Men Long Gone

Men Long Gone

All of these men died too young.
I wonder who we would be if they hadn’t.

My Grandpa Weigold, uncle Don and my dad, Herb,  playing cards and smoking pipes in grandpa’s kitchen some time before 1961.

If Grandpa hadn’t died a couple of weeks after I was born, he would have gone on farming. As it is, Grandma Weigold hired another local farmer to till the fields. But have to wonder what it would have been like to have another man, a lifelong farmer, around to show me what he thought was important in the world.

Uncle Don went next, when I was five, I think. I remember him as playful and somehow kind of glamorous.  He left a beautiful wife and three daughters behind.

His passing kicked my mother’s casual thoughts about going to college into high gear. The story goes that she and Dad figured that her having an education was the best insurance they could buy. There weren’t many good options for women to make money in rural Indiana.  She went over to Saint Francis, took advantage of late registration, and started her path to teaching.

My dad. It’s so sad in some ways. I can barely imagine the world with him in it anymore. He died when I was 29 and still an undergrad at UCLA. Late bloomers run in the family, what can I say?

I wonder if he and Mom would have taken each grandchild on an international trip, like my mom did on her own. I wonder if he would be one of the happy regulars on the beach down in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca every winter.

I’m pretty sure he’d still be meeting friends for breakfast every day. Clyde’s in Wolf Lake burned down years ago, but I’ll bet they’d have found a new place to meet. I probably owe my diner and coffee house habit to his example.

I imagine that there would have been some times I was angry with him, and some times when he delivered the best advice ever, preceded by, “I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but…”

When he said that, it wasn’t some verbal trap. He really meant it. I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but here are my thoughts.

We can never know what influences are missing from our lives, how big or little the differences might have been. What if my Grandpa Best hadn’t died at 51, a decade before I was born?

I’m missing all these men, both long gone and more recently passed, today. I didn’t get enough of any of them.

Bloom Boom



I love the happy sun-faces of these gazanias.  There were more of these in our yard when we first moved here than almost anything else.


Peach bud. The warm weather has inspired everything to bloom. It’s awfully early, and there will probably be a freeze between now and fruiting time.


Apricot blossoms. I did not enhance the colors in this, I promise you.


Surprised at how big these African daisies are.  I thought this plant had about worn itself out.


Vinca. Not a lot of blossoms yet, but they make a nice groundcover on one of our slopes.


Looking down at the tops of lavender blossoms. Only one of the three lavenders I planted our first year survives.


Psych!  Fake flowers and fake rooster.

Our rosemary shrubs are just covered in blossoms and the bees are audibly happy about it. I would love to taste rosemary honey!


Incendiary Writing


Matches and writing prompts.

I recently returned to my habit of writing by candlelight before dawn.

I started this years ago when I was writing a the diary of a fictional character who lived in the early 19th century. I figured it would better connect me to her. I like it, no matter what I’m writing about. My first drafts are almost always written by hand, with a fountain pen.

Candlelight creates a puddle of illumination that helps to blur all those distractions out there. Maybe it’s also a beacon for the muse.

For my birthday, I asked my writing group to give me 5 or more writing prompts. Treacy Colbert gave me these, inscribed in her lovely strong cursive on scraps of recycled paper. Check out her always thought-provoking blog, Life on the Green Side of the Grass.

Proof of Life



Or maybe, “It’s alive!”

I couldn’t begin to guess how long it’s been since I opened that jar of yeast. It says it should be used within six months. It also says that you can proof the yeast by adding it to warm water and sugar and waiting ten minutes to see if it rises.

That’s a 1 1/2 cup bowl filled with just 1/4 cup of water,  2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast and a teaspoon of sugar. I’d say the  yeast passed the test with flying colors.

Yay, I didn’t have to run to the market before making the whole wheat bread.

Is this where I admit that I probably ate a slice’s worth of dough by pinching a little off now and again during the 2 1/2 hours I let it rise?

I love the alchemy of baking. A few hours ago there was just flour, almond milk, yeast, water and agave syrup in my house. Now there’s bread!



One of the first things I did when we bought the house was put in an herb garden. I adore roaming the yard with my kitchen shears and clipping what I need from living plants. Mediterreanean herbs love it here. The basils (Thai and sweet Italian) need the shelter of the front porch in order to survive the hot summers. It took a few years of moving them around to figure this out.

This little bundle went into a fresh batch of Purple Rain Soup. Rosemary, thyme and sage.


Valentine’s Day – The Cherub Hit His Mark

DSC_7544My friends C and H asked me to be the photographer for their Valentine’s Day wedding! Yes!

I was a little nervous, never having shot a wedding before, but they follow Any Given Sundry and said they like my style. I took almost 500 shots. Here are some favorites.


Juvenile photo-bomber, part of the assembled friends and family. People came from all over the place to celebrate these two wonderful women.


Just after jumping the broom. Leaving the old life behind, starting a new life together.

DSC_7635The broom, crafted by H.


Silk and sand

DSC_7453I love the way C’s white linen picked up the blue of the ocean.


Goofing around with the officiant after the ceremony.


Oliver had to watch from the car, but he came out to celebrate as soon as possible.

DSC_7369The lovely H, in a quiet moment at home, before the day got started.


I love finding the beautiful things people have in their homes. There are many meditative pieces here.


Oliver lets the humans go ahead and revel the afternoon away while he catches a nap under the table.


At the cutting of the cake.

I guess a person doesn’t really have to worry about not having a photo of such an iconic moment.

In between shooting pictures, Hydra and I had a great time talking with C’s mother, and the rest of the couple’s outgoing friends and family. Good food, good people, perfect weather.

Now it’s up to them! :D