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.

A Day at the Magic Kingdom

When you wish upon a star, makes no differences who you are . . .
When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.

Dreams and Disney go hand in hand, and a day spent in the Magic Kingdom in California is a dream come true for so many. In this land of fairy tales and castles, you can suspend the real world and immerse yourself in fun and fancy. This year, the 60th anniversary of Disneyland, we found this place more enchanting than ever. And Halloween weekend is a great time to go here!

My favorite ride is the Matterhorn bobsled, in which you tear around this mountain while clinging to your seat in a bobsled.

Here’s the back of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, the centerpiece of the park.

Marching bands may appear magically at any time.

Mickey and Minnie are everywhere, of course.

Crowds are everywhere, too, but that makes it fun (mostly).

Parking lots of strollers are tucked in nooks and crannies. I think the park held more strollers than children.

Selfie sticks are banned. So if you attempt to take a selfie, a park “cast member” will bounce up and offer to take your photo. So here I am!

The sun sinks in the sky far too soon.

The Magic Kingdom lights up and sparkles. An electric light parade, “Paint the Night” entertains us with thousands of lights, music from all the classic films, and characters adored by all ages.

On Main Street, Walt Disney and Mickey stand as partners reigning over the dreams, the stars, the joy.

For all those young at heart, a day here kindles a spirit of childhood hopes and dreams.

Wishing you a week of following your dreams! Here’s some inspiration for you — Idina Menzel singing “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Enjoy!

 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 “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

Sunrise and Sunset at Lake Tahoe

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly flow the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears.
From Fiddler on the Roof

Our days are framed by a sunrise and sunset. Sometimes (often) I miss seeing the beauty at the beginning and the close of a day. On vacation, I had time to get up early to greet the dawn. Here’s how one lovely day began at Lake Tahoe, starting with a bright star still shining.

On a daytime hike, I noticed the shadows falling on the lake in the late afternoon.

So we decided to station ourselves on the edge of the lake the next day to take in the sunset on the water. And that evening the show was spectacular.

The years do fly by, but day by day we have the rising sun and the setting sun to mark time — to help us somehow hang onto each day and its wonder. And then the next morning, we begin again.

How about you? Have you enjoyed the beauty of day’s beginning or ending lately?

 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 “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof.


The Light at Point Pinos

‘Cause in a sky, ’cause in a sky full of stars
I think I saw you;
‘Cause you light up the path . . .
– Coldplay

We ventured on a short walk from our inn in Monterey and made a delightful discovery. The point of land lay less than a mile away, and on the edge of the rocky coastline sits a lighthouse. The Point Pinos Lighthouse is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the entire West Coast.

Like most lighthouses, this one features steep, winding, worn stairs up to the light.

The lighthouse was an observation point during WWII. Some of it is fixed up to show what it looked like during those years when someone would sit and scan the sea for signs of enemy attack.

Built in 1855, the lighthouse has been home to many keepers and their families. Guests came, including Robert Louis Stevenson.

Our docent, Ruth, told us so much about this lighthouse. She is one enthusiastic guide. She insisted we descend to the basement to see the foghorn and a retired light.

The light no longer requires someone to climb the steps and light the lantern with oil or kerosene. All is automated now. The light is on all the time at 3 seconds on, one second off as its identifying signal.

The lighthouse keeper in The Light Between Oceans writes this to his girl back home about the light he tends:

“The stars had been around since before there were people. They just kept shining, no matter what was going on. I think of the light here like that, like a splinter of a star that’s fallen to earth: it just shines, no matter what is happening. Summer, winter, storm, fine weather. People can rely on it.”

And so the light at Point Pinos shines day in, day out, along this rocky coast — lighting a path to safety for all those at sea.

How about you? Have you happened onto a fascinating discovery lately?

 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 “Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay.



Under the Sea

Just look at the world around you
Right here on the ocean floor
Such wonderful things surround you
What more are you looking for . . .

Under the sea, under the sea
Darlin’ it’s better
Down where it’s wetter,
Take it from me.
From The Little Mermaid, written by Raven-Symone

Under the sea beauty is on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. From jelly fish to sand dollars, sharks to sheephead, this place built right on the bay contains a variety of life found in the sea.
It’s fun to watch people stand in awe of sea life.
Some undersea creatures are ethereal in their beauty.
Some blend in with their craggy surroundings.
Some fish swim in schools and go the same direction, on a mission to keep moving in sync.
Other schools of fish appear to enjoy the water in a chaotic manner. Maybe it was feeding time?
Penguins make us smile, don’t they?
Out on the deck of the aquarium, you can look down into the bay waters. From above, the sea looks like an impressionist painting.
A day at an aquarium takes us on a journey under the water, discovering more of the endless creativity in nature. Next time you have a chance, visit an aquarium. I’m betting you’ll find wonders to brighten your day.
How about you? Have you visited an aquarium?
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 “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid, by Raven-Symone.

An Evening in the Park

Saturday in the park,
I think it was the Fourth of July
People dancing, people laughing.
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
For Saturday,
Saturday in the park.
– Chicago

One of the fun times my family enjoys during the summer is a concert and picnic in a local park. We try to get people together at least once during the season to enjoy the music, the outdoors, and the camaraderie as the community gathers.

This year, the Marine Band played old favorites.

Folks arrived by car and bicycle.

And segue!

Of course there was food in lovely spreads throughout the park.

Flags and red, white, and blue were everywhere, even though it was weeks after the Fourth of July.

Kids and dogs hung out, playing and running.

Towards the end of the concert, the band played a medley of songs from each branch of the military. Those who served stood for their song.

During the Marine’s Hymn, the man sitting near me slowly rose and stood at attention. I wonder what memories went through his mind.

