New Year Wishes

happy_new_year

The wonder of surprise
As I opened the curtains
All beautiful and white
Now, that is for certain.

Quickly got dressed
With camera in hand
Headed into the world
Yes! Isn’t it grand?

Wishing you a year of happiness,
peace, joy, harmony and laughter.

About the photo: Taken with my Nikon at one of my favorite places near my house. The peaceful walk was invigorating as I enjoyed the beauty of snow covering the earth.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin'

fire
Ignite your inner fire to follow your dreams and passions.  All you need is a spark to get it started.

Think big!
Dream big!
Don’t compromise your happiness.
Discover YOU!

I greet the summer with great expectations!

Today I choose happiness, success and abundance.

About the photo: It was a cool, summer evening at the beach in Southeast Alaska where we were celebrating our friend’s wedding earlier that day. This beach is famous for its driftwood along the shoreline, so it was easy to make and feed this blazing fire.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Summer

sunset_freeThe best things in life are free.
Take time to enjoy them to the fullest.

Fire in the Sky

Looking out my window I could see the sky beginning to burst with color
Reaching for my camera I hurried out the door.
I didn’t know where I was going, just knew I would see something spectacular.
It was one of those summer sunsets that you just know is going to be amazing.
Before my very eyes, Mother Nature’s painting grew more beautiful with each moment as the sun sunk into the mountains.
Every time I look at this most favorite photo, I am in awe of Nature as I appreciate and enjoy it to the fullest.
And guess what? It’s free!!
 

More Happiness

zebra_happiness

Don’t wait around for other people
to be happy for you.

Any happiness you get
you’ve got to make yourself.

~ Alice Walker ~

To thine own self be true!
When you are honest with yourself, you will be honest with others. When you love yourself you will genuinely love others, you will help others as well as yourself. Be authentic with yourself and it will be easy to be authentic with others and they will love you back, authentically.
When you totally love yourself and are happy with your life, then you can return that affection with others. Create stability in your life before you can share it with the world. Look to yourself for happiness, love and laughter. No one else can give that to you but you.
Whatever it is that you are looking for, whether it is for more love, money, self-confidence or any other desire, when you commit to loving yourself first, there is an entire world out there waiting to open up to you. Just accept it.
Living authentically and lovingly takes courage and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. “What you think of me is none of my business!” Be completely honest with yourself. Make a commitment to be true to you first.
Then share your happiness and make someone smile.
 

Weekly Photo Challenge: The sign says . . . "Really Bad Advise . . . "

The sign says . . . “Really Bad Advise . . . Only $1.00”

bad_advise_crop

Where else but Venice Beach would you find a character like this?  OK, well, maybe New York City.
I couldn’t resist taking this photo and truthfully, this is the one I was searching for the Weekly Challenge that I just posted.
A group of us new-to-California-curious-folks decided to check out Venice Beach one Sunday afternoon.  What a great day of people watching, enjoying the sun and surf, listening to the drumming, watching the graffiti artists and eating all the delightful but absolutely not-good-for-you “boardwalk” food.
Then along came this guy holding his card board sign.  And of course, he wouldn’t let me take a picture without paying him $1.00 for some really bad advise.

Stinking Beauty

Today, I choose peace, quiet and stillness.

skunk_cabbage_peace

The peaceful scene in Spring by the Klawock River in Southeast Alaska on Prince of Wales Island.

skunk_cabbage_leaves

Early morning sunlight striking the new Skunk Cabbage leaf growth, untouched by the bears.
They must still be hibernating.

skunk_cabbage_sunlight

The bright yellow lilies pop their heads out of the ground with a splash of color welcoming Spring.
What a great way to escape the gray and dreary days of Winter.

skunk_cabbage_close

Close up and personal.

skunk_cabbage_raindrops

Raindrops on Skunk Cabbage leaves.  Adult leaves have been know to grow five to six feet in length.

More information about Skunk Cabbage can be found here. http://natureinstitute.org/pub/ic/ic4/skunkcabbage.htm

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

giving_thanks_salmon_skunkcabbageLunchtime doesn’t get much better than this!!!

Fresh Coho, onions and beach greens wrapped in skunk cabbage leaves,

cooked over an open fire on the beach the Tlingit way.

A question was asked by a reader (below) about what Skunk Cabbage tastes like.  Here’s some information about that …. probably more than asked for but very interesting . . .
Skunk Cabbage is botanically known as Lysichiton americanus.  It grows in the muskeg and wet wooded areas in the Pacific Northwest and the Island where I lived, Prince of Wales Island.  It’s called Skunk Cabbage because of its distinctive “skunky” order that permeates the air.  The smell attracts flies and beetles for pollination.
Most people consider it a weed but it is the harbinger of spring for bear food.  They eat it when they first come out of hibernation.  When we walked in the woods we would know when spring was about to arrive because the stalks would have been nibbled upon.  That’s when we would start making loud noises to scare away the bears.  Who wants to encounter a groggy, sleepy-eyed bear just waking up from a long winter’s sleep, especially before his morning coffee, I mean Skunk Cabbage snack?
Natives used the plant for medicine to cure burns and swelling and in times of famine when most of the plant was consumed.  It has a spicy or peppery taste and not suggested that it be eaten because it contains calcium oxalate crystals, which give your tongue and throat a prickling sensation that can result in intestinal irritation and even death if eaten in large quantities.
Its large, wax-type leaves were used by the Native in food preparation and storage.  In the photograph, we used it to wrap our salmon and bake under a fire.
And that’s the story of Skunk Cabbage.  I have more photographs of the beautiful, calla lily-like yellow flower that I will share in future posts.  I used to bring them into the house to enjoy their cheery, sunny color.  I didn’t mind the smell but it was offensive to others, especially after being in the house for a few days.