What images does “relic” conjure for you?

Santa Fe State Penitentiary
Santa Fe State Penitentiary

Site of the one of the worst prison riots that killed 33 inmates in 1980, the Santa Fe State Penitentiary has long been closed down.  But it’s a favorite location for commercials and movies like Lockdown, All the Pretty Horses and The Longest Yard.

Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

In this week’s photo challenge, share your take on the idea of room — it could be an actual room in your house, a favorite gallery in your local museum, a cubicle at work. You could also take this challenge in a more abstract direction, and show us where you feel like you have room — or lack it.


This was my first ever brand new car, and I drove it everywhere!  It took me places I never thought I’d go and actually enjoy myself (you know, for a city girl), like up in the mountains of the Sierra Nevadas where you saw all the stars at night and hear the deer munching on the apples outside your window.

To me, the world was wherever I found myself in.  If all else failed, there was always my mind palace…

Which takes me to the next picture I took while sitting in LA traffic right by the take off and landing strip at LAX.  Though it might be a bit constricting inside that car, I always knew it would take me anywhere I’d want to go (within driving distance, of course).


The next picture is of the Taos, New Mexico skyline.  I have so many other pictures of the skyline but this was the one I could grab quickly without having to reduce resolution in another program.  This was in the outskirts of Taos, where people lived in earthships outside of the grid.  All around us are sage brush and at night you heard the coyotes howling.


Another view of the sky, although this one has been cropped to center the walkway with the cross.  Writing often means I’m cooped up indoors the entire time so getting outside is really important for me – even though I don’t get to get outside of the city as much as I’d like.  But when I do, I go for places where I can see the sky and smell the trees.


One of my favorite rooms that I wished I could have spent more time in was this master bedroom at the Phoenix earthship, also in Taos.  I loved the red adobe walls with mica that glistened.

It was so cool, temperature-wise, inside that room because part of the area where the bed is located is bermed against and partly under a hill of sorts, to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  And oh, the bed was divine.  I could have just written in that room all day – oh, and do other stuff, too, of course.


Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twist


Thai Yoga

I took this picture so many years ago when I first learned Thai Massage.  The women in the photograph are my teacher, Janice (right) and fellow student and yoga instructor, Tanya.

The two weeks I spent with them and other therapists ranks as one of the best times of my life, a time when my life changed completely.  The time was September 2001, to be exact, two weeks after the World Trade Center came down.

This was taken on the second to the last day of my stay.  I had this brand spanking new Olympus digital camera that my client loaned me, and it was capable of such high resolution – at that time.  We decided that it would be a great idea to do a photo shoot of sorts of the routine, especially the tricky moves, so we could all use it for whatever marketing brochures we needed to print out.

For the uninitiated, Thai Yoga therapy is a combination of acupressure, yoga stretches and breath-work, with some reflexology thrown in.  It’s been around for about 2,500 years and not at all like the “Thai massage” some people associate with a lot of oil and an air mattress.  Nope, this is done fully clothed, it’s meditative and it’s just amazing for both the giver and the receiver.

As one of my teachers, Mama Lek, used to say, “Good for you. Good for me.”

Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: On The Move


My little prince loves his fire truck and he loves to go driving around the neighborhood – complete with his sunglasses that even has lights that blink along the side – like he owned the place. He has a routine. If he’s not going around the block to knock on the fire department’s front door, then he heads over to the bakery where the people behind the counter know his name and give him his choice of a chocolate doughnut. This he only does with his dad though, for I’m trying to get him onto a healthier diet. But once in a while is fine. I guess.

But still, he goes a-driving like he owns the place and I’m glad I caught his smug highness in the act. He is my little prince after all…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Threshold

My friend’s husband needed a kidney transplant and had been on the transplant list for some time.  During one of their visits down to Southern California just before he had to start some protocol to lower his white blood cell count, I took them to see the Hollywood sign.  And while we, the girls, were taking our pictures with the sign behind us, Craig turned around to watch the setting sun in the horizon just above the L.A. Reservoir.

