Can Photography Mirror Perfection?

Easy Answer

Photographers seek to mirror what they see, so in reality, whatever we photograph mirrors life as we see it. Now to dig deeper into the meaning of mirror.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

When he was a lad of 53, my husband pursued a quest for perfection. After twelve weeks, he achieved it. The card he gave me for Valentine’s Day reflected his pride. The card showed a young lover gazing into his loved one’s eyes. He asked his true love what she thought he could see reflected in her eyes.

(I imagined some romantic images intended to spark a romantic night.)

Inside the card read, “MYSELF…And damn, I look good.”

When this picture fell out of the card, I had to agree.


Had I gazed into his oiled body, I might have seen myself reflected in it, but I doubt that I would have had the same reaction as he did when he looked into “my eyes!” I had not taken the 12-week challenge.ūüôā

#Longwood Gardens #1

Reflections at Longwood Gardens

My favorite pictures mirror images that evoke emotion, the thrill, and satisfaction of capturing perfection at last for a millisecond.

Longwood Conservatory
Longwood Conservatory

This reflected at the Conservatory of Pierre Samuel du Pont, marked the mid-point of a perfect visit to Longwood Gardens. Pipe organ music just finished playing the background.

Passing through the glass doors Hal and I entered the water-lily space or garden of a million mirrors.

 hardy water lily gardens
hardy water-lily gardens

To be perfectly candid, I did not notice the mirror images until I looked at the Photo Challenge topic for this week when I got home. The sun got into the mirroring act providing a shadow image of one of the lilies.

Volunteer worker dead heads the lilies.
Volunteer worker dead heads the lilies.

While the flower on top is beautiful enough, if you look closely you can see the sky and a tree reflecting what a beautiful day it is in Kennett Square, PA at the Longwood Gardens. Only a couple of places revealed marred perfection. The Tropical Gardens magnified 84 degrees by 100% humidity to produce rivulets of reflecting power on my face, had you been there to gaze into it.

Hal asked me whether I had been to Longwood Gardens before.

When I told him, “No,” he reflected, “What awful tour guide have you had that has neglected this icon of Delaware and Pennsylvania.?”

“No one is perfect, Hal. Even the most dedicated tour guide,” I said mirroring his jocular self-accusation.

This visit was not too late to enjoy the beauty of these gardens mirrored in their watery beds.


It is difficult to discern where the mirroring starts and the underwater growth stops. These three Siamese models are stars of perfection.


Hal told one tourist that she could stand on a lily pad. I’m sure she objected, to his delight.

To prove his point, for Hal likes to be right, he brought along a picture of the young woman he had printed on his computer. True to his promise, she (or rather the picture which mirrored her) stood on the lily pad.

I don’t recommend standing on lily pads for the rest of us. We would surely break the serenity of the water necessary to produce this perfect lily pad reflection. To me, the lily pad looks like the perfect tray for party cupcakes for Alice and her Looking-Glass friends. What do you see reflected here?


Eventually, I will pack my bags and head home to Woodlake, CA. Reflections abound in this classic truck which came to our Woodlake Car Show, even though perfection may be amiss. The mirrors are present, as are the images. Do you see at least two reflections?

If so, please accept the star of Texaco as your reward.

wp-photo-challenge-mirror100Santa must have found of mirror image of that truck somewhere. This cargo vehicle boasts a mirror as well, but the mirror did not alert Santa to the visitor who knocked at his door. I wonder if Big Ben had been the mirror of perfection all year, or possibly he had been a little naughty and was pleading his case? We would have to ask the Three River’s artist, Nadi Spencer, who drew this picture.

wp-photo-challenge-mirror101If you headed up to Three Rivers this spring, you would find water in Kaweah Lake almost up to the road mirroring the hills. Last I heard the water level more accurately reflects our CA drought.

wp-photo-challenge-mirror103Nothing is as beautiful to a Californian than the reflection of a healthy water supply. We live in a beautiful country where every drop of stored water reflects life as well as the beauty you see in the water. Bravo Lake filled this winter.


Bonus reflection – my windshield. My mirror reflects more than just my camera and my beautifully painted red fingernails. It reflects the enormous number of people behind me who come to the Sequoia National Park to reflect on the beauty of our natural resources in America. On Memorial Day the line was five miles long. The line in June when I visited the Park with my brother was shorter.

Thank you to Y. Prior for mentioning me in her blog post on Mirrors.

