Monthly Archives: June 2014

52 Photos: In Flight

This week’s prompt was In Flight. I have plenty of bird pictures, but not many of them actually flying. So here’s my assortment, plus a bonus. There’s a scooter in air, a bald eagle being harassed by a red-winged blackbird, and a breathtaking snowy owl on the day of its release from rehab. It looks like pelicans are quite popular this week, so I’m adding one of mine. They’re like a box of chocolates – something to satisfy every taste.

scooter in the sky

Bald eagle and red-winged blackbird

Snowy in flight (closeup 2)

brown pelican in flight

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The Secret Sauce

I asked if anyone had any burning questions on Twitter for me. Miss Idgie sure did!

I’m sure John Gottman could give you specific and detailed instructions on what makes a relationship work. This is what I’ve figured out for myself.

Love bloom

  • Don’t compare your relationship to anyone else’s. You have to figure out what works for you. Your relationship is unique. If that other relationship falters, in some way that will then cause upset in your own.
  • Have fun!
  • Be honest with one another.
  • Have fun! This means doing things together that you both enjoy.
  • Don’t except the other person to fill all your needs.
  • Admit it and apologize when you are wrong.

I am in a relationship with an introvert. It’s taken me many years to hone my “care and feeding” of said creature. There are always balances to be struck and negotiations to be made. People time v. alone time. Outside/nature/physical activity time v. indoor/cultural/social time.

I think the other reason my relationship (to date) has been successful is because I see us as being a team. My girlfriend supports me and encourages me and challenges me and I hope, at my best, that I do that for her (I’m pretty sure I do, since she’s said things like this me).

I don’t believe there’s a secret sauce that makes relationships successful. Gottman says contempt is poison, but I have to wonder why you would be with anyone you felt contempt for, so respect is a given for me.

What do you feel makes your relationship successful?

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52 Photos: Powder Blue

This week’s prompt was powder blue. Some weeks, like last, I have a hard time coming up with images to share. This was not one of those weeks. Hope you enjoy!


blue and yellow fORd

I am mother, hear me roar:

I am mother, hear me roar

Blue umbrella


Nigella bloom

nigella bloom

Even though this isn’t blue, I wanted to show you the pod of the Nigella, too:

nigella pod

Blue house in Lisbon, Portugal

blue house

Blue Pool, Green Trees at Norris, Yellowstone National Park

blue pool, green trees

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52 Photos: Busy Street

This week’s prompt was busy street. I really wanted to post a picture of the insane traffic that my mom and I experienced in Hanoi, Vietnam. But the three pictures I took just don’t capture the intensity. As a matter of fact, I had friends who warned me about the traffic in Hanoi before I left. And they gave me advice on how to cross the street. As if I didn’t know how to cross the street! Turns out, I needed their advice.

cars and scooters

If you want to cross the street in Hanoi, (I hear Saigon is much worse), you wait until a pack of motor scooters comes. Then you step into the street and move slowly, with focus and consistency, until you reach the other side. You do not try to make eye contact with the drivers. Apparently this just throws them off. It is an exercise in trust, above all else.

I would link arms with my mom, and we would start walking. We moved at the pace of a small child or an elderly person. I would say, “We are the rock. They are the river.” We would clutch each other tight. When we reached the opposite side, we would rejoice in our success.

Since I find that picture doesn’t evoke the terror we felt every time we stepped off the curb, I’m sharing this delightful image of a pair of robots from the 2005 Fremont Solstice Parade.

robot couple close-up

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On standing up for myself

Umbrella broom shovel stand

On Monday, Fran Wilde posted this piece about being “Mouse”. She spoke about learning to be silent, to be quiet, and gaining competency at sailing a boat. And then she said:

But there is another place where I want that feeling of competence. That sense of being capable:

Speaking up for myself.

I have never felt competent at that.

These words were like a giant gong going off in my head. I’ve been coming to this understanding/realization about myself in the last couple of weeks. I think I’ve realized this before, but in the past, I just felt overwhelmed by it and then let despair set in.

I’ve been working on engaging my fear the last couple of months. I’ve been taking baby steps, and saying out loud the things I think people will make negative judgments about. So far, all signs point to me continuing to do this. Mostly because it strengthens my confidence in myself, which is what Fran talks about in her post.

Speaking up for myself feels like the next stage/phase. I was in yoga on Monday and I realized something I’d never quite put together before. In my adult life, for every employer I’ve had, without fail I’ve jealously guarded my time. I was unwilling to compromise on time. I realize this rigidity is connected to my unwillingness to speak up for myself.

When I was at work, I would let people treat me like crap. When I wasn’t at work, I could choose (i.e. “control”) who I spent time with. If someone was being disrespectful, I could just walk away. Or suffer in silence until the event ended, and then vow to never spend time with that person again.

