inspire

Views

When I travel I take a lot of pictures. Mostly to capture memories. However, sometimes I stumble upon great shots when the photo reel is reviewed later. For this post I decided to post a few of my favorite or special views from near and far over the past several months along with a few quirky shots I’m tossing in for either humor or flair.

This gem came from a recent RV trip in the Tennessee mountains. The glows at different times of day were nothing short of amazing. The rays between the clouds reflected so nicely off the water. The mountains in layers was a great accent to create the overall beautiful view. From high spots to low spots each area we visited highlighted the water, the mountains and the trees just a little differently but so beautiful.

Coffee art. Oh how I am a fan. I have no clue how to make such art but I really can’t refuse some warm cups full of fancy coffee drinks with artistic flair. This gem was compliments of a local coffee shop owned by a friend.

Two pals just horsing around. No pun intended, right? This photo comes straight from 3Splitz Farm in Blairsville, Georgia. I may be a fan of the owners but there is nothing more beautiful than seeing horses enjoy a play day in the pasture. Whether up close like this or viewing from the deck above, the unique views are always a pleasure.

It’s not your basic to do list. As it it’s not on paper or a whiteboard. It’s permanently tattooed on a person’s inner thigh documenting cool milestones they are celebrating. A reminder of strength, courage and resilience. Red indicating complete. Blank showing what’s on the horizon. In this instance the person took out a thin sharpie to note completion of the 50k race since it’s not time to re-ink the tattoo yet. This is a fun one to think about.

My dinner plate. Grilled salmon, broccoli, zucchini and the little lemon for flavor. Folded up in aluminum foil, this is a quick and easy healthy dish to add into your week. So tasty. So filling. Just so happens to be healthy.

This photo is one for the record book. A tourist visit to Voodoo Donuts in Portland, Oregon to see what all the hype was about. Wasn’t I surprised when I was video chatting with my mom on donut selections only to see a donut called Cock N’ Balls! Design no less than a dick or a penis. And yes I did buy one and traveled home by plane with it to show my friends. Yes, that I did.

I’m a sucker for a sunset. I’m a sucker for reflection photos in water. Every second seems so different. The colors change so quick. This was a favorite from a summer trip out west. A beautiful day with friends and family exploring new destinations.

A view from the summer. The reflection of the clouds. The stillness of the morning while the water was idle. The old boardwalk posts sitting there serving no purpose added to the ambience. The still and calm of this photo keeps it as one of my favorites.

On the streets of New Orleans this spring . My Golden friend was earning money flipping people off. This is real life. This photo brings up so many questions for who thinks of this idea? Who puts money on the bucket? Does this person make a living this way? For now I will just think since the person doesn’t flinch. Rather he just flips off the passers by.  Would you drop a dollar or two in the bucket?

I’m ending this photo reel on a unicorn note. A colorful collection of sticky notes. An accent pen. All together with a miniature unicorn piñata. A cool gift set I received that brings nothing but giggles when I look at it. I don’t so much use the items for their functionality, rather I use it to decorate a fun office space I have. Just because.

I hope these 10 shots brought you some enjoyment. Maybe they made you curious. Possibly they could cause you to take a trip. Whatever you fancy, I’m happy to have shared these few moments I captured and noted as views. My views. 

adventure

Girls, Ghosts, and a Graveyard

It’s pumpkin spice season at Starbucks. The smell of fall in is in the air. Kids are back in school. Now it’s time to do dust off the craziness of summer and rush in fun fall festivities.

This weekend was something new. An adventure planned for the girl gang to step out of their comfort zone. Dining at a restaurant adorned with the name Six Feet Under. A creepy cemetery tour. Why not? This weekend seemed like a perfect time to have the shit scared scared out of me. Off we went, almost leaving the safety of suburbia for the sin of the city.

Well, I almost went. The others actually went. The first warning came from the driver. “I must warn you I’m willing to drive but I drive like a blind person.” Hmmm. Sounds perfect for this fall adventure. Unfortunately Chick 1 had to bail to catch a flight on a whim, but no fear Chick 2 was ready willing and able to jump into this spooktacular adventure. As the torch passes from one scared Chick to one unphased Chick, you will see how this wild tale unfolds.

