Oh darn! I seriously thought finding the images for today’s post would be easy. I scoured through photographs downloaded on my laptop. I racked my brain for possible photos in one of my external hard drives. I seriously have thousands of pictures, but do the images depict the color purple?
We enjoyed a glorious spring here in Phoenix, Arizona. We had above average precipitation and near perfect temperatures. The desert heat is upon us now, but I can still revel in the beautiful wildflower season we had. I tried getting out and about with the camera as much as possible.
Did I capture purple wildflowers or do they appear more blue?
My neighbor has the most beautiful tree adorned with an abundance of purple blooms. I’m not sure what kind of tree it is though. I really should download one of those apps on my iPhone that identifies a plant or flower.
As I sit in my comfy chair writing this post and occasionally glancing out the window to admire this beautiful tree, I struggle to think of other purple objects. Well, that is until my attention is drawn to the kitchen. The sweet aroma of baked goods still wafts in the air from the freshly baked coffee cake removed from the oven just a short time ago.
Blueberries or Purple-berries?
In my opinion, no Sunday brunch is complete without a tasty coffee cake. And I make one heck of a yummy Blueberry Coffee Cake, or so I’ve been told.
Blueberries definitely look blue when whole, but once we cut into them the color appears more purple. Am I right? Plus, after working with blueberries, my hands are definitely stained purple. Thus, let’s call them blueberries when they are whole and purple-berries once we start working with them … that is cutting them or pureeing them. #purple 😁
My hands can attest to the purple hue every time I make this coffee cake. I usually use frozen blueberries and after dipping my hands into the bag to retrieve the blueberries to add to the batter, I have to wash my hands immediately or else risk spreading the purple hue onto other surfaces.
Mother’s Day Brunch
Today is Mother’s Day and my favorite meal to celebrate the day is breakfast. My daughter is making brunch for me today and we’ll toast with mimosa’s. Nothing like a little mother-daughter time to bring a smile to my face. Of course, we’ll indulge in a slice (or two) of this delicious blueberry coffee cake.
And it would be just plain rude of me if I didn’t share the recipe for this scrumptious coffee cake, especially after showing you the pictures. Be sure and let me know if you give this recipe a try.
2 cups all-purpose 3/4 cup granulated sugar 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt
Wet Ingredients for cake 1 large egg 3/4 cup milk (or water) 1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen, do not thaw, use frozen)
CRUMB TOPPING 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 cup butter, slightly softened and cubed
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. For the cake: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a large measuring cup, whisk together egg and milk then add to dry ingredients. With a spatula or wooden spoon start mixing then add the melted butter. Once all ingredients are incorporated, fold in the blueberries.
Transfer to a greased baking pan (9×9 square non-stick or 10″ cast-iron skillet). Set aside.
For the topping: In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a fork forming small pea-size crumbles. When all the butter is combined forming a crumbly mixture, top the cake evenly with the crumble, then place the cake into a preheated 375-degree oven for 30-35 minutes. (Do not overbake). Serve warm or at room temperature.
Religion is a fascinating subject. The rich and varied traditions people have developed throughout history in their search for spiritual truths can be a divisive and contentious matter.
I’m comfortable with my personal faith yet intrigued by what others believe. I’d like to think I’m open-minded to the understanding of other religions or spiritual beliefs and thus enjoy visiting various sacred sites.
“Seek truth and you will find more questions than answers.”
We’re asked to showcase photographs of churches and spiritual centers for this week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge. I immediately knew which places I wanted to share.
French Gothic Architecture
When our daughter was still living in Colorado, we’d enjoy visiting. One year we were able to spend the summer a mere twenty-minute drive from downtown Denver. Sundays turned into our city hiking days. We discovered so many interesting places by walking up and down various streets.
One of my favorite discoveries was the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The architecture is reminiscent of cathedrals found in Europe, and I was thrilled to explore this one in Denver, Colorado.
Spanish Colonial Architecture
No visit to Tucson, Arizona, would be complete without stopping by Mission San Xavier del Bac. Although my taste tends to lean toward the European cathedral type of architecture, I’m in love with this Spanish Colonial structure.
From an architectural point of view, I’m intrigued by how different Mission San Xavier del Bac is in comparison to the Cathedral Basilica. Both serve Catholic parishioners both are rich in history, but that’s where the similarities appear to end.