Fran talks about developing confidence in a physical skill and being able to translate that into another realm. Rose Lemberg responded with a series of tweets about belonging, competence, and privilege. She talked about where one finds strength when there isn’t a physical place to return to (a strong theme for Fran). It was the last several tweets that really nailed it for me (13-18) – like the hammer on the gong.

There is something inviolate at my core, a place I’ve guarded and it is that place from which I can trust myself. It is the place I return, time and again.

As I’m learning to turn down the dial on the fear knob and turn up the dial on the curiosity knob, I’m seeing possibility and considering new ways of being. Including standing up for myself.

For today, I’m taking R.E.M.’s song, “Stand”, as my theme song.

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52 Photos: The Light Arrived

This week’s prompt for 52 Photos was The Light Arrived. As many of you know, I am a connoisseur of light. I love love love light. I had so many pictures I wanted to share, but I managed to hold myself back. I took some liberties in interpreting this one. There are a mixture of natural and man-made lights. I hope you enjoy!


I took this picture from the top floor of our hotel in Tokyo. The lights were on and they were reflected in the window, so I got this neat image that looks like a double exposure. It’s the light from inside as well as the lights from the buildings and cars outside.

Light and dark in Tokyo:

light and dark in Tokyo

Here is a shot without the reflected light, of just the cars on the street. I love this image, because it looks like an old computer punch card. I imagine there’s some code in the pattern, if only I can discern it.

Car lights in Tokyo:

car lights in Tokyo

The temple we stayed at in Koya-san had this rock in a little garden off to the side. Even though it was a Buddhist temple, it reminded me of the Taoist origin story. A version I learned told about a cosmic egg that was broken open. From the one came the two, from the two came the three, and from the three came the ten thousand things.

Light and dark/split rock:

light and dark/split rock


I don’t think the one needs explanation.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat:



Light through the trees:

light through the trees

Chandelier at the Paramount:

Chandelier at the Paramount

Vancouver, B.C.

“And the raven brought the light into the world …”

raven brought light

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Spoiler Alert!

warning sign

Many people know I grew up without a television in the house. My sister and brother and I got to see plenty of television shows, just not in our house. At friends’ and neighbors’ houses, all bets were off. But it was difficult if not impossible to stay current with television shows. Anything we watched would have been seen and dissected by our classmates long before we ever saw it.

As a result, I didn’t care about spoilers. Everything I watched had been “spoiled” – not by intent or malice, just by circumstance. Perhaps this was a defense strategy on my part, but I became much more interested in what people refer to today as the meta. Even though I might know the spoiler, there were enough details I didn’t know. It was up to me to fill in the holes and connect the dots. When I did finally see a show that had generated a lot of discussion (think “Who Shot J.R.?” on Dallas), I was much more curious to see how the story had been built than the final reveal.

I asked my girlfriend how she felt about spoilers. She doesn’t like to know what’s going to happen. I’m going to go out on a limb and say most people like that element of surprise. Which is why they get super pissed off when they find out something. (Hint: Dumbledore dies.)

I don’t participate in revealing spoilers (at least, not intentionally). Recently I was talking to an acquaintance about the Kate Chopin novel, The Awakening. I mentioned what happened at the end. I figured the statute of limitations was over, but apparently it wasn’t. He hadn’t finished reading it. Oops.

Even though I didn’t grow up with the internet, I was surrounded by humans who liked to chatter with each other about popular things. The internet definitely amplifies that, but I’ve managed to stay spoiler-free for the things I care about. And if I do happen to learn a spoiler before I consume the story? Well, it takes the pressure off racing through the story so I can focus on how the storyteller got to that point.

How do you feel about spoilers? Do you like them? Do you hate them? Do you like bursting someone’s bubble? Would love to hear your thoughts.

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52 Photos: Good luck charms

This week’s prompt for 52 Photos was Good Luck Charm. I’ve been struggling with this one, because I don’t really have anything I think of as a charm, nor do I subscribe much to good luck. This morning I was thinking about it again, because I love participating in this community every week. I let my mind wander and make its own connections. Good luck is a kind of magic, and I find magic everywhere (to paraphrase Dar Williams). And lo and behold, there are a few things that spike high on the chart when it comes to magic.

Some of you know I’m a gigantic fan of cetaceans. Orcas, great blue whales, bottle nose dolphins – I love them all. The best dreams I dream contain Orcas or great blues. I always feel completely peaceful and connected. I took these dolphin pictures off of Sanibel Island in March. I love their playfulness and connection to each other.

Leap of joy:

leap of joy

Triple dolphin action:

Triple dolphin action

Pelicans also hold a special place in my heart. Perhaps it’s their inherent goofiness. I can’t quite say.

brown pelican

white pelicans + reddish egret

Finally, a Hello Kitty Lucky Cat that I saw when I visited Miyajima in Japan:

Hello Kitty Lucky Cat

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