A couple of weeks ago J and his friends were setting balloons at Cowboy Mounted Shooting, and I got the unexpected assignment of photographing the riders when the regular photographer unexpectely could not be there.  I’m not really properly equipped for this, nor do I have any experience with this kind of photography, so it was a bit of a challenge for me – one I was excited to take on and to the best I could.


It was really a learning experience as I worked to follow the riders, keep the focus on the rider/horse and snap a few photos that weren’t boring repeats of themselves.


I’m sorry the photos are so small.  There have been some changes at wordpress the past few weeks, and suddenly my photos don’t appear the same size I expected them to.  I’ll have to explore this issue and see what I can do to get back to larger photos – which was one of the reasons I switched to wordpress several years ago.


We’re getting lots of thunder storms these days here, including hail and heavy rain.  Keeps me from having to water the garden as often, so I won’t complain too much.  Although I admit I don’t like what the hail does to my flowers.


J got back from camp last Friday and has been go-go-going ever since.  I think he’s ready for some down time to come his way soon.  Tomorrow will be his day, I think.










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Lots on the schedule these days, so just a quick post of a photo from vacation. 

Have a unique photo opportunity/learning experience to share, but no time to process photos in order to share it.  Maybe tomorrow! 

Have a great Thursday!


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One of the stops we made on our California travels was at the home of my cousin and her husband and their six kids and the home of my aunt and uncle.  It was all one stop as they live on adjoining properties in the little Sierra foothill town of Oakhurst.  Just saying “We’re going to Oakhurst” brings a joy and excitement to members of my family – my siblings all know exactly what I’m talking about.


Beautiful properties that through my aunt and uncle and grandparents I grew up visiting as often as I could.  It is a special place for me with many fond memories and a sense of peace.


Maybe it is made more special in that my mom, sister of my aunt, daughter of my grandparents, passed away, my dad is remarried to a wonderful woman and they have their own spot, so my sense of “home” as I knew it growing up remains only at this place.


We spent our Christmases here year after year.


As a young mom, I brought my toddler here and stayed to help care for my grandmother when my aunt and uncle needed a break to travel and see friends.


We listened to music here, watched sunsets, held kittens, petted donkeys, swam in the pool, launched backpack trips into the high sierra, all in this very special place.


It has changed over the years, trees have grown in my 40+ years of memory.  Houses have been built – I still have a distinct memory of my grandfather meeting us at the property when he brought down cabinets he built at another location to install into the retirement house he was building for he and my grandmother.  I was young, but I remember him telling my mom not to bring paper towels for washing windows because they left lint, but to bring old news paper instead – no streaks that way.


It has a smell of oaks – and of oak wood burning in the winter.  There is a familiar buzz of bugs in the summer, and a wonderful breeze in the shady spaces.


It is a place where my cousin-in-law can have his business in a building that was first a craft room, and then a “doll house” guest room occupied by some pretty special people over the years, with wood enough to get through a winter or two stored underneath.  Now two professional men can talk a bout business and professional matters while watching children at play out the open door.


Even the rake is romantic in this place.


My mom’s ashes are buried here not far from the “doll house.”  My grandparents too – they are under one of the big oaks.


It is a place of inspiration for J and his budding adventure into raising chickens and ducks for their eggs just like his cousin is doing.


This place is not far from Yosemite, where my uncle worked several seasons doing repair work to a water flume (or out-right building it, I can’t remember).  While there he had access to old worn out signs from the park, and the property is decorated with those, many of which are places I’ve hiked to – like Burro Pass, the location of a back pack trip with my dad and 7 boys from my church youth group during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in high school.


Even the ground in this place is beautiful – so full of life coming and going in such an expression of nature and creation wrapped into one great big opportunity to praise God for the way he makes it all work.


Sometimes you do funny things here – don’t use the power between noon and 4 because it cost more during those hours – get that laundry done early.  You hang clothes on the line and they look beautiful fluttering in the wind.


