#Sunday Stills: Everything Is Coming Up Roses

I wondered if I was going to find enough pictures to respond to Terri’s Rosy #Sunday Stills challenge this week, then we had to take our car in. Who knew?

Yes, the car place was just down the street from Cracker Barrel, and we had an hour to kill. Cracker Barrel was dressed for the season(s) – Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter, all rosy. Wait till you see what I found.

I thought this Wonder Woman sign would go well in my office.

This is for you Hugh Roberts. Chocolate!

Terri, these should rosy items should keep you warm and cozy until spring.

I can’t forget my husband who likes night lights. This might not be quite his taste. If there was a car inside, he’d love it. He also loves salt and pepper shakers.

Who is on your shopping list for the next pink holiday? Here are some items that might make them smile.

If those weren’t enough, there were some giant roses to put between your teeth next time you dance the tango.

With that I close and wish you all a belated Valentine’s Day, Happy Easter and Mother’s Day.

Coming up

  • #WQWWC Writer Quotes – You find them, you post them, and link them to the challenge tomorrow featuring the word: RESPONSIBILITY, or Put the Blame on Me.
  • It’s not to late to comment on Geoff Le Pard’s short story for Story Chat – The Trophy Cabinet. I doubt that you’ve even seen (or want to see) a cabinet filled with these trophies.

For more rosy entries, check out Terri’s Sunday Still’s comment section.

#Sunday Stills, #Lens-Artists 133 My Landscape Journey Started with Dad

Terri Webster Schrandt who hosts Sunday Stills invites us to post our favorite landscapes. Amy from Lens-Artists shared her photographic journey and invites us to do the same.

Dad and Randy (6’3″) in front of an Indiana snowbank in the 70’s

Childhood Photography

My dad didn’t get much credit for doing good things in my life, but one thing I appreciated was his love and talent for photography. He started taking me with him on photo shoots when I was ten.

“You’ve got the eye for what makes a good picture, Marsha.”

I was over the moon with that compliment for the rest of my life.

Neither my brother nor I have his expertise, but we share the love of photography. I don’t know who took this picture of my dad and brother but it came from Dad’s slide collection.

Before Blogging

Shortly after Mom died, Randy and I took our first vacation alone together. We started out at one of our favorite stomping grounds Cascade Locks, Oregon. We at at our favorite hamburger joint looking out at the Bridge of the Gods.

The Bridge of the Gods is a toll bridge spanning the Columbia River to connect SR-14 in Washington to I-84 in Oregon. The bridge is owned and operated by the Port of Cascade Locks in the city of Cascade Locks.

As I picked out my favorite landscape pictures throughout the most prolific years of my life, I noticed I have a propensity to take pictures of bridges. Our next stop was Depoe Bay on the Oregon Coast. Much of the time the Oregon coast is cloudy and gray. We couldn’t have had a more perfect day for taking photos.

After Blogging

Until I started blogging, and taking digital photos, I did not take the volume of pictures I take now. Leanne and Carol, two Australian bloggers made a huge difference in my photography and my writing. I went to see them in December of 2016-January of 2017. These next pictures may not be landscape photos, but they are part of my photographic journey.

By the way, Russel Ray taught me about how to do frames and create a signature. For some reason, the size I’ve been using forever seems huge in comparison to my photos. You’ll find a few less annoyingly narcissistic-sized signatures. I am lazy and didn’t want to redo all my photos a third time.

For one photo shoot Leanne Cole picked us up at about 4:00 and drove us to the Docklands. The weather that December day was cool and breezy, a perfect summer evening for taking pictures.

Primarily a waterfront area centered on the banks of the Yarra River, the Docklands was originally swamp land that became a busy dock area as part of the Port of Melbourne in the 1880s. It fell into disuse by the 1990s and was revived into the bustling entertainment area in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The Webb Bridge in Docklands, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia is my favorite bridge in the world. It felt like we were walking on the inside of a slinky. Everywhere Leanne stopped, I stopped and clicked about a third of the number of pictures she took. Carol and Christine, another photographer with us, found their own way. Leanne taught me the rule of thirds, keeping my pictures straight, not chopping off people’s feet, keeping the shadow’s off people’s faces and many more basic composition tools.

