Thursday, January 30, 2014


Yesterday, my first full day here in Phoenix was a real treat.  A brand new Mormon Temple is currently open to the public before it's dedication in March and the friends that I am visiting here in Arizona were able to obtain tickets for the tour.  Oh my, what a beautiful building to behold.  There were no pictures allowed inside, so dang-it I can't show you the stunning details from those inner walls, but trust me, it was a sight.  Marble floors imported from Jerusalem, inlaid tile work, stain glass windows, art pieces, a baptismal font supported by 12 life sized oxen representing the 12 tribes of Israel, Swarovski crystal chandeliers that dazzled like diamonds, brocade covered after room of impressive beauty.  We were allowed to photograph the outside, which is indeed a beautiful building, but the inside revealed it's true beauty.   

While standing in line to enter the building I spotted another sweet hummingbird...

And the evening treated us to a stunning sunset.

Today a walk around the neighborhood revealed...

A sweet little House Finch perched on a cactus singing her heart out...

An interesting Saguaro cactus...

Poppies planted beside a mailbox.....sigh!!

Then this afternoon we were off to the movies to see "Blue Jasmine" with Cate Blanchett. Stunning performance, I can certainly see why she has been nominated for an Academy Award and once again another interesting movie from Woody Allen.  He sure packed an emotional whollop into this one.

Tomorrow another great day is planned, meeting up with my photography & blogging gal pals Terri, Barb H and Barb B what fun we will have.

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count.  It's the life in your years."                            ~ Abraham Lincoln  

Until next time....

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I packed yesterday,  I set my alarm to get up early this morning, I waited for the limo driver to pick me up at 6:15 AM, I arrived at the airport, I checked my bags, I walked to the gate and held my breath.  And just about an hour before our scheduled take-off time our plane taxied up to the loading dock or whatever they call those things that you walk thru to board your flight and only then did I breathe a sigh of relief.  The plane took off without a hitch, on time, and uneventful.  (ie: uneventful means it was a perfect flight with no problems).

I went from this at -9 degrees this morning.....

to this -- about 75 degrees in just under 3 hours and 50 minutes....(the fella sitting behind me was using the flight tracker on his smart phone and said that was Roosevelt Damn just below the airplane wing.

I sat on the patio and spotted this....

 and this

and this....the Cactus Wren, the state bird of Arizona so I must be here after all.

Man am I glad to get out of that wretched winter we have been experiencing and soak up some sunshine, 10 glorious days.....thank you God.

"Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope-  a slight change, and all patterns alter." ~ Sharon Salzberg

Until next time.....

Monday, January 27, 2014

I'm Seeing Red in f1.4....

Do you see that lovely cardinal above, flying freely to dine throughout neighborhoods.  Flying whatever the weather dictates.  Unfortunately I am afraid that my flying freely to Arizona might not happen tomorrow due to our absolutely dreadful winter we have been experiencing.  Flights have been cancelled due to the frigid temps and high winds with the prediction even worse for tomorrow. Very sad face inserted here.   I have been doing the happy dance for the past several days knowing that I was leaving to enjoy sunshine and warmth for 10 days, only to be reminded that Mother Nature sometimes has the upper hand in determining when those getaways can occur.  Insert same unhappy face.

Hmm, oh well.  There is just no controlling Mother Nature and life does continue.  I will pack my bags today, laying out short sleeves, capris and sandals in anticipation of that warmth to come whether it's tomorrow or the next day or....oh please not any longer than that.

OK, switching subjects....please, this week's assignment in our 50mm class is to shoot wide open with our lens.  Now wide open means using the smallest number that you can get in adjusting your aperature.  That has always confused me....I think wide open should mean the highest number, but somewhere in the brilliant minds of those that determined what "wide open" meant decided low number (must have been a man).  And to make it even more confusing (to me anyway) I have 2 50mm lenses.  One I purchased with the very first class I took which has a "wide open" aperature of f/1.8, then later I purchased another 50mm, this one with an aperature of f/1.4.  Now anyone that has any knowledge of math or cooking knows that 1/8th is smaller than 1/4th right.  Not so in camera talk, because 4 is a lower number than 8, so thus it has a more "wide open" aperature. So now that I have ranted about "wide open" what it really means is that when you use the lowest number and focus on an object, the object should be in focus while the surroundings should be out of focus.

These was taken in my living room which has abundant light since it faces south.  And you can see the flowers that are in-focus and the vase (ball jar) really out of focus.

And another one... sure glad I stopped at Trader Joe's yesterday to pick up this little bundle of beauties.

Another advantage of a wide aperature (f1.4) is that you can take fairly good images in extremely low light.  This is in my family room which tends to be dark, it faces north and the drapes were even closed (because of the damn cold) and I still managed to get a decent shot.  Not the best, but it does prove that the trusty nifty fifty has quite a talent and deserves to be in your lens collection.

And I saved the best for little Cinder.  She was basking in the sunlight on the living room floor and looked up as if she was giving me her best side.  (just like a woman)

And is probably my biggest challenge to photograph...I do believe I might have mentioned this before.  It tends to get, what I refer to as hot spots or blown out places, but using a lower exposure and editing in lightroom helps me with that challenge.

