Starting Over- Sonoma Strong

Our “oldest” (as in we’ve been friends since 1970) friends, Joan and Rudy, lost their beautiful home to the Sonoma County wildfire two years ago. They got out with just the clothes on their backs with no time to spare. On our visit to California a week ago, we saw their property for the first time since the fire.

The good news is that they are rebuilding on their beautiful property! And their daughter, Liz, bought the property next door!

Because of the heavy rains (continuing while we were there), the area is lush with new growth, and you have to look carefully to see the remnants of the devastation that took place that October night. Their new home, with a different floorplan, is being built in the same spot as the old, and when you walk in, you can see the same views as before. It felt good to be there.

Below are some shots of our visit.

Flowers in bloom with a view up the hill of a bit of burned area and just a little corner of the roof of the new home:

A partially burned tree by their driveway.

Look in and looking out:

Joan and Rudy with their grand-dog, Newton:

Daughter, Liz with Newton:

Although they are starting over in many respects, it was heartwarming to see how much seems the same. They hope to be able to move in next Fall.

Silliness in Jerome

Our friends of 45 years plus, Joan and Rudy, came for the weekend to celebrate Joan and my birthdays- just 5 days apart. It was a quick visit, but we managed to have an outing to the old mining town of Jerome, just over the mountain from us. Joan had been there before with us, but it was Rudy’s first trip there.


Jerome is a funky and fun town, which inspired a bit of silliness in us.

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The photos were edited with some HDR-ish effects in On1 for an over-the-top look which I think is fitting for Jerome.

Do you believe in MAGIC?


A month or two ago, the instructor of my photo group announced that the topic for our final would be MAGIC.



We had not had any topics during my tenure with the group, so I was dumbfounded to be given a topic- and even more so that there would be a FINAL!

I vacillated between several ideas- mostly not literal interpretations of the theme- but one morning, I just woke up with the idea fully formed, including the ideal model to use- our friend, Dale.

Fortunately, Dale was up to the task and within a few days the photo was taken, edited, and printed at Costco. Later on, I got my brand new Epson printer set up and attempted to print it myself. I am still learning the ins and outs of printing photos, so it took several hours of test prints and more editing to get it to look the way I wanted.

No grades were given, but the photo was given a rave review by the instructor- whew! The only negative comment was that the edge of his watch showed- darn! It’s gone now.

I’m now on summer break, with the group/class resuming near the end of August.

The Rapunzels Do Palm Springs

20160310-MMA_9621_melinda_anderson-EditWe returned last night from a delightful mini-vacation to get together with my Rapunzel friends in Palm Springs.  It was our first trip there- slightly less than 5 hours away now that we live in Arizona- and it was great fun! It was the first time that the six (of the seven) of us who came had been together as a group for over 3 years. Oh yes- the husbands were along too! We had a blast- and it was as if no time had passed at all for these forever friends of over 40 years. More photos to follow. . .



Two Little Girls

Somehow, it happened that our Southern California god-daughter’s husband’s parents bought ranch property 45 minutes away from us in Arizona to use as a get-away for the family.  This weekend everyone came out- and our little god-family stayed with us! They got together at the ranch with their cousins on Saturday, but mornings and evenings they were with us. It was wonderful to get to know these adorable little girls- Alice, age five and Leah, age two. I hope these Arizona visits will become a tradition for them.

As with most modern families, iPads play an important role in entertainment and education.


But of course, sweet Alice loves crafts too!


Bathtime was fun- who could resist this little face?


The weekend zipped by, and then, alas, they were back to their busy life in L.A.

A Hot Day in Sedona

Last weekend we had a wonderful visit with our dear friends, the Jansons, who came from California so that Carolyn could present a HeartMath workshop at our church, Unity of Prescott. It was a wonderful weekend in so many ways, with the highlight of course being Carolyn’s over-the-top inspiring presentation on Sunday.  They flew home last night, and we miss them already.

We spent the Saturday before her workshop in Sedona and Jerome, and it was the hottest day we’ve experienced in that area.  Armed with sunscreen, hats, and water bottles, we took a short walk at Bell Rock until we decided it was just too hot.  I did manage to take a few photos despite the heat- I never get tired of these views!


In the shot below you can see the Chapel of the Holy Cross built into the rocks in the distance.

20150815-MMA_1627untitled-EditAnd here are the Jansons!



Carol’s Here!

Busy times here! We picked up Carol- my college roommate, photo-buddy, and fellow photoblogger- at the airport yesterday. Since then it has been talk, talk, talk- and what do we talk about?- PHOTOGRAPHY, of course! Here is a quick shot I did of Carol working on her blog at our kitchen counter last night.


We were just seventeen . . .

