Where to Wander?

Wondering About 2019

Flashback 2006: “Cindy Blogs the Sierra.” This in’t my first rodeo.

Flashback 2006: “Cindy Blogs the Sierra.” This in’t my first rodeo.

When I worked for the Forest Service, one of my best friends was my list of goals.

If I was frustrated, lost, overwhelmed, or just a bit confused I would stop and look at my goal page. That one page in the back of my planner would remind me to find my purpose and it gave me focus.

But, now I don't work. I’m “retired.”

In my dreams, not my real job.

In my dreams, not my real job.

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." Lewis Carroll is correct. I don't want to go just anywhere. Even in my retirement, I want to go somewhere and not all roads lead where I want to go. So, I am going back to creating my annual list of goals.

Here are my Whelan on Walkabout Goals for 2019.

1. Visit Amazing Places. I want to do more of what makes me happy - travel. Being in a new place, learning, looking, seeing, and trying new things gives me energy. Traveling opens my mind and my heart. I am fortunate to have the time and the resources to travel far and wide. This year, I would like to spend half of this year in Olympia, Washington, and half of 2019 someplace else.

2. Create Better Content. I write to understand myself and share the stories associated with my photography. I know that “content is king” so I will continue to improve my skills in photography and writing. In 2019, I want to take two writing classes and write a blog post every two weeks. "Perfect practice makes for perfect performances." I'm not a good writer, but I can become a better blogger. I’m not a professional photographer, but I can work on making professional quality images.

Goal: create better images and write better stories.

Goal: create better images and write better stories.

3. Put It on a Wall. I like projects. In the last 12 years I averaged about one photo exhibit a year. Last year I had two individual exhibits, one at Fresno City Hall and a second at the Community Media Access Collaborative. This year I want to make an effort to find one juried show to enter and work to participate in one individual or group exhibit.

My Cone Collection  exhibit at M Street Gallery, August, 2018 in Fresno, Calif.

My Cone Collection exhibit at M Street Gallery, August, 2018 in Fresno, Calif.

I love to travel with my family. I love to travel without my family. It is all good.

I love to travel with my family. I love to travel without my family. It is all good.

4. Learn It All. In May, I will be attending the 3rd annual Yellowstone Photo Symposium, in West Yellowstone. Thank you Perfect Light Camera and the Nature Photographers of the Pacific North West. I won a gift certificate to cover the tuition and I plan to make the best of it. I love Yellowstone and I want to learn everything that are going to teach.

This is my ‘Be Fearless’ photo. “Alien” from the Museum of Popular Culture in Seattle.

This is my ‘Be Fearless’ photo. “Alien” from the Museum of Popular Culture in Seattle.

5. Be Fearless. This year I commit to being there, wherever I am. I am going to be present in the awesomeness of the world and I want to feel alive. Fear of failure is a roadblock to doing what I love. I will write and photograph without fear because life is too short. (This really isn’t a measurable goal, but I want to put it on the list.)

6. Attend OCC, NWCCC, NPPNW. Translation: I want to meet with other photographers to share, learn, and socialize. The Olympia Camera Club (Shout out to OCC! Love you guys.) is a great bunch of photographers and fun people. Maybe I will even make a few friends. I enjoyed the two conferences I attended last year, the North West Council of Camera Clubs (NWCCC) and the Nature Photographers of the Pacific North West (NPPNW), and if there is another photography or gathering of writers, I'm going to be there.

A portrait lighting demonstration at an Olympia Camera Club meeting.

A portrait lighting demonstration at an Olympia Camera Club meeting.

7. Back it Up. "A photo doesn't exist unless it is saved in three places." I use Carbonite backup cloud service, and I have an external hard drive, but my iMac computer can no longer work as a storage device for my photographs. All my photos and blogs are going onto a Drobo storage device that has the built-in redundancy to keep everything safe. I don't take pictures to lose them on a failed hard drive. I take pictures for keeps. I need to back that up.

You may ask, “Whelan on Walkabout, why are you sharing this on your blog?”

My point is: life needs purpose, even in “retirement.” I don't work, but I still have my goals. I'm going to wander, photograph, and wonder about what to blog about in 2019.

