I’ve been distancing myself from this blog since 2018. I think it is time to share some of the places that I have been. The photos are unique to my experiences, and at a time that can be confining, I hope to take you outdoors to the scenic beauty that is all around us.
In November of 2018 we went on a short road trip around Phoenix, Sedona, and Tucson, Arizona. The desert has never been a place that I long to be. I have a lot of friends who love the desert but I prefer the ocean. With that being said, there is a sense of quiet beauty that exists there. It is a peaceful place that lacks color yet is filled with it too. The calm that I found there is why I am sharing these photos with you. This is a time when we may not feel very peaceful but we know that peacefulness is all around us, we just need to remind ourselves to look for it. I urge you to take a look at your own photos to help refresh your memories of those experiences you’ve had that filled you with joy and calm. This period of isolation will pass and perhaps be one of those memories you choose not to hold on to. Spend this time going in-search of your peace, your calm, and your beauty.
Is it just me, or does time seem to fly by quicker than it ever has before?
Discovery Bay at Sunset
We went to an amazing party in Discovery Bay this past weekend. I’d never been there before and was so impressed with the quiet that I found there. It’s serene and sits out in a place where you would never expect to find waterways.
West Cliff Drive During Open Streets
Then we moved on to my hometown, Santa Cruz, CA. We went to one of my favorite lighting stores, Illuminee on Ingalls St. The owners have beautiful lights and all kinds of interesting additions for the home. We ate lunch at West End Tap. We’ve never had a bad meal there and it is filled with memories from former visits. We moved on to San Mateo and shared some time with our newlyweds. I’m (a little) sad that the weekend seemed to go by so quickly. I certainly could have used more time in all of the places that we visited. We need to move a little slower, through our quick timing.
Last week we went to The Grand Hyatt, Poipu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii. It was for business and pleasure. We landed on a clear and beautiful day. We discovered that rain had been falling for the last two months and we were fortunate to be there on a day that was sunny.
We saw a few reasonable sunrises and I saw my very first “green flash” during the first sunrise. I thought I was going to have to go to Maine to see that. Such a nice surprise. We traveled a little ways to sightsee and then the rains picked back up. It was very soggy there. It didn’t dampen our spirits though. Hawaii is a lovely place and I like being there, come rain or shine or frizzy hair. So I leave you with, “Aloha” and a few photos that capture my memories of Kauai.
I don’t often post messages like this, but we had to put down our fabulous feline last Saturday. We rescued her about sixteen years ago, on a rainy day, from Sacramento. We had to say goodbye, on a rainy day, last Saturday. She was a great cat and we will miss her. We will miss her? We do miss her. She was more like a dog than a cat and was a wonderful companion. We’ve had many friends lately who have had pets that were aging and in need of intervention. It makes me think about my aging as well, because she had lived with us for a very long time. When the nest went empty, she remained with us and helped to fill the void a little.
Well, life around her is quieter and not nearly as “purrfect” as it used to be. Knowing that you did the right thing is not always as easy as I imagine it should be. What I would like you to do for me, is spend just a little extra time with your precious pet today. I can’t pet mine but you can pet yours a while longer and let them know how very special they are to you. They give us so much joy.
I recently went to France and stayed in Lyon as my last stop. It is a beautiful city and is the third largest city in France. I did not realize that walking about the city might lead me into neighborhoods that were not friendly to people who were not of their same religious beliefs. (I do think there should be an app for that, by the way.)
Stunning City Art
I am a firm believer in not talking about religion, politics, or weight. With that being said, I was so filled with the evil feeling that I received, I decided to write a poem about my experience. (That’s how I attempt to settle things in my mind.) I’m going to share the opening and closing stanzas with you. There are eighteen stanzas in-between as the opening and the closing stanzas are mirror images of each other.
Swans on the Rhone River
I walked the streets Of grand Lyon In a place, I, Should not have gone,
The evil that I found that day Is not a thing To wash away
This sleeping world Needs to awake, To realize What is at stake
If you would like the other eighteen stanza’s you can make a request at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to supply the entire poem for you. I am putting this out today because, as much as I tried to resolve what I felt that day by writing this poem, those feelings are still very much with me. I just can’t seem to shake them. So the moral to this blog is perhaps, as we age, we should try to stay on the main streets (when in a foreign place) as we are traveling through life.
I’ve missed a couple of weeks of posting and I’ve got a good reason why that happened. I’ve been in the south of France, staying in small villages and fully enjoying the sights. I had wanted to go to Provence, France to see the lavender in bloom but the timing was a bit off so I had to settle for the red poppies as they were still blooming about everywhere we went.
