Sea Blue Lens


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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.


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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.

Lights

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.

Tree

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.

Big

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

DSC_3734Simplicity

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.


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Observing the Natives

I don’t usually decorate for Christmas until about a week before the big day, but for some reason, I’m getting the urge early this year. It’s probably part of the nesting that’s going on here in my new home.

Anyway, yesterday I hung a wreath on the inside of my kitchen door and then left the room. Two minutes later (no exaggeration) I heard noises and went to investigate. This is what I saw:DSC_3469DSC_3470DSC_3473

Really?

Keep in mind that this wreath is: a) INSIDE the house, b) behind a dual-pane glass door AND a screen door, and c) is FAKE.

I was truly amazed that the squirrels could see it well enough to think that it looked like a food source. Oh, well. Onward, troops!

The direct frontal assault not yielding profitable results, they decided to try a subtler approach.

DSC_3475

The door handle.

DSC_3476

Well, that didn’t work either. Now she’s getting frustrated. Forget subtlety!

DSC_3477-2

Sorry about the motion blur, folks, but that’s not me. That’s Ms. Squirrel jumping up and down on the door handle.

Man, I’m glad I locked that door.

To give them credit, they are not stupid. After repeated attempts by several individuals over the next hour or so, they realized that persistence was futile, and gave it up. Today they are going about their usual business, without giving that tasty looking but unattainable thing another glance.

Here’s my favorite image, the one that made it as my 365 photo of the day. This guy didn’t even blink as I walked right up to the door and took his photograph.

DSC_3479The Creatures Are Stirring 96/365

I do love my squirrelly neighbors!


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Memories, Dreams, & Reflections: 2012

A friend inspired me to take on Ashley Sisk’s Memories, Dreams and Reflections 2012. It’s like a Super Scavenger Hunt Sunday, with 25 prompts to fulfill using photos from the whole year. You’d think it would be easy, having so much to choose from, but actually that’s the problem…there’s so much to choose from! But I thought it might be fun, and a good opportunity to review my year in photos, so here goes.

1. Me!

{In the Picture}

{In the Picture}

One thing I’m proud of accomplishing in 2012 is the {In the Picture} self-portrait challenge hosted by Christy at Urban Muser. I’ve taken a self-portrait (or several) and posted at least one on my blog every month all year. Here is one from each month . . . mostly outtakes that didn’t get published.

2. I Love You

My Favorite Couple

My Favorite Couple

This is my Dear Darling Daughter and El Boyfriendo (hers, not mine). I’m not sure who took the photo — a friend of theirs, I think — I “borrowed” it from her Facebook page because I love it (and them) so much. It’s a great shot of two of my favorite people at one of my favorite places.

3. Still Laughing…

Hangin' Out

Just Hangin’

Can you see our visitor, the little guy with the skinny neck and really long nose, there in the center of the frame? One afternoon my sister and I were looking out her kitchen window when we saw our resident roadrunner dashing along the driveway. To our surprise, he ran into the gazebo and flew up onto the railing. He sat there for several minutes, turning his head this way and that, surveying the property like the Lord of All. Finally he jumped down and disappeared into the brush . . . probably off to grab some grub. We still laugh about how odd he looked there. He is such a funny and fascinating creature and I absolutely love it that he graces us with his presence.

4. Winter Wonderland

Sea Smoke

Sea Smoke

I suppose it’s not called sea smoke if it’s on a river. But anyway . . . this was from last winter, taken behind my apartment building in Maine. It was a very cold morning, mist rising from the water and the trees white with frost. As the rising sun hit them, every twig glittered.

5. Birthday

Another Year Older and Who Cares?

Another Year Older — So What’s Next?

For my birthday, my sister and brother-in-law took me all the way to Little India in Cerritos so I could have Indian food, which I love, for my birthday dinner. We took the scenic route over the Angeles Forest and Angeles Crest highways. It was a beautiful drive, requiring several stops along the way to take photos. A fun and memorable day!

