About Me

My Photo

Oh give me just one day to free my mind,to create to listen, to walk, to quiet my soul,to cool down,to carry on~ My photographs and other artworks are inspired by the wonder, simplicity and quietude of every day life. In every photograph,sketch, painting or textile piece, I hope to capture the spirit, the mood, the song of my subjects. I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. My creative spirit awakened when I moved to Northwest Montana where there was plenty of room to roam with my camera and places to be alone with nature and its inhabitants. All my photographs are professionally printed by acclaimed Bozeman, MT artist/ photographer Rob Outlaw on archival quality fine art paper. My frames are custom built by artist Richard Moore of Wind and Snow Art Gallery in Polson, MT.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

.~ Taxi!. ~

One summer day back in the early 1970's, while spending time at Lake Pillsbury Ranch in Northern, CA
(Not quite sure how old I was, but around grade school age.)
 Uncle Jack and I were taking a walk together.
 Out of the blue, he asked me he asked me if I knew how to whistle? Not just a soft whistle with your lips kind of whistle, but a full blown cover your hears type of whistle.
"No Uncle Jack, I sure don't." I replied.
He said he said it was very important that I learned how.
"Why" I asked?
Uncle Jack said in a big billowy voice like I should know better, 
"So if you are in New York city you can hail a cab!"

Whistilin for a cab in Breakfast at Tiffany"s

And so began my lessons on how to whistle.
It took the entire summer, but eventually I mastered 
being able to whistle with using one hand just like Audrey Hepurn did in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's.
The goal though was to be able to whistle hands free like Uncle Jack could.
However I never quite conquered that.

Learning how to "siren" whistle came in very handy in the 1970's.
I used it at every rock concert I attended.
If you ever attended a Days on the Green  I am sure you heard my whistle as it could be heard
 throughout the Oakland Coliseum.
I would wait until the crowd stopped clapping and screaming and let out the biggest whistle I could. 
Quite often the rockers on stage would comment about what a great whistle I had.
I still cannot believe my not only let me go to those concerts, they encouraged me to go!

My whistling skill also came in handy when trying to get the peanut guys attention at the ball park!
Once the people in the row I was sitting in discovered my talent for whistling, they asked me to get not only the peanut guy's attention, but the hot dog guy, the cotton candy guy, the beer guy... .

It was not until I was in my late 30's that I finally got to use my whistle
for the purpose Uncle Jack taught me.

I was standing outside the Javits Convention Center 
and needed a lift back to my hotel.
There was a sidewalk of people trying to get the cabbies attention.
I stepped to the curb waived my left hand in the air and with the right hand I pursed my lips around my thumb and third finger and let out the perfect "ear piercing" whistle.
Just like an obedient dog, a cab pulled up to the curb right in front of me.

The man standing next to me asked,
"How'd you learn how to hail a cab like that that?"

"My Uncle Jack taught me," I said with a big smile.
"He was the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz."

Under his breath I heard him say, "Yeah right."

That's Ok, I thought to myself, you don't have to believe me.
I knew it in my heart to be true. 

Thanks Uncle Jack for teaching me how to whistle.
I count it as one of my (5) best things I know how to do.

I haven't had to use my skill to call a cab lately,
but I use it almost every day to call my 15-year-old almost deaf dog Cowboy in from outside.

And every time I let out a whistle, I think of you.


If you read today's post, please leave a comment.  
Love to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

.~ All Heart.~

The year was 1964.
I was five-years-old.
My parents told me that after school that day we were going to
go pick up the Tin Man of the Wizard of Oz from the airport as he was
coming to our house to spend several nights.

This is a side view photo of the Lafayette Elementary where
 I attended school from Kindergarten through Sixth Grade.
 I have so many wonderful memories of events that took place here. 
 I hope to write as many as I can down one day before they all disappear.

I chose this particular photo of the school because the papers you see on the windows is the Kindergarten room.  And off to the left hand side of the building which is not insight,
 is the Kindergarten play ground.

It was recess and I was playing in the sandbox with my fellow classmates.
 I remember telling them that the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz was coming over to my house
 and that he was going to stay with us for awhile.
 No one believed me. 
 In fact, they started to make fun of me and called me a liar. 
I was a shy little girl, so to be ridiculed by my classmates was devastating.

This is my Kindergarten class photo.

After school, I went with my mom and dad to pick up the
 Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz from the Oakland Airport. 

Back in 1964 you could greet the passengers right at the gate as they came off the plane.

After watching a parade of people walk off the plane,
finally a man came through the door that my parents waved at and shouted, "Jack, Jack over here!" 
To my dismay, he was not in a tin suit at all!
Instead he wore a black suit with a white shirt and a blue tie. 
 He had a plaid fedora hat on his head and a London Fog trench coat over his arm. 