Adults make bedrooms out under the oaks here – and sleep in them all year round, rain or snow.  Just follow the path to the open bedroom and you will know the magic!


Patriotism is expressed with honor and excitement here – including the excitement of a good hot political discussion from time to time – free speech for all!


Food is grown right on the trees and in the garden.  My grandfather used to have the biggest garden I had ever seen, and he grew enough to give it to the senior center and sell it at the farmers market – and it made him happy to be out in that garden.  Once he even had a heart attack out there – went in, took a shower and drove himself down to the clinic, waving to my grandmother driving back up the mountain on his way down to town.  Yep, it is a place of character!


And a place where beautiful things find their home.  I don’t know how to explain it, but other people’s cast-offs and weeds just blossom into eye candy here.


Old ceramic power parts abound – my uncle once worked for the power company as a lineman, and he brought them home as he replaced them.  They are pieces with stunning glazes and simple design that just fit right in among the branches and leaves.


It is the place where this summer my boy had a water balloon fight with an 89-year-old man – and the 89-year-old man got the best of it with a coffee can filled with water.  It is the place where stories of printing presses from Detroit to San Francisco are legend, and cooking is an art, and money is just not necessary in order to be richly blessed and wealthy beyond measure.


Frugality rules here, and the result is joyful living without the distractions of keeping up with the Jones or anyone else.


Hymns and old 33 albums play all day long.  Music has been played and sung by folks of all ages here – if you played an instrument you brought it when you came to visit because there would be a chance to share what you learned and hear what others have learned.


Sit and enjoy books, recipes, photo albums of times gone by.  Apple sauce, “secret fudge recipes,” venison steaks for breakfast  always hit the spot.  Roosters crowing, fires crackling, finding Venus on the horizon at sunset.  Lively discussion, hugs and laughter.  These things all decorate this special place.

Obviously, I could go on and on, and it wouldn’t mean a thing to most of my readers, but it sure does mean a lot to my heart. 

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IMG_7582smWe leave for Montana tomorrow morning.  The last couple days were busy and wonderful.  Lots of photos to process, but that will take a while.  Until then, here are a few I processed along the way:












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We started our tourist activities today with a full day in “the City” (a.k.a. San Francisco).  It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny for almost the whole day.


We went all over the City, including to Coit Tower, where we saw the stunning Diego Rivera (sp?) murals that are being restored in the building.  They were (are) so beautiful I almost cried.


This is just one of many photos I took (photos are allowed, which was a real treat for me).


I was impressed with Coit Tower, which I had seen from the road many times but never actually gone up to it and looked around.  So glad we did this.


We also did the full on tourist thing and went to walk on the Golden Gate Bridge.  A fantastic experience which I highly recommend.  It was the only place in the City that we went and had fog – but I was glad for the fog because it made for some interesting photos, and it allowed J to see what it can be like in the City.


We also saw some of the Embarcadero, the Japanese Tea Gardens, had a very interesting trip to the Haight Ashbury district, which is a whole blog post in and of itself, although I didn’t take a single photo there.  Along the way we had Dim Sum in China Town and went down the crookedest street in the world – Lombard Street.  Now I’ve got to get the Bill Cosby act about San Francisco downloaded for J so he can laugh and laugh at the idea of Bill and a VW trying to get into heaven after taking Lombard Street down and off into the Bay.


Lots more photos, but no time to process and load them – late nights won’t give me energy for days or touring.

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We are already having to water the lawn – warm and dry for one week makes a huge difference! 

May is supposed to be our wettest month of the year (sometimes June), but this year, no so far.

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Yep, sure enough, my camera and I are here enjoying the company of my in-laws and the beautiful warm weather for a few days – boys are back in Montana enjoying each other and what I hear is also nice warm weather.  But I know they aren’t getting the beautiful green and flowers and blossoms that I am enjoying.

I’ll have lots of fun photos of more than drab old snow and brown fields to show when I return. 

