Friday, September 30, 2011

Familiar Faces

Evelyn: Between a long phone call and a bit slothful lounging I poured a hint of my need for art onto my "Wreck This App." created by Keri Smith (she made Wreck This Journal - which both Monica and I have progressively destroyed.) I can feel a shift in the weather - unexpected coolness between days of humid contemplation, and I am certain that despite my gloomy mood right now, I will eventually get back to things that center me.

Monica: So happy to be home, snuggled into bed next to this man, his smile the last thing I see before I turn out the light. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Monica: I've known Andrew since 1997, when he got a job at the bookstore where I worked. I remember seeing his resumé on the manager's desk and becoming convinced in the 20 seconds it took me to review it that he was my soul mate. On paper, he was a lover of literature, food, music, and nature. Then I met him and I was smitten. He was handsome, intelligent, charming, witty...and gay. I was devastated for about two seconds and then we became fast friends. He treated me better than any boyfriend ever had, taking me hiking in spectacular places, to music concerts, on picnics, cooking amazing vegetarian meals for me, and making me laugh until my eyes teared and my stomach hurt. He's still one of my favorite people on the planet and I treasure the years of friendship between us.

Evelyn: Little hints of inspiration and encouragements to DO ART. I haven't played with art for months now, my days filled with getting settled. Salvador Dalí reminds me each time I enter my kitchen that just across the Fridge is a table - available, solid, to bear the weight and energy of artful play. "Go," he says, "It has been too long!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Evelyn:  My usual Wednesday night at Gulfport. Work so busy I had to take a nap before dancing. Staying until just a few dancers were left I strayed to the archway of the stage to play with my camera and watch from a distance. The last few dancers whose bodies swung energized by footwork, smiles, and connection had the floor to themselves. I think my love of dance, in part, comes from feeling that connection in my own body when I am moved by the lead of another. It is where I can practice trust, and know it in my body.

Monica: Ten years ago at this time, I was staying with my friend Andrew having just returned from two years in China. Andrew was in a great place in his life; he was newly in love with his partner, Trey, his business was doing well, and he was living in one of the most beautiful little towns in California. He was in the midst of searching for a new home when I arrived, so I got to go house-hunting with him. When we walked into this house, it was love at first sight. The next time I visited, he was living in it. Now Andrew & Trey are living in Buenos Aires. They returned to California this month for a visit. Their old home in Point Reyes (which is currently a vacation rental) happened to be available the last week of their stay, so they invited friends to come visit while they were there. I drove down as soon as I could, eager to see my friends, enjoy some good food (Andrew is an amazing cook), and the beauty of the area. It felt like old times, when Trey and Andrew had a steady stream of visitors dropping by, fabulous dinner parties, and the sound of laughter piercing the quiet around the brightly lit house on the hill. I took a moment alone on the upper deck to soak it all up; the light, the laughter, the delicious scents wafting through the house, and my gratitude that I got to be there, a small part of it all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Something Out Of The Ordinary

Monica: I almost didn't see what was happening; I only caught the movement of something out of the corner of my eye. Then I noticed the bee wasn't bumbling, it was struggling. The spider was anesthetizing the bee as she wrapped it swiftly in silky thread. It's a hard thing to watch, the taking of a life. But the bee will sustain the spider and who is to say which one's life is more valuable?

Evelyn:  Some of the oddities of working at a Medical Career College are the bodies that get hauled around. I was carrying a box of books but managed to snap a few shots of Al escorting PAT the androgynous dummy down to the "Parlor-Lab." We have been so tight on space until the new build-out that we have rented an old salon for an additional classroom, and truly, the instructor has done miracles to make that space feel like a lab. Regardless, I am surprised we can fit even one more body into a space!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Another Perspective

Evelyn: When I am most worn-out (and Monday, I was entitled to slump on the couch after work in an exhausted coma) it is a bit challenging to feel inspired for a picture. I often find myself using my camera as an eye-piece, evaluating and gazing through the frame of the camera world for inspiration. With an extension tube attached, the depth of field changes dramatically, and then I am viewing the world from just a few inches away, with my spectacle. I never know what I will find, what will intrigue me enough to press my finger on the shutter. Later the images, up on a screen, surprise me... visions I don't see unless I have that camera in my arsenal.