I ask, what are you going to do? What is your purpose this year? I hope you find it.

Winter Solstice, night photography in Tacoma, WA.

Winter Solstice, night photography in Tacoma, WA.

Playing with Glass

Museum of Glass, Tacoma,Washington

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Just a few blocks from the Tacoma Dome, on the shore of the Puget Sound, just over from busy industrial shipping docks, sits the Museum of Glass.

It is hard to take photographs in the rain, but in this museum, it is part of the fun. Visitors are allowed to photograph anything and everything. They do request the usual courtesy of no flash photography, and no tripods within the museum.

One of the display plaques speaks to me:

The Psychologist's Perspective by Dr. Susan Linn: "Hands-on creative play is dismissed as old-fashioned these days, yet it is the foundation of much of what's worthwhile about being human, including divergent thinking, constructive problem solving, and the capacity to wrestle with life to make it meaningful. It is inextricably linked to creativity. At the heart of any finished creation are the moments when the artist plays, becoming lost in a process, taking risks, exploring, and experimenting without fear of repercussions."

In that spirit, I was inspired to play with my camera and my blog. I agree. Play is good.

I spent my time in the Hot Shop, Art Alley - Kids Designing Glass, and the two main exhibits "Raven and the Box of Daylight" by Preston Singletary and "Foraging the Hive" by Sara Young and Tyler Budge.

In the land of the famous Chihuly glass sculptures, the museum map and brochure says it well, “It doesn’t get any hotter than this.” When entering Hot Shop, you feel the heat even before you see the glow of the furnaces. The cone ceiling towers 90 feet above into darkness and the place has a certain smell about it. The audience in the bleachers watch as the gooey glass is melted, molded, tested, twisted, cut, folded and flamed. Small broken pieces sparkle, scattered about the floor under the artist's feet. "That must have made a delicate un-settling crash when it broke.” And I am reminded how much 'trial and error' is an important part of play and making art.

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The Art Alley is displaying works designed by kids and created by the Museum of Glass Hot Shop Team. Children drew items and made a short statement about the object.

All of the figures were bright, happy and expressing a unique perspective.

Mr. Popsicle “is British and likes to take ice baths.” Hamburger cowboy is something the artist read about.

Mr. Popsicle “is British and likes to take ice baths.” Hamburger cowboy is something the artist read about.

Foraging the Hive by Sara Young and Tyler Budge floats through the gallery. Some items in the swarming tubes are familiar, some are foreign. Some items are brightly colored and others appear mostly empty. Visitors are invited to fill a test tube with a unique personal message and 'join the swarm.' The whole room gently sways with the air movement from visitors inspecting at various angles.

I filled a tube and it will soon join the swarm.

I filled a tube and it will soon join the swarm.

"Raven and the Box of Daylight" by Preston Singletary was my favorite. It is a very personal depiction of Raven's journey of transforming the world. The Tlingit (“People of the Tides”) story is captivating and the glass work was mesmerizing. I wanted to look into the eyes and speak with the souls affected by raven's enlightenment of the world.

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The beauty of their message changed as I looked up, down and around the crowd. Faces glowing with life though shadows. Eyes darkened and moved as I moved. Textures blended with color, light, and shapes.

They spoke to me.

They were trying to say something that deserved respect.

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The bear, the frog, the salmon, the river, and the raven all had a message. I wanted to tell each "thank you for being here to share your story with me." I tried to take them all with me as photographs. I did, of course, first ask for their permission.

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Afterward, we walked in the rain over the Chihuly Bridge of Glass to the old Union Station building that was also full of Chihuly glass works.

"The mission of the Museum of glass is to ignite creativity, fuel discovery, and enrich lives through glass and glassmaking."

I think the mission of the museum should be to have fun. Wrap yourself in the colors and shapes of light. Look beyond, get lost, find something new, and take it with you.

Playing with glass is good.

https://www.museumofglass.org/visitmog/

Excerpt from the “Chihuly Bridge of Glass, Seaform Pavilion.”

Excerpt from the “Chihuly Bridge of Glass, Seaform Pavilion.”