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– one –

I don’t have five photos to post today – just two – because I’m posting from the lap-top from home because this is Friday of Spring Break.  So, the photos are just a couple of odd ones I had not posted, but have been on my hard drive for a while.  But I will give you five little subjects to consider – none of them too important, but here they are.

I’ve barely been at work this week, and been out and about with J.  We’ve had a full week with eye appointments, get together with friends, a sleep over for him, Leo’s health crisis (up-date below), and a couple of opportunities to have friends over (he’s got a school buddy here now, shooting arrows out in the back).  Anyway, it has been a good relaxing week, and we still have today and the weekend before we go back to the grind of the regular school/work routine.

– two –


Don’t you love the look/feel of this room?  It is the place where I get my hair done – Capelli’s Salon in Bozeman Montana.  It has unique decor of any salon I’ve ever been to.  I could easily spend hours there with my camera taking photos of all the details.  There are vintage clothes for sale, funky murals on some of the walls, tree trunks, old furniture, sparkly bobbles, you name it, the place is full of so many pieces of eye candy. 

Not that I’ve been there to get my hair done in quite a while – Andy wants me to grow it out, so that is what I’m doing.  Haven’t had a cut since last April – I’ll try to get a shaping trim this April and get on that once a year schedule.  He wants me to have hair “down to your bottom” again.  I keep trying to warn him it is going to be pretty darn grey, but he doesn’t seem to mind.  We’ll see how long we can stand it.

– three –

We’re pretty excited about the new pope here.  At least Andy and I are, J probably could care less.  For those who don’t know, Andy is Catholic, I’m protestant, we all attend a protestant church together, and Andy hits mass during the week when he can.  So, who the pope is does make a difference, and can be the subject of many great discussions.

Andy wanted a “black or brown” pope, meaning South American or African.  He really felt the church needed that to be in touch with its members.  So he got his wish on that.

Then, to have it be a Jesuit?  Wow, not in his wildest dreams.  Since we both went to a Jesuit law school, we have a certain connection there.  And if you know the history of the Jesuits, you know that way back when they were all excommunicated as heretics.  Obviously that had been rectified, but there has never been a Jesuit pope before, and for the most part nobody thought there ever would be.  It is kind of cool.  Although I know Pope Francis is very conservative on social/moral issues, that doesn’t rub me wrong at all.  And he is so humble – both prior to his election from what I hear, and since his elections.  God bless him in his leadership!  Certainly there are a lot of controversial subjects to deal with, and I’m sure no matter what he does some will find reason to criticize, but so far we have a favorable impression of him.

– four –

IMG_1119smIt is time for spring.  We have lost all the snow in our yard (well, substantially all of it).  It is staying lighter, and the weather has been warmer – we actually made it up to the 50’s two days this week, including today!  I’m ready!  This morning when I went out to the yard for something I thought to myself:  “It’s the 15th of March, time to start listening for the Sandhill Cranes.  They should be here in the next two weeks! “

On that vein, I think I’m going to challenge myself to use my camera to find signs of spring for the next two weeks.  I’ve seen them on the blogs of others, and it is time I turn my attention to this wonderful transition.  I might even find a green sprout or two in my own back yard – although they are bound to be covered by a spring snow from time to time.

– five –

I’ve been slipping in some exploration of photography sites the last few evening, and I thought I’d share three links that I really like – I’ll share more later.

1.  Take a peek at Camille Seaman’s work – stunning of ice bergs.  And an interview I saw with her was so fascinating – she has a humble but beautiful way of communicating!

2.  For portraits I found Bambi Cantrell from the Bay Area, and she really impressed me.  Also liked the interviews with her that I saw.  Plus, her website has great music!

3.  And from Missoula, I’ve looked at Dax Photography, and liked what I saw.  I think when I finish my weight loss journey I might treat myself to a session with him – although I’m still looking at other photographers.  He’s pretty darn young for as accomplished as he is, but that is part of what is so intriguing about him.

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