Monica: Just when I get bored with using the same lens all the time, I rediscover another one. Lately, I've been loving my Lensbaby and how it gives an ethereal quality to images. Just another way of seeing things differently, finding the beauty in the mundane.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Life & Death

Monica: Two friends called today with different kinds of big news, in different states of shock. One was recently diagnosed with breast cancer; the other discovered she is pregnant. "Game changers" are the order of the day.  One friend is suddenly facing her own mortality; the other is wrapping her head around the joy and responsibility of bringing a new life into the world. I recognize each friend's vulnerability in her situation and I send prayers of protection, nurturing, and good health to both of them. It's a strange mix of compassion, joy, concern, and hope that I feel right now. I feel a little vulnerable, too, knowing that my own life could change quite unexpectedly at any time. This is what it means to be alive, I suppose. We are all free-falling toward a mystery. It's breathtaking and scary as hell and all we can really do is let go and try to enjoy the ride.

Evelyn: Before leaving town the Ripley's Museum was top on the agenda to explore, filled with all kinds of oddities and history, something I have always found fun. Between pirates and shrunken heads, I got my fill of playful discovery and discussion, often tying right back into the weekend chatter and camaraderie.  I would rather think about pirates in the 1500's than the politics of my life right now. I couldn't have appreciated the break more.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Moving Stillness

Evelyn: One of the things I love about St. Augustine is the old architecture, and how nature just weaves itself into places. Most of the older buildings are Coquina - a compressed shell-like base for brick and wall. Settled by the Spanish originally, there are hints of Spanish influence everywhere - and I can only imagine what kind of Garden lay behind this wall - pushing itself out through the breaks and crevices in the still alley-ways of these old streets.

Monica: Another wedding this weekend and another opportunity to photograph the celebration without pressure. I love this profile shot of the bride as she's walking around at the reception—there's movement and stillness at the same time.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Change of Season

Monica: It's the fall equinox today. The morning air has acquired that chill crispness that I associate with falling leaves, shorter days, warm sweaters, and mugs of hot tea. Goodbye, summer. I'll miss you. 

Evelyn: Making the drive to Orlando for a long weekend break. Something about the air is changing and I expect there are small hints that fall is nearing, even though the air has been somewhat damp and heavy. It is different to be a passenger on this trip with my teen - taking back roads to Apopka so that he can practice driving. I get to see much more of the terrain when I don't drive, quite a transition.

PS. I find it interesting that Monica had a frog, as I had spent the later part of the evening in discussions about frogs: their symbolism, love for them, the transformative properties. I have such a love of frogs and the ways in which they show up in my life. They sometimes feel like GOD to me (the universe - whatever works) checking in and singing.... (Evelyn) 

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Evelyn: Dinner with a friend, really a last minute scramble to decide what to eat. The kitchen filled with bodies talking, laughing, cooking. I kept seeing, out of the corner of my eye, my humming bird from Heinz & Diana (plus girls) from Christmas, and noticing how it's reflection kept placing it IN my kitchen. Quite fun, the way family keeps connected in my spirit, even when they are not here. * Love *

Monica: We stopped at the thrift store today so Michael could look for a light fixture for one of the cabins. On our way to the back corner of the store, we passed a mini trampoline for sale for $8. I thought about I really need this? Of course not. Can I get $8 worth of fun out of it? Absolutely. It's a perfect prop for taking shots in mid-air.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Monica: There's a wonderful little farmer's market in Albion on Sundays that we try to get to when we can. The vendors are all local (as opposed to driving in from other parts of the county or other counties altogether.) There are only a handful of stalls, but one in particular has a great selection of produce: lemon cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, various greens, carrots, and grilling onions. This past Sunday, we picked up a bag of shelling peas. When I split one open and popped the peas in my mouth, I was surprised by their sweetness. It was almost like eating candy. The peas never made it to the pot.

