Thursday, September 25, 2008

The lady in the chair

Frances Natalie Pearlman is the lady in the chair.
My mom, who went by the name of Natalie her entire life, passed away from this world Sept. 16, 2008, one day short of age 75 1/2.
My mom was my best friend, there for me until the end.
How grateful i am that i was there beside her holding her hand as she took her last breath.
Full of life, full of laughter, full of love for all her friends - and mine as well.
She was honest, kind and generous... almost to a fault, but she was never a martyr.
She loved clouds and the ocean and a good book - a woman after my own heart!
She always helped her family and friends when we needed it... and many when we didn't even know we needed any help at all.
She had a wicked sense of humor - she could laugh at herself!
She had an eye for a bargain - she loved showing off how well she saved with coupons at the grocery store.
And somehow she was able to find the best in everyone, even in some of the worst of people, even at some of the worst of times.
Always wanting to work from the moment she was able to do so, she kept her photography business thriving with her youngest brother long after her Jan. 1, 2008 diagnosis of cancer.
She was a teacher by profession and also by the way she lived her life - she always taught whomever would listen, but at the same time, she always wanted to - and did - learn.
Though her spirit is with us, my family grieves...
The lady in the chair was:
A wonderful wife for my father for 53+ years,
A shining light of a sister to her two brothers,
An amazing mother to me and my two sisters,
The best Bubbe (grandma) to 12 adoring kids,
A doting aunt to her two nephews,
The one cousin who stayed in contact with dozens of relatives...
She was a friend like no other - her pals from California and from back when she lived in Chicago have made my broken heart heal a little bit... i have smiled after being regaled by/with stories of her devotion and humor, her intelligence and insight; i am only now beginning to find out about the lives she touched around the world.
Mom, i miss you and shall never forget you.
Rick Springfield got it right:
My father's chair still standing there
All alone since the long night
Now it's three years on and I still feel
He'll come home, we'll be alright
So where's this healing time brings
I was told the pain would ease
But it still hurts like the first night
That night my brother, my mother and I
Were looking up at a distant star
And wishing we could reach that far
And back in the house
And alone for the first time
We told each other we cared
We avoided my father's chair
I watch my family, we hold on
We are strong and we'll be alright
The clock continues counting down,
All the while
And every child will share the long night
But do the spirits meet again
Why am I still so filled with doubt
Is my soul everlasting
And the far distant future
When I knew you'd be gone
Came too fast and stays too long
Why do they leave the weaker spirit
And take the strong
But when the world turns sour
And I get sick from the smell
And I can find no comfort there
I climb into my father's chair

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Where is everyone?

Beach time!
Hope everyone is doing well out there!
xo Mattie
(and K)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The fires in San Diego

Hello from a place that feels like what Hell must be...

It's bad here, really bad.

i want to send out a big thank you all for text messages, phone calls, e-mails, Facebook notes, MySpace messages, regular mail, all of it...

It is scary, very much so right now, so incredibly frightening... so to have support and concern, prayers and good thoughts sent this way right now means EVERYTHING.

As i write this, Mattie and i are safe and all right as is my family here. Peter, who just the other day adopted an older Labrador, and his family are all right as well. Unfortuanately, that could change at any moment. I think the entire county of San Diego is on fire.

This is incredible, tragic, frightening, frustrating. The things i have seen are horrifying, and i am worried most about the animals, both pets and the wildlife, many (too many) of which have perished, in some horrific ways.

Working in the newspaper business has been my dream come true for the last 20-something years of my life, but right now, it's painful to the depths of my soul to be in the newsrooom, to be surrounded by FACTS.

And the fact of what is happening right now is this: devastation.

If you want to help the animals, and if you can, please do:

I'm doing what i can to help here...

Please think good thoughts.

I'll be back when this nightmare is over.

Karen (kleo)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Goodbye, sweet Heidi

"As the sun hides his head
For another night's rest
And the wind sings
His same old song

And you on the edge
Never close, never far
Always there when I needed a friend

Yet it's hard living life
On this memory-go-round
Always up, always down
Spinning 'round and 'round and 'round

And all this could be
Just a dream so it seems
I was never much good at goodbye

There once was a time
Never far from my mind
On the beach, on the 4th of July

I remember the sand
How you held out your hand
And we touched for what seemed a lifetime

Now it's hard
Leaving all this behind me now
Like a schoolboy so lost
Never found until now

And all this could be
Just a dream so it seems
I was never much good at goodbye

Yet it's hard
Living life on this memory-go-round
Always up, always down
Turning 'round and 'round and 'round

And all this could be
Just a dream so it seems
I was never much good at goodbye

And all this could be
Just a dream so it seems

I was never much good at goodbye


-"Goodbye," Night Ranger

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bee-ing kind stings sometimes

Hmmmmm... i loooooove this Bizarro!

