Sunday, December 31, 2006

Voodoo Palm Tree

On our thrice a week trek to the dialysis clinic this palm tree is either standing perfectly still or waving in the wind. It first caught my eye on about the 4th trip from our new house to the clinic and it's become routine for me to salute it when passing by! I salute the humor I see in it and how it proudly stands looking so unkempt; it's as if it's defying the "way things should be" by being uniquely ugly. There are days when it looks like it's practicing Voodoo.

More New Year's quotes:

The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months! ~Edward Payson Powell

New Year's Day is every man's birthday. ~Charles Lamb

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Quotes To Help Ring in the New Year

When there are two blue eyed blonde boys in the family it's often best to photograph them when they're not looking at the camera! I must practice photographing blue eyes and using the PSE tools to remove the "red-eye" syndrome! I tuned the bottom photo into a B/W one so that my mistakes aren't too obvious.

I've given up making New Year's resolutions; just one more thing to drive myself crazy over! I couldn't resist posting a few New Year's quotes.

One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things. ~John Burroughs

Of all sound of all bells... most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the Old Year. ~Charles Lamb

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential. ~Ellen Goodman

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions. ~Joey Adams

He who breaks a resolution is a weakling; He who makes one is a fool.~F.M. Knowles

I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the year's. ~Henry Moore

Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols. ~Thomas Mann

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. ~Anaïs Nin

New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions. ~Mark Twain

Every man regards his own life as the New Year's Eve of time. ~Jean Paul Richter

Friday, December 22, 2006


It's difficult to discern the snow on the mountains but it was there, for a few days at least! This particular mountain range is above Palm Springs, not the range directly behind our house that was devoid of snow dusting. I was driving west in the direction of Palm Springs and became so enthralled with the scenery that I drove past
my destination! Of course I had to photograph palm trees in the foreground!

By Wilfred A. Peterson, "The Art of Living" Christmas is not in tinsel and lights and outward show. The secret lies in an inner glow. It's lighting a fire inside the heart. Good will and joy a vital part. It's higher thought and a greater plan. It's glorious dream in the soul of man.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

No Storm!

A storm of epic proportions had been predicted for over a week. Like everyone else in the Coachella Valley I thought that the weather reports were right on target! Yesterday the sky was dark with ominous clouds, the humidity rose to uncomfortable levels, the wind knocked over plants on the patio and the cats started to look worried.

It was supposed to rain by 10pm so you can imagine how the weather report was announced on the 11pm news. "Well folks, the storm stalled on the other side of the mountains and we didn't even receive a drop of rain or a speck of snow."

The above photos were taken from my backyard an hour ago. What a beautiful day! I do hope that I remember the pleasant days we've had once the temps top 100 degrees for weeks on end.

The bottom right photo is of a section on the patio; yep, that's dirt in the background. The soil is in awful condition, so much so that I can't imagine anything growing in it. But the front yard looks pretty good so I guess I'll have to have faith that the backyard will someday be a paradise!

Friday, December 15, 2006


Back in 1976 when I moved to the Monterey Peninsula one of the first restuarants I ate at was Clint Eastwood's Hog Breath Inn. Not the best food in town, but the atmosphere more than made up for the menu.

Years later, in the mid 80's, when Clint ran for mayor of Carmel a friend and I interviewed him for a book we hoped to write on creativity. Clint was generous with his time and answered our questions as if he'd never been asked similar ones before. His hand shake when we finished the interview warmed my heart for years to come; I'll always have a soft-spot in my heart for him!

Clint and his ex-wife Maggie sold some land to a housing development company where mom ended up living for 10 years until our arrival in the desert. The view from Pacific Meadows was unbelievable! Mom had an apartment facing the pine forest; apartments on the other side overlooked Carmel Bay and Point Lobos.

The Clint story continues! Back in May my daughter and son-in-law attented a wedding in La Quinta and fell in love with the area. The night of the wedding they had dinner in Old Towne at Clint's restaurant in LQ, Hog's Breath, and Jack lost his first baby tooth at age 4.5. When my friend arrived for a visit last month we had lunch at the Hog's Breath and sat near the fireplace to keep warm. That was the only week so far that the temps have fallen below 70 degrees. We were surprised that Clint has a restaurant here in the desert and were told that it's been open about 2 years. Yesterday Stacy had a doctor's appointment with a new physician who immediately sent us to the lab for some extensive blood work and set up an appointment for a 3-part goiter/thyroid ultrasound on the 28th! I felt as if I'd been hit over the head again! What else?!?! Mom suggested that we go to lunch and try to enjoy ourselves. We ended up at the Hog's Breath, oh by the way, the food is fabulous, and instead of sitting indoors we chose to sit out on the terrace. It was 75 yesterday and the mountains, clouds, palm trees and Old Towne made our spirits soar! How could they not?! Thank you Clint for the memories!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Links of interest.

I haven't posted "links of interest" in months!
I just read an article in the local LQ (La Quinta) magazine about author Elizabeth Adler and was immediately inspired. I'm not sure what inspired me but perhaps it's the fact that she's visited many of the same European places that I have and bought a house in La Quinta a few years ago.

One of the highlights of 2006 was meeting Raewyn and two of her kids! They visited Stacy and
me in August right after my return from visiting my daughter and making a life-changing
decision to move to the desert!
Meet Raewyn here:

A fun blog!

