On Deck


I took this shot the morning we docked in St. Petersburg. I liked the way shadows mimicked the stripes in the deck chairs.
Those are lifeboats overhead.

Great weekend, everyone!


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Autumn Throwback

I’m working at the kitchen table this week, as I’m refinishing furniture for the office redo. I’m also missing the autumn foliage on the East Coast, so here’s a shot from a few years back:


Hope your week’s going well so far.


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White Nights and a Performance in St. Petersburg

We made a reservation to attend a Folkloric Spectacle in St. Petersburg because the reviews were really good. The performance was kind of so-so, but the theater was something else:


There’s that beautiful color again with the white trim. I knew we couldn’t take photos of the performance, so I had only my iPhone. I’m happy the colors are true to life.




And this is one of their lesser theaters!


I managed to take this shot when the performance was ending. No flash, so the quality is poor, but you get the idea. Lots of singing and dancing.

What’s really cool is that we came outside afterwards and saw this across the street:


This was taken at exactly 10:07 p.m. and that is sunlight in the upper corner. These are the White Nights Russia is famous for. So strange and wonderful to be in sunlight that late at night. Sunset was at 11:15. Loved that.

Great weekend, everyone! My office is getting painted tomorrow and the blog design is coming along, slowly but surely.


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Hotel California

We lost only one plant in the fire: our Sago Palm. It was never happy in the spot it was in–didn’t like the water from our sprinklers and overflow from the neighbor’s. So I had a new rosebush planted. Would you believe it’s called “Hotel California”?


I haven’t had a yellow rose in a long time and had forgotten how cheery they can be.

We just got back last night after a whirlwind in Virginia where my stepdaughter got married! Sooo nice seeing family, friends and fall colors again. I kind of miss that East Coast sensibility, but I got over it when the temp dropped into the 30s. :)

Hope your week’s going well so far.


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Cherry Bomb


We had some time to kill near Balboa Park this weekend, so we popped over to the Automotive Museum. It’s not a large collection, but they have some pretty cool vehicles, including this 1940 Mercury Custom Coupe called “Cherry Bomb.”

I have more photos that I’ll share at a later date.

Hope your week’s going well so far.


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Coffee Break


Hi there! I’m taking a little break from looking at hundreds of blog designs and searching for a host, etc. Have found the latter, but still looking for a design that has everything I want. Will probably have to get a designer to customize it for me and that could take a while. I’m putting the office redo on hold, as we’re flying back to the East Coast for a wedding next week. I’ll try to post at least a photo each week in the meantime. Hope you are all doing well….


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The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood


The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the things I wanted to photograph most in St. Petersburg. It was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, costing over 4.6 million.

Our group got there early, so we didn’t get to see the inside. One guy gave our guide a really hard time about it and I felt sorry for her. The reason was something about a parking problem, but I had read the tour description and it said photography fees for the inside were covered by the cruise company. Wouldn’t that tell you we were going to see the interior? I mentally gnashed my teeth for a minute, then spent the free time capturing the church from different angles:




The church was modeled after St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, another place I’d like to photograph.



The Soviets closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness.


Our very knowledgeable guide. I have to say something about the guides on our trip: they were all incredible. This particular guide spoke practically nonstop for hours. And not just small talk. Interesting historical facts about the sites we were seeing and the city itself. No notecards, nothing. We found out later that guides in the city have to spend their own money to be re-certified every year. Some ride trains for two hours into St. Petersburg and they don’t find out which tour they’ll be giving until they show up for work.

I didn’t feel too bad about missing the inside until later, when we learned that the church contains over 80,000 square feet (7500 square meters) of mosaics! If you’d like to see them, here’s a short video.

The Church the Savior on Spilled Blood is not used as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics.


I’m going to take a short break while I work on making blog changes and re-doing my office space. Yes, that’s me: do everything at once. ;) Hope to be back next week.


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Venice of the North

Before I visited St. Petersburg, I had a vague idea of it being near a river, but didn’t know the city had lots of canals. Peter the Great designed the city as another Venice, and St. Petersburg has 342 bridges over canals and rivers of various sizes.


This photo was taken near the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood and shows the Griboedov Canal.
I’ll have a post on the church on Tuesday.

Great weekend, everyone!


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Travel Scan: Sacré-Coeur


One of my favorite places in Paris is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, or “Sacré-Cœur.” It’s just so different, so starkly white against the deep blue sky. Did you know that the basilica is constructed of travertine stone which exudes calcite? This ensures that the structure remains white despite weathering and pollution.


The basilica was designed by Paul Abadie, who won a competition over 77 other architects. Construction began in 1875 and was finished in 1914. Sadly, Abadie died not long after the foundation had been laid, and five architects finished the work.


One tip: there’s a funicular that leads to the top of the Butte Montmartre on which Sacré-Cœur stands. It’s a lot easier than climbing the more than 300 steps!
Also, you can go to the top of the dome for incredible views of Paris.

Hope your week’s going well so far.


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Autumn Hues


“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” ~Van Gogh

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