Sunday, January 29, 2012


Today was a beautiful weather day. It is J's weekend at her Dad's, so I had plenty of time on my hands. I wandered around outside the house checking on fences and screens and adding up projects that need to be taken care of. The list is looooooong and all either my cats-, stray cats-, or raccoon-related. Not quite as bad as in the cartoon below, but awfully close! BTW - my house looks a lot like this one - except I don't have a cat-themed door mat!
Cat vs Human

If you like cats, love cats, or live with cats, Cat vs Human is a much read blog. Her comics are hilarious. She also sells prints and tees, and she just compiled a book. Definitely worth checking out.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Feeling too beat up for words today - still aware of all the gifts in my life and ever so grateful for every moment - still...can't seem to stop crying over every little thing... So, just a photo today of precious Geoffrey - a stray that use to come around my Mom's house when I lived there. HE had a rough life, yet there was so much love in him...

Friday, January 27, 2012


Today is the 100th day of J's school year. The whole school celebrates. The Kindergarteners and first graders create 100 day projects made up of 100 things. Last year J and I put together 100 feathers in a hand-painted styrofoam block.

This year the project had to be arranged in either twos, fives, or tens. J had the idea to display 100 photos of her - 10 as a newborn, 10 as a toddler, etc. Good idea until she considered that her friends would see pictures of her in her diapers! I suggested we take photos of her with her toys since she had so many. It was a go! We spent a Saturday afternoon taking photos of her with 100 toys - 10 teddy bears, 10 stuffed kitties, 10 stuffed puppies, 10 miscellaneous stuffed animals, 10 barbies, 10 McDonald toys, 10 horses, 10 balls, 10 babies, and 10 musical instruments. She was pretty tired by the end of the afternoon, but we got some great shots. I printed and cut them and she arranged them on a board. The result...

I put together a photo collage of my favorite picture from each category...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


 Partula snails
read how Marwell Wildlife Park is trying to save
these tiny extinct-in-the-wild snails on Zoo Borns

snails living under a plastic stool in my garden

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

mr. walker

Kirsi Pyrhonen & Yellow Smoke
Norfolk UK 2010
British Vogue

more here

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Laughter is the key! Listen to the laughter of the Little Ones; as they laugh, the stars radiate with joy. For their laughter is joy and hope for the new light shining on planet Earth - the planet of free choice, the planet of laughter. Are not our children too serious? What about the elders? Are they not teaching the Little Ones by their examples? Laugh with this, and understand that the Little Ones need to, as well. Their hearts demand it. The stars demand it. The universe demands it. Laughter is necessary for the planet to continue to vibrate with love, joy, and peace. Laugh with the Little Ones!

from The Indigo Children
Lee Carroll and Jan Tober

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

spirit horse

In the lexicon of symbols, horses usually mean healing. I've always believed if horses are healers, white horses are super healers. There was a very special white horse in my life - actually she was a flea-bitten grey, but that's close enough for me. She wasn't my horse, but one of my sister's three horses. Her name was Witaka. She passed away a few years ago from malignant tumors all over her fair skin. I believe Witaka was a healer, but not so powerful a healer that she knew how to get rid of all she absorbed from the people around her and the tumors were the result. Whether I am right or wrong really doesn't matter. What matters is how lucky I was to know her and how much she brought to my life. She had a troubled life. Not in terms of being cared for, she was greatly loved and my sister is an excellent horsewoman. She just didn't seem comfortable in her horse body and horse life. I always felt a special affinity with her. Maybe because I've never felt completely comfortable in my human body or human life.

The photo of Witaka's eye began my photography career. It is the photo that first touched my soul. It was the first photo of mine that was more than just a photo. I have sold more of her photos than all others combined. Her photos are always the ones that people are first drawn to. She still speaks, still heals.

I've posted this photo before, but as far as I'm concerned it can never be seen too often. This is the photo that is the loadstone of all my photos that have come since...

Witaka Eye

Thank you, beautiful Witaka. I miss your presence. You will always live in my heart.

