Saturday, December 31, 2005

Sunset 2005

Today’s sunset looked to have all the potential of one of my best sunrises. Hikers coming down the trail as I was going up told me I would have a great sunset to photograph as they noticed my camera and tripod. I was almost giddy with excitement as the sky was filled with huge, unusual looking clouds that I could already imagine in shades of pink. I hurried towards the top to be in my best position. But as I got closer, the clouds just kept getting darker and there was barely a hint of pink. There really was nothing to photograph. I can’t seem to capture the different shades of gray.Then as I turned toward the city, I realized the real show for the evening. The clouds were beginning to take on the flush of the city lights, glowing apparitions. When I took a photo, I was surprised to see how much more luminous they actually looked! As I headed back, the evening now totally dark, I passed by the tower, dark against light, only visible because I knew it was there.The trail was dark with the glare of the lights in my eyes; I was glad I knew the trail so well.My experience wasn’t anything like I anticipated but it was good all the same, very good.

Friday, December 30, 2005


After several days of wandering the wilds of Texas, the sight of an abandoned cabin perched on the edge of the uplands overlooking the Canadian River was too alluring to ignore. We finished our work and decided to take a closer peek. At first, from a distance, I could imagine that this house was just vacant, that soon some family would return. I could see that there were curtains in many of the windows, café-style lovingly made for this home. But as we hiked closer, one plate glass window was seen to be shattered, the first clue that this home was decaying back into the landscape. We gingerly skirted the house, noticing an elaborate outdoor oven and smoker, speaking to our thoughts that this had been used as a hunter’s cabin. I couldn’t help but wonder who had so carefully made the curtains that were still in place, certainly not the hunter! As we got close, the house was obviously in a state of ruin.On one side, a door was missing. Fear kept me from getting too close as hornets had taken up residence and were swarming in territorial fashion at our presence. My final look as we headed back to civilization was at a once beautiful room with a wall of windows, now all broken with only the tattered remnants of the curtains, wind-whipped streamers haunting me with the unsettled memories of bygone habitants.

lovely tree

I wanted to write yesterday but really didn’t have anything to say. The sunrise at top of the world wasn’t very spectacular so I ended up obsessed with my current favorite tree. I took several photos before the sun came up and then went home, downloaded and decided that I needed to get more when my tree was bathed in the new sunlight. There was a decidedly different set of people out after the sunrise than before. Before sunrise you have the lone driven runner guys and lurking dog walkers whereas after sunrise there is the laughing, perky ladies club. What does that make me? – I am the strange woman who photographs the same things day after day (the observer not the observed). Some mornings, the dogs scare me half to death – all of the sudden they appear silently out of the darkness.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

lordy! you call this bounty?

Where Not To Find Your New Years Resolutions! Seriously, I do get into New Years Resolutions – actually I make resolutions year round. So now is no different. I have been reading fellow blogger resolutions and want to add my discovery to the list. I found this package of paper napkins in the lunchroom at work and was moved to read the napkins for the very fine list of resolutions printed on them. My first actual thought was why do we need Signature Series napkins and what the heck does that mean? Maybe my ‘over-reaction’ is a result of not watching t.v. or reading newspapers. When I do come in contact with ridiculous advertising, it just gets me ranting. And while I sincerely do love heartfelt sayings and lists of positive affirmations, this is just a bunch of crap.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Somehow the photo of snow on the palm trees of Ventimiglia and the surreal colors and texture of this morning’s sunrise blended together to remind me of a pair of my mother’s old earrings that I re-discovered just last week
rattling around in my jewelry box.
I just had to wear them to a Christmas party this year.

Be a Kid Again!

I was going to go someplace new this morning but then my son in Ventimiglia instant messaged me and we talked for a while. They have snow there, the first since 1989. (Does anyone want to talk about global warming now?)

So this morning I peeked out the window and told my son, GOTTA GO and flew out the door a little after 6:30 a.m.
I know, I know, this morning is similar to one of the recent mornings. Ho Hum if you must. With the temperatures in the mid 40’s, close to 50º F, I decided to do something I haven’t done for years. I laid down on the dried grass and just looked up at the sky. I think I am going to add this activity to my daily routine!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


The allure of the hour before sunrise is enigmatic. I may be looking in the expected whereabouts on the horizon, only to glance away and find the sweet crescent moon peeking out from behind the elm branches. I have read of photographers who take their time setting up a shot, checking each angle and selecting the best possible composition. But I find that my subjects are so nomadic that any hesitation is a missed opportunity. I am immersed in experiencing the beauty unfolding before me and at the same time focused on capturing it in images of like charm. I have no desire for the act of taking photographs to eclipse the experience, for me they must join in harmony. It is very satisfying to combine the hike with the photography. On my way home, I wonder like a little kid if I will be bringing home any magic. My body feels good and my spirits are high. If I have managed to capture any of my objects of desire, well that is just a little extra helping of life’s grace!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Seeing for the First Time

I’ve spent years studying trees in winter.
I have even taught tree identificationby bud and bark.
But I think I am seeing winter trees for the first time
through understanding eyes.
They take on a life of their own.


