SOMETIMES—OH, MAKE THAT MOST of the time—my head is buzzing with ideas, whether it’s for the writerly side of me, my artistic side or even things that I could do around the house and yard. Corralling those ideas, getting them down on paper and actually beginning them is another thing entirely.

Case in point: blogging and writing in general. I have ideas floating around in my head all the time. Something I see triggers an idea and my mind begins to formulate it into words. The problem is, I’m usually driving when this happens and I cannot find a place to pull over so I can to put those thoughts on “paper” (electronically or the back of receipts), or even fiddle with my phone to get the recorder going. I’ve tried all methods—by the time I’ve got it up and running or paper and pen in hand, my thoughts have fled the scene.

Creativity is a fickle thing. And sometimes very frustrating.

Like right now. All week, I’ve been waiting for an idea to spring forth for the blog. Nothing. Zilch. Yesterday, I completely forgot—and really, was too tired to act on anything that might eek out—and now, it’s almost noon … time for me to post my blog … and I am still scrambling to get something written. Even though it only took a few minutes to come up with an idea once I opened the computer to my blog page, it’s not flowing naturally. Oh, I hate that. A lot. It might have to do with the fact that I’m still tired. I wanted to go back to bed this morning … but managed to stay up. Just barely—I’m craving a horizontal position, curled up with a blanket and my cat purring me back to sleep.  Or maybe it’s because I’m physically still recovering from my driving to and from the family reunion in S. California. Or it could be the fact that I have yet to finish my tax preparations for my accountant … or the yard work that keeps tapping me on the shoulder as I brush foxtails out of my dog’s coat. I know I need to keep on top of the weeds—and I’m not.

Whatever the reason (most likely a combination of everything), it’s hindering the creative flow. Even my series storyline (book four) is feeling the effects. I’m progressing, but only every so slowly—not even a page a day.

Artistically, I feel as if I’m in the middle of a vast desert, surrounded by beautiful mountains … forever out of my reach. I’ve taken photos, but I’m not satisfied with most of them. I have ideas for those photos (and others in my archive) but cannot find—no, scratch that—muster the energy necessary to make the time to play with them. I have several photopolymer plates created that are waiting for me to ink up and print.

There is such a huge ebb and flow to my creativity. I often wonder if others go through the same thing. They must. I can’t be the only one that struggles with this.

I know the flow will return, but I wish it was sooner than later. I sincerely hope the ebb and flow of your life is less “rocky” than mine is at present. For now, it’s time to just enjoy what I have and know it will get better.

Have a blessed weekend, friends.

On the Road Again …

SEEMS LIKE I’M DOING PLENTY OF TRAVELING this year. I didn’t plan it that way, it just happened. I love these kind of things (insert huge grin here) because I’m all for spontaneity. Makes life interesting, right? (R I G H T !)

This time around, I’m finding myself a wee bit less organized, but I’m not going to sweat it. I left behind quite a few food items for the trip (pout), so I have had to spend a little extra money, but it’s all good in the end. I am having to make do with some very interesting meals, using some interesting

Kale caught in container

Not sure I’ll be eating my kale anytime soon …

things … like the kale that didn’t want to be eaten (microwaved it a little too long and the two plastic items pressurized and I couldn’t get them apart … for quite awhile).

I had an opportunity to spend some quality time (yet, I still have many things to see—another time …definitely) in Lebec. The Los Padres National Forest—and specifically Mt. Pinos—was delightful. The day could not have been better suited with a chilly morning start (maybe around 54 degrees Fahrenheit) and blossomed into a mild day (low to mid 70s, maybe), with an abundance of billowy clouds to delight me at

Mt. Pinos and Clouds

The mood was wonderful up near the 8000 ft level.

Clouds Playing Peekaboo

Clouds prominently peaked through the tree cover.

Poppies South of Gorman

These hills are usually peppered with poppies, lupine by now.