The U.S. Journey

As is probably evident, I have not had much photographic training. I took a wildflower class where I learned to take macros with my Canon Rebel and how to use a tripod. This picture came from Tulare County at Norris Ranch east of Porterville, CA. Tulare County Office of Education owns this property and uses it for student research.

Since we’re in Tulare County, where I called home for 35 years, let’s continue our virtual journey there at Bellavista, the name we gave our home in Woodlake, CA. where we lived for twenty years. In the background are the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Twelve miles east of us, Kaweah Lake, provides a beautiful prelude to the Sequoia National Park. Terminus Dam created the lake from one of the steepest inclined rivers in the U.S. Built in the 1960s it controls floods and provides water for the many acres of farmland in the valley.

Almost everyone has been to Yosemite, National Park in Fresno County. I had the fortune of going here with an artist. I noticed what pictures she took and I aimed in the same direction. Hers turned into beautiful paintings. Mine are here.

This is another photo I like taken at Avila Beach when Carol and Glen came from Australia to stay with us for a week.

This is a favorite landscape of mine in Maui, Hi. The place to eat there for a special occasion is Mama’s Fish House. This is the view from the open windows. The light ocean breeze feels just as scrumptious as the ocean view and the food they serve.

Come on now, you can’t stay in Hawaii for ever. But I’m not going to bring you back to reality just yet. Let’s go to Sedona. The first picture, one of those golden hour shots, showed up right at our resort, Los Abrigados. I’m not sure of the name of the rock formation.

One of the reasons we moved to Prescott, was the beautiful rock formations in Arizona. I will have photo shoots for years to come.

This will be my last shot for the post. It comes from Wilmington, Delaware where I visited my mother’s first cousin, Hal. He spent his career working for DuPont as a chemical engineer creating plastic that is used in car engines. In Delaware, DuPont is all over the map.

By 1802 DuPont had begun making the explosive in a mill on the Brandywine River near Wilmington. The DuPont company became a major supplier to the U.S. military. After a tour of the museum/factory. We roamed around outside where I enjoyed the placid-looking Brandywine River.


Announcements

  • This month our  Story Chat features author Anne Goodwin and her short story, “A Post Card from the Past.” Summary coming up Friday. Enough time for you to get your quotable thoughts in.
  • Coming up February 9, a new short story: “Trophy Cabinet” for Story Chat from Geoff LePard from TanGental.
  • Join us for the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic at the Carrot Ranch – a contest, parade, and celebration all in one! There are many ways to participate. One is to visit the prompt image, “Hidden”, at the Carrot Ranch. The prompt image and entry form will go live on Monday, February 1st, 2021. Enter a flash or a poem by Friday, February 19th, 2021, and you could win either $100 or a copy of one of Sue’s books. The form will allow you to give a small donation for Sue and her family, and a link can be found on the contest page. The winning entries will be announced at the Carrot Ranch on March 22nd, 2021.
  • #WQWWC – Respect and Courtesy February 3 here on my blog. There’s still time to write your post for this week on Trust.
  • Frank from Beach Walk Reflections, will host the Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge –Love on February 10th.
  • Frank, is also looking for photographers to collaborate with him on his website. He writes but wants to promote your photographs. It’s a great opportunity for fun and exposure. Contact him here. Collaborators – Beach Walk Reflections: Thoughts from thinking while walking (wordpress.com)

Have a wonderful week.

How to #Square Up and Clear Up Sunday’s Still’s Preoccupation with Fog and Clouds

Heads Up

These bloggers are incorruptible, so I’m going to face their preoocupations head on and give them something to chat up. I’m happy #Hobbyblogging!

First the Fog

Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now!

