Category: Creativity

The Loft Has a Life of Its Own

The Loft Has a Life of Its Own

Somewhere in the blue sky flag days

With sibilant sounds of rustling spring leaves,

I find myself in the Loft

Staring at the walls painted with a color called Pale Oak.

I never would have picked it.

But I love it.

I am not an interior decorator.

I am not a lot of things.


This room has a life of its own.

It breathes calm.

It inhales a solid silence

As it exhales children’s smiles,

Stealing sadness from my psyche.


It brings the outside in

With hums of airplanes and distant freeways

Riding upon the gentle winds

Through its open windows.

A motorcyclist cuts between cars.

Then rides the road’s shoulder.

Their eyes gleam, and they grin.

So that their teeth are stuck with flies.

Because they beat the cars to the exit off the 405.


The Loft didn’t care. Nor did I.

We didn’t have teeth filled with flies.

And we didn’t drive off the road into the ditch.



We laughed together over this,

The Loft and I.

Perhaps we shouldn’t have

But we did.


Peonies in Bloom in June

Peonies in Bloom in June

I wondered if people would consider a uniquely colored peony worthy of a travel blog. But then, one person’s peony is another person’s mountain top.  We (my husband and I) planned a few weeks in Michican’s Lake Whitmore to be with the grandkids… but we had time some days to do a little sightseeing. We discovered that peonies were on their way out of their short-lived bloom period, and we didn’t want to miss it. Off to the University of Michigan arboretum we went.

While there were literally dozens (who knew?) of peony varieties, I had to choose one that caught my eye. Isn’t that the way? Whenever you’re traveling, you have to make choices. Where do we go today? Where do we eat? Do we want to drive a lot or walk a lot?

Then, when you get there, do you just see stuff, or do you have to photograph every little thing? Are you really there when you’re snapping the photo, or are you saving the now for a future time when you can relive the experience you missed because you were taking the photo? It’s the perennial travel question. (Wait, are peonies perennials? Yes… actually, they are. Sorry about that.)

For me, a photograph does pull me from the moment, and it lets me save the moment, too. Sigh. Travel is about seeing yourself as much as it is about seeing the world. Isn’t that cool??

A note about timing while we’re here. If we’d been a few days later in our stay, we would have missed the bloom!  In fact, we were told they were on their way down from the height of their beauty. A few of the petals had begun to fall, but many flowers still held that breathtaking “peony-ness.”) Travel timing is another whole post, but I couldn’t ignore the thought of it here.

So, let’s leave it at peonies and the perennial question of photography versus being in the moment.



Enjoying the DIA in No-Way…Detroit???

Enjoying the DIA in No-Way…Detroit???

Travelers love to find gems in unexpected places. The DIA, Detroit Institute of the Arts, is one of those.

According to this website, there are 35,000 museums in the United States. They listed the top 30, one of which is the DIA (#13). Yes, it’s in Detroit, Michigan.

A famous installation is that of the Detroit Industry Murals (1932–1933) by Diego Rivera. They are permanent as they were painted directly onto the walls.

I’m looking at one of the smaller frescos, and my husband and I are standing in front of an entire wall of one of the murals.

Rivera’s murals here… “create a tribute to industry and workers. These murals reveal Rivera’s fascination with industrial processes — and his critique of the political and social realities of capitalist enterprise.” (Source: DIA information piece about the murals.)

Tiff Massey

The exhibit (on view through May 2025) that tickled me the most was that of Tiff Massey. I had never heard of her, which is why we go to museums, right?  From her website, we learn “…She was the first Black woman to earn an MFA in metal smithing from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. She draws on 1980s hip-hop culture and her experiences as a Detroit native to examine the concept of adornment as an examination of the African diaspora and contemporary issues of race, class, and popular culture.”

I like her work because she makes statements about the connection of community, jewelry, and large works of art that put her “art in a context” — a theme of the DIA, according to our docent.

I’d like to put all her work here, but a better idea is for you to go to Detroit before May 2025 and see this exciting, inspirational installation. You’ll love it.

