Monday, December 31, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 31: My State

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 31: My State
California is an a state remarkable for it's diversity in topography, geology, weather, food, and people.  How to quantify that into a single photo was beyond me. 

Instead, I opted for something indicative our state's personality.  In what other state does the Governor's dog have his own Facebook page.  Sutter Brown, you ROCK!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 30: Where I Live

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 30: Where I Live
Look for the building with the dead cypress, park, walk down the very long driveway, job around the landing on the right and the stairs on the left, keep coming past the Christmas cactus, ring the bell and come on in.  Friends are always welcome.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 29: Whimsical

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 29: Whimsical
No matter our age, it is important to retain a sense of whimsey.  Sleepy Godmother flies in the corner of my bedroom, promoting sound sleep and sweet dreams.  Unfortunately, she's so good at her job, she often puts herself to sleep before she gets to me.  Either way, I just love the expression on her face.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 28: Unicolor

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 28: Unicolor
The wonderful the about a study in unicolor is that it allows you to focus on the shades and textures. I couldn't decide between these, so I went with both.

One of my very favorite pieces of furniture is my coffee table.  The base is solid, carved oak giving it an old English/Spanish look.  The top is a 1" think, rough-finish slab of solid slate.  The table weighs a ton but it is also nearly indestructible.  

Clouds; clouds are endlessly fascinating and wonderful.  On this very, very rainy day, the sky was a wonderful study in blues.  I can never resist blues.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 27: Tree

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 27:  Tree
There is no one better at decorating a tree than Mother Nature.  I was feeling anything but merry before Christmas until I saw this.  It reminded me life is filled with gifts.  It is up to us to receive them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 26: Tradition

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 26:  Tradition
For the past several years, it has become a tradition for Jody and me to spend Christmas, in date only, together.  It's a very non-traditional celebration. 

Neither of us particularly likes turkey, so leg of lamb is our preference, along with home-made mashed potatoes and gravy, and broccoli.  As she understands my salt addiction, I get my very own shaker and a small glass of wine. 

And yes, we do eat on individual, albeit wood, television tables while we watch non-Christmas movies--Bronte and Austen were featured this year. 

It's very low-key and it works for us.

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 25: Sweet

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 25:  Sweet
It is always so sweet to receive sweets from others.  Yes, I shall admit that there are a number of sweets that did not make it to this photo; quite a number.  However, they have been, and continue to be, very much enjoyed.

There are delicious chocolate chip cookies, wonderful rosemary shortbread, and the last two marshmallow-chocolate treats.  I confess, there were also some Mint-Mallows, but they didn't make it this far--gone!

As a rule, I try not to keep sweets in the house, yet sweets from friends are doubly sweet, indeed.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 24: Spire

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 24:  Spire
For years, I've listened to music from the Academy of St. Martin's-in-the-Field.  I, of course, imagined it being located in a verdant green field.  Imaging my surprise when, as I was being taken on a driving tour of London, my driver took me to Trafalgar Square and I inquired after the spire.  Yup, St. Martin's-in-the-Field; right across from the National Gallery.

The church, as do most things in London, has an incredibly long history, with the first reference to it being in 1222.  It has been rebuilt several times.  The foundation stone of the present church was laid on 19 March 1722, and the last stone of the spire was placed in position in December 1724.

St Martin-in-the-Fields is one of the most famous non-cathedral churches in London. It is famous for its work with homeless people and for its regular lunchtime and evening concerts with all profits going to the work of the church. The crypt is also home to the London Brass Rubbing Centre, an art gallery and a book and gift shop.

I am fortunate to have a large brass rubbing done there by a friend who visited many years before my trip.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 22: Stars

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 23:  Stars
Stars, and all things celestial, are magical.  Many years ago, when I lived in Boston, I borrowed a VW camper, took a week, and drove up through Maine, up into Canada and out through Nova Scotia and back.  On the way back down, I camped one night at Arcadia State Park.  It was a new moon, the sky was absolutely clear and there was no interference from pollution or city lights.  The sky was an absolute blanket of stars; more clear than I had ever seen it before, or since.

