a different approach

I made a big shift in perspective last week.

I've written here about how my interest in photography isn't what it once was, and about my desire to focus on my writing. This, of course, becomes closely tied to what I carry to Alaska with me when Terry and I go there in May. I wasn't all that excited about carrying my camera bag on the trip. After our Montara weekend, and seeing Terry use her new Canon SD4500 IS I decided there was no reason for me Sx210is not to take something similar to Alaska. When we got home I ordered a Canon SX210IS.

The camera arrived Thursday, and so far I love it. It has a lot of features, more than I expected. I have to say the paradigm is different from what I am used to, and that will take some, well, getting used to. When I moved from my Nikon film N80 to my digital D70 in 2004 the process was nearly seamless. The cameras functioned in a very similar manner. The D70, I understand, was, in fact, modeled on the N80.

IMG_0008 A pocket digital, though, is designed from the ground up as a pocket digital, and so functions on a different working model. That's fine though. I'll adapt. In fact, I'm excited. It's a liberating thought to be taking take the Canon to Alaska, rather that lugging my camera bag with my D70 body, four lenses, two  hoods, multiple filters, cleaning tools, and a partridge in a pear tree.

It's a new perspective indeed. I'll keep you updated.


G&T A reflection from our Goose & Turrets Getaway — Presidents' Day Weekend 2011

The last few times we've visited the Goose & Turrets we have been the only guests. One time there was one other guest there for one night. We really love Emily and Raymond and in one selfish respect it's nice to have them to ourselves. On the other hand, one of the pleasures of visiting a B&B is the people you meet. At the G&T tea is served every afternoon, which provides an opportunity to visit with other guests. Breakfast, unlike many such places where each couple has their own table, is served at just two tables, and if the inn is not full, only the one long table is set. So one really can't help but engage in conversation.

This trip there were other guests and I'd forgotten how much fun that is. We met a grandmother helping her daughter with a new baby, a mother-daughter pair who were very engaging, and a young Silicon Valley couple who were being given a night away from their three year-old by another very generous grandmother. Conversation at breakfast can be lively and you never know where it will lead.

If you haven't had the opportunity to take a night or two at a bed and breakfast, treat yourself when you get the chance. And if you're in the vicinity of the Northern California coast, make it the Goose & Turrets.

writing style

Recently my treadmill Great Courses DVD viewing was Building Great Sentences. The premise of the course was that the best sentences are those which use a base clause followed by free modifiers and which avoid subordinate clauses. It's called cumulative syntax. It probably didn't take 24 lectures to make that point, but that's what it was. In any case, after having viewed all 24 sessions, I wonder, really, whether such an approach makes sense at all for a blog writer.

I sit down at my keyboard, thinking, my mind whirling, considering topics, wondering whether the subject matter will interest my readers, becoming anxious, asking myself if such an entry will engage Tahoe Mom, the Boston Pobble, and Fran.

Cumulative syntax has its uses, but it somehow just doesn't seem to fit here.

without camera

G&T A reflection from our Goose & Turrets Getaway — Presidents' Day Weekend 2011

I did something on this trip that I've never done since I've been seriously taking photographs. I deliberately left my camera at home.

I wrote last fall about how my passion for photography had diminished, and about how I was becoming more interested in writing the best paragraph than in taking the best picture.

My camera bag could become more of a boat anchor for me than something that holds the brushes and paints (if you will) that I enjoy using to capture a moment. As I noted when writing about Burney Falls last autumn, “I would be so focused on getting the right picture that I would almost lose sight of the moment right then and there.” I caught a whiff of getting beyond that at Burney Falls.

On this trip, we headed out to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Terry with her new Canon SD4500 IS pocket camera which we bought for our Alaska cruise and rail trip in May, me with no camera at all. I savored the moment. I absorbed the pounding of the waves at high tide. I breathed deeply in the stiff breeze. I watched the elephant seals resting.

It was marvelous.

This is not to say that I'm giving up photography entirely. It is to say that I'm giving it a different perspective and priority.

Kindle and Facebook

Seems that Amazon snuck in a Kindle upgrade without my realizing it. The Kindle has always had the capability of allowing you to select text from a book you are reading and copy it to a clippings file, which you can then transfer to your computer. Now there's a new dimension.

Rather than copying the text to your clippings file, you can share it on Facebook. Amazon automatically Kindle adds the book title and, of course, a link to the book on Amazon.

It's self-promotion for Amazon to be sure, but also a very cool way for me to share the words of an author that I want to get out to my friends on Facebook. I've done it once already. If you're a friend of mine on Facebook, look for more from me.

I promise to try my best to restrain myself and not to overdo it.

Goose & Turrets 2011

G&T A reflection from our Goose & Turrets Getaway — Presidents' Day Weekend 2011

It's been just about a year exactly since we were last at the Goose & Turrets, our favorite Bed and Breakfast in Montara, between Half Moon Bay and Pacifica on the California coast. Somehow we didn't make it there in 2009, and that's not a omission we like to make.

Whatever else is going on in our lives, coming here to visit slows us down and allows us to lower our shoulders considerably. The conversation with the owners, Raymond and Emily, is always fascinating, and we always learn something new. (And besides, we share similar political beliefs: "If Sarah Palin is elected, the kids will get the inn sooner than they expected. We just won't return from our visit to France!") The breakfasts are superb, and there's a variety of area restaurants for a marvelous dinner. There's plenty of rugged, roaring beaches that allow me to stop, breathe deeply, and absorb the grandeur.

There's lots of places we haven't visited that we would love to, but there's so much to keep bringing us back here.


  I have a priest friend who deliberately ends table blessings
with "make us ever mindful of the needs of others and
needful of the minds of others." It works quite well!

—Lewis Whitaker on liturgy-l email discussion group

come follow me

Jesus didn't say "Come, follow me only if you assent to all the points of the Nicene Creed."

—Diana Butler Bass


  Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.

—Jane Wagner, courtesy of Tammy Takahashi

heaven is here

Paul at People for Others says:


Joan Chittister reminds us of something important:
“To be enlightened is to know that heaven is not “coming.”
Heaven is here. We have simply not been able to realize that yet because,
like King Arthur and his search for the Holy Grail, we look in all the wrong places,
worship all the wrong idols, get fixated on all the wrong notions of God.
We are always on our way to somewhere else when this place,
the place in which I stand, wherever it is, is the place of my procession into God,
the site of my union with the Life that gives Life.”

If only I could remember that more often.