 Elisabeth Elliot

Searching through my archives sent me back to December 11, 2012 a few minutes after 8:00 am to find these extreme foggy day photos. Sometimes you have to pull off the road and enjoy the scenery. In this case there wasn’t any, so I enjoyed that, too.

All of these photos fit into Terri’s Sunday Stills theme and they are all squared up, so Becky B will have to bat her eyes to try to clear them up. Warning: There is nothing wrong with your eye sight.

I think this shot also applies to Cee’s CBWC – Vanishing Point, too except that you have to imagine that the point vanishes somewhere out there in the wild gray yonder. I can sort of see it. Can you?

All the rest of the foggy day pictures are from the same day. I liked these pictures because in the fog the cultivated field looked like a very choppy sea or river to me. I walked on the “water” to get a better picture. It crunched beneath my feet. If only someone had been with me to capture the moment. What a loss!

As the sun started to break through the fog, you could begin to see the peaks of the Sierra Nevada. There’s Sawtooth!

Of course you see it, don’t you?

It wasn’t long, as I waited, and the sun came out a little more leaving streaks of fog like layers of sandstone. The ground lost it’s choppy water look. Nobody would have believed me anyway.

You never realized how thick your fog was until it lifted.

 J.R. Ward

Now the Clouds

“Ever changing clouds paint portraits on the sky, and each person sees a different image.”

 Rhonda Savage Thompson

In the mile-high city of Prescott, AZ, we live in the clouds rather than under them. They are not painting a picture today as they do in other seasons. They are full of snow. Especially today. The Weather Bureau calls it a “Winter Weather Alert!” I call it a blizzard. Listen to the euphonious video Vince just took of the wind. Imagine flying in these clouds!

Just two of us
In the blizzard
Blanketed with cold
Giant clumps of snow 
blown off hairy pine limbs
Drop in the path of no return.
Stay inside!

Marsha Ingrao

I chose this picture for CBWC. Again the vanishing point is imaginary. The horizontal one cut off by the building, and the vertical one cut off by the square up. The sidewalk that was cleared three hours ago now is covered with about four to six inches deep.

I put on Vince’s boots and stomped out about five steps to look down the vanishing point. Wow. These clouds have been super busy.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

This is all exciting the second time out this year. Vince and I feel like kids again. This morning we were living in the clouds. This afternoon, the clouds tried to blast a hole into our home. It clogged up the satellite dish and iced up my window so I can no longer see the snow as it falls.

As soon as the snow clears, I’m getting my own boots. I ordered electric socks to wear under them yesterday after talking to a young neighbor. Then I can take you on a walk the next time it snows.

Attention Photographers

A hobby blogging friend of mine, Frank, is looking for photographers to collaborate with him on his website. He writes but wants to promote your photographs. It’s a great opportunity for fun and exposure. Contact him here. Collaborators – Beach Walk Reflections: Thoughts from thinking while walking (wordpress.com).  He will be host #WQWWC on February 10 – LOVE!

Announcements

  • This month our  Story Chat features author Anne Goodwin and her short story, “A Post Card from the Past.” Join in the conversation and give us your perspective. We’ve heard from writers, teachers, social workers and clinical psychologists each with their own theories. What’s your take?
  • I’m super excited that Carrot Ranch ran an interview about Story Chat in the Saddle Up Saloon.
  • Autty Jade, A Day in the Brine hosts this week’s Writer’s Quotes Wednesday Writing Challenge – Change. There’s still time to write your post and link to her blog. She’d love to visit you and so would I.
  • Welcome Restless Jo as the newest Featured Blogger on the Challenge Host Interview Series coming up tomorrow.
  • Wednesday the #WQWWC is back at Always Write. Looking for quotes and responses about trustworthiness.

See you on some of your favorite challenges. What are your favorite challenges?

Holiday Season: Enjoying the Lights of Las Vegas

This week in the #Lens-Artist 128 Photo Challenge, Ann-Christine has offered us the opportunity of posting about the holiday season. Terri Webster Schrandt had a delightful post about Holiday Lights on #Sunday Stills.