A friend's blog!

And a quote:
"A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Under certain lighting conditions the palm trees take on the appearance of objects such as windmills or feather dusters. At first glance this one shouted "windmill."

I photographed this tree on our walk yesterday just as the sun dropped below the mountain ridge. I'd had a frustrating day that had started out with great promise but went awry when electricians didn't do the work that had been scheduled. That was trying enough but then mom had a run-in with two calculators that "were broken" and became hysterical over the incident and darn it, but exhaustion got in the way of working on the collage I've just started. It seems that if one starts pushing buttons during moments of major confusion and then expects the calculators to figure out something they're not prepared to do it's hard to get the correct totals. Ever vigilent I fished the two defective calculators out of the trash. For the last few years I haven't been able to bear reading anything about Alzheimer's, it's as if I had a premonition that I would "see" it first hand.

Machines seem to be the enemy of someone who is in a confused state; there was also a run-in with mom's CD player last night that somehow ended up broken. I was asked to pick up a new one today while I was out running errands. I do wish that there stores allowed one to try out electronics before purchasing them! After a prolonged study of 4 players I chose what looked to be the easist one to use. I couldn't have been more wrong. In order to start the player one needs to press play twice and twice again to stop it. Isn't pressing a button once enough? Mom has already decided that the new CD player is defective.

After purchasing the CD player I decided to treat myself to an hour of exploring an area I had read about in the newspaper. The main street , Highway 111, runs through quite a few desert towns including La Quinta, Rancho Mirage and Palm Springs and is just one of the main areas for shopping. Turning off Hwy 111 onto Washington St. past gated communities suddenly shopping centers flanked both side of Washington St. I will definitely return to one of them. Many of the local stores I've frequented lately make me feel like a visitor to the desert but the Dollar Tree fit like an old pair of jeans! I hadn't realized that I've been searching for comfort or familarity.

I wonder how long it takes before a new town feels like home? After dropping mom and Stacy off at the dialysis clinic I spent 15 minutes looking for a doctor's office where Stacy has an appointment tomorrow morning. At least I now know where it is located, adjacent to the JFK hospital, where major parking problems can often occur. I always find parking though, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Feather Dusters?

Out of the corner of my eye I saw what looked to be rather large feather dusters. Nope, just more palm trees!

Throughout the gated community we live in there is a tree that I've grown quite fond of. The Chilean Mesquite has feathery leaves that change during the day from bright green to dark depending on the way the sun hits them. The trunks become beautiful with age and we're thrilled that one is growing in our front yard rather than a palm tree! The houses on both sides of us got the palm trees.

This evening we took a walk along the golf course even though we're not sure we're allowed to do so! We strolled on the golf cart path and looked at yards that overlook the course. Nice veiw, but not much privacy. Quite a number of the houses have outdoor kitchens set up along with spas or dipping pools. Our yard is still dirt. I have purchased 3 citrus trees and 15 hedge plants. We're supposed to submit a plan for approval in the next 2 months and then start work. The first thing I want to do is extend the patio roof over my bedroom window! Even if it's 60 degrees outside it's about 80 in my room. I've set my studio up in my bedroom and master bathroom and find that I need two fans on all day so that I'm comfortable.

I started a collage over the weekend that is based on the "A2Z" theme that a few members in ExpressionVillage group are working on. Talk about bliss! All I need to do is start putting paint down on just about any surface and my spirits are lifted!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Palm Springs Christmas

My friend and I discovered the quaint shopping area of Palm Springs last week. The weather was a crisp 78 but Christmas was in the air! Christmas has always meant pine trees and cool weather so I couldn't resist taking a photo of the Rockin' santa with palm trees in the background.

I'm trying to get into the Christmas spirit. Two small trees have been decorated, two wreaths hung on doors, and two angels are sitting on the media chest. I have a feeling that the house is about as decorated as it's going to get.

Time to create new art is just slightly out of reach; lots of health matters to attend to lately leaving me in the energy deficit column. Any energy I have left over is used up with keeping the house in order.

The following quote fits like a glove!

You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way or path, it is someone else's path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else's way, you are not going to realize your potential. It takes courage to do what you want. Other people have a lot of plans for you. Nobody wants you to do what you want to do. They want you to go on their trip...- Joseph Campbell

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Palm Tree Series

Images-within-an-image, or layering of photos is something I've been doing for 20 years. The difference is that something that once took me hours in the darkroom to accomplish now often takes a mere few minutes.

Something seemed to be missing in this palm tree grove. The rays of light provided a clue; an etheral play of light.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Van Buren Palm Tree Grove

Bored with the same route I turned up Avenue 60 and down Jackson and then over to Van Buren, yep, the streets are named after Presidents!, and the next thing I knew I was surrounded on both sides of the road by Palms! Yikes! My worst nightmare is to be lost among palm trees. But to my surprise I was instantly drawn to this grove. Grabbing my camera off of the seat next to me I aimed it out of the car window. I was intrigued by the highlights on the tree trunks and the branches hanging from the trees on the left side. This shot is a bit off balance in that it seems to be begging me to wonder what the ground looks like, but then my eye travels to the top of the photo and I know longer care about what is missing.

