Category Archives: WP Weekly Photo Challenge

No Girls Treehouse

WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture in Edna Valley

Vince and I discovered tons of textures in this gem of a “Farm Stay” called Old Edna, the location of an artistic townsite in beautiful Edna Valley, CA.  They offer their guests fresh ranch eggs compliments of “chicken liver coop.”  The cottage we saw has a beautiful, functional kitchen.

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The texture-laden tree house offered hospitality to some, but not to everyone.

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I wonder if the sign applied to girl spiders.

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The Bluebelly Barn welcomed one and all.  In 1887 this was Tognazzini Dairy Barn.

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We arrived at closing time.   As we walked by this little building, out popped a flap.  The owner, Pattea Torrence, said, “I’m Old Edna.  Would you like a little tour of one of the houses?  I’m getting them ready for guests, but you look like you are having such fun taking pictures.  I hope you don’t mind that the bed isn’t made yet.”

We couldn’t resist such a friendly offer.

The texture of the gate highlights the romantic aura, but hides the textures of the house.
The texture of the gate highlights the romantic aura, but hides the textures of the house.

First, we visited the 1897 DeSolina House, the perfect bridal suite.  Here Pattea displayed amazing uses for garage sale finds.  My favorite was the copper table top headboard and overhead light.   She mixed textures in this display in ways I would never have dreamed if I’d had ten million years to think it over.

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My favorite little place was a Gypsy wagon her dad built for her mother, Pi Pi (pie pie).  Pattea’s father taught her that “the bond of romance can come in the form of structure.”  I fell in love with the structure and its story of the many textures of love which it bore.

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Waning sunlight adds a romantic texture to the cottage, but when Pattea opened the door, we stepped into another world of competing textures.

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See Kalev’s little tail in the bottom? She wanted to add her own texture to this post. :)

The auto-focus setting of my camera couldn’t bring all the varied textures into focus at the same time, but concentrated on the fabric lining the post. I don’t know that I could have chosen either.

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This was such wonderful experience, I know we will go back to Old Edna.

For more texture displays, go back to last week’s challenge.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: ZigZag

California mountain road contain numerous “hogbacks” as my friend, Darlene, calls the switchbacks on the way to Sequoia National Park. It turns out that those same kinds of roads exist on the Coastal Redwood Highway as well.  This park called Mystery Trees was about where our truck’s worn out transmission tired of lugging our new trailer. oregon trip 201320130915_0021138We rented a car and enjoyed the “break.”  Not only did the roads and the paths twist and turn, so did the trees, providing beauty and shade. oregon trip 201320130914_1105230R When we did get going again, the fog wanted us to slow down more than the zigzags. SFW Wildflower class20130420_93R These zigzags are closer to home – to anyone’s home.  I never tire of the zigzag shapes of tree branches.  These trees are in an educational property called Circle J Ranch owned by Tulare County Office of Education where I worked.  It is close to a tiny town called Springville, east of Porterville, CA.

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I apologize for the quality of this picture.  I heard that someone zig zagged on their responsibilities to posterity, and put the archives in the trash instead of the scanning machine, so this is the best picture I have.  In this newspaper picture it was the Kaweah (Kuh wee’ uh) River that zagged.

The headwaters for the Kaweah River begin their zig zag course out of the Great Western Divide where mountain summits rise to over 12, 000 feet.   The North Fork, which is just east of us begins at 9,000 feet.  If the river could go down the mountain in a straight line, the Kaweah River would drop in excess of 2 vertical miles in a distance of 30 linear miles.  The Kaweah River loses the same altitude as the Colorado River, but is 97% shorter.  It is the steepest river in the United States. Even with a dam to control flooding, in 1969 the water zig zagged its own way into the Woodlake Valley.  (Tilchen, Mark.  Floods of the Kaweah)

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To see more entries for this Zig Zag challenge, click the icon above.  :)

WP Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

Some things never change.  MOST people love being near water in the summer.

As some of you know, it is because of this blog that I have a contract from Arcadia Publishing company to write a pictorial history of Woodlake.  These are some pictures taken around 1911 that Chris Crumly, one of the book’s contributors sent me.

