Saturday, December 29, 2007

It's such a Blur! But what a Memory!

Hi, all!

Best laid plans don't always happen exactly as you planned...Christmas activites happened so fast it all seems like a blur like the photo of our tree with the presents.   I forgot to use my tripod for the indoor picture of the tree (as has been recommended, suggested and directed to use by Greg from phototrek..LOL) and correct my setting to farther away rather than nearer.....  Of course now all the presents are gone but what a memory.  It was a fun Christmas this year.  Our first Cookiefest, at my sister's house,  I involved my husband and daughter in the selection of presents for the nephews and neices and I got a very nice present myself from them.  I planned to be so's Saturday and I'm just starting to feel that way.   Going to finish putting some financial forecasts together for next year and clean up my budgeting process...and, in addition some other goals...well let's save the rest for another entry.  Hope things went pretty much as you planned for the holidays!  


The thought in this case does count because the photo is a blurrrrrr...LOL....and then there is my annual placing of the doll in the tree!

This year's theme was red...even the angel treetopper....


Check out this sampling of some of the cookies we made...there is even a martian in there created by one of my nephews.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Day Thoughts

It's Christmas Eve Day and my thoughts are on my family and friends.  Did I remember them all?  Can everyone make it to the festivities?   Is everyone happy today?   Do we all remember the reason for this celebration?  Are we focusing on forgiveness and kindness?    Our tree this year is themed with red ornaments and white doves....this is before the presents are under it.......given time tomorrow I will add a photo with the wrapped gifts under the tree.  These are my thoughts today....Peace and Joy to you! Maria

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Stepping up to being more relaxed

Hi, all,

It's Sunday! 2 more getups and it's Christmas.....  During this hectic time I've found it wise to reflect on ways to stay more keep things in perspective.  This photo of some stone steps at Kubota Park in Renton, Washington gave me the thought that all it takes is that a person steps up to the challenge of living a more relaxed life.  To find peace and to live it.  Oh I like getting excited about things and all that but there is such a benefit to taking steps to be more peaceful.  I received several Christmas stories that had a theme of peace and putting things into perspective that I printed out and plan to read over again.   That's at least one step I can take to having a more relaxing life.  Another step is to read over a fairly good article on the Positivity Blog on the same subject: 13 Ways to a More Relaxing Life.    My next entry should have a snapshot of our Christmas tree in a theme of red ornaments and white doves.  I hope you follow the path to peace in this season!    Maria

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What's Your Dream?

Hello, all!  Christmas is almost here and it's time to recognize that we have dreams.  As children and as adults we all have something that we wish for and hope will happen.  What about you? What's your dream?  I've always wanted to find that business that defines what I am good at and like to do.  Not that I don't like what I do at my full time job but I feel there is more that defines me.    Maybe that is one reason why I do photography.... it is an outlet for that dream.   The last two years I had my photos in a couple of church bazaars with some success!..... I've also had my dulcimer there to play and entertain my visitors although with a very amateurish hand.  The cards and photos are part of the process and between last year and this year more people remembered me, and it gave me great joy!   I plan to do it again next year and maybe a market or two in between.  It is still a small step doing this kind of thing.   But it gives me ideas.   Here, in the photo below, I am at a recent Bazaar in November........I hope to do more of this as time allows.  It took up the whole weekend and I'm still working full time so weekends are all I would have. But the experience was priceless to me. I made enough to  cover some of my expenses...but not all.  Maybe next year I will have discovered the formula.   

Can you imagine the music coming from the dulcimer?  I'll give you a is sweet and lively.  Do what you will always be the right thing to do.  

Are you doing what you love and gives you ideas for your dreams?   That is what I wish for you for Christmas..and of course, Peace and Joy too! 



My dulcimer below - my hungarian roots are showing....:)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lots of Room for Mushrooms!

Mushrooms are strange.  They pop up where and when you least expect them.  These showed up on the parking strips at my work parking lot.   Don't know what kind they are but they were very interesting.  The shapes and colors are quite intriguing.  In addition I had to get down low to get the photo shots.  It was a veritable feast of mushrooms on the parking strip.  Not just one or two solitary clumpings but dozens of them.   Don't know if it was the moon or the weather but there was certainly lots of room for mushrooms.    I've always like mushrooms....  :)   Maria

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ice and Swans, Ducks and a tip


Hello, all!

Boy it's cold here today in Seattle...but I'm not complaining too much because it is sunny!   The cold made me think of ice.  This time of year I love to listen to the music of Tschaikovsky and especially love the Nutcracker and Swan Lake themes.   Swans have always been one of my favorite birds ....especially their white feathery bodies and long necks....I've also seen black swans but white are my favorite.  They even come to Washington state during their migratory patterns but have never had a chance to seen them here during that time...maybe a future photo moment.