Stunning structures that amaze me!
Spiritual Enlightenment and a Vortex
Sedona, Arizona, is well known for its breathtaking landscape, but that’s not all. Among the beautiful red rock are vortexes. A vortex is thought to be a swirling center of energy that is conducive to healing, meditation, and self-exploration. There are several such sites located throughout the Sedona area, one of which is located at the Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park.
The stupa is one of the oldest forms of sacred architecture on earth, dating back to the time of the Buddha, 2600 years ago. A stupa is considered to be the living presence of the Buddha and as such represents the Mind of Enlightenment. Stupas have been built to avert war, end famine, and promote prosperity and well-being. Their sole purpose is to bring benefit to all living beings.
Whenever my daughter and I visit Sedona, we always set aside time to visit the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park. We make sure to walk the trails around the property and stop by the ‘vortex’. I’m not sure what it is, but we always walk away feeling a bit more peaceful inside.
“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, man cannot live without a spiritual life.” – Buddha
I knew at a very young age that I enjoyed travel and wanted to travel regularly once I became an adult. When I was seven years old, our family of five returned to Germany for a three-week visit with relatives. It was during that eight-hour Lufthansa flight from Chicago to Frankfurt that I informed my parents that I was going to be a Stewardess when I grew up.
While serenading an airplane barf bag, my folks asked me, “Are you sure you want to be a Stewardess when you grow up”? In between episodes, I’d nod my head up and down while trying to utter a yes.
Fifteen years later, I found myself rushing down the aisle of a DC-9 aircraft to the rear lavatory. A few minutes later, before exiting the lav, I rinse my mouth, straighten the silk scarf tied around my neck, and make sure my hair isn’t out of place. Without missing a beat and smile on my face, I continue up and down the aisle along with another Flight Attendant preparing the aircraft for landing … all drinks and trash collected and seats and tray tables in an upright position.
Needless to say, just because my dream of becoming a Flight Attendant had come true didn’t mean my motion sickness went away. During those first few weeks on the job, I became well acquainted with the meaning of dry heaves. The quarterly weigh-ins were a breeze for me. Yes, in the 1980s, Flight Attendants had to maintain a certain weight, and every quarter we were required to meet with our supervisor to be weighed and have our uniform, nails, makeup, hair, and overall appearance inspected.
For this week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge, Terri asks us to share images of roads, paths, and streets. The paths we choose in life are many and can take us on adventures beyond our dreams.
Eventually, the rush to a restroom subsided and I eased into my dream job. This new job would open opportunities to travel the world but I needed to be free which meant breaking off an engagement. I hadn’t been happy in that relationship for quite some time but what needed to be done had been put on the back burner until I had regained my strength from all the motion sickness.
I wanted to be footloose and fancy-free. I wanted to enjoy my new travel career and this path in life appeared perfect, I was in the process of unraveling an unhappy relationship and the last thing I wanted was to jump right back into ANY relationship. Ah, sometimes the universe has other plans.
There’s something about a tall man in a navy blue uniform!
There was no denying the immediate chemistry felt when our eyes locked. Our paths had crossed at the perfect timing. Little did we realize back then the many roads and adventures that lay ahead.
We had chosen a path in life together. That doesn’t mean we never pulled in opposite directions. Lord knows, there were plenty of times we disagreed on which road to take …. figuratively and literally. But when all is said and done, it has been one heck of a ride.
Who knew, a former Pilot and Flight Attendant would eventually move into an RV full-time and refuse to set foot on an airplane ever again. Well, one should never say never, but there’s nothing like RV travel to really experience a landscape as well as life.
The roads and paths are many. Some are more enjoyable than others but all are worth exploring.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” – St. Augustine
The weather across the U.S. this past winter has been absolutely crazy and unusual. We have seen just about every extreme play out across the country. Here in Arizona, we experienced a cooler and wetter than normal winter. and I am extremely grateful I wasn’t living in our RV. Inclement weather can really zap the fun out of the RV adventure.
With all that additional moisture, our normally parched desert was doing a happy dance, and as soon as the weather warmed, she produced a stunning show of colorful wildflowers … wildflowers just waiting to be photographed.
