just a moment :: spring break edition

dandelion b/w

Alex was home for four days over spring break. This was the first time since last August when she left for Amsterdam (we’ve seen her since then, just not on home soil). We crammed two week’s worth of parenting and playing into four days…shopping (Target, Old Navy, Sunday morning Macy’s Clinique counter run) planned her future on giant post it notes (or at least identified the questions about her future, which is part way there, right?), had an incredible day wine tasting in Napa Valley. She turned us onto the comic Iliza Schlesinger (very, very funny, but oh so NSFW) and moved our car radio buttons off NPR and Sports Talk. We painted our nails mint green. We ate oysters and talked politics. She wasn’t so impressed with our ukelele playing. There was even belly dancing… (not really…we ate Lebanese food and stood up and moved when the belly dancer beckoned). We had a few of those moments where you realize your baby is actually an adult, and while you’ve been a parent for many, many years, it’s still a learning process. But we got through those quickly and I’d like to think, graciously. Perhaps we’ve all grown a little. It’s fleeting, this life thing. First you’re waiting for her to walk, then she runs, and then she flies. Poof, she’s gone.

This is what happens in our house when one says, even casually, “I am wondering how I’m going to use my cultural anthropology degree?


But this is where the moments really happen.


"Dad, I brought a notebook, so you could draw some tattoo designs for me to think about."
“Dad, I brought a notebook, so you could draw some tattoo designs for me.”


IMG_1239By the way, I’d like credit for not posting the belly dancing pictures. But if you remind me, I’ll show them to you on my phone (after all, I am not that mature).

gathering good :: 27 march 2015

Chiuily at Desert Botanical Gardens, Scottsdale AZ

Chihuily at Desert Botanical Gardens, Scottsdale AZ

Hey there, so I am still playing around with the name for the weekly links pack. For today, let’s go with Gathering Good. Next week it will probably be something different (which I know, since I changed it three times this week). But for now, a few pieces you may have missed.

Seven Cultural Concepts We Don’t Have In The U.S. I’ve long been a fan of wabi-sabi. How about you?

This piece about the impact of TOMS Shoes is super interesting to me. One can argue how a pair of shoes may, or may not, change someone’s life. But I have to be impressed with the company (TOMS) to initiate the research and then pivot to change how they deliver support.

Not that you needed proof, but there seems to be scientific evidence why Indian food tastes so good.

Chronically early? Me too (that’s why we’re friends). This is for us. I ‘fess up to numbers 10,11 and 15 (all of them, but those especially).

Stunning images of women at work, all over the world. Beautiful.

Have you seen this app, 1 Second Every Day? Check out how The Duck and the Owl used it. I may have to try it.

I am Big Bird, the movie. Coming to our tear ducts soon.

Have a wonderful weekend. See you on the flip side.


welcoming disappointment

Last week, I was sitting on a beautiful wooden rocking chair, in perfect 70 degree weather, perched on what seemed to be the edge of the world. The view before me was spectacular, the red rocks of Sedona, a few wispy clouds, the afternoon light. I was lucky to be in such a moment, yet all I could feel was disappointment. In fact, it was a full on pity party, and there was nothing pretty about it.

Sedona had been on my pre-60 bucket list, and I wedged it into our Spring Training baseball trip. So here we were. My husband, Steve, was sick and asleep in our hotel room. I wasn’t feeling much better, but had energy to walk out to the viewpoint. I’d wanted to come here for years, to see the red rocks, hike, explore, shop, photograph, write, eat and drink, and decide if a vortex was something I should experience. Uptown Sedona was so crowded we didn’t stop, our lunch at the airport cafe (which should have been our first clue) was weird, and now I was alone, with no one to share the view. No wine (though plenty of whine) to sip. No adventure.

Just disappointment. And rocks. Plenty of rocks.

Yes, this was the site of my personal pity party. I'm not proud.
The site of my personal pity party. Proof that I can feel sorry for myself anywhere.


