Stargazer for You


A Stargazer lily to wish you a peaceful Good Friday and a Happy Easter if you celebrate. Great weekend to all.


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Spring Disk Cleaning and Azaleas

I have been meaning to clean up my photos for a while now. Like for two years. In my defense, we did move across the country. This week I am tackling the project and can’t believe how many shots there are. The 365 project didn’t help. But it’s been good for me to see my progress and to find forgotten photos. I’ll be sharing those for a while until I finish the clean-up.

From 2012:




I do miss this lavender azalea. I planted it the spring before we moved and hope it’s doing well. We have azaleas out here in California, but they tend to be white and kind of puny. That’s OK–we have plenty of plants to make up for it. The jasmine is just about to bloom!

Hope your week’s going well so far….


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Travel Scans: Blenheim Palace

I haven’t seen a lot of country homes in England, so I really enjoyed visiting Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. It was built between 1705 and 1722 and is the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill.


According to Wiki, at the end of the 19th century, the palace was saved from ruin by funds gained from the 9th Duke of Marlborough’s marriage to American railroad heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt. Sounds a bit like Downton Abbey, hmmm?


The design of Blenheim was done by Sir John Vanbrugh, an untrained (!) architect who had worked with Nicholas Hawksmoor on Castle Howard, a place I’ve been dying to see since viewing Brideshead Revisited. Have any of you seen the version with Jeremy Irons? It was filmed at Castle Howard and is such a brilliant production. Very faithful to Evelyn Waugh’s novel. Would be fun to see that and Highclere Castle, where Downton is filmed.

Great weekend, everyone!


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A Day at the Cove

As promised, more La Jolla:



I never get tired of looking at La Jolla Cove. I’ve taken quite a few photos there, but they’re all so different.


Sea Lavender and ice plant.


There’s usually a wedding or a photo shoot going on, and that day was no exception.


Even the utility covers looked good that day.


If you look closely in the background, you can see a faint outline of the mountains.


Sorry, I got a little carried away with the sea lavender.


I spotted this place while driving away from the cove. (iPhone shot)


I think it’s more than one place, but aren’t the colors beautiful?


The view’s not too bad either.


This was just down the street.


Such a charming doorway.


The Pacific was so blue that day.

Hope your week’s going well so far.


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La Jolla supposedly means “the jewel.” I was there recently and was happy to see all the sea lavender flourishing next to the turquoise-and-sapphire-blue Pacific. Love those jewel tones.

More on Tuesday.

Great weekend, everyone!


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Rocky Update


Those of you who’ve followed the blog for a while know I have a Maltese named Rocky. I haven’t written about him in a while because he’s not doing well. I know Rocky is nearly sixteen years old, but it’s unbelievable how much he’s declined in just one year. He is almost completely blind, and last month he started going deaf. I used to be able to call to Rocky, now I have to go over and get him so he knows where I am. It’s kind of . . . heartbreaking. He often forgets that I’m nearby, so he’ll get up and go looking all over the house if I don’t catch him soon enough.

You’d think that it would be really tough for a blind dog to get around, but Rocky doesn’t have any trouble going upstairs, or finding his food and water, or finding his bed(s). Sometimes I have to alert him to a curb, but he’s still pretty good at finding them. The hardest part for me is that he sleeps all day long. He only wakes when I tell him it’s time to go out or I’m going upstairs. The photo above is from three years ago, before he got cataracts. I didn’t have the heart to post a recent photo because he’s not looking himself.

I honestly didn’t know if Rocky would be alive when we got back from the cruise, and am so grateful that he was. I wouldn’t want him to go alone. Now I realize that he just isn’t going to wake up one day. I’ve had time to get used to the idea, but I know it’s going to be awful when the time comes.

Sorry to be such a downer, but I thought it would be wrong to just announce that Rocky was gone with no warning whatsoever. You dog lovers know exactly what I’m going through. I will just enjoy every day I have left with him. It’s been a wonderful twelve years.


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Just a Little More Taos

I meant to do this post a while ago, but life got busier than usual. We visited two more places on our way out of Taos, New Mexico . . . .