Sunday Stills Photo Challenge
With my new camera in hand, I couldn’t wait to get back out on the trails and see these desert blooms up close and personal. I did find myself battling with wind and camera settings but did my best to capture the beauty surrounding me.
So, of course, I need to share some of the images as the desert shows us her colors. For this week’s Sunday Stills Photo Challenge, Terri asks us to share photographs depicting pastel colors. I’m not sure just how pastel-y the flowers are but it’s an excuse to share these lovely wildflowers regardless.
It has been a gorgeous spring thus far, and I’m trying to enjoy every moment. The extreme desert heat will be upon us soon enough, but not before the cacti show us their beauty.
Hope you enjoyed seeing our beautiful desert at her finest. Till next time …
I can’t believe it’s August already. Summer is winding down and 2021 is more than halfway over. Personally, it has been an interesting year filled with challenges and questions about our future. Thanks to a virus, life, in general, isn’t what it used to be and changes have definitely permeated into all aspects of life including travel and RVing.
But if I’m being honest, my restlessness started months before the pandemic hit. I’m a person who has always embraced change, and if life becomes too routine, I get bored. Thus, jumping into the full-time RV lifestyle over eight years ago wasn’t all that surprising. After all, my wanderlust and sense of adventure were passed down to me from my parents.
Our Next Chapter
When that sense of restlessness, sense of discontentment set in a couple of years ago, I went on a quest, a quest to quench an unknown thirst. Al and I changed up how, where, and when we traveled. We even shopped for different RVs, but the more options we explored, the more confused we became. We knew it was time for a change, but we didn’t know what that change would look like.
And then the country, the world, was turned upside down by a virus. Life changed. Our ability to travel at will changed. All of a sudden, we were faced with our mortality. I know I certainly was when I started off the new year with a visit to the emergency room with an inconvenient GI issue. When my doctor insisted I visit the ER for an immediate CT scan, I went into full-on “Grey’s Anatomy” panic. I’ve probably watched way too many medical shows.
Visions of an ER overrun with COVID patients followed by a vision of me waiting hours for medical attention ran through my head. And then, I’d be forgotten. Eventually my intestines would rupture causing me to expire long before anyone notices me slumped in a corner in an overcrowded waiting room. Ok, perhaps that was a little melodramatic, but there’s nothing like an ER visit to get in touch with one’s priorities.
My dramatic concerns were unwarranted. The visit went great … well, as great as an ER visit goes. It was quick, efficient, with friendly and helpful care. Two hours after my arrival, I was skipping out of the hospital with a couple of prescriptions in hand. Ok, maybe I wasn’t exactly skipping, but I was relieved.
There were a few other negative things that transpired during the past year making it feel like we were punched between the eyes…. more than once. Perhaps, this was our wake-up call. Clarity set in for both Al and myself. We knew what we needed to do which was not initially what we wanted to do.
Life is interesting that way. Throughout our many years together, most of the big life changes Al and I made were due to extenuating circumstances. We moved into our RV full-time not because it was a lifelong dream, but rather, to serve as a break from life. The economy had negatively impacted our business, and we decided to take a break for a year or two until things turned around. Hah! The RV lifestyle was addictive and too much fun. Therefore, we never returned to that former life, and now, here we are more than eight years later still living in the RV.
But then life as we’ve known it has changed causing us to reflect. Without a doubt, it’s time for us to change things up again due to extenuating circumstances. If there’s one thing that RVing has taught me, it’s everything is temporary.
Selling the RV
This is our third summer parking the RV on family property in northern Wisconsin. We enjoy our time here and will continue to savor the views, hang with family, and live in the RV for the next several weeks before returning to Phoenix in September. Upon our Arizona arrival, we’ll be moving into a real sticks and bricks house and putting the 5th Wheel up for sale.
Our decision is bittersweet, and we’ve thought about it long and hard. We’ve hemmed and hawed, gone back and forth, but in the long run, we know it’s best to sell the RV. We are definitely NOT done RVing (it’s in my blood), but merely taking a break. We love our 5th Wheel. It has been very good to us, and we’ve seriously thought about keeping her, but RV’s are meant to be used and not left ignored in a storage lot. So, hopefully, we’ll find someone who’ll want to keep her wheels rolling and love her as much as we have.