Strange i never saw anything like this when i went to college in the 1980s. For sure a chart worth studying:


"Sorry to get in yer face but i wanted to make sure you recognize me!"

Mat sez: "Hello!! *sigh* i am still dealing with my haircut..."

Peter took time out from his running training to give Mat a big ol' hug... he's got a little bit of a scary look here but Mattie doesn't seem to mind!


The bat talk was fantastic! Peter & i spotted this license plate in the parking lot of the library where the talk was given. i learned a lot about these amazing animals and have renewed appreciation for them.

What was the coolest was the 40 or so kids who were there for the discussion... they have knowledge and with that, i hope, compassion... and that gives me such great hope!


i got stung by a bee yesterday on the ring finger of my right hand and it's blown up huge and pounding like crazy. i was trying to rescue the bee from drowning in the swimming pool at my condominium. Go figure!

Bee-lieve it or not, here's the latest buzz, honey, i'll certainly chance it again to help one of these guys out.

Oddly enough, about 2 weeks ago, i smashed the ring finger of my left hand in my closet and that finger's been huge and sore since, so you can imagine my typing isn't too great of late...

ANYway, no excuses! i apologize for not being around Blogland much! i have been thinking of my online pals and will be sure to drop by every buddy's blog this week! *HUGS*


My dad's 77th birthday is Wednesday (tomorrow) but we celebrated with brunch Sunday in Coronado at Il Fornaio, an Italian eatery that my parents like. i can't say i was looking forward to eating in a non-veg restaurant but it was a family thing so i went... with a smile.

The exceptional view from our table:

In a pleasant surprise, Il Fornaio offers a vegan minestrone soup and their homemade bread is vegan, too. Guess what i had... i took a photo but it wasn't anything particularly spectacular.

At my parents' house, things were bright & beautiful, festive & fun:
My niece, Shoshana and my nephew, Rubin.
"We are ready to par-tay!" My fam has rockin' & rollin' parties, really.

A close-up of the cake:

My sister Elyse made the cake. It was fab!

As you can see, my dad goes many titles... Len, Dad, Zaidy (grandfather in Yiddish) and Elf, for his volunteer work bringing books to those less fortunate:

Anyway, digressing back to Il Fornaio:

Me & the birthday boy.

My uncle Herb and his sister (my mom, Natalie). They have owned their own photography biz in SD for 20 years but i got to take the family photos this time 'round.

Shoshana and her parents. (My sister Elyse and Larry, who was visiting from Idaho - he got to meet Vicki's hubby Art a few weeks ago!)

Bro & sis, i love these two!


Recently took in the art at the San Diego Convention Center:

Called "Coming Together," by the late, great Niki de St. Phalle

(We like to work out over there, too! Peter is clothed, i swear.)


Bowling for the Animals update: Across from the SD Convention Center is Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. Rubin's "Bowling for the Animals" tix to the Padres game were finally used during a day game at Petco. Rubin invited my uncle Herb, my dad and i to go. YAY! Amazing seats. Never sat so close to the action! i had to leave early to get to work but it was a great game and the Padres won 11-0!

Did i have fun?

Would these feet lie to you?

Um yes, this chick used to be a card carryin' major league groupie. Never mind, that was a long time ago. i swear. Heh. This shirt says "83 - lives saved per year by going vegetarian." i figured it would be a good idea to spread the message of compassion to the Padres faithful.


Your thoughts, please, on this, a vegan butcher:
Woah. i do believe i've heard it all now.

And, at last, an honest food pyramid/guide for all of us!

One more cool site: Eat kind! :o)



Sunday, July 29, 2007

Beaches, a book, a bistro & bats

An acquaintance passed away recently and a get-together celebrating his life was held at one of our bays on Friday afternoon.

After that, i decided to go on the other side of the bay (the Pacific Ocean!) for a run on the beach called South Mission Beach, something i had not done for some time.

Here's where i started...

Lotsa these around on my run:


Plenty of this, too:

Seaweed! Dinner, anyone?

