Saturday, December 28, 2013

Any Crumb...

Well, gosh, a little good news.  Despite his infections that caused him to stop eating and lose weight over the past two weeks, v was able to gain enough once the antibiotic started working that he weighed the same as he did the last time he was weighed at the doctor's office, two weeks ago.  So, good.  He's beginning to put back on a little weight.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Friday, December 27, 2013

And Why Not?

Well, we didn't do a lot of decorating, but we did some and the place looks Christmas-y.  v has been up and down.  He was so happy to have his daughter here for the holiday, that was lovely.

It does seem that as we slay one dragon, another will rise up to take its place.  He's lost a dramatic amount of weight and has been complaining of the taste and texture of food.  He's been dealing with a sore throat for several weeks (he recently admitted). He was afraid that his throat cancer had come back.  We were so overjoyed to find that he had an infection (which could have been treated all along!).  Just as that was beginning to clear, and food was becoming enjoyable again, he now is suffering stomach pain from the antibiotic.  It's just a vicious cycle. We just move forward.

Every year, for the past several, we've been having a few friends over on New Year's Day to share black-eyed-peas and rice for a prosperous New Year.  We debated over having the gathering this year, but then we found ourselves mentioning it to one friend, and then suggesting another join us as well, and...well...It looks like a few people may indeed be coming by for that bowl of peas.  And why not?

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Rush at the End of the Year!

It's really late, I know, but I just put in the garlic.  More of a token planting than anything really substantial. I just had to get them in before the winter solstice so they'll be ready by summer solstice.  We shall see.

I'm also working in our workshop trying to figure out what to have for our friends this Christmas.  No matter how many months we ponder and urge ourselves to get going on the planning, it always boils down to the last week, with distant friends knowing that gifts will be "off-season".  Oh why do we feel locked into this gift giving only at one time of the year??? Not everyone, of course, but my oh my it's like a freight train is barreling down on us. v laughed when I told him I used to start in June getting ready for Christmas.  He's finally understanding why.  So, we do have some things tucked aside to fill packages with. It's just that the season being upon us throws so much more inspiration our way.  It's hard to imagine bright packages of red, green, gold, and silver under a sparkly tree when your watching for whales across the bay in July, really.

Happily, however, the shop is painted its bright and cheerful colors.  That's one package already wrapped.

Oh! and another, surprise, gift!  My photo of v on the trail in Elkhorn Slough was chosen to be featured in their 2014 calendar!  My first published image! (that I know of)

We are September!

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Our Friends

v's shop has stood, since he completed the construction, at the back of the garden with a primer coat sadly waiting for some color to be applied.  But, unfortunately, v has been battling one cancer after another since that summer four years ago.  Thankfully, he's had good use of his shop but, for one reason or another, it just never got painted.  This Christmas we decided it would be a nice present to both of us to finally do the deed.  We thought, maybe, I could manage with his coaching.  However, on the day we had scheduled ourselves to get started, our friends, a couple from the nearby village of Spreckles, came by and got down to business!  Within a short time the body color had been applied right up to the worrying peak of the building!  The following day we were even more delightfully surprised when we came home from our shift at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to find that the trim had been painted, and there are several windows!  I can at least say that I painted the door.  From a distance, that looks like a pretty good job, too.  Up close it looks more like a talented pre-schooler got loose with a red crayon.  What I really, really appreciate (aside from the energy derived from all the color) is that those two are so good that even the paint brushes, buckets, and drop cloth were all cleaned and stowed neatly away!  What a gift!  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Winter Concert

I can't play a note, but I find these instruments works of art. I can't resist if one is resting long enough for me to take a picture of it!

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sea Shells and Frost

Frosty morning, but not as cold as it has been recently.  A warming trend, maybe.  How odd to be so cold so close to the least on the West Coast.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Jolly Holidays

The holidays make it so much nicer somehow.  We're tired and we're battered, but here we are waiting for Christmas and enjoying the bright touches everywhere.

'Tis the season...