For more reflections on the word mirror, click here.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016


Narrow Escape Through the Stout Trees

The narrow road through the stout trees should have alerted us that the final challenge would narrow down ever further.

Klamath Canon241

Sure enough. It did. Such a narrow passage, we had to fold in our mirrors.Klamath Canon260

If you are planning a trip to the Redwoods, the Northern California or  Southern Oregon coast, you might be interested in more pictures of our road trip three years ago. To read about our Accidental Vacation click any of the links below. What started as a disaster ended up to be one of our favorite trips.

For hundreds of narrow views, click the icon below.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016


7 Cherry on the Sundae Moments in 2016 – So Far!

#WP Photo Challenge

Cherries, sweet goodness, the joys and best of life

If the cherry is on top, all’s well that ends well, right? Life is a bowl of cherries. That is this week’s photo challenge, “cherry on top.” I tried to cherry pick the best photos from my 2016 collection that fit that description.

Definitely red
Definitely red

It was hot July 3rd in the Central Valley. As appointed photographer for the Kiwanis July 3rd Blast, I sought out interesting shots. Sure enough, here was the cherry on top.

a very cute parade rider with a cherry on top
a very cute parade rider with a cherry on top

She probably did not need to be coaxed to ride in the parade. In a few years, she will probably be Miss Woodlake.

Intent on history, his and 275 others' enjoyment of the new Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum was the cherry on top of the entire effort.
Intent on history, his and 275 others’ enjoyment of the new Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum was the cherry on top of the entire effort.

At the Grand Opening of the Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum, we experience double-vision with this cherry-red cap. Maybe he is reading about the founding members of the Woodlake Lions.

The VIP opening of the Museum was a cherry topping experience for me. Here’s why.

My phone rang. I was about to step back into my tour bus in Hawaii. It was Carl Peden. We had never met, but he donated lots of artifacts to the museum from his time serving the White House as the pilot of Air Force One. On a whim, I asked him if he would be one of the speakers at the VIP opening. To my surprise, he agreed.

Carl Peden, so vibrant at the Museum VIP opening, passed away two days later on President's Day. We all mourn his passing.
Carl Peden, so vibrant at the Museum VIP opening.

At the end of his speech he took off his jacket and handed it to our President, Rudy Garcia, for the Museum. What an electrifying end to his speech!

Woodlake Museum iPhone photos

He proudly pointed out his name on the donor list to his relatives.

On President’s Day, two days later, he passed away. I think this event might have been the last cherry on his cake. We loved having him.

Tulare County is one of the agricultural capitals of the world.
Tulare County is one of the agricultural capitals of the world.

The Tulare County Agricultural Fair is the cherry of all ag festivals. Thousands of ag professionals come from all over the world to see cherries like the one pictured. They probably know what this machine¬†does, too! I just think it’s pretty and red.

a festive find at the botanical gardens
a festive find at the botanical gardens

Cacti don’t bloom that often, but when they do, they give us a magnificent show. This¬†cherry-picked this photo emerged out of hundreds during¬†the Woodlake Botanical Gardens Berry Festival this May. Beware, do not try to eat it, though!

Gelato anyone?
Gelato anyone?

Las Vegas is hot year round compared to most places. Gelato seemed like the best option for dinner after hubby played a rousing hand of poker all day. Nourishing? Not really. A delicious end to a fun day? Definitely!

Cherry of a life time!
Cherry vacation of a lifetime!

Though not overly thrilled with being the cherry in this picture, I was on cloud nine the week we were in Hawaii with my friends Carol, the Eternal Traveler from Australia, and Connie, my friend from TCOE, and their husbands.

The guys made it too!
The guys made it too!

You never know how it is going to work out¬†when you put six people who¬†have never traveled together on a week’s vacation, let alone six people, most of whom have never met in person. This Hawaiian trip was more than the icing on the cake. It was definitely the cherry on top!

Mr. ET enjoyed whale watching.
Mr. ET enjoyed whale watching. I love this picture of his enthusiasm!
We had fun trying to fit into a selfie. Where's V?
We had fun trying to fit into a selfie. Where’s V? Can you see him next to me?

We all look a little wind-blown. Make-up? Forget about it! Fun? You bet!

We climbed hundreds of stairs to take this picture at the top of Iao State Park.
We climbed hundreds of stairs to take this picture at the top of Iao State Park.

Huff, huff, huff! We made it to the top! My cherry-colored hat protected my face from frying in the sun, but held in the heat. Yes, I’m still smiling, but let’s sit down and have a nice cool drink, what do you think?

