What are my top five dream destinations? You mean … like … where do I want to travel? Farther than Uxbridge? Beyond Boston? Me?


There was a time when traveling was fun. With all the lost luggage, canceled connecting flights, long delays at airports due to engine problems, missing 747s, passengers who fell into comas (really) while sitting on the tarmac for three hours, day-long delays due to weather. Yet, it was fun.

pixies-playingDespite everything, people were in a good mood. They were off on holiday or other trips. No one was clenched in terror of what some moron in security was going to do to us or our belongings. Remember when the worst thing you thought might happen at an airport was for them to lose your luggage? Those were the good old days.

Flying bird sunrise

We’re flying to Phoenix early in January. We need wheelchairs and other assistance. No one at Expedia could confirm if this request will be met … or if someone will decide to charge us some ridiculous fee for help I believe is required under law. What do airlines know about law?

Superstition Mtns Arizona

As I write this, I’m on hold.

“No more than 19 minutes … ” said the recorded voice at JetBlue. No more than 19 minutes to confirm they are going to provide the service they promised when I booked the flight. And I have to do this again, with American Airlines for the trip home. That can wait.

Oh, and I have to call TSA to find out what I need to do to avoid metal detectors (which use magnets) because I have a pacemaker. Call me paranoid, but I would prefer my pacemaker keep pacing … and keep reminding my heart to beat.

Are we having fun yet?

telephone hold

Where did I want to go before I stopped wanting to travel anywhere? India, Japan, China, Kenya, Greece, Italy, Paris. And maybe Hawaii or Tahiti. Aside from not having the price of all that airfare, the idea of that much traveling is daunting to say the least. Too much for me.

In the meantime, I would like to survive Phoenix.


solarized art effect horizontal kitchen

I got up a bit early this morning because it’s laundry day. I figured I’d get a jump on the competition. Get my hair washed before I had to compete with the washing machine for water pressure.

When you have a well, a pump, and 40 year-old pipes, water usage is a balancing act. You don’t want to run out your well. You also don’t want to compete with the washing machine because it will win every time.

So. I gathered my stuff. Put it in the bathroom. Went to the kitchen to start the coffee and convince the dogs to go out.


As they finally, with no good grace, headed down the stairs, I noted that Bishop’s butt was in an unsavory state and clearly would require my attention. I put that thought on hold, went back, showered. Dressed. Tied hair into turban. Dashed back to the kitchen where the canines were eagerly awaiting my appearance.

kitchen in morning light

I locked the gate, keeping the dogs in the kitchen, grabbed a handful of paper towels. As I turned on the faucet to moisten the towels, I noticed that the coffee had pooled on the counter and formed into a nice, brown waterfall. I turned off the coffee. Poured the coffee down the sink. Flipped the carafe and saw its bottom had turned into a spiderweb of cracks.

“Priorities,” I mumbled to myself. “First, do something about Bishop’s butt.”

I uncharitably pondered my still-sleeping husband, then sighed and moved on. Inserting a disgruntled husband into the mix was not going to improve matters.


It being the beginning of the month, the dogs needed their heart worm stuff. If I didn’t do it today, I might forget to do it and that would be a bad thing. A very bad thing. Nor did I forget to give each dog a Greenie for being such a good dog because I’m a good mommy, or try to be.

Meanwhile, the coffee is spreading across the kitchen floor. A brown river is snaking its way from sink to back door, trying to make a break for it. It was time to head it off at the pass.

I knew I should put the broken carafe in the trash before it fell into shards. Which is when I realized the trash was up to the top of the container. No room. Okay, stay in the sink. See if I care.


I unplugged the coffee machine and did due diligence on wherever the coffee had seeped. Got more paper towels. Cleaned the floor. Cleaned the counter because somehow, it had been missed after dinner last night. And the stove top — which also got missed.

With dish towel in hand, I was back to the coffee machine. At which point I realize it’s covered with coffee. Old coffee from who-knows-how-many spills in the past. New coffee from this morning’s broken carafe.

Some days, you just can’t catch a break.

I set up the machine using the spare carafe I saved when old Mr. Coffee died. As I scrubbed the carafe, I pondered how two years in the closet hadn’t made it any cleaner.

I really needed coffee. I decided to use the African coffee I’d been saving for a special occasion. If this wasn’t a special occasion, what was? I deserved excellent coffee.


Finally. I switched the coffee machine to “on.” While the coffee brewed, I cleaned the sink … but … not as well as I would have liked. There was no cleanser left in the can and no one to blame as I’m pretty sure I was the last one to use it.

I wrote “cleanser” on the whiteboard. By now, I’d been up for an hour. The dogs are taking post-snack naps. The new batch of coffee smells good.


Enter Garry, stage left.

“Good morning,” he says and makes a beeline to the coffee.

“Good morning,” I reply.

Finally, I have my coffee. And my breakfast cookies. I boot my computer and am greeted with this.

meme FB

I hate memes.




For some reason, an off-center picture is more pleasing to us. It looks more natural. We know from the Brain Game tv show that if we stare at something right in the middle of the screen, our peripheral vision diminishes to the point where it’s not working much at all. Maybe that is what’s happening… we like things off-centered so that we can see more of what’s going on around us.

rule of thirds grid

We also know that the brain fills in negative space, so maybe that’s all part of how we tell stories with pictures. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.

So let’s divide your view finder into a gird with nine boxes (see grid for landscape photos to the right). The rule of thirds says that you should place the subject of your picture on one of the points where the lines intersect.

Non-photographically speaking, reality isn’t centered. The real world is rarely framed front and center, so perhaps eccentric looks more natural because it is more natural.

Let me see what I can find that fits the challenge. Among my more than 100,000 images, there are bound to be a few, right?




Which Way Green River Bridge

pink chrysanthemum


fuchsia macro june 2015


Just remember: There are a million exceptions for every rule. Sometimes, the picture is in the middle and that’s precisely where it belongs.