I was up on the internet looking for something the other day and found this neat website of an ice carver in Michigan named: Ted Wakar.   Wow he does some neat things but check out this Swan!   His site is called: Frozen Images.    I'm going to check out how he handles getting a swan from there to here in one peice...:)

Have to add one of my own photos to keep me in practice...below is a photo of some ducks standing on the frozen pond near where I may recognize it from an earlier photo blog entry.

email entry above and file manager file below

One last is a little revised tip on inserting photos in the AOL probably did know that you can copy and paste photos directly from  other emails and websites into your AOL emails.   But, did you know that you can copy and paste from any email or website directly into your journal blogs?  Yes...and it's much quicker than using the AOL hometown file manager...however, what I found out, as one of my commenters mentioned is that at first it looks like it works but then it turns into a little red x.....  I guess it must mess up AOL somehow so forget about trying this and depending on  it to stay. 

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all!


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Back Deck in Transformation

Hi, all!

I decided to try an evening entry (for me) in my photo blog.  There is something about a deck that is just too reminiscent of vacation.  We are transforming our back deck with new paint, railings and in some not too distant future a gazebo on the corner which will encircle our hot tub.   The new railings are really nice and homemade...nice to have a handyman in the house.   The deck flooring is now entirely waterproofed.   The color reminds me of sandy beaches and is bright even on our greyest Seattle days.  At night it almost lights up the deck with it's brightness.   I especially like all the white lines and the green chairs in these two photos.   It's enough to give me a memory of summer and those warmer months as our weather cools down for the fall and winter.  That's worth a photo or two.   Maria



Blue Pots in China Town

Hello, all,

It is a grey and foggy morning here in Seattle.  I found this bright cobalt blue clay potted plant photo and it lifted my spirits.  They were in a grouping in Seattle's Chinatown area.  I went looking for rice sticks one day to make Chinese Chicken Salad...I walked out of the Iwajimaya store with 3 different kinds...LOL...wasn't sure what I was doing...however, my husband took over from there and made the salad.  One thing to remember is to break up and seperate the little rice stick noodles before cooking...some of them which weren't seperated stuck together in the salad and were not as crispy as they could have been.   I think the directions were in Chinese which made it a bit of a challenge.   He used a recipe from a great cookbook I got....the final results are below.    Have a great day everyone!  Maria



Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Kubota Garden in the Fall

Hello all,

I've posted some pictures before of Kubota Japanese garden in the warmer the weather is turning colder and the fall colors are coming.  Here are a couple of snapshots of the garden pond in the fall.  I played around with some framing again...:)

I've noticed that sometimes my photos of the landscape aren't always as sharp as they could be...since I'm using my digital I figure I must have bumped or changed a setting and now don't remember what it is...that means I'll have to look in the book or get with Greg....  In any case these photos were good but not as I expected.  I was playing around with the macro button for earlier closeups and it was a fairly grey sky that day.....with some patches of blue. 

Have a great day!  Maria


Friday, November 2, 2007

The wonders of Digital

I was whining a little in my last entry about the challenges of going digital which made me think about the opposite for this entry.  There are so many wonders of going digital.  In today's Seattle Times there was an article about stock photos and how they are being used for campaign ads because they are cheaper and easier to manipulate versus going out to get the real picture.   Although this approach can be misused it may offer a reasonable alternative in some cases.  You can do so many things with digital photos these days.   Here is a little example of what a little fiddling with contrast and brightness can do for you with a Before and After picture:



I like both of the photos but if you need a little more will get you there.  If you want some great tips on digital photography check out Greg's Photo Trek.....    he takes some amazing scenery shots and gives us some easy to understand tips.

Have  a great day!   Maria

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween & Boo Spiders - 2007

        I've been going through some dry inspirations for awhile.  I think it's due to some tendency I have to procrastinate.....wait to get something done before doing something else.  I just unloaded about 500 pictures from my two cameras and decided that I should preplan this a little better...I always print out an index sheet with 24 thumbnails a page and that takes a while....why not plan to unload once I've taken 24 or 48?  It used to be all I could take on a 35mm roll of film.  This digital world gets me to taking too many photos.   I think the dry spell is over...:)  

Hope you enjoy the Boo spiders (from my rubber stamping days) and the clown pumpkin with purple hair....then there is a little photo of me in what I wore to answer the door tonight.   Guess I am supposed to be the wizard's helper...Happy Halloween....Maria               





Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Feeling the Purple

Hello, all,

Whoa how time flies.   I may have posted this photo before but I was feeling the purple this morning.   I saw these Calla lilies and Pussy willows while skimming through my photos this morning.  They reminded me of a friend who is on a trip right now and has been gone for a few weeks.  Her favorite color is purple.  This photo was taken at a Garden Show that comes to Seattle annually.  It is held at the downtown convention center.  I bought the bulbs and fully intended to plant them. Since that did not happen I am glad I took this photo so I had them to remember our experience and the beauty of the purple.   I'm missing my friend but somehow these flowers are a nice reminder of her and the fun we had that day.   What color are you feeling today?  :)



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Feathery Flowers in Sonoma

Hello, all,

I took this photo of  pink and feathery flowers in August but it seems like just yesterday. The canadian geese in the background are a long ways from home but are a great backdrop to their feathery flower friends.  They were milling around this pond at the Sonoma University.  I find that Universities are great places to take photos of the flora and fauna.  This tree had some very airy and light flowers which I loved!  They reminded me of little fan shaped paintbrushes...and when I brought a flower close to my face it was soft and tickled.    The pond also added to the charm. It was a little overcast making the water look greenish...well I think that was why..:)  Have a great day or night and I'll try to catch up on my journal visits to you!   Maria

Monday, September 24, 2007

Blue Glories - a flower of a different color

Hello, all,

The morning glory flower is usually white around where I live.  I have some good shots of the white ones in my photo collection.  In Sonoma County, California these blue morning glories were growing at the hotel we stayed at recently.  I'm always finding wonderful flowers when I travel.   These were definitely of a different color than what I'm used to seeing.  These had purple bases which really made the blue color jump out. The light was just right.    

Speaking of finding the last couple of days I found two things I thought I had lost.  One was a green trench coat style jacket and the other was my little digital Olympus camera I had bought a few weeks back.  I found both after some agony...the coat under a bunch of drycleaning waiting to be taken in that  I had somehow placed on top of the jacket.  The camera was in the pocket of a warm vest I had worn to a recent soccer game.  I just kept thinking positive and guess worked!   Retracing my steps helped as well because I just kept thinking it's just got to be here somewhere. 

I was blue for awhile but then came the glories when I found what was once lost.  Yay!


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Orange you glad?

Hello all,

Orange is a great color!  September and October promises to bring plenty of it.  I'm seeing lots of pumpkin carving ideas in the magazines stands already.  These flowers are surprisingly appealing with the little purple centers.   Amazing color combinations exist in nature and it works.  A close cousin to orange is coral.  As September starts to wane away I've got dreams of October in my mind.   Can't wait to see what I will find.  Keep an eye out for some great color explosions coming your way!   Orange you glad it's orange? (or was that banana? remember that old knock knock joke?)     Maria

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Framing your outlook

Hello all!

The results are so much more interesting when I stop and think about how I want to frame my photos.  In this case I found a little row of trees whose leaves were touching each other making a perfect frame for a photo of the boats at the Elliot Bay Marina in Seattle.  I used to have a boss that always felt you needed a framework for what you did.  A way to put things into perspective.  I loved it. We always started our meetings with a high level purpose in mind and he would write them down because it was a way of framing the whole thing.  It helps people know where you were going and what you wanted to accomplish.  

By framing the photo here below you can see that I was walking along a path with trees planted alongside and that it's summer since the leaves are green.   My purpose is to show the boats from a different perspective than just the water and the marina.   I hope to get back there in the fall to take a similar shot when the leaves turn colors....then in the winter when they are gone.  This would mean some forethought and preplanning.   What do you know,  Fall is almost upon us.  Seasons changing can give us different frames for the same view.   Isn't nature grand?      Maria :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Cosmos Call

The Cosmos call is hard to not the greater Cosmos as in the Universe but the littler one as in the flower.   These Cosmos blooms were just bursting with whiteness as bright as bleached white sheets.  They definitely called to my camera.  These flowers are very fragile.   They are not like daisies.   Instead of inspiring you to pluck each petal to find the answer to does he love me or love me not,  these flowers brighten and uplift the spirit.  The little yellow centers like suns in the center of the universe...the white petals radiating like multiple milky ways.  Is our galaxy like a flower?  You never know.   Maybe the Cosmos call does beckon us to think up up and away.   Time to dream. 


Monday, September 3, 2007

A Calla Lily Flourish for Ida

There are some people who enter your life and add a flourish that is  refreshing and energizing. 

Much like this photo of an elegantly twirled white calla lily. 

