Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spring fever

First off, Happy Birthday to my friend Kim. Now she's as old as I am.

Newport's Seafood and Wine Festival was this past weekend, and was a huge success. The weather was great, the people were out and spending money, and the festival theme was piratical, so it all came together as a great time. I poured wine for the local Sweet Adelines, and this is the figurehead that was created to decorate the booth. Everyone wore costumes and they (we) looked very much in the spirit of the event. What fun!
Yesterday Freckles and I met up with our friend Guy to traipse around on the beach and check out what fun things we could find down there. With his assistance, I found some AWESOME fossil pieces and brought them home to grace my backyard. If you are interested in fossils of any kind, I highly recommend taking a field trip with Guy - he is an absolute expert.
Miss Freckles enjoyed the two hours we spent down there too, she was a very happy dog. She laid down when we got home and slept the rest of the night. I like the sunbeams on the left side of this shot.
I put some pretty pansies in my flower boxes here at the studio today, spruced the place up quite nicely. The tree in my front yard is starting to get leaves on it. Yay!
I had dinner Saturday with my friend Amber at Chef's Place, the restaurant next to the studio... and now that I've enjoyed breakfast lunch and dinner there, I can say with absolute certainty that it is the best place to eat for miles around. The staff is friendly and accomodating, and Chef Wheeler himself regularly comes out of the kitchen to greet his guests and make sure they are happy campers. He even brought us cookies and milk! If you haven't been there yet, you need to go there. Tell him I sent ya.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Harbingers of spring

Freckles and I took advantage of the warm sunny weather on Sunday morning and enjoyed a stroll around the horse pasture together. This is what we saw.These daffodil buds are only about 4 inches tall.

The appearance of the skunk cabbage is always a welcome sight.

The creek that runs through the pasture supplies the horses with their drinking water.

A resident blue heron keeps a watchful eye on us. He's standing on one leg. He likes to hang out at the pond and pick off the baby ducklings and goslings when they are out and about.

On the other side of the creek live two more horses, this one is a small Fjord horse - very cute.

And this is his buddy, a large pure white horse... gorgeous.

Back to wintry weather today with drizzle, gray skies and wind. *sigh* Come on, spring!!

Oh, and I just had to share this from a recent family shoot. What a doll.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Rocky Beach

Freckles and I took advantage of the nice weather, and the fact that we were in Newport this afternoon to hit our favorite spot of shoreline. I don't really think of it as a beach this time of year because it is completely scrubbed free of sand. The upper shoreline near the bank is smaller rocks, where I find agates and pretty jaspers, and the closer to the ocean you get, the rockier it gets, and more solid. Very beautiful.

These were taken with my cell phone and have a wonderful watercolor effect to them.

Miss Freckles loves our trips to the ocean.

As I was standing there on the rocks, drinking in the sunshine and the gorgeous place I that was in, a bald eagle flew directly over my head toward the south. I watched as he wheeled around and dropped nearly into the surf before pulling back up and continuing on. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What a weekend! Again!

We finally had some sunshine and warmer temps on Saturday, so after our meeting and breakfast my friend and I went to the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse to capture some photos. She is doing some research on the history of the lighthouse and wanted some shots for a paper she's writing. I just wanted to shoot the scenery, it's been so long since I've been able to do that.

We watched some surfers having fun near the bridge... the ocean was way too rough for surfing that day.

Then, we were treated to a luncheon at our friend Polly's house. Her husband donned a tux and waited on us hand and foot. What a blast we had. That's a summoning bell in her hand...
Then, as mentioned in my previous post, I attended the dedication of the signs proclaiming Business Highway 20 as Sharon Branstiter Memorial Drive. There was a good turnout of folks and the weather again was beautiful. Here is our interim Mayor Jim Chambers reading a long list of improvements that Sharon has accomplished for Toledo.
This is Sharon's daughter Marnie and Marnie's father Marv after they'd unveiled the sign. Marnie surprised me today with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and a card that reads, "I just wanted to say Thank You for all you've done for my Mom!" Wow. Thank you, Marnie.
On the left is Norm Halsey of Halsey Sign, they donated the materials for the signs, and me on the right.
And this is my new business card design.
It's raining again today but I'm hoping we'll get some more sunshine later in the week. Another very busy week for me. Thanks for looking!!

Friday, February 08, 2008

To Honor Sharon

This is in today's News Times. Front page, above the fold, and a color picture. I am, to say the least, honored to have been asked to participate in this tribute to an amazing lady.