Sage, Pines and Clouds

Everywhere I turned, I was dazzled by the beauty and how well they played off each other.

Rock Critters

Who else sees creatures in those rocks. I laughed out loud at what I saw.

every corner. I just kept driving till I ran out of road—at around 8,300 feet. Breathtaking views. Trees, the delightfully scented sage … and of course those clouds. Oh, yes!

Have you ever laid back and tried to identify things in those clouds? I did as a child—and still do as an adult. Fanciful, perhaps, but I prefer to think that it may be one of the things that keeps me young at heart. Well, how about seeing things in rocks? They caught my eye as I drove up the mountain—with no place to pull over—so I found a spot on my way down to park so I could capture these creatures before they got away.

I also poked around on back roads that turned out to be frontage roads, paralleling the freeway between Lebec and Gorman that takes locals from one town to another. Part of it was “not maintained by county”—which means: dirt road.

Windy Dirt Road

Part of a frontage road between Lebec and Gorman. Fun. Really.

I love an adventure. The road was actually very nicely groomed, albeit gravel. And it was only a small section of road … maybe a half mile or so. The rest was paved and well maintained. I stayed (mostly) on the west side of the freeway. Next time, my adventures will take me around the back roads on the east side—now that I know how to get there.

My primary purpose for this trip was to be two-fold: the Jameson Family Reunion and (I was hoping) a book signing/meet-n-greet. Our clan hasn’t had a big get-together in at least 20 years. It was about time! Unfortunately, the book signing fell through (I even gave the local Barnes and Nobles copies of my books as an incentive to block a date). So, instead, I chose to concentrate on photography for blogging and potentially my art. I think I’ve found a few that may be print-worthy … plenty for the blogosphere. And, I managed to sneak in an appointment with my “money guy”.

I spent my first night at one of my cousin’s and yesterday their daughter and I went for a photo walk. (She is a delightful special-needs adult and we have had so much fun getting to know each other.) So much fun!

Michelle's View: Photographer Photographing Photographer

I had no clue she took this one. We were looking at the Elephant Ear plant (it’s only a baby) when she snapped this.

Michelle's View: Driveway

I love the contrast of grass, cement/design and plants in foreground. 

Michelle's View: Lawn "Ornaments"

Michelle saw me taking photos of the man made objects, and she captured them nicely.

Michelle's View: Sky & Palms

The contrasts are sweet, simply showing silhouettes against the sky.

I downloaded all of the photos she took onto a thumb drive for her parents, but I kept the originals. Here are a few I think are well composed. I’ll never really know what she was trying to capture—or the reason behind each shot … but I like each one—especially once she got a hang of my little point and shoot! She allowed one photo to be put in the trash, otherwise, she’s kept the whole lot she shot.

After my appointment (today), I managed to slip over to Newport Beach to take some pictures at the harbor. I haven’t been there since I was a tweener or teenager at a family gathering. I did find a cute little book store (insert grin) in the harbor district and had fun in there … and chatted with staff about my book.

Reflections and Quirky Boat

The little round boat had me fascinated. Wish I could have found out more about it!

Vast Masts ...

I have a fondness for masts. They fascinate me.

Hrbor Reflections

I’m captivated by reflections (I’ve got another I’m saving for another time)

I think a few of the photos—mostly about reflective qualities I found–are nice enough to show in this blog. One I especially like (completely reflective in nature) I’m holding back for something else.

Right now, I’m chilling at my hotel room, sipping on tea whilst I decompress today’s freeway driving—and trying to get this blog done before the midnight bells toll … a promise is a promise! Me thinks I’ll make it! Yay!

Living in the country can make all the freeway driving in the “Big City” a bit overwhelming, but I’ve learned that you can do one of three things: freak out at the craziness all around you (I must admit … having my talking-GPS allows me to concentrate on the crazy drivers and not miss my turns—and knowing basically which roads I want helps too); or stress over every little inch you gain or lose in your attempts to move forward watching the clock the entire way (I used to do that … shakes head …), or simply chill and realize you’ll get there—eventually. I choose the last one. It allows me to laugh at the other two types of drivers as they pass me, then end up behind me, then pass me again. I just sit back, drive and grin as I listen to some awesome music.

