Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pampering in Paradise

Evelyn: Spending time getting things done... sadly, I hit the gym for two hours, instead of floating down the Wekiva with Monica and Pito. Regardless, the most exciting of today's "task-list undertakings" was Monica's Ponytail Haircut adventure. Apparently Monica can't get a decent haircut in California without spending $100, so, I told her she REALLY needs to move to Florida!

Monica: I spent some quality time with my dad today and he took me to Rock Springs, a gorgeous state park with  freshwater springs that you can float down. There was hardly anyone at the park, so it felt like we had the place to ourselves. Looking up at the brilliant blue sky, cotton white clouds, and emerald green trees as I drifted in the cool, crystal clear water, I felt like I was floating through paradise. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Working Off the Edibles

Monica: After a day of running errands and decluttering and organizing my sister's kitchen cabinets (a task she deplores which I gleefully take on...oh, how I love to get rid of things), we treated ourselves to some late night bowling with my nephew. I bowled my best score yet (141!), which was especially gratifying considering the last time we went bowling, I scored 37.

Evelyn: Visiting with my sister means gaining a pound or two. I tend to enjoy cheap meals whose glorious edibles I typically don't even cater a thought towards, and the obnoxious guilt that whispers in my ear is quickly tucked away in my back pocket with the added smack on my smacky ass. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rolls Royce

Evelyn: I absolutely love the gleem of the classic cars Pa exposes me to when I get to show up to events as a "Junior Member" of the Jag Club. There is an unending array of views, that fill me with awe: beautiful lines of chrome, the curve of a fender, the elegance of the some of the hood ornaments. I am really not a car person, but I can appreciate the beauty of a classic car, made with the care and creativity of generations of engineers.

Monica: Our dad is a member of the local chapter of what I call the "Fancy British Cars" club (i.e., Jaguars, Bentleys, Rolls Royces). He invited us to the monthly Sunday breakfast, where he and his cronies get together and talk cars and plan upcoming club events. After breakfast, we cruised the parking lot with our cameras in search of photo candy, but there were were only three fancy British cars; most of the members drove their "everyday" cars to the meeting. This Rolls was gleaming, with nary a fingerprint or scratch on its entire body. The hood ornament could have been liquid mercury.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Monica: Evelyn took me to Swing night where a live band was playing classic tunes from the 20's & 30's. I haven't "swung" since my sophomore year of college, when I took a ballroom dance class. We got a one-hour lesson before the band came in, then we were off. I had a blast. And now I'll have to remind Michael that he mentioned he was willing to go to dance lessons...

Evelyn:  The chatter, the saxophone, the bass, the laughter, the swirling skirts and Charleston legs, the shift of hands, the smell of saturated clothing and contented breath... the feel of different hands, new ways of being held, and tossed, and swung, and caught...

Friday, May 27, 2011

"Pro" in Procrastination

Evelyn: My dad wears goofy shirts. It is expected that he will wear something to any event, any date, that will get someone's attention. I thought it was cute that he greeted Monica this morning with his "I put the 'pro' in procrastination" shirt (the shirt Monica needs) and promptly asked if it was time to finally get our pedicures. I love my dad!

Monica: Our dad treated us to lunch and spa pedicures today (THANK YOU, PITO!), where he sat between us as a captive subject for today's photo. I had to grab my camera when I saw him quietly grimacing, then contorting his face and snorting as he tried to suppress the ticklishness resulting from the pedicurist scrubbing the undersides of his feet with a pumice stone. He was so cute, trying to endure an obviously uncomfortable sensation for the sake of smooth, well-groomed feet. I think he got a taste of the meaning behind the adage: beauty is pain.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Birds of a Feather

Monica: I arrived at the Oakland Airport three hours before my flight. I knew I'd be sitting in a cramped seat for the next 6 hours, so I walked up and down the terminal in search of things to photograph. I loved this crane mural on a bank of windows and shot a bunch of pictures of people walking in front of them as I rode the moving walkway across from them.

Evelyn: Rio is glamorous. So is Jamie, but she was better at hiding behind Rio's feathers. I dropped myself at Jamie's to decompress after work, expecting to pick up Monica a few hours later. Jamie fed me, hugged me, and later invited me out to snap pictures of Rio just as the light gathered its brilliance in the evening. Rio's feathers practically exploded with color in such an impressive way that I wished I could crawl under them and gaze, much like star-gazing, but Rio gazing.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Change in Weather

Evelyn: This stay has been shorter, and hopefully the last. On the 6th floor of the children's ward, I never once saw wildlife up this high. In the garden below, yes. In the sky above, yes. As I was packing up to take the kid home, we had one last guest who came to see us off. Hey, God, thanks for the visit!