When they leave unexpectedly you feel the loss and wish that you could have spent more time with them.  Yesterday, Ida,  a friend in the neighborhood passed away from cancer.  She didn't battle it long.  A couple of months ago she found out about it and that  it had spread to her bones and liver.   She was such a trooper, so amazingly positive and strong minded even give her 65+ years of age.  She loved flowers and was always in her was and still is the best and prettiest yard in the neighborhood.   She had lots of friends and family over to visit and keep her company during these last few weeks. 

I had intentions of spending more time with Ida....I did not realize how quickly time was passing...and I did not spend near enough of my time since I was thinking I had plenty of it.   Nope,  that is one thing we don't have much of...time.  Give it where you can, make it count because it is precious as gold.   Think of how flowers bring beauty and how quickly they pass as a reminder to us to share our time before we or our loved ones fade.    

In the grander scheme of things we are all beautiful like the flowers and we quickly pass let's live in the moment, remember to make time to enjoy the beauty of our friends and family before their flourishes are gone.   I'm glad I got to know Ida and can only hope that she was glad to have known me too.   What a wonderful lady she was to have known.  She flourishes in my memory and will live on.       Maria 



Call me Mellow Yellow

How many remember the song by Donovan called 'Mellow Yellow'?  That song makes me think of the mellow days of summer.  I had to post a photo of yellow sunflowers in honor of that feeling now that we are 2/3 of the way through summer.....  if you look closely you can find the little bee hanging from the seedpod area.   I almost missed it the first time I saw the file.   It was a gorgeous day in Seattle yesterday and today.   The temperature in the lower 70 degrees Fahrenheit.   Almost balmy.   Not much wind but nice.  Drove around today in my convertible with the top down..topless so to speak.    Had lunch at a restaurent at the Elliott Bay Marina and took lots of boat and flower pictures to add to my collections.   I took a chance and entered the red sunflower photo in my last entry in the Comcast photo of the day cameo.  We will see how it does....;)   It's time to get some shuteye!  Happy Labor Day, everyone!


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Sunflower of a different color

Whoa, I've let too much time slip by without an entry.   Today's photo of the moment is a sunflower of a different color.   Yes, it's rusty colored.  I'm always amazed and pleased when I see things out of the ordinary like this reddish sunflower in the photo below.  I'd never seen one before and I think  I've seen a lot of flowers in my life.  Now if I reflect on this one thought for a moment and extend it to other things in life like places  and people I would have much more of an appreciation for those who are different and out of the ordinary.   Somehow it's easier to appreciate it with places and flowers.  Sometimes when people aren't like us it's hard to understand's the unexpected responses and reactions, the fear you might offend or that you did offend and didn't even know it.  Communication is such a challenge.  Yet, there are so many different cultures and the richness and experience of those cultures is so worth it.   I say, keep an open mind for those rusty colored sunflowers in your life.   See!  The bee still sees the flower for the joy it the bee....:)



Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Flowers of Summer

Hello all!   Yes I'm still blogging but have had to slow way down....I don't know how everyone does takes up quite a bit of time..:)    My photo today is of two different summer oriental stargazer lily and a light pink oriental.   The little pink flowers are small roses.   Don't know about the green thing.    In any case, it is lily time in Seattle and they are blooming in a lot of gardens.  Today the weather got up to the 80's I think but it's been rather cooler here lately in the low 70's.  I know there are other parts of the country going through severe heat waves....I'm sending cooler thoughts your way...:)   

I'm in a flower photo mood so look for more to come...enjoy and relax... let the flowers help you gaze into your dreams....


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Flowers to Brighten a grey Seattle Day

Hello all!   The day is a little grey here in Seattle today so let's cheer up with a smiley cup filled with flowers. ...two of my favorite things...smiles and flowers.   I love white flowers especially.   It has been really hot and sunny the last few days and then we got our usually Seattle break from the sun yesterday and today.  It's cooler and feels good!

I've been busy doing things around the house and working.   July is usually a busy month.  Last Sunday the 787 rolled out of the shop...that's a plane and I attended the celebration viewing.  It is inspiring.....soon it will fly!   Next week I get to go see the Pink Martini, a band which plays some older songs with singers who sing in different languages than English....

Went to a Mariners game recently and had so much those garlic fries and home run flies!

