Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Circus Cactus!

I am merely sharing a giggle. I was taking photos of some of the new cacti we planted along our front walkway on Sunday. I snapped a couple of this yellow blossom before it occurred to me that the large, funny-looking stigma was actually a little pumice stone! I had scattered what was left of the pumice that came with the cacti, and apparently this cactus caught one. What a nifty balancing act! Here's what it looked like after I gently removed the stone...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Photo Contest

For those of you who might be inclined to help a fellow blogger... I have entered a photo in the Orange County Register's Wildflower Photo Contest. You can help my odds of winning the popular vote by clicking here and then clicking the "Save Vote" button to add a vote for my photo. And please feel free to pass this along to anyone else who can spare an extra click or two. Voting ends April 30.

Thank you so much!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mother's Day is Almost Here!

A brief advertisement in case you need to buy unique cards or gifts for all the special mothers in your life. It's not too late to order them online. I have a handful of cards like the one above in my Zazzle store and there are a lot of wonderful designs by others as well. Or, you can create your own cards and gifts—just click on the pink "Mom" graphic to the right and have some fun.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to Sadie

It's hard to believe, but our precious Sadie is 11 years old today! Seems like only yesterday she was chewing up socks and cunningly escaping out the front door. Alas, time flies. But she's still racing around the backyard like a crazed maniac and striking all those "aren't-I-cute?" poses to make sure our full attention is where it should be—on The Princess!—so it seems she's not planning on aging too fast.

So, Sadie, Happy Birthday and thank you for making us giggle every day.

Night-blooming Cereus

The cactus blooms posted for Cactus Monday by Margaret Ann at Water Blossoms reminded me of the night-blooming cereus, so I had to hunt down the photo I took of one several years ago. They are absolutely beautiful and amazing to witness. As DesertUSA so eloquently explains, "for one midsummer's night each year, its exqusitely scented flower opens as night falls, then closes forever with the first rays of the morning sun."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Guest Photographer

It's my most special one-and-only niece Cintya's fourth birthday! She is officially the grand old age of four. In order to properly commmemorate the day and honor her artistic endeavors, I thought I would share a few of the photos she has taken recently with her daddy's camera.

My brother is of course American, but his wife is Balinese and Cintya seems to have ended up with plenty of those artistic Balinese genes. I hope you enjoy her vision of Bali.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Powdered Sugar

One of the magical elements of photography is that it captures and records moments in our ongoing histories, so it helps us comprehend the passage of time much more clearly than we can by relying only our memories. It's a wonderful tool for verifying our very personal perception of reality. Case in point...

My sweetheart dog Rusty has bladder cancer, diagnosed in January. Naturally, there's a whole story there. But my point is about visual changes that we can sense, but cannot fully appreciate until we see them on "film" (on screen), side by side.

Some combination of Rusty's cancer and associated changes and additions in medications caused him to lose a lot of his hair; much of his outer coat of longer, coarser, red hair, and most of his undercoat of soft, downy, cream-colored hair. But in the past month, he's been regaining his undercoat. It's thick and creamy, tinged with light cinnamon. I've been calling him my little teddy bear because he's so abnormally soft and fuzzy. And I've been thinking that he looks very different, but feeling unsure of that perception (true to form, my husband hasn't noticed much change).

On Friday our veterinarian giggled the minute we walked in, delighted by Rusty's new coat. She said, "It looks like he's been dusted with powdered sugar!" So, I now have a sugar-coated teddy bear!

What's marvelous is that this afternoon I was able to compare photographs to confirm that our perceptions are accurate. It's not just a mom's imagination that her beloved child has changed. You can see the metamorphosis... red dog at the end of February... sugar-coated teddy bear today (fresh out of the bath just hours ago, no less). Magic!

Note: I realize this may appear to simply be a difference in the lighting and saturation of colors in the photos themselves, but that actually has much more to do with two very different patios—pigmented earth-tone cement vs. old grey cement.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Bunny Wisdom

"Bunny on Blue" is a favorite of mine, borrowed from artist Nicole Leigh Smith's wonderful cast of whimsical characters at A Bunny a Day.

All I Really Need To Know I Learned From The Easter Bunny

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Walk softly and carry a big carrot.
Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.
There's no such thing as too much candy.
All work and no play can make you a basket case.
A cute tail attracts a lot of attention.
Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.
Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.
Some body parts should be floppy.
Keep your paws off of other people's jelly beans.
Good things come in small, sugar-coated packages.
The grass is always greener in someone else's basket.
An Easter bonnet can tame even the wildest hare.
To show your true colors, you have to come out of your shell.
The best things in life are still sweet and gooey.

Happy Easter!

(Author Unknown)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter Bunny

In honor of the Easter Bunny's impending visit, I thought I would post this photo of his cousin, Jack Rabbit. He posed so very patiently for this portrait two years ago, about this time of year. Such a handsome creature he is. Good luck on your rounds, Easter Bunny — may you not break any of those precious eggs!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Desert in Bloom

Last week my husband and I spent a few days in the East Mojave desert. We wanted to do a bit of debris removal from a property we bought a couple years ago—taking advantage of the mild weather this time of year. A highlight on Friday was our first sighting of the Western Screech Owl that lives in a box the previous owners put on the outside of the cabin. He (or she?) sat and watched us through half-open eyes as we worked.

We also had an opportunity to wander a bit on Saturday afternoon. Just a couple miles outside Goffs, California, we discovered a lush area that obviously benefitted from the rains. It's always fun to see the desert so decorated this time of year.

You can click on the slideshow to open it full-screen (and click "slideshow" to auto-advance or simply click through the photos manually).