Long Beach summer day

I’m thinking that maybe the little guy wasn’t as crazy about the ocean as his father expected him to be.  Maybe big brother could encourage him.

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Can’t you just hear this conversation?  Is dad wheedling or demanding?  I think big brother echoes whatever Dad says, pleading in a higher, hopefully more convincing, voice.

Woodlake should be out in January.  I can’t thank the wonderful people who are helping me enough.

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Click logo for more Summer Lovin’ entries.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

A container holds something.  A car holds people.  Therefore a car is a container.

Smile, it was supposed to be funny.  :)
Smile, it was supposed to be funny. :)

Actually, the museum building is also a container.  It  contained mock buildings, which contained relics.

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Container is a noun.  Contain is a verb.  Vince and his son could hardly contain their excitement when we went to the California Auto Museum in Sacramento.  Uncontained excitement, like uncontained anything spills out and gets all over.

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Have you ever seen such intensity? I couldn’t contain myself from taking this picture.

Their excitement spilled all over me, and I loved the museum, too.  My pick for today’s visit – a classic Woody.  This container even contains a container in the back.

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If you ever get to Sacramento, don’t miss this well-kept secret.

wordpress-20141For more container posts click on the icon above.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Relic

In the rustic western town, Woodlake, California, and surrounding countryside, people often decorate with relics.  It takes artistic flair to arrange relics to look more than junky.

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I’m still at the junky level.  My friend Sally Pace has moved beyond that.  She and her husband host weddings and many free events at their rustic ranch.

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Mike pampers his favorite relic.  Not only is it in the barn, but it’s covered.

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The following 1940s picture is a relic even though Sally’s road looks almost the same.

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Sally’s house and all its decorative relics weren’t there yet.

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Woodlake Hardware boasts of nearly 100 years of service, making it somewhat of a relic, yet the building today hasn’t changed much since the 1940s when Morris Bennett started working there.

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Morris decorated the walls with relics from the past.

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Of course, the pair of skates is my favorite relic. Relic3

At 90+ Morris still works most days.

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He’s my hero, but he’s NOT a relic!  :)

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For more examples of relics, click the WP logo.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts

This picture contrasts not only light and dark, hot and cold, but has good and evil within the same object.

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The steamy waffle mingled  companionably with ice-cold ice cream tickling my palate!  The day I ate it, the waffle named Love, was good.  The next day when I stepped on the scale, it was evil.  Go figure! (That’s exactly what is happening to mine, one waffle at a time!)  :)

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Thanks Mary for introducing me to such a great sin. (There’s a naughty contrast.)

For more delicious waffle treats visit More Than Waffles in Encino, CA.

For more photo challenges click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra

Extra, Extra

Cousin Hal and I stopped momentarily in New Castle, DE to mark the landing-place of William Penn in 1682. We relaxed in a park on the Delaware River in this tiny historic village, named “Tomakonck,” place of the beaver, by the natives that settled there.   We didn’t see any beavers.  The extra entertainment we found in New Castle lurked in the lower left corner of my camera.

Serious conversation

Who knows what two ducks have to talk about.  But I don’t think it’s much different from any male and female that live in the same place.  His Eminence, the strong silent type, dominated the discussion early on, as Dolly Duck listened… silently, waiting her turn to talk.

Come back here

Sure enough, he quit quacking. Dolly started to speak. Maybe H.E. didn’t hear her.  Maybe he had just used his 10,000 quacks for the day, and it was time for a swim.  I don’t really know because I don’t speak “duck.”

Quacking Up

But the situation seemed vaguely familiar.

For “Extra, extra” reading, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

This is the perfect challenge to tell you about the wonderful interesting room I had in San Francisco a couple of months ago.  I wanted to support these people because they are from the Valley.  In the pictures the rooms look fabulous.

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In their defense, I drove in late, and was lucky to get a room.  I got the last available room, and it was in the basement.

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Whoever heard of rooms in the basement? Yes, it had a window.  It was two stories above the ground level.  I know, it confused me, too.  The view was unusual _______.

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I didn’t care about outdated wallpaper that didn’t match the vintage of the building.  My worst complaint wasn’t the bath tub.  In fact I looked forward to getting into the spa tub.  Until…

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I ran the water.