And, on a personal note, the special man mentioned in my last post has turned out to not be the person he represented himself as. C'est la vie, life goes on. I'm just glad I found out early on this time.

Onward and upward!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

How Exciting!!

That is the expression often used by one of my good friends. And it keeps popping into my head these days. I seem to have a lot to be excited about lately.

Toni, the friend who used this expression so often, and I worked together for several years. We became close friends when I was moved to her part of the building and we talked every day. Even when she was going thru a rough patch in her life, when we’d talk, the conversations were always peppered with “How Exciting!!” Toni moved away several years ago and we have lost touch. I still think about her all the time and it’s her voice I hear in my head saying, “how exciting!”

Before she moved away, Toni gave me a gift that has become an amazing catalyst for this transition period in my life. It is a copy of Rosamund Pilcher’s ‘Winter Solstice’. I happened to find it on the bookshelf at the perfect time. The two or three days I spent reading it transformed my way of thinking. I realized that people really could love each other, and act in loving ways toward each other. It opened my heart… literally. It had been closed off for a long time.

Turns out having my husband walk out on me two weeks before Christmas is one of the best things that have ever happened for me. I see now that he is not the person I thought he was, and I am so very much better off now. And very thankful. Whew. I stayed in that relationship WAY longer than was healthy for me. I am so relieved that it is finally over.

My two New Years resolutions are to be kinder to myself – love myself more, and to be less afraid of telling other people that I care about exactly how I feel about them. I’ve been doing much better on both fronts. And it feels wonderful.

The Toledo Chamber held their fundraiser awards banquet/luau party last night, and it was a huge success. Not to mention a lot of fun. Way to go, Toledo! I have found that my love for Jimmy Buffett’s music has not been diminished in the least. How exciting! And I am also finding that I’m singing again. All the time. And that feels wonderful as well. I had stopped singing, even to myself, several years ago.

The Toledo Development Association was successful in their bid for a downtown revitalization project grant. This is wonderful news. Again, how exciting! It will be so much fun to see the visions of Toledo-ites come to fruition over the next few months and years. I’m excited to be involved in this.

I have become much closer to friends that I had severely neglected while I was married. I have missed them very much and am having a wonderful time getting to know them all over again.

I am back on track with Weight Watchers, and lost 3.8 pounds last week! That’s the biggest loss in one week that I’ve ever seen. I’m now at a total of 31 pounds. How exciting! I LOVE beautiful clothes again. Yay! And it’s only going to get better and better. I love WW, it is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

The studio has been busy, and I have met some of the most extraordinary people lately, with the most amazing stories. And the fact that I am able to help them in some small way with the treasures that photographs are just makes my heart smile. I am honored and inspired by each of them.

I have also met a very special man. I won’t jinx it by telling you too much about it, but if you go to my MySpace page and listen to the song posted there by JoDee Messina, you’ll get a small idea of how things are going. He does not have a MySpace page, so you can save yourselves the conjecture that he is listed as one of my friends there. Suffice it to say that things are going swimmingly in that department.

Freckles is doing very well. She is a happy, sweet, wonderful companion. I’m so very glad I brought her into my life. All the rest of the animals are doing well… but I’m sure glad I’m not a horse. I go out there every day to feed them and clean up after them, and it’s ankle deep mud and muck. My old mare wears a raincoat, but they all stand around in the rain a lot even tho they have shelter from it. So they are doing as well as can be expected for pastured horses in the middle of winter. I will try to improve their shelter area this summer, because the rest of the place is ideal for them.
Here is a picture of Lucky from yesterday… he was getting really irritated with me because I was shooting pictures of him with my cell phone and wasn’t working on feeding him yet. That horse LOVES his food. And I love him. I love the rest of them too but Lucky is my baby.

My mom just celebrated her 5 year anniversary as a breast cancer survivor, AND as a non-smoker as well. You go girl! How exciting! My five-year anniversary for quitting smoking is next week. Yay! I’m going to get involved in the local Relay for Life this year, and not just as a spectator.

I feel like for the last few years I have only seen a dot of light at the end of a very long, very dark tunnel. And I feel like in the last few weeks not only has the light gotten bigger and closer, but that I am starting to emerge from that tunnel into the lush green world that I have missed for so long. I’m really looking forward to spring. It promises to be the best one in a long, long time. How exciting!!