Saying in Focus: It’s Never to Late to Learn



Once more I must apologize for falling behind in posting to my blog. I had envisioned my retirement as a nice, leisurely time of life, maybe even having too much time on my hands, but that hasn’t been the case.

I have been able to slow down the progression of my pd  (parkinson’s disease) by keeping abreast of the latest developments and guidance from doctors and physical therapists and implementing them in my daily life.  Exercise of all kinds seems to be one of the most helpful tools, but it does take up time. Recently,  I happened on a website called founded by Sarah King, a physical therapist. There is a wealth of information about exercise and nutrition on this site and I have joined Sarah in her challenge to exercise daily, for at least 2.5 hour a week. Today we begin week 3 of the 4 week challenge. She is also doing a series of live videos through her Invigorate Physical Therapy and Wellness Facebook page about nutrition and how what we eat affects pd. I’ve found her links to You Tube video sites of exercises developed specifically for pwp (people with parkinson’s) most helpful.

But physical exercise is only part of the picture. The brain must be exercised as well. My husband, Bill, and son, Steve, and I are into crossword puzzles and word games on our electronic devices, which help me slow down the ‘loss of words’ associated with pd.

I had never mastered Algebra in high school, so I purchased a book entitled “No Fear Algebra”and can actually say it is beginning to make some sense to me. Working out simple equations is like solving a puzzle.

I have always wanted to be able to draw, but was always too intimidated to take a class with other people. But I recently received one of the Great Courses videos – a gift from my husband – on “How to Draw”. This is perfect for me because I can pause the video as often as needed and I don’t have to rush or try to keep up with others. So far I have learned much about line and shape, aggregate shape, volume, figure-ground and positive – negative shape. There are thirty-six lectures with accompanying  lessons so it may be years before I finish.

Finally, throw in my interest in photography, poetry (see previous post for my latest) and reading, and that’s where the time goes. In a sense, having pd has determined the way my retirement will unfold, but if one has to combat a disease, why not learn a little something during the process? After all, it’s never too late to learn.


Photo 101: Day 14: Scale and Observation

This was a fun exercise. In a travel photography course I’ve taken, the teacher suggested we bring something small to slip unobtrusively into the photo, to connect the pictures. I took the idea a step further and invited my “frog”, Marley, on our cruise around the British Isles. Here is Marley scaled with the Atlantic Ocean in the background, and Marley and my husband, Bill, resting after a long day of touring Glasgow, Scotland. It was easier to make Marley look small in scale.

IMG_1384 IMG_1768a

I took these photos of Marley today:

IMG_6594 IMG_6590 IMG_6622 IMG_6616

Staying in Focus: Singing the Blues

We have just returned from a wonderful week in the Blue Ridge Mountains. If nothing else, the photos I took this week certainly explain why they are named  the Blue Ridge  mountains:IMG_3615 IMG_3608 IMG_3609 IMG_3490 IMG_3493 IMG_3503IMG_3469 IMG_3476 IMG_3477

The following poems were written in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the first in 1997 and the second on this visit in 2014.

The  mountains gather round me

endless folds of smoky blue

and the sun ignites

the crystal drops

of early morning dew;

wisps of misty water vapor

wreathe a distant mountain peak

and I sense a deep connection

with the spirit that I seek;

in the mountains

in the places

of the wild and the free

are the answers to the questions

that so often elude me

so I come for grace and comfort

and I come for sweet release

my spirit needs the mountains

here I find my inner peace.



when the mountains beckon

I know that I must go

to the places where the

land is lifts up,

and crystal waters flow ;

where what I see brings peace to me

and I at  last can find

a haven where, most easily

I can rest my weary mind.





We are back from vacation and I took a few more reflection photos of Echo Lake in Pennsylvania. I have three seasons of photos now – we have not been there in winter yet. Every time I think I have photographed this lake from every angle, it presents me with something new to focus on.







