet lovers, take our furry friends very seriously. They are family. My front door has a disclaimer on it for all who enter.

In January, we said an honored goodbye to Maximus, my daughter’s loyal, tried and true friend, aka a basset hound.

Yesterday, we went to look at some puppies as she was getting ready to think about moving on. The problem with that theory (like when buying a new car) you better be ready to take said puppy(or car) home with you. The puppy’s name is Teddy Bear and he took an instant liking to my daughter …therefore…

Meet Teddy Bear

Totally at home and loving his new mama.

Check out these ears. They are longer than Max’s were and he steps on them as he walks.

There will be many posts of future cuteness but I wanted to share these with you. I you have seen my book, Our Real Home, you will understand that I feel all creation is blessed by God and he gives pets to us as another way of sharing His profound love.

In closing. I remind you of the power of kindness. It creates a loving bond between you and another of God’s creations – man or animal.

The Rock

Probably the most infamous federal prison of the US is Alcatraz but its origin had a different intent. During the Spanish rule of California, Juan Manuel de Ayala charted San Francisco Bay in 1775. He named today’s Yerba Buena Island as “La Isla de los Alcatraces”, which translates as “The Island of the Gannets” more commonly translated as “Island of Pelicans”.

The earliest recorded private owner of the island of Alcatraz is Julian Workman, to whom it was given by Mexican governor Pio Pico in June 1846, with the understanding that Workman would build a lighthouse on it.

The island was sold to the US government in 1849 and the first lighthouse on the coast of California was built there in 1854. Other buildings were erected on the island, and the first permanent army detachment was garrisoned there in 1859. In 1861 the island was designated a residence for military offenders.  In 1907 the island was designated the Pacific Branch of the United States Military Prison. From 1934 to 1963 it served as a federal prison for some of the most dangerous civilian prisoners.

There is a poster when you first start your tour of the cellhouse that really sheds the current feel for the purpose of the island.

Aside from the cellhouse on top of the island, two structures stood out to me, for different reasons. One is from the movie “The Rock” where Sean Connery is walking across the shell of the Officers’ Club. I don’t have a picture of Sean Connery, but I do have a picture of the Officers’ Club where I believe the shot was taken.

The other structure that caught my eye was the water tower. Not an imposing structure by any means but its historical noteworthiness were fascinating. In November 1969 Indian activists, including members of the American Indian Movement, occupied the island again, demanding the deed to the island and refusing to leave until they were forced off by federal marshals in June 1971.

I found it interesting that family members of the original occupiers of the 19 month protest were allowed to repaint the tower in 2012 and other areas around the island, so that the history of the island had yet another chapter.

Well, there will be one more post for Alcatraz where I give my take on the cellhouse itself. I know that many others has been there and posted about what all they saw but each person sees this history from a different side. I see it with conflicting issues of history, amazement of how the notorious prisoners lived, all mixed with a heavy dose of sadness of wasted lives.

Let us never waste opportunities to be kind, showing consideration of others and reflect the power of grace offered to us from above.

FOTD, Memories

Cee reminds of the the beauty of flowers as we share Flower of the Day pictures. With the trickery of spring, 60 degrees on Monday, snowing on Thursday, I am reaching back in my memories to help me smile. These teasing’s of spring make you that much more ready to dig in the dirt to enjoy its bounty of color. So, I give you a smattering of remembered color from last summer.

In all things, remember how flowers make us smile and usually with the smiles come kindness. I think flowers have an excellent ability in making us glow.

Always Be Kind!

The Island of Alcatraz Lighthouse

When people first hear the word Alcatraz they immediately think of it as a famous prison, which it is, but it has a long history before that became a reality. Alcatraz got its name from the Spanish in 1775 when naval officer and explorer Juan de Ayala surveyed the harbor and the San Francisco Bay. Since he observed pelicans in large numbers on the island he named the island as “Isla de los Alcatraces” meaning the “Island of Pelicans”. While I did not see many pelicans, seagulls were everywhere.

In the mid 19th century, the island was developed with a light house, a military fort, and a military prison. Below is a picture of the original lighthouse from Wikipedia. This lighthouse was first completed in July of 1853.