The temps have finally dropped to the pleasant 70's this week! How marvelous is that?!

A favorite quote:

Meister Eckhart
If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is 'thank you', that would suffice.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Palm Tree Series

<< Palm trees on faux handmade paper. I need to work on some new items for my shop! They now have a really cool set-up where you can place items into categories! Love it!

Life seems to have stopped back in August when the move to the desert started to fall into place because suddenly Thanksgiving is upon us! I feel like I've been in deep hibernation for months only to be thrust into the land known as November! Where did autumn go?! A friend recently said that she too lives in an area where there is only one season and that it is a bit disorienting. It's still in the 80's here. The warm temperatures plus the fact that I'm in the midst of an FM flare-up brought on by the faux wood desk (made from chemically treated pressed wood!) and stress over the family health issues aren't making coming out of hibernation an easy task. Hibernating sounds like the easy route to take. Brain fog and fatigue are my current guests, unwelcome ones to be sure, but I don't have the energy to send them packing.

Later: An encouraging sign! I sold a metal tag this evening on! It took me hours to locate it along with some other items that are listed. While madly searching for the tag I ended up unpacking 3 more boxes of ephemera and art tools. Hopefully I'll get organized soon!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fabric Play

While playing with Alphabet Pasta, dyeing it, I thought that it might be a good idea to use a piece of fabric as a blotter to dry the pasta on. Result: an unplanned pattern full of possibilities!

The fabric was scanned into the computer and layered with a transparency image of a gate, tweaked some more and printed onto another piece of fabric. The fragement is ready for embellishing . . .

So long as we are loved by others I should say that we are almost indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend. - Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Views From the Car

Since arriving in the desert I've spent more time running errands and taking care of medical emergencies and appointments than I ever considered possible. The belief that "life is an illusion" is becoming more apparent as the years go by. The desert feels like an illusion, one I continue to believe I can wake up from. I'm still so disoriented that every morning I try to shake off the illusion of living here. It's not that I dislike the area with any intensity its dealing with too many unfamiliar entities that has brought on the "grand despair." How the hospital is run, the new doctors, the set-up at the dialysis clinic and dealing with mom's disappearing brain cells while mine are on hiatus is more than I can cope with at the moment.

Yesterday was one of those days when floods of tears coursed down my cheeks every time I thought about all of the details I need to attend to; how can I manage them all?! I've never been enamored with the phone in fact I find the instrument intrusive and annoying! I'd rather speak to someone in person, but now I spend hours on the damned thing attempting to get the right kind of help for Stacy and mom and to un-do mistakes! I should be making about 5 calls today to Social Security and insurance companies but I could barely drag myself out of bed.

One of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, other than pain, is brain fog and when it strikes I struggle with it in the same way I now watch mom try to figure out the most basic things like finding her wallet in a nearly empty purse. Suddenly her wallet doesn't look familiar. When I feel like I have for the last few days it's hard to believe that the brain fog will dissipate and I'll be able to semi-function again. Stress, the silent killer, is what pushes Fibro symptoms over the top so it's not surprising that the brain fog has reared up its ugly head once again!

My new 5 piece desk unit is finally together! Took me over a week to get it assembled and happily my SIL finished the last piece, the hutch, and then put all of the computer components, printers and scanner just where I wanted them. He also finally got the VCR/DVD player hooked up to the DVR unit in my bedroom! I unpacked 5 more boxes of ephemera and photos and am elated that they are now stored in filing cabinet drawers within easy reach of the new scanner. I need a refresher course on how to use the scanner that I've only used twice. But the missing brain cells are telling me that will have to wait. All-in-all I feel a bit more settled-in even though there are numerous boxes sitting in the walk-in closet and mucking up space in the garage! The nice thing about having one car is that I finally have storage space!

When the Camry blew-up a few weeks before the move everyone, including me, assumed that there was a new car in my future. We now know that that episode was a "smooth" transition of getting rid of one car so that not only would I continue doing all of the grocery shopping but that I would become the driver to and from the dialysis clinic now that mom isn't able to drive anymore. Talk about the universe taking care of details that might otherwise have been harder on everyone! Wouldn't it be grand though if more of the details were worked out at smoothly . . .

I had hoped to be able to start the Palm Tree photo series, but exhaustion has robbed me of energy in which to leave the house on non-dialysis days. Three days of getting ready to leave the house is more than I'm used to doing and when the days are combined with endless hours of running errands . . . Grabbing the camera out of my purse while driving seems to be about the only way I can photograph right now! The shots aren't noteworthy, but they might provide a sense of place . . .

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Getting to Know . . .

Five weeks after "the exodus from the Monterey Peninsula" I'm in the midst of getting to know my way around the new neighborhood, learning its language and soaring temperatures, into the 90's!!, when yet another brick is added to the load! Alzheimer's! I'm not shocked but deeply saddened about losing mom this way! The usual gamut of emotions that any daughter would feel when the word is finally spoken out loud by a doctor has beaten me down until I can barely breathe!
Mom hasn't handled the move to the desert as well as we had hoped and if anything she's more agitated and lost. Large chunks of memory are missing and when each day begins I wonder what new person I'll be spending time with; she's definitely not the mother I once knew.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Pumpkin Patch

My version of a pumpkin field.