Monica: We had a sudden lightning storm complete with torrential rain. When the sun came out for a spell, Michael and I went for a stroll on the property. I had fun watching water droplets fall from the heights of grand fir and pine trees to splash in the puddles below.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Goods

Monica: My mom bought this leather bag for me at a village market in Colombia last year. Like everything she's ever brought back from Colombia, it is well-made, unique, beautiful, and perfectly useful. I love it. When I graduated from college, I bought myself a simple brown leather work bag that happened to be made in Colombia. It was a symbolic gift to mark my passage into the "real world" of working for a living. I loved that it was made in my mother's native country and that I was carrying a piece of my heritage with me to work every day. The bag was a workhorse for over 11 years. Once I had to take it into the shoe repair shop to have the strap restitched when it broke and eventually it got so worn-looking that even I could see it didn't look "professional" anymore. I eventually donated it to a thrift store and bought myself a new work bag that I didn't like nearly as much (made in China), but which was more practical and polished. Now that my work no longer entails going to an office job every day, that bag is retired to a box in the closet (just in case I have to go back to an office job some day) and my new work bag is this lovely hand-stitched one, embellished with a seedpod button and handmade beads. It's me to a tee and once again I get to carry a bit of my heritage with me every day.

Evelyn: Our latest adventure, aside from spending a chunk of the day avoiding grading and watching movies (Karate Kid, Imaginary Friends), we ordered delivery of Jimmy Johns, as Hospital Cafeteria Food was not doing it for me. I THOUGHT I missed it, but decided I didn't after a disastrous apple fritter belch-fest. Healthy option was the Turkey with avocado and cucumbers on a lovely fresh-baked whole grain bread.


Evelyn: Finding us back here—climbing up and down the elevator, in and out of doors that are familiar. I didn't expect more surgery, or another stay. I wasn't expecting to be filled with concern, to move from the lighthearted space of swing classes into the uncertainty of fevers and cat-scans. At least I know I can trust what I find here, and the friendly faces that greet me and assure me that we will move through all of this and land back home...in a few days.

Monica:  I've been in a funk the last couple of days. A quiet anxiety has enveloped me like a gossamer fog, clouding my vision and leaving me off-balance and uncertain. I can't seem to get unstuck from the deeper ruts of my life, and I fear the unsticking will manifest as something jarring and painful. There's nothing I can do but welcome it in and ride out. I know that this, too, shall pass.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Monica: Michael and I hiked along Big River, through meadows sprinkled with wildflowers and redwood forests. We tried to find the tree with the bear claw marks that we discovered last year, but to no avail. We made our way back during the magical hour when the light is golden just before sunset and everything is luminous.

Evelyn: Coming home, a small beacon, directing me towards the space that feels the safest, the space that holds my memories and my energy. I also know I can find that space among friends, among family, and I like that it isn't just a container.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Feathered Friends

Evelyn: Lee Ann flowed in, with shuttering feathers and brilliant color, to sit for brunch among other women of a local Red Hat Society group. Her hat was stunning, playful, and her energy genuine, graceful, and connected. I was pleased, when I asked for a picture, of the ladies' willingness to let me dance around with my camera - and pleased more that I was brave enough to ask.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit...

(just a piece of the Red Hat Poems by Jenny Joseph)

Monica: Walking back to the campground, a hummingbird bumbled past my shoulder and perched unsteadily on the nearest branch of the nearest tree. I got still and watched him for awhile, then slowly crept a little closer. Through my lens, I could make out downy feathers under his belly and tail feathers. I figured this hummy was just learning to fly. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Little Reminders

Monica: Tonight's yogi yea fortune, reminding me to have faith in myself. I've been needing that.