What was most amazing to me what that you could see the colors of the stars.  No, they aren't all white.  They vary in color according to their temperature.  They are:
  • 3,000° – 6,000° Fahrenheit: Type M - Yellow
  • 6,000° – 8,500° Fahrenheit: Type K - Orange
  • 8,500° - 10,500° Fahrenheit: Type G - Yellow-white
  • 10,500° – 13,000° Fahrenheit: Type F - White
  • 13,000° - 17,500° Fahrenheit: Type A - White
  • 17,500° – 50,000° Fahrenheit: Type B - Blue-white
  • 50,000° - 100,000° Fahrenheit: Type O - Blue
I had never known this before.  Somewhere, I even have a slide of a photograph I took of them.  From that point on, my Christmas lights have always been multi-colored to reflect the colors of the stars.

Now to the jacket...  I used to do a lot of shopping on QVC.  One of the clothing lines they carried was Indigo Moon who made wonderful patchwork, embroidered and appliqued jackets and coats in particular.  I have several, but this is my favorite.  Unfortunately, I don't often have the opportunity to wear it.

A couple weeks ago, I was invited to the Christmas Revels.  It was an opportunity to actually wear "real" clothes, makeup and jewelry.  What else would I wear for a Revels but this bright jacket.  What I hadn't known was that this years Revels was "The Celestial Fool."  Don't you love serendipity? 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 22: Something I Made

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 22:  Something I Made

From my early years, I was attracted to needlepoint.  It was something I wanted to do, but something I wanted to do well.  Finally, in 1981, I discovered a shop just up the hill from where I lived. 

I was between jobs and went in on a weekday only to find myself alone with the shop owner Diane.  I had just started learning to stitch from a former co-worker but told Diane I was concerned as I wanted to learn the proper way and asked whether she needed any help in her shop.  Serendipity was with me and I worked two Saturdays per month, and sometimes more, for the next four years.

Diane was amazing.  She had been the president of the Embroiders' Guild several times, did restoration work, commissioned work and had previously done archival work.  She had taken classes at the Victoria and Albert School of Needlework.  Learning from her really was learning from an expert, yet she was wonderful.  How often did I hear her say, when looking at an area I'd stitched, "You could leave it but, were it me, I'd take it out and re-do it."  For a long time, I became as good at removing stitches as I was putting them in.

This is only one of numerous full-sized stockings I've stitched, along with countless small stockings, ornaments, etc..  It's actually one of a pair--the other still to be done.  From the start, I knew I wanted the name to be in Greek. 

Every year, the Greek Cathedral, within blocks of me, has their festival.  I rolled both both canvas and went to visit.  I asked one person, obviously a member of the church, if they spoke Green or could direct me to someone who did.  Within minutes I had three ladies and the priest all working with me to find just the right word signifying Inner Peace (which really should have been written "ειρήνη" and pronounced "eirí̱ni̱", for this stocking, and Inner Fire/Passion (φωτιά - pro. fo̱tiá) for the other.  Who knows but that someday, it, too, may be stitched. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 21: Something I Held

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 21:  Something I Held
On this day of Solstice, when the world turns from dark to light, it seems appropriate that the thing I should hold should be this lovely little box containing a candle.

It is a gift from a special friend.  It reminds me that I'm never truly alone, and that all it takes is the light of one candle to push back the darkness.

May each of you always hold peace, love and friendship in the palm of your hand and always keep the light in your heart.  Blessed be.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 20:  Something Green
Cheating a bit by a photo from 2004 but it has mom's green eyes and jacket.  

Today is my parents 67th Wedding Anniversary.  I am very blessed to still have both my parents with me and with one another. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 19: Starts with "S"

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 19:  Starts with "S"
Squished soda cans ready for recycling - and I really do only drink one per day. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 18: Someone I Love

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 18:  Someone I Love
Definitely my parents, in spite of it being a poor quality photo.  I am very blessed to have wonderful parents.

