Photo-a-Day - May: Day 1 (Beltaine - A festival of optimism): Peace
It was 5 a.m. and very hot in Room 9 of the Great House in Sonning. Even the birds were quiet still. Through my open windows I saw the Thames and one, lone swan silently drifting on the surface of the river. The world is at peace and, I realized, so was I.
Photo-a-Day - April: Day 30: Something That Makes You Sad
Shelly Tucker, professional storyteller, founder of Share-a-Square, and now studying to be a PI, posted a picture of this piece she'd made. She called it "weaving without rules". I call it stunning beautiful and heart-breathtakingly sad. Thank you, Shelly, for allowing me to share your art. For me, it really does express sorrow on so many levels.
My friends are so wonderfully talented. Among them, they do needlepoint, cross-stitch, glass bead work, crewel, knit, weave, crochet, spin yarn, sew, quilt, make jewelry, make hand-made cards, draw and paint. Some are also wonderful cooks, amazing bakers and one is the queen of DIY, having just redone her own bathroom.
Antonia is the quilter, and what wonderful quilts she makes. We've been friends for many years and, as the granddaughter of quilters, it's an art I particularly value. I was honored when Antonia presented me with this beautiful quilted circle. She certainly knows my love of red. It is heart-art at its best.
Ever since I was little, I have loved the sound of a pendulum clock. Both my grandparents had them, but I particularly remember the one in my paternal grandparents house. It was a large mantle clock that sat on the mantle in the living room. I could hear the tick in the room I in which I stayed when we visited and would put myself to sleep by making up rhymes to the rhythm of the tick.
Now I have pendulum clocks of my own; several of them, in fact. Each one is unique, each has a story. The case of this clock is solid cast brass, so it weighs a ton. It's an American clock by Florence Kroeber, the model is Arabia, and made circa 1885.
One thing about being at my house, you never have to look far to know the time.
I've been to England, France, driven much of Eastern Canada from Toronto to the end of Nova Scotia including Prince Edward Island, and a bit of Mexico, I've absolutely loved them all. Still I am staggered by the incredible diversity and landscape of our own United States, and the parts of the 37 states I've visited.
I don't do as many road trips as I once did, but one of my favorite drives is still 395 along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada in California. I've driven it several times, en route from Oakland to Phoenix and return. There are never many cars and, on this occasion, I had the road to myself for most of the trip. Coming over a rise and seeing the mountains before me, always gives such a lift to my soul.
Photo-a-Day - Day 26: Black and White (in black and white)
Two of the very special kitties who have enriched my life were the elegant, silky green-eyed Shadow and the sweet, plush, bi-color-eyed Bianca. I adopted them at different times, but both cats would have otherwise been placed in shelters. Shadow belonged to a friend with AIDs, and Bianca belonged to a co-workers grandmother they were moving into a senior facility and no one in the family would take Bianca.
Unfortunately, they did not get on very well with each other so this photo was something of a fluke. The minute they discovered they were actually sharing the same chair, they took off like a shot, each a different direction from the other. On their own, they were very sweet.
Photo-a-Day - April 2012 - Day 24: Something You're Grateful For
There are many things and many people in my life for which I am grateful. I've learned to always pay attention to the gifts life gives me. However, the one of which I am every day mindful is how incredibly lucky I am to still have both my parents. The quality of this photo isn't the best, but taken on their 66th wedding anniversary last December, it shows them still looking mighty fine.
Dad just turned 90 on April 7th. While he is in constant pain from back and joint problems, internally he is in perfect health. Mom will be 86 this year and is the healthiest one of us all and hates having her picture taken. We've had our conflicts and bumps in the road; we will never agree on politics, but they are the greatest parents, have always been there for me and I love them very much.
We have wonderful farmers' markets on the weekends. Although there was a plethora of wonderful vegetables from which to choose, I loved the colors of these potatoes. However it was the cabbage, carrots, asparagus and others that actually went home with me.
Photo-a-Day - April 2012 - Day 22: The Last Thing You Bought
My landlord just redid my main bathroom; white walls, white tile. No one would ever think of me as one who likes white, minimalist, modern rooms. In looking for ways to warm the room up, I rehung my jewel-tone shower curtain, and put pictures back on the walls. I also realized the new vanity was smaller and I needed a bit of additional storage space.
