Showing posts from December, 2009


Japanese Moon Garden Pond

Garden Trellis

I am going to end the year with a special poem by one of my all time favorite poets, Taylor Graham. Thank you so much for this special poem Taylor. I absolutely adore this verse and though none of my garden photos could do it justice, I chose a couple of my favorite photos to accompany Taylor's poem. These photos, as always, were taken at the Botanical Gardens in San Francisco. Thank you and Happy New Year to all of you!


Wrought iron gates opened like a fairytale
beckoning up a drive that curved under boughs
to the gingerbread Victorian. We imagined
girls of bygone days in satin frocks,
sitting straight-ankled at tea.

But it was the garden
that drew us, along walks scented
with jasmine, greenly overhung with fronds.
Goslings swam in waters
Arcadia blue. We’d whisper young

secrets as we followed winding paths
to the grotto. Who lived there? A dragon,
or an anchorite? a wizard or the Queen of Sheba?
Myth remains, illusive …

New Years Resolution or Procrastination?

Why New Years resolutions? Why not mid September resolutions or Spring resolutions? My personal belief is, if you have a goal or changes that need to be made and decide to employ these goals and changes why wait until the New Year? Deciding to do something then saying to yourself well I will wait until the new year to make these resolutions says two things to me.

First, you are not really serious about the resolutions. Why? If you were, you would make the changes immediately. You would not need a start date.

Second, by giving yourself a start date, is just another means of procrastination and is doomed to fail. Statistics show that most New Year’s resolutions fail by mid February.

If you want to set a goal for yourself or change something in your life then do it when you intuitively feel that it is the right time for you, not when the clock strikes midnight. Following your heart and not a time clock will result in success and a happy life. Remember that you have to be in that…

New Year's Day Cake Vassilopita

Photo courtesy of
Coming from a Greek and Italian background our holiday celebrations always centered around food. One Greek tradition that I vividly remember is the New Year’s Day good luck cake which in Greek is called Vassilopita. There are various forms of this pastry but I wanted to share with you my Mom’s recipe. The New Year’s Day cake or bread would be baked with a coin inside the batter. Usually a dime though it could be a quarter. On New Year’s Day morning the family would sit around the table and each family member, old to young, would be given a piece of the cake. The person that found the coin in the cake was to have good luck throughout the year. I think I received maybe 6 coins my entire life although I have to say I’ve been pretty lucky. I did not have a photo of the cake so I searched the internet and found the above photo which shows the cake and the coin. In any case I wanted to share with all of you my Mom’s recipe for the cake.3 cups water


Taken @ The San Francisco Botanical Gardens

Taken @ The San Francisco Children's Zoo

SNOWBOUND RONDELET - Guest Post by Taylor Graham


This stunning snow.
The power’s out, the phone as well.
This stunning snow –
darkened house, icicles aglow.
Each shovel-stroke a silver shell
as light’s transformed by winter’s spell,
this stunning snow.

Stumps n Trunks


Happy Holidays!


The Tree Brigade


Sony Holland Upcoming Gigs & New Material

Click the above banner or visit Jo's Music Cafe for all the details. Photo, video and links included. Thanks and Happy Holidays.

In Bloom At The Gardens


Autumn Leaves @ The Gardens


Scenic Sunday Sky

View from the Botanical Gardens in San Francisco. This was the last glimmer of blue skies right before a rainstorm. Enjoy!

December Storm

Guest post by Taylor Graham. Thank you my friend.


Daylight thin as tap-water,
as gray hairs through a comb.
Phone and power out
since yesterday. Snow
to shovel; driveway a barricade
of broken oak limbs.
Sun’s an asperity, red eye
of weather’s bird of prey.
On the deck, sparrows
hunker on their bellies,
pecking seed. Shall I
donate my hands to warm
them? But my fingers
have been taken by the cold.

Sabrina the Snow Goddess

Photo courtesy of Gary & Trish

First let me introduce you to my buddy Sabrina. She is a Siberian husky and belongs to my dear friends Gary and Trish. Each time I see Sabrina whether in person or photos, she always inspires me. She just has the most wondrous look in her eyes that makes me want to write and write. I wrote the following poem after receiving the above photo as a gift from Gary and Trish. Enjoy!