IMG_0002 Photo06_3 IMG_5123




IMG_0003blue sky  Photo06_2



Reflections on Photography


Some people reflect for relaxation

and some of them seek revelation

I find both in  the many reflections

I see through my camera’s view;

sharp and focused, crystal clear

my camera captures visions;

through the lens I take  a peek

and find the answers that I seek;

photography is my door to

achieving revelation through

the relaxation that it brings to me.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Object:Staying in Focus

Weekly Photo Challenge: Object This week we had a rare event in North Carolina – it snowed. Anxious to see if there was anything interesting to take a picture of, I was up and about just as the sun rose. My gazing globe caught my eye and I thought that maybe it was reflecting the snow. Imagine my delight when it caught the sun just as the clouds parted and the sun appeared amidst bands of pink, orange, and blue. I’ve learned over the years to always have my camera ready because the next great picture  is just over the horizon, or reflected in a gazing globe on a snowy morning in midwinter. IMG_2565

Staying in Focus: Fun with Gazing Balls

I enjoyed taking the pictures of my gazing ball reflecting that beautiful sunrise after the snowfall yesterday. This one is my favorite. TIMG_2565he pink band of the sunrise is glowing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Today I decided to have more fun with the ball and see what it was displaying with the sun shining. Here’s what I got:IMG_2590         A lot more blue from the sky and  a

tiny sun captured inside. In the next one, instead of standing where I’d blend in with the shadows , I put myself into the scene.

IMG_2592.ajpg I look like I’m walking on the sands of an alien planet with two suns rising behind me!

The Gazing Ball

Is this gazing ball a door into a far-off place? somewhere  far above and beyond  time and space?

within its fragile form

through the heavens I


with crystal clear clarity

in a gazing ball ‘s view of reality.  -pc 2014

Staying in Focus: Southern Snow

They started a few days ago,those prognosticators of weather. Uncertain as to the timing of the cold air and some rain, they were cautious in their forecasts. But yesterday those computer models began to agree that we would see some light snow. And so we did. So light in fact, that the front yard had no snow when I went out at 9;00 AM, but in the backyard we had a typical Southern snowfall. Not enough snow to make a snowman, but enough to nudge the imagination.

Southern Snow

In the north,  snowflakes fly fast


Entenmann’s crumb cake, anyone?

for weeks the mounds of snow can last

but in the south, our snow is light

falling like feathers in the night

it doesn’t last for very long

for soon the sun will sing its song

and so bring forth a brand new day

as it melts our Southern  snow away.


coconut frosting


a frosty bird house

IMG_2488 - Copy

flag of Nicaragua

pc 2014

Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: Life After the Blog

Daily Prompt: Life After the Blog

Once we become part of the online world there is no turning back. To disconnect from that wealth of information, from social networking and email, from Google and Wikipedia would be like being placed in a sensory deprivation chamber.

I look forward every morning to see the Daily Prompt challenge of the day, or the subject for photo of the week. I look forward to reading what my fellow bloggers have to say. I take online courses and have an entire virtual classroom of classmates with whom I discuss my writing or photography or poetry. I check Facebook to see how my friends are faring.

I had limited access to the internet on our recent cruise – the charge for the connection is quite hefty. I made a few entries on Facebook, but otherwise, I concentrated on my new experiences so that I could write about them when I arrived at home where my computer sat waiting for my return. I missed it, but I knew it was only a temporary separation.

A writer has a visceral need to his share words with others; a photographer yearns for others to see the world as she does, through the lens of her camera; a poet lives to see his words touch another with emotion. All these forms of communication are right at our fingertips, in the keyboard before us and through blogging we can reach so many more people than we could have before the advent of the internet and websites like WordPress to inspire us and offer a platform from which to reach out and connect with others. I could go back to a typewriter if I had to, mail my letters or submissions, but we would lose sight of one important possibility should that ever happen.

I believe that it may be the internet that finally connects us all in such a way that the barriers between us fall away and we can move on and advance our civilization in a positive way. The more you  get to know people personally, gain insights into their lives and experiences, the more they coalesce into individuals and are no longer part of that nebulous group we call “they,” and the harder it is to wish them or do them harm. Communication is the key to understanding , and communicate is what we bloggers do best.

As with anything, the internet can be used for both good and evil. But as the “blogosphere” grows, I think the interconnections we make will make the difference. Blog on, my friends!

Focus On: Bubbles

I never know where the inspiration for a new post is going to come from.  Who would have guessed it would come from a small plastic invention I purchased for my grandchildren for Easter? The worth of this little invention is immediately apparent to any grandparent  shanghaied into blowing bubbles for their grandchildren to chase,  for what seems like hours at a time. Now, instead of ordering an oxygen machine, grandparents can sit back, and with the flip of a switch, breathe easy as this little machine spits out a gazillion bubbles at a time.

