Twice the Vacation

We each see things that the other person may have overlooked.

Upon returning home from our recent trip to Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii, I knew I had a big job ahead of me. I would have thousands of photos to go through in order to create my posts. (Thank heavens for digital photography! In decades past I would have had to develop all of these rolls of film, and it would have cost nearly as much as the trip!).

Looking at the pictures taken on my phone vs. the ones taken on that of Dear Husband, I noticed some interesting differences. It almost looks as though we were on different trips. Different things drew our focus.

This, of course, is a sweeping generalization, but DH is about the big picture, while I’m more into the minute details. His photos are often wide, gorgeous panoramas that reveal the surroundings more beautifully than I ever could. They’re larger than life, just like he is. He also likes to take selfies of the two of us. (I can’t complain there!)

While he is doing his panoramas, I seem to be zooming in on flowers or interesting textures. I’m analyzing, thinking, soaking things in little by little, while he is celebrating, reveling in the vastness. First and foremost, I’m drawn to art in its many forms. Easily 98 percent of the photos of Hawaiian art that we came home with were taken by me. DH’s photos are more about the beauty of nature. He wants to go to see what’s beyond the horizon, whereas I want to linger and examine… and then go see what’s beyond the horizon.

I’m content to move on only after I’ve pieced together the puzzle that is my current location. Yes, we did the vast majority of our trip practically joined at the hip, even if our photos don’t always reflect that. And the truth is, I’m glad about our different perspectives. We each see things that the other may have otherwise overlooked, and that means we both gain insight. We spent a lot of time exclaiming, “Wow! Look at that!”

On second thought, we weren’t on different trips. We were on one wonderful trip that was twice as amazing for having been shared with one another. How lucky am I? Below are some photos that were taken by each of us. It shouldn’t be hard for you to guess which half were taken by me. (I wish I could have included some of DH’s panoramas, but apparently WordPress doesn’t allow that format.)

Anyway, enjoy! And tell me what you tend to focus on when you travel in the comments below!

If this little blog has broadened your horizons, check out my book!


The Life of Birds

Learn more about these descendants of dinosaurs.

I find birds endlessly fascinating. There’s a murder of crows that likes to hang out in our back yard. They often sit on our birdbath and leave us dubious presents. Half a pancake. Soggy bread. Shrimp. One sometimes hops along the fence, following me as I water plants. I enjoy hearing them screaming indignantly at each other, and yet purring as they mate.

We also have juncos that love to eat the insects in our yard. They remind me that we are just one of many lives that inhabit our “property”, and that we should therefore walk as gently upon the earth as possible. It’s a habitat for us all.

I could watch hummingbirds for hours. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be them. I’m glad they are part of my world.

The time has come again for the annual Audubon Photography Awards. They are always exciting to see. I like that the photographers include a back story about what exactly was going on, and how the picture was taken. It adds to it, somehow, knowing the drama.

These amazing photos never fail to demonstrate the lives of birds. Whether it’s nesting, hunting, caring for chicks, flying, playing, grooming, or mating, these intimate photographs bring you right there. Now there’s even an award for video footage, which is really exciting.

Whether you’re interested in seeing the award-winning photography or not, I strongly urge you to check out the Audubon website and learn more about these descendants of dinosaurs. It will broaden your horizons. And it might even convince you to keep your cats indoors.

Check this out, y’all. I wrote a book!

N-N-1: The Quarantine Edition

A creative description of how many of us are coping.

For several years now, I’ve participated in a delightful photography/creative writing experiment that was created by two of my favorite bloggers, Anju, who writes This Labyrinth I Roam, and Norm, who writes Classical Gasbag. They thought it would be interesting to see what people all over the world were doing/seeing/experiencing at the same point in time. As Norm explains it, in N-N-1 the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (they should be the same), and the 1 stands for one time.

The subject I chose for this N-N-1 was Quarantine. Our worlds have been turned upside down by COVID-19. What are you and/or your family and/or your community doing to cope during these strange times?

I received a variety of wonderful submissions, showing that we each have different ways of living, which is as it should be, and in fact always has been. But I also found it very comforting to know that when all is said and done, we’re all in this together.

Thank you to everyone who participated! Stay safe everyone!


n-n-1 picture

Driving for Grandma and Grandpa,

Running their errands, buying food

And picking up prescriptions,

Brightens my mood

And makes me feel valued.

It only happens once or twice

Every couple of weeks.