Snow Goddess
for SabrinaHer eyes reflect
the Sun's kiss
as she walks
upon water.
Her wisdom traced
on paw print sands
as she softly treads
along the shore.
She dreams
of snow laden earth
while paws frolic
upon icy sea foam.
Sabrina, goddess of snow
spreads warmth
melts hearts
on Winter's playground.
with love...

Jo's Music Cafe

I just wanted to let you all know that I have created a new blog which will be devoted to music. It will have interviews, reviews, videos, songs etc... I decided on a music blog for many reasons but primarily to promote some of my musician friends. The blog will however run the gamut on all music genres. It will consist of well known and not so well known music. I'll be posting anything and everything of a musical nature. I also welcome all of your thoughts and ideas on what you would like to see and hear on this blog. So, if you are a music lover go ahead and follow me. I will try and post regularly, meaning at least three to four times per week. We'll see how that goes :) You'll also see the Entrecard widget on here though I'm not sure if it has yet been approved.

The url is


They Kiss The Sky

As you are all probably aware by now, I love trees. I love the way their silhouettes decorate the background of the sky or water. I love the way the leaves and branches sway in the wind and their fragrance that emanates throughout the gardens as I pass them. I am always trying to capture tree tops with the sky as their canvas. The other day while trying to capture the top of a redwood, which I will post later in the week, I almost lost my balance as the tree was a giant within the redwood trail. I hope you enjoy these photos and as always they were taken at the botanical gardens.

Botanical Garden Trees

First, for those of you who had inquired, the header photo is the pond at the entrance of the Botanical Gardens. This is where I shoot my duck videos.

It's been cold and rainy here in San Francisco the past couple of weeks and as a result I could not visit the gardens. I find that my garden jaunts have increased from once a week to about three times a week so I have been experiencing withdrawals. Yesterday we had a short reprieve so I decided to get out there again.

The renovations are still in progress with new trails and paths being cleared each day. I always find something new.

While I love a Christmas tree all adorned in lights and ornaments, there is nothing like seeing these beautiful trees in their natural state as is depicted in the above photo. There is a cluster of them all year long next to the redwood trail.

There are portions of the gardens which are showing signs of Winter as in the photo below and then there are still remnants of Autumn as in the photo above. What…

Poetry Born

Photo taken at the Botanical Gardens in San Francisco

Poetry Born

I type
thoughts jumbled
dissected jargon
creating silhouettes.
Kaleidoscope waves
half tones
to breeze
Words synchronized
form lifelines
giving birth.

PS See what happens when you write after a little spiked eggnog - delirious prose :)

Cascade of Sea Tears

cascade of sea tears
escape high tide and repose
beyond Winter's wrath

at the keyboard

Guest post by Joseph Farley. Thanks Joe.

at the keyboardthe piano keystalk to meeven when your voiceis silentI can hear youwhile you playand see your heartand mindwith well worn ears

Ducks at the Botanical Gardens


WillOaks Studio - Handcrafted Jewelery

Photo courtesy of

While I love jewelery, I am very picky about what I buy. I almost never buy jewelery in well known stores but rather opt for handmade artistry. I visit local vendors and crafts fairs to find special pieces.

As many of you know, I won a $10.00 prize through WillOaks Studio in her latest name the kitten contest. I checked out her Artfire and Etsy shops and was mesmerized by the beautiful pieces Karen has crafted.It was tough to choose from so many gorgeous gems, so I decided to buy a couple of pieces.

The above necklace is one of those pieces. While the photo is wonderful, it does not do justice to the real thing. This necklace is stunning to say the least. It dazzles and delights and will be debuting in the next couple of weeks at an event I will be attending. I also bought some earrings to go with the necklace. The necklace and earring set is elegant yet simple. It is, as a set, the perfect accessory for any outfit whe…

Music in Nature - Contest Winners

First I want to thank all of the people who entered this contest. It was amazing to see all of the creative talent out there. It was also a very difficult decision and as a result there are seven winners total. One grand prize winner, one runner up and five honorable mentions. The grand prize goes to Glynis Smyfor her poem - Symphony of Life. Glynis has graciously asked that the $10.00 cash and CD dollar equivalent be donated to my favorite charity. So I have in her name donated to the Dorothy Olivieri Memorial fund benefiting the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital the amount of $25.00. As a result of her kind gesture, she will receive 1000 Entrecard credits. Thank you Glynis.
Symphony of Life by Glynis SmyCrystal sound, echo notes of beauty,Listen...soft, gentle singing of the rain,A chorus flows to quench the thirst,Give life to Mother Earth.A crescendo of cymbals!Crash! Electric starslight the stormy sky.Then-turn the page...And Jazz surrounds me,Skipping to the song …

The Right Path

Photos take at the Botanical Gardens in San Francisco.