Another slide taken in the 80's and manipulated. Oh the joys of a new scanner and Photo Shop Elements!

Happy Fall! Even the air in the desert is beginning to feel different. The morning and evening light make me feel giddy. We'll have been here a month on the 30th.

Monday, October 23, 2006

New Toy!

After suffering through a few years with an inferior and temperamental scanner I broke down today and purchased a new one! This one scans slides and negatives!! I used to regretably load my 35 SLR with slide film and never got around to having prints made from the slides.

I'm amazed at how well the Epson scanner turns slides into digital images that I can manipulate in Photoshop Elements. Very exciting! Somewhere packed in a box in the garage there are black-and-white negatives that I'm dying to scan!

My daughters were pre-teens when I took this photo. Corey, on the right, phoned me today to say that she'd taken 4 year-old Jack and 9 month-old Matthew to the pumpkin patch this week. This particular pumpkin patch was on Hwy 1 near Moss Landing in Monterey county.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Palm Tree Study #1

When all else fails turn a photo into a Virtual Rubber Stamp! It works for me!

I was driving around in circles on Wednesday trying to find my way to a grocery store that I shopped at last week and couldn't locate again when I glanced out the side window and saw a perfect row of palm trees. The traffic signals in this area can try the patience of even the most patient person, which isn't me, so I was able to rummage around in my purse, find the digital and aim it at the trees before the light changed. The photo is rather mundane but when pre-visualization kicked in I pretty much knew what I wanted to do with the image. Viola!

A Neil Diamond song characterizes Los Angeles as a place where "palm trees grow and rents are low." I just read that the palm trees in L.A. are currently threatened by a disease and that they are being replaced with oaks, sycamores and other native species.

Palm trees were originally imported from Latin America and have come to be synonymous with warm weather and movie stars. Palms are believed to grow like weeds and tower over buildings in a single bound; they don't provide much shade and they aren't very effective at trapping air pollution so why are there so many palm tree lovers?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The second week!

I never thought I'd say this but I miss pine trees! Pine trees were my nemesis for decades with their release of pine pollen. I can't remember when I started to dislike palm trees and now I live palm-tree-land! I'm trying to see the humor in the them but that is difficult when the tree I see from my house is ugly! It is sunburned and droopy. I've begun a new challenge - to photograph a few of the millions of palm trees in my new hometown with a goal to portray them in unusual ways . . . Maybe a study of them will give me a new perspective!

The second, lousy, photograph was taken at noon from the patio. I'm hoping that when we get neighbors they don't block the view of the mountains with huge trees! See those spiky pole-like things above the roofs? Palm trees!!! A palm tree has been planted every few houses in each block. Happily our house wasn't one of the chosen ones to receive one.

A great friend wrote me today what she referred to as a "yelling at me" email! I needed it! I'm only posting the last paragraph here:

"Gail, you are surrounded with stimulae. You have one of the most creative minds I have been allowed to visit. You have this whole seeing thing down perfect. But you aren't channeling it into a controlled vision. Instead you are letting it become chaos. And to protect yourself and survive, you have shut down. That is good - sort of - but then you can't sit back and complain about it. The way out is to be like a kid again. Look through the eyes of a child. Find the wonder. The rest will follow."

Hope it helps. I care.

My response to her quotable email:

HUGE THANKS for this! No one else has said the right things! All I keep hearing is, "you'll get through this" until I'm blue in the face! I've never faced so many life changes at the same time . . . The problems and challenges keep adding up until I can't see the forest for the trees! I hadn't realized how much I have shut down, which is a protective mechanism that I've used in the past, and I don't want to dig my way out of such a deep hole again!

I had a sense that I was reaching out for help, but it wasn't coming. Friends and family keep telling me that my sense of humor must be getting me through these long days, but I know that when I tell them the stories about that latest saga I work hard to make them sound funny! Humor hides pain as most comedians will attest to and I'm no different when I use that tool. Not that I would ever profess to be a comedian!

I worked very hard yesterday to get the boxes unpacked and out of the Great Room so that we'd have one place to sit where there weren't undone things staring at us! I also set up my very nice unbelieveably large bedroom with work stations (computer desk, drafting table, sewing machine etc.) so that when I woke up this morning the first thing I saw was a familiar sight; the possibility of work-in-progress. I think I feared that I might turn a brand new house into something it "shouldn't" be, but then my creativity would be stiffled if I didn't have a place in which to work. My room won't win any decorating awards but it works for me!

On a personal note: My rambling thoughts (many of which are self-pity) need some taming as they've run amok for way too long now and I can finally see some brighter days on the horizon.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

First Sunset

The first night in our new home the sunset put on a spectacular show for us! We, however, were too exhausted to appreciate the view from our windows! The move put me into energy and mental deficit that most likely will take me months to recover from! The last night of packing on Sept. 28th was full of weeping over the amount of things I still had left to do and what the impending future felt like! All signs were pointing to the desert but after being here a little over a week my heart is heavy with the loss of what my life was like! I don't recognize this life yet and the heaviness of the heat plus the long distances I need to drive to get to any store has me in near hysterics most of the time. And then there is mom's memory loss! She doesn't recognize a lot of her possessions and the ones she remembers don't seem to exist.