But it gets me out of the house

And away from their piques

Of anger over political critiques.

I love my Grands

And they love me,

But when politics arise

I would rather flee

And agree to disagree.

-Natalie Garvois


N-N-1 Norm

I had trouble deciding on an appropriate photo for this N-N-1. I took at least half a dozen different pictures that dealt with different aspects of how I was coping with our lockdown. Then I thought that I could make a collage of the pictures and use that, but it didn’t feel right. Each of the photos were the same things I would normally do, only to different degrees, such as more time reading but no time in restaurants. Well, there was the picture of my mask, but it wasn’t a compelling picture. The only truly new thing that I’ve done is to start posting a link to a song on Twitter each day. The song matched my feelings about our situation each day. But then I realized that it was a pretty sad look at the world each day, so I started mixing things up. I’ve also posted songs performed by people who have died in these times. So, my picture is my laptop opened to my Twitter page.



N-N-1 Isolation

Isolation. Social distancing. Masks. Gloves. The world has been turned on its axis. There’s so much talent coming out. People are making sweets at home. Some are picking up new hobbies. Stories of this time spent with you and only you will ring out forever.

Nature is healing from what we have done to her. Wild animals are coming out of hiding. It’s their planet too. We can’t deny that.

As I walk back home, my footsteps echo. Birds on the pavement pay no attention. The silence is soothing.

When the noise comes back, will I embrace it or forsake it?

Ashesh Mitra –


N-N-1 6am

6am – Already? Am I colleague or mummy this morning?

7am – Log on. Engage brain to squeeze out maximum productivity in the next 5hrs.

9am – Rest of team logs on, emails fly about, calls launched with vigour.

12pm – Leisurely lunch during her nap? Maybe I should nap too… No! Exercise and a quick lunch. Done.

1.30pm – Woken by 2yr old ready to seize the rest of the day. Parenting mode – enabled.

3.30pm – Pick play-doh out of the carpet and stop her eating strange leaves outside.

8pm – Toddler asleep after nightly battle. Movie? Quiz? Haven’t seen you all day, probably should.

11pm – FINALLY bedtime.



N-N-1 being

Being “outside” has meant staring at the sinking colors of the setting sun, sneaking a quiet moment in the balcony. Questions of how much the world has really changed tsunami up before receding… I’m equal parts hurting from the anxiety and recognizing still, the joy and wonder of all this time together with the person i love the most on this planet. Isn’t this how life is supposed to be? But how? How is any of this sustainable? And then the moment passes, just like the pink, orange skies melting into deep blue-black all too soon. This quarantine has taught me that nothing is truly ever in my control.


N-N-1 Anju

Over the weekend, we got up early to avoid the crowds, and went on a walk. About ten minutes into our new careers as walking enthusiasts, something fluffy lodged in my throat. Ironically, it was during a conversation about Trump and Masks. My brain told my body to cough. *I* told my body that it is going to do no such thing. “Cough and you’re grounded for TWO weeks!”. In the ensuing fight between our current cough-less public etiquette, and my body’s natural defence mechanisms, I nearly choked myself. And yet, I survived. Then, I treated myself to this view!

Anju Lavina


N-N-1 Me

I’m not going to lie. This is how I spend the bulk of my time when I’m at home these days. Sitting on the recliner, my husband beside me, dog in my lap, watching Netflix.  Sometimes I switch it up and watch Amazon Prime or Hulu or Youtube.

Killing time is killing me. I’m getting fatter by the minute. When I get up, my joints are so stiff I can barely walk. Depression washes over me in waves. I try to take walks, call friends, garden… but I’m more sedentary with each passing day. Quarantine sucks.

But at the same time, I’m grateful to still have a job to go to for 40 hours a week, and a paycheck and a roof over my head. No one I love has died to date.This is both a relief and a surprise.

I’m hoping this pandemic will cause us to change in positive ways. We’re learning to be gentler on the earth, and we can no longer take our relationships for granted.

These are good things, right? This makes it all worth it, right? Right?

Barb Abelhauser


N-N-1 Cris

On February 29th the Governor of Washington state declared a state of emergency due to Covid-19. In the following weeks, a “Stay Home – Stay Safe” order closed all non-essential businesses and we began our shelter in place. Gray, rainy days with temps in the 40’s and 50’s encouraged remaining indoors. By May 5th when the sunsets were nearing 9 pm, State Parks were reopened for day use. And after ten weeks of staying home, we received a preview of summer with three consecutive days of temps in the mid-80’s. This brought everyone outdoors. Mother’s Day 2020 saw busy roads as family’s brought Mom to the forests, trails and parks. This photo was taken as I drove into the town of Black Diamond on my way to the Green River Gorge.