A National Historic Landmark, the Spanish Colonial San Francisco de Assisi Mission Church is a beautifully-preserved adobe building located just south of the town of Taos. The Franciscans supervised the construction of the historic church between 1772 and 1816.

Completed in 1816, the Spanish Colonial church has two front-facing bell towers and massive adobe buttresses.


The architecture of the church is a mixture of native and Spanish styles. The buttresses in front of each bell tower support the front.


Side view. The church was closed, so we couldn’t go inside. I’m guessing I wouldn’t have been able to take pictures of the interior anyway.

Ansel Adams photographed the church for his Taos Pueblo art book and Georgia O’Keeffe painted a series of perspectives of the church. O’Keeffe once described it as “one of the most beautiful buildings left in the United States by the early Spaniards.”


Four “beehive” shaped buttresses support the back of the church. I’ve never seen anything like it before.


Looks like a warm spot to hang out.



A thick adobe wall surrounds the church, cemetery, and forecourt. According to the web site, residents, parish members and visitors gather for two weeks each June to re-mud the exterior of the church with a mixture of mud and straw. (Visible in the photo of the statues above.)

There were galleries nearby, but we were there on a Sunday, so not many were open.



I loved the colors in this place, but it looked closed for good. The sapling growing in the doorway was a clue.


Across the street, a great restaurant/bar called Old Martina’s. We got there around seven, but the place was nearly deserted. A shame, because the food was really good.
I liked the rustic but tasteful decor a lot:


The light fixtures were really cool. I apologize for the grainy photos, but the lighting was pretty dim and I didn’t use flash or tripod, obviously. I’ve lightened these photos considerably.


New Mexico does turquoise so well.


I was really surprised to see sauerbraten on the menu, but decided to give it a try. Delicious. The pastries for dessert looked incredible, but we were stuffed.


The coffee and bar area. Really hope this place stays in business.

Great weekend, everyone!


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Welcome Back, Spring


Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.
~Theodore Roethke

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Caribbean Cruise, Part IV

Last installment. :) Honestly, I didn’t think I took that many photos!

Our last port was St. Maarten/St. Martin. Half the island is Dutch and the other is French. Would you believe it’s an international call to phone someone from the Dutch side to the French side? I think that’s amazing when the entire island is just over thirty-six square miles.



The water color! Couldn’t get over it.


Does this look like the makings of a great party or what?


Our ship was docked next to an even bigger one, Allure of the Seas. Don’t they look a bit like skyscrapers?


We were told that this is the oldest house in St. Maarten.


Part of Phillipsburg, St. Maarten.


Houses on the island really ran the gamut. There doesn’t seem to be a middle class at all.


Not sure what this place is, but I like the colors.


I also liked the architecture on St. Maarten.


Approaching the French side.


A marina on St. Martin.

I thought the beaches on St. Martin were really beautiful . . . .





A parasailor getting ready to take off near Bikini Beach.


And they’re up.


A restaurant/bar in St. Martin.


I don’t know the name of this plant, but I like it a lot.


I can’t recommend the outdoor flea market in Marigot. Junk, and more junk. Would have liked to see the real shops in Marigot, but there just wasn’t time. The downside of cruising.


I snapped this when we were walking back to the ship.


Such a lovely shimmer on the water.


This is one of the last photos I took on the ship. I think it’s a fitting end.

Great weekend, everyone!


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So, would you like a new addictive phone app? I suggest Waterlogue, the program that turns your iPhone shots into instant watercolors….


It’s amazing to watch the “paint” being filled in right on your phone.


All it takes is pushing a few buttons. I tend to use “Natural,” “Medium,” “Normal” and “No Border,” but I’m still learning my way around.


I cropped this one square for instagram, but you can still get the general idea.


This one is with a border. I think I prefer “without.”


The interesting thing (or frustrating for some) is that you never know what’s going to work well. Some photos I thought would be great watercolors were complete duds and vice versa.

Stucco tree


It’s fascinating to me to see how detailed these digital “paintings” can be.


If you use an iPad, you get more settings than with an iPhone.



Remember, you’ve been warned that it’s addictive. :)


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