Even though the sun wasliterally in front of us, and therefore, not a good way to take a picture, I snapped this one because it just struck me at how it mirrored just where he was in his life.  How close he was to getting a kidney!  How close he was to getting a chance at a normal life, where he could go back to school, get a job and work without having to worry about his home dialysis schedule where he had to be hooked up to those tubes for up to 10 hours a night.

It’s one of my favorite pictures of Craig, and now that he’s got his new kidney and after almost two years of close calls as his body struggled to adapt to the donor kidney and the endless medications, he’s back to school and enjoying life.  He even started posting his poetry online.  And such breathtaking poems they are, too.

Weekly Photo Challenge


Weekly Photo Challenge: Object

In this week’s challenge, I’d like you to use one tangible object as both your inspiration and subject. It can be the obvious focal point of your shot or you can get creative and find other ways to feature your object — the only requirement is it must be somewhere in your frame.

Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy

When was the last time you captured “joy” with your lens? Your five-year-old opening the hoped-for gift on Christmas morning? A puppy quivering with excitement when his best friend gets home at the end of a long workday? A colorful riot of flowers, or a sunset in an explosion of orange and pink?

This week, in a post created specifically for this challenge, show us JOY.

Spending the afternoon riding trains at Travel Town in Griffith Park with my little prince.

Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: One

This week, we want to see photos that focus on one thing. Maybe you’ve got a stark photo of a single tree silhouetted against the setting sun, or a lone sandpiper wandering the beach as waves crash. Perhaps you’ve caught your mother sitting by herself in a moment of quiet contemplation. Maybe you saw a basket of wriggling puppies, and got a photo with a single fuzzy face in focus. (Please, someone, take that photo!)


Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea


The Sea. What kind of emotions does the sea or ocean make you feel? Do you remember the first time you went in the water? Had a wave crash on you? Felt the sand burn your feet? Do you feel more peaceful around water? Do you hate the beach? What’s the most interesting thing about the sea for you?

I almost drowned in the ocean when I was little and so I don’t like dark water.

But that didn’t mean I didn’t get in the water – just not the deep water part, if I could help it.  I remember when I was learning how to windsurf and while I loved the feel of the wind in my hair and all that, and the way you can control the sail to go where you want to go, the moment I looked down, all my courage left me for I was literally in deep water and all I could hear was the Jaws theme playing inside my head (I’ve only gone scuba diving once, too, and the moment that theme song played in my head, I just about hyperventilated underwater).  I still remember how my windsurfing instructor said, “you were doing so great but when you looked down, I knew it was all over.”

In the Philippines, where I grew up, the sea isn’t as rough as it is in Southern California.  It’s calm and clear and I didn’t mind being in the water – as long as I could see the sand below – you know, just in case sharks make their way in shallow water and all that; and jelly fish, you gotta watch out for those little suckers, too.

But the first time I went into the water in Manhattan Beach, the surf just about knocked me out of my bikini and that was the end of that.  Wouldn’t that have been a sight!  Maybe I’ve waded in since then, but I’ve never been in the ocean water higher than my knees since 2000.  And I don’t mind it.

And when I went to the east coast, spending three weeks on the shore in Ocean City, New Jersey, I’d never seen an ocean as gray as the Atlantic.  But you’ll never see me in that water either.  I say ocean water because I’ve gone river rafting and skinny dipping in the Nevadas – and as far as I know there are no sharks there.

And if I can help it, I can’t even rest easy seeing my little boy get in the water, even if it’s at Mother’s Beach where the water is supposed to be shallow (but it isn’t really, but then that’s me talking).  Maybe it’s the near-drowning experience from when I was little, but it’s a nightmare for me just watching my little one wade in the water with no concern for anything but the joy of being in the water.  And because he’s on the spectrum, it’s enough to send me into hysterics.  So I leave the beach-going to Mr. M, who loves the sea and fishing and surfing and all the things I absolutely don’t like.

And after discovering the Sierra Nevadas in 2001, I discovered that I much prefer the sound of the wind rustling through the trees more than I do listening to the waves crashing on the shore.  So as much as the sea is beautiful and all that, I’ll take the mountain any day.

Weekly Photo Challenge