Summer concerts are over now. We head into autumn. I’m already looking forward to next summer, though, and times in the park, with people dancing, laughing, and leaning into life.

How about you? What’s a favorite summer activity you treasure?

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 “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago.

Landing in Paris

Do you like to re-live memorable trips? I’ve been thinking about a year ago this week when we went to Paris. My second time there, and my husband’s first time–we flew across the ocean full of anticipation. We didn’t know whether jet lag would slow us down that first day. No, not at all! Here’s a peek into Paris as we experienced it Day 1, fresh off the plane that morning.

First stop: our hotel, to drop off our bags. We immediately fell in love with the location, right across the street from the Sorbonne, in the heart of the Latin Quarter.

On my wish list for Paris was finding a memorial plaque to those who bravely gave their lives during the liberation of the city in August 1944. I didn’t have high hopes I could find one. So what a surprise that on our walk from the train to the hotel, the first block had this:

Next up: A walk to Notre Dame. The detail in this grand cathedral is breathtaking. We happened to arrive as a morning service started. Singing filled the church and added to our experience.

After a cafe lunch (and famous Berthillon ice cream) we headed to Sainte-Chapelle. This medieval Gothic chapel boasts stained glass from floor to soaring ceiling.

Strolling across the Pont des Arts bridge, we crossed the Seine to the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Hemingway and so many other writers hung out here.

We found French cream puffs at Odette’s.

On to the Cluny Museum. You enter through this awesome door.

Inside you find medieval treasures. The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry is worth a visit.

Time to saunter back to our hotel and ask for a dinner recommendation. Why, yes, the famed Crémerie-Restaurant Polidor fits the bill.

What a wonder-filled first day in Paris. If you go, this itinerary makes a fine, full day, even if you’ve missed a night of sleep. I will admit I was so tired I fell asleep mid-text to a friend when we got back to our hotel. But I wouldn’t want to have missed any of our touring that day! Au revoir!

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays.

Heartwarming Scenes at Clear the Shelters Day

What if all adoption fees for shelter animals were waived for a day? Would that be the little nudge folks need to take home a new friend? Yes! Clear the Shelters day last Saturday is a resounding success. The report out the next day is that 17,000 animals have been adopted nationwide. 17,000!

I visited the San Diego Humane Society that day, arriving shortly before opening. Here’s a peek into how Clear the Shelters day went down here.

The reception area buzzes with excitement. People had chosen dogs and cats that caught their interest online. They signed up to meet them. The waiting area fills with hopeful adopters.

Doors open, and people flock into all areas of the shelter. This cutie is the first dog I see.

Some seem to know what’s happening. They seem to say, “How about me? Take me home?? Please?” They pose with the most fetching expressions.

Plenty of staff and volunteers circulate to answer questions, conduct meetings, and make sure the animals are doing well with all the attention.

Helpful signs give information about the personalities of various dogs and cats.

Mr. Vivacious-Enthusiastic-Bubbly-Vibrant-Cheerful gets adopted while I’m watching! His new family leaves him for a few minutes to fill out paperwork. He jumps up looking for them. You’re going home soon, buddy!

My favorite dog is Caydence, a 99.8-pound beauty. Wish I had room for her. Look at that face.

The kitten area is popular, of course.

Some animals display curiosity at all the commotion.

Some contentedly take a morning nap.

How fun to watch introductions. Bonding takes place right before my eyes.

Towards the end of the day, I learned that more than 200 adoptions took place yesterday in the San Diego Humane Society shelters alone. Just think how many furry ones snuggled down to sleep in a new home last night.

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays.



Do you struggle with being content? Sure; we all do. A sunny afternoon at Dog Beach in Coronado reminded me how to find contentment.

The dogs here come in lots of sizes and shapes and colors. They zig-zag along every which way. They find joy in lots of different ways, too. Some run through the waves, chasing toys.

Some hang out with friends.

Some trot along, slowed by age  . . .

While others rest peacefully and let the sun warm them.

Playing the Sphinx is fun, too.

This handsome guy eagerly learns commands. Sit, stay, jump!

Some greet people they’ve never seen before. (Pet me, please?)

Contentment. These dogs revel in it. Free to be themselves, to amble slowly along through the sand . . .

Or run crashing into whitecaps.

They are free to tear up and down the beach . . .

Or to stop and sniff some interesting scent.

They play ball or dig a hole. There’s no right and wrong, no chance of failure, no fear of rejection. Only moments to be savored. Only life to enjoy, fully content.

How about you? How are you doing with contentment this week? Hoping you have moments — if not days — where you feel free to be yourself and that you’ll find contentment in doing just that.

Linking up with Little Things Thursday.


Looking for Green Fields

Once there were green fields kissed by the sun,
Once there were valleys where rivers used to run.

Green fields are gone now, parched by the sun,
Gone from the valleys where rivers used to run . . .

What do you see when you look out your window? I once saw a healthy green lawn and tall, leafy trees. Now? Thanks to the drought in California, the lawn is mostly brown. The trees are dropping crisp tan leaves that should have stayed on the branches for months to come. We’re allowed to water 5 minutes twice a week. That’s it. Much of the green is gone now. So, when we traveled to Michigan recently, we marveled at all the green, everywhere.

A day at Greenfield (!) Village gave us green vistas in every direction. Here are some of the sights, seen through my green-starved eyes.

Once you lose something, you realize how much you took it for granted. Now, every green blade of grass is something to treasure.

How about you? What do you see out your window? I hope your view is lovely this week.

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Little Things Thursday and Sweet Shot Tuesdays. Also linking up with the song-inspired party, Song-ography, where my song choice is “Green Fields” by The Brothers Four (1960) — an oldie but goodie!

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