Category Archives: Photography

Thursday Doors: Chickens and More

DonkeyI am still doing my geocaching streak, and today’s find, called Donkey Cache, took me to an interesting area that I never knew existed in the Barron Park neighborhood of Palo Alto. To get to the cache, I had to walk through Cornelis Bol park, which is named for a Stanford professor who owned donkeys and lived in the area in the mid-20th century.

Shed

On my way back to my car, I got a little sidetracked and found myself near a shed. I said to myself, “I wonder if there’s a Thursday door around here somewhere that I can photograph.” Indeed there was.

This was a funny little area with buildings that I didn’t understand at first.

FoodandDoor

If you look closely, you can see a chicken in the background, through the door to his coop. A couple of these doors seem to go nowhere in particular.

Gate

They certainly aren’t keeping the chickens out (or in).

Chicken

A little farther along the road there was another structure, with the door closed and chicken statues in front:

Coop

What I am struck most by in these photographs is the drab weather. It’s neither raining nor sunny. Not what you think of when you say “California,” or “January.”

It’s also quite remarkable that this land is still so free and undeveloped, here in the Bay Area where housing is at a premium and prices have reached extreme levels. Cornelis Bol appears to have wanted it that way.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time) at Norm 2.0’s blog here.

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Mundane Monday: Chairs

Back in 2016 I went to a writing retreat in Hermosa SD. The retreat was located on a ranch and run by Linda Hasselstrom, a rancher and writer. The house, called Windbreak House, was the place Linda had grown up and lived in virtually all her life. The property was comfortably and thoughtfully but sparsely furnished, except for books. There were a lot of books. And there were chairs, ordinary chairs painted a cheery yellow, which I thought of for this week’s Mundane Monday challenge.

This retreat was my first and only trip to South Dakota (so far), and I blogged about it in detail here, in 7 parts:

Yellow chair on a stump at WIndbreak House
Yellow chair on a stump at Windbreak House

It was a gift from my parents, and I went to it alone. I worked for 2.5 days on my novel, and my only human contact for those days was the consultations with Linda. This was fine. It took me some time to process what Linda said. Plus, I’m an introvert and I enjoy my own company.

But I have been lately thinking about how and whether my writing, and creativity generally, would benefit from more sociability. These chairs, also on the ranch property, look inviting, but I never actually sat on them to write. Linda and I had our consultations indoors.

YellowChairsRetreat

Yes, I’m in a writers’ group, but we only discuss work when it’s in some semblance of finished-ness. How would my writing be different, if there had been someone else in the other chair while I was creating it?

For the Mundane Monday Challenge #143.  Mundane Monday Challenge encourages you to take more pictures by being aware of your surroundings. The philosophy of MMC is simple. You can create a beautiful picture even by focusing on a very common looking, dull or so called Mundane subject!

Mundane Monday: Our new kitchen faucet

The Mundane Monday photo challenge has weekly themes this year, and this week’s theme is a “washbasin.” I put the term in quotes because we in the USA don’t usually call it that. The picture in the blog looks like a sink to me. Clearly this challenge is right for me, though, because I already have some sink pictures.

These were taken before and after we got our new faucet. The old faucet came with the house when we moved in. It was burnished stainless steel and matched the sink and appliances. It was also a pain in the neck. The button that allowed you to switch from a steady stream to a shower-like rinse had fallen off and gone down the garbage disposal. Then the whole faucet got loose and wobbly. I tried to fix it myself but wasn’t able to. Neither was our regular handyman, because something inside was irreparably broken. “Cheap plastic parts inside,” he said. “They don’t last.” So we bought the one on the right. It’s shinier and it feels more substantial than the old one. We’re hoping it will last a little longer.

I also think it is interesting that you can see the persimmons from our backyard tree that I had put on the counter to ripen. There are fewer in the “after” photo because I had used many of them to make persimmon cookies by that time. Now they are all gone: I pulped the remaining few and froze the pulp.