Cris LeCompte,


N-N-1 Is

Is there any more space in your heart- she asked?

I looked away, pretended I didn’t understand the question.

Well is there? She persisted- brown eyes staring at me unwavering.

I said there is plenty of space in my backyard.

You can hang there with Wendy, Jerry & Suzy.

All 6 feet under- converted to fertiliser for my jackfruit tree.

Yes, later. But now can I hang with you?

I looked at my father- NO- it was said with finality. I looked at my mother -no she said with future sadness.

I’m tiny! How much space do you think I’ll occupy?

Too much space.

Mary Alexander, (The background story is published here – )


N-N-1 Photo

Photo taken on a solitary walk through the woods on Mother’s Day

Change is hard. And spring is a season of change. It seems harder this year and it is taking longer. The flowers are having trouble rising above the blanket of leaves, remnants/memories from seasons past. A light dusting of snow in early May brought refreshment, a longing to return to a hidden comfortable world that no longer exists. Nature teaches that change is inevitable. It will happen and we will grow and blossom beyond what we ever imagined, in ways never known before.

Peace and Joy and Love and Trust

Linda Zeppa,


N-N-1 Sanctuary

My Lockdown Sanctuary

Before quarantine, I thought my little balcony was only just big enough to stand on.  On around day 20, while on the phone to my mum and searching for some sun in my flat, I discovered I could wedge my chair (part in, part out) and sit in what is now my favourite sun spot in Valencia.

As spring turns to summer, this squashed little space has become my sanctuary, during strict confinement.  Here I have felt free, at peace and so thankful for all the little things.  Which really do mean so much.

Lauren Molzahn, Laurencian Tales (site still under construction)

Call for Participants: N-N-1: The Quarantine Edition

Join me in this fun photography/writing project!

For several years now, I’ve participated in a delightful photography/creative writing experiment that was created by two of my favorite bloggers, Anju, who writes This Labyrinth I Roam, and Norm, who writes Classical Gasbag. They thought it would be interesting to see what people all over the world were doing/seeing/experiencing at the same point in time. As Norm explains it, in N-N-1 the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (they should be the same), and the 1 stands for one time.

The subject for this N-N-1 will be Quarantine. Our worlds have been turned upside down by COVID-19. What are you and/or your family and/or your community doing to cope during these strange times?

So your assignment (should you choose to accept it) is:

  1. Contact me using the form below, and then I’ll send you my e-mail.

  2. Mark your calendars, and snap a picture sometime between May 9 and May 11, and then do a 50-100 word write up about it. It can be prose or poetry.

  3. Turn that picture and write up in to me via e-mail by May 13th. If you have a blog or a website (neither of which is required) include a link so that I can also add that to the post that I compile with all your submissions. When the post is complete, I’ll send you a link so you can share it with all your friends.

Please invite others to participate as well! The more the merrier, the more far flung the better. It will be interesting to see what people all over the world are doing during this pandemic.

If you’d like to see how other N-N-1’s have turned out, check them out here, here, here, and here!


Check this out, y’all. I wrote a book!

Happy Accidents and More

Recently, I was walking through downtown Seattle. It was raining. (Big shock, right?) It was dusk, and the sky was getting more grey by the second. I was with a group of people, and none of them wanted to slow down when we came across this amazing sculpture. I was forced to take this picture on the fly.


When I got home and looked at it, I was really disappointed by how blurry it was. But then I looked at it more closely. I decided that it looked like an impressionist painting. Now, the more I look at it, the better I like it.

I had a similar experience back in 2005. I was driving through Colorado, and came upon a gorgeous sunset. The problem was, I was on a highway with many cars behind me, so I couldn’t stop to take the picture. This is what happens when you snap a picture out the window of a moving car, all while trying not to get yourself killed.


When I showed these to my friend Jennifer Dropkin, she shared one of her own photos. She was taking a picture of a row of books, and her finger slipped. I think this is lovely!

Jens pic

Bob Ross would have called these photos “Happy Accidents,” and I tend to agree.

My friend Linda Cooke then showed me this photo, which she did intentionally, but says it was a lot harder to do than she thought it would be.