As I was typing this I did hear a plane fly overhead...hmm!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Let's Party....

Oh I almost forgot about the party....the party that is over at 2 Bags Full.  Vicki has hosted a Grow Your Blog Party for the last two years.  I was too late last year, but definitely wanted to party with her this year.


I came to photography and blogging late in my life, it became a salvation for me when my husband's dementia became the center of my life.  I needed a creative distraction from the every-day plight of being his sole caretaker and I found a way to incorporate him into this new found love of photography.  He was by my side as I began to explore my everyday surroundings thru the eyes of the camera.  I even purchased a laptop computer so as I edited my photos I could also be by his side.

I have found thru photography a new way of thinking, a new way of seeing the world thru the eye of a lens.  Since I began this journey almost 5 years ago, I have discovered a renewed love of nature, the landscape, the innocence of children, architecture, the seasons, the aging and life itself.

Here are just a few of the many that I have collected thru out these last 5 years.  I have seen my photography change and grow, constantly learning new insights.  My husband is no longer at home with me, leaving me more time for this process and eventho in reality Alzheimer's is a devastating disease, perhaps my love of photography may have never been discovered without it.

"It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera...they are made with the eye, heart and head."  ~  Henri Cartier-Bresson

Until next time....

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Texture Tuesday, The January 21, 2014 Edition

My granddaughter gave me a 2014 desk calendar and on each day of the year there is a quote or a thought for women.  I found this one to be particularly insightful for myself....

Habits are like ruts:
The more we practice them, the deeper they get.
The deeper they get, the harder they are to crawl out of.
The harder they are to crawl out of, the less freedom we have to make choices.
The less freedom we have to make choices, the more difficult and unpleasant our lives become.
Beware of forming ruts.

I have ruts that need smoothing.

Went to the movies today with my gal pals to see "Her" with Joaquin Phoenix, his performance alone is a reason to see this movie.  I know many of the ladies did not care for the movie, but I personally thought it was truly thought-provoking that the human race would come to the point of having a highly advanced computer program (the I-Phone of the future) designed to be so human-like that you actually fell in love with nothing but a voice.

Linking to Kim's Texture Tuesday today with images of the last of the ranunculus, using two of her textures, kk_Isobel on the first image, and kk_daisy on the 2nd...and with my trusty 50mm.  

Until next time....

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Get Me Outta Here

It is amazing how a simple bouquet of flowers from the grocery store can brighten our days. When I brought these beauties home all of the lilies were tight little buds, but this one broke free's almost like she is saying, get my outta here.  And that is exactly the way I have been feeling lately....get me outta here.  It snowed again yesterday and today is bright and sunny but mighty windy creating little mini vortexes in the snow. (def...a whirling mass of water, especially one in which a force of suction operates, a whirlpool).  Ever once in awhile I like to use words that make me appear smart. did it?

I need to adopt a more optimistic attitude, because my attitude lately has been like a vortex, swirling in the "what is wrong with me" whirlpool.  I just read that optimism is the yeast in the bread of life. With it we rise, without it our spirits fall flat.  I am hoping 10 days in sunny Arizona will brighten my spirits, but I fear once I get out there I might not want to return to this weather.  Today it is supposed to reach a high of 30, then we won't see that again until who knows when, teens and single digits for the rest of the week.....heavy sigh.

Honestly I think what has me down is that this week (the 25th) marks our wedding anniversary of 50 years.  If life was normal, a party or a special trip would commemorate the day, but sadly life circumstances prevents that from occurring.  I am blessed that a small group of my girlfriends are taking me to a lovely place for lunch this week in honor of the day.  So yes, I am feeling sorry for myself, thinking of the what if's and that 50 years together deserves more than a trip to the nursing home and the man I love looking at me with no memories of those years.

Enough wallowing, good news, I have found someone who is staying at my home with my kids while I am away.  She came yesterday for a meet and greet and the kids instantly took a likin' to her, so I think all will be well while I am away.

And PS....still using my 50mm lens.

"A light heart lives long" ~ An Irish Proverb

Until next time.....

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I'm Done

Yeah, my Christmas tree is down with all the ornaments packed away, even the tree is bundled in a zip-up container.  Dropped by Trader Joe's yesterday and picked up a couple of wine boxes with their dividers still intact....voila my ornament containers. Worked perfectly.  

I pluck the dried hydrangeas from my bushes to adorn the Christmas tree, and when Christmas is over I have a huge pile of hydrangeas that are so dry to the touch they break apart instantly.  I never like throwing these away, they have given beauty since they begin their blooms in mid summer and add their continuing beauty all thru the holidays.

Tonight is bookclub, wondering how all liked our book, The Husband's Secret?  It certainly held my interest.  I have started reading Kate Atkinson's Life After Life and was a bit confused for the first few chapters.  I had downloaded the book on my Kindle when it first came out several months ago and forgot about it until I strolled thru and spied it, so I had forgotten the premise of the book.  That's what happens when you download, you don't get that book flap to give you a little start-up as to what the book is all about.  Now that I am in tune as to the gist of the book I am enjoying it, but I will admit a little confusion at the start.  Reading anything good?  I am always up for a good read.  That is on my 14 in more.