Evelyn: I don't often get to see these water tortoises, even though our lakes have hundreds of them, it is rare to really see one up close. This one knocked at my client's door for a quick meet-and-greet. Unexpected. Amazing to watch him move, sort of frigid to the warm spring air, unaccustomed to using his feet on pavement, his long neck craning to see which way he should go next.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lemon & Lime

Evelyn: Long day, three mile trek around Cranes Roost... Yummy tuna sandwich to replenish my sore muscles, and some hugs before home. Gratitude for the opportunity to take care of my body, despite the late hour: dress with sneakers, flying wildly, sprints over bridges, dancing fountains, and a greeting from a neon late-night deli.

Monica:  When life gives you lemons, take pictures of them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Noise & Haste

Monica: Because I missed my acupuncture appointment today, I had a chance to wander through the gardens at the Stanford Inn. I love these gardens for their delightful mix of untamed tangle of color and carefully-tended beds of organic vegetables and fruit trees. This bed of onions had fat shoots with blooms ready to burst out of their Hershey-kiss like tops.

Evelyn: Run away, he whispers... before the rest of the world messes up your navigation, too!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bad Day

Evelyn: At least I can notice the breeze wandering delightfully in the grass.

Monica: It was one of those days. I burned the apples I was cooking for breakfast. A horde of ants invaded our kitchen. The grocery store had moved the aisles around and I couldn't find anything. And when I started to take photos of the line-up of grocery carts outside the Safeway, a manager came out immediately to ask me what I was doing. "Being artsy," I replied huffily. He said he just wanted to make sure I wasn't a lawyer. I suppose there's a lawsuit waiting to happen involving how the shopping carts were aligned in front of Safeway. I wouldn't be surprised.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Monica: It rained all day today and I spent way too much time lazing about doing nothing. I waited till the last light was fading from the sky to take pictures today, which meant I had to break out my tripod to shoot in low light. I'm not a huge fan of using a tripod. It requires too much adjusting, tilting, locking down, tightening, twisting, and releasing, not to mention hauling around another piece of equipment.  I must admit, however, that using a tripod makes me feel like a pro. There's just something about standing there fussing with the tripod and framing the picture just so, then pressing the button on my cable release to capture the shot.

Evelyn: I had just whined to Monica that there are no exotic flowers to be found in Orlando without going to a garden—it is swamp and Home Depot Garden Variety flowers. Then, THEN... I was walking out of Dandy and caught a glimpse of what I thought was a purple fan, and discovered this twisted little gem poking her face out from the foliage. Proved me wrong. I haven't been out much, I guess.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Evelyn: Home sweet home... where everything feels like a cozy safe restful cocoon.

Monica: It rained a little last night and today, just enough to clean the air and bring the pollen count way down which made it so much more pleasant for me to go on my daily walk. I'm allergic to Northern California in the spring, which is unfortunately my favorite time of year to be outdoors. I've been feeling rather deficient in fresh air and sunshine, spending too much time indoors in order to spare myself the misery of hayfever. Today I got to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine without suffering. I was delighted to see that the seaside daisies had bloomed since my last visit to the bluffs. It made me appreciate the purifying quality of rain.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Necessary Objects

Monica: I've had this fork since my sophomore year of college, when my grandmother gave me some of her extra cookware and utensils to get started living on my own. Michael discovered it one day and it became his "favorite" fork for grilling. A few months ago, one of the rivets broke, and I tossed it in the trash, thinking there was no way to fix it. With chagrin, Michael dug it out of the trash and continued to use it even though it kept coming apart. (Meanwhile, my stepdad and I tried to find him a new "favorite" grilling fork at thrift stores and antique shops. Michael got three new forks, but none of them were quite right.) After hearing one too many threats to toss it again, he finally took it up to his workshop and "fixed" it with a nut and bolt through the rivet hole. "As good as new!" he proclaimed. And now Grandma's fork is back in the utensil drawer.

Evelyn: This has been my life all week, however today we got to go into the "Teen Room" to play with the Wii. Justin hit Guitar Hero, and it felt good to see him joking and playing. Had a visit from Chris (Rubik's Cube Genius) and two trips to the Cafeteria. I think if his food stays down we may see the doors tomorrow, then I can take photos from outside this space.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Evelyn: It's hopeful, it's not. Eager, then disappointed. It's swallowed, then back up. It's painless, then painful. We're awake, then asleep, then awakened, then returned to slumber. I'm feeling more settled, then back to concerned. This journey of healing is SO unpredictable. 