The Best Part of RV Life
Over the years, we’ve experienced some stunning scenery, encountered wonderful wildlife, and had amazing adventures, but the best part about the RV lifestyle is meeting like-minded people and developing friendships.
This summer, we’ve reconnected with Joodie and TBG from the blog, Chasing Dirt. They are spending the summer volunteering at the Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, Wisconsin, which is about a one-hour drive from our lakefront home near Hayward, Wisconsin, making it easy to arrange a few get-togethers.
Blueberry Picking, a Picnic and a Short Hike
July 26 — The smoke-filled skies from forest fires to the north didn’t stop this foursome of seasoned RVers from enjoying an outing. It was a beautiful Monday morning, despite the hazy skies, when Al and I picked up Joodie and TBG for a morning of blueberry picking at my favorite farm in Bayfield, Wisconsin. The bushes were loaded with plump ripe blueberries. We timed our visit perfectly and ended up picking over 5 pounds of blueberries – yum! (I’ve shared more adventures in this part of Wisconsin in years past. You can read those posts here and here.)
After picking blueberries and strolling around the Blue Vista Farm, it was time to find a picturesque place for a picnic lunch, and I knew just the spot located along the shores of Lake Superior.
After appetites were satiated, a little exercise was in order. I introduced everyone to my favorite little hike in Bayfield; the Iron Bridge Trail. Unfortunately, the drought conditions had the creek barely trickling and the water crossings which usually require a bit of a balancing act proved to be uneventful. It was still an enjoyable stroll through a ravine among lush vegetation despite the lackluster amount of water.
Before long, it was time for Al and me to drop off our friends and head home, but not before planning another adventure. Fingers crossed, Mother Nature cooperates for our next gettogether.
Blueberries and Imagine Dragons?
What do you do with 5 pounds of freshly picked blueberries? Well, there’s blueberry pancakes, blueberry coffee cake, blueberry muffins, blueberry banana bread, blueberries in cereal, blueberries in a salad, or how about just eating a handful of blueberries? Seriously, the choices are endless. With that said, while I’ve been spending a little extra time in the kitchen communing with blueberries, I’ve enjoyed music playing in the background.
One of my favorite CDs, yes I still play CDs, is by the band Imagine Dragons. I have a few favorite songs, but one song in particular recently resonated with me. Perhaps it has to do with my current mood as we prepare for the upcoming changes in our life, changes that I’m still processing, changes that I’m excited about yet slightly apprehensive about. I remind myself, everything is temporary!
Birds by Imagine Dragons
Seasons, they will change
Life will make you grow
Dreams will make you cry
Everything is temporary
Birds fly in different directions
I hope to see you again
Sunsets, sunrises, living the dream
Watching the leaves, changing the seasons
Wishing it'd last, wishing and dreaming
Everything is temporary!
Thank you, Terri for asking us to share images inspired by a Song or Poem for today’s Sunday Stills photo challenge. Although, the song “Birds” by Imagine Dragons isn’t necessarily a favorite, the song seems to fit my current mood along with these images. I don’t think I’ll be back to regular posting just yet. I’m still processing the upcoming changes. I guess part of me is excited and ready for a major change while another part of me is a bit sad and hesitant. Please know, although I’m a little quiet these days, I’m still reading and following YOUR posts. ❤
Thanks for stopping by and remember … everything is temporary!
With the emerging of a new day or even a new season, there is a sense of hope and the embracing of dreams. I love spring. It’s my favorite time of year. Watching the dormant winter landscape awaken with the budding of emerging vegetation and colorful blooms lends itself to a feeling of new life.
I think we can all agree, it has been a challenging year. A year filled with uncertainty. A year filled with a roller coaster of emotions. And just like the tiny plant that has the strength to break through rock crevices and thrive, we too shall emerge from the past years’ challenges stronger and maybe even wiser.
Perhaps our socially distanced year has enlightened us in new ways. Perhaps, we have discovered new hobbies or developed a better understanding of ourselves. As we emerge from the stressful year, it’s time to think about our dreams. For me, that means I’m knee-deep in travel planning and excited to get our RV wheels rolling again soon.
I’m emerging from my cocoon with a new spring in my step and can’t wait to frolic in the beauty of nature!