The mirror is one I purchased shortly after moving to San Francisco. It is an oak Victorian shaving mirror found at Mammy Pleasant's Parlour on Haight Street (no longer there). The cabinet is just large enough to hold my hairbrush, toothpaste and ever-critical Tylenol.
Once I put it up, I still felt as though something was needed. Than the universe spoke as the power went out from a wind storm -- wall sconces...pewter wall sconces. In spite of the fact that the last thing I should be doing is spending money, I found this pair (hence, the reason for the ensuring the reflection in the mirror) on eBay--free shipping. So, other than food, these are the last thing I bought.
Oh, by the way, Mammy Pleasant was a real person. From Wikipedia: "Mary Ellen Pleasant (born 19 August ?1814-1817 - died 4 January 1904) was a 19th Century female entrepreneur of partial African descent widely known as Mammy Pleasant, who used her fortune to further the abolitionist movement. She worked on the Underground Railroad across many states and then helped bring it to California during the Gold Rush Era. She was a friend and financial supporter of John Brown and well known in abolitionist circles. After the Civil War she took her battles to the courts in the 1860s, and won several civil rights victories, one of which was cited and upheld in the 1980s and resulted in her being called “The Mother of Human Rights in California”." Knowing this history somehow makes finding the mirror in a shop named after Ms. Pleasant makes it all the more special to me.
Many of you may have read "My True, Personal Ghost Story", but this is the bottle found under the apple tree where Fred Pfeiffer, my ghost, took his life one Christmas Day. It is a Scotch whisky flask from James Buchanan & Co. Ltd., Glasgow, Scotland. It dates, I believe, only from the early 1960. So it's not antique, although I guess it's now vintage, but it does have special meaning to me.
Being able to draw and work in watercolor is something I've so admired in others. Finally, a friend convinced me to take a postcard watercolor class with her. The final assignment was to paint the person across the table from us. Although I shall never succeed as an artist--I've not even touched my brushes since--I was fairly pleased with the way this turned out.
Photo-a-Day - Day 19: Orange Cooking and baking are not things I particularly enjoy, but crocheting is something I love. Those of us who crochet/knit for charity always laugh about having orange yarn but here it worked out beautifully. By taking several shades of orange and using orange kitchen items, one can make a bright, colorful scarf.
I know that living in California it is heresy to say I don't like avocados, but I don't. It's a texture thing--they're mushy. And it's a taste thing--on their own, they really don't have much taste. Even guacamole; not my favorite.
Calla Lilies are, to me, simple perfection. I have always been attracted to their quiet, non-fussy, tailored, timeless look; the fact the a single petal makes such an elegant flower. There's something very zen about Calla Lilies.
Sunset the evening before our thunderstorm. We don't often get this huge cumulus clouds in the Bay Area. It loved the contrasts of reflective light and the bright white; the dark below and the blue above. Clouds are always fascinating to me.
The left swan on the Thames rather says it all. There were other swans, too, but this one was a bit apart--alone; but with friends nearby. It could, at times, glide along peacefully, able to become part of its universe. Still, there was the knowing that it needed to paddle hard in order to survive against the wake of life.
I am famous for losing things in my house--if you saw it, you'd understand--but every now and then, when looking for one thing, something else comes forward. There were two things I had in mind for this subject but, yes, they're lost.
I was certain I had given away all my old crochet patterns when I moved 10 years ago. Imagine my surprise when I now only found the booklets but, in one of them, I found the pattern to this shawl I made in 1975 when I first moved to San Francisco.
Leaving my beloved Boston and moving to San Francisco was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I moved to San Francisco for a job so I didn’t know anyone here. I filled my evenings with crochet and reading. One day, I saw a gal on the trolley making a shawl of this pattern and asked about it. It was an old vintage pattern she had found. Several days later, I ran into her again. She had photocopied the pattern for me and been carrying it around, hoping we’d run into one another on the trolley again.
The kindness of that stranger has always been a special memory for me and I think of my shawl as "Welcome to San Francisco". Finding that pattern again, with her note on it, is particularly wonderful. Thank you, Laurel Sharp, wherever you are. I hope live has been kind to you.