6. Friends

Painting Pals

Painting Pals

I became friends with these beautiful women over a decade ago, shortly after I moved to Maine. We met through our local adult ed program when Carol, Sue, and I took a series of watercolor painting classes taught by Judith (on the right). During the summer, when there was no class, some of us would get together once a week at Sue’s house to paint. Before I moved away in May, Carol and Sue invited me to lunch and surprised me by having Judith come too. I asked our server to snap this shot of the four of us with my iPhone. I miss these talented and very sweet friends.

7. I Was Inspired…

Me, Myself, and iPhone

Me, Myself, and iPhone

Meeting my friend Susan for a photoshoot after work one day, I discovered I’d brought my camera bag but not the camera! I was very disappointed, but then I was inspired to try my iPhone camera. I hadn’t used it before except for a few snapshots, and I didn’t have high expectations. Much to my surprise, I loved the resulting photos and it turned out to be one of my favorite shoots ever. (I blogged about it here.) Of course, the wonderful company didn’t hurt, either.

8. Spring Fever

Spring Faces

Spring Has Sprung

You know it’s spring when the daffodils are up in Laurel Hill Cemetery. They sweep down the hillside to the river and people come from all over the area to see the spectacle every year. This image is from another photoshoot with Susan. It was great to be able to share the experience and the photo op with a friend.

9. Travel or Vacation

Bye Bye, Ocean

Bye Bye, East Coast

My last glimpse of the Atlantic, as I flew to my new home in California. This is New York, where I changed planes. I saw nothing of Maine as I left — we were in clouds as soon as we left the ground. It’s probably just as well.

10. Summer Days

California Girl

California Girl

August at the beach in Ventura. Need I say more?

11. A Day In My Life

Where I "Work"

Where I “Work”

Even though I’m retired now, I still spend quite a bit of time at a desk. The difference is that it’s MY desk, and I can get up and walk away from it whenever I want! This is where I process photos, write this riveting blog, peruse Facebook, and watch birds through the window. In case you’re wondering, I think retirement is awesome!

12. All Smiles

Beaky Smiles

Bird Smiles

Do birds smile? No, but they and their antics make me “all smiles.” They are always entertaining and can make me forget any problem. These are only a few of the many species I’ve photographed right here in our yard.

13. Autumn Harvest

All You Can Eat

All You Can Eat

This is just a sampling of the bounty to be found at Sanchez’s roadside produce stand. Some of it is grown in fields and gardens right behind the stand, and most of the rest is locally sourced. Sanchez’s and our local farmers’ market is where we bought our fruits and veggies all summer and fall.

14. Family or Home

Moving In

Moving In

This is my home. I know, it doesn’t look like much here. (Trust me, it’s improved since this picture was taken.) I have moved many times over the course of my life, and some of the contents of these boxes have been with me every step of the way. I’m pretty good at packing and unpacking my life. Each new house or apartment is a new beginning, and I love turning it into a comfortable home.

15. Celebrate!

Aunt and Uncle Sam

Aunt and Uncle Sam?

2012 marked the 50th anniversary of Acton’s annual Fourth of July parade. The parade is a big deal. People start parking their RVs and setting up tent shade shelters along the parade route days in advance. There’s much hilarity as some parade watchers blast floats with water guns, and riders on the floats return fire . . . uh, water. Even the fire truck that opens and closes the parade gets into the act and by the time it’s over, anyone who wants to be is thoroughly drenched. Remarkably, those who don’t wish to be sprayed are respected and stay dry. It was a great time of celebration and good-hearted laughter.

16. Let’s Do It Again…

Friends Through a Lens

Friends Through a Lens

In the fall of 2011, I met in person a fellow photographer and blogger, Susan (Happy No Ears). We’d connected with through Kat Sloma’s Find Your Eye classes and discovered we lived only a few miles apart. Our growing friendship was one of the joys of 2012. We went on several photography outings together, always followed by something delicious to rejuvenate ourselves with. I really miss her and look forward to getting together again when I visit Maine. (She’ll probably want to kill me for posting some of these, but I think I’m safely out of reach!)

