January 30, 2009

First Light

Last April while visiting dear friends and family in Pacific Grove, CA and the area, I spent one morning shooting my way around in a circle. It started at my motel door and ended there, but along the way I covered coastline, the Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey and back down into Pacific Grove over the Hwy 68 hill. If you aren't familiar with the region, I hope you will be one day. The area has owned a piece of my heart for so long its probably there on view in some historical museum, along side those of my grandparents. 

Though the image above isn't fancy the light was and continued to be for a couple of hours. Not exactly like this the whole time of course, but it had a special quality. To say it beckoned me sounds fluffy, but each step of the way I seemed to be prompted to "come here, good, now hurry, okay just there on the left" and so on. At one point I was completely lost which of course ended with finding something great, a wonderful little park on the hill. The whole thing was out of my hands. By circles end I knew I had taken some shots that would be personal favorites. It was an exhilarating morning filled with the best medicine; salted sea air, waves, birds, deer, seals along with the sounds of the wharf and marina slowly waking.

Do yourself a favor when time and economy allow, get yourself to the Monterey Peninsula or some where similar. Don't forget your camera or easel.

Paperwhites, OK Narcissus

I love how unruly these guys are. Each grouping exhibited the same "going my own way" behavior. And of course their scents were heavy, convincing me I had entered a spring (mid-winter) time warp at Wright Park Conservatory.

January 29, 2009

Greening Wright


Yesterday's lunch time included another visit to Wright Park Conservatory where all kinds of fresh new flowers were sun bathing. It made for a wonderful bone warming break. Daffodils, paper whites, tulips and a host of other colorful beauties were there, all wrapped around and running through the continuing Dale Chilhuly glass "show". The Chilhuly portion runs through February.  

Some of the hot house staples were making appearances as well. I'm bringing you a bit of their magic today. I never tire of all the shades of natures greens, especially the bright ones. 

If it's cold, icy and white with snow where you are, take heart, something is blooming on the screen today...it may be an indicator of what's on the way.

January 27, 2009

Pretty in Pink

More peeks into the pretty poinsettias from Wright Park conservatory in Tacoma. I know there are only so many of these guys you want to see in a short span of time but I can't help it. 

January 25, 2009

Looking Inward

I'm looking inward today, trying to face my fears for my family and co-workers. Hoping to find a calm center as my place of employment goes through it's second in what is expected to be a series of cutbacks in 09'. The two offices I work for are down to the nub. As of this Friday past we will be looking to see if space exists below the nub.

I have been blessed, especially in the last few years, to work in a mixture of areas for which I have passion. Most jobs are stressful and tedious, but things I come in contact with through my work balance those challenges. Being able to witness and participate in aspects of broadened communication and projects that make the planet healthier are fulfilling beyond measure. And being a witness to the volunteerism that later supports some of  those efforts is humbling. 

As I reach into the shadows for that calming place, I do so with an added feeling of selfishness. Many people across the nation and around the world are in the same pickle. And many of the alternate ideas we might have had in the past to stay standing when the rug is on the slide, aren't viable in a sweeping economic decline. We are, as was so well expressed in the recent Inaugural speech, in this together.

So, as before, I will stay focused on the positives, work on distancing myself from the waves of worry and find my calm through the gratitude I feel for what has been. Oh, and figure out how to use Craig's List. 

The photo above was taken in California in 2004 if I remember correctly. This is a panel about 5 or 6 ft square. It was leaning against a wall under a tree, hence the shadows. Another in a more gray shade resides in a wall that forms a waterfall which cascades down the face. I think I have a shot of that as well, I'll check.

January 24, 2009

January 23, 2009

Twilight

This was a twilight shot taken from the grounds of the State Capitol in Olympia, Washington last fall. I hope your weekend is filled with lovely light.

January 22, 2009

Indigo Kit Kit Jones


I thought I would take a moment to introduce you to my favorite fur friend. Indigo is sixteen and a farm store find from many years ago. We have shared our little place on the hill with a number of dear animal friends. When we arrived here in 76' things around us were far more rural than today. That open space allowed for more freedom for our dogs, cats, chickens and a fierce rooster named Maynard. He is a story for another day. Now we are less rural and down to one cat. She is too old and health troubled to introduce someone new. Plus, she didn't come by that name without a kind of old west gun fighter attitude.

I think the lament went something like..."Indigo Kit Kit Jones, she's fast, she's mean, she's baaad to the bone...Indigo Kit Kit Jones". Why we have been bitten, scratched, attacked and out smarted too many times to count. Lets just say there was an adjustment period. Might have been about five years. I'm pretty sure all compromises made along the way were ours, not hers. None-the-less, in her heyday she was a skilled hunter, a fine gardening partner, surveyor, detective and great playmate. She liked nothing more on a late summer night than to hide in the bushes while I plaintively called her name over and over, worrying all the while that she had found her way to the road and cars. I'm embarrassed to remember how many times it took for me to realize she wasn't wandering, she was waiting. And I suspect, smiling.