I’m closing now so that I can get a good night’s sleep, for tomorrow begins the Jameson festivities … a little too early (wink, wink), me thinks. But I know it will be fun to get reacquainted with all of my cousins that I haven’t seen in years … and meet all the new family members that have since joined the clan via marriages or births.

Hope there’s no quiz at the end to test our memories for everyone’s names—way too big a family for that!

Hope everyone has a blessed weekend.






No Place Like Home …

I’M SURE EVERYONE HAS THEIR FAVORITE place to be, whether it’s a place they live(d) or visit(ed) … or even wished they could visit or live.

My place, hands down, is my current hometown—well, the county as a whole, really. I’m “retired” so, I’m not chained to one location. That means I could move anywhere I wanted … and there are plenty of places I’ve considered over the years: Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Minnesota … Ireland, Scotland … like I said, I could move just about anywhere I wanted. But there’s always something that keeps me from making the move.
I love the snow, but don’t want to live in it 24/7 for months on end. I love the autumns in the Midwest—the amazing colors and California-like weather … but don’t want to deal with the sticky humid summers (been there, done that) and mosquitoes that could carry you away. My heart tugs at me with I think of Ireland and Scotland, but the midges will eat me alive (I know … they’ve already tried). Nevada and Oregon’s desert climes would probably be too stiffing for me. That pretty much scratches each and every location I’ve thought about—even thought they would all be a whole lot cheaper than where I presently live. California is not cheap, and the areas I love in Monterey County aren’t either.

But I have come to consider the area I live in, especially the rural area I’m in and the Monterey Peninsula, as my little Camelot. How can I go wrong? There are mountains (certainly not like the Rockies, but some of them catch snow now and then), forests, rivers, lakes—and the vast ocean nearby, great for my photography, great for walks … or just for chillin’. The weather cannot be beat. In the canyons, there’s a constant gentle breeze that keeps it from getting too hot for too long during the hottest part of the year. If it’s too cool in one area, drive 15-30 minutes and you’ve got the heat you want and need. And, the the various beaches nearby on the Monterey Peninsula—great for cooling down, or for lovely long walks and for awesome storm watching with waves crashing along the rocky coastline. Plus, from where I “sit” I’m so close to all the surrounding towns, whether it’s Salinas, the Monterey Peninsula towns, Santa Cruz, Aromas or picturesque little San Juan Bautista—in addition, I’m not all that far from Hollister or Carmel Valley, either. What can I say. I’m hooked.

Yes, it really is hard to beat. And even if I think about moving occasionally, I know it’ll never happen. I’m too comfy with my little home on a hill in the country. I may grumble every now and again, but it really is a pretty sweet location. As the very old saying (from Gaius Plinius Secundus, a Roman philosopher better known as “Pliny the Elder”) states, “the home is where the heart is” and I guess my heart will always be with my little Camelot.

God has blessed me and I am grateful.


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All In Good Time … Patience

WAITING. PATIENCE. QUEUES. How are you at waiting? I think, once upon a time, I had an over abundance of patience—kinda necessary when raising a child (or working with children), both of which I’ve done. Friends would say I had “the patience of Job”—took me awhile to realize what they were saying. What a complement. But … I think, when my daughter reached fifth grade and I was a co-coach (for the fourth consecutive year) to seven kids on an Odyssey of the Mind team … with all their new-found hormone-spewing emotions, something happened to that unending supply … it kinda got up and went. Escaped, really. Fled, screaming and yelling into the night. I loved each and every one of them—we’d become a close knit family—but I swore never to coach again. Never.