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before Marsha

I didn’t need a soak in tan that badly.  I fell into bed tired and dirty, and after breakfast the next morning decided to just leave.  I phoned ahead for my car because it could take up to 30 minutes to get it.  I went down up to the lobby twenty minutes later, and waited an hour an a half downstairs upstairs.

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As old hotels in San Francisco go, this one probably rates better than you might get from my review. My friend Sally rented a brochure room when she stayed there.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move

Transportation shapes our lives, allowing us to go on the move.  Going to a location by ship, rail, air or road transports us long distances from home in relative comfort.  Manny and I taxi from the airport to our hotel.

On the Move via Taxi

In Boston, Massachusetts I did not rent a car, but I moved along via  the T (metro) to the city, and meandered on foot along the red brick road indicating the Freedom Trail.

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Throngs of sightseers and Boston natives moved along with me on the Freedom Trail, some on bicycles, a few motor in vehicles, but the bulk of them moved on foot.

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Loud music and a crowd gathered in a square outside Faneuil Hall, the “Cradle of Liberty,” stopped many people on the move as they took time to listen, watch and participate in a street performance.

On the Move FT3We take the ability to move wherever we wish for granted.  Across the street from the Freedom trail towered four plexiglass columns, seeming out of place among all the 18th century brick buildings that marked the beginning of the freedom experiment in the New World.

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I detoured off the red line, still on the move to explore the incongruous structures.  A blast of warm air hit me as I moved into the first one as though I opened the glass door on my fireplace.

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Mesmerized I read the quote and then gazed through number after number printed on the tower wall. Trapped in the mid-twentieth century  symbolic chimneys of Auschwitz,  I fixed my eyes  on the Freedom Trail of the eighteenth century, and twenty-first century people on the move across the street.

Auschwitz chimney

Only in the total absence of freedom does one recognize the true value “On the Move”.

For more entries click the icon.

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WordPress Photo Challenge: Letters

The Pennsylvania Railroad Museum didn’t bother to post their rules in any language but English.  That may have been their downfall.

Manny can't read

Sometimes the letters aren’t right when you take a picture, and you have to make some changes.

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For more stories and pictures about letters click on the WP image.

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Word Press Photo Challenge: On Top

I like to be on top of things.  So does my cat, Scardy Kitty.

Scardy on top

Other animals feel the same way.  Maybe they feel safer if they are on top.

on top of the piling

To be on top signifies power, visibility, and with-it-ness.  Seldom is there a church or a government without a spiral or a dome.  We look up to and admire the tops of those buildings.

Church Top

Here is a church tower I saw at the picturesque town of New Castle, DE

Old South Meeting House

This Bostonian Congregational or Puritan church, the Old South Meeting House, where Boston’s citizens met and demanded their rights from the British officials has an aspiring top.

on top of the MA Statehouse

Governor Samuel Adams presided over building the new Massachusetts State House in 1795.  At the time leaders claimed that this beautiful building held the top, most prominent position in the nation. Notice the gold dome.  No one knows how much it cost; they probably paid top dollar for it.

Top2Workers like to be on top of their work.

on top of the train Supervisors like to be even higher.  We stood on top of a bridge at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum overseeing the work of these workers chipping ice into the cooler car.

on top of the horse

Manny is growing up to be a top-notch bear.  He loves to climb on top of things.  Hal suggested that he needs velcro to stay on top.  Maybe that’s what we all need.  What do you think?

Click here to see more examples of “on top.”

 

 

WP Photo Challenge: Reflections

These birds lined up on the log and posed for this picture so beautifully.  Were they preening for the morning, admiring their own reflection?  As I watched them, others pulled out their own cell phones and admired them as they reflected into the water along Bob Jones Trail on the way to Avila Beach.

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If I were a painter, I would paint this picture.  Have a beautiful day.  :)

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WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Object

We live in a natural aviary.  I learned Wednesday night that Bravo Lake, which I have featured several times on this blog, is one of the best places in CA to bird watch.  One morning last May I went out in our front yard and found a blue jay egg in the planter area lying on the bark.  Blue jays lay blue eggs – of course!

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“Pardon my dirty spot. My parents sit on me.”

