A Sky Full of Stars

‘Cause you’re a sky, cause you’re a sky full of stars
I’m gonna give you my heart.   — Coldplay

Want to learn more about that sky full of stars overhead? One excellent place to do that is the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. This fine museum sits on the hillside beneath a famous sign.

The observatory and museum were built in the 1930s. They are run by the City of Los Angeles and admission is free!

It boasts not only telescopes for night viewing of the sky but also has 2 levels of displays that explain the layout of the planets and galaxies. In a wonderful IMAX-style theater, you recline and relax as the sky twinkles and changes above you.

I loved seeing all ages enjoy the museum.

Here’s one of the telescopes.

Outside is a memorial to astronomers such as Copernicus and Galileo. This was built in the 1930s with money provided by the WPA program.

The hills surrounding the observatory provide miles of trails. I want to return when we have more time to hike.

How about you? Have you discovered a fun place to learn more about our world?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the World, The Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, and Life Thru the Lens. Also linking up with the song-inspired party, Song-ography, where my song choice is “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay.

An Elegant Gift

Have you been surprised by beauty lately? When I opened my front door this weekend, a tall white box leaned against the wall. Flowers! My son and his family, knowing I had a rather rough week, ordered a bouquet of orchids. From their home in Michigan, thousands of miles away, they reached out with love.

Now this tangible reminder of these people who are so dear to me sits on my glass coffee table. Not only are these flowers lovely, but they smell delicious, too. Even one bloom is breathtaking.

And altogether, these long-stemmed orchids are a profusion of cheeriness.

So, I’ve been smiling a lot!

How about you? Has someone you care about surprised you with a tangible gift of love lately?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the World, The Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, and Life Thru the Lens.

Fun at the Dog Park

How much is that doggie in the window?
The one with the waggily tail . . .
How much is that doggy in the window?
I do hope that doggie’s for sale.

Do you remember the first song you learned? I know one of my earliest dearly loved songs was this one. My love for animals goes back to the time I could barely talk, drawing me to music about falling in love with a furball. A visit to the dog park last week with my daughter and my granddog showed just how great dogs can be.

They greet each other with excitement.

Sometimes they run just for the fun of it.

Sometimes they run because they are chasing a ball.

Dogs and balls go together.

Dogs like to cuddle with people, too.

Dogs know that a little dirt and mud is really no problem.

Dogs can occupy themselves checking out the ground that’s so rich with scents.

Dogs are sensible enough to rest when they are tuckered out.

What a variety of sizes and shapes of pups showed up that afternoon. A constant stream of visitors came in to join in the fun.

To me, a dog-lover since birth, the park was filled with beauty.

How about you? What song triggers thoughts of your childhood?

P.S. My son-in-law snapped this photo later, showing granddog Huntley minus the mud. He cleans up well, doesn’t he?!

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the World, The Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, and Life Thru the Lens. Also linking up with the song-inspired party, Song-ography, where my song choice is “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window” by Bob Merrill.

 

A Winter’s Day Walk

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey;
I’ve been for a walk
On a winter’s day.
I’d be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
California dreaming . . .on such a winter’s day.

Winter strips color and life away, laying down a challenge to look for bits of life still hanging on. Down at the river, tangles of bare branches sit, waiting for spring.

In this climate where it never snows, leaves are late in leaving the trees. I enjoyed looking around for yellows and reds still valiantly waving in a blue January sky.

The greatest sight in this land of drought is the water. Last week brought days of heavy rains so unusual here, and the river once again flows.

If you’ve ever lived in drought conditions, you’ll know that the sight of abundant water is on the level of the miraculous.

I highly recommend a hike through Mission Trails in San Diego, along the path of the San Diego River, in the shadow of the hills.

Be warned that you may encounter wildlife. On this hike I met puppy Pancake, but he’s totally friendly.

Even in the middle of winter, nature puts on a show.

And with the water flowing through the valley now, we can hope for a lovely spring.

How about you? What does winter look like in your neighborhood?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the World, The Good, the Random, the Fun, and Life Thru the Lens. Also linking up with the song-inspired party, Song-ography, where my song choice is “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & the Papas.

 

 

A Day at the Ocean

When this world’s too much
It will be only the ocean and me;
When these sails go up,
Mountains fade away,
Stars come back,
I’m finally free . . .
It’s only the ocean and me.

Nature offers comfort in so many forms, and the ocean is one of my favorites. We enjoyed a sunny hike along the cliffs over the Torrey Pines beach, taking in the soothing roll of the waves below.

The fragile cliffs crumble from time to time.

The stairs leading down to the beach were closed recently. But this day they were open again.

It’s only the ocean and you
And all of these lines
Will all be erased soon;
They go out with the tide
And come back with the waves.

A day at the ocean’s edge, strolling on the beach, breathing in the salty air — life resets, troubles are washed away, a hilly hike leaves you pleasantly worn and content.

How about you? Has time outside revived you lately?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the World, The Good, the Random, the Fun, and Life Thru the Lens.  Also linking up with the song-inspired party, Song-ography, where my song choice is “Only the Ocean” by Jack Johnson.

Happy 2016

It might seem crazy what I’m about to say
Sunshine she’s here . . .

