Distractions …

I SHOULD BE WORKING ON THE FINISHING touches of my next book, but I’ve just discovered a new camera app that has be quite distracted. Camera + is the name and it’s for the iPhone 5 on up. I’ve only just begun playing and am thrilled with it.

Becoming distracted is very easy for me … and gets me into trouble all the time. At least I stay focused whilst in the car, driving down the road … well, my daughter may feel that’s a bit overstated as a fact. That’s only because we get to talking (some wonderfully deep conversations at times)—so 99.9% of the time, I’m on the road in the car all by myself and perfectly safe to be around.

Back to the camera and photography. Or, was it distractions …

Yeah, about that. I’m feeling terribly goofy right now, so maybe I should go get distracted by something else for a bit. Gee … and I haven’t even had any wine

Port Wine and a Distraction

Mulling over quotes for next year’s Dr. Who con ribbons.

(wink)—oooh! There’s a good distraction. I’ll be back—later. There’s some port with my name on it …

Now that I’m a bit more sensible (it’s only Monday), I still find myself being distracted. Deliberately. There’s book four pulling at my thoughts, this blog … and a myriad of chores around the house and yard harping at me, begging to be worked on. So, I chose to flit between several of them to keep me “fresh”. Especially the writing items. I can easily shove off the house and yard work (except, the laundry really does need to get done if I want clothes for tomorrow—giggle). I’m finding it easy to bounce from one writing task to another, keeping me engaged. When my mind struggles for an idea, then I step outside with my iPhone—with it’s newly acquired app and search for a worthy subject. Sometimes

Nasturtium in the Yard

A delightful twist of colour from the normal red-orange. And the new macro app on my iPhone makes up close a delight.

Freshly Emerging Mushroon

I’m loving the macro capabilities of the iPhone app, allowing me to easily capture the gills of the mushroom.

I’m successful, sometimes not. But the process sharpens my mind and I’m ready to write again.

My cat is another distraction. Sebastian can be quite entertaining. He is equal to—or better than any TV show, that’s for sure! Demanding at times, too. When he wants your attention, he will get it, one way or another. I’ve had my back to him when he’s wanted attention. He decided to be my “cat shawl” … jumping on to my shoulders and lounging around as I went around doing what needed to be done—or like this morning: I was trying to “sleep in” (after having let Kaeli out, dishing out her morning meal) when he started making all kinds of racket. Playing with the blinds, tearing from

Sebastian ... Up Close

Though he’s not amused by my attempts to catch him taking a cat-nap on my chest, I love that I’m able to do so with the new macro app.

one high spot to another—quite noisily (he can be the stealthy ninja type when he wants), and kneading something that sounded expensive—which was what finally got me out of bed … very quickly. Turned out to be the lovely ancient handed-down-to-me wool blanket. Glad I caught him. He obviously wanted something. I decided to check on his food dish. Yup. Empty.

So much for lazing about after that. I did manage to muck about most of the morning, not getting much done, other than surf through Facebook posts of friends, reposting the appropriate ones, commenting on others … Facebook in an excellent (if you can label it as such), time-sucking sponge. Facebook does have it’s good points, but I’m presently at a loss to list anything beyond keeping in touch with friends and associates.

Are distractions a nice way to say procrastination? Maybe. Well … most likely. And, of course, I am quite good at procrastination, aren’t I (insert grin)? Is that something I should be proud of? Hmmm. Ooops—probably not … or at least shouldn’t be.

Well, procrastination or distraction, I do it not (grin)—at least not presently (it’s still only Monday). I finished the final edit on book three and will give myself a days rest (Tuesday’s a busy day, anyway), then start with the gathering of promotional blurb/bio, etc on Wednesday to submit to my publisher. Then I’ll come back to this, add more thoughts, then polish it up and add a few photos and have it ready for Friday. I love my life … as crazy as it is.

Wednesday found me almost as busy as Tuesday. I was definitely busy gathering

My Ducks in a Row

Compiling all of the things needed before I submit to my publisher … time consuming!

and honing the blurbs to be submitted, searching for other items in vain, so I did not get everything completed as planned. Distractions abound—and I grabbed every opportunity to indulge, simply so I could take breaks from the frustration. More photography, a few errands and more snapping photos—and with one of those errands, I garnered yet another temptation to dangle in front of me to

Sherlock Holmes Stories

A trio of non-Conan Doyle stories of the famous Sherlock Holmes, by Hugh Ashton. I’m looking forward to delving into these new mysteries. But, it must wait. Perhaps as a reward, after I send off all my materials to my publisher…

distract me from work: a newly purchased book.

It will have to wait in the queue with my others since I am determined to get all required bits and pieces off to the publisher as quickly as possible. My readers are waiting after all. When I come down “to the wire”—sometimes, it takes that extra “push”—all distractions and procrastinations are put aside so that I can finish my tasks on time. Most of the time I am successful (every once in a while, I’m not). I try to stay focused on the successes and move forward.