Gotta go, still a little straightening remaining and my grandgirl is joining me for dinner and bookclub.  I think it's a hoot that Bailey comes to my old ladies (oops I shouldn't say that) book group, but definitely in a different age bracket than my Bailey.

Joining Kim at....
Little by Little

"Books are like imprisoned souls till someone takes them down from a shelf and frees them."  ~  Samual Butler

Until next time....

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Gifts of Today

What would we do without our grocery store flowers in the midst of the dreary, cold, no color days. Just looking at this pop of color brightens my thoughts and enhances the spot where they sit.  A trip to Trader Joe's wouldn't be complete without flowers.

Went to my Wednesday morning Bible study today where we began Beth Moore's study of James. She presented a very thought-provoking premise that James was the actual brother as in "family" of Jesus Christ. Being a member of the Catholic Church since I was in my early 20's we have always believed that Jesus had no other siblings, and that "brother" referred to his disciples, his followers, his cousins, but not a true brother as in sibling.  I mean after all, doesn't Paul write his letters and always address them to "my brothers and sisters in Christ?  Doesn't the minister, or preacher, or priest address his congregation as brothers & sisters?  In our group collaborative blog we refer to ourselves as "life sisters", so the word brother and sister has many implications.  I am twisting this thought around and around in my mind.  And another thought that has me puzzled is in reading the book of James, which is very brief, there is never a reference anywhere to Jesus Christ.  So, right now, I am mystified as to their relationship.  And may remain that way this entire study.  But that is what Bible study is all about, to make us think, to make us ponder and sometimes question and certainly to grow in our own spirituality.

Afterward I met my "writing teacher" for lunch at the arboretum.  Sharon and I became friends after I took her class at our local college, "Writing With Spice" last winter and then followed it with a 2nd class this past fall.  It's always a pleasure to be in her company and while I was telling her about my current Bible study she talked about the bible study that she is enjoying.  Sharon is Jewish so it's always interesting to talk a little "religion" while we are together.  Currently she is in the midst of a study on the book of Jonah with the instructor being an expert in the translations surrounding the book of Jonah.  They are quite literally inching thru this book, and asked me to join her one day.  I would enjoy that.  A different perspective, a different mindset.

I mentioned earlier in the week that our assignment in our 50 mm class is "street photography"  Street photography is an art photography that features the human condition within public places and does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. According to Wikipedia 
Others say it is taking pictures of people in public places without their knowledge.  I am finding that a difficult concept this week since 1) it is so dang cold resulting in not many people wandering around in public places and 2) if I am going to snap someone's picture without their knowledge I feel more comfortable using a zoom lens so I am not right on top of them (too obvious).  So, I have done "street photography" Wikipedia's definition twice.  Once in Trader Joe's, I approached an elderly woman that had a delightful face and explained to her what I was doing....she most graciously gave me permission to take her photo, and said I made her day, then proceeded to tell me she did not want to be posted on my blog.  So I have to respect that....dang it.

And the 2nd time at the Arboretum's restaurant. Again I explained to the man (see below) what I was doing, this time didn't mention my blog, so he didn't have a chance to say no posting (oh was that wrong??) so here is my "street photography".

I am now down to less than 2 weeks before leaving for Arizona for some sun and warmth, and I have found someone to stay with my "kids" while I am gone....yippee!!

"Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons".  ~ Ruth Ann Schabacker

Until next time.....

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Beginning With Texture Tuesday

Each month over at my collaborative blog Focusing On Life where I contribute twice a month, we choose a "word" or "theme of the month."  I always start the year and this year my choice was "Beginnings".  In my thought process I imagined that this would be the perfect word for the brand spankin' New Year.  Let's not do resolutions, because you know we all seem to fail miserably at those, but beginnings was a kinda of guilt-free way to think about what kind of new beginnings would I like to do during the year.

Well, I definitely have not been the poster child for "beginnings" as now it is the 14th day into this new year and my Christmas tree, is still fully dressed and still standing proudly, lighting every evening by 4:30.  By this time, and usually by the 1st week of January all the Christmas beauties have been tucked neatly into their bins and put away for another year.  I have been draggin' my feet all year, literally.

About the only new beginning I have done for this year, is make the decision to let my hair grow longer and I started a new book.  Now both of those are truly momentous....wrong.  I will admit to having most every other Christmas pretty packed into boxes, it's just the tree that is still standing. My only excuse is I needed a new ornament box for storage and I dragged my feet about getting to the stores, now they are all sold out.  That procrastination pattern took over again, and now I am stuck with figuring out how to store those beauties.

Oh yawn, this is getting boring.  The above pic was taken with my 50mm and the lovely ranunculus was purchased to brighten my attitude.  I added one of Kim Klassen's lovely textures that she continues to share with us even after the struggles and year that she has had, KK_100 and am now joining her over at her blog for Texture Tuesday.

I hope you have a lovely day....

"The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keep out the joy." ~  Jim Rohn

Until next time....