Today, one son is in Ventimiglia and the other is on his way to San Francisco. The next few days are a trial run for empty nest. It has always been hard to imagine them both gone, the younger one especially.

Even though I have shared custody of them for 15 years and they have traveled a lot, for some reason, I have decided to test the waters and view this as the beginning of the next phase of my life – on my own for the first time. As I compare notes with other mothers and am in awe that some of their children have barely been away from home for more than one night, I feel good that my sons are not afraid to venture out into life.

And in just a few days or weeks, both sons will be back in or near the nest, my break will be over and I will go back to imagining the next phase of my life. It will be here soon enough. Like always, I have more planned for today than is physically possible, not to keep busy but because there is so much to enjoy.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Memories

I am beginning to feel ready for my next big challenge. Consider this a draft photo for some of the stories that I want to write about my Grandmother Doris. She was a big influence in my life. I realize this even more as I get older. As I write these stories, I will reveal many things including how I came up with the name of my blog – it has an actual story behind it!

Now that Christmas is over, I will spend part of tomorrow getting just the right photo. There are many things I want to express in the photo that will I take of my Grandmother’s teapot. She bought it in India where she lived for a few years back in the early 1950’s. We shared many a fine cup of tea brewed in this old pot and it holds many memories for me.

I realize today after a very quiet Christmas that this holiday for me is a time of memories. Not simply memories of Christmas’ past but of people and times before. It is a good time to begin writing.

Christmas Traditions

Wiskerz likes to eat while he is working on the computer.

What is he eating?

Our great family Christmas breakfast tradition: Mock Sausage Soufflé!

Ahh…….sunning myself in my new pink slippers.

p.s. can you tell I’m bored?

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Today is beautifully captured between the rising and setting of the sun,
a day to reaffirm the warmth and energy it gives me.
I seek focus and the glow of the morning sun seems to crystallize my thoughts for the day and tasks ahead.

There is always a little magic in-between!The night chill that arrives so quickly on the heels of the setting sun, rouses me to draw protective resources around; to hold on to the warmth and glow until we meet again.

Friday, December 23, 2005

sleep is calling

Tonight I think I must feel like these leaves plastered against the chain link fence; no energy of my own, out of control, without life. I have reached that state that I do periodically due to lack of sleep when there is nothing for me to do but sleep. I don’t care if it is Friday night…. sleep is calling…

Fifty Minutes + 9 hours

6:31 a.m.
6:39 a.m.
6:44 a.m.
6:50 a.m.
7:06 a.m.
7:22 a.m.
4:34 p.m.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Hour Before Sunrise - Again

Does the sky really look like this? Yes - intense colors; yet still rather dark. Sometimes there are tiny pockets of intense blue, like daylight sky poking through the sunrise colors. I try to find camera settings that let you see this.

I like seeing the reflection of sunrise on the large glass windows of my son’s high school.

Just like there are regulars on Green Mountain, I am discovering that there are regulars on the soccer field and track: both man and beast. Now I am one of the regulars. But what I witness each morning never becomes routine.

At least that is what my heart tells me!

Garage Shui

Yes, I am the woman leaning out the car window with the camera taking photos of the sunset! Notice, I didn’t hold up traffic; I started moving the very second that the light changed to green. We were on the way home from picking up my son’s new guitar. It had been on order for several weeks and he had lost confidence that it would arrive before Christmas. I kept telling him that I thought that it would and sure enough, Jason of Drum City - Guitarland was able to get the one he wanted. I highly recommend this shop for all of your guitar and drum needs. Jason’s father opened the store in 1965 and it is NOT a chain. They are customer service oriented and they also do a large mail-order/internet business. As their site says, website updated daily. I have found them to be nothing more than completely honest in all of our dealings with them. It turns out the color my son wanted is rare. He is thrilled, I am more broke and now I am going on a diet to help pay for it! That is right, one of the ways I will help pay for it is to buy less food. You don’t expect me to make my tall thin 17-year-old eat less, do you? He has to sell his old guitar, hand over all Christmas gifts of cash, start remembering to turn out the lights when he leaves a room (yeah, right!) and do other chores that I need help with: process the remnants of my fence that still lay strewn in the back yard, clean up the basement so that it is a place worthy of playing his new guitar, AND practicing some of that bike shui* that The Old Bag keeps talking about. Like all good 17-year-old’s, he already thinks I am crazy, so what further harm could it do to tell him I want to perform feng shui on the garage? I simply want all of my ‘junk’ arranged tastefully so that I don’t stumble over it. Does this sound a little too ambitious?

*The ancient practice of placement and arranging your bikes on a garage wall to reflect balance and harmony in your house. Bikes must be placed just so -- according to what was, what is and maybe a place for what could be.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Solstice

I greet this morning with the happy thought that the daylight hours are on the increase. I’ll celebrate that!Thanks to all who helped out with my date/time stamp problem on my photos. It wasn’t an earth-shattering problem but your support was greatly appreciated!
George even fixed those three photos – how much nicer can you be?See, problem fixed!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cabin Fever on Hold

No need for Pat to look like this for the next few days,
stuck inside and depressed

With a forecast like this
We have bigger and better things to do, like my latest study:
Feeling Silly!