I lost my cherry bonnet in the shade, and wore my sarong in a most appealing way, don't you think?
I lost my cherry bonnet in the shade, and wore my sarong in a most appealing way, don’t you think?

Near the end of the week, and we are still smiling, but I’m sad inside because it will end soon.

Are cherries more valuable because they are so tiny compared to the rest of life?
Are cherries more valuable because they are so tiny compared to the rest of life?

One week out of our lives, such a small chunk, but it leaves lasting memories as bright as cherries on a chocolate soda.

And eventually the sun set on the cherry experience.
And eventually, the sun set on the cherry experience.

For more cherries, click the icon.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

If you enjoyed this, be the cherry on my sundae and please share it.ūüôā


Weekly Photo Challenge: Spare

Spare… What was your first thought? Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Much of the Central Valley of California drew its population from Dust Bowl migrants in the 1930s. These Okies and Arkies stayed and now many of them thrive harvesting crops like hay and alfalfa. The amount of food produced Elderwood, a community of about 120 people and thousands of acres of crops, groves, orchards, and cattle ranches, feed us and give us plenty to spare.

Central CA agriculture hay100
Even a grown woman looks small next to the plenty of this harvest.

After a season of record-setting rainfall, the cattle will have enough feed to spare.

Central CA agriculture hay101

Neat stacks ready for storage will soon be picked up and transported to a more permanent location.

High class hay
High-class hay

The stacker did not waste a spare moment moving these mountains of golden bales. Watch how it is done!

Loading finished, this hay bale machine loader, unloads at Hay Mountain and returns to fetch a new load before dark. He has about an hour to spare.

Central CA agriculture hay109

For more pictures and thoughts on the word spare click here.

Go Vibrant for Valentine’s Day

In the Central Valley, spring is the most vibrant time, not only visually, but the way things smell as well.  Summer and fall are hazy, Winter is foggy or rainy.

Red¬†screams vibrant to me . Here are some beautiful examples of vibrant colors from the Bravo Lake¬†Botanical Gardens. Their vibrant fragrances fill the air. ¬†Brought inside a small enclosed room, like my office at work, the¬†scent¬†almost overpowers me. But in the dining room, they perfume the entire house.Salmon/yellow/red/orange take your pick.Even the leaves are vibrant.This ain't no violet! Put on your most winning smile showing off your vibrant personality, and¬†voila – your sweetie shows up with this. Sweet smells compliment vibrant colors, ¬†Vibrant desertI smell the rich aroma of¬†cup of French Vanilla coffee to go with this treat, don’t you? Put all these together and you see¬†my dream¬†Vibrant Valentine’s treat.

For more vibrant pictures, click the icon below.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

Alphabet Photo Challenge

Alphabets ruled my life when I taught kindergarten. We had multiple pictures for every letter, and they dominated the decor. Letters are so prevalent in the decor of our lives¬†today, I think I look past and through them now … unless they make me laugh!


Teachers are so accustomed to reading upside down, that sometimes they forget that they can actually read right-side up.


This must have been a page turner, and the reader couldn’t be bothered with directionality.


Sometimes it’s important to read ahead to learn about where you are going so that you don’t miss the things you might really enjoy.


Or you can read signs and wing it.

“Of course, I’m hungry. Let’s stop here!”

Speaking of reading, thanks Paula Terrill for telling me that you read all my posts, even if you don’t comment. It’s nice to know! ¬†:) I write to be read. Don’t you?

For more thoughts about alphabets check out the Weekly Photo Challenge here.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016


Weekly Photo Challenge: Weight or Weightlessness

What an appropriate¬†topic for this week’s Photo Challenge. I don’t think much about being weightless, but I do think a lot about weight. ¬†I am not alone in that. The most popular New Year’s Resolution in the world is weight loss. ¬†Let it be known that I’m resolving right this second¬†to lose weight. (Whew, glad that’s over!)

In our small town of Woodlake, California, the Kiwanis Club hosts a “Run for Hunger” event every April. Those of us who have plenty of food, lots of energy, and maybe a bit more weight than we want or need pay to run three miles around Bravo Lake to raise money to buy food to stock the Woodlake Food Pantry for those who don’t have enough food to eat.


Most of the contestants are fit. Kiwanis¬†feeds them a pancake breakfast after they finish. No one ever turns it down! ¬†This quest for weight watching and keeping in shape¬†begins early here in Woodlake, and is quite well dressed, wouldn’t you agree?


