Monday Missive~Starting

Deciding I had to start again after a couple of weeks in paralysis in front of the TV watching news channels. I had to start getting on with things; photography, writing, reading, putting paint down on something, and turning off the television for most of the day. Maybe paying more attention here to all of you who write and post such wonderful blog posts, and show your art work. Looks like the lucky ones of us here in good health have time now to really just start so many things we’ve put off for that magical “some day when I have time” day. Like New Year’s resolutions, I plan to jot down, or at least think out what my plans are for the day when I get up in the morning. And since we are able to go outside, keeping the appropriate distance from others, I’ve already gotten back to daily walks; and the significant other in my life who I isolate with (aww, shucks) and I have decided to take some backroads day trips, having a picnic lunch on board, and our cameras. Nature is healing!   It looks like we’re in this for at least another month.

I’m also re-naming this Monday post to Monday Missive because I’ve found in starting to actually read posts here again that someone already has a blog named Monday Musings. My apologies.

Take care of yourselves, and stay safe.


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The Sunday Traveler~Reno Streets

The Sunday Traveler arrived in Reno by train with the main goal of this trip being to relax, and also to get out and take photos on the street. How fortuitous to have gone on this trip right on the cusp of this horrible pandemic. We had three days of meeting our goal, wandering at will and enjoying street photography both during the day and at night.

It was good to just wander on foot in close proximity to the casino hotel we stayed in on the “strip”.

This wasn’t where we stayed, but it’s a nice place, and joins the few casino hotels left in downtown reno. The downtown main street of Reno is in a state of rundown dilapidation for the most part, with a stretch once you get past the old hotels and souvenir shops that is rather nice, and the town seems to be trying hard to make a comeback with lovely restaurants and coffee places along the Truckee River that runs through town.

A lot of walking was done while we were there as we discovered little places, and then reveling in the night photography that was so much fun in the cold night air.

Not many people were about, I’m sure they were gambling inside the casinos

In retrospect this was even better than we thought at the time. It was a time of freedom that would soon be taken from us for awhile.

I guess a reminder that we should always be in the present moment.

Until next week when I will come back with a little visit to Reno’s fabulous Nevada Museum of Art.

And until next week, stay safe.

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Wordless Wednesday

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Monday Morning Musings~Tending the Garden

The musings this morning are where the heck was I yesterday for my Sunday Traveler. Not able to make myself sit down at a computer, feeling antsy, anxious, at a standstill. I’ve had days since our “shelter in place/social distancing” that vary from I/we can do this, to waiting for the other shoe to drop. Pretty normal feelings for us all I’m sure at this time of not knowing how much worse this pandemic will get. But I have found that keeping busy with physical activity helps me greatly, and helping someone else work on tending a garden that had been left unattended for some time. The weather here in Northern California had been lovely the last few days. The sunshine and warmth making it seem that all was well with the world.

This morning I paused, thinking that helping someone else tend their garden, be it plants and flowers, or their soul that might be hurting and anxious as well, was indeed what I needed. I’m lucky that my new love that I shelter in place with, has this wonderful garden to work in; to cut dead branches, dead flowers, dig my hands in to the dirt and move things about to our liking.

Don’t underestimate the need to get out in nature and feel the magic of trees and plants, the calming properties of this can be powerful.

Tend not only your own garden, but those of others. Let’s take care of each other in any way we can.



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Have a Heart

Where do I even start. That’s a rhetorical question. Monday Musings didn’t happen, but a lot else is in a certain way. I’m retired, so I don’t have to worry about going to work or not; and what a luxury that is, I know. The times are setting everything that we know as normal on their head, and we are left with the new normal. Everyone is hunkering down, and not knowing for how long.

Living in this little beach-like town in Northern California I have the luxury of going out for walks along the water to get a little exercise, enjoy the beauty, and get some fresh air. It’s a small town, and on a normal day not a lot of people are out there on the little beaches, but when I do run in to someone else we smile and keep a bit of distance between our paths now. There is a heart here on the little beach on the main street that is always maintained when disturbed by rough surf and high tides. It’s always there. As far as I know, there is no one person assigned to keeping the heart in shape, it’s just a local citizen who notices that it’s in need of a little loving repair and tends it. That’s what is needed now. Everyone looking out for a heart that might need a little care.

It’s a difficult time right now for the world with this pandemic, but if we all show a little love we can get through this, and maybe even have a world that will be better going forward because we’ve learned to be more aware of a heart in need.