Monday, January 16, 2012

peace, or something like it

My precious J loves going to church. It doesn't matter what church, any church will do. It started with my mother. Whenever she visits she attends Sunday mass at the Catholic church on the corner. Last year, J asked to start going with her. She also attends her Dad's and other grandmother's community church on their weekends. And now, she expects to go to the Catholic church with me whether my mother is visiting or not. This is neither here nor there. I fully support her curiosity and journey. All this is just to explain why I was at church last Sunday.

At one point in the gospel, Jesus asked two of his soon-to-be apostles what it was they wanted. During his sermon, the priest asked the congregation what each of us would answer if Jesus asked us the same question. Immediately, peace popped into my mind. No hesitation. No question. But...then I thought is that what I truly want? I always say I am seeking peace, yet my life is full of drama and quite often I am right in the middle of it. I could lead a very peaceful life if I truly led a spiritual life far removed from my current life - like a lama, or a devotee. Curiously, when I was a teenager this now very New Agey spiritualist was a devout Catholic intent on becoming a nun. Yes, me, a nun! Luckily, before I entered that path, I was graced with the wisdom to know I was not becoming a nun out of love for or devotion to God, but rather to escape life. Repeatedly in my life, I have tried to escape only to realize I really wanted to live this life. I'm positive it is my journey to live it. So do I really want peace? Is peace just a knee-jerk reaction for me to questions of this sort. Isn't this a question one should answer before they set a course? Until I can answer the question, how do I know which path to follow? Do I have any idea what I really want? Is it just me or do any of us know the answer to that question? Really?

stained glass window
at the Community Church, Durham


Martin Luther King "Dream" graffiti piece in California

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal...."
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today....
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
I have a dream today.

excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr's I Have A Dream Speech.
Read the whole speech here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

bits of art

I love ACEO/ATCs. Those 2.5x3.5 inch bits of art. I have dozens. Not only am I able to own art from artists that I couldn't otherwise afford, I am able to own wonderful art. And the small size touches the miniature lover in me.

This is my latest purchase. (I so wish I had thought of it!)

Monday, January 9, 2012

did you see that moon?

Gorgeous full moon in Cancer...
beware those unresolved and unsettled feelings coming to a head...


I had a vivid dream this morning about white horses, a road I've traveled many times, skateboarders, Lou Diamond Phillips, and love. My alarm woke me. I so wish I could go to sleep and be back in it...

btw, the collage may be in black and white, but I dream in full technicolor...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

what remains

J and I have an affinity when it comes to collecting "things" - found things like shells, rocks, feathers, skeletons, skins, and more. When J's not with me, she nearly always comes home with either a feather or a rock. "I found this for you, Momma." We never return from a walk without handfuls of leaves, berries, rocks, or feathers. When we found a lizard skin and 3-winged drangonfly on the same day, I started photographing our collection. One or two pieces against a white background makes me so happy. Other than a peacock feather, I haven't started on our dozens of feathers. It's an ongoing project - one I hope never ends.

Here's a small sampling...

find yourself artistically

Came across this via tumblr - dream everyday - originally posted on ground-glass. Good words.