The idea of watching our weight is episodic worldwide. We engage in long never-ending periods of various exercises,

Weight 3

trying to remove the effects of depositing morsels of tastiness which take so little time to consume.


The trainer we had on our vacation in Hawaii suggested that the only way to lose weight is to pay attention to what we put into our mouths.

I was hoping there was another way, weren’t you?

Click here to see what other people have to share about weight and weightlessness.

Oops- We Waited One Day Too Long to Trade in Our Car: Eulogy to a Prius

We named her Pris. She was my baby for nine years, and we went everywhere together. She is my subject for this week’s WP Photo Challenge, Oops.

See how glazed over her eyes are?

When her heart ruptured, I rushed her to the hospital and she underwent expensive heart replacement (hybrid battery) surgery, and we brought her home. Within just a few months she had another major attack, this time of her central nervous system (touch screen computer system). We took her back to the hospital, and the surgeons told us it would be $1,800 to put her back together correctly. I told Pris that was too much. She was not happy with me.

Her circulatory system was most affected by her central nerve damage. If she was cold we could press on the top of the screen to turn on the front and rear defroster even though the touchscreen buttons were on the bottom of the screen. If she had a hot flash,¬†we could turn¬†down the temperature of the air conditioner on the steering wheel, but her¬†fan automatically came on full blast. (A real oops!) If we got tired of listening to her¬†fan, we could turn it down by turning up the temperature on the steering wheel. That is not a problem in the winter, but when the outside temperature is 110 and her¬†internal temperature is 130… (oops again)

We looked at cars for several weeks while Pris continued to limp along. ¬†She tried to tell us the end was near. She dropped¬†her rear view mirror and left it dangling by its cord. Vince stuck it back on. She complained because it was loose and it rubbed her windshield every time I hit a bump, but I ignored her complaining. She got in a little accident when someone backed into her at a stop sign – or she snuck up to kiss the car. We weren’t sure which, but she had to have plastic surgery. Even with insurance her face lift cost us $500. She showed wear around the door where her insulation started¬†to sag. I told Vince I wasn’t paying for any more plastic surgery. One minute Vince could live with her for a few more months. At other times I could. Both of us should have known better.

Meanwhile Pris got sicker and sicker. One day she turned on her red triangle with the flashing exclamation point. She had leaked out all her oil in 1,000 miles. She was on a 3,000-mile checkup instead of 5,000 miles after her heart surgery. Vince filled her with expensive oil, and she felt better. She turned off her red triangle. He took her to have her oil changed about 500 miles later. Friday, she told us she would not go one mile farther, and she turned on her red triangle again. A sign appeared on her touchscreen to put her into park.

Vince and I finally HAD to agree on a car to replace Pris. ¬†You can read about that in ¬†a earlier post. I could afford something at the Corolla level. ¬†I can’t tell you what he said about the Corolla because his son is proud of his.¬†Vince¬†told me I should get a Cruze when Pris started with her second episode. I could afford that without any help from him. Although I had drug my feet, I finally decided that a Chevy Cruze would work. We bought it after the shortest test drive in history. Vince wouldn’t even go along. He wanted to get on the way to go our¬†Audi appointment, but ¬†almost any car he liked and some he didn’t – an Audi, , ATS, Fusion, or¬†Volt would need his financial help. ¬†He wanted a Porsche, and that required all my contribution and then some. So he quickly agreed to the Cruze.

no name Chevy Cruze

We brought Pris’s replacement home Friday, No name Chevy Cruze. Pris¬†looked forlorn, but if Friday was sad, Saturday was worse. The dealer gave us $700 in trade for Pris – dead or alive. ¬†Vince drove her onto the tow truck. I couldn’t watch, but he took these pictures.

Pris 3 cr

Then she drove away for the last time. The mailbox looks like her cross.  She still looks good for her age Р9.5 years. Bye bye Pris. You were a good girl, and I love you. RIP

Pris 2 cr

For more mistakes aka “WP Photo Challenge – Oops” click here.

WP Photo Challenge Eye Spy

Frank Lloyd Wright kept odd hours often working in the middle of the night and catching a cat nap during the day.  He had a code so that his architectural students knew when they could approach him. If they spied him sleeping on the bed nearest his desk, they could approach and ask him a question.

If they looked in the window and spied him sleeping on the other bed. Eye y eye, they knew they had better stay out.  

