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“Couples are wholes and not wholes, what agrees disagrees, the concordant is discordant.  From all things one and from one all things.”  Heraclitus

We seem to be consumed by our Photography Bug these days.  This vacation, starting with our trip to Las Vegas, has turned in to a photography immersion for us.  We are spending hours on the computer editing the shots that we are spending hours out in the “field” shooting.  Hubby has caught the bug just about as bad as I have.  (kinda handy when I want new gear . . . just get him out shooting and let him see that having that new lens really makes sense!)  I set up our new little toy – the GoProHero2 – to take this shot of us editing side by side in our Resort condo.  We’ve only watched a couple hours of television since we left home the beginning of November.  

I kind of feel like a kid again, learning something new every day.  

And I’m doing it with my Best Friend.

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“Lumahai Beach, or South Pacific Beach . . . This beach was made famous by the movie South Pacific where Mitzi Gaynor “washed that man right out of her hair”!” www.hawaiianweb,com

We’ve arrived at our vacation destination for the next 25 days – Kauai, Hi.  The next few days will be settle in time . . . taking it easy and getting adjusted to the two hour time change.  (We’re two hours behind the West Coast).  This beach is one of our favorite hangouts on the North Shore – one of many!  We will be visiting and discovering many more I hope!  

Ahhhh . . . time for a Mai Tai! 

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“If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have a paradise in a few years.”  Bertrand Russell

IKR?  Why do we waste so much energy “hating” rather than loving??  It’s so exhausting!  If I don’t like or don’t agree with someone’s position or behavior  I just choose to not associate with them.  I don’t wish them ill will.  Where does that get you?  I feel sad for the person who chooses to live in negativity, and I certainly find myself there from time to time.  However, I believe that if that’s where I choose to be – in the negative – then that’s what I’m going to attract in to my experience of life.  Fortunately, I can choose to walk away , or work through it, when I see it coming!

We arrived in Paradise today.  Kauai, HI is my version of Paradise anyway.  I just love it here . . . in the span of an hour you can go from the warm southern climes with broad sweeping beaches and resort areas, to the northern lush tropical side with more rugged, less populated beaches and wild volcanic shores.  We are attracted to the Northern Shores with it’s rugged and less traveled vistas.  We’re lucky to have the opportunity to spend almost a month here this year.  We are able to work from a distance, which really helps!  We’re getting to the point that it’s really tough to come over for just a week.  By time we get settled in, it’s time to go home!  We’ve seen alot of the Island already, but I love to come back and see if we can find new gems to explore.  Geo-caching is a favorite pass time – we’ve found many secluded, out of the way spots doing this.  And of course – with my new photography gear and increasing knowledge  . . . I hope to be posting some pretty awesome shots over the next few weeks.  

It’s really tough to be negative here!

Stay tuned . . . 

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“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”  Norman Vincent Peale

I did NOT know that Christmas became a National Holiday in the America on June 26, 1870.  After doing a bit of research to confirm this, I’ve discovered that Ulysses S. Grant is responsible for declaring the 25th day of December an National Holiday to celebrate Christmas.  I’m trying to find out when it was declared a National Holiday in Canada . . . but not having much luck there.  I would imagine it was some time after the US instituted it.  

I did find this: “Though Christmas is the only legal national religious holiday in the United States today, it has been less than 100 years since all 50 states recognized Christmas as an official holiday. Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas an official holiday in 1836, 71 years before the last state — Oklahoma — followed suit in 1907.” 

Just interesting tid bits of information to get your Holiday Season started . . . 

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“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”  Mahatma Gandhi

The quote that I have chosen for today really resonates.  I completely, totally and one hundred percent agree that happiness is a by-product of your daily choices and actions.  In fact, I had to include a second quote to underscore the first quote . . . I’m a very happy person these days.  So much of my life is in harmony with who I am deep inside.  It has not always been so.  I’ve been on a journey to harmony in my life, and have seen healing and happiness in the lives of those around me as a result.  There was a time when I had division, discord, depression, unhappiness ruling my experience of life.  I am so fortunate to be in a place now where I am happy, healthy, and able to share that with the people I love.  

This photo was taken with my iPad as hubby, baby girl and I were out for a walk on a beautiful sunny Bay Area day.  I took it with an App called HDR Pro that creates the HDR right when you are taking the shot.  Thus it is a little fuzzy.  That’s Ella’s curly mop on the lower right.  

The little one was so happy to be out in the fresh air, walking, picking up sticks and playing with acorns that have fallen by buckets off the trees.  It’s one of those afternoons where everything is right with the world.  The birds are singing, the air is clean and crisp . . . and our only concern is keeping her from falling in the creek!  