We were off to an early start. It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and I was on a mission. I was in desperate need of blog material and photogenic subjects. I needed some inspiration and knew Scottsdale, Arizona, was just the place to visit.
I enlisted the company of my daughter and husband. Although I’ll admit, neither were particularly eager to join me on my photographic outing. I remember there being some eye rolls and me being the subject of their amusement, but when I bribed them with mouth-watering treats found at the Scottsdale farmers market, they quickly jumped on board …. and they didn’t even complain when I told them I wanted an early start to the day …. much to my surprise, I might add. (This walk was taken 11/2018 when life was normal ).
(To enlarge photos in a gallery, simple click on any image. To return to the post, click on the x found at the top right corner)
After we were fueled with coffee and filled with sustenance purchased from local vendors at the farmers market, I consulted my little map of downtown Scottsdale. We would be going on a walking tour visiting seven of Scottsdale’s most beloved public art sculptures.
Sculptures in Historic Old Town Scottsdale
It’s impossible to visit Old Town Scottsdale and not walk by our first sculpture on the tour; The Yearlings by George-Ann Tognoni. This is a monument to wild horses and depicts three bronze yearlings galloping in full stride.
This sculpture serves as a backdrop to family photo shoots and is especially popular during the holiday season when the sleigh and Christmas tree are set up.
Another popular photo shoot spot is at the LOVE sculpture. LOVE by Robert Indiana was conceived when the United States was involved with the Vietnam War and became a symbol for peace. This famous sculpture is one of the most celebrated works within the pop art movement.
Robert Indiana created the first version of LOVE with stacked capital letters for a personal Christmas card designed for friends in 1964. In 1965, the Museum of Modern Art selected Indiana’s LOVE design for its official Christmas card.
The original sculptural rendition of LOVE was fabricated from Cor-ten steel in 1970. It can be seen at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Dozens of other LOVE sculptures are now on display around the world.
Our walk takes us into Scottsdale’s Art District
With two sculptures checked off the list, we continued our walking tour which found us venturing into Scottsdale’s Art District. The Jack Knife sculpture serves as the center of attention for the art district and sits in the middle of the road.
Jack Knife by Ed Mell is a giant bronze sculpture of a cowboy on a bucking bronco giving a nod to Scottsdale’s Western heritage and the city’s official seal.
On to the Fifth Avenue Shopping District
Who knew Scottsdale had a “Fifth Avenue” shopping district! Now for those of us that have actually shopped at the real 5th Avenue …. as in New York City’s Fifth Avenue, this Fifth Avenue is quite a bit different, but still fun. It’s kitschy, small, and is a long-time favorite with tourists boasting dozens of unique shops, award-winning restaurants, and the famous Bronze Horse Fountain.
The Bronze Horse Fountain was created by Bob Parks, who owned an art gallery in town. This piece showcases the beauty of five Arabian horses as they play in the fountain. I love how they were decorated for the holiday season with wreaths.
The Scottsdale Water District
We continued our trek. Not far from the Bronze Horse Fountain, we rounded a corner and walked up some stairs. We found ourselves along the Arizona Canal and noticed the bronze sculpture on the other side of a bridge.
Colorado Artist Herb Mignery is a noted western artist and sculptor. He gained early recognition for his classic and humorous western cartoons and rose to fame when he started sculpting scenes from his early Nebraska farm and ranch days.
In Passing the Legacy, a vintage 1860s horse and rider represent the original Pony Express. The lead rider reaches back to grasp the passing legacy, ready to plunge forward into a new era. It took twelve months for the artist and fabricators to refine and create the life-and-a-quarter size bronze monument, which is 20’ long.
As we continued our walking tour along the canal and amongst a beautiful park setting, we took great pleasure in the wonderful winter weather that Phoenix is known for.
Water is a precious commodity in a desert and controlling flood water is crucial, especially in a high density urban environment. Phoenix and her surrounding suburbs do a great job in beautifying these man-made waterways. More efforts are ongoing toward waterside recreation and beautification along these canals.
This Scottsdale section of the Arizona Canal is particularly attractive and popular with cyclists and pedestrians alike. Lighted art over and in the water are changed up regularly and the picturesque park setting serves as a great spot for festivals.