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The Sunday Traveler~Riding On Up

The Sunday Traveler was headed up into the Sierra Nevada on Amtrak with a destination of Reno a couple of weeks ago. As luck would have it there was more snow than we had thought there would be (and as I write this today, the Sierra has been blessed with about three more feet of snow in the last couple of days; and that’s important because that becomes our water here in the flatlands).

The passing scenery couldn’t have been more breathtaking. We were in a relatively empty train car and had the ability to move about to different seats for better photo ops. And please do excuse some of the photos that have reflections caused by the windows (I still resist learning Light Room or Photo Shop).

More and more snow as we got to higher elevations

A winter wonderland in spring. We passed these remote stretches and saw cabins tucked away here and there, and wonder at the serenity and peace of being in one of these cabins during a snow storm.

Donner Lake, cradled in a bowl encircled by pines and snow, and we began the descent to the other side of the mountains

Leaving the Sierra proper, and getting closer to Reno we went.

Hope to see you all here next week for a bit of Reno.

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Wordless Wednesday~Openings


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Monday Musings~Starting Somewhere


For a long time I felt an urge, a need, to put paint down on something, anything. I painted walls in the new houses we moved in to over the years. But then, this wasn’t enough, and I stopped moving around to different places too. A day of feeling cofident, I strode in to an art supply store like I owned the place, and bought a package of different sizes of artist’s paint brushes. And canvases. Small ones, because maybe I wasn’t so confident after all. Little 4×4 ones; after all, the art police wouldn’t find me out so quickly this way, and if I was lucky they’d have bad eyesight and wouldn’t see what I was doing at all.

I had always lusted after friend’s art studios in a room of their home. I always seemed to have a friend or two that were artists. And then I found my way. Abstract art I called what I do, then no one could critique too much if it was abstract…how the heck would they know what I had painted anyway? They’d just see the color. Perfect. I began to put down paint on paper, canvas, wood. I soon realized the extreme soul satisfaction of this activity. I then didn’t care what anyone thought if they should happen to see it.

I read more and more about just starting, even if it’s ugly and bad, and that’s the truth. Once I started, I was off and running. I’ve taken one art class that was in oils, and very structured, a replica of some other artist’s work; this nearly broke my soul. I just couldn’t do it that way. I quit. I stopped completely. Time had a funny way of insisting I get back to it. I did, and on days when I struggle with some sad memory or difficulty in my life, or when I’m just feeling creative, I sit down at a tiny art table I made by placing a 12×35 inch board across two plastic three drawer file cabinets from Target, and I just start.

The hook in really getting me started is the piece below. A cherished plate from Hawaii that broke in my last move. The pieces sat in a corner of my kitchen counter for a year, until my muse told me to take care of it in a better way; to get over the break, and just get started.



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The Sunday Traveler~ Riding the Rails

The Sunday Traveler boarded Amtrak to head up through the Sierra to Reno, Nevada a couple of weeks ago. We started out in the flatlands at the Martinez, California station just about fifteen minutes from where I live, first crossing over one of the train bridges that are a common sight around home.

We said goodbye to the Carquinez Strait, and settled in for the ride.

The train ride is about relaxing, not having to drive, and enjoying the scenery as it rolls by.

We started the climb up into the Sierra foothills, and wonder of wonders, we saw snow on the hills. We didn’t know if there would be any snow because we had had no rain in over a month.

The train approached that snow, closer and closer. I can’t say it approached quickly because the train was climbing, going uphill, and that takes some effort for this long passenger train.

And then, oh my…here it was in all its glory.

We felt like two kids at Christmas looking out at this beautiful snow, and wishing we could get out an sled down a hill and roll around in the snow.

Onward and upward we went

I’ll continue next week with the ongoing trip that is a six hour ride from Martinez to Reno. Until then.





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The Sunday Traveler~All Aboard

The Sunday Traveler made this trip all the way into Denver a couple of years ago, and it was fabulous.  I’ll be hopping on board again in a couple of days, but this time only over the Sierra into Reno, Nevada for a few days. We had hoped to see the Sierra covered in snow, but this will probably be unlikely as it has been a very dry month.

Starting a trip without the craziness of an airport circus is the way to start a relaxing trip! Once on board, the seating is comfy. Kick back and enjoy the views going by.

And enjoy being inside the train instead of in one of the cars waiting for the train to pass through the crossing. There’s a certain sense of karma here…the other side of the coin. Ha!


So here we go, to find out what adventures are waiting for us.


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