Evelyn: One of the things I have carried with me from place to place is a handful of artistic artifacts left by my stepdad's mom, Jeannie. I was in her life only through Sam's dad, Bill, and only through the last days of her life as she came to the end of her battle with cancer. What I knew about Jeannie was that she was quiet, eclectic, and loved entwining nature within her artwork. Her choice of color is so deeply appealing to me that I have kept some of her pieces - small but playful - and found ways to integrate them into my life. This one hangs off a door in my new space. The colors like the ocean just a few miles away.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fleeting Views

Evelyn: Feeling run down and achy, and after work went for tea and soup instead of dancing. This is the first time I have forgotten to put my memory card back into my camera, so I used the new phone instead. Not too bad. I think I miss my sister... needing a Monica infusion, STAT!

Monica: The fog threatened to roll in this morning and when it didn't, I made sure to skedaddle down to the ocean for some fresh air and sunshine. (I've learned not to take sunny days for granted here.) It was another incredible day and the sea was clear, mild, and that gorgeous multi-colored aqua and marine blue that reminds me of a tropical paradise. Taking in the view, I reminded myself that this too, shall pass. Someday, I'll be living somewhere else, doing something else, and this view will just be a memory.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Under Patches of Light

Monica: I've been seeing a lot of snakes lately. I turn a corner and catch the flash of a tail disappearing in the grass. Today I came across one stretched in a patch of sunshine. The snakes know when to take advantage of a good thing—the last warm sunshine of the season.

Evelyn: Sometimes light surprises me. I don't always notice the way things light up, and in the process of photographing a piece of furniture my attention got engulfed by the way the light cut through the holes in the abalone shell onto my new-used-antique dresser. At the end of a long day, eyes tired, it is easy to ignore all the little ways in which the world is illuminated. I think that is why I love my camera, and taking pictures daily, as it makes me look into my world, and appreciate what is around me. It is so easy to get consumed by the rest of life, and there is beauty hidden everywhere.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Other Delights

Evelyn: We have eaten SO much over two days... and a final stop before Mama left was to the Colombian Bakery where we (after a full Colombian Meal) gorged ourselves on warm Pan De Bono and Cafe Con Leche. Delightful... and if you look, you will see her hands in the reflection - eager to get them on something yummy.

Monica: I was taking a shower and left the bathroom door open to enjoy the last rays of golden sunshine streaming through the window out in the hall. The light filtering in hit the shower curtain just so, illuminating its colorful geometric shapes. I was in the middle of my shower and was going to ignore it, but as the colors intensified, I knew I had to jump out and grab my camera. It was totally worth the wet dash to the living room and back into the shower for this shot.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hand Adventures

Monica: It was one of those perfect end-of-summer days—clear blue sky, warm sunshine, and sparkling ocean in the distance. I decided to hike the Staircase Trail up to the pygmy forest in the hopes of still catching the tail-end of huckleberry season. A few weeks ago, some guests had told me that the huckleberries were ripe for picking. I figured I'd waited too long and they'd be gone. Just into the redwood forest, I turned a corner to find a huckleberry bush packed with round, ripe berries. I began to feast my way up the trail, plucking berries from one bush after another. Looking down at my sticky, berry-stained hands, I felt my summer was complete. 

Evelyn: Sometimes a space is just lovely, the order and line, reflections and light. The Largo Community Center is architecturally inviting and a pleasure to look at. All kinds of small design elements to enjoy from a fountain coming off the entrance overhang, to a walkway with a lit stream, and all kinds of colorful tile work. It is one of my favorite placed to dance - the crowd friendly with plenty of space. I love dancing, being moved by hands and energy, different smiles and voices. The light was too low to capture some of the things I wanted, but the bathroom caught my attention, at the end of the night, after most of the crowd had left, as I washed away the sweat and connection of over a dozen different dancers I relished. I am exhausted after 4 hours of dancing, and even the temperature of the water on my hands spoke to the care this venue has taken. Perfect.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Taking It All In