The last time I found eggs in a hazardous place for them, I called the Wild Life Protective Services, and found out that birds have no sense of smell in their beaks, so don’t know that you have handled their eggs.  So I didn’t feel badly about experimenting with this one.   As I turned it, I noticed that it already had a chip off its shoulder.

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It rolled around for a while as I watched hands-free.  After that, I put it back in the bark where I found it because I had to leave.  By then it had another chip out and several cracks.

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It was gone when I came back.  Maybe it hatched.  We have a lot of birds at our house.

For more interesting objects click here.

What wildlife do you enjoy right in your front yard? Yes, even insects count if they bother or interest you enough to notice them!

Other Bravo Lake posts.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition

Juxtapositions, what a great word for a challenge.  Even greater to find pictures that fit the bill.  I went back to a trip to Solvang, CA.  Going through the outdoor corridors provided juxtaposition enough if you look at the Danish building across the street from the shaded corridor.  I added to the effect using Photoshop to place the entire corridor from where I was standing looking both directions.

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I love framing shots.  A good frame makes everything look more interesting to me.  Using a close up camera lens was my favorite shot, but the wide-angle revealed more juxtaposition of old and new.

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While we were there, I came across a beautiful quilt shop.  the quilts hung side by side, but one quilt was a particularly good example of juxtaposition of images.

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Solvang, CA is a beautiful area to visit in the spring, fall and winter.  By summer the temperatures soar into the 100s, and I can barely walk around.  According to my real estate sales person husband, Vince, there are currently ninety-six homes available in Solvang.  Many of these are trailers starting at $59,000.  Oh no, he found a house he liked for only $299,000.  Fortunately for our pocketbook, neither of us bought the objects of our affections.   What do you like to shop for, but rarely purchase?

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This last picture I chose for the wires.  The windmill created energy long ago, yet we still have to have wires to deliver it.  The sun is the juxtaposition in the second picture.  I just happened to notice that wires ran through this tree as well, so I tried lining up the wires for a different effect.  Ok, forget the lining up!  It’s the idea that counts.

I hope you like my juxtapositions.  Click here for more examples.

By the way – WATCH OUT for careless quilters!  This weekend we stayed in a hotel full of quilters.  About ten of them ambled across the street after the light going against them turned green.  I stopped to let them all cross, but the car coming over the hill behind me did not know why I stopped.  By the time he did, he had just enough time to jackknife his car and screech to a stop before hitting my car.  I feel grateful to be alive today, and even more grateful that I didn’t end up killing any careless quilters.

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows in Chicago

I’ve needed a place to post some of these wonderful pictures I took in Chicago.

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I bet they are seeing different scenery out of them than Randy and I did when we visited in October.

No snow in October
Randy was happy to report, “No snow in October.”  Is the strength of plexiglass affected by extremely cold temperatures?  hmmm

The temperature on October 12 in Chicago was over 80 degrees.   Randy and I took the Chicago River Architectural Tour, which I recommend.

Chicago_0128The height of these buildings made it almost impossible to photograph the entire building as we passed by slowly.  Can you imagine how many windows are in the Chicago high-rise buildings?  And each window represents many working Americans.  Amazing isn’t it?

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One of the wonderful things about windows is their ability to reflect.  These buildings look resplendent wearing nothing but their own sparkles.

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Some windows clothe themselves in their surroundings.

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Or can you just see through the building?  Windows fool us.

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Sometimes they create a scene, but we don’t accuse them of being temperamental.  :)

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Many of the buildings had so many windows we wondered how they stayed up.  We could hardly see their framework.

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Buildings without many windows depress me. I wonder if the people who work in this brick building suffer from depression more often than the ones in the buildings with lots of open windows?  Our eyes are tiny in comparison to windows, so does the size of the window matter?

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From the outside, windows that are not square and have details appeal to me.Chicago_0262

Architects love to decorate windows with balconies.  Inside, some folks want to cut off the view with blinds or shades.  Other folks leave their open.  Which way do you function better?  Windows open or closed?

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Up close these windows are probably flat, but from a distance they remind me of windshields because the building curves.  I wonder what drives the people inside?

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Simple rectangles decorate these windows.

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Even the bridges in Chicago had windows.  Engineers just didn’t bother to put glass in the windows.  Does glass make the window?