Monica: This evening, a visit to the Caspar Community Garden and I was surprised to see the strawberries are already ripe for picking. Our strawberry patch is just barely past the flowering stage. Why is that? Does the garden across the road get more sunshine, or water, or love? I wandered past the strawberries to this lovely patch of borage mingling with yellow daisies. The light was fading fast and I was lucky to photograph them just in time. One minute more and the light in the garden would be flattened by shadow. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Secret Noises

Monica: Every time I walk out the door, I see the chives waving their purple pom-pom flowers in the breeze, cheering me on as I go about my chores.

Evelyn: Playing on the walls of the Disney Pavilion has been providing me some time to get away from all the tired energy of healing and distress. I also discovered, tonight, that there are spots on the floor that activate all kinds of great jungle noises.... I keep wondering what else happens when all the kids are tucked away in their beds and the jungle creatures are left alone in the dark.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Keeping Watch

Evelyn: All these gizmos, and meters, and wires, and lines. Every adjustment results in the adjustment of half a dozen other things— pillows, blankets, IV lines, table, monitors. I fall asleep to the breathing-wheeze of a saline pump regulating his IV fluids. Something feels comforting about it, monotonous and ambient-like. His little breath exercise gadget waiting for more practice, more breathing deeply, in the disco lights of the child ward. 

Monica: When I got home yesterday, there was a package waiting for me: a belated birthday present from my best friend containing a shared art journal, some alphabet stamps, and monkey slippers. MONKEY SLIPPERS! I love them. Every time I look down at my feet when I'm wearing them, I crack up. Monkey slippers make me happy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Monica: I'm loving the sunshine, the relative warmth of the air, the light through the trees, the flowers, and the fact that summer is on its way. I needed a day away from the coast to recover from the constant chill and wearing layers. It was lovely to wear a dress and flip flops and feel the warm sun on my skin.

Evelyn: Recovery - exhausting - critical - soft - uncomfortable - boring.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sacred Spaces

Evelyn: I stopped at the Dandy for dinner before my Creative Soulcare class; they have a small garden with a healing tree. It houses all kinds of artifacts that people have left with a prayer or two: bells, Buddhas, crystals, notes, flags, etc. As I walked around it I remember thinking a healing thought for my Kidlet whose aching belly and fever were a growing concern. I had no idea that we would be staring at an emergency room in just a few hours. 

Monica:  We took a much-needed day off and headed to our favorite little hot springs retreat tucked in a beautiful mountain valley. The moment we walked through the gate, it felt like we had stepped into the Garden of Eden. Roses, irises, poppies, tulips, and wisteria were in full bloom, the sun was shining, and the air temperature was a deliciously warm 75°. We soaked in the hot springs and walked the grounds, finding little lounging nooks with statues, stones, and offerings from guests. Some musicians sat in one such area and played their music softly. It was quite romantic and such a nice way to spend a day and night away from home and work.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Monica: We had a group of marine ecology students from Sonoma State University staying with us this weekend, and they invited us to join their field trip to some tide pools early this morning. I've become a bit of a bum about sleeping in till 9:00 a.m., so it was an adventure to get up at 6:30 and venture to the ocean in the early morning light. I learned a few things, but mostly I was excited to have the chance to photograph some beautiful creatures in the intertidal zone.

Evelyn: Mother's day moved by in a quiet sort of way. Plans for breakfast together fell through and Justin stayed home, sick and feverish. My dad took me out for a light meal at a great little place in Mt. Dora, then I spent most of the afternoon trying to fix my blog and checking the teen for proper fluids. I most appreciated the small acknowledgements from my close friends and loved ones, spread out through the day, the small texts, the verbal greetings, a hug or two. I took myself to swing class, danced delightfully, then met a friend for a movie. Breakfast with chocolates, dancing, pampering, worrying, movies, and a walk. Sounds about right.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pink Ribbons

Evelyn: Catching my friend Jamie attempting to photograph the Mother's Day ribbon on her slightly paranoid foster-dog Mona was a captivating production. Mona was perplexed and indignant that not only did she have to endure a grooming session today, but that she was also left with an absurd pink bow, an itchy left ear, AND needed a photograph to add to the humiliation. Regardless, Mona tolerated the addition of a second camera - say, "stinky slipper!"