I stood in his presence in complete and utter silence.
I thought to myself, this was not the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. 
He is just a mere man. 
Maybe my classmates were right!
 As soon as I got home, I retreated straight to my room.
I didn't want to have much to do with a mere man
who claimed to be
 the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.
It was clear to me he was an imposter! 

Oh was I so wrong.

Here is where Uncle Jack's kindness steps into the story.
My mom called me into the kitchen where the entire family gathered around our big glass kitchen table.
Uncle Jack looked at me and could tell there was something wrong.

He asked me why I had such a sad face?
I told him about how I expected a man made out of tin to come off the airplane. 
 I also told him about how my friends had ridiculed me,
and didn't believe me when I told them that
 the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz was coming to my house.

I remember a BIG smile coming over his face. 
 He explained to me that he most certainly was the man inside the tin suit
and he would tell me more about that later.
But in the meantime,
  he asked me for the names of the classmates
 that did not believe me.

My mom worked with him to get my classmates phone numbers.
Before I knew it,
Jack Haley- the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz -
started dialing my friends up on the black rotary phone which sat at the end of 
the red cushions in a small room we called - the Bar Room.

I sat as close to the phone as I could completely mesmerized.

Uncle Jack sang
 If I Only had a Heart  to each and every disbelieving classmate.
As he sang, he danced a little soft shoe.
I will never forget that he did this for me.
I will never forget watching someone who I thought was a mere man
become the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz
right before my very eyes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

.~ Uncle Jack ~

"I'd be tender, I'd be gentle
And awful sentimental
Regarding love and art
I'd be friends with the sparrows
And the boy that shoots the arrows
If I only had a heart."
Wizard of Oz ~If I Only Had A Heart

Happy New Everyone!

Why am I starting my first blog post of 2015 with a verse from the song If I Only Had A Heart?  

Well, Jack Haley who played the Tin Man on the Wizard of Oz, was my Godfather. Yes it is true!

Ecclesiastes 3-8 tells us there is a time for everything. 
Jack has been on my mind and in my heart more than usual for months on end.
I can feel him tapping me on my shoulder and whispering in my ear, "now is the time to share your memories of me.  I took my role as your Godfather seriously and I left behind spiritual lessons for you, it's time you share them."

At the beginning of a new year most folks make resolutions.  I have done that myself. 
But this year I have chosen to give the year a theme: 
 Fruit of the Spirit

Uncle Jack (that's what we called him -Uncle Jack) tended his spirit garden with great care.

It was something he never preached, he just lived his life in such a manner that exemplified each and every word: Love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These words in a nutshell represent the Uncle Jack I knew and loved and learned from.

My mom had his book the Heart Of The Tin Man by her side when she passed.  I think that is when a spark inside me ignited and fueled me to share my memories of my Godfather.  My memories of him are very personal and so special.  However, how can I be so selfish as to keep the Tin Man to myself? He belongs to the world.

I thought my opportunity to get a printing of the Heart Of The Tin Man was gone. The book has been out of print for quite some time.  Luckily, I  found a signed copy (by Uncle Jack's  grandson) on Ebay.  And then I discovered other copies on Amazon. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this book you can do so here at Amazon.

I started reading the Heart Of The Tin Man during the Thanksgiving break of 2014. With each turn of the page, memories started to trickle in. The more I read, the more vivid the memories became.

Jack Haley was the perfect actor to play the Tin Man.
I can attest to that.

He was tender, he was gentle
and awful sentimental regarding love and art.
And one thing more,
He loved God with all his heart and all his soul and all his strength. 

He makes that very clear throughout his book. Especially in the end of his writings when he knows the ambulance is coming to take him away and he won't be coming back home.

I am looking forward to sharing the memories of the Tin Man staying with us at our house and spending time with him at The Ranch in Northern California. Also I have fun stories about visiting with him and his family in his Hollywood home.  

Won't you join me each week as I share a memory or two?
I will be posting a new blog post every Sunday.

Cheers to 2015!
Cheers to YOU Uncle Jack and all you taught me.
I am so very excited t0 recount all I learned from you and how you enriched my life.

Uncle Jack, I am sending YOU so much LOVE!
Thank you for being a spiritual mentor in my life.

Please leave a comment on how the Tin Man may have impacted your life.  
Looking forward to hearing your stories.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

.~ Dance Lightly.~

"Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf." ~ Rabindranath Tagore

Friday, October 31, 2014

.~ Balance ~.

What is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?
                                                                                         ~Albert Camus

Sunday, October 12, 2014

.~ No Strings Attached.~

No Strings Attached
By Traci Suzanne Marvel

No matter what the circumstances, you can always count on your dog to be a loyal and faithful companion. If humans showed this same loyalty and faithfulness to each other, they would be one step closer to having a successful, lifelong, loving relationship.