This is from 1986.  Mom and dad used to rent a condo in Park City, Arizona during the summers to get away from the heat of Phoenix.  They would go up late May and return to Arizona at the end of September.  This year, I flew out to join them at the end of their stay.  We spent three days in Salt Lake City and Park City, then drove down through Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, over to Lake Powell, the Grand Canyon--where dad and I go up pre-dawn to watch the Canyon come to life--down through Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona,  and eventually to Sun City West, where they lived.  It was the best week-long trip filled with small side stops along the way.  But most of all, it was time the three of us spent together.

I visit them every year and talk to them all the time, but it was the last opportunity we had to make such a long road trip together. Happily, there were other, shorter trips and it was from them I learned the absolutely joy of taking a road trip. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 17: Photographer's Choice

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 17: Photographer's Choice
 It is my believe that the light on the East Coast is different from that on the West Coast.  When I had my first "real" camera, it was when I lived in Boston and I loved it.  I enjoyed photography and took my camera (Canon Ftb) with me everywhere.  Truly, my favorite and, I believe, my best, photographs were from there. 

On a fall weekend, I found myself out on the eastern end of Long Island.  I loved the effect of the setting sun through this stand of beach cattails. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 16: Quilt

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 16: Quilt
I am the granddaughter of quilters and blessed to now have 10 hand-made quilts.  For me to take up quilting, would have been too many coals to Newcastle.  Instead, I did needlepoint, but loved the idea of coming my love for both.

The small quilt was made for my mother when she was small.  The wonderful book in which I found quilt-square patterns adapted for needlepoint is "More Needlepoint from America's Great Quilt Designs" by Mary Kay Davis and Helen Giammattei.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 15: Peace

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 15:  Peace
 ειρήνη. (pronunciation - eirí̱ni̱ - Greek - Peace).  The time of peace, for me, is at daybreak when the world is silent.  Sitting by the Thames with the trees a deep green and the swans swimming quietly upon the water gave me such a deep sense of inner peace; a sense of connection to nature, the world, the universe.  This is my church.  This is where my god lives. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 14: Mess

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 14: Mess
No one has ever commented on how neat I am in the kitchen.  When baking, you'll find flour everywhere and the batter doesn't always all stay in the bowl.  It had been quite a long time since I'd baked but Snickerdoodles seemed pretty easy.  Happily, there were, and they came out really well. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 13: Made Me Feel Merry

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 13: Made Me Feel Merry
Up until today, my joy of the season was decidedly lacking.  In fact, my approach was to try and ignore it altogether.  Today, actually 12/12/2012, changed all that.

A good friend and I went to the Christmas Festival in Tilden Park.  We were greeted by a HUGE lit tree, a delightful North Pole, Santa himself and, my favorite, their wonderful Carrousel. 

I do LOVE a carrousel.  I ride them whenever I find them.  We won't discuss my less-than-graceful dismount or the fact that next year I'll be relegated to either one of the animals that's lower to to the ground or one of the non-mount-required rides in the center.  It doesn't matter: my friend and I felt as though we'd returned to childhood.

It was truly a wonderful, and very merry, evening. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 12: Made Me Smile

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 12: Made Me Smile
It really doesn't take much to make me smile as I've learned to be aware of, and grateful for, the little gifts we receive each and every day.  That said, these are were a few of the things that made me smile on Tuesday:

My kitties Tigger and T.S. Elliot made me smile every day.  Just seeing their sweet selves have having them to snuggle with me makes every day brighters.

Going to my friend Heather's shop, running into Loanne and her friend really made me smile.  Bless her, she was so kind and generous that she invited me to join them for  lunch.

Taking out my first book from the Oakland Public Library made me smile mostly as I knew how much it was make some of my friends smile.