Evelyn: Date night with my teenager, full of lessons and learning. I let him drive us out of the complex, and was informed that he didn't plan on ever going faster than 30 MPH, and that driving is freaky with all these angry people on the roads (Ah, so he notices a lot!), and that I simply don't pronounce things properly in Japanese, and... We laughed, so much that I told him it was making ME scared to drive because I can't drive when I am cry-laughing hysterically. We devoured Emperor's sushi, Pad Thai, and fried stuffed wings at the absolutely delicious Chang Bistro in Clearwater. Later we walked at least a mile and a half in the dark along the beach, were called effin' zombies by a gaggle of drunken adults, survived a long conversation using an amalgamation of British and southern accents, and returned home with iced coffees and sandy feet. Scrumptious!

Monica: I haven't been down to the beach in weeks. Today I made it a point to walk down there and spend some time sitting on a log soaking up the last warm rays of the late afternoon sun. It felt good to feel my feet sink into the sand, to inhale deeply the fresh salt air, and to listen to the meditative rhythm of the waves rolling into shore.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Then & Now

Monica: Amidst the rush and bustle of the day, I take a moment to turn the camera to myself, a visual looking inward. I don't always like what the camera captures. It's hard to see myself as I am and not how I remember myself to be; the bright-eyed, smooth-skinned, world-is-my-oyster 20-something having been replaced by a furrow-browed, heavier & more world-weary 30-something. I think my younger self was more confident and less worried about the choices I needed to make then, but my present self is emotionally stronger, more patient, and more settled.

Evelyn: I have found a new use for some of my old pottery. There was a time, before Justin, when I owned my own throw-wheel, and could use the school district's kiln to fire the stuff I made. My work was amateur, chunky, heavy, and a bit funky. Recently, a piece that was hidden on a kitchen shelf for 10 years in the old house, found its way into my bathroom of the new place, as the holder of all things "stick-like." I see his little face as I paint up my own. Depending on the angle he can look worried, or pleased.  He doesn't talk the same way he used to; his tongue used to stick out, but now the tip has been severed from being shuffled around on a neglected shelf. Regardless, word-less, something about him feels familiar...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Evening Lights

Evelyn: Gulfport, Swing Wednesday. Tonight I was especially fascinated by the lights of Tampa on the water along the pier, through the windows of the Casino Ballroom. Snapping away I caught another reflection: a couple observing the dance floor, taking a rest as others danced, ballroom chandeliers glimmering like city lights, the railings of the outside appear like a fence containing the action, the movement between water waves, swinging hips, and fluttering dresses. Sometimes another perspective, unexpected, fills me with wonder.

Monica: I decided to try my hand at photographing star trails tonight but I wasn't quite prepared for spending the amount of time it would take to get a good photograph. It was late and cold outside and finally I had to give up. This was the best shot of the bunch. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Splash of Red

Monica: We drove to Oakland with Kevin and dropped him off at the hospital so he could finish up some work. He told us about Mountain View Cemetery just down the road, so we decided to check it out. I had nearly forgotten how much I enjoy spending time in cemeteries; they're peaceful and put me in a contemplative state of mind as I ponder my own mortality. This cemetery was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (who also designed New York City's Central Park) and I was impressed with the beauty of the layout, the fountains of water, the ornate mausoleums, the rolling hills, and the spectacular view of the Bay Area from the top.

Evelyn: Late night homework. I think we are finally starting to settle into a routine, that dance between doing and getting done all the things that make up our days. I still feel a bit like days are a blur, busy and adjusting...however one thing is the same: the ongoing click of a Rubiks cube until the lights are out (after homework of course!)

Monday, September 12, 2011

What Meets Us

Evelyn: I find my eyes feel weary and shifty at the end of an especially lengthy, time-consuming, one-our drive to and from what I perceive as a campus in a whole other country. Tonight I arrived home just as the sun settled in the trees, a murmur of longing to run off to the beach fluctuating between grumbles of hunger. I knew I would miss the sunset before I got to my preferred sandy stomping ground. I instead took my hazed eyes up to the house, to sort through the bills, and settled my rumbling belly with a local pizza with my teenager.