Monica: Within a few days, the wildflowers have burst into a riot of color on the bluffs. Today there was a carpet of yellow mixed with the small pink blooms of wild sweet pea, their tendrils seeking an anchor among the greenery.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Distant Views

Monica: This morning on the way to breakfast, I saw that the Botanical Gardens were having a free admission day. I came back in the early afternoon with my camera and took my time soaking in the beauty of the place. At a little pond tucked away in the rhododendron garden, I spotted several frogs camouflaged in the water, their little heads poking just above the surface, watching for their next meal.  Later, I passed a group of six women who were gasping and giddy over the magnificent blooms everywhere. They were laughing, eyes wide, throwing their hands up in the air as if they'd just discovered the garden of Eden. Their enthusiasm was infectious.

Evelyn: I attended opening night for the Orlando SNAP! Event showcasing the work of international, national, and local photographers. I pranced around in my little black cocktail dress and red sneakers - eating up the photography on the walls. Through my meanderings I was complimented on my red shoes by a widowed author working on his sequel, a local photographer who gifted me his weekend pass (because I looked like I would enjoy it more) and a handsome 50-something who practically ate me up with his eyes leaving just my red sneakers - until his girlfriend returned to redirect him. Quite fun!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


 Evelyn: I figured it was time for a new self portrait... just got the hair cut (shorter than ever) and I was noticing that my soft short locks look a lot like my mother's.I feel a bit sassy with the shorter hair. I also didn't realize that my brown eyes can glow in photographs - I appreciate regaining some equilibrium so that my eyes glow bright and warm - which comes from being filled with soulful energy... kinda leaks out in a smiley kinda way. I like it.

Monica: I haven't felt like cooking ever since my parents were here a couple of weeks ago. They spoiled me with their cooking and meals out. Tonight I needed some grounding, so I made vegetable soup with ground turkey and served it with a crossword puzzle on the side. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Walk in the Park

Monica: We've been having some gloriously sunny and warm spring weather on the coast. I decided to go for a walk at the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse and was rewarded with all kinds of beauty: patches of wild iris blooming along the bluffs, whales spouting and flipping their tales, and two mama seals and their newborn pups sunning themselves in a quiet cove. I found a sunny, windless spot, took off my coat and basked in the warmth of the sun on my skin. It was delicious.

Evelyn: Feeling more centered again... slowly. Can't make sense of how my sanity seems to leak out every few days or so lately, but it does... and a brisk walk with a good friend feels soothing and keeps me connected - or at least connected to my feet. The fountain at Cranes Roost bursts with water to a series of songs, and I sat for 10 minutes watching as I waited for my walking partner. Water always calms me - reminds me of my mermaid days.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Evelyn: Contemplation... seems my head likes to meander through endless issues, and does it when I am not looking so that later I am kicked over by array of beliefs that don't serve any other purpose but to throw me into more thinking. I think I need to go back to daydreaming instead.

Monica: Pulling into the parking lot at the grocery store, I noticed this sweet yellow lab resting his head on the window frame with a wistful look on his face. He was so adorable, waiting patiently for his keeper to come back, maybe with a treat in hand. I said hello and took a few pictures. I love sweet, gentle animals that don't bark and scrabble at you when you're walking past.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Monica: Today was a hit-the-ground-running-and-keep-on-running day. While Michael is in the bath, I check my e-mail and realize I forgot to take pictures today. This will have to do.

Evelyn: This has been my routine on Mondays (although THIS Monday did not fall into place). I usually get myself to the gym, shower, dress, eat, and run to the college to teach a 4 hour class, then scuttle off to the Spiral Circle for the Artist Way Workshops I have been facilitating. I park my car in the shade, then carefully shake around through a pile of tootsie rolls in my cup holder to search for snoopy, attached to a set of keys, of which ONE belongs to the door of my workshop room. It is here that I get centered and pay attention to the lives of others, on their journeys, and help nurture their inner creative. It is the most amazing start to my week - to laugh and collaborate on making each other stronger, more connected, with self and others. Today, it was just a warm place to rest my tired head.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Evelyn: There is a big oak in front of the Enzian Theatre whose arms are heavy and massive, and remind me of the arms of father, supportive and secure. I always take a moment to drink in how that tree looks in the light, and imagine climbing up into it, and just resting there, letting my weight melt into the branches, down into the earth, and melding with the energy of being.

Monica: The days are getting longer and busier, passing at breakneck speed.  A moment with my camera and a patch of pink flowers outside my favorite Thai restaurant where we had a quiet, pleasurable dinner after a long day.