Sunday, December 8, 2013

Turkey Day 2013

This post is a little backwards, but life can be that way sometimes. The above scrapbook page is a composite of pictures taken when my friends were kind enough to join me for dinner. At the top left is Deb Peters and Ginny Nyland's son Rayn. Directly below in Ginny. She's my guardian angel directly responsible for me living at Mission View. She and her sister Linda and brother-in-law Colin helped me move from New Mexico. Great friends! Below that is my neighbor John who I couldn't do without. John can fix or do anything. At the top right is a lunching companion and fellow Pole, another John. Below that is Deb Peters and her mom Betty who came over from New Mexico on Tuesday glad to leave some snow and cold behind. The last picture is of the beautiful centerpiece that  my lunching John gifted me with: perfect for our table. We were so thankful to eat outside in 70 degree weather.

Our weather wasn't all that wonderful, referring back to the arrival of Deb and Betty. I had big plans to show them around Tucson in sunshine and blue skies. Not gonna happen. We settled for a tour of Xavier del Bac Mission. That was really great and the docent couldn't have been better. Then we joined my photographer friend Karen Keating for lunch at Olive Garden. Deb and Karen are my look alike friends. It's scary how closely they resemble one another. Oh, and did I mention: they are both from Connecticut. We had a wonderful lunch, and no one would have guessed that Deb and Karen had just met one another. They chatted like long lost friends.

The weather was sort of iffy, but I wanted Betty to experience the mountains and the saguaros, so I took them over Gates Pass. We actually stopped at at the information area and Deb hiked up the hill a ways. Then I took them to one of my favorite campgrounds: Ironwood. It's name comes from a huge Ironwood tree at the end of the campground. Can you believe it? I didn't have a camera except my iPhone. These are pictures of Deb being her fun self.

So after watching the Steelers lose Thanksgiving evening, Deb and Betty packed up and headed back to New Mexico on Friday. What a fun visit!

So Sunday December 1, the three photographers, and two birders (can you guess which one is not really a birder?) headed for Madera Canyon. Not exactly a primo day for what I take pictures of: landscapes and a bird if he flies right in front of me. Karen and Ellayne got pictures of Mexican jays, white-breasted Nuthatch, gray-headed dark-eyed Juncos, and a Bridled Titmouse.

Below is a picture I took as we were coming up the creek with no water obviously and poor lighting, so I photo-shopped it. Bad girl!

But I'll be back this week with another birding friend: Brock. He'll do birds; I'll fumble my way through the picture-taking.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ironwood Forest National Monument

Last Saturday, November 17, I drove out to Ironwood Forest National Monument. I had been here a few other times, but today a group of people from the University of Arizona were giving presentations on the flora and fauna found on this section of Bureau of Land Management property. My pictures don't show any Ironwood trees unless they are dead. On this trip, I found the cacti more appealing. On my first trip here, since I didn't see many Ironwood, I joked to my friends that there are more Ironwood trees in Mission View RV Park than here.

I can't resist dead trees; they seem to be saying something about not giving up.

Here the speaker has a snake that looks similar to a coral snake, and he explained the differences in detail. I didn't get too close to see if he was correct.

The Gila Monster here is the only poisonous creature that he had with him. In order for this ugly guy to bite you, you almost have to stick you finger in his mouth; he didn't give any fatality statistics, but said most people recover with a little medical aid. No one volunteered to disprove him.

Here's a cactus arm that looks like someone's bad hair day. I think he was reaching out to hug someone.

I'm not even sure that's a dead Ironwood in there with all those cacti. It could be a mesquite; there are several different types in the area.

I titled this The Scar; an arm was lost for whatever reason, and the site scabbed over.

Here's Mr. Tortoise. The speaker is trying to make him hurry along. It took quite an effort. Perhaps he should have offered a treat.