In 1909 a new and higher lighthouse was built to replace the original light house due to damage from the 1906 earthquake and the building of the current cellhouse which overshadowed the height of the current lighthouse. The new lighthouse is 84 feet tall with a tapered octagonal shape and its light reaches out 22 nautical miles. The lighthouse, which is the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast of the United States, was automated in 1963 when the Federal Penitentiary closed.

With the island being vacated in 1963, Native Americans(American Indians) occupied the island for more than 19 months, 1969-1971. Their hopes was to reclaim their land per rules of the treaty. This island is where their ancestors gather the seagull eggs. Initially the occupation was a group primarily from San Francisco, but they were later joined by AIM and other urban Indians from other parts of the country. In 1972, Alcatraz was transferred to the Department of Interior to become part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

Over the next few post, I will share the pictures and the history that I learned from my tour of the island. While the history was interesting, I had a hard time forgetting the sadness and troubling times from its history. This place was visual proof of man and his self destructive ways. I am hoping for a day where kindness and gentle nature is the norm, probably not in my day but maybe one day. Remember always the power and beauty of kindness and try to share it as much as you can.

Moon Phases

Tonight is 100% full moon. While we won’t see our first super moon until July, the moon seems to be really bright this month. Probably because winter can be so cloudy, we forget the beauty of our night light. No leaves on the trees adds to the mysteriousness of the light.

This shot was taken later in the evening on March 5, waxing gibbous 96%. It had been a cloudy day so it was fun seeing the moon shine through the wispy clouds and trees. This shot really shows the upper portion of the tree that got broken in a storm a couple years ago. Its still hanging there waiting to break free.

This shot was taken early in the evening of March 6 as the moon was just cresting over the hill from the house across the street, phase waxing gibbous 99%.

And of course, today, the full moon day…it’s cloudy. Go figure. Well, at least we had a couple of evenings where the moon showed through.

In August we will have a Blue Moon – meaning two full moons in one month, August 1st and August 31st. I have always been fascinated about the views of the moon and how it lights up the sky on a clear night but I did not realize until recently(probably knew as a kid but forgot) that the full moon occurs when the moon sits exactly on the opposite side of the earth from the sun. And the gravity of this occurrence creates higher than normal tides. Living in Florida, I knew that was true. It also makes animals do weird things, or maybe its just my dog?!? And more babies are born on full moons – yes, that it true. Just ask any nurse on the maternity ward.

Everything has its purpose and it is fun seeing how it affect us on any given day. In closing, remember the affects of Kindness and use it often.

FOTD, March 7, Camellia

Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge helps brighten our day because regardless of the time of year, flowers somewhere in the world are blooming and being shared for us to see. I left the snow covered grounds of Iowa to the beginnings of spring in California. But, I was still amazed to see a camellia in full bloom.

While we were on Alcatraz island the moss and ferns were rich green from all the rain and the hopes of warm weather.

Remember to look around at the beauty you can find regardless of where you are. Nature has many beautiful faces, offering smiles and kindness; yes even plants can smile.

Always Be Kind

Water, Water, Everywhere, March 6

Jez reminds us of the beauty and fun of the WWE challenge, and water usually has boats. There is something magical in watching a sailboat and when you have colorful sails, it draws you in even more.

I think the birds even enjoy watching them. Around San Francisco, birds were a staple around the boats and the marinas.

We were fortunate as those menacing clouds held they water until later in the evening after we got back in side. Remember water is like life. It can be a gentle flow or a menacing storm. When we see others going through a storm, let us be kind to show them a smoother stream. Kindness has a way of making hard times survivable.

Always find ways to be kind.

All photos at top of post are my own. ©Anita’s Hope
No usage allowed in any form without my written consent.

Photos at end of post concerning being kind are downloads from Google

FOTD, March 6, Unknown

Cee’s fun challenge of Flower of the Day can always prove beautiful and interesting. While in San Francisco, I saw spring flowers already blooming and I took a picture of this one because I had no idea what it was but it was intriguing.

I recognize the holly behind it but don’t really know what this is, but isn’t it cool. The long bamboo like stems look similar to a larger plant I have in my house but mine doesn’t bloom. Then further down the pier, there was an awesome topiary of succulents in the shape of a seal. It was not quite ready for it’s spring bloom but it was still awesome.

The tulips and daffodils in the lower section of the flower bed were just getting started. In another week they will be really full and beautiful.

Reflect on the beauty that surrounds you as spring starts to show it’s warm face and remember to share that warmth with kindness.