Sea Blue Lens


A Lift and a Laugh

Our neighborhood supermarket is all decked out for Christmas. I popped in to pick up a few things after my fitness class this morning and I saw this:

img_1635Prettiest Poinsettia Ever

And then…this!

img_1636Ho, Ho, Ho!

I’ve never seen anything like it and was rather blown away. I wonder whose idea it was, who designed it, and who built it. A special team from the bottling company? A band of elves, perhaps? I’m picturing them standing on each other’s shoulders to reach the top, passing those cases up, up, up. I wish I could have been there to watch!

But I have a hunch that Santa still prefers milk with his cookies. That’s what he’ll find at our house, anyway.


Happy Holidays!

Waterlogue-2014-12-24-20-14-13Winter Berries

Wishing you all the joys of the season, whatever holiday you may celebrate this time of year. For me it’s Christmas. It’s also the relief of knowing the shortest day of the year is past and the light is returning to this half of the world bit by bit, day by day.

For now, the long nights invite nesting, curling up with a good book and a hot drink, tossing another log on the fire. Pausing to take stock of the year soon to end, and making plans for the one soon to come. And at the end of the day, there’s the pleasure of slipping gratefully into bed, aware of and thankful for how blessed I truly am.

I’m grateful for you all, dear friends near and far, for the connections we’ve made and the encouragement we share through this amazing online community. May you find peace, love, and joy, now and in the new year.


Craving Color

Today looks like this — again. And it’s snowing — again.


Now, I think the snow is beautiful, and I’ve been enjoying it. But as you can see, my world is pretty much a black and white one at the moment. It seems it has been so for months.

Yesterday, knowing another storm was coming, I decided to walk to the shopping center that’s just a couple of blocks from the house to stock up on a few essentials. I can’t face a storm without milk and bread and a rotisserie chicken.

And just inside the door, I found this:


Be still, my heart, and breathe deep, my soul. I didn’t need to buy any to bring home (they’d have frozen before I got there, anyway). I just feasted my eyes and filled up the well. It made me very happy.

On the way home, I stopped by a snow mountain piled up by the plows in the parking lot, and snapped a silly selfie. The sky was blue. That made me happy, too.


Then, half a block later, this:


Not much color to speak of, but a tiny message of love right at my feet, from a Universe with a sense of humor. That might have made me happiest of all.

I wish each of you a happy Valentine’s Day, full of love in whatever color and shape you find it.


Holiday Scavenger Hunt: 12.22.13

Hard to believe it’s only three days til Christmas. My holidays are usually small and quiet and I’m feeling ready now. The decorations — not many, but enough — are up. Gifts have been wrapped and placed under the tree or mailed to far-off places. I’ve enjoyed shopping with my daughter, and getting together with friends for a meal or a movie or just a cup of tea and a chat. On Christmas morning presents will be opened in front of the fire, in pajamas, accompanied by carols on the stereo.

Meanwhile, there’s still time for Scavenger Hunt Sunday! This week’s list includes: Lights, Tree, Big, Makes You Feel Merry, and On the Door. Let’s see what we can find.


DSC_3706Lighting Up the Night

It would not be my choice to leave this light on all night, but the other tenants and the landlord like the security it provides. We had more snow Tuesday night, and the warmth of the bulb caused the falling flakes to melt and icicles to form on the cover.


DSC_3746‘Tis the Season 112/365

A friend hung these ornaments on the bare branches of a small tree in her front yard. I loved the unexpected color against the wintery woods on a cold, drippy morning.


DSC_3688Red Door

Big house, big yard, big snow (another 10 inches), big blue sky, big trees and a big shadow.

Makes You Feel Merry

DSC_3743Highways and Byways

Waking up to fresh, fluffy snow and seeing that the squirrels have already plowed their way between the trees and the house made me laugh. The one you see climbing the trunk had just jumped from the roof into the snow, disappearing completely for a second or two before digging his way out and rejoining the main “road.” You can see where he landed and came up again in the foreground of this photo. The interesting thing is that they NEVER jump off the roof onto the bare ground. How do you suppose they know it’s okay to do it into the soft snow?

I love the squirrels and birds and all the wonders and mysteries of nature that surround me wherever I am. They make my heart merry in every season of the year.

On the Door


On the front door is a simple balsam wreath adorned with a red velvet bow. In typical Maine fashion, only the mailman and strangers ever come to the front door. Rather a shame, really, because it’s such an elegant entry.

That’s it for my official scavenger finds, but I’ll leave you with one more that actually incorporates most of the prompts in one image:

IMG_1799Pink Santa 108/365

Lights – check
Tree – check
Big – sigh of relief to have the tree done, check
Makes You Feel Merry – ho, ho, ho! check
On the Door – well . . . Santa won’t have to knock on the door, cuz I have a chimney for him to come down. Check?

Wishing those of you who celebrate Christmas a happy and blessed one, and to all a happy Winter Solstice. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, that’s something to rejoice about!

Come check out this week’s linkup at Ramblings & Photos.


The Last {In the Picture} Show

In The Picture

We’ve come to the end of our year-long self-portrait project, {In the Picture}. I have to say that I’m pretty proud of myself for sticking with it for the entire year. I knew this would be a year of change for me, and I really wanted to document it in some way.

As one who is usually taking the photographs, I’m not often seen in them. It’s been a change to put myself in front of the lens, and even more challenging to learn to look at the results objectively. It has definitely been a growing experience, and one that I’ve enjoyed much more than I expected to.