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do.

As 2016 begins, we all have reason to look at the darkness of life. Violence, medical problems, job loss, anxiety, family issues — so many things we can point to that bring us down.

Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah,
Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold it back, yeah,
Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine, yeah,
No offense to you, don’t waste your time
Here’s why . . . Because I’m happy.

So here’s to focusing for a few minutes on what makes us happy. Here’s to finding the minutes of joy in a day. Sometimes all it takes is a little shift in attitude. Recently we happened on a hiking trail in the desert.

We’d driven by this trail head many times and all we saw was the stark, dry desert. This weekend, we pulled over, changed into our hiking shoes, and took off over the ridge. And found beauty.

Unplanned, we happened to hit the trail right at sunset. It might seem crazy, but nature handed joy out in the vast panorama of a barren land.

How about you? Which wins out more often — dark or light? I’m convinced it’s often a matter of choice. Choose joy. Look for it, and you’ll find it, if even for fleeting, sunset moments.

Happy New Year, friends! Wishing you a year of joy in the every-day, and many reasons to clap along.

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the World, The Good, the Random, the Fun, and Life Thru the Lens.  Also linking up with the song-inspired party, Song-ography, where my song choice is “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

 

O Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
Such pleasure do you bring me!

What decorations do you enjoy on a Christmas tree? While my tree at home is hung with with toys and teddy bears, I want to show you an unusual theme for a tree that I found last year at the Hotel Del Coronado. Wine and cheese! These certainly bring pleasure, so what better time than Christmas to focus on the vino, the bubbly, and the yumminess.
Who knew Santa stomps his own grapes?
We will be making our annual visit to the Hotel Del the week of Christmas. The trees always delight, with themes such as the seashore (“star” fish!), Father Christmas, and The Wizard of Oz (written by Frank Baum while he stayed at the hotel). I wonder what we’ll find this year!
How about you? Have you enjoyed a themed tree this season?
Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays.  Also linking up with the song-inspired party, Song-ography, where my song choice is “O Christmas Tree.”

Christmas at the Farm

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go . . .

Isn’t it fun to happen onto a place that fully moves you into the holiday spirit? I had been meaning to visit a local farm for a while. When a friend signed up for the one-day craft fair at the farm, I decided it was the perfect time for a drive into the country.

So I spent a sunny weekend afternoon at Summers Past Farm, soaking up nostalgia.

The booths set up on the front lawn held all kinds of treasures.

The farm has an entire building of handmade soaps. Imagine the fragrance . . .

The farm’s shop displayed so many delights, too.

Most fascinating? The various birdhouses scattered around the property. You could set up a serious scavenger hunt of birdhouses here.

As the afternoon shadows lengthened, the crafters packed up their wares. I headed off with my arms full of Christmas gifts – and my heart buoyed by holiday joy.

How about you? Have you discovered a place that twinkles with holiday magic?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays.  Also linking up with the song-inspired party, Song-ography, where my song choice is “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.”

Reaching for the Sun

Every flower’s reachin’ for the sun,
Every petal opens when the day has just begun,
Even in the city where they grow up through the street,
Every blossom needs the sunshine to makes its life complete.
– Peter, Paul and Mary

Fall flowers — the last fling of color before winter arrives. This makes these yellows and purples even more valued. I enjoyed autumn blooms in the mountains recently, especially knowing that soon snow would fall and these beauties would be gone. The happy colors bloom almost in defiance of the weather, surviving the first light dusting of snow.

The last verse of the song by Peter, Paul and Mary goes like this:

Some are bent by fears they cannot see,
And some are touched by love and set free,
A flower’s just a seed when it’s young,
And every flower’s reaching, every flower’s reaching,
Every flower’s reaching for the sun.

Just like flowers, people come in all shapes and grow and reach for the light wherever they are. Some are bent but still beautiful.

The last flowers of the season wave in the wind . . . and reach for bits of sun. There’s beauty in each bloom, in every garden, and in each of us. Wishing you a week filled with sunny moments!

This is a lesser-known ditty, but I think you’ll enjoy listening.

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays.  Also linking up with the song-inspired party, Song-ography, where my song choice is “Every Flower” by Peter, Paul and Mary.

Autumn Leaves at Lake Tahoe

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold . . .
Nat King Cole

Are you still enjoying autumn leaves? Or has your season moved into bare branches and snow on the ground? In the southern California drought, some trees are just now turning. Some are confused and still green but drying up without displaying color. The most lovely leaves of this autumn for me were those in the Lake Tahoe area a few weeks back. Yellows showed up in profusion.

Full trees laden with yellow are beautiful. What I noticed is that finding a few leaves sprouting color in unexpected places is also a delight.

And one red leaf offers infinite beauty.

Tahoe boasts so many evergreens, and I found that the green set off the yellow so well. These colors are neighbors on the color wheel, after all.

Nature holds beauty in sweeping vistas and close-ups, in all the colors. It’s fun to look for the bright yellows and brilliant reds among the stately greens. Add in a blue sky and the day is a treasure.

How about you? What does your world look like this week?

 Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays.  Also linking up with the song-inspired party, Song-ography, where
my song choice is “Autumn Leaves” by Nat King Cole.

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