Find yourself in 13 steps
1. Be true to the art. The art powers it. It’s not a flash to the side, a quilt on a couple, or a texture on an image. Those are just techniques. Techniques have no soul. You do. Art does.
2. Don’t rush it. Faster isn’t always better. You start on a path, and it’s hard to get off, so if you push too hard, you get lost before you know it. Build the word by letting people in on what you do. Be true to it. Make them need you.
3. Do something for people who follow you. Find ways to reach out and make yourself and not just your art part of their lives. You are only successful because of the people who believe in you.
4. Learn. See how you can make photography your own. See what ways other photographers have used the craft to connect with people. We’re talking about the history books – great photographers have meant so much to so many, they’re part of the history books. There’s way more than just impressing people. Get under their skin and in their head, and you’ll always have a following.
5. Take a stand. If you have no position, you’re not digging in enough. Everyone has a viewpoint. Every has something to say. Find your voice.
6. Forget about pretty. You want beautiful. And beautiful can be ugly.
7. Learn technique, copy inspiration. If you do it the other way around, you’re back on the wave.
8. Get people to hate you. Nothing can be that great if no one hates it.
9. Make things that shouldn’t work, work. Every great idea was something most people thought wouldn’t work at one point. Salt on caramel? Who does that? Until someone does. Flare? That’s a lens defect, right? You learn about yourself when you walk to the edge, and jump off to see what happens. Otherwise, you discover nothing new.
10. Believe in people, believe in yourself. Belief powers everything in the world. It gives you the stamina to make it through. It lets people see the best you there is. It lets you become what you’re not quite yet. Trust that if you put it out there, people will get it. Some will. Many won’t. Don’t worry about the many. They’ll come around if you stay focused on the some who do.
11. Forget about money. We’ve all got bills to pay. Pay them. But you’re more important than the money. You, your time, your self is everything. Protect it by any means necessary.
12. Rest. There’s enough pressure as it is. Give yourself the time to digest.
13. Don’t be a chicken shit. OK, this one is just a reminder for myself. But it works, right?

A current favorite photo of mine. Love the wind curl in the mane. And, of course, the eyes. It's always the eyes with me...

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Joni Mitchell, Mama Cass, and Mary Travers singing I Shall Be Released in 1969. Amazing.


I keep hearing and reading wishes for 2012 to be better than 2011. I'm with you wholeheartedly - 2011 was a very challenging year. My take is a little different though...There are always going to be challenges. Big ones, little ones. A challenge-free life might actually be pretty boring - and it sure wouldn't hold the opportunities for self-realization and growth. I accept there will be challenges in 2012. We're only seven days in and there already have been! What I ask, what I wish for this year and forever more is not less challenge, but greater wisdom and ability to meet the challenges in the most appropriate ways.

Check back the end of this year. We'll see how I do with that!

And a photo, just to remind myself to roll with it...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Way Back When 2

The second day of the photography workshop, we photographed around Chico Airport. We shot in the afternoon of a very, very hot day in open sun. The focus was on how to get good portrait photographs in harsh lighting situations. There were two models - both professionals and all glamour.

My camera was giving me trouble all day. The lens wouldn't focus and the light metering system was acting hinky. Added challenge! The models were such pros and so beautiful, even with a hinky camera I couldn't go wrong.

Way Back When 1

Back in June (of 2011), I took a photography workshop put on by a couple of incredible local wedding photographers. I learned so much and realized how much more I have to learn. Part of the workshop was a photography session with a local models. The first day was with one model - not a professional. She was a wonderful - and very beautiful girl. It's difficult to take bad photos of beautiful people! I suggested they hire someone like me to model for them. That would be a real test of skill!

The focus of the shoot on both days was glamour portraiture. The most important thing I learned is that glamour photography is not my thing. I prefer a more photojournalistic style where the personality of the people being photographed comes through. It was still a great experience.

The first day we shot at Chico State University in very, very hot weather in early afternoon. Here's a few photos I took that day.


Well!!! My nap - my little break - turned into a full-blown hibernation! I wish I could say I am in a better place than I was in July. I can't. I'm older, fatter, my health is worse, and it is ever more difficult to hold onto that thing with feathers that resides in my heart. So, why did I come back?

I began this blog for three reasons:
1. To have somewhere to express myself. I am mostly by myself (well, there are always cats...) and other than the photographs I post in the void of Etsy, never-to-be-seen-again, I have few ways to share my creative self with others.
2. To reach out and hopefully connect with others. In the very small town I live in, I am considered different and odd. I didn't grow up anywhere near here. I am liberal politically among a very conservative majority. I am new age spiritually in a religiously traditional area. I am probably the oldest mother to a six-year-old in this town or the next. And I am a cat rescuer and animal communicator in a community of hunters. There are no mistakes in the Universe, but I do wonder what I am doing here!
3. To create a journal filled with words and pictures that might someday show my precious J who her mother was other than just Mommy. This is by far the most important reason to me.

These reasons still hold. They are why I came back.