I told myself I should get over it. It was stupid to feel cheated when this is so incredible.

Then I told myself that disappointment was understandable, it was ok to wallow for a bit, before I had to let it go.

It wasn’t grief, or even sorrow. It wasn’t even sadness.

It was something that didn’t live up to my hype. It was also something that would get a do over. Some disappointments are bigger, and perhaps the do over isn’t so readily available. But this one, it was just a 24-hour period that wasn’t what I had hoped for. This is lower case disappointment, not even deserving capital letters (as in Disappointment or DISAPPOINTMENT). The disappointment was more about the expectations than the reality.

Perhaps it wasn’t bliss, but it sure wasn’t despair.

Also, I had great coffee for the morning. No matter what, I had coffee, so that was something. I made the expectations and I could remake them, too.

When I really thought about it, I saw that disappointment was on a sliding scale, and not such a far climb back to contentment. In my mind, I drew myself a chart. To be honest, my imaginary chart only had three feelings…contentment, disappointment and grief. The others show up because I am an over emoter. I can’t help myself.

So many feelings. Does this look like an inverted wine glass to you?
So many feelings. Does this look like an inverted wine glass to you?


If you told me I could spend a few hours in Sedona, doing nothing but watching the bluest sky over the magnificent red rocks, I would be thrilled. I would consider it a gift, a blessing, wonder and magic. I should be so lucky.

I went to the room to check on Steve, then walked back to the cliffs to watch the sunset. When he woke after dark, we drove to town to find a grocery store and restock on medicine. We had fruit salad and orange juice for dinner, chased with Nyquil. We slept like hell, hacking through the night. The next morning I had coffee and leftover salad on the patio, in the sunshine. We packed, medicated, and drove back to Phoenix. We saw a few more red rocks. Steve never left the car.

It was spectacular, disappointment and all. And now that I understand where disappointment sits on the scale between bliss and despair, I think it’s not such a bad gig. The climb back to contentment isn’t far, if you’re so lucky.



the cactus league :: chapter four, sedona on the rocks

Twenty-four hours in Sedona sounded like a good idea. We thought of it as a scouting trip for next time. Drive in, see the sites, do a little shopping, drinks and dinner, enjoy a Sunday morning hike, grab breakfast and drive back to Phoenix. A great plan…except for the nasty colds that hitched a ride with us. We stayed at Sky Ranch Lodge, which was handy, since Steve was so sick he slept the entire afternoon. In the meantime, I saw this…which in hindsight, and even in the moment, was a fine consolation prize.

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the cactus league :: chapter three, frank’s house

Still recapping our Spring Training adventure, with a side trip to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. Except our rookie mistake was to not actually plan the trip, therefore arriving as the last tour was departing. The truth was, we were both coming down with colds, so we were plenty satisfied to eat popsicles in the courtyard and take a few photos. I am an over planner as well as over packer, so it caught me by surprise that in two+ days we only had time for two baseball games, three dinners, one botanical garden tour, one art walk and no shopping, FLW house touring, art museuming, and friend-from-college-visiting. Next time, more time. For now, Frank’s house and a teepee for the win.

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Tomorrow, Sedona and a few red rocks.

the cactus league :: chapter two, pretty and prickly

I don’t know what I expected of Phoenix. I knew I was going to the desert, but I didn’t expect it to be so cactusy. I was a little confused by the palm tree/cactus combinations at the resorts, but the red rock, Saguro and Margarita combinations were delicious (oh, different kind of rocks). We did spend one morning at the Desert Botanical Gardens and were won over by the pretty and prickly in all of their texture and color combos.

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Tomorrow, hanging out at Frank’s house.

the cactus league :: chapter one, baseball

Steve and I just returned from a four day trip that felt like a real vacation. We flew to Phoenix for Spring Training in Scottsdale. It was a last minute trip, with a few unexpected surprises. Some good, some were rookie mistakes. Let’s start with the baseball chapter, shall we?