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For some challenges I have to go out and take pictures to have something to share.  I had the opposite problem here.  This was one city, and a fraction of the pictures.  My dad used to show slide shows when people came to visit.  I always fell asleep there were so many slides.

Dad droned, “And this is… ” zzzzzz

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Hope you stayed awake watching my blog show.  If you are still awake, there are lots more windows here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light!

Light makes me bubble with joy.  Let there be light!

STL lights on icy fountain

When I was a child, we had family December light-viewing rituals.  From early in the season to a few nights before Christmas our parents drove us around different Indianapolis neighborhoods to see all the light displays.  We would stop whatever we were fighting about and pile unhappily into the car.  A family of self-appointed judges, we debated which homes were the most beautiful.  Every year we returned to one house in the country with a dizzying amount of illuminated displays, our winner’s choice.

Another special treat for me was when Mom and I dressed in our warmest boots, coats and gloves and took a bus downtown to the Circle.  The two major department stores, L.S. Ayres and Block, decorated their display windows, with new animations which competed for our viewing pleasure.  My great-grandmother walked us next door to her neighbor’s who decorated under her tree every year adding some little thing until her entire living room became the winter wonderland.  I was enthralled as only a small child could be.

Lights are musical and theatrical.  They represent putting yourself out in the open, and once you’re out there others can see and judge your performance.  The History Girls loved Wicked.

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Lights represent joyousness and fun and are good year round.

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As I wrote this I realized that lights and judgement are interchangeable.  When we look at lights we generally make a positive judgement.  We judge the lights when they make an impression on us, and lights also make judging possible.  Artists highlight positive attributes, and dim less desirable areas, making the good seem better by contrast.  When there is too much light, we get overwhelmed and confused even if we think the lights are fabulous.  We can’t appreciate details when everything is equally bright.

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As an adult, I become that small child once again, excited when I see beautiful lights.  Just over a week ago, my social studies buddies from around the country met in St. Louis for the National Council for the Social Studies Conference.  Two friends of mine from San Diego and I had dinner, then took ourselves on a guided tour of the lit Sculpture Gardens in downtown.  Lights create magic, and make us festive and playful.

Cheryl and Marsha

I hope you enjoy your season of lights as much as I am already enjoying mine.  To see other light displays click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

How fortunate for me that the WP Photo Challenge is so unexpected.  I didn’t expect to have Monday alone in St. Louis, but most of my friends left on Sunday, so I had unexpected found time to explore on my own.  I like to go the seamy, trashy underbellies of a city when left to my own devices.  I know – that’s unexpected.  I was downtown with no car, and wanted to find the local river, you know the Mississippi.

It’s not a particularly well-known river in these parts.  That’s because it’s so hard to find.  That was unexpected.  There were no signs pointing the way, no tours advertised in the hotel lobby.  I had to ask a passerby how to get to the river front.

By the way, St. Louis is not the only place with strange statues, but you tell me, is she a bit odd?

Most cities flaunt their river fronts with chic shops and restaurants.  Some places combine the two like good book stores where you can browse among thousands of books, choose something, and sip a cup of coffee in between moments of distracted staring out the window at the beautiful river.

I found myself unexpectedly going in circles trying to find the Mississippi River in St. Louis.
I found myself unexpectedly going in circles trying to find the Mississippi River in St. Louis.

The first person directed me in the general direction towards the river.  I finally got close enough to catch a glimpse of his idea of, “Go straight down this street and you can’t miss it.”  Finally, I caught my first glimpse of the great Mississippi.  Can you find it?

I worried that the parking lot attendant would demand money from me for walking through his lot.
I worried that the parking lot attendant would demand money from me for walking through his lot.

Do detour signs make you dismal?  When you motor in unfamiliar cities, confident that your GPS or map skills would direct you to your destination, have you ever found that the recommended street was unexpectedly closed for construction?  Fortunately I was on foot because there were plastic construction fences everywhere. The closer I got, the more nervous I became that here would be no hole in the fence, and I would have to recalculate, make a u-turn, and find an alternate route – again!