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Sometimes it's just too much. Everything I have is just not enough.  What else can I say if I'm not heard anyway?

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Something I've been doing to earn a little extra income is photographing some musical events near home.  Last weekend the Hidden Valley Music Center hosted an event featuring the Monterey Flute Choir.  Over the past year I have photographed several of their concerts and my photos can be seen on their Facebook page.

The group has many fine musicians, some of whom are involved with other musical groups.

Through their generosity in inviting me to photograph their concerts I have been gaining a great appreciation for flute music along with improving my photographic perspectives.  

The Hidden Valley Music Center was a beautiful place to work.  The lighting was wonderful.

A favorite shot from a previous shoot.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Dunes

We finally found the entrance to Ft. Ord Dunes State Beach along Monterey Bay.  On the spot where I took this from there used to be an enlisted mens' club that was commissioned by General Stillwell.  It was an elegant place for the soldiers to relax and escape for a time during the wars.  The interior was beautiful with large well lit rooms, huge fireplaces, reading rooms, and beautiful murals painted by WPA artists.  In 2003 the building was torn down. The cliffs were eroding and the building had been battered by recent storms. The army tried to save the building, but nature won.  I don't know if the murals were preserved.  I know it was discussed. It will take some looking into.  One would hope that, at the least, there are photo documents. Stillwell Hall was the first enlisted mens' club built. Prior to that only officers warranted such grand accommodation for their relaxation.  The views of the bay were stupendous.

As we sat on the bluff a large school of Risso's Dolphins swam playfully by.  They leaped behind the waves and surfed within them.  For some reason every shot I took of those lovely dolphins came out extremely under exposed.  Must have been my excitement at seeing another creature at play.  We will just have to keep going back.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Working Together

Today v and I had a job in Carmel Valley.  Good light in the manzanitas.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Corner "Studio"

Setting up my corner photo shoot for the hands project.  I have working hands, exploring hands, teaching hands, loving hands, and now (hopefully) creative hands.  I'm loving film, but love the digital as well!

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Lesson

One of my favorite shots taken with the film camera. v showing fb the features of fb's new iPhone one morning at coffee.

I'm so loving my film class.  I've never experienced a semester that went by so quickly, way to quickly...

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Friday, November 8, 2013

Down Days

Today v is down from the chemo.  All those months that he had very little reaction...Since September it has been knocking him down for several days after the infusions.  We're so happy that we accomplished so much yesterday.  It makes today, and probably tomorrow, that much easier to deal with.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Back in the Saddle

I have been sick for roughly a month.  Whatever it has been it is leaving and my energy is coming back.  Time to get out to the garden again. Mostly it needs to be put to bed, but there are some things we like to have on hand through the winter since it is so mild here.  Spinach is one of them.  From my energy point of view, this is all I can write today and still get some other work done.

In bocca al lupo. m & v

Monday, November 4, 2013

Big Sur Backroad

This morning I wanted to run down to Big Sur for a film shoot.  I took both cameras so I'd have something to share here.  I woke up wanting to add some redwoods to my tree portfolio.  v was finally feeling much better: no stomach pain, no abdomen pain, no back pain.  These are the majority of the complaints he had through September and October since restarting the chemo.  He states he's still feeling weak, but he's been knocked down so much by these other symptoms that he isn't moving around that much.  He was kind enough to drive us down to Big Sur in his truck, but I drove home.  We're both so happy he isn't experiencing any pain today.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Friday, November 1, 2013


We're being considered for a calendar photo!  I submitted this shot that I featured last February after a great hike at Elkhorn Slough.  My first time submitting and getting a "consideration" notice.  Whoo-Hoo!

I have no idea when we'll finally know the outcome, but I will keep this site posted for anyone interested.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Thursday, October 31, 2013

No Trick but a Lovely Treat!

Well, this morning I decided to experiment with exposure, light subject, and shadows.  I was reading one of Ansel Adams books on photography and came across his advice to "expose for shadows, develop for light". And there was our Christmas Cactus blooming for Halloween!