Ok..gotta go now.  Wishing all a great day!     Maria



Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July 2007

It is absolutely gorgeous here in Seattle today.   We are going to check out some local Fireworks at a park nearby our home.   It's hard to think about Freedom when so many in this world don't have it...even us here in the U.S.    I'm always getting in arguements about it because I take the side that says we do have freedoms..much more than in other countries.   Yet, so many things are banned now...most of our suburbs around Seattle are banned from fireworks..except at the public events.  We have so many restrictions on us...must wear seatbelts,  no smoking limitations, all for good reasons....yet, it is not a gentle society.  I wish it was.   We continue to fight and get angry.   I still think it's better than it could have been...we just need to stay vigilant that we keep the rights we really need...freedom of speech, freedom of, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 

Below is a photo of a postcard  of some fireworks here in Seattle at the Spaceneedle sending you a note for a fun and safe 4th.     

Before I is something on a more humorous note from's pretty good...check it out....  Star Spangled Banner  


Later all!  Maria

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Time for Flowers

I haven't been on a flower shoot for awhile.  These three are random flowers that I found in May.  The fourth an intriguing surprise.  The two photos of the rhody's are in front of Seatac city hall...and the rose photo was taken in front of an empty house for sale in Georgetown a few miles from where I live.   Flowers never fail to make me smile.  I'm constantly entranced by them wherever I see them....even on my fingernail...:)   Maria




Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Pike Place Market in June

The Pike place market is a great place to get fresh fish and seafood.  It's so much fun to watch all the people too.   The other weekend it was a special's the 75th year for the Market and they were having their parade of pigs.  It's a charity fund raiser but it recognizes the symbol of the market which is a bronze pig.   Enjoy the slide show.   No this isn't one of those fish's true!


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Today, Today, Today!

Living in the moment means knowing it's today!   We plan for the future..we fret and learn from the past but the reality is always in the,  today!  Let's not forget how important it is to live in the moment.   Wouldn't it be great if we could always be aware of the enjoyments of each moment...the warmth of the sun's rays,  the dreams which can begin each of our days, the brightness of the smiles from the ones we love, the hugs that we get at those unexpected times. all begins with today, today, today!....  Another photo from my sun transition series. ..a little reminder that the beginning is always Today!   Maria







Sunday, June 10, 2007

My Sun Transition collection - 2nd image

Hello, all! 

This is the 2nd image in a collection I am working on called My Sun Transition Collection.   I am a big fan of sunrises and sunsets.  You can't tell from a photograph whether it's a sunrise or sunset unless you know the location.    I keep finding wonderful quotes that just cry out for being put on a photo with a sun transition scene.  Hopefully I can amass several of these photos and captions.  So far I have four photos I love and have been commissioned once for them. I produced framed and matted selections for a recent Toastmasters Conference as gifts to Speakers and Judges.  That was so exciting to me and they turned out so well.   Wouldn't it be great to have them in a gallery or show?  When the time is right...:)

I like these times of transition ...between day and night in these photos of dawn and dusk.  It is an ultimate indicator of change for us.   As the sun gives way to the darkness and the moon and stars and vice versa it reminds me that in transition there is beauty and change.   It is said that change is good.   I would really miss it if we didn't have beauty of the sunrises and sunsets so I would have to agree:  change is good!   The next time you get hung up and are resisting the change that must be...think of the sun and the beauty in times of transition.  Look for the beauty in the change, you may be surprised to find it takes your breath away!...That's my thought to start the week!:)     Yours truly,  Maria

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Therein lies Immortality

Hello, all!

Flowers find immortality of sorts by being photographed.  It's one way to make them last far past their original lifeline.  Isn't photography wonderful?   What about that which we don't photograph with a camera?  Aha!  We have memories.   With People it's hard to capture moments in photographs and yet we can capture the event itself to trigger our memories.... Our memories are what gives life we pass them on they live from generation to generation as stories.   Therein lies immortality in stories and photographs.   Today, my story is a new image haircut.  I will eventually get a photo.  It's  more sophisticated rather like the photo of the flowers below.   It's good to change some things as time goes on.  Seeking a little more simplicity and elegance is a good thing.  How do you want to be remembered?  I'm not sure yet about me.....but I do like this photo I took near the Public Market of these memorable white poppies and the surrounding leaves and flowers...:)


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Light Tomorrow

It was such a beautiful day is a simple thought to start the week...I took this photo in Mexico and the sentiment seems to fit.   Maria  :)


Saturday, June 2, 2007

A Celtic Kind of Day

Today was a Celtic kind of day....I looked through my photos and found some I took of some celtic experiences with knotting.   A Cross in a cemetary,  three celtic knots I designed from a method where you fold and cut paper.  To Learn more about that go to the website and  order the's self explanatory and very easy to learn.:  CELTIC SWAN

I then watched my Lord of the Dance DVD with Michael Flatley.   Also see SHOW informaton for a taste of the music and more photos:  It is a wonderful story with Romance and Dancing and power and ....I love it....