TheSoleri Bridge & Plaza was designed by the late Italian architect Paolo Soleri. The bridge was designed to demonstrate the importance of solar movement.
The bridge is anchored by two 64-foot pylons and is twenty-seven feet wide on the south side narrowing to eighteen feet on the north. Situated at a true north axis, the bridge is intended to mark solar events produced by the sun’s shadow. The six-inch gap between both sets of pylons allows the sun to create a shaft of light as the earth moves.
Most Entertaining Sculpture
The Doors by Donald Lipski is an interesting and entertaining work of art. The structure consists of three 28 foot tall doors that lean against one another on an angle. They are made of Brazilian hardwood, mirror polished stainless steel, and thousands of hand forged steel rivets and strapping.
When we stepped in between the doors, we were met with a kaleidoscope effect that shines from sunlight during the day and LED lights at night. We were entertained by multiple reflections of ourselves. The experience is enhanced with sound … various sounds of bells, chimes, swooshing, and flute can be heard in and around the sculpture.
I’d have to say, we found this sculpture rather entertaining and found ourselves lingering in and around it. I’d love to go back at night to see what it looks like all lit up from the LED lights.
End of our walking Tour of Scottsdale
Our Scottsdale walking tour visiting the most popular art sculptures in the area took us less than 2 hours full-circle and accounts for all the photo-op stopping and playing around that we did. The sculptures gave us purpose to meander down streets that we had never ventured down before. What a fun and special excuse to explore this entertaining desert southwest city!
This leisurely city walk allowed us the opportunity to see interesting sights and take note of eating establishments for future visits. There’s no shortage of fantastic eateries in Scottsdale. The biggest problem is deciding where to eat when given so many choices.
Okay … time to plan our next adventure!
Additional Scottsdale Information
For more information and downloadable maps – click here.
Although I’m still dreaming about vibrant fall colors, Al and I have been back in the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix, Arizona) for a little over a month now. I can’t figure out where the time has gone. Well actually, I do know … our days have been filled with predominantly obligations sprinkled in with a little fun here and there. I wish it were the other way around. You know, more fun and fewer obligations. Ah, such is life!
Both trucks have been in the shop for routine maintenance and then some. My little red Toyota Tacoma was in storage all summer. So basically, all she needed was an oil change and tire rotation along with a good cleaning. The Ford, on the other hand, needed a little more attention, especially after a 6,000-mile workout. (1,900 miles each direction and then all my exploring in Wisconsin and Minnesota.)
We are so grateful and lucky that our F-250 held up on our 1,900-mile journey back to Phoenix, Arizona. After a wonderful summer and fall spent in northern Wisconsin, we made it all the way to Arizona before encountering a problem. Once in Arizona, during the ever-changing terrain on Interstate 17 between Flagstaff and Phoenix, the truck came very close to overheating and not making it at the steepest grade just south of Camp Verde. According to our Mountain Directory (a must-have), the grade is about 6%, but anyone who drives this stretch of road regularly will tell you it feels much greater.
Turns out, the F-250 water pump was leaking and probably had this slow leak all summer long. Thus, the engine had trouble cooling, especially pulling the hills with the RV. Considering we were in mostly flat country all summer long with moderate temperatures and not pulling the RV regularly, we never noticed a problem with the truck until we hit Arizona and the ever-changing elevation. Whew! We dodged a close call of getting stuck on the side of the road.
All he needs now is a little exterior TLC, aka wash, wax, and vacuum. The Ford is almost ready for his next trip and is running like a champ and easily passed the Maricopa County (Phoenix) emission test … keeping the air clean – our truck is registered here since this is our legal domicile.
Along with tending to vehicle appointments, there have been Doctor, Dentist, and Vision appointments. Drilling, poking, prodding, x-rays, tests, scans, and follow-up visits have ensued. Al’s mouth and body are good to go for another year and I’m getting closer. Geez … this getting old stuff ain’t for sissies.🤣
Oh and I can’t forget to add in the water leak and a few other attention grabbing tidbits on the RV. So much for me and my remodeling ideas. That will be taking a backseat for a while, much to Al’s delight and my disappointment.