By the way, I’m making a general statement here that I hope to repeat as my travel blog grows.

“Always take a guided tour of any place you can when traveling. It helps you know what you want to see and see what you’d like to know.” — Kathryn Atkins, Blogger, “Gone on an Adventure

And speaking of curation (we weren’t but I wanted to see if you were paying attention), the museum houses 65,000 separate pieces of artwork. At any one time, they exhibit about 10% of them, sometimes because the artwork is too fragile to the light and other times because the featured work does have to be rotated so we get to see it all eventually. As in, “keep coming back!”

We will. 🙂

Gone on an Adventure — In Cambria, California

Gone on an Adventure — In Cambria, California

Sparkling lights danced around the fantasy garden in Cambria, California. They were like teeny fairies, distant relatives of Tinkerbell, perhaps, but these were very real in this verdant oasis plopped in the middle of the downtown off the eastern end of Cambria’s Main Street. Wait… doesn’t almost every city have a Main Street? There’s a calming consistency in that. Parades go down Main Street, and retailers vie for a Main Street storefront, which might be an argument for going off the main drag. You might be missing some treasures!

As for our fairy garden, it is not on the main drag. It’s hidden. Of course, it’s hidden!  This is why travelers want to ask the locals (and fellow tourists) where the good stuff is: unknown killer restaurants, hole-in-the-wall, don’t-miss bars, out-of-the-way private beaches, and the very things that make traveling a richer experience.

We didn’t know the garden existed until we happened to chat with a couple from a town near our home (of course). They said they never miss going to the fairyland behind the little shop named Spellound that will forever more be our gotta-visit spot too. Had we been in a hurry and not met and talked with this sharing couple, we would not have experienced this adventure.

What’s Cambria like, you ask? Besides the little garden, Cambria offers a dramatic coastline, walkable beaches (“Moonstone Beach” is popular), and windswept, tell-me-a-story Cypress trees that remind me of Monterey and Carmel. Cambria is a less expensive option to those two towns and has a ruggedness to it that invites jeans and flip flops, plus ridiculously talented artists of all kinds.

Where to stay? We found a cozy, inexpensive “Bluebird Inn” on, yes, Main Street, making it walking distance to all manner of local haunts. We like the antique shops, restaurants (like Linn’s for their Ollalyberry, blue cheese, arugula, bacon, and red onion hamburger), and the French Corner Bakery for great coffee and sugar-high pastries. We’ve also stayed out near Moonstone Beach, where several hotels offer walking across the street to the ocean and lazy Adirondack chairs to just sit as the ocean’s calm washes away all of life’s troubles.

We like Cambria. The weather’s good most of the year (it’s Southern California!), and the town is laid-back, but it has an old elegance that makes it a great getaway from Los Angeles. Wineries are nearby, and Hearst Castle is down the road a bit. Next time I may have gone on an adventure, you might find me in Cambria–in the Spellbound garden, hanging out with the fairies and Alice.


As Alive as a Tin Cup

As Alive as a Tin Cup

With the fire crackling in the fireplace across from us, my friend said, “I don’t think I ever told you. I am a tin cup.”

“A what?”

“A tin cup. Like the movie with Kevin Costner, but not at all,” he said, staring into the lovely heat.

“I play golf, but I’m not the ball or the club. Or the bag,” he said, a wistful look in his eyes.

“I’m the tin cup catching putts. It’s a hobby.  Sometimes I move the cup just a hair for golfers I like. I’ve also been known to jiggle a little to get the ball to go in.”

“And if you don’t like them?”

“Same thing. Either way, I’m always ready to help or hurt.”

I nodded. Shook my head. Nodded.

“But I have to be very quiet, and I can’t let the cameras ever detect it,” he continued.

“I’ll bet!”

“I’ll never forget this one time, though. My two friends were working as blades of grass that day and they were questioned by a golfer one. It was ugly.”


“Yes. But I wouldn’t call it questioned. More accurately they were cussed at to the high heavens. Both of them had to go to therapy.”