This, in turn, made me remember another photo I took, again, purely by accident. I was on the bow of a boat, trying to take a photo of Seattle’s city skyline. I like how it turned out, even if it wasn’t what I was going for.


I have another friend, Martin Hunt, who intentionally manipulates his photos, and they come out amazing. Here are just a few of them, which I’ve shared with his permission:

Check out more of his photography here.

I guess the lesson here is this: Whether or not the things you create turn out as you originally planned, or whether you decide to make even more of them than anyone else would originally have seen, there’s a lot of potential for creativity and beauty in this world.


Claim your copy of A Bridgetender’s View: Notes on Gratitude today and you’ll be supporting StoryCorps too!

N-N-1 October 31, 2017

This was a fun post to write, because it took a village. In an atmosphere of increasing divisiveness, people from all walks of life, from all over the world, got together to do one thing: Take a photograph at 6 pm (their time zone) on the 31st of October. If you’re mathematically inclined, in N-N-1 the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (because those numbers should be the same), and the 1 stands for one time. These photos were sent to me, along with 50-100 words about them, so that we could share them all with you.

What I love most about this project is that we are all seeing different things at the same point in time. The world is so varied and nuanced, as are our lives, and yet we are all part of the human race. Thirteen responses from four different continents and six different countries, all working together. I feel very proud of us right now.

So without further ado, here are the photos we came up with:


This first one comes from me, Barb Abelhauser. I took this on the Fremont Bridge in Seattle, Washington, USA. This was not the photograph I had expected to take. It was my day off, technically, so I should have been relaxing. But I got called in to work. This is the most hectic drawbridge in our system, but it makes for some interesting photos. In the foreground is the bell we used to use to signal the boats back when technology was slightly less technical. It almost looks like a space ship is descending. I think most Seattleites would agree that if a spaceship were to descend anywhere, it would be in the Fremont neighborhood.

I hope you’ll continue to visit my blog,



This one was taken by Cris LeCompte, during his visit to Fargo, North Dakota, USA. He said it was taken “twelve minutes before sunset and 32° F. Located at the end of the street of 1950’s houses is the Congregational Church reflecting the designs from the 1970’s. The next hour found trick or treaters knocking on the doors.”

Cris is actually the realtor who helped me buy my house in the Seattle, Washington area. If you live around here and need a realtor, I highly recommend him!



This photo is by Elaine Lorefield who hails from Kentucky, USA. She writes, “This is an old window from my house. I did the beveled glass work about 30 or so years ago. I had all the windows replaced a few years ago and this one has been sitting outside my back door ever since, slowly deteriorating. Time passes. Nothing endures forever, but the process of deterioration can be unexpectedly beautiful. It still makes rainbows when the light is just right even as it disintegrates.”



My friend Martin Hunt sent this picture from Canada.

“This where I live. Cyberspace and my mind. The physical location is nice little apartment in Vancouver. The actual location is spread all over the planet. My love lives in Skype and Second Life. Second Life has been a place where I’ve learned a lot. I’m an old guy now and I’ve had a pretty active and adventurous life. I like where I am now as much as any place I have ever been. ”

To see more of his cool photos, along with his philosophical essays, visit his website at


Halloween October 31 2017 Bangkok

This, from Anju Lavina, in Bangkok:

“Thailand loves Halloween. They don’t really need an excuse to dress up, but if you’re going to give them one, they’re going to take it to the next level. Unfortunately, Thailand has been on a year-long mourning period for the death of the late King Bhumibol who was loved beyond measure. For a whole year, we have had to wear black in memoriam. Halloween has been cancelled, but the spirit of trick or treat remained. This is a photo of mannequins showing off the latest in mourning fashion, while also managing to look somewhat spooky!”

Visit Anju’s blog here:


Mr Politician

Norm Houseman, the originator of the N-N-1 concept, had this to say:

Mr. Politician

Why Mr. Politician? Well, it began when our twenty-one-year-old granddaughter, Macey, was three or four years old. She was visiting us around Halloween one night. Our doorbell rang and I went to see who was calling on us on that dark night. It wasn’t the night for Trick or Treating, and we weren’t expecting anyone. I opened the door and found a local politician who was out soliciting our vote in the upcoming election. I assured her that we would cast our vote for her and she left.

Later, when Macey was leaving, I said to her, “Be careful, there are politicians out tonight.”

Macey looked up at the new Halloween windsock hanging on our front porch. She asked, “Is he a politician?”

