Sailboat On The Pacific

As we packed for our trip out West I struggled with how much camera equipment to take along. To keep things simple I chose to take only one lens for my DSLR, a 50mm, a prime lens with no zoom.  It’s probable my least expensive lens, but hands down the best for the quality of images it captures.

The memory card for my camera holds more images of the Pacific Ocean than anything. That body of water held me captive in a good way, with the colors, the waves, the splash of sea water on the rocky coast. I can still hear in my mind the almost breath-like sound of the waves moving in and out, in and out.

When asked by our son what I wanted to do while there I recall that walking on the beach was a priority. We made visits to various beaches in the San Diego area, but I can’t tell you where I stood when taking this particular photo. As you can see, it was a beautiful, sunny day, perfect for sight seeing and enjoying the ocean view.

Sometimes you take a photo and you know even as you click the shutter that it will be special to you in some way.  And other times there are surprises, images that touch your heart, that you only “see” long after the shot was taken.  That little boat with the red sail is what my heart has been “seeing” all week.

Have you ever been sailing? If I knew I would not succumb to motion sickness I might go out in a sailboat with those who know how to navigate the wind. It looks as though it would be peaceful and relaxing.

Peaceful and relaxing.  Sun. Wind. Waves. Free from all the cares of the world.

If you search the Internet for how to sail you will find lots of good resources and instruction, even diagrams for how to set the sail to make the wind push the boat in the direction you choose. Two boats in the same wind can be going in opposite directions, depending on how the sailor sets that sail.

It’s not about the wind. It’s all about that sail.

Here we are, Veterans Day, 2020. Little did we know twelve months ago just what was coming, but perhaps life is merciful that way. What would we have done differently if we had known what was coming? Would our navigation be different?

More important now is the question of what each of us will do. Will we drop anchor and stay in a safe place? Or will we set our sails so the wind can take us forward, on to where we know we need to go?

Personally? I choose to pull up the anchor and set my sail to go forward, even if that means going against the wind, into the future.



Meals and Memories to Savor

Ruby's, Oceanside, CA
Overlooking the Pacific during lunch

This is my second post about our trip in September via Amtrak.

Going by train was perfect for us in many ways, but there were some drawbacks. Even on a sleeper, sleep can be difficult for some. The sleeper gave us a place to socially distance, but after a time it was good to go sit in the observation car. We appreciated the showers available to sleeper car passengers, tiny though they may have been.

We arrived ahead of schedule in Union Station in LA. Then we boarded the Pacific Surfliner to go South to Oceanside. This is where we met our son and his girlfriend.

This was a visit long overdue. And it was so good to hug them both and be with them in person. Good medicine for the soul.

My son recommended a nice burger place at the end of a pier, and off we went. The air was warm and breezy, the sun bright, the smell of the ocean welcomed us. All that fresh air heightened our appetites

We had spent 2 nights on the train, eating snacks and microwaved meals. It was time for something freshly made and cooked by skilled hands. Ruby’s satisfied our cravings.

What is it that makes food taste so good when you are outdoors?

At Ruby’s we had the best cheeseburgers ever. My husband mentioned it today at our dining room table. In Oceanside we ate, talked, laughed, watched the pigeons who wanted our fries, and enjoyed the company. Someone at our table may have “accidently” dropped some fries.

Oceanside from the pier
Oceanside, California, from the pier

We also enjoyed this view. Living in the heart of Missouri, where corn, soybeans, and cattle are everywhere, it is hard to imagine the vast ocean and sandy beaches. The waves, the sound of the surf, all the people enjoying the sun and water….it was as if we were transported to another world.

Ruby’s. Open for Patio Dining. Our son and girlfriend in the foreground.

Can you bottle that ambiance and bring it home? Sprinkle a little on your own home cooking and get the same result?

I wish.

The gift of hindsight shows me how it all comes together, like a favorite dish made by loving hands. What we bring to it makes the difference.

Anticipation of being present with one another after a long absence. Beautiful scenery. Fresh air. Delicious food. A time dedicated to enjoyment. No one in a hurry or needing to be anywhere else. Ingredients for meals and memories to savor.

At the Station

Waiting for Amtrak, La Plata, MO

It was the middle of September and we stood here waiting for our train to arrive. It was just a few minutes late, but that didn’t matter. We were on our way to the West coast to spend a few sunny days with our son and his beautiful girlfriend.



Southwest Chief, #3, on a break in New Mexico

Train travel has been part of my life since I was a little girl, and never fails to fascinate me. It is all about the view out the window. Seeing parts of this country that otherwise would be off the beaten path.  Someone else does the driving. You know where you will spend the night (we had a sleeper compartment). And the cooking is all taken care of. (Okay, this time the meals were microwaved since there were no chefs aboard to cook for you.)

We wore masks, as did everyone else, and social distanced the best we could. Having a sleeper gave us a place to stay separate as much as we wanted. (See for more about how they are addressing the pandemic.)

It was a good way for us to travel and so worth it. I will be sharing more in the coming days about our journey.  Even as I think about that I find it hard to believe that it has been over a month since we made the trip.

Here I am, typing this on my phone, watching snow fall for the first time this season. How I have missed the writing, the photography, the creative process. It is as if I packed all that in a bag and left it somewhere…maybe while waiting for something else.

Maybe I have been at The Train Station, waiting for this moment to arrive. I am not the same person who wrote that last post because we are always evolving, changing, growing, searching.

Every day brings something new, good or bad. Every road we take leads to more than we thought there would be. Each choice we make has a ripple effect that affects others.

The choice I’m making here is to “unpack”, to stay a while, share a good story now and then, and simply be myself. Maybe the ripples that go out will be good for all.

Meanwhile, don’t be surprised if I get a far off look whenever I hear a train whistle off in the distance.





Scene and Story – The Radio

We were at the Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site near Sedalia, Missouri.  Our tour guide lead us through the rooms of the mansion that has been very well-preserved and kept as nearly like it would have been when the owner lived there.

One of the first items I was fascinated with, left there where Mr. Bothwell would have placed it, was this radio.  An RCA Radiola, Super-Heterodyne.  This was a radio like I had never seen before, so I used my cell phone and took this photo.

Took the photo with my cell phone…this device that I think I can not live without, but did for many, many years.  This expensive gadget that I use for phone calls and texts, and to listen to a podcast once in a while or my favorite music…streaming online.

What would Mr. Bothwell and his family and friends have listened to on this RCA Radiola?  We learned that he died in 1929, just a couple of months before the stock market crash.  What would the news have been like then?  How would the stock market crash have been presented?  And how often did they (the Bothwell’s) even turn this thing on?  Electricity was not what we take for granted now.

I would love to know if this radio still works.

There are many deeper questions that come to mind as I look at this image and think of our modern-day communications.   I could add some here and go on and on.  This is not the day for me to do that.   I’m guilty of partaking too much of that news culture…something I continue to work on.

But what draws me in is the scene and the story.  The scene: this beautiful, well-preserved, well-built mansion in the heart of Missouri. The story, shown simply by the placement of this RCA Radiola Super-Heterodyne in what looked to be the center of that home.  A place of prominence, of importance.  Not so portable, not able to fit in a purse or pocket.  And yet, an all important connection to the world beyond their doorstep.

We are not so different.

Linking up with Sarah and Leon for Scene and Story.