For the Mundane Monday Challenge #142.  Mundane Monday Challenge encourages you to take more pictures by being aware of your surroundings. The philosophy of MMC is simple. You can create a beautiful picture even by focusing on a very common looking, dull or so called Mundane subject!

Mundane Monday: A Toast to the New Year

The Mundane Monday photo challenge has added themes for the new year, and this week’s theme is bottles.

WineBottles

As 2018 opens, I have 3 unopened bottles of wine in my kitchen: 1. Veuve Clicquot, the champagne our realtor bought us when our offer on this house was accepted; 2. Woodbridge, some wine that a guest brought to our housewarming and we never got a chance to open; and 3. Petiole, some wine that I recently bought at Trader Joe’s that was grown in the Willamette Valley, where my daughter goes to college. I didn’t drink that either. Yet.

These bottles are all sitting in a corner of our kitchen counter. I’m struck by how dark the materials are that the counter is made of. This is trendy, but our old kitchen was lighter and I preferred that. There’s also a knife block next to the bottles. These knives are old and no longer particularly sharp. I have a gift card; maybe I will use it to buy some new knives.

I’ve also been thinking that I’d like to learn how to make a few new dishes in the new year. Cooking is not usually my favorite activity, but I do like making dinner with nice tools in a modern kitchen while sipping some good wine. Maybe I can make that happen more often in the New Year!

For the Mundane Monday Challenge #141.  Mundane Monday Challenge encourages you to take more pictures by being aware of your surroundings. The philosophy of MMC is simple. You can create a beautiful picture even by focusing on a very common looking, dull or so called Mundane subject!

Saturday Doors: Henry C Hall House

My doors for this week are also from the archives. I visited Boston this past summer and caught up with an old friend. She was my orchestra stand partner, to be precise. We often rehearsed together at her house on Mystic Street, near the Mystic River in Arlington MA. We were stand partners in crime through symphonies, requiems, concertos, masses, and medleys. We also played chamber music together at the Belmont Farmers’ Market. That all changed a little over 2 years ago when she got divorced and moved out of the house on Mystic Street, and I moved to California.  Continue reading Saturday Doors: Henry C Hall House

Mundane Monday: Birthday Cake

Today is my birthday, so it’s not as mundane as the other 51 Mondays this year. We all know the downsides of social media, but I’m liking the Facebook anniversary function and the “rediscover this day” function in Google photos. One thing it led me to re-discover was cakes of birthdays past.  Continue reading Mundane Monday: Birthday Cake

Thursday Doors: The Queen Mary

CoinFrontLast weekend my husband and I went to a Geocaching mega-event called Geocoinfest. If you don’t know what a Geocoin is, the header at the top of my blog is actually taken from one: the 1000 finds Geocoin. I bought it several years ago when I started this blog, in honor of my thousandth find (I am currently at 2881 finds, but who’s counting?) Continue reading Thursday Doors: The Queen Mary

Mundane Monday: Pendulum

s-l300The last class I taught was about pendulums, those mundane things that swing back and forth. My favorite illustration of how a pendulum works is the old-fashioned metronome. I still own one like this, somewhere. The lower on the stick you position the weight, the faster the tempo it marks. The one in the picture would be ticking so fast it would be hard to keep up. Continue reading Mundane Monday: Pendulum

Broken World

The EcoEarth Globe stands in Riverfront Park in Salem, OR. It is an arresting sight from afar, dwarfing even the bridge and the Willamette River behind it. It is also a complex and multifaceted work of mosaic art, with tiles and plaques representing species from all over the planet. But as you get closer, and check out all the continents, you notice something. There is a hole in the middle of Africa, right under the lions, elephants, and zebras. Continue reading Broken World

Layers of October

As we head into fall, days get shorter and the light changes. It’s also time for seasonal CITO (Cache-In-Trash-Out) events. We go for walks in the Baylands and instead of looking for geocaches, we look for trash. As I’ve written before about this park, it’s pretty clean. We never get enough trash to fill our bag, and end up taking the trash bag home to use it for household garbage so as not to waste it and defeat the purpose of the event. Continue reading Layers of October