Life presents twists and turns around every corner. In order to find the right path we must listen to our intuition which lies within our hearts and will always lead us down the right path.

Inspiration Path

This photo was taken at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. I wrote the poem after one of my walks on the beach which is always an inspiring and refreshing experience.

Inspiration Path

Walking along
ocean beach
mist bathes me
as salt tears
on feather pillows
mumble affirmations


A distant foghorn
echoes resounding waves
as a dull base
strums undertones
and awakens daydreams
skimming stones


Saltwater cotton
iridescent sea foam
clash against
high tide
forming footprints
on golden sands


Quietly I walk
softly I tread

in solitude

The Path by Gu Cheng

Photo taken @ the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.

Poem: The Path written by GuCheng from the book Nameless Flowers the selected poems of GuCheng. I will have more about GuCheng over the next few weeks.

The Path

you tell me
there is a path
serene and strange
overgrown with free grass

but we have never sought it
never walked it
because we are human
and quite common

the pigeon says:
it connects to a reed pond
the beetle says:
it leads into trees

but I believe
childhood's footprints are there
and etched brick headstones
and crickets' low chirping

The Illusion of Motion -

This is a guest post by Joseph Farley, thank you Joe.

The Illusion Of MotionThe spot on the ceilingthat seems to crawlmay be a spider,or it may be the mindthat wanders,a particle drifting through spacewhile galaxies of memorychurn and mixsight and sound,past and present.The spot moves, orit stays in one placewhile the ceiling moves,shifting against the motion of the moonas do the stars at night,leaving the fixed star in heaven for its seasonto focus attentionuntil another spot(the fleck of a birdpassing by the window,the shadow of a caron the wall, the crack in the doorthat lets the light in)beckons and the mind followswhere it leadsdown roads of mysteryand revelation,over distance and time,until all things blendas one streak of motion,a single line of thoughtthat becomes a pointwhen viewed head on,a spot on the ceiling,a point to begin again.

Poetic Shutterbug 'Music in Nature" Contest

As many of you know I have been on a roll lately winning contests. So, it's time for me to give back. The Poetic Shutterbug announces it's "Music In Nature" contest. Music in Nature can be interpreted in so many ways which is the essence of this contest. When you hear the phrase "Music In Nature" what is the first thing that comes to mind? You will email me your entries at You may email anything you like as long as it reflects your feelings on this phrase. It can be poems, quotes, thoughts, essays, photos etc...

All I do ask is that whatever you do send, it must be your original work. I know many of you are photographers as well so a photo reflecting your thoughts on the subject is fine. You may attach a jpg. image to the email.Many of you are artists so if you've created something which fits the theme then please send me a photo of what you have made. If you are a musician, a link to your music fitting this theme is…

Good Morning America to Televise from San Francisco

Photo courtesy of - Macy's at Union Square

I just found out that the TV show Good Morning America will be televised live from Union Square in San Francisco this Thursday from 4:00 am to 6:00 am. Everyone attending should bring a warm coat for the homeless. There will also be morning treats served to include Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate. You can find the details here.

So this is my question to all of you. Should I stay up all night on Wednesday night and take a streetcar downtown to attend the broadcast? I'd have to leave my house at about 3:30 in the morning to get there by 4:00 am. Keep in mind, I am not a morning person :D

Tuxedo Island at The San Francisco Zoo

Both the photo and two videos were taken at the San Francisco Zoo. I absolutely love penguins and if I could, would have one as a pet. They are so cute and animated as you will see here in the videos. They have their own little island at the zoo which is efficiently maintained and cleaned on a daily basis. They are one of the main attractions at the zoo especially during their feeding time which I believe is around 2:30 pm. I could spend hours just sitting their and watching them.

Watching their water antics is always a treat. They many times have races and are very competitive. Other times they just lose the day playing around.

We were treated to a short acappella song by one of our tuxedo friends. They are a very playful bunch.