Through the ups and downs, mires of procrastination and distractions, I persevere—and succeed. With these last few lines, the blog is done; later today (or Saturday at the latest) I should have all the information together for the publisher … and tonight I will enjoy celebrating a two year birthday for Open Ground Studios. There will be an artist opening, music, food and socializing. A grand time to celebrate.

May your Friday—and weekend—unfold into a blessed time with family and friends.

 

 

When Sounds Beckon …

WHEN I GET INTO A CONTEMPLATIVE mood, I love to simply sit … and listen. Whether that is listening to music that emanates from my radio or from the sounds that surround my home, it doesn’t matter. Each lend to a meditative mood, but pull me in different directions. Allowing my mind to wander.

My music—mostly Christian (but not completely … my taste in music is quite varied)—pulls me into, amongst other things, a self-analyzing state, allowing me to ponder the direction my actions are taking me—or should be directing me. Music can also energize or relax me … depending on the type in which I choose to immerse myself. But it always carries me away somewhere.

My “environmental” sounds can vary from the busyness of neighbors as they groom lawns as they make improvements or repairs around their property—the lawnmowers and chainsaws whirring away … or the hammering and or shrill sounds of power tools, plus cars swishing by (thankfully at a distance) and an occasional plane or helicopter flying overhead—to the much more natural sounds of birds. Coos of mourning doves, soft trill of quail, raucous calls of blue jays and crows, shrill distant calls of hawks and the delightful array of song birds mixed in with hens proudly announcing the arrival of a newly laid egg … and the roosters (haven’t heard so much from them recently for some reason). And of course, gentle breezes rushing through trees and brushing up against my numerous and varied chimes.

I choose to hone my selective hearing at times, tuning out the more modern (abrasive) sounds and dwelling on what’s more natural. Especially the birds, wind and chimes. Much of the time, my home is devoid of sound, other than what I can hear outside. I prefer it to the constant—and I do mean nearly 24/7—sounds of TV or radio filling the void (bless his heart, but this was my husband’s modus operandi and it drove me crazy). Yes, I will watch a few select TV shows (old “Murder She Wrote” episodes, all the “NCIS” versions out there, along with “Elementary”—for someone that writes fantasy fiction, I watch a lot of mystery, don’t I?), but the TV goes off when it’s over. And the radio is for contemplative or motivational times.

My chimes. I have several made of bamboo (one is an owl, but the filaments holding the tubes are broken and need repair and another is a head-bobbing

Dragon Chime Up Close

I love this dragon. Managed to get him for quite a bargain—he was broken. Bought him, repaired him and he’s given me plenty of enjoyment.

Metal Fish Design Chime

Missing a few chimes, it still makes a lovely tinkling sound…catching plenty of breeze regularly.

Metal Chime and Rainbow Wind Catcher

Higher pitched metal wind chime and one of my two faded rainbow wind catchers…

Sturdy Metal Chime

Deeper tone, which I love to hear.

Metal Chime-Medium Tone

In disrepair…needs it’s clanger replaced. Stands silent, except in strong winds, when the chimes strike each other…

Hummer Chimes

One single chime, with decorative rings with hummers, this chime “chings” rather than chimes. But I like it …

Deep Toned Metal Chime

My very first deep toned chime. LOVE the sound it creates.

dragon. Then there are all sizes of metal chimes, in various shapes, which produce anywhere from deep to high pitched tones. One has thin Capiz shells with their fragile tinkling in the breeze (even when they consistently tangle themselves), baked bamboo—very fragile and not terribly weather resistant (hence it is tucked away, as I am afraid to use it—not even sure I could find it in a pinch it’s so well hidden)…

Dragon and Capiz Chimes

Full view of my coconut half & bamboo dragon chime and the tangled Capiz shell chime. Love the sound the shell chime creates

And then, there are the simpler wind “chimes”—more wind catchers than anything—that blow, twist or turn in the slightest of breezes. I have a redwood twirlie- thing that has a mesmerizing spin to it (broken…in need of repair), several flowy rainbow string wind catchers (that are quite old, dating back to when my daughter was under 5 years of age, and have lost most of their colour, but I still love watching them flutter about in a breeze…and enjoy untangling them—constantly), and several colourful cloth whirlygigs. I even have one “chime” that works in the rain—a “rock” base holding a cluster of long wire stems with metal “flowers” (really no more than circular shaped cups) that catch rain and when it’s full, it tips over and spills out, rebounding and hitting another flower, creating a chiming sound. Kinda neat, but I’ve only

Unique Rain Chime

Though strong winds will make this chime sing out, it was made to capture water in its “flower” cups, tip to spill out the rain, the hit other “flowers”, creating a lovely ping amongst the pitter-patter of rain (which we haven’t had much of lately)

Rainbow Wind Catcher and Triangel Metal Chime

My newest deep toned metal chime only catches the strongest of winds, so I don’t hear it as often as I’d like. I may change its location.