At least we’ve been able to add in a few fun family visits on a small scale. A Thanksgiving get together this Thursday is still up in the air. The eight of us are all trying to be Covid cautious. Thus, we’ll all check with one another at the last minute, and then if we do get together, we’ll probably eat outside. Fortunately, the weather in Phoenix, Arizona has been beautiful. Perhaps even a tad too warm with record highs being broken. It has been a hot year around here, and I’m glad Al and I were in northern Wisconsin for the worst of the heat.
Along with getting together with family back here in Arizona, we’re enjoying reconnecting with our RV Park friends (on a limited and socially distanced scenario, of course). We’ve chosen not to engage in any of the park’s social functions even though they are trying to do their best with Covid guidelines. I’ve dealt with my fair share of illnesses the past several years (including flu, Valley Fever, and mononucleosis), so I’d really prefer to avoid this nasty virus.
My to-do list seems to be growing instead of dwindling. I won’t bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say, I’d really prefer being less busy. I guess you could say, I’ve been a little too busy lately and am looking forward to life slowing down soon. Ah, but with the holiday season in full swing, I don’t think that’ll happen anytime soon. On that note, excuse me if I’m a little less active here in the blogosphere. Life!
What a change from my relaxing summer. Calgon, take me away!
As I was putting this post together, I couldn’t help but think about the differences between our summer home and winter home and it’s not just the drastic contrast between the two landscapes. It’s about our mindset. When we visit family property in northern Wisconsin, we’re more in vacation mode and tend to think less of life’s responsibilities, unless we’re talking about an RV tank leak, then it’s all business, in more ways than one 🤣
When we return to AZ, it’s like returning home after being on vacation. It’s time to think about responsibilities and get back to being an adult. Phoenix is our home base where we have an annual RV site. It’s our place of residence and the place we spend the most amount of time. So I guess it’s safe to say, Phoenix, Arizona is our main home, and Hayward, Wisconsin is our second home.
I’m so incredibly thankful to still be able to travel via our RV and enjoy two such beautiful worlds while spending time with people we love in both places. With that said, enjoy a few images showcasing how different our two homes are.
We all have a story to share, and as bloggers, we love sharing our stories. Some of us tend to lean toward visual inspiration and share our tales via photographs while others are gifted with words and the ability to write. But when photographs and words come together, it’s pure magic. Well, in my book anyway!
Think about it … many of us have a favorite children’s book that is filled with a combination of images and words. I still have a few of those books from my childhood tucked away in storage. And then there’s my collection of cookbooks. I love cookbooks but rarely buy one without a healthy dose of tantalizing food photos to accompany the recipes. But my favorite is a beautiful coffee table book filled with stunning photography taking me on a visual adventure.
Storytelling with photographs is all about the images with just enough words to enhance the story.
Visual storytelling with photographs
The photographs we share depend largely on how we want to tell the story. As someone who enjoys travel in an RV, the majority of my photographs, and thus my stories, are centered around the places we visit along with my personal experiences and thoughts. There’s an excitement to traveling, to seeing new sights, meeting new people, having new experiences, and capturing those moments and memories is important to me. The ability to share them with you is a bonus! 😁
When I think about my adventures and how I want to preserve a memory and how I might want to share a story, I keep a few thoughts in mind …
5 Elements to help tell a story.
Idea: what, where, when?
Plan: execution, how?
Memory: preservation, what do I want to remember most?
Emotion: feeling, sentiment, how does it make me feel?
Narration: words to complement the images and help deliver the story.
It doesn’t matter what kind of camera we use to capture our story. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite recent fall photographs was taken quickly with my iPhone. Al and I had gone on a scenic drive and stopped to explore a national forest campground on Lake Namekagon in northern Wisconsin. It was a gorgeous fall day, and I was easily distracted by the beautiful autumn colors. While Al strolled back to the truck, I ventured down a trail.
Knowing Al would be waiting for me (patiently) and realizing we still had several more places to visit, I was rushed, but I felt compelled to capture snippets of my experience. Without much thought, I pointed the iPhone … click to the left, click to the right, click up high, click down low, time to go! Regrettably, my Panasonic stayed slung across my body.
Trust your instincts when capturing the moment. Try not to overthink the composition … unless your goal is for professional reasons or a wall hanger, in which case you’ll want to pull out the good camera, tripod, and spend some time composing. But for storytelling, go with your gut and capture what makes you happy at that moment … it’s your story.