“Oh, I didn’t know they had that.”

“Yesirree. Golf has more therapists than any other sport.”

“I wasn’t aware of that either.”

“It’s the truth.”

The fire had died by then. We sat in the dark and I wondered what I would like to be for my second job. If only I had a better imagination, I could be a writer.

                  Thinking about it.


OMG… GTD Quotes — Day Three

Poet image


“The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and taking one’s self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous.” ~ Margot Fonteyn

A corollary is “Life is too important to be taken seriously.” ~ Oscar Wilde. (Note some sources say it’s not his quote, but it’s close.

From playwrights in the 1800s (Wilde) to ballerinas in the 1900s ( Fonteyn), there is agreement on not taking life or ourselves too seriously.

I say, we aren’t as important as we think we are.

I can hear you saying, “What? That’s not true! I’m very important.”

Okay. But I like when I have the clarity to realize I’m overindulging in my own importance. I’m much better off if I can tap into “the wisdom to know the difference” about the things I can and can’t control. THAT’s from the Serenity Prayer–another favorite.

Some days are better than others.


I’m currently reading Ready for Anything (RFA) by David Allen for the second time. The first time I read RFA was in 2016, and it fell pretty closely on the heels of Getting Things Done (GTD), also by David Allen. The learning curve is a little steep–that is, to fully absorb the GTD system into your psyche and 24-hour being/doing-ness it can take up to two years, they said. Perseverance, indeed.

The quotations in the book are worth their weight in psychic clarity, even as I strive to climb this Sisyphus-like mountain to attain calm, stretching to be a better version of myself. Contradictions abound: More structure for more freedom. More work for more play. Anyway, I’m still at the bottom rung, but I love the quotes.

And so, the quotes begin. Here’s today’s:

“You can move through life seeing nothing as a miracle, or seeing everything as a miracle.”

~ Albert Einstein

“Blind Tom” Meets “Dog”

“Blind Tom” Meets “Dog”

“I’m tired of pulling this load every day.

I’m tired of being a horse.

I’m happy to meet you, I would say.

But my horsey voice is too coarse.”


“I gotcha, Mr. Horse. I’m so done being a dog.

I’m hungry all the time. Mealtime is a slog.

For just one day, I’d like to play.

“Fetch” sounds so good! I wait for that day.


“You’re a dog. I’m a horse.

We’ve both got four legs, of course.

But our fates are very different.

Our purposes, diverse.

Being a horse or a dog—

I wonder what is worse?”


“You’re Blind Tom, you fool. At least you have a name.

I don’t. I’m nameless. ‘Hey Dog,’ they exclaim.

My masters are many. My admirers are few.

The Railroad needs you but I’m as useless as a barren ewe.”


“Your man’s best friend! That’s never been my role.

You have a place at man’s side—that makes you whole.

I’m one step removed. A worker at best.

Sometimes I’m transportation. But the railroad is a test.

It’s over. I’m toast. I’m glue. The die is cast.

They won’t need horses. Those days are past.”


“Listen, Blind Tom. You’re a legend in your time.

You’re needed. You’re a fixture. And a worker on the line.

Your energy, your drive, your will to succeed

Are admirable, wonderful. You’re a great steed indeed.”


“Thanks, Dog. I hear you. I thank you for your trust.

I hope I live to see the end before I bite the dust.

This Railroad may be the death of me. One way or another.

But I will always think of you as a friend and as a brother.”


NOTE: Blind Tom was a real horse who pulled flatcars for construction crews on the Transcontinental Railroad

Huh? Is This ME???

This IS me! I’m staring into space in the fall of 2022. I am seventy-two. I’m small. And tall. I have no clue at all.

“Heaven is a new pair of glasses.” ~ Anne Lamott

With this post, I am starting on the second in the series that started with Giving My Self to the Wind. (2017)


This one will be called: Giving My Self to the Stars

Subtitle: How to BE Life (NOTE: Not DO Life)



“How to Be Alive”

“How to Life”

“Life’s Secrets” Hint: There are none.