No matter how hard a day may be, there are always things to make us smile.  All we need do is pay attention.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 11: Lights

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 11: Lights
I had no intention of doing any decorating at all this year, but then there's this group.  In years past, this little metal tree, to which I've affixed small lights, would also be covered in glass ornaments.  I'm going to pass on that this year, but my Santa's sleigh ornament happened to be handy, to it is front and center.  Still I do love the lights, and they must be multicolored lights, just as are the stars.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 10: Jump

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 10: Jump
Jumping rope at 10,000 feet wasn't my idea of fun, but I was happy to photograph my late, ex- Richard being macho.  Even he, however, found the thin air made running 5 miles and then jumping rope to be very hard work.  Me?  I enjoyed the view; both as provided by nature and man.  Different times.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 09: Hot

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 09: Hot
Winter is officially here.  It was just a bit too nippy this morning.  I finally broke down and turned on one of my wall heaters.  I do like that being able to heat only the room I'm in. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 08: Hat

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 08: Hat
Several years ago, a good friend decided to start a chapter and become Queen Mother of the Red Hat Society.  I did join and, although I'm no longer active, now have a rather large collection of red hats with purple trip.  Of course, one also needs a feather boa and fan, as well.

The Red Hat Society is now international and is loosely based on the poem: 


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 07: Decoration

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 07: Decoration
My current home doesn't lend itself to decorating for the holidays nearly as much as my last house did.  It's a shame as I have enough decorations for at least three trees plus.

One tree would be covered in, and surrounded by, needlepoint.  This is one of my favorite to the point where he is out all year.  When I bought the canvas, the background was completely white.  I couldn't have my Wizard Santa standing in thin air, so I created a stone floor, black background, and stone arch around him for the impression of him standing in a dark room or cave.  Then I went wild with metallic threads--white, gold, rose, red. green, yellow, bronze and silver.  The piece is about 10" tall, weighted to stand, and the bright and dark gold metallic braiding is the perfect finishing touch. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 06: Cross

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 06: Cross
Crosswalk was the first thing that popped into my head with this prompt.  After mystery group, I walked up the street a bit to shoot then and only then realized it walk led not only to the other side of Grand Avenue in Oakland, but to the stairs connecting eventually to Santa Clara Street.  Mostly, though, I love the look of this at night.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 05: Cold

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 05: Cold
The very first house in which I lived - Atlantic, Iowa, 1951-1956.  I actually do have memories of living here.
- Building a snowman with dad and Nancy.  
- My mother, sister and I all having the mumps at the same time and poor daddy trying to take care of all three of us.  It was only a two-bedroom house, so I was on the roll-away bed in the living room.  I remember dad trying to get me to eat some toast and me crying saying "Daddy, it hurts."
- I also remember, during that time, there was a major ice storm, so dad tried to cheer my up by having me look out the window at the ice glistening on the trees and fence to the right.
- The swing set; boy do I remember playing on that, and sanding on the side cross-bar watching the men install the aentena for our very first black and white television set.
- We had a huge garden in back.  I so hated having to dig up the potatoes; dirty!
- Mr. and Mrs. Robinson next door.  They were a lovely couple without children who were so kind to us.  They had amazing flowers everywhere.  Mrs. Robinson made mom, Nancy and I each an afghan which I have to this day.   

I wonder if this little house is still there. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 04: Black and White

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 04: Black and White
These magnificent fixtures grace the front of the Boston Public Library.  It was one of my favorite places to spend time when I lived there.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 03: Beach

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 03: Beach
Jones Beach, Long Island, New York.  One of the two beaches where my friends and I spent one day almost every weekend as teens.  Even still, when a tree presents itself, we'd "plant" and decorate it.  Those were great days.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 02: Architecture

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 02: Architecture
I love architecture and am fascinated by it; everything from styles of houses, to historical buildings, it total and the individual details.  Were it not for the little problem of being terrible at math, I should love to have been an architect.

My trip to England was fabulous for so many reasons, seeing the architecture was certainly part of it. What is more classically English than a house with a sculptured thatch roof.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 01: Another

Photo-a-Day - December 2012 - Day 01: Another
Today's weather forecast for rain; heavy rain.  Great, thought I.  I'll post a photo of "Another rainy day."  It is now 6 p.m., pitch black out rain.  Change of plans.

I thought this worked well, particularly as it's set in California.  I know it's heresy to say I've never been a fan of Jack Reacher books.  Instead I loved the way-to-short Fiddler and Fiona series by the married writing team of Even Maxwell and Ann Maxwell (romance author). 

It's a great series with a tough, knight-errant-type man but also with a very smart, independent female protagonist.  That is, to me, the best combination.