Category Archives: photo

close up


Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.
~Maori Proverb

The picture above is a close-up of the lime tree that’s blooming on my porch right now.  I wish I could send the smell along with the image–it’s divine.  🙂


IMGP7436Lately I’ve been meeting a lot of people “in real life” that I’ve only known online previously.  Many have remarked that I look quite different than my photos portray me (most say I look younger than my photos, which is certainly flattering).  So….I’m curious…for those of you who know me in meatspace, would you be willing to take a look at the flickr photoset of my pictures and tell me which one(s) look the most like me? I’m looking to update my various online avatars and want to do so with pictures that are both flattering and more accurate as to my real ‘look.’

Also, if you’re a photographer, you’re more than welcome to have a go at helping me take some better pictures–but I should reveal upfront that I’m not always the most agreeable subject (as in the photo above where I got quite tired of posing for a friend who was trying to take a serious picture of me…)


Picture above taken by Jessawhy.

a soft landing

I feel like the universe has offered me a soft landing space from the trauma of the past 2 weeks, in the home of a new friend in a new city for me to explore.  Here are a few images from my current life…

Sunlight and spectacular gardens all around the space where I’m working:

An enclosed garden porch, perfect for relaxing/reading/contemplating:

Oh, and just-so-coincidentally, one wall of that porch is outfitted with climbing holds:

And the bedroom where I’m sleeping more soundly than I have in a very long time (note: there’s a gorgeous print to the right of the bed called “Persephone” that I find particularly charming):

Other little serendipities include a persimmon tree, two cozy kitties who are keeping me company, nearby train tracks, morning light through tall windows, a new evening hangout cafe, and the comfort of knowing that I’m getting my work done despite the emotional drain of the divorce.

A photo essay for Catgirl

Today is Catgirl’s birthday, so she’s really been on my mind for the past few days. At times like these I want to yell from the rooftops just how wonderful my kids are, but words can’t really even contain the awesomeness of these kidlings. So how about a few pictures?

When she was about a year old, the kids went with John to Hogle Zoo and had some photobooth fun (she had such big brown eyes and was curious about everything!):
the kids with Dad, Hogle Zoo, 1997

Even as a toddler, she loved to play dress-up. Back then that usually meant dresses (and usually they were purple–this is an exception to that rule):
Like a Bag Lady

Here’s Catgirl on a fancy dress-up day in kindergarten. With her very best friend (they still keep in touch online even though they’ve been at different schools since first grade)
catgirl with best friend

Catgirl has quite a sweet tooth, and her favorites have always been berries:

She loves the ocean and the beach. When she was small we would spend hours just digging around in the sand. Here she is on Christmas Day at Crystal Cove state beach a few years ago:

This, taken just as she entered her teenage years, with her post-braces smile:
Striking a pose

And most recently, Catgirl’s award-winning self-portrait:

a few of my favorite things…

tea rainbow, originally uploaded by pilgrimgirl.

I keep a flickr photo set I call “pretty,” that’s filled with some of my pictures that I’ve chosen simply because they make me happy when I look at them. Most have vibrant colors or they commemorate a special moment. If I’m having a hard day I’ll click over to that file and browse for a few minutes. It rarely fails to cheer me.

Do you have any similar photo folders or things you do to cheer yourself?

flash poetry: flower haiku

farmers market flower seller, originally uploaded by pilgrimgirl.

It’s been awhile since I attempted some flash poetry. Because I need to get my creative juices flowing today, I decided to try my hand at a 10 minute haiku. (For those new to flash poetry, the point isn’t to be good, it’s just to have some fun by setting a timer for 5 or 10minutes and seeing what flows…):

Indecisive, I
take pictures, without buying
from the flower stand.

Mary Monday: on beauty and god

this crab has leopard spots, originally uploaded by pilgrimgirl.

On Friday I shared a favorite poem, “Pied Beauty”, with friends. It was the first time I’d read it aloud since college and I’d forgotten the spell of Hopkins’ words:

Pied Beauty

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

As I traveled this weekend to speak at a conference and spend time with friends (such beautiful souls), I stayed up far too late and awoke early each morning. Despite that, I was rarely exhausted–as I was absorbing the energy of everyone around me, infected with the excitement of hearing their stories. I suspect that my travel-mania and joy in having new adventures is as potent as any drug…

Revisiting my Mary Oliver this morning, the prose poem “West Wind” resonated with me. This weekend I listened to tales of many spiritual journeys. Tales of joy, abandonment, fear, ambivalence, faith and struggle. Some were hard for me to hear as they hit so close to home. Others reminded me that my journey is unique among many paths. And thus, Mary’s words about the pull of an embodied god feel so true this morning…

And the speck of my heart, in my shed of flesh
and bone, began to sing out, the way the sun
would sing if the sun could sing, if light had a
mouth and a tongue, if the sky had a throat, if
god wasn’t just an idea but shoulders and a spine,
gathered from everywhere, even the most distant
planets, blazing up. Where am I? Even the rough
words come to me now, quick as thistles. Who
made your tyrant’s body, your thirst, your delving,
your gladness? Oh tiger, bone-breaker
oh tree on fire! Get away from me. Come closer.

Picture above is the shell of a crab from a ramble on the beach in Cape Cod. I loved how every detail of this shell was so artful–how the closer I got, the more there was to see. And now that I’m home, the pull of the ocean is so strong I can hardly sit in my chair to write…


when I weighed 85lbs, originally uploaded by pilgrimgirl.

This was just one page of the 1200 or so medical records that I viewed over the last few days while in the archives at the Denver Children’s Hospital, where my osteosarcoma was treated 25 years ago.

This record cracked me up when I recognized my own handwriting on two of the line items (the rest of the form was penned by my very-favorite nurse Penny). As I was considering why and when I’d written on the intake form, I had a vague flashback memory of sitting on the hospital bed next to Penny, joking together as we filled out the form. I think she had to leave the room for a minute to attend to another patient and I wrote in those answers myself, the “no hospital food” and “LOTS OF BACK RUBS!!!!!!”

After viewing so many pages of records that were about me but where my presence was only indirect, it was such a pleasure to see my own handwriting. It also made me remember the little ways that I took control of my experience in the hospital.

Oh, and one more thing about Penny: she’d been a massage therapist before she was a nurse. And she did give the very best backrubs and headrubs (one good thing about being bald was that there was no hair to interfere with a vigorous head massage)…