Monica: Zuzu is the princess of this particular household. She's wary of strangers and generally hides under the bed when she hears unfamiliar footsteps in the house. This last visit was the first time she didn't disappear when we walked in, so we feel privileged to have made it onto her "in" list.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Monica: This morning I awoke to a mournful tune drifting in from somewhere outside. I got out of bed to look out the window and saw a lone man in full Scottish dress pacing the lower meadow as he played a set of bagpipes. The bride from yesterday's wedding had hired a bagpipe player to wake her new husband, one of his family's traditions for momentous occasions. It was fitting, that sad and solitary song. I have been reluctant to immerse myself in the emotional remembrance of the day that changed everything, but it can't be helped. Ten years ago, I was staying in a hostel in Bangkok, eagerly preparing for my return home after 27 months living abroadWhen I sat down to breakfast, I saw the headline of the Bangkok Post—"Kamikaze Horror"—and made it through the first paragraph before I burst into tears. I don't particularly want to relive the agony of shock and dread and horrible uncertainty I felt then. I remember I felt so alone and isolated from everything and everyone I loved. Recently I read about the only American astronaut in space on that day and how he witnessed the giant dust cloud of the crumbling towers from his little window in the International Space Station. He talked about how helpless he felt watching this horrible event unfold at home and there was nothing he could do. I could relate to that feeling. I think maybe most of us had similar feelings. In any case, I found that I was showered with kindness and compassion by complete strangers in the ensuing days. That experience affirmed my faith in the inherent goodness of human beings, no matter their nationality, political views, or religious beliefs.

Evelyn: Nature has such fascinating decor and although shells may look common along a beach walk, there are occasional patterns and shadows that sometimes catch the eye between the swirls and glimmers of retracting surf. I passed this shell both on the to and fro of a leisurely afternoon beach walk, and the second time around I couldn't help but to crouch down and explore it with my camera.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Up Ahead

Evelyn: Sunsets have been spectacular out here this summer. Monsoon season results in late afternoon showers, unexpected, intermittent, and spread out. I love the way the light shifts around, where one spot is clear and another one carries a downpour.

Monica: Another lovely wedding today at Jug Handle. I love having the opportunity to practice wedding photography without the pressure of being "the wedding photographer." There are so many gorgeous details to drink in. I love how each couple expresses their unique relationship through their choice of decor, food, music, party favors, and colors. Today's wedding was an autumn picnic which began with a lemonade stand where guests decorated their own jelly jar glasses with colorful ribbons and vintage buttons.

Friday, September 9, 2011

At Sunset

Monica: Today the sun set right in the center of  our "window" of ocean that we see from our house. Tomorrow, the sun will set further south and in a day or two, we won't be able to see the sun set at all from here. The fall equinox is in less than twelve days and I'm trying not to think about the shorter days and longer nights. I so much prefer the light.

Evelyn:  On the way to Pito's house. Gizmo: "Pito, Pito, Pito, Pito, Pito, Pito, Pitooooooooooo!" Can you guess who Gizmo is excited to see?

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Evelyn: I have had my office to myself all week. Reorganization at the other campus has given me the opportunity to be at the forefront of supporting instructors. What keeps me company are the little elements of myself: my music, a large hanging batik, and the occasional wind chimes that indicate another message has come in.

Monica: Tonight I thought I'd set up the tripod, turn out the lights, and dance around the room with an LED light in my hand. Painting with light intrigues me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Out on the Plaza

Monica: There's a beautiful Catholic church down the street from Adriana & Kevin's house, complete with it's own little plaza and splashing fountain. The light was just right, casting long shadows on the plaza and illuminating the trees that are just beginning to change into their autumn finery.