“It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.”

Pope Benedict XVI

Our Holiday Season’s decorations and lights are downsized this year mostly because of our move rather than COVID 19. A month ago the Ingrao adventurers moved 500 miles from our beloved friends in California to Prescott, AZ.

Vince, Marsha, Kalev, Moji and Nutter Butter Ingrao have been staying with Vince’s sister Cindy, Snowbella, Florabella Ingrao in a two bedroom condo, which we found before we moved. We close on our new home on December 23, and our belongings arrive in January, which leaves no time, no ornaments and no lights to decorate this year.

So this year will be very different. We will attend a Christmas Eve service at our new church. On Christmas we will have dinner with Cindy and the five animals, who have learned to coexist in peace. We will light the last candle on the advent wreath, the candle of love, eat lasagna, salad, and a special chocolate delight Cindy is planning and watch Christmas movies. We might drive back to downtown Prescott and catch a last glimpse of the lights there.

“This is the season when people of all faiths and cultures are pushing back against the planetary darkness. We string bulbs, ignite bonfires, and light candles. And we sing.”

Anita Diamant

Holiday seasons with no small children in the family have been an opportunity for the elder Ingraos (that’s us) to explore unknown traditions. Last year at this time we hosted our blogging friends from Australia. One of the highlights was a trip to Las Vegas for nearly a week. They had not been to the mainland before so this was a holiday treat for all of us.

#Las Vegas Holiday Season

We marveled at the intricate work it took to build these scenes from flower petals. It was like the Rose Parade standing still for us to admire up close. Here is a close up shot of one of the horses. He’s so lifelike you can imagine that the fuzz between his eyes is a cloud of hot breath.

“I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.”

Fred Rogers

Glamour from fairy tales of the past intrigued visitors from all over the world as we mingled in awe of the grandeur. I expected to see Cinderella step out of the carriage. But she did not. She was probably at home waiting for the prince to find her shoe and return it.

The millions of petals making up the coat precious Coca Cola polar bear roused up a lot of “Ahs from the crowd.”

Symbols of the holiday festivities, a nutcracker with his back to the elf and ballerina all stood poised ready for action – or animation.

We walked to and from the Bellagio from our hotel at Polo Towers. It turned out to be much farther than it looked on a map. Outside the weather was not frightful for a late December night, but it was chilly. The Eiffel tower changed colored lights on a timer. I tried to catch several rounds, but the rest of them washed out.

Vince saw something that captured his attention and stopped to take a picture unhindered by anyone in his way. The streets were closed except for the police and a few people that snuck outside of the barriers at intersections. Yet, there was no pushing or shoving. Every one carried on together civilly before COVID 19.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Oprah Winfrey

Justin Beaver, who came all the way from Australia to play with Manny, our teddy bear, was super disappointed in us. Sometimes Manny doesn’t want to go along with the older Ingraos and this was one of those time. If you’ve ever seen a temper tantrum, you probably recognize the scene. Manny needs to have a talk with Oprah.

Mrs. Eternal Traveler did not seem overly concerned with Justin either. She got caught up in the lights and action of the Las Vegas night life.

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

Buddy the Elf

Justin complained to Glen about it, but Glen told him to buck up and change his attitude then snapped his picture. Justin started singing.

Justin sang to Vince, but Vince walked away, looked down at his shoes, and pretended he didn’t notice a singing beaver trying to get his attention. Justin turned his back on him and stared at the lights waiting for the fireworks. It was getting late and past his bedtime. Manny texted him a picture of all his toys.

Justin wished he could have stayed behind and played with Manny. He thought about what his dad said. Justin sang his song again, a little louder.

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”

Hamilton Wright Mabie

Several of the young men waiting for the fireworks noticed Justin.

“Aw isn’t the beaver cute?” the young men shouted to each other as they looked back at Justin posing for his blog back in Australia. “Listen, he’s singing his little heart out!”

Justin felt better after people paid attention to him.