I will be waiting in anticipation to read the conclusion of the graveyard tales with you. I may or may not be chasing ghosts in my sleep until then….

Chick 2 taking over. We arrived on the misty morning at the front gate of Oakland Cemetery. The forecast called for rain and clouds, which in most cases might have been a disappointment, but in this case it fit perfectly with our funereal outing. We made a brief visit to the gift shop which was filled with laughably morbid treasures like Southern funeral cookbooks and sympathy cards. After breezing through, we started our tour.

It had been about a decade since I had been to Oakland. And before that, I had visited in 7th grade. This was an old old cemetery even then, so you can imagine the cracked walkways, faded headstones, and mossy ground it is filled with now.

Our guide was a quirky woman who had led tours there for many years. Our tour was focused on stories of women buried there. We walked gingerly between the rows. Simple stones to elaborate tombs and everything in between. We saw the resting places of celebrities like Margaret Mitchell and Kenny Rogers (not a woman, but his fame made him a detour). We heard about people who weren’t famous but shared great love stories, made important contributions like leading the first black PTA, or just did notable things. We noticed stones and little elephants piled on grave markers. The elephants were on a stone that marked the resting place of a woman who took in many orphans. We learned that elephants are some of the only animals that look after orphans in nature. Interesting.

There were so many symbols on the graves. Circles stand for eternity. Closed books and open books. Swords and pillows. The lambs on the graves of babies. Each with a different meaning behind them. Intricate stories for the lives represented. An attempt to capture what was most important about them in life, or even their hopes in death.

Different sections for different kinds of people. A section for Confederate soldiers. A Jewish section. An African American section. Interesting how cemeteries reflect the segregation in life at times.

Since we mostly looked at the graves of women, I noticed how often the women in the cemetery were remembered only in relationship to what they did for others. One man had many accomplishments listed, author, Southern gentleman, and so on. On the other side of the stone, the woman was listed as “loving and supportive wife.” Is that all we remember her for?

It also made me wonder what I would want to have on my tombstone. What would I want my legacy to be?

My group and I wandered in the dreary drizzle. We meandered. We took photos. We smelled plants. We asked questions and just took in the ambiance. A sunny day wouldn’t have fit, to be honest.

We capped it off with a delicious lunch and a surprise pastry and coffee treat. All in all, a great day of learning, friendship, and both making and thinking about memories. How would you like to be remembered?

celebrations, family

Whirlwind Weekend

My youngest daughter joined a college club lacrosse team. One of the fun parts of this is travel. First up: an away play day in Nashville that just so happened to be my birthday weekend. That was an easy sell!

It was harder to find a traveling companion. Close family and favorite travel buddies couldn’t make it for one reason or another. I was kinda pouty until just a few days before, when the daughter I was going to watch figured out she could stay with me. We traveled to Nashville separately, but after her games we were able to spend the rest of the weekend together.

It was a whirlwind weekend of packed with fun. I had most of it mapped out before we met up. I started with morning coffee at Dutch Brothers, a perennial fave. Longtime readers know that I love to visit local coffee shops on my travels, but Dutch would be an exception. It’s a national chain, yes, but there isn’t one anywhere near my hometown. I can’t resist their positive energy or their soft top!

Then I found my way to one of the Five Daughters Bakery locations, which happened to be tucked in to a cute local marketplace. Most of the shops were closed at that early hour, but there were still some fun murals and photo opps. A handful of their hundred-layer doughnuts and I was off to the next destination.

After that, a super quick visit to Cheekwood to catch a glimpse of their fall pumpkin festival displays. I was the first one through the gates that morning, and more than likely the first to leave in time to make the start of the lacrosse games. Still, it was soothing and smile-inducing to see the beautiful plants and festive surroundings. I’m sure I could have spent a whole day there, but even just that small sliver of time made me feel lighter and carefree as I welcomed my favorite season of the year.

After lacrosse, we made a quick visit to a Nashville food hall with a close family friend. It had live music and a wide variety of local eateries – something to please everyone. Then we spent Saturday night on a “touristy” thing by visiting the Grand Old Opry. Pretty classic Nashville, but my daughter had never been. It was a great variety show, even if we hadn’t really heard of any of the acts. Wonderful entertainment. (An evening at the Bluebird Cafe is still on my Nashville wish list! Didn’t get tickets this time but I’ll keep trying.)