As you can tell, these two shots are identical. I wanted to experiment with making it black and white and perhaps more dramatic. I guess I'll just keep experimenting. I took a class at the Desert Museum for Elements and have been playing with Light Room and Photoshop. Why would someone take on such a daunting challenge at my age? Always looking for trouble, I guess.

There is so much I haven't shared. Playing with the pictures is too much fun, and fun is what I do best. I explored a little on my own, and found three roads that I want to check out when I have some friends with me. I think we can use flagging to mark our way instead of cookie crumbs.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

San Carlos 1969

After I did the last post, I remembered that I had slides that I had copied to my computer. They're not the best, but better than I dared hope after all this time. We had a 60 something VW bus that my husband had converted to a camper. He did all the carpentry work and secured it in place. Of course, it wasn't self-contained, but it carried the kids and all our gear, and we had a table to eat inside, and we could all sleep inside if the weather was bad.

This is a picture of the beach, and I have no clue of the direction. We are apparently preparing for an afternoon storm. Below Susie is taking a nap, unusual for her. She was 4, Mike was 6, and Tammy had just turned 10. Those were seat cushions from inside. I have no idea why we were using them outside. We probably didn't have lawn chairs. Can you believe I don't remember some ancient history?

We didn't do this trip on our own. I worked special events for the University of New Mexico, and Mary Barnes was my boss. She invited us to go down with her family. She had several boys older than my Michael, but he loved to fish, and they somehow caught these sharks (?) plus an octopus.

Below, a family vacation portrait! Dad is obviously taking the picture. He took the greatest pictures with his Cannon that he bought while on R&R in Japan during the Korean War. I believe the swim suit that Tammy is wearing is the one she wore while on the swim team at the Coronado Club on Kirtland Air Force Base.

He caught this one on a hook, not in his bare hands!

Along the roadside, a veritable palace. Most that we encountered on the beach lived in corrugated shacks. Trip over; forward a life time.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

San Carlos, Mexico

So, can't you just hear a Mexican guitar strumming in the background? Last weekend I had the opportunity to caravan south of the border to a place I've visited many times over the past 40 years. The first time was in the late 60's when the kids were little. Poor Fred, plagued with Montezuma's revenge, slept on a bench on the porch of the banos, and Michael dropped a fish he caught in his bare hands on my stomach as I lay sunning myself on the beach. Tammy got stung by a jelly fish. The only thing I remember about Sue was that she was sitting on a rock in her little blue bathing suit looking unhappy about something. The adults decided to try and boil an octopus to death. Not the prescribed way to cook it. On our way back to Albuquerque, we stopped at Kino Bay, a fishing village, a little north of San Carlos. Some fishermen had too many trigger fish and gave us some. The kids didn't like to eat fish, so we told them it was chicken. After the first plate, they wanted more. We didn't tell them until much later that it was really fish. We always lied to them about food: we told them that liver was steak. To this day, when we get together, the kids want me to cook liver and onions.

 This is the beach at dawn in front of our condos. The birds and I were the only ones on the beach at dawn, and they didn't seem to mind me.

Below is the San Carlos landmark: the mountain formation, Tetakawi, sacred ground to the local inhabitants.

This is the sunrise over the mountains to the east of El Estero del Soldado, an estuary adjacent to the condos. My good friend Bill Graham, a marine biologist who lives in San Carlos, works to help preserve the wildlife there. He took me on a tour of the area to help me get my bearings and realize where the old Shangri-La was. That was the name of the campground and the beach where we had our adventures beginning in the 60's. After the tour, we had a lunch of fresh shrimp and veggies, and he showed me around his beautiful home that he and his late wife built and decorated. She was quite the artist.

These two seem to be having a Mexican stand-off. Just my interpretation.

Our beach with a view of Tetakawi. I take a zillion pictures, but I have to selective in which ones I can build a story around, and then sometimes, I just want to show the beauty of where I'm visiting.