The holiday season is about love not about getting presents or even about eating until you are sick.

Remember the hated little tax collector, Zacchaeus in the Bible who sat in the tree waiting for Jesus to come by? We learned that day that God pays attention to us even if others dislike us. He knows us all by name. He loves us, no matter what.

Who knows when the Eternal Travelers will leave Australia especially now that they have a new grand baby. This was a holiday season of lifetime.

What are you doing this year, or do you have a special holiday season?

Don’t forget to join in with the Lens-Artists and Sunday Stills this week because next week they are going to be celebrating. Speaking of which, a new #WQWWC comes out Wednesday. You can check out the topic now and be ready with more celebration. Tie them all together!

#Sunday Stills: #Textures in Prescott, Arizona

When Terri Webster Schrandt challenged us to shoot pictures with textures for her Sunday Stills Challenge, I was inspired. Arizona is nothing but textures. Nothing is smooth and silky. So come with me, put on your helmets and gloves and let’s take off for a rough, hilly walk. Since the Lens-Artist Challenge #125 invited us to choose anything, these pictures all fit both challenges. Yay!

Part of the concept of Wabi-Sabi is being aware of our surroundings and looking for beauty in everyday life – in its impermanence and imperfection.

Tina Schell

I tried some filters on some of these shots to make them more Wabi-Sabi, but you really want to click the link and look at Tina’s pictures and read all about Wabi-Sabi then judge for yourself if I even made a dent in achieving it.

On Friday it snowed here – a beautiful dusting and all the highways if you look into the hills you can see in the shadows that the snow remains. We have shadows in Tanglewood Hills. We found textures of tufted grasses sticking out from the snowy blanket like cowlicks on the rocky soil.

We stayed on the pathway where textures abounded. I loved this tree. It reminds me of how my hands and legs feel right now. I bought some Gold Bond “healing cream” not simply hand cream. I feel sorry for this tree if it feels as itchy as I do.

Vince trotted on ahead while I stopped to admire the Wabi-Sabi display just feet from my back door. These photos were taken with our new iPhone 12 phones which we bought to replace the phones we both dropped during our month of moving. Our new phones have upscale photography tools built in. For example, they turn each still photo into a micro-video. On my phone you can see Vince take a couple of steps. Just look at all this texture! Wow!

glances down
yield an abundance
of textures
Haiku by Marsha Ingrao

Wasn’t that spectacular, and I don’t even know if it’s alive. It’s probably how the development got it’s name, Tanglewood Hills.

Depending on the type of tree, many of them are bare or nearly bare revealing layers and layers of texture. Charlotte has woven a tiny filament of texture of her own. Can you see it? Notice how blue the sky is. This leafy picture also works for Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

This next picture takes you out of Tanglewood Hills and into a housing development. I took this picture because of the sharp contrast between the rock landscape and the soft fuzz of grass and the smooth concrete stairs. To heighten the contrast between textures I used a filter, it might have been poster edges. I played with all of them.

As you can see Prescott is quite hilly. Many residents have steep drives or walkways to their home. This picture is also for Cee’s FOTD Challenge. She accepts pictures of leaves.

sanded rust erodes
Hoosier stickers on windows
working man's textures
Haiku by Marsha Ingrao

Vince informed me the Hoosier meant the tires, but I still liked it because that is my home state.

This proud political sign got torn, tangled and crumpled in the textures of life. I thought it made its own political statement.

I have more pictures from today’s walk, but I’ll close with a picture of Wabi-Sabi texture that saves lives. We had more than our share of fires in California this year. If only there had been one of these every few feet in every forest.

I’m very late in the week to hook to Restless Jo’s Monday walks, but here it is a day early. We walk every day, but I don’t always shoot pictures. Thanks to all the Challenge Hosts for inspiring me to take my camera and shoot to a theme. 🙂 Have a great week.

Don’t forget to visit other challengers to encourage them on their photographic journeys.

Just follow the links!

Reminder – New Writing Challenge Starts Wednesday