Just outside of St. Martin du Bromes.
Overlooking Lac du la Sainte-Croix.
France is filled with bug loving flowers.
I am happy to be home, but have had an incredible vacation with family and friends. It is a wonderful way to travel and a great way to get to know each other better while in a relaxed environment. These poppies were planted in remembrance of the lives that were lost to war. It seems like we are always at war some place in the world. Sad really. The poppies are beautiful but what they symbolize is war and it’s casualties. It makes you stop and think about the sacrifices people have made to keep us from harms way.
As we traveled about, it was hard to miss the metal doors with peep-holes, the stone buildings with metal shutters, and the lack of children playing in the streets. When I was a child we had many freedoms, so many that we didn’t realize how very wonderful freedom was. Today is different from then. There are often days when I miss those yesterdays.
It’s that time of year again when we get to meet the newest critter families that romp around our cabin. Just like our own kids, they grow up so fast. In just a short time we won’t be able to tell the babies from the adults.
New Graeagle Family
They all love to play together when they’re young and then it’s hard to get them all together when they grow-up. Where ever you are this weekend, give your mom a call and let her know how much she means to you. If your mom is gone, channel some lovely memories her way. I wish all of you a Very Happy Mother’s Day.
There are times when I wonder why I am so drawn to taking photos when I travel to various places. I suppose it’s so I’ll keep those images with me in a tangible way. I find that I keep those images and experiences with me anyway. When I look at these photos from Hawaii,
Tiny Sand Crabs
it seems that I can still hear the pounding surf, see the sea spray on my sunglasses, and feel the gritty sand between my toes. These images bring back the temperature of the day, the wind that completely messed up my hair, and the delight I found in seeing the crab’s shadow rush across the sand. The mountains were quiet, filled with hanging clouds that spat occasional raindrops at us. My mind is filled with these memories but these photos bring back all those other pieces and feelings that made taking the photos so important to me at that moment in time on that particular day.
I take photos because I love all the places I have been and I want to keep those memories with me always.
On Labor Day weekend we decided to go down to Monterey and Carmel. It was mostly overcast but extremely pleasant. We went to restaurants that we’d been longing to revisit and had a wonderful time.
Carmel By-the-Sea Beach
While we were in Carmel we decided to go to Hog’s Breath. It was there that we had many very unusual experiences and I seriously doubt that we will ever return. There were many factors that will keep us from returning and I won’t go into all of the strange happenings as it might portray me as being politically incorrect and this blog is not about my little frustrations in life. It did make me feel quite uncomfortable and made me wonder who was in charge of the overall running of the restaurant. To make this long story short, we simply won’t return; problem solved.
We went to Monterey Fish House and had a delightful dinner. Everything there is delicious and works like clockwork. We tried Tarpy’s Roadhouse for the first time and had a delightful brunch in a very old stone house that has a lot of history to it. We had lunch at the West End in Santa Cruz and I found the perfect light, for my kitchen remodel, at Illuminations. It was hand blown by an artist who lives in Santa Cruz so it is the perfect complement to my house. We walked all over Point Lobos and found it beautiful but completely overgrown with poison oak. I am extremely allergic so I found myself having to be extra careful while hiking through a rather remote area of the park. We then had to return home to our very own patio where we had the padrone peppers that we purchased at the Santa Cruz Farmers Market. They were the best we have ever had, and in many ways, we felt a little like we had hardly even ventured far from our patio. Truth be told, some of my best experiences have been on my patio. I hope you have a patio like ours; full of fond memories. Have a grand weekend.
I am constantly amazed at the critters that grace my yard. They work very hard for their tiny bits of food. I am also inspired nearly every day at the beauty of the flowers and the lift that their colors give my spirit. This begonia reminds me of Santa Cruz and the begonia gardens that were once there. I’m surprised that we are successful at growing them here. It’s hot during the summer but when we find them a little shade they come up and look as if they are hoping they can live in that exact spot forever.
This swallowtail spent nearly all of its time hanging upside down via those spindly legs. It looked perfect but was quite challenging to get a proper photo of. I think a photo of the butterfly hanging this way is appropriate because that was how it was moving about the garden. I always enjoy finding preying mantis in the garden. They look so fierce and annoyed when you find them. I often wonder if they realize how small they are. I suppose they are quite large compared to an aphid. Fall will be here shortly; I can feel it in the air. I suppose those clever critters can feel the season changing too. I’m so blessed they are here and still attracted to this yard.