For a scary subject: v has now been experiencing some spinal pain. It began just a few days ago.  Another CT scan is being advised.  We asked, well, I asked, how many CT scans can/should a person have in a year, or shall we just say in a six to twelve month period?  We got what I am feeling is the standard physician reply: "When the exam is related to treatment then the benefits outweigh the risks".  I just can't help wondering if another, unspoken, response is that under the circumstances (v's stage IV), if we're just being told it doesn't matter in the end?

OH! but there is an UPDATE on this condition:
He just got up (I generally post when he's still sleeping) and while we were discussing this particular pain he realized it has gone!  Yesterday it was painful to touch.  The doctor poked and pinched at it to v's visible discomfort.  Today it's gone!  I just kneaded every vertebrae in his spine and the pain is gone.  Hmmmmm. We just got our Halloween treat! I'll close now on such glad tidings...Sometimes it just works out that way, eh?

In bocca al lupo. m & v

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


 A little Photoshop fun for Halloween.  Now I'll have to come up with something for the actual day.  I'm a bit under the weather so am not out with the!

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Coast Route

Driving home from San Francisco this evening after a fun day at the galleries at 49 Geary Street and the Meridian Gallery on Powell.  Photographic exhibitions and they were wonderfully inspiring.  

Above the Sutro Baths ruins.

The fog along the coast on our drive home

And the road ahead.  We love the coast route.  Life's too short to take the path more travelled. 

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Just Happy to be Here

Today is just what it is.  I don't have any rambling thoughts. I'm just happy to be within the confines of the Earth and Sky with the sun warming our bones.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Afternoon and Visiting Friends

v and I spent the afternoon visiting our friends at their wonderfully welcoming home.  They're just finishing up painting it.  We love the purple and turquoise combination with the creamy background color.  The house is surrounded by beautiful gardens patrolled by chickens, cats, and a small dog.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Smoke Bush

The smoke bush was part of a garden tapestry that I imagined when I first started putting the garden together.  I dreamt of having a view to the back garden from inside the house. It didn't start out that way.  In fact, getting to the back garden was a dismal trek down a dark hallway through a dingy utility area that had once been the service porch.  Now there is the view I envisioned. The tapestry is a combination (by the way, it is a Fall tapestry) of the smoke bush behind the ginko tree, behind the copper beech.  When weather conditions are right, the ginko becomes the brightest acid yellow before it drops its leaves.  The smoke bush is doing its part, now for the weather to kick in for the ginko.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Eight Years Already!

Our eighth anniversary. Who knew?

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fallen Apples

So many apples, so little time.  Or so it seems.  I planted apple trees out in the front garden when I first moved into this little Victorian.  I'm allergic to raw apples, but I find the trees so beautiful I had to have them.  On our little city lot, a very small city lot in fact, we have what is defined as an orchard here now.  Five or more fruit trees constitutes an orchard.  We have four apples, that I've planted, two sour cherries that we planted, and a lovely old apricot tree that we've been told was probably planted when the house was built in the 1870's.  It's been tentatively identified as a Blenheim Apricot.  It produces such sweet apricots that I'd almost think they were some strain of peach.  A few summers ago one of the large branches broke off. The following summer we discovered many little seedlings had sprouted around where that branch had fallen.  v chose what he deemed the best of the lot and has been nurturing it ever since.  We are hoping to see blossoms next spring, it's grown to be taller than either of us. Fingers crossed.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ladybug, Ladybug...

Well, it wasn't a good September for v.  Chemo restarted after a short break, four weeks, and he can't seem to regain his energy.  He has new discomforts.  There is so much anxiety and unrest in me.  I clutch at any straw.  What a sanctuary is our garden and our friends.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Fall is in the air and today was the perfect day to be out on the bay. Mystical October. There is something about the light and the quality of the air.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Monday, October 7, 2013

Three Beach at Sunset

Have I mentioned that we live in Paradise? I have been working on a photo assignment over the weekend and was not taking the digi along with me, too much of a distraction and temptation.  My 365 project is falling woefully behind already.  To make up for it I am including 3 shots from Big Sur where v and I went to relax and shoot.  I'm so loving black and white that I had to start with this one.  The colors are pretty nice as well.

