Thursday, July 27, 2017

Little Things...


The Storrier-Stearns garden is a sweet little 2-acre hidden oasis in Pasadena that I discovered through Group-on. Between my work/summer schedule and it's select open days, it seemed timing wasn't on my side until last week. 

I learned that during the 19th Century, Americans had a fascination with Japanese culture. The garden was built for the wealthy couple, Charles & Ellamae Storrier-Stearns by craftsman and landscape designer, Kinzuchi Fuji. The land was actually flat but Mr. Fuji began the construction of the tranquil multi-level garden that it is today after a year of planning. It took 7 years to build. 

The original tea house burned down in the early 80's but was rebuilt by another accomplished landscape architect, Dr. Takeo Uesugi using Mr Fuji's original plans he took with him to an interment camp where he spent the duration of the war. The garden has several alcoves with seating so the visitor can enjoy quiet reflection and contemplation. 

The highlight of the day was attending a tea ceremony where I learned the fascinating history of tea houses by a sweet docent, Yumi, dressed in a traditional kimono.

Not part of the gardens, but across the street was a little park that I wandered through before my drive home. I came upon a Wish Tree which later found out was inspired in part from an art series by Yoko Ono where a wish is written and tied to a tree. 
I found it to be a beautiful and moving sentiment and didn't dare read the hopes of others.

Summer is quickly coming to an end for me with only a few more weeks to play, discover and just be...but what a summer it's been!
I'm sharing over at Tamar's today.

Happy (summer) Snapping!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Little Things...


Hello July and hello to you!
I probably don't have to tell you how fast this summer is zipping' by. 
It struck me this morning how my best-laid-plans to be here, in this space over the break, haven't gone the way I first envisioned. I've learned though, to go with the flow~and I'm never far away really. Things actually started way back at the end of May when I flew up to North Dakota to visit my oldest son, Justin, who's stationed at Minot.
My big girl camera, Matilda, has been in overdrive ever since.

Justin was stationed in Korea for several years and we just needed some face time...REAL face time.
It was a hoot and quite a different experience. 

It's a different world than either of us were expecting as were out and about exploring.

Gol Stave Church-a replica of the original that was built in Gol, Hallingdal, Norway

The original was built in 1157-1216
Soon after, the Mr and I took a quick cruise to Havana, Cuba.

The view from a hilltop overlooking the bay of Havana

Cuba has been on my bucket list way before I even knew what a bucket list was...I was like 7. I remember very hush hush conversations between my parents about Cuba. I'm sure they weren't pleasant conversations. It was the 70's & we didn't have the news sources we do today.

Cristo de La Habana on top of the hill overlooking the bay of Havana
is 66 ft. tall and made of Carrara marble brought from Italy.
Their music is electric.

Years before my dad got Alzheimers, he use to tell me that when he was on his death bed, he'd tell me how close we were to a full scale nuclear war. But that's not a secret anymore.  I just never imagined that as an American I'd ever be able to visit.

So imagine my excitement when restrictions were eased and U.S. citizens could actually go.
 (Thank you President Obama!)
Cuba has been demystified and I hope to go back. Going on a cruise is great to get feet your wet, but I  wanna get soaked in the culture. 
It's totally true about the cars there 
(big puffy heart)

We no sooner got home, and 3 days later, the Mr. and I were off to Kauai.

Waimea Canyon...

...known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

3,000 feet deep with AMAZING views and great hiking

Spouting Horn in Poipu
waves are forced under a lava shelf and the forced through an opening 

Wailua Falls
This waterfall was featured on the opening credits of Fantasy Island.

Roosters are EVERYWHERE after Hurricane INIKI hit the Island in '92. It destroyed chicken coops and released domesticated hens and as well as roosters that were bread for fighting. 
Other happenings...
*This is my last year of work! YUP...I'm retiring at the end of the 2017-18 school year. I can't even say that without grinning from ear to ear & a butterfly or two in my stomach!
*The Mr. only has about 2 1/2 years until he's done, so we're planning our retirement and getting ready to look at our forever house that's NOT in CA. We just got in touch with a there local realtor who'll be showing us homes. I've been on Zillow every-single-day. Stay tuned!
*Austin leaves for Navy boot Camp Feb. 2, so this 4th of July was extra special and a little bitter sweet because it will be the last time all the cousins will be together for a long time. I'm savoring every Mom moment I can.
*If you follow me on IG, you'll know I've been participating in a summer "index card a day" art project. The host gives out weekly prompts and it's up to you to interpret them and create. It's less daunting working on a 3x5 card then a BIG OLE blank sheet of paper. It's been A LOT of fun for me carving out time to just play.

Crazy I tell ya!
I bet this is what retirement is like!

What's the summer like for you?
Please share.

Happy (vacation) shooting!

I'm sharing over at Tamar's today.