Monday, January 31, 2022

Exploring the Possibilities


Usually I don't choose a word of the year. I used to do it a few years back, but I eventually found that I could never find a word that would guide me through the year. After a couple months it disappeared into the background never to turn up again. I then decided that a word of the year is not for me and just because everyone else is having one doesn't necessarily mean that I need to have one as well.

This year though was different. The word found me.

Just like in the past years I didn't think of a word. The thought didn't even pass my mind. But suddenly, out of nowhere, it was there - "explore". And I thought "how fitting for this new chapter in my life", the life after work at the high school. Since I had left my job last summer my days were full with my other job (teaching German) and my Etsy shop that became very busy as soon as September rolled around, but has slowed down a bit now that Christmas is over. Now I can explore.

No, I won't fly solo around the world - I'm not Amelia.

I sat down with my art journal and explored "explore". Beneath all these layers of paint and papers is my writing, my thoughts and hope for my version of explore. I want to spend more time in nature again, maybe even try some nature journaling. I want to learn bird identification by their sounds. I want to write more and read more non-fiction. My garden calls to me every day and I plan to transfer it even more to a low water garden, using less and less water on drought tolerant plants. I still need to learn - explore - a lot in this regard. There is also art journaling that I would like to explore more deeply - and for that reason I enrolled in Laly Mille's art journal class. 

But most of all I want to go back to photography and explore it more. I have missed "serious" photography these past two years a lot. Yes, I took tons of photos with my phone, but I actually want to get my dSLR out again and play around with my camera, be creative with different settings and depth of field. I know how much this makes my heart sing and how I view the world from different perspectives. It makes me more observant. I'm dreaming of trying new things, maybe even black and white photography. I want to use my skills because I know that photography is the art form I can do best and I enjoy the most.

I will still use my phone since I am not always able to carry my big camera everywhere. The phone is definitely much handier (is that why it's called "handy" in German?). But I have found a backpack that has a front compartment that is designed for "real" cameras and has a quick access door on the side so it's easy to retrieve the camera from the backpack without taking off the whole backpack when I want to take a photo. I'm still thinking about it because it's quite pricey, but I'm very tempted.

I loved to create this art journal spread! While doing it I enjoyed my coffee with lots of milk and every now and then some sweet cream (thank you Trader Joe's for carrying it). Here you can see one of my favorite mugs bought in my favorite national park. This is my drink for today's T Tuesday post - thank you, Elizabeth, for giving us this opportunity.

Monday, January 24, 2022

T is for Children's Bell Tower


Today I'm taking you to the small seaside town of Bodega Bay. At the Northern end of the town, right off famous Highway 1, you can find the Children's Bell Tower. I had always wanted to visit the bell tower, but in our more than 20 years of living in Sonoma County we have never stopped here, even though we passed it many many times.

But Sunday before last we finally went there. It was my birthday and I could decide how to spend the day. I wanted to walk the Coastal Prairie Trail which starts right next to the bell tower.

The bell tower is visible from Highway 1 (if you know where to look), but there are no signs. You have to know where it is. There is a small dirt parking lot right next to the community garden from where you walk to the bell tower. 

I'm sure that most of you have heard of Nicholas Green who was shot by highway robbers in 1994 and whose parents decided to donate his organs to seven Italians. The Green Family was from Bodega Bay and the Children's Bell Tower was built in memory of Nicholas and all the children.

The tower has more than 140 bells that were donated by families, schools, churches, and individuals all over Italy. The monument is the work of San Francisco sculptor Bruce Hasson.

No two bells look exactly the same. There are big ones and small ones, plain ones and those with beautiful decoration. 

The central bell has been donated by the Marinelli Foundry, that has been making bells for the Papacy for more than 1000 years. This bell was blessed by Pope John Paul II.

A view from below

All those bells are so beautiful. It is a very moving monument.

After we had visited the bell tower we walked along the Coastal Prairie Trail and finally down to the beach. It was a wild surf, just one day after we had a tsunami warning because of the underwater volcano eruption near Tonga. But this will be the story for a later post.

In the evening we got some sushi and had a bottle of our favorite bubbly - which is my ticket for Eizabeth's T post.

Monday, January 10, 2022

T Tuesday Has a Winner!

Hello T gang! This will be short and quick - last week you voted on 15 of my photos and today I can show you which photos made the cut.

Third place is "Rocks on the Beach"

"The  Ocean at Sunset" took second place.

I find it interesting that both of these photos were taken on the same beach in Bandon, OR, at Face Rock, just minutes apart.

And the first place? It goes to "Salvia" - this was your favorite!

These three photos will be made into greeting cards and sent to the lucky winner.

Oh - you want to know who won them? Well, these photo cards will go to

Erika at BioArtGal !!!

Congratulations Erika - I drink to you! 

Thanks to Elizabeth at Altered Book Lover who makes T Tuesday possible every week.

Erika, please let me know your address so I can send the photo cards your way.

Monday, January 3, 2022

T is for Take Your Pick


Here we are for the first T Tuesday post in 2022, kindly hosted by the lovely Elizabeth at Altered Book Lover. I hope all of you had a good New Year's and I wish you only the best for 2022. The end of the old year and the beginning of the new one was pretty chilly here in my part of the world, with frosty nights and even some snow (we usually don't get much snow). So we had hot chocolate in the afternoons, one of the things I love about winter.

As usual in January, I'm giving away three photo cards of photos I have taken in the last year. Just like in 2020 I didn't take as many pictures in 2021 as I usually do - something I want to change in 2022. 

So, how does this giveaway work? It's pretty simple - you will see 15 of my photos and I would like you to tell me in the comments which ones are you favorite three photos. Maybe you might like a photo so much that you want to give it all of your three votes - you can do that, too. You can divide your three votes however you like. All the photos have numbers, so just put in the numbers in the comments. By the end of the week I will see which three photos will have received the most votes. One of you - chosen randomly - will be the lucky winner to get those three photos as greeting cards. This giveaway is open worldwide, so don't hesitate if you live on the other side of the world.

1. Mustard

2. Winter Vineyard

3. The Ocean at Sunset

4. Salvia

5.  Cow Parsnip

6. Rocks at the Beach

7. The Apple

8. The Lighthouse

9. Looking up at the Redwoods

10. On the Ground

11. Windchimes

12. Ocean Sunset

13. Circles in the Sand

14. Ghost Dance

15. Wild Teasel