Evelyn: I brought my mother dancing to Gulfport Casino with Ed. Pier-side lessons before being thrown to the wolves and a night filled with squealing enjoyment and busy feet. It was so much fun to watch my mother's excitement as she moved between leads, different hands offering a spin, different smiles in support of our play. Lovely, mama!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Drizzly night
Warm, breezy.
Eager conversation
A space filled with color
Layers of Spanish culture
Flamenco dessert

Monica: An old water fountain tucked in a little park along the river in downtown Petaluma.  Petaluma was one of the few northern California towns near the coast that was spared the ravages of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, so the historic homes and buildings are remarkably intact. I enjoy spending time in places where history is valued and the the beauty of the past is visible in the little details.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day

Monica: One thing about running a lodge that I don't like: not getting days off. Or holidays. Technically, we're supposed to get two days off a week, plus a paid two-week vacation. The reality is, we're lucky if we get two days off a month. I feel a little guilty complaining, though, considering that I live in such a beautiful place and my office is at the other end of the house. But sometimes, I just want to be "off" from work and that's hard to do when work and home are one and the same. The only time off is when we physically leave the property and go into town, or better yet, take a couple days to visit friends in Petaluma. Tomorrow, we will do just that. I look forward to the brief time away from responsibility.

Evelyn: All I can say to make sense of how the last few weeks have gone is: retrograde. Today was ridiculous—between two glass objects breaking (and Nana's cut foot), and in an effort to install my water filter, finding puddles from a broken garbage disposal, then a leak in the new spigot that resulted in water across the full length of the kitchen counter, the maintenance light on my car making faces at me, broken door hook, my loveseat busting to pieces, and a 4 for 4 record of people leaving from my new job, I am uncertain if I should leave the house. I understand that Mercury will finally be back on its normal routine by September 9th. Meanwhile, we are working on fixing all of it. Pito's a "Pro!"

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday (Brunch)

Evelyn: We got up this morning, exploring for a breakfast nook, and the café we found online was closed, but the Mexican place in Dunedin was open for Sunday Brunch. The entrance and tables were sprinkled with rose petals—a delightful decorative element, colors vibrant under overcast skies. 

Monica: Waiting for our Sunday brunch at the Little River Inn. We didn't have a Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle to work on, so we chatted instead about nothing in particular.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Monica: A glimpse of the bride as she heads out to meet her father for the walk down the aisle...

Evelyn: I haven't had Gizmo energy around me for about 4 months now. I forget how nice it is to be slathered, literally, in warm, wet, doggy-breath kisses. All of us can appreciate a good lickin'!

Friday, September 2, 2011


Evelyn: Last week I bumped into the wine section while picking up SweetBay Subs, where I acquired both the "Mad Housewife" and "Middle Sister" wines. Reporting this to Monica, I was quickly informed that I was NOT the middle sister, and I quickly corrected that, yes, I was. I didn't grow up that way—I was always the oldest. Heinz (our half brother) adjusted the birth order almost 3 years ago and I soon after had a bit of a life crisis, trying to determine just where my place was. Anyhow, I was drawn to the brunette on the bottle, the name, and the fact that it was labeled "sweet & sassy." Turned out to be pretty good—just my style—sweet and nowhere near lip-puckering.

Monica: Labor Day weekend begins and so does the beginning of our wedding season this year. I love weddings. I love the different ideas couples come up with for their celebrations. I love the the joy of everyone involved, the colorful details, the bride walking down the aisle toward her beaming groom, the heartfelt vows, the "I do"s, the rings, the kiss. I love the anticipation of the day before, the gathering of friends and family, the final preparations being made before the big day, when everything leading up to the start of the ceremony is a little chaotic behind the scenes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Monica: I seem to have made it a habit to take photos in the late afternoon or early evening. I don't consciously choose to do this, but it makes sense; the light at dusk is phenomenal. The black-eyed susan vine growing up the face of our office is illuminated by the most exquisite fiery orange, the tiny hairs surrounding each seedpod glowing. The light changes quickly as the sun sets. This vision disappears within a minute or so.

Evelyn: Al is a favorite of mine, mostly because he has a way with people that makes them feel special, connected, significant. Al has been the bridge to my new job, staying in contact after he left IADT nearly a year ago. I feel well-placed with the team we have here and I enjoy the way we support the students. I still feel a bit intimidated by the crowdedness of a new college environment, with students who have yet to know me, and faculty/staff who are still figuring out what I am about. I can look to Al and rest assured he's got my hula-hoop and a cheer in store. No problem—I belong here.