I looked at it and said, “Yeah, he’s a politician.”

For the next year or so she equated politicians with things spooky. Cindy once found her looking under a bed with a flashlight. When Cindy asked her what she was looking for, Macey whispered, “Politicians.”

Ever since then, Mr. Politician has been an honored Halloween decoration at our home.

Norm is in Lafayette, Indiana, USA. Check out his blog here:



This picture comes all the way from Australia. Karen writes:

My TIME wall in progress!!

Once completed it will represent countries I have lived in and countries that are special to me.

Writing this has made me think about TIME!!

All the cliches come to mind, here are a few:

The TIME of your life

TIME marches on

TIME will tell

TIME can be a great healer

TIME flies (when you are having fun)

The sands of TIME

TIME is money


Money cannot buy TIME!!

Karen Swanepoel

Gold Coast, Australia



This scary picture comes from FigBash Snook, who was attending the 10th Annual Bristol Zombie Walk, in the UK.

“Once a year, the undead converge in Bristol. Over 600 zombies shambled their way from College Green to Temple Meads. I had no idea there were that many of us; perhaps the apocalypse is closer than I thought!”



I have to say that this photo makes me very nostalgic. Taken by my friend Juan Carlos Garcia Romero, in Guanajuato, Mexico, it reminds me of the time when I lived there at age 19 and attended this amazing festival.

Here’s what he wrote, which I’ll humbly attempt to translate, below: “La parte representativa de la realidad virtual es a través de las imágenes mediante ellas mostramos una historia en base al contexto que existe detrás de una sola imagen como es está fotografía.  Muestra de ello, es la lechuguilla o gorguera  que formo parte de la moda de los usos y costumbres de la sociedad del siglo XV en Europa y fue el antecedente directo para la elaboración y  transformación del cuello de las camisas y blusas como prendas de vestir. Sin embargo, poetas, dramaturgos y novelistas hicieron uso de ello.  Hoy en día, la imagen de la lechuguilla se mostró solo como un adorno decorativo y cultural del XLV Festival Internacional Cervantino  (FIC) en diferentes plazas y edificios de la ciudad colgaron esa imagen. Mientras que alrededor se desarrollaron eventos de música, danza, teatro, poesía, ballet, cine, etcétera.  Un panorama difícil de analizar pero fácil de percibir es aquel que vivimos a diario las personas que vivimos en la ciudad, en donde solamente una pequeña parte de los turistas son los que en realidad asisten con una finalidad cultural.  La otra parte, solamente viene a tomar en las calles de la ciudad. Para ellos, el festival es venir a ensuciar la ciudad, o ponerse hasta atrás.”

My translation (apologies in advance): The representative part of virtual reality is through images. Through them we tell a story based on the context that exists behind a single image, such as this photograph. For example, the lechuguilla or gorguera (collar) that formed part of the fashion of 15th century society in Europe and was the direct antecedent for shirt collars of today. However, poets, dramatists and novelists made use of it. Today, the image of the lechuguilla was used as the logo for the XLV International Cervantino Festival. It appeared in different squares and buildings of the city. The festival included music, dance, theater, poetry, ballet, cinema, etc. Those of us who live in the city where only a small portion of the people who actually attend the cultural events. Each year the town swells with tourists, who only come to check out the city, leave it dirtier than it was, and then leave it behind.



This picture was submitted by Natalie Garvois, from West Lumbago, Nebraska. She included a poem.

Some houses need to be avoided.

Each year Samuel, Corrine’s father,

And yes, he is still alive,

Tries to lure young Trick-Or-Treaters

To his door.


There he does his best

To scare the puddin’

Out of sugar hungry youngsters

By dressing like a ghoul

And waving a butcher’s knife.


Many children leave his door

Crying and screaming.

Sometimes they leave

A trail of urine in their wake.

What a guy.

Check out Natalie’s blog here:



The picture that gets the award for being taken at the highest altitude definitely comes from Ellis Johnson, who had this to say:

“This photo was taken on a flight from New Orleans into Dallas while we were making our approach at 6pm local time.  My trip to New Orleans was with my childhood best friends as a last hurrah and at this point all I wanted to do was be at home snuggling with my wife. When I took this, we weren’t sure if we were going to make our connection to the flight to Seattle so I was geared up and ready to make a run to the next gate but had to take a moment to appreciate this beautiful sunset and view.”