These days her pace is hobbled, outdoors means sitting at the open door and breathing deeply, and rarely does she leave my side when I'm home. Through thick and thin. At this moment she is on the desk with cushioned support watching these letters appear on the screen. I try not to take her editing personally. "Say good night Indy".... ouch

January 21, 2009

January 19, 2009

Sea-Change

William Shakespeare poetically wrote of a sea-change. By definition it means; a profound or notable transformation. I have come to believe Barack Obama embodies a much needed sea-change that will benefit America and the world.

I have struggled with how to express my feelings about the inauguration of our 44th President. How to speak of the days importance without placing emphasis on the color of Barack Obama's skin. How to separate that from the world wide feelings of hope and good will he has instilled before ever taking office; the promises he has made that speak to my concerns and heart; and the open armed approach he has taken to creating a unified government in vastly challenging times. Something beyond the phrase, "I never dreamed in my lifetime"' which so many keep repeating, myself included. And yet I can't, in this moment, separate the man from the complexities of his race. 

So I am biased. Biased because of what I remember; two distinct sides of my small rural California community all through the 1950's, the right side and the WRONG side; traveling to TX when I was eleven and hearing racial conversation that had me challenging adults who I loved and receiving swift punishment for it; not even noticing, until we all funneled into Jr. high school, that I had been attending an all white grammar school in a town that wasn't; having relatives insist we be reseated in a restaurant because the family of four seated beside us weren't "like us"; in the 1960's having friends of color in high school who had to sever our friendship due to pressure from their community; getting roughed up on a school bus over the same issue; encountering signs reading "no Negroes allowed"; having friends extracted from their car by the police, thrown around and accused of theft because "this isn't yours, you couldn't afford it"; and on and on. 

Those events, in contrast to the bigger things taking place in those years, sound almost trivial. Heinous acts were committed against Americans of African descent. John Kennedy was alive when I went to my eighth grade Spanish class, then dead as I made my way to PE. There and gone, like my legs when the news came over the loud speaker. That death set the tone for what was to come. As history shows, over the following years "racial unrest" and the Vietnam war drove the news. So many were lost; Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, 58,913 US men & women who served in Vietnam, folks who were peacefully protesting and/or fighting their way out of discrimination hell, and others dying because they believed in peace rather than war. Riots, standoffs, campus shootings, rights lost and rights gained. Issues crisscrossing each other into time lapse knots. As the years passed, some things ended while others ever so slowly changed.

On inauguration day, as President Elect Obama takes his oath of office, this good and wise man carries the support of the nation as he faces a bottomless list of emergencies and pressures. I believe he is the right person for the job at exactly the right time. We aren't setting the wrongs right placing him in office, but it is a another step in the right direction. I'm awfully proud of the United States today and I haven't been for a long while now. Let go of your handle bars America, throw your arms open wide, pedal fast and let the wind take your hair. This is the day of a hands free celebration of hope! The Sea-Change is underway. Safe journey Mr. President!

Now I've been happy lately
Thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be
Something good has begun
I've been smiling lately
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be
Something good's bound to come

For out on the edge of darkness
There runs the peace train
Peace train take this country
Come take me home again

PEACE TRAIN by Cat Stevens

January 17, 2009

Consistency and History

Consistency first. It is something I seem to lack, though...not for lack of trying. In the land of blog I am woefully inconsistent and just want you all to know, I know. My intentions of posting daily through the latter part of December didn't go too far afield. However, like many other folks, once the new year sets in and we return to normal work schedules, work demands tend to increase. And without delving too far into health discussions suffice it to say, I have significant energy limits. Not something I enjoy but I'm very grateful to be able to balance limitations, demands and interests without a clouded spirit. However, when my reserves diminish my posting does as well; once recharged I do better. All this is to say, I apologize if you come to visit and I haven't. Like the Governor of CA said, "I'll be back". 

History second. I think I briefly touched on my interest in family history once before. It is something I've been working on and off with for twenty plus years now. In that time the world (literally) of historical information has become accessible in ways not imagined when a few of my ancestors began making attempts to gather up the fragile bits and pieces of our past. There are so many parts of the research that excite me and many of those were completely unexpected. Special friendships with fellow/fellow-ess researchers around the country have formed. (None more dear than that of my friend Pam in TX.) Conversations with complete strangers have ended with the realization that we are related. Long dormant documents with amazing and pertinent family details surface. And my favorite of all the research aspects are the stories, big and little, that survive through their telling and retelling. 

Unrealistic or not, I love to know about the spirits of those who came before. Tell me last what they did for a living, tell me first who they held dear and why. For me, finding some connection to a nobleman can't come close to my love of unearthing the written down story of a simple farmer, returned from the Revolution. It's the stories I love. Some come from piecing together migrations. Some from cemeteries. Others from backtracking tales twisted by time. All the stories, details, photos and people these elements represent, in one way or another, inform who I am. And what I am is grateful. Grateful to be here, grateful for their lives and grateful for those fragile bits of themselves they left behind. In doing so they are not forgotten.

