Old Oak

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I was out on a walk the other day and stopped to watch the cattle gazing on the hillside near my home.  I do so love cows!  I’ve loved them since I was a child on High Street in Santa Cruz.  We lived out in the country and there weren’t many people around.  The cows always came to the fence to entertain me.  Truth told, it was myself who was trying to entertain them by singing silly made-up songs.  This shot reminded me of those days as a child in the hills of Santa Cruz.

Afternoon Grazing

Afternoon Grazing

I have another memory of an old oak tree that was up on a hill in Soquel, CA.  My friend and I used to cross the large field at the top of the hill and ride on a branch that hung low enough to the ground so our feet could push the limb up and down.  We’d pretend that we were riding horses.  She loved horses and I loved cows.  Life was so simple then.  

I do so hope that you have a simple and lovely 2015!

 

Winter Sunburst

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My Backyard Mandarines

My Backyard Mandarins

We were shopping at Whole Foods last weekend and came upon this recipe that I just have to share with you.  It was a rainy day and the recipe looked like something refreshing.  It gave us a delightful taste of winter.

Satsuma Jicama Salad

serves 4

Ingredients

2 satsumas

1 medium jicama, peeled, cut into matchsticks (great place to get out the mandoline slicer)

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced and cut into half moons

2 limes, zested and juiced

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon minced cilantro

Directions

Segment the satsumas: cut enough off either end until you see orange flesh, not the white pith.  Cut the skin off around all sides.  Over a bowl with a small knife, go between each segment and gently cut them out.  Toss satsumas segments into a bowl with jicama, radishes, lime juice and zest.  Garnish with chili powder and cilantro.

Now, this is the part where I tell you how I handled this…..

I peeled the satsumas and cut each segment in half.  I added 1 avocado cut into small pieces and added fresh prawns (cooked and chilled) cut into quarters.  

There is no oil in this recipe and it is delightfully refreshing.  You could sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds on the top as well.  You can change it up anyway that you would like, but it is really good just as it stands.  (Cuties, Mandarins, Cara Cara Oranges, all would work for the citrus.)

1 of 4 Remaining to Savor

1 of 4 Remaining to Savor

Have yourself a very Merry Christmas!

The Colors of Fall

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I’ve been looking at photos

In black and white.  

I know they are beautiful

but I really love the colors in life,

so I took this photo in black and white.

Black and White

Black and White

Then I added a little yellow,

Add a Little Yellow

Add a Little Yellow

and then I added red,

And a Dash of Red

And a Dash of Red

Until I came full circle

and took this shot instead.

The Splendid Colors of Fall

The Splendid Colors of Fall

These colors of the season are from my backyard.  I am so glad that I took the photo when I did because we’ve had wind and RAIN in California and most of my leaves are now covering the ground.  The colors of Fall always remind me that Spring is just around the corner.  Let yourself soak up those colors while they still hang on the trees.

Giving Thanks

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That’s not a very original title, now is it, given this is the week of Thanksgiving.  I’m going with it because I have so much to be thankful for.  I gave the eulogy last Saturday at my mother’s celebration of life.  I did not realize the weight that I was carrying around in anticipation of fulfilling my duties in this regard.  I feel light as a feather, except for those odds and ends that I still must look after.  Light as a feather, as if I could fly.  So here is the photo that popped in my mind when I thought about having photos of feathers.  It was a lovely day that we spent in Monet’s Gardens and I remember it well. 

Bird in Monet's Garden

Bird in Monet’s Garden

The truth is, you don’t need to go to France to be filled with the wonder and the beauty that surrounds us everywhere.  I took this shot last Sunday in the Napa Valley.  It was an amazing day.  It was different than Monet’s Garden but equally as lovely and well-tended.

The Covering of Fall in the Napa Valley

The Covering of Fall in the Napa Valley

So I am hoping that everyone who reads this blog has the loveliest of Thanksgivings ever.  We do have so much to be thankful for.

Centering

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Somehow, with all this swirl of change embedded in my life, I have failed to keep up on the practice of Yoga.  I don’t know why this became the one thing that I couldn’t seem to find the time for, but it has worked out that way.  This photograph of the poppy is a bit like my life.  It all looks good and vibrant, but it is a little off-center.    

Delicate Poppy Center

Delicate Poppy Center

Today, I am pledging to get fully back on track, Yoga and all.  You see, although the photo is beautiful, there is a piece of it that doesn’t exactly fit.  It’s not about being perfect; it’s about the  feeling we have when we are centered.  It brings you a strength and peacefulness, the very things that I am always searching for.

Navigating Peace and Forgiveness

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Last evening I went to a group grief session.  I’ve never done anything like this before but I thought it might be helpful going into the holiday season.  We were asked why we were attending and I was the only one that answered with the thought that I was searching for peace and forgiveness.  As I was listening, I found it interesting that I was the only one looking for these things.  It made me think.  I have been searching for peace my entire life and finding it around every turn.  I can find peace in the simplest of things, for instance, Stanton Lanier creates songs and plays the piano in the most soothing of ways.  It’s quite peaceful.  Taking my grandchild for a walk and stopping to watch the Cormorant fishing in the pond, watching the birds fly as we approach them, greeting the doggies along our path, are things that bring both of us delight and a calming peacefulness.  Everyday we are greeted with a sunrise and left with the beauty of a sunset.  This sunset made me think of my mother last weekend while we were stuck in traffic along I-80 near Dixon.  What a lovely way to be stuck in traffic.  Mom always liked a good sunset.

Peaceful Sunset

Peaceful Sunset

I think that I have the peaceful part of what I am searching for realized because, it surrounds me everyday and everywhere I go, all I need to do is look for it and be aware of it when I see it.  Searching to find forgiveness is the tricky part.  I don’t often need to find forgiveness but I realize that it is an important part of finding peace and joy in my life.  It is interesting that those people who I feel I need to forgive seldom even notice that something is askew in the relationship.  I have come to find that there are times when I simply need to accept them for who and what they are.  I can not expect them to be anything other than who they are.  I forgive them for being themselves and just figure that it is all they have to give.  I know these things but implementing this idea proves to be a struggle for me.  I need to find a solution so I can move on with the peaceful part of my life.  See, peace and forgiveness are intertwined for me.  I must remember to immerse myself in those moments of discovery and beauty.  It is there that I can bathe in the glorious act of acceptance and forgiving.  

I hope all your sunsets this week are exquisite. 

The Important Things In Life

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Red Poppy in the Sierra Mountains

Red Poppy in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

A while ago, I wrote down a list of those things that I felt were important to remember as you move through life.  It was a bit like saying, “these are the things I believe in and I’d like to share them with you.”  Even when you think that you should remember those things most important to you, one can find that these ideas are not rapidly running around in your head 24/7.  I sent them to two of my nieces, with the hope that they would take them to heart upon graduating from high school and moving forward in their adult lives.  I knew that they might not look at them at all, let alone understand what it was I was trying to convey.  I am going to share these thoughts with you, one at a time, in my posts.  I hope that you find meaning in these thoughts as they relate to you; so here is my first thought…..

“Set goals in your life / if you have no goals, you will never achieve them.”

(Your goals don’t need to be huge, you can have tiny goals.  The point is to work toward achieving something.)

Please let me know if you have anything to share, as I can pass it on to others.  Have yourself a wonderful week.