This is a gated community where gate codes and/or transponders are required in order to get inside the complex and another set of keys to get into the mail room which is 1 mile from the house!!!! There are numerous glitches one being that the dryer needs an adaptor so that we can plug it into the wall! And of course the electricians are busy so laundry is piled to the ceiling! And don't get me started on the trash pick-up! The Waste Management company keeps running out of trash cans before they get to us but we at least got permission to put out 3 large plastic bags for tomorrows pick-up. It wasn't hard to decide which stinky trash to put into them. One is full of cat litter and the other two . . . and on and on . . . boring mundane stuff!

I didn't think that I'd be as disoriented as I seem to be about not being able to see the ocean on a daily basis and by the 89-104 temps that seem to be "below normal" for this time of year! Below normal?! What did I get myself into?!

This area of the desert has seen a huge spurt of growth over the last 3 years so a lot of the stores are new which is grand and I know that with time I will find my way around and start "seeing" the beauty of the desert, but right now I can't seem to dig my way out of the pity-pot. So, I'll go outside on the patio where there is a warm breeze and look at the stars, something I couldn't do on the Monterey Peninsula at any time of year.

Friday, September 22, 2006


What a difference a few weeks makes! The house is ready to move into! The Casita, mom's place, is next to the garage and is separate from the house; there are two front windows in the casita and a sliding door entrance. The entrance to the house turned out better than I thought it was going to. The front yard is maintained by the association so it's already been planted! I'm looking forward to landscaping the back yard. And here I thought I'd never like having a new house in a complex! I've grown weary of the messy yards on the block where I've lived for 21 years and how tacky some of the houses are. I used to think that I had to live in an area where the houses had character, but now I find that I'm ready for a tidy neat house! I just hope that it doesn't curtail creativity!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!!

I took a little time out today to go to lunch with my best friend. No birthday cake, but at my age it only goes to places that don't need anymore pounds added to them anyway!

On Saturday, when I finally worked my way to the bottom of a drawer, I discovered a photo of me with the famous photographer Cole Weston. I think that it was taken during a workshop that my partner and I had organized about 22 years ago! I have no idea why my hair doesn't look blonde! But even now with lots of grey streaks running through my hair I'm still a blonde with brown eyes. Cole was in his 60's and at the time of this photo and was dating a woman 12 years younger than I was! He died a few years ago well into his 80's.

Two weeks from today I'll be moved into the new house! I'm practically counting the hours!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wishing For A Full Moon!

While you have a thing it can be taken from you, but when you give it, no robber can take it from you. It will be yours forever.
James Joyce

So much for the heat-wave! It only lasted for 1.5 days! The drippy fog has returned dampening my spirits and making the FM pain flare-up on par with the brain-fog and exhaustion. The trio is an obstacle that I don't have time to deal with. I need to be packed two weeks from today . . . Can I pull it off?!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Process

I've lived through so many trials that I know if I don't go through a process that works for me then the drama will come back and bite me again and again! My process is that I first go through great disbelief, then I take care of what needs to be done for the situation, then I wallow around in the drama for awhile and move on!

I've moved on from the car and am once again taking care of business! Today a lot of my plants are being picked up by my friend who will give them the attention they need. I feel good about this even though they will no longer brighten my day.

The top grouping of black and white photos hung over my couch. I'm so tired of those black ledges that I'm donating them! The collage piece on lower left is a paper weaving with foreign coins. It's not as shiny as portrayed in the pic. The mirror started out as a multi-layered frame that I filled with a canvas painted black then sprayed with two colors of spray webbing before attaching the mirror. "Breathe" is a reminder to not hold my breath during moments of stress. Everything is now packed . . .

Well the long-awaited Sept. heat-wave seems to be slowly arriving!

Sunday, September 10, 2006


I woke up in tears! There isn't an ounce of energy left in my poor exhausted body and the FM flare-up is having a flare-up of such magnitude that I wanted to shout, "I give up!"
Today I'd much rather stay in this old moldy house than move forward. I know every inch of this house and how things fit into it. I know how the moisture from the fog drips off of the roof and where to put things under the eaves so that they won't get damp. And I know that I'll miss some of my plants that are too fragile to make the move with me!
The scent of jasmine was strong this morning when I toddled out to the curb to retrieve the Sunday newspaper. The vine is presently hidden behind a stack of boxes so I had no idea that there was a glorious patch of blooms on it!
I'm too tired, frustrated, and distraught to drum up any enthusiam over moving into a new house! I know that today is just another rough patch, but oh how I'd love to crawl back into bed and stay. There is a plate of French toast beckoning me from the kitchen, that is once I fry the soaked sourdough bread!

"In times of crisis, people reach for meaning. Meaning
in strength. Our survival may depend on our seeking
and finding it."
Victor Frankel

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Chapters Closing

Every time I seal a box with tape I feel as if a chapter of my life is closing. But I had no idea that I would be moving forward in such a dramatic way as having my beloved car explode two days ago leaving me once again car-less! This car was unlike many of the ones I've owned in the past, it never once required any attention and handled like a dream! Though, I did have a few "visions" about it breaking down on a long stretch of road in the desert, which I assumed was just fear about facing new experiences.

