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.

Moments of Silence

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I just spent a couple of weeks in the Pacific Northwest and we had a lovely time.  I took tons of photographs of flowers and I found that the jellies became a beautiful sea flower for me.

Glorious Sea Flowers.....Jellies!

Glorious Sea Flowers…..Jellies!

When we returned, we discovered that two of our closest friends moms had passed away and the glory of the adventure suddenly became a reality that many of us deal with far more often than we would like.  During our excursion I had snapped a photo of this flower that made me stop and take a look at it for a while (in silence).

A single flower that caught my eye.

A single flower that caught my eye.

I don’t know why it made me stop, but I wanted to admire it.  It is a simple flower but I found it so very lovely.  Please stop now and think about someone who you admired who has passed on.  We all know someone like that.  They mean something to us and we shouldn’t forget them.

When coming home, and now being at home, the sky was a smokey mess.  I took the next photo several years ago in the midst of a similar smokiness and I wrote this poem while missing my friends while watching a sunset.  Those friends were from Santa Cruz.

Polluted Sunset

Polluted Sunset

Sunset

The clouds so brightly colored

Appear brushed against the sky

And I stand so amazed

As I gaze with human eyes

The feeling is so warming

Yet, it’s empty too

For I would like to share

This moment here with you

Written by:  Bonnie DiMichele 1986

I hope this blog stirred some memories, of your favorite people, for you.

 

Whistful Water Waifs

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This will be a very short post, but I promise to fill my pages with wonderful photos from my Pacific Northwest trip.  I am simply overwhelmed right now.  I did want to share this with you though.  We went to Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, OR while on our trip.  The busyness of the bees was so much fun to watch.  I captured this photo and you can almost see the wings of the incoming bee.

Busy Bees on Lilies

Busy Bees on Lilies

I somehow missed ever seeing a water lotus before.  All the gardens that I have been in, have never boasted with the complex beauty that I found in these flowers.  I am only up to the 4th day of our trip, while sorting out the photos.  I try to put the photos in a book within 3 days of my return.  That will be tough this time.  So much has happened since we’ve been gone.  Hang in there with me……there is so much more to follow……..I hope you like these garden shots as much as I do.  

Beautiful Water Lotus

Beautiful Water Lotus

Ferns in the Canyon

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I have tried and tried to insert a photo of a water lotus that I took while in Portland, Oregon but my iPad is having none of it!  I will try again later but this post will come without a photo.  So sorry about that.  I have been traveling some and stopped at Fern Canyon on the way to Portland.  The place is beautiful and I’d like to share some of those photos as well but I guess my pad was not designed to work with me this way.  I can tell you this, the weather is gorgeous and I am exploring some places that I have wanted to see for a very long time.  I promise to share the photos as soon as I can, until then, here is my thought for you……Is there any place that you are just dying to go see?                  

                                                                 

                     (Then you should go and do it!)

Mendocino Mint

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I’ve just been informed that I will be having lunch in Mendocino tomorrow.  What a great surprise!  I’ve been toying with posting a favorite recipe of mine and while I was making it this week, I decided that I should share it with you, so here goes.  (ingredients are underlined for easy shopping.)

Mint Pasta

In fry pan, brown 2 shallots, 2 minced garlic, and chopped mushrooms.(The variety of mushrooms is up to you but I also like to add some porcini mushrooms as well.)  Heat this in EVOO, (Calivirgin is my favorite California olive oil) Irish butter, and a touch of sesame oil (for a nutty flavor).  Add one pound pork or chicken sausage (mild or spicy).  Cook until browned and add fresh ground white pepper, crushed red pepper, and white wine and allow to simmer awhile.  Chop a bunch of fresh mint and set aside.  Add the chopped mint to the sausage about 5 minutes before your choice of one pound of pasta is done cooking. (just to heat)  Once your pasta is done, toss together with the sausage mixture.  Serve with fresh shredded parmesan cheese, fresh ground black pepper, and toasted pine nuts.

I know that this recipe sounds strange but it is really good and a great change of pace from the usual pasta sauces.  It’s easy to make and you can grow the mint in a container in your own backyard.  I was given the recipe a few years ago and I’ve altered a couple of things but it took me 2 or 3 years to try it because it sounded absurd to me.  There’s nothing absurd about it.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.  Oh, don’t forget to set a timer while toasting those pine nuts.  We did once and they locked down my oven and we could see them burning inside for 20 minutes!  That was scary.  Have a wonderful weekend and I hope you will enjoy my photo of the sunflower and bug from a dinner we attended in an orchard. 

Sunflower from the Farm to Fork Orchard Dinner

Sunflower from the Farm to Fork Orchard Dinner

Whisperings

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There are times when I haven’t any ideas about what to write, and then, out of the blue, it comes to me in a whisper.  I would have been quite content for this whisper to never have passed my ears, but that is not how life works.  Our extended family has had another sudden loss.  You are never ready for life’s twists and turns that are completely unexpected.  I am filling this blog with images of roses.  I believe they were a favorite.  The poem was written for the  passing of a friend’s mother a few years ago.  It fits this situation.  My final thought is one that we should all consider daily…..

Dear Mother of Mine

We started together

Heart to heart

But over the years

Grew discretely apart

Me, I was head-strong

And wanted to fly

You were so sweet

But refused to try

I wished you would want

To give life a fight

Yet you only wanted

To reach toward the light

Now you have gone

Away on a wing

To play only songs

That angels do sing

So hold, me a place

Dear mother of mine

For I’ll be along

But in my sweet time

We’ll touch once again

For our love always knew

The life that we shared

Induced spirits that grew

written by:  Bonnie DiMichele

Here is my final thought for today; reach out to someone today.  Someone where you have left something undone or unsaid.  Be honest, swallow your pride, and let them know how very special they are to you.  Do today, what you should have done long ago.  None of us knows how much time we have.

A Rose Garden From Around The World

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Dragons and Damsels

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In my prior blog, I was lucky enough to find a dragonfly larva.  I had only seen pictures of them in books.  I was so hoping that I would find a big dragonfly that would allow me to see what the larva was going to become.  At Big Springs Gardens there were only little blue damselflies and I knew that the larva was much too large to end up being something so small.  

Each time I return home, after going someplace beautiful and taking lots of pictures, I take a closer look at what I have captured.  Returning back from Big Springs Gardens reminded me of photography class assignments that I might have done in black and white, a million years ago.  It also caused me to remember, going last May to, Hakone Garden in Saratoga, California and the vast array of plants and animals that I had photographed there.  They also had a very small moon bridge, as did Big Springs Gardens, and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park last April.  We took our grand-daughter to see The Japanese Tea Gardens there and have lunch.  She was all consumed with the large moon bridge, while I was joyously taking photographs of everything else while waiting for the bridge to clear enough so I could get shots of her as well.  It reminded me too of my grandma and her black and white photos and the descriptions she would write on the back of her photographs to help her remember the colors.  

Dragonfly in black and white.

Dragonfly in black and white at Hakone Garden.

This is very possibly what I may have tried to shoot for a photography class.  I would have taken it on film and developed it myself.  I would have been limited, in so many ways, with what my ultimate result would end up being.  It’s lovely, but look at the next photo…..

First Attempt

First attempt

The detail you can see in this one is amazing.  It makes it come to life for me.  What I really like best is what comes next……..

Dragonfly, coming in a little closer.

Coming a little closer

I think this dragonfly was smiling at me, well and maybe at you too.  It seems they know they are amazing creatures.  This dragonfly is just about perfect in every way.  How can something so delicate be so perfect?