After the show, we drove about an hour to Cookeville. This brought us close to the next morning’s adventure, a kayak to Burgess Falls. The paddle was low key and not too technical, but it was pretty long. The scenery was pretty and then it was a short hike to the falls since the river waters recede a bit in the autumn months. The bottom of the falls are only reachable by kayak or hike, which made the view all the more sweet.

Time with my youngest becomes more precious each year as she moves through college. Long car rides leave time for us to chat and catch up. We talked this time about how, as time goes on, we’ve learned that we would rather have fewer things and more experiences together.

Just like my older daughter, I can hear that her dreams will take her to live in faraway places in the coming years. This makes these experiences and memories all the more sweet. Time and attention (and shared adventures!) are the best gifts we can give one another.

adventure

Sand For Days

As part of my coastal Oregon series, this particular writing is dedicated to the amazing experience I had on the Oregon Sand Dunes. So much fun that I had to write about it in just one post. All by itself.

I really didn’t know what to expect. I really didn’t visualize the beauty of the dunes or the depth of how far the dunes stretched. I did however catch a glimpse of the dunes roadside where there was an enormous hill of sand with a four wheeler going down it. I silently thought to myself no way. That is way too high for me.

We were lucky to get on the ATV tour as that was the best way to see the shore and the dunes in what I called the safest option for our trio to navigate the dunes as first timers. 30-40 mph on the climbs and the descents were so fast I didn’t even check the speedometer. 26 miles we rode round trip. Nobody flipped. Nobody got stuck. It was a success. This Bay Bridge photo is hard to capture in a photo meaning the in person view seems 1,000 times nicer. 

So much beauty. Such a thrill ride. One of travel buddies said this is definitely a top 10 experience. I would have to agree. I will definitely find my way back to this coast to tackle the dunes again. Not sure when but I will make time for sure.

We had a great guide and we even did some bowl rides at the end. It is hard to explain but you ride the dunes sideways up and down like you were in a bowl. You have to hit the right speed and maintain or your could roll! Just an exhilarating experience. This is also very different from the straight up climb to the straight down descent where you actually can’t see what is ahead of you when you then begin this descent.

This adventure covers the dunes and plenty of play time riding. From the natural bumps or jumps on the main road trail to the coolness of passers by. Everyone added flair to their personal rides with cool flags, political flags, neon lights, and so on.  Our adventure also covered the trip to the ocean to ride along the water. This was another breathtaking sight to see. The large ocean waves were just feet away pounding the shore while you zipped by. There was a fog in the air making the visibility low but the air was cool and crisp off the water. 

This adventure comes with a few $$$ on the review but if you take into account gas prices, the equipment used on the terrain and the guide it is well worth it. The family that owned our rental company was super focused on customer service which I also appreciated.

Can’t wait to come back to this coast and hit more spots along the way. Such a beautiful place to spend some time off the grid.

nature, working women

The Old Barn

This old barn sits on a property I frequent. It is old and dumpy to say the least. However I love taking pictures of this old barn. Whether I choose natural light, black and white or some variation thereof, I am happy. Each view is special. Each moment captured tells a story.

Sun rising. Sun setting. Fall or spring. Each season and each time of day makes it look a little different. I don’t know what year it was built and I definitely don’t know of its history. I can tell animals were fed there at some point due to the feeding troughs inside, but that’s about it.

The barn’s aged wood makes for a great photo backdrop. The unfinished look is all the rage for photographers. This still shot is just from my camera roll but it still shows the beauty of its imperfections up close. Even the weeds off to the side add character.

This angle shows the door up close. Once practical but now ornamental. Again a beautiful backdrop but yet so different the the previous shots. Somebody’s junk is always another’s treasure. For this barn is junk to many but it’s a hidden treasure to me.

The silver tone above again highlights the barn a little different. Just the angle makes the size and shape seem a little different. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this little dumpy barn is just a little happy spot for me. I can sit by with my old truck and think about what it once was. I can drift by it while doing my lawn trimming and sigh that it’s all mine.

Not sure how many heavy wind storms it will hold up against but for now I’m enjoying the sight of it. One day I might just have the photos. Time will tell. Just a girl and her red barn story today.