I found it difficult to spy the bed with all the reflections.  

His wife’s open room allowed students to spy on her easily.

I hope you enjoyed spying on the very private life of America’s most famous and controversial architect and his fourth wife.

For more spy stories click here.

Word Press Photo Challenge: Treat

It’s a treat to thrash Bob — hard!

Bopping Bob.
Bopping Bob.

In only two months I’ve gotten so much better at it. When I started fighting Bob, I could barely tap him in the chest for 15 seconds. Now I can beat on him for a minute without being out of breath. (OK I exaggerate a LITTLE.)

I’ve learned to sock him in the solar plexus.

Watch out, Bob!
Watch out, Bob!

I can back arm him and thoroughly box his ears.

Two months ago my husband and I began training with our best friend’s daughter, Melissa, a five foot two powerhouse who has competed successfully in at least one national fitness competition. When we started I couldn’t plank, not for a second. Now I can hold still, not without a lot of groaning, for at least 30 seconds after doing two rounds of other serious exercises.

Melissa and her friend, Bob

Some things I still can’t do. While V is doing serious pull-ups, I’m stretching trying to hang from a bar without pulling anything up. I still have to have my tippy toes on the ground, though, and even that hurts. the other day I stretched out with my feet on the ball and my hands clenching a couple of hanging rings. I swear I lifted my body about an eighth of an inch. I was so proud I called over to Melissa to watch.

But put me behind a pair of rope handles, and I can drive those ropes into submission. Melissa tells V to watch my great form. I am so proud.

So what does all this violence do for our bodies? Melissa says our core will get stronger. So far I have only gained weight – about 4-5 pounds. My clothes still fit , and my body still looks roly poly in the mid-section, but I’m definitely able to do more harm to Bob that I ever thought possible, and that’s a treat!

BTW, I thought Melissa named Bob after her dad, but everyone on YouTube seems to call him Bob, and here I thought I was pounding “Bob,” (which I would never have dared in real life!) ¬†:)

For more treats click here.

The Deliberate Blur: Retirement?

We looked forward to our¬†vacation in¬†Sedona for weeks, and we’ve already been home for two days. ¬†What happened?

2015 Sedona601

Sights seemed clear enough when we were there. We stopped at a wonderful museum in Kingman even though this lady view us with some distrust.  Maybe her vision was blurred.

2015 Laughlin251

If you are at the Route 66 Museum, and you like old-fashioned milkshakes and malts you should go across the street to Mr. Dz. Yelp provided this picture, so¬†I’m a bit blurry on the name details.

Mr DzWe spent the first and last night in Laughlin, so we met ourselves coming and going. It was beautiful on the way, but by the way back, the blurry air smeared the town’s beauty. ¬†So enjoy the first glimpse.

2015 Laughlin401

We visited a park called Slide Rock on the way home that may have been the most beautiful place in the world. In 1912 a man named Frank Pandry homesteaded it and grew apples.

2015 Sedona211

It’s heyday came and went¬†in a blur, but artifacts remain. It’s definitely worth a visit.

2015 Sedona141

The red blur at the bottom explains how the place got its name. Kids and adults alike still enjoyed the slippery rocks.

2015 Sedona184Bees still enjoyed sniffing the black apple blossoms. I had never heard of black apples.

2015 Sedona173

Can you imagine a finer setting for an apple orchard?

2015 Sedona209

For more blurry pictures click here.

Organizing – a Fresh Start or the Kiss of Death?

It’s spring, time for a fresh startTC Iris Festival

Spring gives me clutterphobia.  In the spring, after a winter of projects, clutter creeps up on me like the consequences of a young female kitty with outdoor privileges. Oops, where did this come from? Unfortunately, having clutterphobia means I must make life and death decisions about MY valuable STUFF.

2015 organizing105

I remember my grandmother hanging dresses on top of dresses on her bedroom and¬†closet doors and every other door that would open because her closet, chests of drawers, three car garage – that housed Grandpa’s business and Grandma’s¬†clutter – and full basement weren’t large enough to hold her favorite things.

I don’t want to be like Grandma, but I admit that I don’t notice clutter when I’m slaving madly in some pet project. If I¬†have enough drawers, boxes, shelves, table tops or containers I can shove it into or stack it neatly when company comes, I’m happy. But sometimes I have to stop, and make a fresh start. Like when Vincie says, “We’re starting a new project. You’ve got to move everything out of here!”

We're also remodeling our bathroom. Yikes!
We’re also remodeling our bathroom. Yikes!


