Happy New Year!

New Year’s Day can be the laziest day of the year – I mean there’s nothing you absolutely have to get done. Unless you’re heading to the Rose Parade, or a football game, or an Open House, what plans do you have? Unless of course you have a long list of resolutions and goals and this is the first day of the new year and you can’t wait to get started!

I had fun today – I lounged some, and then worked like mad on all the new stuff I want to do this year. Ended up being a very productive day! And then at Sunset I did a little shooting around the neighborhood…

Sun Setting on the Little Church

This is the view from my front door, looking West. That’s the historic First Christian Church I’ve blogged about before, from a different angle. A few months ago the trees had so many leaves, I could barely see the church in between, but now I have a pretty good view.

January Sky

Such an amazing sky just before sunset. It was bright blue with some white fluffy clouds, but then these dark grey clouds started to blow in, and it made some interesting patterns in the sky.

Dancing Palms

I love the way the branches on these palm trees dangle and dance so gracefully. And the sky looks like an ocean between them.

Yellow Tree

You can see the sky is getting pink behind these leaves. I am in LOVE with this tree. So pretty!

Motion Blur

Find some flowers, add a little movement, and Voilà! I think camera movement is a tricky thing to do well – but this shot works for me. It gives the plant a magical quality, in my opinion.

Diet Coke

And finally, my nemesis… I’m including this shot because it’s New Year’s Day and the one sort-of-resolution I have this year is to give up Diet Coke. I am not expecting to give it up totally, forever, so it is a resolution I’ll break eventually, but the longer I go before breaking it, the better! It’s bad for me, I’m totally addicted, and I love it. But it’s time to break the habit. I do love the tag line along the top of the can, Give, Live, Love. Sounds great to me! But I can do without what’s in the can – at least for a little while!

How much gas do you get for $5.00?

gas pump

Question: How much gas do you get for $5.00?
Answer: Not much. At least it nudged the needle slightly above the Big E.

This was just an experiment – I filled the tank soon after! But I was curious…

A sign of hope or defiance?

Burned Tree Branch with Christmas Decoration

Driving into town on Reche Road you pass some of the worst fire damage – in fact the Valley Oaks Mobile Home Park where over one-hundred homes were lost is visible from the road as you drive by. And there’s other damage – the canyon by Wilt Road was particularly hard hit. It’s a miracle if you look closely, because you can see where the firefighters held back the flames.

At the intersection of Reche and Wilt something interesting is happening. Someone is placing Christmas decorations on the burned branches. It started with just a couple shiny balls. Then it grew, and now it’s starting to spread down the hill. Who knows if it’s one person, or an organized group, or just a bunch of individuals inspired by what they see, and contributing in their own way.

It could have been garish. or ugly, or just in bad taste – but somehow it’s not. It’s beautiful, and it fills me with a combination of hope and defiance every time I drive past. Hope for the future, because the fire did not destroy the truly important things in life – and defiance, because even though the landscape is charred, we’re clearly not letting the fire destroy our hope.

It’s just a few shiny decorations – but it’s very cool! Kudos to whoever is responsible!

Rain Clouds

Rain Clouds in Fallbrook

Rain! Nearly two inches in less than 24-hours. The grey skies finally broke this afternoon and the sun shone through briefly, and then the rain started again. I’m not complaining! We definitely need it.

I took a walk down by the stream yesterday, during the middle of a downpour and skipped over puddles and watched the stream swirl through town on it’s way out to the ocean. Everything smelled wonderful and fresh and new!

Canadian Change

Canadian Money

I came home from Canada this summer with over $20 in change. I tried to give all their money back before I crossed the border – really, I did! I left some for housekeeping in the hotel, I gave the cab driver a larger tip than normal – why not? I can’t use it in the US, it should be in circulation in Canada, and there’s no place to exchange loose change at the airport – and since they use $1 and $2 coins, you end up with a lot of loose change!

But once you finish checking in, and they tell you that you’re officially back in the US, even though you haven’t boarded a plane yet, there’s a waiting area lined with restaurants and shops. I wanted breakfast, and a magazine and some Advil, and I had nearly two hours to kill – so of course I was going to spend some money. So I handed over my American $20 bill, and got back Canadian money in change – and not even paper bills – but all change. One clerk handed me back $18 in change.

So oh well, I came home with a bunch of Canadian money. So I stuck it in a drawer and figured I’d spend it someday when I go back. But the weird thing is, it’s been four months, and still, every time I open that drawer and see that money I feel an urge to head to Canada. So is that the plan? Make sure all the tourists go home with a big handful of change so they get an irrational urge to visit again, so they can spend it? If so, it’s working…

Love it when it rains

How can you not love it when it rains – if it’s this beautiful? I was in San Bernardino and it was nearly sunset and the light was just magical. It had been raining all day, off and on, more off than on, but then some big lazy drops began to fall, and I saw this tree…

The Train to Riverside

I love trains – usually… but not today. There was evidently an accident somewhere up north, so one train was out of commission, and it just happened to be the train I needed to be on to complete my trip and get from Santa Ana to Riverside. And it gets better! It was also very very cold, and there were high winds, and the next train was late, and it was after sunset. Fun.

By the time I got to Riverside I was so frozen, it took hours to warm up – seriously. Remind me never to leave my jacket at home just because it’s sunny when I leave – if I’m taking a train – cause there just might be a delay.

But I got some cool images, so it wasn’t all bad. And I’ll do it again. I like trains too much to let one bad night sway me…

A Driveway…

I live in a beautiful area. I’m very fortunate! The driveway is lined with oak, pine, and eucalyptus trees. At this time of year a weed blooms along the driveway, and the blossoms are bright orange and golden orange and yellow-orange. They really are amazingly beautiful when you get in close – like a wild orchid, and yet it’s considered a weed.

My Driveway - May 8, 2006

Orange Flowers - May 8, 2006

Orange Flowers - May 8, 2006

Further down are yellow daisies, calla lilies, and yellow irises…

Calla Lily - May 8, 2006

Yellow Daisy - May 8, 2006