And who you might be asking is this fellow? He was my great grandfather Roberts. My maternal grandmother used to tell me stories about her dear and kind father, mother and brothers. All were left behind in Indiana and Missouri when she, her husband and children moved on to California in the early 1920's. One of the sweet stories I remember was about granddad Roberts rescuing two tiny fawns after their mother had been caught in the sights of a neighbors rifle. Far too young to survive on their own, he cared for them until they could be released. Whether that was or wasn't a good idea from where we sit now doesn't matter. He simply couldn't let them die.

So imagine my surprise, forty years after her death, to find these photos reflecting grandma's story, grandfather Roberts tender heart and the faces of his dear and well loved fawns. Though in this case the story within me still carried the voice of my grandmother and an imagined idea of what was, these fragments brought the past to life. I believe the more we understand the past, as it relates to family and outside of it, the better able we are to translate that into good or better decision making today and in the future. Plus, I just like a good story.

*These photos have been repaired and enhanced as they had a great deal of damage, so are obviously not exact replicas of the originals.

January 12, 2009

Blogger and I

If you scroll down to the post for 1/3/09 you will find what I intended to show up here. Unfortunately I uploaded the photos on 1/3/09 and it turns out the way I put it together it will only show up down there. No shifting dates it seems. No Problem...see below, but I do apologize. Still learning here. 

January 9, 2009

Morning Shadows

On one of my sunrise romps to that Quaint fishing community of Gig Harbor, mentioned in an earlier post, this photo was taken. I never tire of morning shadows and love catching their variations. Though you can't tell in this small shot, the white long roof of the boat marina is peppered with birds. Wonder what the view looked like from their perch? tgif

January 8, 2009

Oh Those Wonderful Ships

And they just kept coming, those wonderful parading ships. One by one they passed, bedecked in all their finery. The sounds of light wind caught in sails, whipping flags, wood slapping water, bells and the occasional harsh cannon blast, each adding to the magic. Come back to Tacoma Tall Ships! Yo Ho Ho

January 7, 2009

Pinking Up The Gray

Here is a little bit of color for all of us spending extended days and weeks under dark clouds raining snow, raining rain or just hanging about. This color is for those throughout WA who are currently surrounded by rising flood waters. Pinking up the gray is what's going on today.

These Lilies were caught by the camera this summer, in the garden of a local business. So kind of them. And kind of you to stop by. Thanks!

January 6, 2009

Things are Thawing

At our little spot in WA things weather wise are ever changing. Snow is still piled along the road sides and covering untouched fields. The little lake of pics past is now well into thawing. Thawing and melting; always good for those of us who migrate back and forth to work daily. And we are not taking the ability to move about for granted. On the other side of the Cascade range the poor community of Spokane continues to deal with over five feet of accumulated snow. Definitely not their norm. Crazy weather season for all of us. So if this winter is, by any chance, a taste of the global weather changes we can expect from now on...I'm sending off for the outfit shown below. Prior, proper planning and all that. Be safe out there!

The photo: taken at Rainier National Park - one of the exhibits at the new facility at Paradise. Guess that means I can't order it after all.

January 3, 2009

A Reunion and A Starting Place

I returned to my California home town in late September to attend my forty year high school class reunion, something I hadn't considered doing until prodded by a dear friend. She and I have a blessed friendship that has weathered many decades of life, location and perspective changes. So when she called to say, "you have to do this", I did. Plus, two more of my favorite people on the planet, my mothers sisters, still nest there. 

The little town is filled to the brim with old memories, familiar haunts and the essence of my family. Parents and grandparents, all gone long ago. The 40 years between graduation and now I lived elsewhere, a lot of "else wheres" actually, until growing deep roots in WA. On this trip, along with the pleasure of reconnecting with old friends, I decided to reconnect with my place. My starting place. Of course doing that had to include one morning of sunrise adventures. The downtown area was covered while clicking and walking as fast as I could to catch the light. Anyone who saw me must have thought my shoes were on fire. A gazillion photos later, another gazillion memories were ignited. Here is a touch of what I saw.

Above is the roof line of the old county courthouse. Great building and still in use, though not for legal purposes. (Jan 13th correction...the purposes are NOT now illegal, it was converted into business offices. Some times it's better to read one more time before posting.)

That is the front of the auditorium. I will post a photo of it's face a bit later. This big building always seemed odd to me. Huge pillars so close to the front doors you risked running into them when exiting with a crowd. In a flash of memory I was up on the stage inside, age four, crawling around in a lamb suit during a dance recital terrified, then on tip toe with tutu by eight and later singing with other high school choir members as background for a traveling Madame Butterfly. High sopranos singing in Japanese. God. Hurts my ears to think about it. All forgotten events until this visit. 

And last, the memorial water fountain. It sits across the street from the best ice cream ANYWHERE. Honest. Behind those stripped awnings is the Superior Dairy and I can testify to the continued goodness of their products having been part of a recent lunch study. 

And what about the reunion? I had only attended the tenth and swore I would never go to another. I think Aliens or something equally goofy had taken over the town on that visit. Forty years out, new story and I'm really glad I went. We had a good time and it was great to catch up with folks. There seems to be an unspoken bond between those who shared the same kindergarten teacher. It was a trip of fun and surprises but the biggest surprise was re-finding my starting place. A reunion of another sort. Thanks for the kick Jose!
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