We were joining our good friends, Dave and Vicki, who were savvy enough to make their reservations in January, rather than three weeks ago. Therefore, they were in town, not a half hour away…but they were great scouts. Like knowing Scottsdale is full of golf cart cabbies who will drive you around for tips only. Handy, yes?

We saw two SF Giants games, with the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers. Did you read about Will Ferrell playing for 10 teams in one day? We were team 8. He arrived via helicopter, on the freakin’ field, and hit for the White Sox and caught for the Giants, before he was pulled by Bochy. Hilarity ensued. I videotaped the helicopter landing, but it’s blurry, and over the cheers of the crowd one might hear a voice saying, “I am videotaping, but I can’t see anything… is that him, is that him?” It was the camera man.

Back to baseball…it was swell. And I’ll do it again. More games, more water, a wider brimmed hat, better seats. Maybe a few teams other than the Giants.  But gosh, I do love baseball.

Up first, Camelback Stadium, home of the Chicago White Sox and LA Dodgers,  a little Mad Bum, classic Posey with Travis, Will as a White Sox, Will catching (he called for a pitch out and still made us laugh.

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Next up, Scottsdale Stadium, home of the Giants. A little Joe Panik, and a little more. Gosh, is he cute or what? And a few view from third base…Belt (who hit a triple, and was thrown out at home) and new third base coach Roberto Kelley.

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Traveling Scorecard:

Win on the games, the dinners, the company. Win on not drinking alcohol during the day and drinking plenty of water (and generous with the sunscreen). Win on bring the right clothes, though a few too many. Rookie Mistakes: we never made it to the fields early enough for batting practice. Also, dugout store on game day, never a good idea. We brought our own coffee and a nifty new collapsible filter (win) but had lousy breakfasts. I am pretty sure Scottsdale knows how to do breakfast, we just never did.

Next up, the cactusyness of Arizona.

a color story

This was going to be a story about yellow…about rolling hills covered in daffodils, against green grass, blue skies and the smell of spring. However, Daffodil Hill wasn’t exactly as we remembered it, and we had more fun down Highway 49, in Volcano and Drytown. It was a disjointed Sunday afternoon, and the only way to stitch together a story is to do it in chapters.

Chapter One | The Daffodils

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Chapter Two | The Peacocks

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Chapter Three | There are way too many people here, let’s go to Volcano

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Chapter Four | Let’s see if there’s anything in Drytown

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And yes, we did buy a yard stick. It was cool and made us both smile. As was the day. Just not how we expected it to be. We did feel a little sheepish about the yardstick, but it will look great in the studio. When we pulled into the garage, Steve dropped his iPhone between the seats, and couldn’t get it out. Except for the yardstick, which saved the day. End of story.



in other words :: 6 march 2015

be kind

It’s been a very good week, and I’ve traded some of my computer time for exercise time. Despite (many) fewer hours sitting around, we have plenty of links for the weekend.

My friend, Kim Thompson Steele is part of this new community of photographers at Viewfinders. I connected with Kim, and several of these artists when I was doing my coffee blog, Coffee Served Daily. Keep an eye on this site, and I promise breath and beauty.

Exceptional newsletters about creative obsessions. Out of the ordinary emails, from Creative Mornings. My favorite might be Think Clearly. There’s plenty here to keep one very, very busy.

This is how I also discovered Unsplash, a new service of beauuuutiful, free high resolution photos. Did I mention beautiful?

I’m a spooner and a leg hugger (just in case you were wondering). 10 Cuddling Explanations: What Your Sleeping Habits Say About Your Relationship.

Another list, another version, another view. I like this one. Ten Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be. (Thanks Laura Lee)

Just because it’s cool. How American Sign Language Speakers Sign the Latest Internet and Pop Culture Slang.

Have a great weekend. See you on the flip side.

By the way, very cool and very orange Be Kind stickers are free, from my website,