Memory / Emotion: The image above evokes a calming joy within me and that’s exactly how I felt strolling through those leaves, and for some reason, those leaves almost looked like rose petals guiding me further into the forest. Whenever I look at this photograph, I’m reminded of the wonderful autumn day that I shared with my husband. I realize the way the image impacts me is unique to me personally.
I’m curious though … how does the image make YOU feel? What does it say to you? Perhaps you don’t even care for the photo, and that’s ok, but the photograph is part of my visual story from that day.
Idea / Plan: The whole reason for us to remain in northern Wisconsin into October was so I could capture autumn foliage. So with that in mind, I set about planning where I wanted to go. For three weeks, starting in mid-September, whenever the weather was agreeable, I was off in search of color.
I was rewarded with stunning colors in all directions. Sometimes I was able to pull off to the side of the road and snap some photos and other times I wasn’t so lucky, in which case I would have to savor those views in my memory. I knew when I planned these photo outings that I’d want to share my tales here on the blog. Therefore, I made mental notes and had an idea of what kind of images I wanted to capture to help tell my story … visual storytelling.
“A picture is worth a thousand words“
Narration: Years ago, long before personal computers, the internet, and digital photography 😵, I was into scrapbooking. I have about three large storage containers filled with photo albums. I treasure those albums, but when I recently started flipping through one, I noticed the lack of narration. Writing has never come easy to me and that was more apparent than ever when reviewing that photo album.
Oh, how I wish I had shared more information about the photographs, about the events, about the places and people. Even though a picture may be worth a thousand words, adding additional information via words will enhance any story. Besides, there’s a little storytelling in all of us.
Timing is everything when it comes to most things in life, and we seemed to have timed our recent travels perfectly. It was the second full week in October and the leaves were changing from brilliant hues of reds, oranges, and yellows to varying shades of brown. Those dry rust-colored leaves were a clear indication that the trees would soon be bare and winter would be nipping at our heels.
With a memory card full, I was satisfied with my collection of autumn foliage images and ready to get the RV moved to a warmer climate. Bye-bye Wisconsin, hello Arizona. After seven straight days of driving and 1,900 miles later, Al and I made it safely to our destination in Phoenix, Arizona, and managed to escape the snowstorm that targeted the upper Midwest.
Currently, there are six inches of snow covering the ground where our RV once sat. Yep, good timing on our part. Now it’s time for us to settle back into our RVing community in the desert southwest, but first, I need to share a few more photographs of nature’s beautiful landscape.
Beware of what lies beneath.
With our departure date looming, I took every possible opportunity to get out into nature to soak up the colors. I hadn’t been back to this part of the country during this time of year for probably thirty years. Oh, how I’ve missed this! The western United States has its own unique beauty that I love, but these past months back in the Midwest have felt a bit like a homecoming. I was in my comfort zone, in my element, and enjoying every moment and what a treat it was. But as we all know, life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns.
Wanting to capture images of sunrises and morning reflections on the lake required me to set upon my explorations early in the morning. It was usually just me, my camera, and the wildlife wandering the forest before sunrise, and it wasn’t uncommon for us to startle one another. Fortunately, these encounters were in the friendly form of deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, birds, but thankfully no black bear. Mind you, I was ever on the lookout.
When exploring, I do my best to be aware of my surroundings at all times and avoid potential obstacles that could end in injury. So there I was, traipsing through the forest, stepping over and under branches, and immersed in the sights and sounds. The air was crisp and fresh. The leaves crunched beneath each cautious footstep while I listened to Loons calling in the distance.
And then it happened … in a split second … beneath the thick carpet of leaves hid a twig. When I unknowingly stepped on it at just the right angle, it flipped up and one of the edges scraped down my shin. Ouch! Ah, the perils of walking in a leaf-covered forest, but nothing a little time wouldn’t heal.
What a treat!
Spending time with family on lakefront property these past four months was a treat … add in beautiful fall colors and it just doesn’t get much better … such a treat!
Photo challenge: Lens-Artist Challenge #120 – What a Treat! This week, Tina asks us to share photographs depicting a ‘treat’. Spending the autumn season in northern Wisconsin and seeing the changing of leaves was indeed a very special treat for me.