17. I Miss You

Dawn

Sunrise at My Beach

Maine! I miss everything about it, except maybe the long winters . . . and long winter nights. But I especially miss being only ten minutes from a beautiful beach, where I could go on the spur of the moment and walk in near-solitude even on summer evenings. I miss friends and loved ones left behind. But don’t worry: I’ll be back! I’m already planning my next visit.

18. Beautiful

Sharing a Cup

Sharing a Cup

These are my daughter’s beautiful hands. We still have tea together now and then — we just do it by phone.

19. Dress Up

No Place To Go

No Place To Go

This is about as dressed up as I get these days. Please note the lovely polish on my toenails. I think that’s a nice, dressy touch. It even matches my fancy, flowered tee-shirt!

20. Macro

After the Rain

After Rain

These are berries of Juniperus Californica, the beautiful native California juniper. There are several large specimens of this tree on our property. I woke one morning to find it had rained overnight, and water was dripping from everything. I took my camera out and took nearly 200 shots of  various weed-and-water effects. This was one of my favorites.

21. Holidays

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree

I really enjoyed dressing my new little cottage for the holidays. This is the first time in a dozen years that I’ve decorated a Christmas tree.

22. My Favorite

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

One of my favorite memories of 2012 is from New Year’s Day, when I went on a photoshoot with my son-un-law and a birding friend of his. The weather was surprisingly warm and beautiful for a winter’s day in Maine, and I’d gotten a new lens for Christmas. We went to Nubble Light in search of a snowy owl that had been reported in the area. As you can see, we found it, as did a small crowd of other folks on the same quest. The warmth of that day of sunshine, nature’s beauty, and casual fellowship have lingered in my memory all year long.

23. Don’t Ever Change

Picture of Contentment

Picture of Contentment

I’ve been a reader all my life. I’m grateful for the pleasure, companionship, consolation, inspiration, adventure, tears, laughter . . . you name it . . . that I’ve gotten from books. They are always there when wanted or needed, asking nothing in return. I can’t see my love for them ever changing, nor would I want it to.

24. Just Because…So There!

Summer's End

Tattered

I don’t know why, I just like it.

25. Hopes and Dreams

Charisma

Charisma

I hope to bloom like this beautiful rose as I continue to explore my new life and environment. I also dream of having this beautiful rose bloom again in my garden . . . and not be eaten by bunnies the very next day!

And that’s a wrap.  Now it’s time to put 2012 in the archives and look ahead to a new year full of possibility. I’m joining the linkup over at Ramblings and Photos and looking forward to seeing everyone’s reviews of 2012.

 


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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.


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Happy Holidays!

Finally! Christmas snow . . . .

Winter Blues

Okay, I admit it, I pulled this from my archives. We did get a snow shower earlier this week, but it only lasted a short while before changing over to rain. I’m not really complaining. Snow is pretty, but I prefer precipitation that doesn’t need to be shoveled off the driveway.

I’ll be spending Christmas Day with my daughter and her significant other and their feathered and furred family.  They live in a very old house with a real, working fireplace, which is my idea of heaven. There will be presents under the tree to be opened in our pajamas, and stockings full of goodies, because we are all still just big kids on Christmas.

There will be good food, and probably a nap in front of the fire. There will be hugs and laughter, and phone conversations with loved ones who live far away. And there will be reminiscences about Christmasses past and other loved ones who are no longer with us. More laughter, and maybe a secret tear or two.

I’m grateful for all of you, my new friends and fellow members of this remarkable blogging community. Wherever you are, whether you celebrate Christmas or Chanukah or some other holiday as the seasons turn, I wish you peace, health, and happiness now and in the New Year to come.

God bless us, every one.

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