Sunset, not morning!

When Edward Weston was photographing Big Sur and Pt. Lobos, he was most assuredly photographing late in the day and sunset.  Morning shots are blocked by the mountains.
Right now our weather is perfect! If we didn't have a commitment this afternoon we'd be back down there shooting away and just loving the sun!

In bocca al lupo. m & v

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Fort Ord on the Monterey Peninsula covers the same square mileage as the city/county of San Francisco.  There are hundreds of these barracks and many other buildings being allowed to stand useless.  A few years ago a few buildings were sold for $1 to churches and other foundations.  Those buildings have been restored, painted, and landscaped and are beautiful as well as functional.  Why, why, why do we continue to pave over open land, reduce fertile land for farms in order to build more and more housing units?  The Fort Ord Reuse Agency could sell the units for that same $1 with a stipulated time limit for improvement and habitability and lease the land the units are on.  These building would make terrific townhomes, studios, and businesses.  Across the road is a shopping center.  Access to Highway 1 is only a few hundred feet down the road, and the view is the Monterey Bay! There is a high school right in the center of all of these derelict buildings and believe me, the kids have no trouble getting inside these places. Doors stand wide open, windows are shattered and signs of less than legal activity is everywhere.

There they stand on their hill overlooking the bay and the new shopping center.  The barracks and other abandoned buildings go on for miles along paved roads winding maze-like over the vast expanse of the former military base. They need to be restored and re-used and we need to reduce the waste of land that once gone cannot be brought back.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mornings at Home

The view from the parlor window.  We are close to downtown, but remain a quiet neighborhood.  We're waiting for the new trees to grow up to replace the leafy canopy the city cut down by mistake.  Mistakenly cutting down two blocks of shady trees is a tragedy. That's how it felt to those of us who enjoyed the tree lined blocks.  The mayor apologized, but it still took two years to get the little replacements. What is on view here is not one of them, it's our own, a sour cherry.

I may have to revise my project to be a daily photograph.  Otherwise I should title it: Mornings at Home.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

That Quiet Hour of the Morning

This is the quiet hour. v is still asleep, the kitchen has been put in order and I have my coffee.  I also, generally, have a text conversation with my childhood friend who lives in Southern California where we grew up.  She's even a teacher in the school district we attended. First grade and, gosh, she's been there long enough to retire!  Unbelievable!  I won't even post how long we've been friends since we met on the first day of kindergarten.  Since my family all passed so many years ago, she is the person I've known longest in my life. She is my family. She even took off from work and drove the eight hour drive, overnight, to be there when v and I married. We didn't have a wedding, just a minister we found through telephone inquiries.  We didn't even meet her until the ceremony.  When I suddenly realized I wouldn't know her I phoned her the night before to ask how  I would recognize her.  She said she'd  "be the woman in the green truck!" and I said I'd be the one in the blue truck. So it was great. v'd chosen the site, a favorite spot overlooking Carmel Beach.  My dear friend was there, also a couple of my co-workers "crashed" the ceremony.  It was amazing to me.  v cried, he's just so sentimental.  Do you know, we still look at each other and say "how did we get so lucky?" Well, with it's ups and downs, I still feel I live a charmed life, v hasn't been so lucky, but it's had a glow since we've been together.  So much is due to the wonderful friends we have, old and new.

The latest CT results will be today and the next round of chemo.  We'll see...

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Happy Day

Passing the Wave Street Studios on our way to the aquarium this morning. I was really hoping their "greeter cat" would be out to invite us into the beautiful garden...maybe next week.

Another beautiful day on the peninsula with whales making a splashy border for all of us.  It's just been enchanting watching the whales and pointing them out to our visitors from Israel, Germany, China, Australia, England and Belgium today.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v