Goodbye November, 2016

spainportugal3-816-editIt’s winter in Oregon now.  Not officially – the calendar has its own rules and the official start of winter is still 21 days away.  But storms are rolling into the Pacific Northwest.  Last week we had 3-4 inches of rain.  The mountain passes require traction devices.  Our local outdoor store, REI, is sending me emails reminding me to buy snowshoes and winter parka’s.

Instead I nourish my winter soul with a walk down this lane in Obidos, Portugal.  This is what morning looks like in Obidos.  In a few hours this quiet lane will be filled with hundreds of tourists.  Obidos is a beautiful walled town – wonderfully preserved with gorgeous light and color.  A photographer’s dream.

I love early mornings when I travel.  I love to see foreign places wake up… delivery trucks and street cleaners are so much more romantic away from home.  On a rainy Portland day – dark and dreary – I am going to pause and step into this picture.  Remember the hours I wandered the blissfully quiet streets of Obidos.

 

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Thanksgiving means never having to say calories

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Betty makes her annual appearance at our Thanksgiving.  She always provides sage advice on all things pie, turkey and gravy related.

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A small turkey makes all the difference and it was good!

 

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Its not Thanksgiving without the Brown n’ Serve rolls.  The rolls were the object of our only mishap… thanks to yours truly.  I took out the rolls without proper hand protection and as the pan was burning my hand – I yelped in pain and the hot tray and rolls went flying!

But Mom made the day with her smile….

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That’s called burying the best part of the day at the bottom of this blog post.  Thanks for scrolling down and celebrating my mom!

 

Happy Thanksgiving

We should do this holiday more often!  A day dedicated to gratitude and eating food with family and friends deserves to be celebrated more than once a year!

On Instagram (@thistleamy) I have devoted this month’s pictures and my picture taking to gratitude.  Here is what I am celebrating in November, 2016 (always subject to change) – this could also be put to song by Julie Andrews…

Fall colors…

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Winter storms at the Oregon Coast

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My running shoes – they keep my feet happy!

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Coffee (cheesy but so true)

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Great bookstores like Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon and City Lights in San Francisco

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Birds and bird watching

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Beautiful bridges (we have many in Oregon)

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And I do love German beer…

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So much to be thankful for… most important of all.. my family and friends and all the wonderful people in my life.

And thank you! For reading, for contributing to our creative community that spans the world!

 

 

 

Sense of Place Series – Introduction

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What is the essence of a place? What makes your town, your state, your country unique to you and those who live or visit?  This sense of place fascinates me and I find myself exploring this idea in the way I look at the world. You could say capturing place is my creative muse.

As I write this I sit in a Stumptown Coffee House in Portland, Oregon, USA, in the early morning hour before the work day.  Perhaps this time and place is routine for some, but I cherish this moment to explore the sense of place right here.

At this hour it is delivery trucks, runners, and the early shift change at the hospital two blocks away.  Overalls and scrubs, running tights and the occasional dog, all line up for their morning coffee. The baristas all have a story that speaks to this place – most hold two jobs – one that pays the bills, the other that feeds their passion.

Like many of us who love travel, I love the idea of exploring a new place and discovering and learning something new and exciting.  But we don’t need to travel far or even travel at all to explore sense of place.

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This is the first post of what I hope is a long exploration of sense of place – here in Portland – my home town, in the great state of Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest, the western United States and if I am lucky – farther afield.

I invite you to explore your home town with the same curiosity.  I would love to hear what makes your town unique and what is the “sense of place” where you are right now.

Thank you for reading and for joining me on this journey.

How freaky is life?

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On the eve of our presidential election – I am doing what I can to focus on the distant horizon.  Or distract myself processing pictures from my recent trip.  One of these pictures of a young couple stopped on the sidewalk of Barcelona gazing up at the Sagrada Familia – had me humming the Four Seasons song “You’re too good to be true… can’t take my eyes off of you.”

That lyric just rang true for me when looking at this picture.  How many times have we been stopped in our tracks while traveling – stunned by the marvel in front of us?  Although the Sagrada Familia is not my favorite sight or even my favorite cathedral – I understand its magnetic draw.  It is really hard to not stare it.

So hearing that song a mere 15 minutes later on the coffee shop radio – made me think how freaky life is.  We don’t stop enough and just set our eyes on something marvelous.  Something we can’t take our eyes off of…

Sharing Winter

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I was settling in to do all those chores that keep the house functioning.  And clean.    I looked outside and saw that the light was perfect – but changing quickly.  I am fortunate to live close to this beautiful place – Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Portland.

A great way to spend the end of a rare rain-free winter day – and I was not the only one with this idea.  It was nice to walk through the garden and see others, like me, trying to capture this beautiful winter moment.

I like this shot with this stranger taking an iPhone shot of the creek and bridge.  With the drapery of that weeping willow surrounding him in this kind of veil of nature.

For one brief second – this stranger and I shared this park, this winter beauty.  We are not alone.