When my husband and I got to Chico on Monday, we checked into our hotel and then headed over to Peet’s Coffee, my husband’s favorite coffee place in any town that has a Peet’s (we don’t have it in Arizona).  When I saw the Beatles mural on the wall down the street, I was ECSTATIC knowing that my friend, Carol was coming to town the next day.  We were pretty much Beatles fanatics during the sixties- so what better photo op could there possibly be than a Beatles mural (unless it was Paul or Ringo in the flesh!)?

As I was standing between two parked cars to snap these photos, the owner of one of the cars came along and offered to take a photo of both of us with the Fab Four.  We couldn’t resist!



Linking up with Kim Klassen’s Friday Finds- we found the Beatles!

Kim Klassen dot Com






Live and In Person!!!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet Barbara of Barbara Hurst Photography,  Barb of Keeping Up With the Times, and Terri of Focusing on Life for a photo shoot right here in town.  It was a bit surreal (dislike that overused word, but I can’t think of a better one right now) to meet these photobloggers in person in MY house. I’ve learned all my photography skills online and have a bunch of online contacts, but this is the first time I’ve met any in person.  What fun we had sharing tips and comparing notes as we wandered around downtown Prescott.! They are all so knowledgeable and much more savvy in the whole photoblogging world than I am- I learned a lot.

Here’s a shot of the courthouse, edited with textures from Florabella and Kim Klassen.


I would like to live in the turret on this house (Florabella textures)!


Let’s do this again, ladies!!!

Bride and Groom

After having seen many versions of the tulip bouquet from Aryn and Jason’s wedding reception, you might be interested in seeing a few photos of the bride and groom.  The couple actually got married in November (11/12/13!) in the Netherlands, and this is their first trip back to the states as a married couple.  Most of the photos were taken during the dinner, but I managed to grab the bride and groom for a couple shots in the old western bar afterwards.


Although the photos I gave the family are in color, I am such a fan of black and white that I chose to convert them to black and white today for the blog.

My Roommate- and Bonus Sunflowers

Here’s a shot of Carol (former roommate from college and beyond) on the way to Jerome the other day. It was incredibly underexposed, because I accidentally left the exposure compensation set to -2.7 (I can’t believe I still make beginner errors like that!), so I had to do a little rescuing in Lightroom.  And by the way,  NOTHING is straight in this photo- it was a sloping wall, uneven terrain, hills of different levels- yikes!


As we watched TV the other night, I put took one of my sunflower photos into Topaz Simplify to give it a bit of a painted look for fun.


Our First Visitors

After a week of unpacking boxes and finding spots for all our possessions (still 25 out of 300 boxes to go), it was so wonderful to have our very first visitors, Rick, Margott (his mom), and dear little Alice.  Alice is the three year old daughter of Rick and his wife, Andrea, our god-daughter.  Here’s a shot of Alice and Rick in our back yard.


Back in First Grade

This is just an iPhone photo, and I didn’t even take it- but it’s not just a photo.  This is a photo of me with Anne, Barbara and Kathryn, who have been my teaching partners, BFFs and family for a good part of my life in Benicia.  We’ve not only experienced all the daily ups and downs of teaching together, but we’ve also had some great fun, supported each other through some tough times, and laughed and cried together more times than we can count.

Bye, girls! I’ll miss you! Remember- there are guest rooms!


Saying good-bye

Although it seems to us that we have been getting ready to move forever (especially to me- the declutterer), our friends are commenting that it is happening all too fast.  Now that we are getting packed up and starting to say good-bye, time is speeding up for us too. We will be closing escrow in less than two weeks- and will be out of our house in a little over a week. We have said good-bye to many, many possessions, and now we are starting to say good-bye to friends.

Last night we attended a fantastic party at the magnificent Sappho’s home with many of our friends from Unity of Walnut Creek.  We were surprised and overwhelmed when we were gifted with gorgeous hand-blown margarita glasses brimming with beautiful notes of love, good wishes, and promises to visit (all written on cactus decorated paper).  Thank you, Sappho and Unity- we will miss you so much!

How can we leave all the beautiful friendships we have made over the last forty plus years in the Bay Area??? I keep telling myself that we are at a stage in our lives when we are free to travel and that we will be meeting up with friends at various beautiful vacation spots over the years. And we hope to have lots of visitors to our new home in Arizona!  Hear that, everyone???


At the Door

I had my third photo session with my friend, Tra today- this time at her magnificent home. OMG- there was a photo op in every corner of this amazing house. Tra’s home reflects her love of art, beauty, and spirit.  I tried to not put on my paparazzi hat and photograph EVERYTHING, but I did manage get some photos of a few special items and her beautiful orchids (which I will use in future posts).  I love every inch of her home!

This was my favorite shot of the day- Tra looking out the front door at her gorgeous tree shaded front garden.  Don’t even get me started on how much I love her front door!



And I love the message on the plaque beside her door- BIDDEN OR NOT BIDDEN, GOD IS PRESENT.