Metal Dragonfly Chime

High pitched chime. Lovely to hear, though, with the heavy dragonfly, it takes a stronger breeze to create a sound.

Flower Wind Catchers (Windmills)

These are actually from the Alzheimer’s Walk. I love them, not only because the are colourful in the breezes, but because there’s meaning behind them.

stayed out in the rain once to listen to it—and we haven’t had enough rain for it to be functional in the last couple of years (and it has collected quite a bit of cobwebs—guess I need to clean them off).

Each has its place in my life and they are all very calming. Even when the wind is raging outside and the chimes become more jarring, I find a peace in their sound. It transports me—bring out my imaginative side to play. My writing flows better, ideas pour out. Spirits are lifted. Like I said, transported.

On still days, well…I mourn the loss of the sounds of delightful chimes, but I do have the other natural sounds of the birds to enchant me.

And I always have my lovely trees and hills above and below me to keep me company. To calm me. To delight me. To trigger my imagination and act as my muse.

May you find and embrace something in your life to spur your imagination into action.

Peace and blessings to you all.

The Gathering Clouds . . .

I WASN’T SURE WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT—AGAIN, until I spent most of an entire day in my garden. The tranquility I reaped from puttering around, pruning, watering

Rhododendron

Delightful rhododendron bloom, just now peeking out with our late spring

Nasturtium

I’ll need to be careful to mow around these lovelies whenever I get around to that task. Love the yellow—a delightful change from the ‘normal’ red-orange blossoms…

and marvelling at nature as it unfolds under my precarious, lackadaisical care was amazing.

I was blessed with the very front edge of a storm front—no rain as yet—just mild temperatures and a gentle breeze slowly pulling in clouds overhead, brushing up against my many wind chimes, allowing them to sing out.
Our area gets some interesting cloud formations. Sometimes the stacked cumulus, that are so magnificent to gaze upon, pepper

Clouds and Trees

The cumulus hug the horizon and “pillows” dot the remainder of the sky.

the sky, but usually it’s the blanket of fog that rolls in like a fluffy quilt being drawn up and over us that dominates.

Tuesday, along the horizon (what I could see through my tree-ringed property) a few of the top-heavy, rain-promising cumulus clung to the hills. Further to

Cloud Watching

One of my favourite pastimes as a child (and even as an adult) is to watch clouds and find shapes in them.
What do you see?

the center of my viewing area, smaller “pillow” clouds (as my dad was fond of calling them as dementia whittled away at his vocabulary) dotted the sky. One patch of the sky had clouds that looked as though an artist had run a paintbrush through it, creating wispy edges on one side. I think, next to the

Wispy Artwork

God’s paintbrush dragged through these clouds to create wispy formations.

Wisps and Pillows

More wispy clouds with a puff here and there dotting the sky

Westward "Window"

Again, from my front porch, the oaks dominate, allowing a bit of blue sky, dotted with clouds and wisps.

towering cumulus (ours are so puny compared to those a friend posts from his Colorado home), these are my favourite. It reminds me that God’s hand is at work … all of the time.

There are other times when the clouds are reminiscent of freshly furrowed fields. The entire sky looks like a field, ready to be planted. Then, there’s always the “intrusion”—or magic—of modern science … the winds aloft playing with contrails of unseen jets and planes overhead, pushing and pulling the line of

Clouds, Contrails and Oaks

Pillow clouds and oaks frame a contrail. I love what the shifting winds aloft do to create interesting drawings in the condensation…

condensation creating undulating, drawings in the sky.

And, of course, the glorious magic of sunset (or sunrise, if you manage to be up in time)—the splendiferous colours that paint the sky. I am looking forward to that this evening … as long as the clouds don’t completely obscure the sun as it sets.
Thursday (as I write this) there’s been a tease of rain. Not even enough to wet the cement patio completely. One can only hope it is merely a taste of what is to come—more rain—which would be a good thing for our rain-starved state. It won’t be nearly enough to satisfy our water needs—far from it, but we will gratefully accept every drop the clouds decided to give us.  Even if the skies yield no more, the overcast will keep things cool, allowing what moisture the ground presently holds to stay … at least for a bit longer.
May the “skies” in your life hold treasures for you to hold close, whether filled with rain or sun, clouds or crystal clear and blue … find the magic and let your imagination soar, to lift you up and through your days ahead.

