Friday, May 29, 2015


Trees.  I've noticed that the last several years I have taken more photos of them than ever.

I have a series I did while visiting North Carolina.  I love the series.

I have photos of trees from Sacramento Delta (see right), from car windows buzzing along California highways (see below), trees in my neighborhood, trees looking up from my hammock, trees along the agricultural fields in our region.

Photographing trees has been elusive for me.  I try a lot of different shots.  The tree photo I posted two days ago has received rave reviews and while I am happy that people are responding so positively, I have no idea why some pictures grab people and others don't.  The tree photo on the right is one that I love.  It's haunting.  It has never received a response, however.  Go figure.

This photo (left) was shot from the car at 55 mph.  I received positive input.  I think it is haunting as well.  It's taken with my iPhone for crying out loud.  (The best camera is the one you have with you.)

In the midst of our record drought, some farmers are bulldozing entire orchards, while others are planting new almonds and citrus.  Really?  Now?  Seriously?  An enormous new orchard went in quite near us.  It seems insane.  Do they know something the rest of us don't? Maybe, just maybe, they are stupid and reckless.

Here I am last year on the bottom of Folsom Lake             

Last year we went to photograph Folsom Lake, which is a major source of water and recreation in our area.  It was a flippin' moon scape.  That was before news of the drought was a blip on anyone's radar (at least the media didn't cover it nor the state government make a big deal out of it.) 

I worry about our trees.  I think of Lebanon and how it used to be a green forest.  Of course, countless civilizations harvested the prized Cedar.  Did you know that in In 1998, the Cedars of God (remaining forest on Mt. Lebanon) were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites?

Hang in there, Trees of California.  I'm rooting for ya.  And a special tip o' my hat to my giant Cedar in the front yard.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday Musings (Memorial Day)

S and I went to Cuba with the extraordinarily talented Peter Turnley, who has photographed countless conflicts across the globe.  He has been through the fires to document the human condition and the collateral damage of war.  I think it is fitting on this day to share his Facebook post.
On this day of memory, Memorial Day, I wish to remember and honor our human family, and every human being on this earth that had less good fortune than myself. I would like this day to be one where we remember not only those that have served and suffered in war, and my heart does go out to anyone that has had to be one way or the other impacted by the cruelty of war, but to also remember that a world that is truly one to be proud of, is one where every child has access to healthcare, education, and equal opportunity for a creative productive life. I'd like to remember that a world to be proud of is not one that offers opportunity to only a few that have the material power to afford opportunity, but a world where the human rights of all are our first priority-that the basis for examining what is truly a rich civilization is not one where a small percentage of people can boast of a good life, but rather a world where one could wake up knowing that it is a world where we all care as much about our weakest and least fortunate members of our society, as much as our most wealthy and powerful. I would like to remember that the most beautiful and rich aspect of our world is its' glorious diversity, and it is within the embrace of this beautiful diversity that all hope for reaching our collective potential exists.
© Peter Turnley, Somalia, 1992.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Musings

When I was younger and meeting new people, if I went to their home I would sneak peeks at their bookshelves in order to ascertain who they were on a deep level.  Every lover of literature does this, right?

I am staying with my mom while dad is away at his 65th High School reunion. I share the bed with her so I may help her up for middle of the night bathroom runs. ( bad choice of words ).  While waiting on her the other night, my eyes fell upon a small section of the built in bookshelves in their bedroom. No surpises here: George Bush (father and son), Maggie Thatcher, Don Rumsfeld, Ronald Regan, and Goddess Forbid, Bill O'Reilly.  Dad is a student of history, for sure.  Some would say fictionalized history.

If you took a look at my bookshelves, you would find Barack Obama, Sonia Sotomayor, Joan Baez, Malcolm X, and numerous volumes by and about Buddhist teachers.

What dad and I have in common is books on visual arts and artists. I like that we share a love of the arts -- both visual and musical.  His love of both were strong influences in my young life. Scarlatti, Beethoven, and Broadway were the musical backdrop of life.  Shakespeare was not new to me in High School. I had read War and Peace before sophomore English.  One car washing session in our driveway had me reciting "the Walrus and the Carpenter" because I was trying to memorize long poems.  For the fun of it.

So, I'll cut him some slack now on the personally objectionable books on his shelves.  This is pretty emblematic of our current adult relationship. We choose to focus on the passions that bring us together. Life is just better that way.

Mom has her 80th birthday this week. Sixty years married. Her skin is as smooth and wrinkle free as mine.  She still loves to read. She holds her political cards close to her vest. She kept our family together and moving forward. She was careful with money which allowed them to amass a comfortable retirement -- impressive for self employed people.

One more week of staying with her while Dad is gone.  We have a very capable helper who comes in during the day.  This is a new development - since I went to Cuba.  It makes my workload so much lighter and I am grateful.  It's also had a positive affect on Dad -- he seems more cheery, lighter, less burdened.  Rachel keeps things humming along and I get to come back to my own home and see my husband for a few hours.  Make sure he hasn't burned the place down.  Hehe.

I told mom if she does her exercise today, she'll get a martini before dinner.  Of course I'll never stick to my guns, but maybe she thinks I will and she'll put in the effort. 

Friday, May 8, 2015


I know we all have those weeks (months, years) where there is just too damn much going on.  Such has been my week. Grumble grumble.

When feeling overwhelmed, I go back to the happy times in Havana.  If life could be a party like that most of the time....Music, dancing and Mojitos.

Vacation is much removed from every day life.  I can enjoy the places, people and food of Cuba because I am out of the space-time continuum.  I do not live there and do not endure under a communist government that in many ways sucks the very life out of the people.

Reading the book "Let the Bastards Go" about the boat lifts from Cuba in the 1980's gives me a very different perspective on the island nation.

The consequences of asking to leave are loss of all property, employment, ration cards. Requests subject one and one's family to the terror of "repudiation committees," otherwise known as mobs.  Mobs beat, bully, tar and feather, and sometimes in their zeal, kill.  Grade school teachers encourage young children to terrorize a classmate whose family has asked to emigrate.

This mob action is, I believe, more for the benefit of the general population as a caution: don't ever asked to leave or else.  You know what we do to people who ask. 

Spending time in Cuba and meeting wonderful, kindhearted people, does not jibe with what I am reading.  Still, these accounts by emigres are too similar and frequent to be ignored.  Had I know this information before our trip, I may have chanced to ask one of our Cuba guides about this.  But maybe not.

In any case, I am here and feeling weary.  They are there and feeling weary.  Let's hope for a better tomorrow for us all.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday Musings

This, boys and girls, is how I spent my Sunday afternoon.

When you need a break, a rest, reprieve, a bit of nature, there is nothing quite like a hammock under a cedar tree on a temperate afternoon.  My husband sneaked this photo of me from our bedroom window.

The petite doggy was with me.  We dozed, we breathed in the sweet air.  We listened to the neighbors working on a project in their front yard, to people walking by with baby strollers.  We were hidden in our nest, but aware of the goings on around us.  PD would growl in her low voice until I placed a hand on her back to calm her.  She's a ferocious protector.

We slumbered thus until a low blood sugar episode drove me indoors in search of SUGAR.  Damned diabetes.   Stop raining on my parade.

Yellow Cottage, Part 2

I have a dear friend who I met in my Creative Writing class my freshman year in college.  I sent the poem to her for her comments and edits ...