A loud boom was followed by smoke billowing out from under the hood and the immediate loss of power. I was going uphill on the Munras on-ramp heading onto a section of Hwy. 1 when the drama started. I was able to pull off of the road and who do you call when something breaks down? Mom! "Call 911!" Of course I had thought about doing that but I wanted her to know first in case the smoke turned into flames. I've gotten pretty good at phoning 911, well not really, but I did know that I didn't need every emergency vehicle in Monterey to show up so I told the dispatcher I only needed a fire truck. Then I phoned AAA for a tow truck and when I disconnected that call on the cell much to my dismay the fire truck was barreling up Munras with a police car behind it slowing the traffic down. The truck blocked traffic from entering the on-ramp! I was horrified! The smoke was barely discernable and traffic immediately started backing up clear to the shopping center! Oh well!
No flames, but oil was leaking out all over the pavement so a bucket of sand was poured on it. Then when everyone decided that the car wasn't going to catch on fire the traffic was allowed to flow once again. By that time I was shaking pretty good and Stacy was hysterical! A fabulous police officer drove up and offered us sanctuary on his backseat and when the tow truck finally arrived 45 minutes after I had phoned for one, the officer offered us a ride wherever we needed to go. We had been on the way to moms to help her pack so he drove us from Monterey to Carmel Valley. Talk about service!
Later I was to learn that the engine had thrown a rod and cracked the block and that a new engine runs around $6,500 and up! I love my car, but . . . I filled out an online form to donate the car to the Polly Klass Foundation and after the initial info was taken I was told I would hear in a couple of days if the car was accepted.
I have so many things to do that require a car so I'm at the mercy of friends! I can't seem to shake the loss of the car! The last month has been a bit too surreal! I'm still in shock over moving and now this!

I'm going to miss the walkway (above) with its combo of stone and brick! Who knew that it created such a fabulous background for just about anything I place on it! The branch full of pine cones was another one that landed in my yard.
Usually by this time of year we're having a heat wave, but yesterday was the coldest Sept. 8th in 57 years! It's still 100 degrees in the desert!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I feel like my life has gone AWOL! At least the part of it that I recognize. The part of me that is on duty has turned into someone I don't recognize. Nearly all of my art supplies have been packed and with the sealing of each box more of what brings me happiness has disappeared. I assumed that it would be difficult to maintain my equilibrium without being able to paint some paper or experiment with a new technique. Three new magazines and a zine have arrived in the last three weeks and I have absolutely no interest in them. I know that it's true that what one focuses on becomes important, but I am rather surprised that I have slipped so easily into this non-creative mode. Will I be able to find my way back to what has fed my spirit and kept me sane for the last six years; will I be able to pick up where I left off, on the brink of working with fabric; will I . . .?? I have no idea, but at the moment creating art doesn't feel necessary. Where is this latest journey taking me?

I had a feeling that packing would be just as draining as it's turning out to be. If there wasn't a pot-of-gold at the end of this exhausting task of sorting out, throwing away, and packing up what has taken 20 years to fill up this tiny house with, then I would surrender and stay put! The desert seems to be calling me with a pull that is foreign. The pull to live here on the Monterey Peninsula 30 years ago was a strong one, so much so that I moved without questioning if it was the right thing to do. How could someone who loves the ocean as much as I do move to an arid part of CA? I now wish that I had taken more than the two photos above, but at the time I was in shock about the possibilty that I would be living there and didn't see any reason to photograph the scenery. Arid? Doesn't look that way in the photographs, does it? Trust me, outside of the housing complex it's very evident that it is arid! Just beyond the man-made lake in the photo on the left are rooftops of some of the houses in the complex. A few more pictures might have provided a better reminder, a reminder to keep my eye on the pot-of-gold rather than to wallow in despair and exhaustion.

I had always planned to photograph the interior of this house before I moved, but most the living room is now packed so that option is no longer open. Deep down I know that I will always remember the furniture placement and the way the room seemed to wrap around me like a cocoon when I needed to feel safe. I will remember how the morning light wakes me up on sunny days, which are often few and far between. I will remember how on balmy nights I can hear the seals bark and am in awe that the sound carries all the way from Monterey Bay to my ears a couple of miles away. I will remember how compact the ornamental plum tree was 20 years ago and how it has become one of the tallest trees on the block. I will remember many treasured moments and the many losses that have occurred while living here. The latest loss was an uncle who died on Aug. 23 a few weeks short of his 88th birthday. The best memories can't be photographed and they will remain with me until I can no longer remember them.

I have questioned my reluctance to pick up my camera and photograph the last few weeks here but now I have a better understanding of why I couldn't. In some ways it's too painful to think about leaving here while at the same time I've already mentally left. And so the gamut of emotions continues . . .

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Moving Sale

Beautiful day on the Carmel Bay! I had the privilege of sharing some of my favorite spots with friends from New Zealand. The internet has blessed me with many friends but I never imagined that an ExpressionVillage member would end up at my door! What a delight!

More books posted for sale at:

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Against My Will

The cactus to the right came with me when I moved from Big Sur to Pacific Grove over 20 years ago. Will it make another trek? It was a small plant that has since split a couple of times and now is large and heavy. It practically shouts, "Stay away," at anyone who gets near it and is only to happy to stick one with its prickly torns.