In addition, as anyone who has ever spent a lazy summer afternoon blowing bubbles as  a child knows, it is one of life’s great de-stressors.  There’s something about watching  these little globes of psychedelic colored soap float effortlessly up into the sky and disappear that has a calming effect on us. And bubble attraction is ageless, as this photo of Gavin and Great- Nana found when playing with bubbles recently.

IMG_5895.jpga   IMG_5894

With this clever little machine, you can become  a part of the show, as it spits bubbles out so fast you are literally surrounded by them, amazed at their delicate beauty. I don’t know why, but I feel the presence of faerie folk when surrounded by bubbles.Something not exactly of this world. Where do those bubbles go when they climb into the sky?

bubbles take to the sky

bubbles take to the sky

Bubbles also have an important lesson to teach. No matter how short an existence, how delicate a nature, how basic a design, one can bring beauty to the world in  ways as simple as a small bubble sitting on a rock wall. You see, as soon as I purchased this wonderful invention, the photographer inside me shook free of its winter stupor and encouraged me to grab my camera and show just how much fun people at any age can enjoy bubbles. Enjoy my bubble adventure!

It's raining bubbles!

It’s raining bubbles!

a bubble armada

a bubble armada

crystal clear view

crystal clear view

Bubbles in the sunBubbles in the sun

Bubble Christmas lights

Bubble Christmas lights

Butterfly bubble

Butterfly bubble

Another thrill seeker on the edge

Another thrill seeker on the edge

bubbles on the edge

bubbles on the edge

bubbles on patiobubbles on patio

bubbles at restbubbles at rest

Staying in Focus: From Fog to Reflections

I’ve learned that the essence of photography is light. Most likely it is the essence of everything, but this fact is most relevant in taking photos of reflection,especially nature scenes involving, light, water and wind[. To get a special combination of light and a calm wind, so that the surface of the water is like a mirror is the trick to getting a good reflection.  It takes patience but it does pay off.  However, a slight ripple in the water can bring about interesting results. When looking through the lens of the camera, look for interesting lines,  forms and shapes rather than a concrete object  Often the golden hours — the time just before sunset or at sunrise, when the light is soft on the water is a good time to get striking photos. Catch the wisps of fog as they dissipate  Sitting by a mirrored lake, especially in early morning, as a new day dawns, can be a great time for self-reflection as well. A time to just be with yourself and take stock of things. Clear away the fog, so to speak.

A few years back, my husband Bill and I visited Connemara, the family home of Carl Sandburg.  We were able to tour the home,  walk the wooded paths around the lake, and follow  a trail through the woods to a stony knoll where he wrote the poem, “The Fog”.  How I admire the way he used imagery to describe the fog so succinctly: Talk about inspiration!  After our walk we sat gazing at the lake, letting go of stress and relaxing into the lazy sunshine of  a summer afternoon .

Fog (by Carl Sandburg)

The fog comes
on little cat feet
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

A while later we experienced heavy fog as we crossed the mountains of Tennessee. Here is my humble attempt at capturing the image:

the fog, summoned by unseen hand, rises from the treetops
in wisps of ghostly gray
and melts into the waiting sky.

These two poems came out of that reflection/inspiration moment on our visit to Connemara.

Path along the lake at Connemara, home of Carl Sandburg


Beneath the leafy canopy
we stroll one summer’s day
We pause along the woodland path
and watch the shadows play
As sunlight filters through the trees
and gentle breezes kiss my face
We know we’ve found  a refuge here: a woodland home, a sacred   place.                                                                                                  

Reflections on the lake at Connemara

Still Waters

The placid waters of the lake
reflect the leaves of green
my thoughts lie calm, like waters still
my spirit is serene
I let fly loose the tension then
let go the stress and pain

and in my mind and in my soul
I am at peace again.

Here are some of my favorite reflection photos:

A watercolor effect, I like the contrast of the water and the tree branches. See what  a little ripple can do?

These two were taken at the same lake at different seasons.  The sky was crystal clear in the autumn one, and the lake reflects the beauty of that translucent blue.                           
Later in Autumn, different lake, still pretty.