Downtown foot traffic was light on Monday.  You should have seen it after the Rams v the Bears game on Sunday.
Downtown foot traffic was light on Monday. You should have seen it after the Rams v the Bears game on Sunday.  I was relieved to get closer and see that there was an exit.

Fortunately I saw one other person walking my way, so I knew he had come from the other side of the red barrier somewhere.  Once I squeezed past the plastic rope barricade I reached the chic restaurants and bars.  I don’t know who else could, though.  Streets in Atlanta proved hazardous to me and to Cheryl, a friend of mine, four years ago at NCSS, but those streets and sidewalks were silk roads compared to these.

Mind the street.  Spiky heels are not recommended.
Mind the street. Spiky heels are not recommended.

Have you ever driven through an unfamiliar town at night and it seemed that someone had hijacked all the street signs so that GPS, iPhones, and traditional maps were useless?  Now I know where they put those signs.

At night they must light these up and flash a hologram into the sky so drivers can see them.
At night they must light these up and flash a hologram into the sky so drivers can see them.

This must be very helpful when you walk with your handsome date in your platform heels down a dark street to go to a bar with a great dance floor.  Keep in mind that the sidewalk, though a little wavy, might have been walkable, but if you unexpectedly veered into the street, the least bit tipsy, you would probably not make it home with all your bones attached.

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It was so cold that your feet might have slipped on the icy bricks.  By morning only slush remained seeping between the cracks.

The reflections were good, but I missed seeing what hours they opened.  I think you went to the website to warn them you were coming before they sent someone to open the door.
The reflections were good, but I missed seeing what hours they opened. They didn’t expect visitors.  I think if you wanted to visit, you needed to go to the website to warn them you were coming so they could someone to open the door.

I wondered how any of the business in this area stayed afloat, even when there were no flood waters.  I unexpectedly encountered the famous St. Louis Wax Museum.  It looked particularly inviting with professional signs admonishing me to carry cash if I wanted to see their evil, life-like monsters.

I took a picture of their faces in case I needed to report them to the police.
I took a picture of their faces in case I needed to report them to the police.  It was unexpected to feel so molested in the middle of the morning.

There was some traffic in front of one restaurant.  Their tables remained outside for anyone who wanted to enjoy the stiff breezes taking the temperature down to about 12 degrees.  The traffic ambled along as it ate up the street.

The other street traffic jogged up to the vehicle and walked along beside it for a ways.
The other pedestrian, a construction worker, jogged up to the vehicle and walked along beside it for a ways – a real SMV.

I finally go to the river’s edge.  It lapped peacefully at the shore as though it might have been the beautiful McKenzie River in Oregon.  With the exception of my visit that morning, no one else visited that I saw.  One truck looked like it wanted to commit suicide.  I took several pictures to see if it actually completed the act, but it must have waited for me to leave before rolling to its demise.

See the truck thinking about jumping in?
See the truck thinking about jumping in?

I snapped a few pictures of the bricky bank and the boats navigating the murky waters, then headed back to catch my shuttle to the airport, satisfied that I had seen the unexpected seaminess of St. Louis.  Here are a few more pictures of the beautiful Mississippi to upload to your memory before I go.

What are some of your unexpected experiences in strange cities?  Click here for more of the unexpected.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

Layers conjures all kinds of images for me.  As a gal from the Midwest, I learned to dress in layers, but layers envelops us at even more basic levels than that.  These pictures all came from our Accidental Vacation to the Oregon Coast then down the northern California Coast.

For example, here is an example of the air we breathe.  When we can see it, we can tell it comes in layers.  The more layers you see, the less you see what’s behind the layers. In this case, a hillside obscured by layers.

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Klamath River in Klamath, California

Trees grow layer after layer, year after year.  When we harvest the tree, we shave layers off it to shape it into a form that pleases us.  Then we add layers of protective coating to it so that it stays beautiful forever.  If we add too many layers of even clear varnish, we lose the beauty, and it can chip as it becomes brittle.

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Myrtle Wood Factory next to the Oregon Dunes KOA north of Coos Bay, OR.

This next picture has so many layers that it distorts the picture.  Layers do distort.  This next picture has so many layers that I can’t even count them all.  Maybe you can.

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A window display in Florence, Oregon

How many layers did you count, and what were they?

To see more wonderful layers, click here.