During intense periods of work, my house fills from the inside out.¬†I¬†go to a conference and bring home freebies and purchased books that I¬†couldn’t resist, and I’m too busy to deal with it. If¬†Vince or I¬†can’t find gloves, make-up, pair of glasses, jewelry, bowls, hammers, flashlights,¬†we¬†buy cheap replacements. The longer I let it go, the less space I have to walk around in my house, and suddenly¬†the clutter hits me¬†like an infestation of cockroaches. I need a fresh start. But how?

My enormous collection of handmade or inexpensive jewelry.

My enormous collection of handmade or inexpensive jewelry.

Organize it and put it somewhere safe

Eventually I complete or tire of my messy project or collection,¬†but I still can’t bear to part with the stuff.

Organize it and put it somewhere safe.  :)
¬†I’m sure I’ll be wearing that stuff sometime soon!ūüôā

I start a new job April 1. I’ll tell you about it after it’s publicly announced, but I’m cleaning and organizing my house to get ready¬†for a fresh new project!

My 5th trip to Goodwill in the last three weeks. (Since I haven't been blogging!  :)
I’m ready for my¬†5th trip to Goodwill in the last three weeks, since I haven’t been blogging!ūüôā

This past week I’ve also been organizing¬†my computer into external drives and getting things off about ten different cloud drives that slowed my poor little Apple¬†down to a crawl to give it a fresh¬†start. (It still has an arthritic drive, and takes longer to get going than my grandpa used to take getting out of his recliner.)

I’ve spent two days freshening up¬†my CCSS and SJVCSS files, and moving them to a Google Drive so a new¬†volunteer will¬†be able to find things they might need. Without files, there is no institutional memory. An organization for social studies – history, geography, economics and government teachers – better have some institutional memory. We don’t even have a historian in either group. ¬†Yikes. But I have ORGANIZED files.

The SJVCSS website needed a fresh start, too. ¬†I destroyed¬†the home page accidentally. That’s one of the hazards of cleaning I forgot to mention – destruction. My mother was a clutterbug. When I was 10, she had to spend a week in the hospital. My dad decided that he would organize and clean everything. He even took the dresser pulls off the dresser and soaked them in solution that ate off the finish instead of the fingerprints. ¬†Now I’ve turned into my dad.

We’re hiring an expert to start afresh with a new website that it won’t wilt when a little Miss Sunshine decides to organize and freshen it up a bit. ¬†In my defense, it needed organizing. the Latest News and Twitter Posts showing on the homepage were dated May, 2012, and newer posts existed.

My lost manuscript

One positive note to cleaning the clutter before I must leave you. Over twenty years ago I wrote a book during summer break. I stored it on big floppy disks, (LOL if you remember those!) ¬†but I also had a printed copy of it that I couldn’t find anywhere. I found it last night. It’s like finding an old friend. I have it sitting next to my computer where I can look down and smile at it and put my coffee cup on it for a few days until I have to find a new place for it. It’s about 250 pages clipped neatly onto an old brown clipboard. I doubt that I will retype it any time soon. BUT IT’S NOT CLUTTER … is it?

For more ideas about Freshness, check out the WP Daily Post.

Reward: What Does It Mean To Me?

I think accomplishments reward me.

2015 ride home126Frankly there is no reward great enough to recompense a person for the amount of effort they put into a project. ¬†For example, why blog? Is it because someone rewards you? Of course not. Most of us blog to communicate with the world, to share what’s happening that’s important to us. My last blog told the story of¬†¬†Bob’s old barn, I fell in love with it just in time – it’s coming down. It was rewarding to take pictures and tell the story.

2015 Hengst Barn106I took the picture below of this same path Saturday on my way home from Visalia. It has changed. History is all about change. Today it looks like this.

2015 ride home128This crane cleared out olive trees, and the barn will come down soon to make way for a new field of fruit trees.

Today I met with a friend, Laile Di Silvestro, today who is helping me heal¬†a sick and injured website for San Joaquin Valley Council for the Social Studies.¬†My reward for the three and a half hours that we¬†labored is a website that works a little better, a closer relationship with a talented¬†and generous person, and – ¬†totally unrelated, but I’m counting it as a reward – beautiful weather giving me¬†scenery to photograph.

2015 ride home110Seriously, you’d think it was mid-summer in Montana to look at that sky. It’s a bit chilly, but not enough to deter anyone. We’ve all been praying for rain. That would be a reward.