... the end. (i ran about 3 miles out and then came back.)

Leaving that beach (boo! believe me, i did not want to leave!), one passes the grand, historic and fun roller coaster called The Giant Dipper.


Not far away from the coaster on the beach (how Californian, 'eh?), the next city up the coast heading north is Pacific Beach (Vicki's old digs!), where The Vegan Zone is. Peter & i ate dinner there last Wednesday night - more on that further down.

After dinner we walked to the beach and there was this tile mural there, which i somehow had missed before:

Cool octopus! Original, touchy-feely public artwork (especially when it's the likeness of an animal) like this makes me smile.


A brilliant, witty writer and super cool gal - my friend! - Sara Bongiorni, wrote a book that came out this month: "A Year Without 'MADE IN CHINA' " It's receiving rave reviews! i'm so proud of her!

Sara's childhood home is down the street from my sister. We used to live just a few blocks from one another when we wrote at a smaller newspaper together in the San Diego area about 15 years ago. She now lives with her husband and three kids (and dog!) in Louisiana.

She was actually on "The Today Show" today... NBC flew her out to NY. So amazing!! i had Peter tape the show on VHS (how old school am i?) at his parents' house since neither of us have TVs. i haven't seen the show yet...


Sara is on a book tour and made a special appearance Saturday afternoon at the Barnes & Noble less than a mile from where her mom still resides! i had lost touch w/her and was thrilled to reconnect.


i also got to meet her mom and hear Sara read a chapter from her book. It was a trip, for realz. The book is very, very good. Funny, thought-provoking, insightful, clever. i read it in four days. My mother read it in three days! My mom brought along three ladies from her book club, all of whom bought the book and had Sara autograph it.


Sara and her mom, how cute are they?:

My mom took this photo of me & the author extraordinaire:

OK, so i took Peter to Vegan Zone - self-titled "The Exotic Vegan Bistro" - and it was good the second time around for me. Nice to have company this time, and he liked it too.


The prices were decent, our waitress attentive, the food delicious and there were plenty of choices on the menu, but there was something missing... maybe i'm just spoiled by SIPZ... It was super dark inside and just not very friendly-feeling.


Especially for being just three blocks from the beach where peeps are cool and casual, it seems a little out of place. i hope it makes it though - a vegan restaurant is always a welcome thing.


A huge painted wooden face inside The Vegan Zone:

The Vegan Zone menu cover, which is a lot cooler than the odd, quixotic menu inside:

Pretty decent crispy won ton appetizers ($4):

(My *cough* great food photography striking again...)
"Garlic Lover" ($8) for me:

"Rice baked with mushroom" ($8) for Peter:

Peter also had a glass of Thai iced tea. Refreshing! No desserts on the menu, but that was just as well. We were stuffed.

(Of course later we managed to eat some Trader Joe's Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. HA!)



What do you think of bats? i think they're fairly adorable, and very misunderstood... and unfortunately feared because of ignorance.


Peter and i are going to a "Bat Talk" tomorrow at a local library, and we're both pretty excited. i was invited as part of my job at the newspaper to attend by a woman named Cynthia Myers, who is a bat aficionado with a Web page to prove it:


Last night Cindy sent me some photos and a story about her recent trip to a place called Bracken Cave in Texas. i'll meet her in person tomorrow - and some bats as well i hope!

The cave, before the bats come out (No Adam West to be found!):


Cindy likes these bat sites:

The bats emerge:
Part of the story of her experience:

"The emergence started when we were still around the back of the property and we all rushed back around to the front of the cave. It was absolutely spectacular! (local volunteer) Fran Hutchinson said that this time of year there are about 30 million bats flying out because the pups are starting to fly out with their moms, and it takes the entire colony about 5 hours to exit the cave.
"We figured that, just while we were there, we saw at least 100,000 bats per MINUTE flying out and over our heads, on their way to eat about 200 TONS of corn earworm moths each summer night! So many little wingbeats that they created a nice breeze for us bat tourists."

And away they go!!:

Bat Conservation International:

Go Dan Piraro:

May the week ahead be healthy for everyone (well, except Michael Vick & other animal abusers).

Hard to believe August is around the corner. Just like a bat, time flies.