#museumofglass, #play, #glass

Street Art (Supply) Walk

Artwalk, Seattle, Washington

My sister invited me to join her and her friends on a field trip featuring art. It was a trip to the art supply store Blick, in Seattle. What better opportunity to combine art, street art, photography, and friends. Even a trip to buy pens and pencils can be a walkabout with the right attitude.

It’s part of the photographer’s job to see more intensely than most people. He must have and keep in him something of the receptivity of the child who looks at the world for the first time or the traveler who enters a strange land.
— Bill Brandt

It is easy to see art everywhere in Seattle. When I look at the acronym WSDOT (Washington State Department of Transportation) my brain turns it into "WHYNOT." Why not take the ferry? Why not go to Seattle? Why not write a blog about it?

The view from the WSDOT ferry, approaching Seattle.

The view from the WSDOT ferry, approaching Seattle.

We met at the Bainbridge Island ferry and entered the city on a beautiful day. I love to watch the approach to cities from the water. The small buildings, bridges, signs, and attractions grow before your eyes as you get closer and closer.

Street Art in Seattle.

Street Art in Seattle.

The famous skyline grows and increases until you depart the boat and buildings tower over your head. The bustle of people walking off of the ferry always makes me feel like I am on a travel trip. Pioneer Square is relatively quiet so we take some time to window shop. Shoes? Some bling? Such colors and shapes held behind glass facades.

I allow myself some child-like wonder to wander the streets of Seattle.

The underground light rail system takes us one step closer to our destination.

The underground light rail system takes us one step closer to our destination.

Window shopping for shoes. Bling at  Diva Dolls

Window shopping for shoes. Bling at Diva Dolls

If I could afford these, I would.

If I could afford these, I would.

Colorful street bikes.

Colorful street bikes.

The Blick art supply store is a feast of color and shapes. Popular culture lives in a toy store for young and old. I was looking for only pencils and paper but enjoyed the visual treats throughout — colors, shapes, design ideas, and fun tools filled to the brim. I think that artists struggle between the acquiring of things to make art, and actually making works of art. There are so many cute little gadgets that are fun to hold and buy. I don't paint, but oh, to own those thick and vibrant colors! I want to eat them.

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Beautiful individual sheets of craft paper call to me. Markers of all shapes, sizes, and colors ask me to take them home. "Look! You too can be an artist. Just take me with you." I want to wallow in all the potential that fills the shelves to the ceiling.

Photo paper?

Photo paper?

Not just any eraser, but the perfect eraser.

Not just any eraser, but the perfect eraser.

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Holiday shopping.

Holiday shopping.

“I can do that!” You too, can be an artist, if you shop well.

“I can do that!” You too, can be an artist, if you shop well.

We tussle with our goodie bags and make a stop at the bookstore. Equally enticing. My sister encourages me to check out a Mr. Spock (Star Trek) version of "Where's Waldo" but I gave away so many books in 'The Great Purge.' I can't bear the thought of buying books to eventually give them away, or sell them at a yard sale for one quarter. I am trying very hard to make more use of the public library, and I only purchase used books now.

Wishful window shopping at  Diva Dolls.

Wishful window shopping at Diva Dolls.

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At lunch, Pam, Janice, and Susan are intrigued by my blog "Whelan on Walkabout." They ask "what kind of blog would you write about a trip to the art supply store?"

An adventure does not need to be in an exotic location to be a source of street photography and a meaningful life experience. Photography is about seeing. Travel is about experiencing something new. Every trip can be a journey. That is what life is about! Everyday experiences like shopping in an art supply store, can be filled with surprise, beautiful colors, shapes, fun, and new friends.

"Any trip can be a walkabout if you bring the right attitude," I reply.

Share the love with Jimi Hendrix in front of Blick Art Supplies.

Share the love with Jimi Hendrix in front of Blick Art Supplies.

So, here are my street photographs from that day and my short blog about street art and a trip to the art supply store.

Thank you, Susan, Pam, and Janice for a fun day in beautiful Seattle.

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Doughnuts in with window, just a couple to take home.

Doughnuts in with window, just a couple to take home.

Home is Where the Heart Is

Thanksgiving in Ashland, Oregon

Holidays with adult children are very different from holidays with babies, toddlers, school-age children, or college students.