Happiness.

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“We’re crazy about this city.  First time we came here, we walked the streets all day, all over town and nobody hassled us… Los Angeles?  That’s just a big parking lot where you buy a hamburger for the trip to San Francisco.” – John Lennon

I left my heart in San Francisco . . . there truly is something about this city that draws one back to it over and over again.  It is a beautiful city – one I love to visit but care not to live in.  That’s because I’m just not a city girl.  I’m a country girl at heart – but love the lights and the history of this golden city.  I know it fairly well as I lived in the Bay Area for many years.  On this particular day, hubby and I were out and about looking to shoot the sunset.  We drove up in to the Oakland Hills, but were un-inspired.  The sun was still above the horizon when we decided to dash the 1/2 hour to Treasure Island.  It was well worth the effort.  I think it must be one of the best vantage points for photographing the lights of San Francisco.  We were a bit late for the good sunset shots . . . but this one I liked with the lights so crisp.  That’s my shadow as I was attempting to get in to the shot.  I had to clamber over some rather large boulders on the water’s edge . . . and finally just gave up and accepted this as my 365 shot.  

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“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.  To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”  Calvin Coolidge

Black Friday.  Everyone goes shopping on Black Friday!  Well, everyone except us!  I won’t be caught anywhere near a shopping mall between now and the New Year!  The frenzy and madness are just too much . . . Christmas is not about the best gift I can buy for someone . . . it’s about the love and caring and sharing of spirit between you and the people you love.  We’ve just become a society too caught up in commercialism . . . and have forgotten what it is to give from the heart.   Today we spent time with family at a local “farm” that was a pumpkin patch and corn maze just a month ago, but is now decked out for Christmas with snow slides, horse rides, and many other fun activities for families to enjoy.  The snow is all machine made because it really doesn’t snow here in the Central Valley of California.  

That doesn’t matter though – because the spirit of Christmas is in our souls, not in our surroundings.  If we are lucky, we carry that spirit with us all year round.  We just celebrate it more at Christmas.  I’m not a religious person, so I put this all in a context of the goodness that each and every one of us has the potential to share with one another.  It’s all about choice . . . and maybe, just maybe – the goodness and loving spirit that I share with everyone I cross paths with has a positive ripple effect on the very fabric of human kind.  

That’s my hope anyway.  

Let the Christmas Season Begin!

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“May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
and your pies take the prize,
and may your Thanksgiving dinner
stay off your thighs!”
–Unknown

We’re back from our week in Vegas just in time for Thanksgiving with family.  My daughter went all out to provide a beautiful setting, and serve a delicious traditional meal.  Of course, the best part of the whole day was just spending time with people that I love.  I wish the entire family could be there.  I miss the days when we would rent out a local Community Hall and have a huge pot luck for all the family and friends that could show up.  Those were the days!  However,  we all live in different cities and have extended family obligations . . . not so easy to get together.  I am so very grateful for the time I am able to spend with my kids and my grand kids.  Since I live so far away, and don’t get to see them often enough, moments like this are priceless for me, and for them.  

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning.  But for children play is serious learning.  Play is really the work of childhood.”  Fred Rogers

I woke up this morning, after being away for a week  at my 365 Vegas Meetup, to find a little girl at the side of my bed yanking on my pillow and saying “Up YaYa!  UP! Play!  Me!” over and over . . . until I finally rolled on to the floor and played “blocks’ with her.  As much as I enjoyed my time with my fellow 365’ers, I really missed my precious little Grand Daughter, and apparently she missed me as well!  Moments like this are just to precious to waste.  

I had to document it as my 365 Self Portrait for the day.  I’ll be leaving again in a week for almost a month in Hawaii . . . so I cherish each and every moment I get with her.  I just love watching her at play . . . she is so intent on what she is doing.  One second she’s immersed quite seriously on the task at hand, and the next moment she is reduced to a belly laugh and giggles that consume her whole body.  Who can resist that??  Sure gets my day off to a great start!  

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“One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. “You’d be destroying what makes it special,” she said. “It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty.”   Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle 

Today we’re on the way back to SF Bay Area after a truly amazing Meetup with my fellow 365’ers.  On our drive to Vegas, I was quite taken with the Joshua Trees all along the Mojave Desert stretches.  I decided that I had to take my 365 Photo with one of these beautiful creatures.  The average “tree” we saw was less than a few feet tall.  This was one of the biggest we saw from the road.  There were a few massive ones that we could not get close to because of fences etc.  

Truly breathtaking that something like this can survive for hundreds of years in the dry hot desert . . . 

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