2015 ride home105A few of these clouds rewarded us with a light drizzle, but not much rain. Most of our water comes from wells pumped from underground aquifers or nearby irrigations ditches.


2015 ride home104These pumps may not look beautiful, but water is a huge reward.

2015 ride home106

And we are rewarded by food, not only for us but for the cows that provide one of my favorite foods – cheese. Tulare County is one of the largest dairy producing counties in the world. We probably have more cows here than we have people. Most of them live near Visalia and Hanford in large dairies of up to 5,000 cows. Talk about a lot of work. If you don’t like cheese, it might not seem like such a great reward, but I love it.

2015 ride home119This is the dairy I used to pass everyday on my way to and from work.

2015 ride home117Those cows probably aren’t praying for rain, but I’m guessing that the people who live in this house on that dairy farm are. ¬†I hope they get their reward.ūüôā


For more entries about rewards click here.



Photo Challenge: Rule of Thirds

Rule of thirds challenges me unless I have a 9 grid overlaying the photo or viewfinder. ¬†Since I’ve never seen a viewfinder like that, I confess that these shots became rule of thirds after the camera lens¬†had long since left the scene.

A bird in the bush is worth two in the hand.
A bird in the bush is worth two in the hand. You wouldn’t want this bird in your hand¬†at any price.

These shots look a little cloudy because dense fog covered the Woodlake Valley floor the day I took them.  I should have had my portrait done out-of-doors that day. This woodpecker may have had trouble finding his worm.  I prefer that he pecks at the ground instead of burying his acorns in my roof or pecking my siding.

Cross-Eyed Kitty hasn't lost the instince of hunting.
Cross-Eyed Kitty hasn’t lost the instinct of hunting.

Out to help me keep my yard bird-free, Cross-Eyed Kitty looks like a fierce hunter. ¬†In reality, this beautiful old feral cat heard me, and came running so I could take him over to my house to eat from Mama and Scardy’s bowl.

Cross-Eyed Kitty poses.
Cross-Eyed Kitty poses.

We know he’s at least fourteen years old, but he may be a lot older. He looks great, but¬†pick him up, and he’s all hair and bones. ¬†He has the most beautiful blue eyes.

Rule of Thirds8

Cross-Eyed Kitty never acted feral. ¬†As soon as he comes near, he rolls over for a rub. ¬†I did not edit this photo as CEK took up exactly two-thirds of the picture if you don’t count his tail, which blends into the ground anyway.

peach blossom
peach blossom

Back home again after rescuing CEK from a hard hunting trip, I walked around the yard admiring the new blooms on the peach trees. ¬†Woodlake Valley boasts hundreds, no thousands, of peach trees which grow in large orchards with military-perfect straight lines. Pink and white blossoms make this valley fit for a¬†¬†spring festival. My husband’s sinuses do not agree.

Everything's peachy keen with TC History Gal.
Everything’s peachy keen with TC History Gal.

For more Rule of Thirds pictures click the WP icon.


Photo Challenge: Scale

desk messiness scale

On a scale of 1 to 10 with ten being the most organized and 1 being piled to the ceiling with recipes and newspaper clippings,  I would give my writing area a 4. It took over 500 words to list all the things on the desk.

On a scale of 1 to 10 of how interesting this information is with 10 being information  you want to go share with 947 of your closest Facebook friends, and 1 being you would kill yourself before you ever mentioned this to anyone, I would give this subject matter a 2. Trust me, nothing is worth killing yourself, not that I’ve ever tried it. If I was going to try to commit suicide, a messy desk would not rate even a 0 on a 1 to 10 scale and a post about it would rate even lower than that.

writing, blogging, book reviews, New_Office04

Nonetheless, I rate my desk/table very high on the likeability scale for several reasons. First and last, as you can see, I like to spread out when I write or study. A normal to large desk does not allow for me to pile up enough stuff that I can’t read all at the same time. I get a lot of comfort distraction from having papers all over the place when I write. Generally, when I’m writing, there is something I don’t know. So if I have my research right beside me, I can thumb through it and find the facts I need fairly quickly. If I have a tiny desk, notes and copies of articles end up on the floor. Soon I crawl around on the floor reading one article after another on my hands and knees.

desk chair

On a scale of 1 to 10  grading for reading comfort level, the hands and knees position is a 0 and my desk is an 8. The only reason my desk is an 8 and not a 10 is because it is too high, and I can’t figure out how the lever works on my chair to raise it.

