Focus on: Lunch Among the Flowers

 For those of you who may be interested, I have a new Blog at .My place to rant or rave about the Braves.

Yesterday was  a lovely day, all about art in its many forms, nature-made and manmade. My friend, Linda, picked me up about 11:00 and we drove to downtown Raleigh, to the Seaboard Cafe at the Logan Trading Company (Garden Center). We had a wonderful lunch, dining al fresco amid all the beautiful plants. After lunch we perused the plants like kids in a candy store. To see the range of color mother nature presents, with a little help from those who hybridize the plants, is simply breathtaking. If you live in the Raleigh area and want to see the cream of the crop and more variety than you will find at the big box stores, take a few hours on a sunny day this spring and head to Logan’s. Stop by the cafe for a delicious lunch – the chicken salad with apricot and almonds  on a  croissant was yummy! Here is just a sampling:of our favorites:


They had miles of Impatiens patiently waiting to brighten someone’s yard!


Rose Magic Osteospermum


Tiny Tim Euphorbia


we thought these petunias looked like butterflies

We didn’t know the name of this pretty flower, but it’s petals were as thin as fine parchment, translucent in the sun.

033        Of course I had to adopt  a few, so I took some sunshine, some color, some magic,, and , of course, who could resist Tiny Tim?! After viewing nature’s art,, we explored the Contemporary Art Museum.See tomorrow’s post!








tiny tim


In Focus for Travel Photography

Today I finished my Travel Photography Class.  I passed my final exam and received positive reviews of my portfolio from the Instructors and fellow classmates.

Here is my  portfolio: The first picture is of vintage photographs taken in side light, with a diffused flash and the camera on a tripod (practice for museum settings).  The next two were challenging as  low light,  mixed light and motion had to be considered in setting up the shot. The fourth one is an artistic shot taken at the new wing of the Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh. The next one, also taken at the museum, is from a City Tour Album we made and I named this one Raleigh: Eye on the World.  This globe is located outside the museum.   The sixth one is a Macro shot.  The vase is photographed life-size .  It was photographed with the camera steadied on a beanbag.  The seventh one is a  silhouette shot taken in low light  (practice in taking photos at aquariums.) and the final one is practice using the camera’s histogram to determine proper exposure

. We covered everything from photographing from a hot air balloon, to capturing lightning and fireworks. There was an entire lesson on cruises, as well as on the challenges of taking pictures in the cold, in the heat and humidity, in fog and at the beach.I  really enjoyed this class and look forward to taking more.  Hope I get some great shots in Alaska!


Pictures in Poems, Poems in Pictures

There are pictures in poems and poems in pictures
— Chinese Proverb

My interest in photography began when I received my first camera, a Kodak Brownie, when I was still in elementary school.  My interest in poetry began first with reading poems, then later writing my own.   As a child I enjoyed the poems of Robert Louis Stephenson,

One of my first photos. Christmas 1964. I had a little trouble fitting everyone in the frame!

especially My Shadow, and  those of A.A. Milne : Forgiven, Spring Morning and The End.  I  Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, and the poems of Emily Dickinson and Sara Teasdale remain favorites today.  And Trees by Joyce Kilmer was the first poem I ever memorized.

I suppose I am a woman out of time as I prefer rhymed verse to free verse, which is more popular now.  I have written some free verse, but most often my muse comes to me in rhyme and as to where the muse comes from remains a mystery to me, I question it not, and write as I am instructed!  I think what draws me to both poetry and photography is the opportunity to paint a picture of my world, be it with words or with the lens of my camera..  And they work so well together!  Sometimes I take a picture that inspires a poem, other times I’ve written a poem and looking through my viewfinder, see the poem reflected in the image in the frame.  In this case, the picture preceded the poem:

Harbor Sunset

liquid drops of sunlight
sparkle in the bay
and reflect a sky awash in sunset hue
the trees along the shoreline
form a silhouette in gray
and the clouds amass in shades of dusky blue
suspended for the moment
between darkness and the day
I pause to fill my senses and renew
and with deep appreciation
I continue on my way
as the sunset in the harbor fades from view.

Poetry and photography are my “go – to” coping tools.  I can lose myself  for hours  composing a poem  or in trying to get the best exposure for a picture. and worries and concerns just drift away. Best of all,  both of them can be done outside, sitting in a pretty park or while hiking in the mountains..  Back at home I use the pictures and poems in greeting cards, scrapbooks and journals.  I’ve made beautiful books on

On a more personal level, I explore my feelings and improve my state of mind by writing poems reflecting my journey with Parkinson’s Disease.  Somehow, writing both prose and poetry help to transfer the fears and concerns from me to the paper.  I gladly let it absorb  the worries, and help me to stay in focus on more important things. ( More about this in my next post.)

So grab a notebook, pen and a camera and have some fun!

If you’ve haven’t explored writing poetry yet, here are a few helpful guides:

The Poetry Home Repair Manual by Ted Kooser
How to Write Poetry  published by Spark Publishing (
Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan
The Describer’s Dictionary by David Grambs

For photography I recommend taking a class at a local community college.  It’s the best way to learn how to use your camera, especially if you are venturing into using a digital SLR. for the first time. All the buttons and knobs and settings on these cameras can be overwhelming.