My friend may only live 5 minutes, but it's enough to make a big difference in the wildlife she has in her yard. Coming out from lunch, I found this feather lying on the flowers. Looking up, there was the tom turkey, showing off for one of the hens who lives in my friend's yard--along with hawks, fox, lots of deer and a myriad of other wonderful creatures.
For my country friends, this isn't unusual. For me, living in an urban area, it's a lovely reminder that nature is always near to us. It's our job to ensure it stays that way.
At my desk, every morning with my glass of milk and 2 pieces of toast--I've already eaten one--, watching the news, reading the news, emails, and Facebook. When I'm working, this is where you'll find me most of the day. Fortunately, I have a large window across from me with wind chimes outside and trees.
I don't carry a standard wallet. I carry a bag, small enough to fit in a larger tote but large enough to carry everything I need including my passport. Who knows when someone might offer to whisk me off to Paris? The only thing missing from the photo, usually in my bag these days, is the small camera with which I took this photo. I didn't say the bag was light, however. Filled, it weighs about 3.5 lbs. My keys and a small maglight attach via a large lobster-claw clasps, to the strap rings on the back. which can either be shoulder length or cross-body. It's a GREAT bag by Baggallini that I bought through eBags. Oh, and Kaye, even my inhalers are red.
Each of my cats has been special and wonderful, and none more so than my beautiful Shadow. Sleek, soft and fluffy with medium-long hair, she loved to cuddle; if I wasn't available, then with the stuffed animals on my guestroom bed. She'd even push them out to make a nest within them.
A neighbor came over and went to use the bathroom. She glanced into the guest room and noticed all the animals. It was fine until one raised it's head and looked at her. Scream!!!! And then she felt silly as she'd been over many times before. However, it did take awhile for her heart rate to return to normal. That was my Shaddie.
Lunch out with friends is always a pleasure. A Shrimp Louie and a Coke for lunch out with friends is even better. I will confess that, after I took this, the beets went to my friend Ron. Had I remembered this month's list, I could have used the beets for "Something You Don't Like". Ah, well, I'm certain I'll find another vegetable to photograph for that.
Back to the world of fantasy. My collection of pewter fantasy figures numbers over 100 pieces. This wizard, at 1.5" tall, is the smallest of the collection. That the ruler is from Auburn, Maine--Maine being one of my favorite places on earth--is just a happy accident.
Photo-a-Day - April 2012 - Day 4: Someone Who Makes You Happy
I am blessed to have many wonderful friends who warm my heart, enrich my life, and bring me joy. Carol and Ron Carriveau have made me feel part of their family and accept me for who I am. They're generous, kind, give great hugs and are the type of friends that, should you need help at 3 a.m., they'd be there.
A bit of creative license, but as my post-person is female. I wanted to go with mail/male and this was as close as I could come. Imagine the surprise of my UPS man when, in my green-fleece bathrobe, I ran out the door, camera in hand, declaring I wouldn't sign until I'd taken his picture. Fortunately, he delivers to me all the time and knew to just go with it.
Crochet is relaxing, productive and a wonderful way to give to others. The colors above will become squares in a patchwork afghan, with the multicolor joining the squares, and multicolor and the "spots" for the border edging. Although this is a give, I love the combination of colors and how fun it will be when done.
Yes, I am among those who despise having my picture taken, but I'm always up for a challenge. I above this signed and numbered print I bought many years ago at a gallery in Kittery, Maine. It reminds me that although I'm now in California, Maine is still there. Now if only the shrimp and lobster were here, with me.
I am a reader and reviewer of mysteries; a compulsive hooker--the crochet kind, not the street kind--and one who never leaves home without my camera. I can be reached at:
email@example.com ------------ My reviews are seen by over 14,000 people/review. I am a Top 1% Reviewer with over 1,300 followers on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/250195, as well as in the magazine Mystery Readers Journal, and on numerous online sites. My monthly email of reviews has over 500 subscribers. I started reviewing formally in 2004, spent four years evaluating manuscripts for Poisoned Pen Press, and was a paid reviewer for The Strand Magazine.