I'm knee deep in papers removed from a rusty metal filing cabinet; I can't figure out how to dispose of the cabinet! Tossing out papers is cathartic and depressing at the same time! I used to have an interesting life, at least I thought it was more interesting than the last decade has been. A life-long chronic illness decided to turn my world upside down against my will and insist that I carve out a quieter life; to stop kidding myself that my immune system was going to repair itself and suddenly allow me to live the life I envisoned.

I ran across an article that I had clipped out of the newspaper in 1998. Cecella George had written, "You feel like you have the flu all the time. If I listened to my body, I would never get out of bed." That's pretty much how I feel most of the time and that simple statement was the kick in the rear that helped me find a new direction for my life. Albeit a much quieter life, but one filled with online friends and days full of creativity.

My illness is often an inconvenience! And to that I say, "So what!"

Monday, August 21, 2006


"Be careful what you set your
heart upon--for it will surely
be yours."
James A. Baldwin

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Second visit!

One lonely seagull came to visit today! I was trying to decide what plants to toss and which ones might survive in the desert when I heard the seagull fly overhead. I'm continuing to document the yard so I had my camera with me.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


I've lived in this house nearly 21 years and not once in all of that time has a seagull ever landed on the roof! Are they saying goodbye to me?!

If I could have given them a little direction they would have been facing each other and the distance between them wouldn't have been so vast.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My life has suddenly changed!!

This little house in the CA desert near Palm Springs will soon be my new home!!! I never thought I'd be moving into a new house nor to the desert! But sometimes the solution to problems comes in a way that is so perfect that it's as if it were written in the stars! The two windows in the front are where Mom will reside in her own separate Casita/guest room that is attached to the house with a breezeway! Two bedrooms, two baths, laundry room, great room where the living space, dining nook and kitchen are! Over-sized garage with a sink in it where I will finally have space to dye fabric and make paper! A 12 foot covered patio with overhead fans and a fairly decent sized backyard. It's in a gated community and one must be over 55 to live there!

We discoverd that my aunt, mom's sister, and uncle are moving there in Feb. The sisters haven't lived near each other in 35 years!

The minuses! Leaving the Monterey Peninsula where I've lived for 30 years! A part of me will always remain here even though I may never return! The weather here is moderate; the temps in the desert are above 100 for at least 3-4 months a year!

The pluses! My daughter, two grandsons and fabulous SIL will be two hours away! The area is quiet and has more amenities than I'll probaby ever avail myself of! Mom won't be alone anymore and I feel a lot better knowing that she'll be only a few feet away and that we'll both still have some much needed privacy! It's hard to be in this situation of needing to take care of one's parent, be a care-giver for a 38 year-old daughter and have numerous health issues myself. The worry and stress was taking a huge toll on me! My SIL decided to locate a house and move us and once he makes a decision my daughter is only to happy to sit back and let him do "his thing." Did I mention how great he is!!!??

Escrow closes on Sept 26 and the GRAND EXIT from here is planned for the weekend of Sept 29th! Excitement, fright, gratefulness, relief, panic, grief, are all mixed together into a jumble that has a tight grip on me! La Quinta here we come!!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Maple Tree #2

A little black-and-white manipulation. Same photo as below. I seem to be running out of steam regarding the photo-a-day. A new challenge perhaps?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Maple tree

Another case of putting something behind the branch in order to isolate a portion of the tree.

New leaves on the Maple tree are pristine from about Jan. to April and by August they begin to look weathered and beaten down by life. Today, I'm feeling a little like these leaves.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Another view of the cactus!

Tip: if you strategically place something black behind the object being photographed two things happen: you can create negative space plus a specific area of interest can be isolated. I used to have a piece of black cardboard in my camera bag; I no longer have a camera bag. Following the adage, "use what you have" I propped a piece of black cardstock behind an interesting section.

There are numerous things that can be done with negative space, or not.

Photo-a-day continues!

I forgot to post this yesterday even though I had it ready! There used to be 3 large specimans of this plant in the front yard, but High School kids couldn't resist carving their initials into them which was bad enough! Once graffiti started to appear it was time to pull the plants out! Around the bottoms of the 5 foot wide plants there were some babies and I now have 5 pretty good sized plants living on pots.

Sometimes the best abstracts are done in black-and-white; only then can one take in the shapes and textures.
"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way--things I had no words for."
Georgia O'Keeffe

I feel the same way about black-and-white images.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Found Art?

It's not only foggy today but windy as well. A few branches blew off of the plum tree. I was on my to the trash can with some newspapers I had used while spray painting a lantern on and had an epiphany! Newspaper - branches!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

No motivation!

First non-photo day! I just didn't feel motivated . . .

Paris - Bench near the Eiffel Tower.

This is fun!

My city is Paris! At least it's a city that I've been to and love!
"You enjoy all that life has to offer, and you can appreciate the fine tastes and sites of Paris.You're the perfect person to wander the streets of Paris aimlessly, enjoying architecture and a crepe"

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Garage Sale

Books, magazines, and zines for sale. If you're a reader of this blog feel free to make an offer for any of the items for sale!

email me at:
Note: I'll do my best to keep the list updated. Five books sold immediately, thank you!, and that's when I discovered that I need to manually delete them from the list. So, please check
with me to see if an item is available; that way we can avoid disappointments.

The Joy Of Flying!