Amy Pic

Amy Sassenberg (who also did the photography for my first book) told the story behind this picture:

“I was supposed to be at a Harvest Festival with my family who were dressing up as the cast of Wizard of Oz, but the flying monkeys threw a wrench into the mix and I was left alone, putting the finishing touches on my makeup and costume as the good witch.”

She was in Huntington Beach, California at the time. Check out more of her writing and photography at



And finally, we have this delightful contribution from Princess Butter in California:

“I could have been a hero. I could have been soup, pie, or even a gluten-free spaghetti. But I am here. Being a villain. I am hanging here, bidding my time. I have been sitting out since four days, looking at these people walking by, and this odd girl clicking my pictures. You have subjected me to such gloat and abuse. I am just waiting. Tomorrow, when you pick me up, we will see who has the last laugh. Forget the orange flesh, say hello to the blue-green mossy ball of squish. Bwahahahahaha!”

Check out Princess Butter’s blog at



I decided to add one last submission, from my friend Steve in Jacksonville, Florida, simply because this made me cry. He writes, “This is my 1800 picture. It’s Michaels car. I was wishing he was in it.”

He’s been going through a lot recently.


Many thanks to all who participated! And thank you for allowing me to be the host this time around. I’m looking forward to the next N-N-1!

Become an N! (Trust me. You’ll Want To.)

I must confess that I’m terrible at reading other people’s blogs. I tend to be too overwhelmed by writing my own every day. So every once in a while, I’ll go on a guilty binge read.

A few months ago I was doing just that, with one of my favorite blogs, This Labyrinth I Roam, written by my friend Anju. I love her perspective on life. I also love that her world has been completely different than my own. Even though her labyrinth has only intersected with mine in cyberspace, we have a connection. I hope we get to meet face to face someday.

After reading, oh, a couple years’ worth of her blog entries, several jumped out at me. They had to do with a project called N-N-1. She and a blogger friend of hers, Norm, who writes a blog with the delightful name of Classical Gasbag, thought it would be interesting to see what people all over the world were doing/seeing/experiencing at the same point in time. As Norm explained recently, in N-N-1 the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (they should be the same), and the 1 stands for one time.

The plan was that they’d pick a moment, and each would snap a picture at that time, and then do a 50-100 word write up about it. It could be prose or poetry. Whatever the photo inspired in each photographer. Then they’d send that to the host, who would compile it into a blog entry. Here’s a link to a recent one hosted by Norm.)

It turns out that this project is incredibly revealing. It shows how diverse our lives can be. It shows different landscapes, different activities, and different perspectives. These blog posts always leave me feeling really great about the world. We got this, people. Because we all have our unique ways of existing, that diversity leads to strength.

So far, so good. But since they really did have participants all over the world, picking the same time became a bit problematic. 6 p.m my time would be 2 a.m. for folks in Europe, for example, so it tended to hinder a lot of people who would otherwise be up for the challenge. Eventually, they decided to regulate it to each individual’s time zone.

So, long story short, I’ve volunteered to host the next one. And I’ve chosen 6 p.m. (your time zone) on October 31st to be the pivotal moment. I figured that would yield some interesting Autumn or Halloween pics from those of us who had those experiences and chose to focus on them, and even more absolutely-nothing-to-do-with Autumn or Halloween pictures from people in other parts of the world. Fascinating.

So, would you like to participate? If so, contact me using the form below, and mark your calendar for October 31 at 6 p.m. Then send me the photo and the write up by no later than 6 p.m. your time on November 7th. I’ll compile them all into an interesting blog post and send you the link. Anyone can participate. You don’t have to have a blog. (But if you do, send me a link to it as well, and I’ll give it a plug in the post. It’s a great way to increase your readership!)

Also, feel free to share this invite with other friends who might want to play, too! The more far flung, the better! This is going to be fun! Join us!


Photo Closure

Recently, this haunting picture made the rounds of Facebook. And now I can’t get it out of my head.


I’ve tried to track this photo down through Google image search, and it directs me to what appears to be a Turkish blog, but I don’t actually see the photo there. It also pops up in Pinterest, under Istanbul and everyday life. But I still can’t determine its source. Please know that I don’t take credit for the photo in any way, and do not intend to profit from it. If the owner reveals him or herself and wants me to take it down, I will do so. But I hope that that person will consider this a high form of flattery.

In the meantime, in order to emotionally move on from this amazing photo, I have decided to create a story based upon it. So here it is.