After that, well … I had a “normal” level of patience (what is “normal” anyway??). It would ebb and flow depending on the situation. As I grew older and wiser (insert sniggering grin), patience was easier to muster. It was almost like the “old” me had regained some of that youthful reserve. There are still times where I find myself pushing when I could be chillin’, but not as bad … definitely.

Waiting in lines? I actually have found it fun. I use the time to people watch. Watch their impatience or passivity—how they handle waiting. I decided to look up some quotes about patience and this one by Joyce Meyer fits in here perfectly: “Patience is not simply the ability to wait—it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” Perhaps they need to be somewhere five minutes ago (oh, I do remember that)—getting agitated, trying to make things go faster, complaining, maybe even making nasty comments. Sometimes it can be quite comical (not their intention, but that’s how I see it that way) and I need to squelch a giggle or smile.

Watching people, like I said … but also interacting with them. I’ve found striking up conversations while in line helps pass the time, too. Once, while “suffering” through the summer heat and l-o-n-g lines at Disneyland, I pulled out a bag of freshly washed string beans and we three (father, very young daughter and yours truly) started munching. Cool, sweet and perfectly healthy. People in line would stare and then comment on how smart it was to bring such an easy and nutritious snack (and wishing they’d thought of it). Then the conversations began. Time flew. Stress flew out the window. Perfect.

Other times, as I stood in the grocery store lines, with my daughter in tow, I’d strike up conversations with people. My daughter used to look horrified as I talked with complete strangers (after all, hadn’t I taught her not to talk with strangers?)—only to find out the horror was not caused by that, but the fact that is was so easy for me to chat with a complete stranger. She finally asked: “How did you do it?” Hmmm. I honestly couldn’t tell her—at least not at the time. I know now. Having faith and simply allowing it to happen. Make the first move, say hi or simply make a positive comment about something happening while we are waiting or compliment/comment about something they are wearing or purchasing (“oh … my, that cake looks yummy!”). It’s easy. Doesn’t require any thought, really. Then let nature take its course. It may stop right there, or in may evolve into a complex discussion about something totally unrelated. I love it (insert grin).

As a writer, photographer and artist, I have found that patience is, indeed, a virtue. I’m not as too good at being patient whilst waiting for the “right” shot—many times I give up just before the optimal opportunity arises—and kick myself in the rear for not waiting just a wee bit longer, missing an extraordinary shot or two. I have garnered an abundance as a writer, but it has been a long, painful haul. One does not rush writing or art—and obviously, taking pictures if you want to catch the “perfect” shot. But, especially with writing and art, when it happens, it happens. It is so obvious—at least to me—when things get rushed. This is why, even though I’m way past my self-imposed deadline for my book, I am not rushing. I want to get it right. I want it to be the best it can be.


Definitely a virtue and one to hold close as we navigate through this life.

I’ll leave you with some little gems I gleaned from my search on patience. Have a blessed day, filled with love and patience for your fellow man and in all the things you run up against, both big and small.

  • Patience is a virtue: “Only Patience has the strength needed by all the others (virtues), from Psychomachia (Battle of spirits) by the Late Antique Latin poet Prudentius, during the early fifth century A.D.
  • “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
    A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
  • “A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”
    Henri J.M. Nouwen
  • “The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”
    Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
  • You can learn many things from children.  How much patience you have, for instance.  ~Franklin P. Jones
  • Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience.  ~George-Louis de Buffon
  • Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.  ~John Quincy Adams
  • Have patience, my friend, have patience;
    For Rome wasn’t built in a day!
    You wear yourself out for nothing
    In many and many a way!
    Why are you nervous and fretty
    When things do not move along fast;
    Why let yourself get excited
    Over things that will soon be past?
    ~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, “Patience” (1940s)
  • Patience is the companion of wisdom.  ~St. Augustine
  • Patience is also a form of action. ~Auguste Rodin
  • One moment of patience may ward off great disaster.  One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.  ~Chinese Proverb