In addition to learning to see and appreciate myself in new ways, I’ve loved being able to see my fellow photographers on this journey. I love having faces to put with the personalities that I’ve come to know through your photography, art, and writing. I’ve been moved and inspired by the honesty, courage, and creativity with which you have revealed yourselves not just physically but emotionally.

Our optional theme for the month of December was “celebrate.” 

Happy Birthday Girl

Celebrating Myself!

I’m one of those lucky people who have a close-to-Christmas birthday. In honor of the occasion, my sister and brother-in-law took me on a day trip over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house . . . oops, wrong story. Actually, we went to Little India in Cerritos for some delicious Indian food, which I love.

We drove over the Angeles Forest and Angeles Crest highways and the views were amazing. The devastation of the wildfires two years ago is heart-breakingly evident, but the regrowth of vegetation is encouraging. The weather looked frightful but wasn’t, and really added to the drama of the scenery. In reality I’m just holding my camera here, but I like to think my arms are outstretched to embrace all the beauty around me and whatever the next year will bring.

Celebrating Memories

Celebrating Memories Past

Next came Christmas. You knew there had to be birds on my tree, right? One of the things I love about all our family’s Christmas trees is that each ornament brings back the memory of a time, place, person, or event. I have ornaments going back to my kids’ first Christmases.

The goldfinch is from a favorite place in Maine where my daughter and I vacationed several times. The little crystal bird is new this year and stands in for all the new birds I’ve discovered here at my new home. And that tiny angel was a gift from a dear friend and her small son a few years ago.

Celebrating Memories To Come

Celebrating Memories Future

I raise my glass to all of you! I hope you have been able to celebrate whichever holidays you observe at this time of year with love, joy, and hope for tomorrow.  My wish for every one of us is a happy, healthy, creative, and prosperous New Year.

Come to our final linky party and celebrate with us! Once again, many thanks for Christy’s inspirational lead in hosting {In the Picture} all year long. It’s been a rewarding journey.



Home Sweet Home

Everything is new this year, but some traditions go on, like watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. Honestly, I don’t know why I do it, because I don’t even like it that much. But it’s been tradition ever since we got our first television when I was a child.

Back in the day, the parade was broadcast live, so if you lived in the Pacific time zone, you had to get up awfully early to see it. Dad, who worked a graveyard shift, would wake us up when he got home from work at six a.m.  Frankly, I’d rather have stayed in my nice warm bed, but the parade was not optional.

By the time I had my own family, the tradition was well-entrenched, but we had added our own little touches, like drinking eggnog while we sat in front of the TV. Later, after I moved eastward to Ohio and then to Maine, the parade came on at 9:00, a much more acceptable hour. My adult daughter and I would still watch it together in our pajamas (another tradition!) while drinking eggnog.

One year we discovered the National Dog Show on TV following the parade, and that became a new part of our Thanksgiving day ritual, one we enjoy more than the parade itself. This year we’re a continent (and three time-zone hours) apart, but we’re both watching the parade and dog show in our pajamas. She had eggnog. I forgot it. Oh, well.

I have so much to be thankful for this year! A new home, a whole new life. New traditions. I’m grateful for old friends and being able to keep in touch, and for my online friends who have moved right along with me and are just as close no matter where I live.

This morning, I lit candles on my hearth and watched the Macy’s Parade while talking to my daughter on the phone. I’m looking forward to sharing a feast with my sister and her husband and their closest friends later today. Life is good and I am blessed.

I hope today is a good one for all of you, my friends. Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Halloween!

The Chosen One

We stopped at the annual pumpkin festival at Lombardi Ranch in Santa Clarita on Saturday. This was my favorite “found” image of the day.

I wish you all a happy day and at least a bit of whatever treat pleases you most!

PS – It’s hard to think of frivolous holiday-making when so many people have been impacted by hurricane Sandy’s devastation. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who were affected.


For the Birds

Chuck and Kirk

We had the most amazing, gorgeous New Year’s Day here in Southern Maine. An azure sky with a few wispy clouds, golden sunshine, a mild breeze, and a temperature in the mid-forties. And . . . I got a new 55-200mm zoom lens for Christmas! What’s a photographer to do? Go on a photo walk with a couple of friends, of course.

We checked out the Audubon Sanctuary at Biddeford Pool, then we headed down here:

Nubble Light

What we were looking for was this, which was just out of the frame on the left of the image above:

Snowy Owl

. . . a Snowy Owl that had been reported on local bird forums as having been sighted hanging around the lighthouse. I’m quite pleased with this photo, which was cropped from an image taken with my new 55-200mm lens, hand held, from a distance of a hundred yards or so.

Anyway, that’s when the guys got out the “big guns.” Can you tell they are serious about this?

Getting Real

There was quite a little crowd coming and going, thanks in equal measure to the beautiful weather and the rumored owl sighting. People seemed equally fascinated by the camera gear and the Snowy. My companions were generous with offering close-up looks through their lenses, and sharing their knowledge of birds and photography with anyone who had questions.

Local Color


Me? I was standing back watching the action, playing with my own new lens, photographing birds so far away I could barely see them, taking pictures of the scenery and the people, listening to conversations and having a few of my own, wearing a huge happy grin at the wonder of it all.


Lighter than Air

It’s hard to think of a better way to start a new year.