Monday, July 23, 2007

You can't spell evolve without love

My friend Marina, Chicago-born (like me!) but Californian at heart (same, natch), came for a visit last week, dragging her bro and & Germany-born mom, who i'm pretty sure fell in love with SoCal.

i had small parts of only two days to show 'em around San Diego County and we hit Point Loma, Coronado, Ocean Beach & more. Their fave place was La Jolla - and it's hard to blame them:

Mat was feeling in the pink (HOORAY!) and joined in on our adventures:

Is Mat smiling (above) or is it my imagination?!


Thanks to Vicki's husband, Art, for the head's up on Vegan Zone in Pacific Beach. I took Marina & co. there but they weren't feelin' the love so i was the only one to order from this fab little eatery. i got a pepper steak wrap that was divine.

i left my camera in the car so i didn't get to take a photo but i'm sure my pal Peter and i will hit this spot again and i'll def take pix. For now, here's Art's take on this place:


Sunday was Peter's mom's 86th birthday. EIGHTY-SIX! This angel of a woman wanted to go to my fave veg restaurant SIPZ so we did! Great stuff as usual there. i ordered something new to their menu, BBQ "chicken"... which was outrageous... but of course i left my camera behind (again).

i grabbed the photo below of her and Peter's dad (who turns 88 next month) on their couch at home after we got back from our delicious outing. They have four other children and two of them sent flowers from out of state. Lovely.

Can you believe that last month they celebrated 62 years of wedded bliss?! SIXTY-TWO years. Wow.

If you have a minute, this is a sweet animal-lovers Web site:

As if you didn't already know:

Dan Piraro and Bizarro, always right on:

i feel fortunate to've been touched by so many... thanks.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Big hearts, some art & SMARTIES!

A big thank you for the love shown here & elsewhere for Mattie.


Your thoughts helped me, which in turn helped Mat, i'm sure!

She's doing a lot better, but still her veterinarians don't know what has been the reason for her issues, which involved some gastrointestinal woes (including ongoing infections that she's had since i adopted her four years ago) and subsequent pooping problems that were frightening.

My poor punkinhead was on six pills a day for a time, and it was a struggle having her take the bitter meds. There was no fooling her by hiding them in food. It was much like this cartoon:

Not only is my little 12-year-old girl deaf, she is, ummmm... stubborn. She's down to one pill a day - and so we press on and it is my great hope that she has many healthy years ahead.

Awesome blogger pals:

Vicki of Vegan Vice sent me this adorable doggie card and a goodie bag for Mattie (and me) filled with doggie biscuits, huge SMARTIES, lavender packets to use as a sachet and for baking cookies, lavender jelly and lavender lip balm. Plus Buddha Mints! Yes! Blew me away... typical thoughtful Vicki.

i got to bring Mattie over to Sheree' 's house last week and we had a great time! There are photos of some of our brief adventure over at her blog... it was Mat's first time hangin' out with a dog other than her best pal, Heidi, in a loooong time, and she dug Sheree' 's Shiloh big time. Must be a blonde thing!!

And again thank you to everyone who commented here (so many!!) and on Facebook (Laura!), MySpace (Bazu!), through e-mails (Melody! Candi! Emmy!), snail mail (Vicki!), text messaging (Leslie!) and everywhere (Carrie!) to lend support. What big hearts you all have...


A few weeks back, i grudgingly went to the San Diego Fair in Del Mar, which i have problems with because of their hypocrite behaviour and the way animals are housed, shown, then weighed and sold. Heartbreaking.

But... i did get to watch a couple of horses away from the main "housing" area and on a "kids' farm" play place, have a good time with one another. It was very sweet.

i had gone to see "Weird Al" Yankovic early on in the fair's 2007 tenure, but i returned about a week later, with my mom and dad (aren't they cute? just celebrated their 52nd anniversary!) to look at some of the art, and here's a small sample of what i saw.

Woodworking, file under amazing:

This painting is supposed to be scary but i couldn't help but laugh:

An artist's rendering of the "Urban Alphabet":

Turning the (picnic) tables, this was cool:

i love this painting, it was so "relate-able":

This story, called "Where's the Beef?" was cool to see, from the newspaper i wrote for in college:

Wanted to share a few comics i've been lookin' at from the "Cartoon Bank" that made me smile:


i met this sweet young lady during Peter's and my trip up the coast, in Arroyo Grande. i forgot her name but she was happy to have me photograph that bag. And even tho i can't say "hate" is a good word to use when describing meat eaters, it had a point to make:
This puts a little more positive of a spin on a similar thought:

Anyway, love makes the world go 'round...
i hope everyone has a great week. Thanks again for showin' so much compassion...