In the late 80's and early 90's, we were told that the Mexican government bought this area which was adjacent to Shangri-La, and built this beautiful marina. Gary and I stayed here while they were building it, because he had made friends with the security people on one of his trips without me. Water came through the back window of the Jamboree, so we had to hang our bedding out to dry. Gary opened up the awning, and we hung it from there. That evening, we decided to go to a restaurant on the top of the hill. When we got there, the patrons said, "Oh, you're the people with your sheets flapping in the wind!" I guess you've got to be known for something. Below is a picture of the restaurant as it looks today. The security guard at the marina told me that it had been out of commission for years. They had built a venue for parties and weddings on the old beach where we used to camp, but the guard said I could go over there and take pictures.

The boat pictured above is a 15 foot West Wight Potter. That was the first sail boat that Gary bought after we were married in 1980. Great sailing adventurers sail these craft around the world. We had a lot of fun in that boat before he bought the 30 foot Naomi James that he sailed across the Baja from this marina.

Where those big houses are used to be kitchette apartments. One Columbus Day weekend when I was teaching, he thought he was surprising me by bringing me here. He was so disappointed when I recognized the campground. It didn't matter; we had a wonderful weekend, and later brought our motor home here in the summer. We ended up meeting some tremendous people from Australia who visited us in Elephant Butte in later years. In taking this picture, I'm standing on the beach that used to be part of Shangri-La. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the beach. It ended up being a lot smaller than I remembered it.

This adventure was a trip down memory lane for me. I didn't take as many pictures as I normally do, but I had my travel group to visit with, and we ate a lot of good food and had fun getting to know one another.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Xavier del Bac

The story behind these photos is that one of my photography groups decided to do a shoot of Xavier del Bac at sunset. As you can see, all of the photos except the last one was done before sunset. I saw a lot of opportunities with the light and clouds, so I took advantage.

I have a lot of shots like the one below, but this one is special, because it's straight from the camera, absolutely no enhancements. It had been raining all day and I was worried that it wouldn't clear in time for the shoot. I have more of the rain on the city to the north and east of where we are just before sunset. That's what I get for taking so many pictures; it takes me a while to sort through them and decide which ones I feel are good enough for public consumption.

Postscript: I live less than a mile from this landmark.

Randomness at the Desert Museum

I guess I could go out to the Desert Museum every day, and I do have enough opportunities and excuses that I get there quite often. It's different every time because the plants are reacting to the change in season. Below are flowers on a barrel cactus that I enhanced a little.

This is a datura. I must have hundreds of shots of datura., a lot with bees feeding inside the flower.

This Great Blue Heron is behind glass, so I don't remember how I was lucky enough to get this shot.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

San Francisco in August

It's been 33 years since I've been to San Francisco. Gary and I came here on our honeymoon in 1980. Kate graciously offered to give me the tour, so we loaded Aliana, Domino,and all the necessary extras. It was an absolutely ideal day: high 60's and bright sunshine. 

Would loved to have taken the time to walk the bridge, but we were cramming enough into the day as it was. The idea is to beat the traffic, both morning and afternoon, so that leaves a limited window of opportunity.

The city with the Oakland Bay Bridge in the top left. They were opening the new span after Labor Day weekend. I wish I had made an effort to go over there and get some shots.

Pier 39 is the new Fisherman's Wharf. I could have spent the whole day visiting the shops and restaurants. The three below are the ones that interested me the most.

Just practicing perspective and leading lines.

I could watch these guys all day. What noisy critters! A lot of scars from their many battles. The pigeons and sea gulls were having a fine day also.

Big Boat to go FAST around the bay and give the tourists a thrill.

Beautiful tall ship!

Palace of Fine Arts: what an incredible place! I have a lot of pictures that I'll share later. Kate, Domino, and Alaina posing. Domino is not a dog; he's a person in a dog suit. Probably a lot more well-mannered than some people. My newest granddaughter is such a good traveler and incredibly beautiful. More pictures to post of her too.