Zehra put the water on for tea, just as she had done every day since she was old enough to reach the stove top. She was content with her routine. Her beloved husband had passed away years ago, yet she still talked to him. Her children had grown up and moved out and now had children and grandchildren of their own. She had only her faithful cat, Mirnav, to keep her company. Aside from Mirnav’s purrs, the only other sound in the house was the ticking of the clock.

While waiting for her teapot to sing its familiar song, she gazed out the window. It was a cold day, and snow was beginning to fall. Zehra hoped that her arthritic hands would not ache too badly. Perhaps she should start a fire in the oven. There would be plenty of time for that. Nothing but time.

The snow was not slowing down her neighbors, who were rushing off to work and school. Some of them waved hello as they passed by. If they had not seen Zehra there, gazing out the window as she did every day at this time, they would have become concerned. She was a fixture in their neighborhood.

Her life was not an exciting one, and she liked it that way. In all her years she had watched as her city grew and changed, had seen wars come and go, and watched as modernity usurped tradition. She had loved and lost and laughed and prayed. She had her cozy little house. Her family sometimes stopped by to visit. And of course, she had Mirnav, her loyal companion.

“As lives, go,” she thought, “mine has not been bad.”

And then the teapot began to whistle, abruptly shattering her reverie.

Even though the cat had already taken this as a signal, Zehra felt obliged to say, “Come along, Mirnav. Time to eat.”

No sense in breaking with ritual at this late date.


Like this blog? Then you’ll LOVE this book!

A Thousand Points of Feminism

In a country in which women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, in a culture where only 61 percent of absentee fathers actually pay child support, it stuns me how quiet the women’s movement has become. Feminism seems to be an epithet, a label to be avoided.

Even worse are those people who think all the battles for women’s rights have already been fought. They’re probably the same ones who think racism no longer exists. They’re definitely the same ones who take for granted the progress that has, in fact, been made, and was, in fact, hard-won.

As a woman who has worked non-traditional jobs most of her life, I can tell you that there are plenty of battles still to be fought, just as there were many past battles that no one even thinks about. Here are two from my own family of unsung heroes:

-In the 1960’s, mastectomies were a lot more radical than they are now. They were so invasive that the level of disfigurement made breast reconstruction surgery a challenge to say the least. The first silicone breast implants came out in 1962, but they were very unreliable. My mother had her mastectomy during that period, and reconstruction was not possible in her case. Her insurance covered pads to pin inside her bra, but they were unnatural  lumps of cloth that looked like modified shoulder pads on a good day.

There were pads out there that were shaped more naturally, even including pseudo-nipples, but her insurance would not cover those. She argued with them for ages, stating that a woman’s self-esteem and dignity was worth more than the savings any corporation might get by denying her that right. No one questioned the need for a realistic prosthetic after any other type of amputation, after all. Eventually she won. Every woman in the state of Connecticut who relied on those pads to feel more “normal” has her to thank.

-Back in the early ‘70’s, my oldest sister, a senior in high school, wanted to take a photography class. She was told she couldn’t because boys and girls couldn’t be trusted to be in a dark room together. She raised holy hell, and eventually they gave in. Every female photography student in that school district stands on her shoulders without even knowing it.

There is still much for women to be outraged about, and even more for us to do. Every time you speak up and act up, it has an impact. Every little triumph makes the next one easier to achieve. Never give up.

Thanks, Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst. Every time I vote I think of you.

Our Compact World

I was looking at my new camera case just now. It practically fits in the palm of my hand. When I think of the 7 pound photographic albatross with its 6 inch telephoto lens that I used to lug around on every vacation, I get a sympathy neck ache. When I think of the hundreds of dollars I’d spend developing photos, most of which were not worth saving, I get a wallet ache. When I look at the boxes and boxes of albums I still lug around, I sigh. Someday I’ll scan them. I swear I will.

While packing for this recent move I came across all sorts of remnants of our super-sized world. Record albums. (And I don’t even own a record player anymore.) A rotary phone. Big glasses. DVDs and their players. My first cell phone, which was the size of your average brick. The only thing that doesn’t seem to be following this trend toward the miniscule is my waistline. People who excavate our nation’s landfills will think we descended from giants.

Everything is smaller now, and it couldn’t have come a moment too soon. With our rampant overpopulation and our seemingly endless desire to produce more garbage, we need all the space we can get.

big cell phone

[Image credit:]