Raising the chair should be easy, but on a scale of 1 to 10 my chair is a 1.  It is much easier to go into the bedroom and get a pillow and put it on the seat. My dog likes that better because if she had a choice of places to lie down, she always chooses the place with a pillow.

Kalev’s Scale

no pillow                                                                             pillow


1                                                                                                        10

You are welcome to rate my desk yourself on whatever scale you dream up. Better yet, rate your own desk. Or write about scale in a different way. In the Central Valley of California scale is a dirty word because a critter that lives on oranges is called scale.

my favorite skylight/plant shot
my favorite skylight/plant shot

I apologise that this post has nothing to do with showing scale in a photograph, or at least I didn’t pick that out. ¬†Maybe you will find something scaly about this post, and if so, please feel free to comment. ¬†If you read this to be inspired about what to post, then you might want to keep looking.

Here are some other ideas to inspire you.


WP Photo Challenge: Yellow

Yellow seems to creep into every picture even when I don’t focus on it. ¬†I looked for a folder that might show a lot of yellow where one might not expect it. ¬†I first opened “Market Research.” ¬†In this photo trip, I explored what sold books. ¬†Compare the picture with more yellow. ¬†What do you think?

Yellow 1RT


with less
with less

I actually could not find a bookcase with NO yellow.  Yellow makes the other colors pop.  Which book in the next bookcase draws your attention?  Which ones would you choose to read looking at the cover?  What about if you just looked at the spine?

Yellow 3

Yellow needs another color to offset it, but a bit of yellow goes a long way, wouldn’t you say? ¬†The book I remember reading from this entire post – 9 months later is The Dark.

For more choices click the WP icon



The six million dollar photo that sold recently captured the perfect twinkle of light and processed it beautifully. These are my $1.00 twinkles taken with my iPhone last year at the NCSS Conference in St. Louis and their different processes.


First I cropped it to help it adhere to the thirds rule.

Stylized with Glowing Edges
Stylized with Glowing Edges

Then I added filters.   I thought this one was pretty cool because it took it from real and somewhat blurry to on-purpose blurry with some sharp edges.

Filter:  Stylized - Solarized
Filter: Stylized – Solarized

I solarized Twinkle 3, and I like the rainbow of colors.

Distortion:  Glass
Distortion: Glass

Twinkle 4 reminds me of driving through St. Louis with my dad when

rain pelted the windshield¬†unfettered by¬†wipers. ¬†I’m not sure why we lived through that ride.

I actually thought they turned out well considering¬†the beginning photo. ¬†Mr. Snowman, however, reflects my best camera’s capabilities (before I dropped it) – and mine too, for that matter.

SFW Christmas 2012004RT

Mr. Snowman posed beautifully on our tree last year.  Here he poses pretending he is outside in the snow instead of our cozy cottage.  He came back shivering, though.

Filter:  Stylize:  Find Edges
Filter: Stylize: Find Edges

He tried on the Glowing Edges next, and liked the look when he preened in the mirror, and asked for one more make-over.

Fliter: Stylized: Glowing Edges
Fliter: Stylized: Glowing Edges

I threw him into the texturizer, and he came out immortalized as a stained glass window.

Texture: Stained Glass
Texture: Stained Glass

With a twinkle in his eye he asked me to find out from you which of his pictures you like best. ¬†:) ¬†I’ll be sure to tell him. ¬†He’s got his eye on me from the tree in the living room. ¬†:) ¬†He thinks he’d make a good Christmas card. ¬†What do you think? ¬†:)

For more great Twinkle pictures click the icon below



Angular: the Daily Post Photo Challenge

I examined¬†12 posts before I wrote this. ¬†I don’t usually do that, but I needed inspiration. ¬†I smiled at this¬†favorite¬†. ¬†You have to look past the obvious angle to see the real angle, and wonder where the photographer stood to shoot this single picture post.


Angles are easy to find in the city, but what about in the country? ¬†I checked out some of my most recent Woodlake pictures for you from my folder of Buttes and Bridges, and found more angles than I expected. ¬†I love this one because it looks like Jack’s steel beanstalk disappearing into the sky climbing to an unknown giant’s castle.

Actually, the power company decided that detouring the installation of these monstrosities into the country served the better good that marching them up the straight path along a freeway.  Not everyone agreed with that angle of thought, but there were fewer voters to object in the sparsely populated areas.

What’s your angle? ¬†Here is the key to others that I liked.