In a Dither …

TRYING TO COME UP WITH AN idea for a weekly blog is sometimes a challenge. Keeping ideas in my head when they are ready to burst like a dam in another … and then again, rushing to get them “on paper” before they dissipate from my memory. Leaves me shaking my head sometimes … like today. I had an idea brewing in my head, ready to be written, but now that I’m sitting in front of the computer, my mind has drawn a blank. I’m hoping, as I type away, that my mind will reveal the thoughts that are hiding behind one of the many closed doors.

This has been an exciting week, filled with all the last minute preparations that go on behind the scenes, trying to get ready fort book signing in Saturday–tomorrow.  That and the usual “daily grind” stuff and a three-day attempt to get tickets for next year’s Gallifrey One convention has left precious little time for my mind to play.

It’s Friday and my brain has yet to “kick-in” and I must dash off to a funeral, so I am left with two options … either not post, or slip in some photos once again. I’ve chosen photos, gathered this morning. In a rush, I’ve found they’ve uploaded incorrectly (some sideways from their original position) and I don’t have time to fix them. Sorry. Perhaps I can come back and “right” them later.

Have a lovely, blessed Friday and weekend. Until next Friday, cheers.

Raindrops on Lilacs

Glistening sun on the tip of a lilac leaf from our precious bit of rain

Raindrops on Blade of Grass

Love the magnifying effect of the rain drops on the leaf

Raindrops on Milkweed

Remnants of raindrops on milkweed leaf.

Red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk watching over my yard

 

 

Meanderings

MEANDERINGS COME IN ALL FORMS … in words, deeds and travels.  Even though the dictionary says it’s means “wandering at random”, one can have purpose in their meanderings.

I’ve found purpose in most things that I do, though some may think otherwise. Some may say there’s not much reason to wandering through the woods. Or along the beach. How on earth could one benefit from such an activity?

I say they are wrong—well, at least for me … especially when those meanderings are in the form of walks or long drives around the hills or coast. I find peace. Restored energy. Beauty. And God’s fingerprints everywhere. It gives rise to rejoicing.

These past few weeks, I’ve had an opportunity to do just that. Meander to rejuvenate and rejoice in the things I’ve seen. What follows is a little photo-journalistic view of my meanders. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Perhaps it may inspire you to do a little meandering of your own …

Whether you live in my area, privy to the diversity of mountains, meadows, rivers and beautiful forests—or find yourself surrounded by man-made forests of skyscrapers and the like, there are plenty to meander through … examining the architecture up close—or the geometry that abounds in those structures … finding Mother Nature breaking through cracks in the form of mosses, a small flower or some other sort of greenery. They are all ways to explore the world around you, letting your mind meander as you wander in your environment. Relax, enjoy, marvel at what is around you.

Be my guest … meander at your leisure.

View Along Los Laureles Grade Road

Westerly view from Los Laureles Grade Road between Carmel Valley and Salinas Valley. Despite the drought, the hills are green (possibly due to our fog)…though rapidly losing their color.

Father and Daughter Meandering

At Garland Ranch Sate Park, it delighted me to see a father and daughter meander the trails, enjoying the nature that abounds.

Lupin and California Poppy

Sparsely peppering the landscape, the lupin and poppies are magnificent when finally blooming en mass. Hope it’s soon!

A Little "Shrine"

Someone has taken the time to collect rocks and such to adorn a tree stump. I love to see things like this. A personal touch to someone’s walk.

Garland Ranch Meadow

Expansive view of meadow with the mountains just beyond. Barely noticeable, lupin pepper the meadow. Other years, it’s a veritable pallet of color!

Peaceful River/Bridge Setting

I love to come down the path to the waters edge, listening to the river as it rushes over rocks. Very calming.

Carmel River @ Garland Ranch State Park

Secondary bridge—just discovered this on my last trip—set low and close to the river at Garland Park

Carmel River @ Garland Ranch State Park

Reflections—of all sorts—are things I love the most. Here, trees reflect in the beautiful Carmel River.

Trees Meet Meadow at Garland Park

The diversity of meadows, rolling hills and mountains peppered with oaks, willow and manzanita draw me forward. If it wasn’t for the heat, I could have walked for much longer…

Dry Meadow at Garland Park

Our drought has created dry meadows that should have beautiful wild flowers…

Respite in the Shade at Garland Park

On this warm day of my meandering, shaded oasis along the warm trail was a welcome sight.

Bridge Overcrossing at Garland Park

I love walking around down by the river. Not so quite today, as there were two very chatty mates across the river (just out of the photo) and a woman with her two retrievers delighted to bound in and out of the river (also just of the photo)

Carmel River-More Reflections

Such tranquility down by the river—a quiet moment before individuals broke the silence.

Garland Park-Carmel River

Reflective in nature, a serene view of Carmel River

Garland Park-Dogs at Play

Hiker’s dogs playing in Carmel River at Garland Park

Garland Park-Reflections

Looking down the Carmel River, reflections abound, making me one happy camper.