Sometimes one needs to look up to find a perfect scene! I heard them coming; they aren't quiet birds, so I was ready when they flew over-head.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Pine cone study

1. Straight photo. 2. Manipulated to make the shadows more intense. 3. Manipulated; frosty tips.

More pine cones fell into my yard last week during the heat-wave.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


I first became aware of this plant with its filigree leaves about a decade ago. Outside of the gym door at the local college there was a huge bush of it. I broke off a few pieces and to my surprise they rooted within two weeks.

The left top image is a close-up of the plant, the other three images were manipulated. The manipulated images might add a touch to an underwater scene.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


This particular succulent has always reminded me of sky-scrapers. After a few attempts I nearly have an image that I like. The viewpoint is difficult to get but with a little PSE manipulation the black-and-white image is pretty close to what I visualized.

"The sentimentalist ages far more quickly than the person who loves his work and enjoys new challenges." Lillie Langry - actress 1853-1929

Starting over after the hard drive crash of a month ago this quote shed some light on why in some ways I've stoped mourning over the lost images. I'm not much of a sentimentalist . . .

Friday, July 28, 2006

A rich patina!

"In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us."
Virginia Wolf

The brass bowl has been out in the yard for a few years; the benefit is the rich patina its acquired! A patina like this can't be faked with one of the new faux paint kits on the market.

The feather was lying on the stone path, but it didn't photograph as well as I had hoped it would. A little drama was required; I challenged myself to find something in the proximity of the stones . I think there is bit of humor in the scene. The handles on the bowl almost look like ears . . .
The play of the dark moss against the light stones only became evident when I looked through the viewfinder.

I might have missed the feather on the stone if the sun had been out. After a nearly week long heat wave the fog came rolling and and cooled us off in a big way! The temp yesterday and today is 60 degrees! Amazing how fast a heat wave can vanish! The fog softens/flattens the light and often brings out details that are missed in bright sunlight.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sweeping away . . .

A rather mundane object, but a necessary one! The broom leans against the house next to where the brick fireplace juts out. The combination of the textures is more evident in the manipulated version than the color it was shot in. I couldn't wait to get inside and turn it into a black and white photo!

I need a broom to sweep away more than debris! I keep mourning the lost photos and work that can't be retrieved from the crashed hard drive! Word came earlier this week that the hard drive is refusing to give up any of my work!
What a hard leason to learn! So, now I'm getting into the habit of saving a second copy of anything I'd like to save and most likely I'm over-doing it and will have endless CD's! Keeping them organized will surely drive me mad!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


No sooner than I say that finding images might become more difficult than this one appears! In bright sunlight the rocks are flat and uninteresting, but in the early morning when shadows from the tree land on them the colors and depth are quite beautiful. No, I didn't place the feather there. Birds occasionally leave behind a variety of treasures such as acorns buried in pots where an oak tree has no business sprouting from.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Labyrinth Assemblage

The 5X7 inch frame is more gold than green . . .
Embossed metal, metal strips, and wrapped metal bead.


"The piece is done when it stops questioning me."
Joan Mitchell

Pine Cone Study

The search for images continues as I make my way through my yard. Pine cones drop into my yard from the giant tree next door! Whatever is in my yard becomes "found art." Two of the images on the left, the second and third ones, are manipulated. The rest of the images have been cropped and all were taken using the close-up feature on the digital camera.

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one." Mark Twain

How true! For years I've thought about photographing on my home turf, but it wasn't until I broke it down into a daily activity that I was able to start the project. I give myself 5 minutes to find an image; if I don't find one in that time-frame I try again later in the day. Sometimes when the light has changed suddenly something will appear that I hadn't noticed earlier in the day.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Faces in Stone

The "caricature" in the stone walkway from a few days ago was the inspiration for this. The color was removed from the image and manipulated a little, then 3 face brushes, that I created, were blended in. The number 56 is on the upper area.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Speaking his mind!

When I opened the front door this morning to bring in the Sunday newspaper the crow, who has decided he too lives in your yard, gave me a piece of his mind!! I hadn' t yet filled the birdfeeder or put cat food in the bowl by the front door for Gilligan! The crow prefers cat food.

I photographed the clouds this morning along with the crow perched on the fence and a shot of a birdhouse I made a couple of years ago. I couldn't resist putting the crow in the pic with the birdhouse. The crow needs a name! Any ideas?

We're on the 5th day of record breaking heat! I was so tired of the fog so it's kind of nice to have warm evenings.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Count None But Sunny Hours

I didn't get yesterday's
double image posted. My dad built the birdhouse and I repainted it about 6 years ago. There is cobweb in the doorway so I imagine a nasty creature has made a home inside!

I absolutely l0ve the stone walkway into my house! On the lower right side there appears to be a caricature. My neighbor gave me the sundial because it was in lousy condition! I sprayed it
black and used gold paint to highlight the numerals, design and quote! She wanted to know where I got such a nice one! Ah, the miracle of paint!

Mandala - Labyrinth

A little Labyrinth history:
Medieval European churches often incorporated a labyrinth pattern in the floor near the entrance. The circular design is a representation of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem; some believe that performing the symbolic journey to the center helps the devout Christian move closer to Jerusalem and union with God.

This labyrinth overlay is based on the one in Chartres Cathedral in France. The overlay is attached to a piece of embossed metal and hangs from a dowel.