Home is where the heart is
No matter how the heart lives
Inside your heart where love is
That’s where you’ve got to make yourself
At home.
— Peter, Paul, and Mary
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Keith, Patrick, and I live in Olympia, Washington and our daughter Hilary lives in Fresno, California. We have a family tradition of traveling for holidays; London, Rome, Washington D.C., New York, and with family in the Bay Area of California.

This year, we chose to drive six hours south while Hilary drove eight hours north to meet up in Ashland, Oregon for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

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Ashland, Oregon is the home of a world-renowned Shakespeare Festival, and the community is well suited for visitors. The downtown is a real town center with Lithia Park, many well-rated diverse food options, and a pedestrian-friendly shopping area. The city core is surrounded by gentrified Victorian homes and re-modeled craftsman bungalows, many now bed and breakfast inns or vacation rentals. Each house is unique with an individual personality. Ashland isn't a cliche; it is genuinely cute.

We wanted a comfortable but traditional Thanksgiving where we could spend time together inside or outside. Airbnb is our go-to for a home-away-from-home, and we rented a small cottage that would fit our holiday plans.

 
A lovely little herb garden in the back of our Airbnb in Ashland.

A lovely little herb garden in the back of our Airbnb in Ashland.

An old bungalow with a backyard garden featuring a koi pond and an herb garden, wood floors, oak furniture, quilted bedcovers, and handcrafted stoneware dishes welcomed us as our new holiday hang out. Located on a quiet side street, we were able to walk to downtown and enjoy the neighboring homes along the way.

Street art Ashland style.

Street art Ashland style.

An afternoon fitness walk through a new neighborhood allowed for the survey and critique of the various yard landscapes and home remodeling projects. "I could live in that house." "If I won the lottery, I would buy that house." "This house is my favorite," and "That place is just waiting for someone to renovate it."

A healthy four-point buck deer walked down the street with us, then jumped a neighbor's fence. Six wild turkeys didn't even acknowledge us as we entered Lithia Park. A handful of big leaf maple trees hung on to a few final golden leaves, and there was a light dusting of snow on the ridge across the valley.

There are live wild turkeys in Lithia Park. No worries here.

There are live wild turkeys in Lithia Park. No worries here.

One of the best Thanksgiving turkeys ever from the  Ashland Co-op .

One of the best Thanksgiving turkeys ever from the Ashland Co-op.

Oven instructions inside for precision baking. Turkey is in the middle.

Oven instructions inside for precision baking. Turkey is in the middle.

Our holiday oven - “Caution, the pilot light is hot!”

Our holiday oven - “Caution, the pilot light is hot!”

Black Friday was the start of the holiday festivities in town with local businesses open and decorated with Christmas lights. Downtown was busy but not crowded with holiday shoppers. Even as adults, we enjoyed the unique chance to go ice skating together. All four of us gave it a few laps and no-one was hurt! For dinner, an old favorite, take-out pizza from a cardboard box.

Family selfie while ice skating in Lithia Park.

Family selfie while ice skating in Lithia Park.

And together we shared a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

To keep things simple, we pre-ordered a complete Thanksgiving dinner from the Ashland Co-op. At our designated time, Keith and I drove up to the curbside pick-up location and a friendly young lady handed us a whole, already cooked, ready to re-heat, traditional Thanksgiving dinner. No messy kitchen. No grumpy faces because the gravy is lumpy. No second guessing or threats of overcooking. No dinner drama. It was easy, tasty, and we enjoyed it together without stress or anxiety.

After dinner, chillin’ on the sofa.

After dinner, chillin’ on the sofa.

Thanksgiving guests, past and present.

Thanksgiving guests, past and present.

It wasn't our home, but it was. We were home together as a family for Thanksgiving. I don't need a large place so my children can come and stay with me; I have a place where we can all meet and be comfortable in our unique adult style.

We learned that a home can be anywhere where we can get together. It can be Christmas in Barcelona, or Thanksgiving in Oregon. I know we won’t be together for every holiday, but we have learned how to be at home with ourselves. Home may be where we live, or where we want to live, or wherever we can get together.

I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.
— William Shakespeare
I love you guys. Thank you for a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I love you guys. Thank you for a wonderful Thanksgiving.