Monday, May 31, 2010

Natural Blessings

I'm very lucky.  My family for the last 40 +/- years has owned a cottage home on the coast of Maine.  It is located in a small fishing village, population 500-600 in winter months, and larger when the weather turns and the artists, summer folk, and tourists make the 12 mile journey down the peninsula for lobster and inspiration. 

When I say on the coast of Maine, I literally mean on the coast of Maine.  At times it is easy to take this scene and serenity for granted; it is a place I spent much time as a child and it's "been there" for me ever since.  When I share the location with someone new a look of awe comes over them and reminds me of my good fortune.  I've been interested in photos lately, so this weekend I spent time looking with new eyes at the blessings surrounding me.

View from the deck late afternoon.

These rocks have looked like this for as long as I can remember.  I am always intrigued by their curvy stripes and by the beige and orange hues.

A skiff tied near seaglass beach; grace indeed.

Nature's rock tower.

Five Islands' Farm for native plants, vegetables, and for red wine.

Beach peas.

Bushy Nut Forever....this rural graffiti has been here for years.  I think someone keeps refreshing it, maybe Bushy Nut.
Foot bridge in the woods.

Picnic by the sea.

Lobster trap with barnacles.

Clams, haddock, shrimp, onion rings, and caps.

My companion's stealth has faultered.

I could hear frogs but could only see lily pads and blossoms.

Thank you for taking a walk with me and my camera.  There are many more sights I likely missed, but I'm happy to have spotted the ones I did.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Nearly Summer

Last Labor Day I remember feeling so blue, a sense of fading in myself along with the season and the light from the sky.  I thought of that time as a "bookend" to the summer.  This weekend is Memorial Day and it too is a bookend to the summer, but the one I prefer.  My sense of fading has moved on and hopefully a lighthearted rebirth will take place in the coming weeks.

I've always liked summer, but since I've stopped teaching it's allure has softened.  The freedom that comes with the end of the school year, be it as student or teacher, simply does not exist with the constant duties of work.  Not having that "break" from the day to day....I miss that.  I wake up each morning and ask myself "what day is today?" because they all seem the same.  There is no magic of a Friday afternoon, when one works on any given day of the week. Other than changes in the weather and the length of light the same is true for the months that pass.

I hope this summer I can find some moments to catch a glimpse freedom.  A swim in a lake, a kayak on the ocean, walking barefoot through grass, seeing that first June firefly, skipping dinner and having ice cream instead, enjoying a sunset after dinner rather than with dinner or earlier....maybe by pausing to capture these moments, I'll get a touch of that old carefree feeling I remember.

Good Morning; You've Got Mail

I get an email first thing this morning from someone I don't know.  It's junk email, but from Theresa Somebody-or-Other so it looks like real email from a real person.  Yah, right.  In the subject line it says "your challenges are my challenges".  Hmmmmm. 

How the hell does Theresa Somebody-or-Other have a clue what my challenges are?  Does she know that one of my challenges is how to get my precious sweet lovable cat to stop waking me up repeatedly in the night with her tickly whiskers?  Does she know I need to buy a new car, get a new roof put on my house,  a new deck, and garage door, but that there's no cash flow to do these things with?  Does she know I'd love to go back to college but don't know what I'd like to study?  Does she know how to make me prepare better meals rather than eating breakfast cereal most of the time?  These are the same challenges that she has? I think not Ms. Theresa Somebody-or-Other.

I'm sure if I just open her email, "shaa-zaam", all these challenges and more will be answered within moments.  I'm sure Theresa Somebody-or-Other is an amazing woman that can make the impossible possible like Mary Poppins....once begun is half done and with a teaspoon of sugar......Hmmmm.  DELETE!  One challenge gone.....bye, bye Theresa.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paging Table 1

I'm at the Subaru "lounge", again.  Two weeks ago I wrote of the aggravation of a diva-esque car that keeps my money flow going in the wrong direction.  Alas here we are again.  Maybe my car is a hypochondriac.

The lounge itself isn't that bad.  The space is sunny, clean, and large enough to hold 10 or so people fairly comfortably.  There are magazines.....a moderate selection, the daily newspaper, tables and chairs to sit at, and 2 computer which I started "hogging" about 10 minutes ago.  The other thing they have is an average quality TV on the wall complete with the remote control located on table 1.

It is that TV that is pressing on one of my few remaining nerves this afternoon.  When I arrived it was on a news station with constant footage of President Obama blabbering on with his whistling "S's" about the situation with BP oil spill in the gulf.  While the situation is horrible, frustrating, and on a path that seems to have no that the government and politics have become involved, I don't want to listen to anything about it.  Once something becomes political no one will ever know the real truth about anything that is going on, that happened, will happen, or solutions.  It will just melt into a huge ugly mass (pardon the pun) of finger pointing, denial, and money spending. Let me know when it's been resolved.

Blessedly an older woman with a cane sitting at table 1 became as disgusted as myself and changed the channel.  Yes!!!  No....she changed it to the "TV Land" channel.  I've never heard of the "TV Land" channel likely because I gave up my cable TV subscription nearly 2 years back.  With my handy digital box I can get CBS, if the wind isn't blowing or there's no precipitation.  I am out of touch with what cable has to offer.  Perhaps that is best.

Anyhow, now TV Land is on and I'm trying to tune out Bonanza.  The same Bonanza I didn't watch as a kid.  I must give credit where due, it is in color.  A few minutes ago I glanced up to see Michael Landon's young face....wasn't his character called "little Joe"?  All I remember about Bonanza was during the opening credits they showed fire burning up a map.  Then I think Mom said "time for bed."  I wasn't allowed to stay up late.

The lady with the cane....her car was ready about 1/2 hour ago so she's gone, but no sooner had she vacated her chair when an older couple arrived and promptly planted at table 1.  I think he's kind of interested in Bonanza or it could be that they have no clue that table 1 is in control of the remote control.  In between the chatter of Bonanza there are ads that come on.  Most are about medications that one can take to control blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, acid reflux, and an assortment of other unwanted conditions. This station must cater to older folks. Right now the ad is for "the Scooter Store" me Jesus. 

Meanwhile I have at least a hour more before Dane is going to come breezing through and tell me I'm "all set."  I've learned that "all set" is a temporary state of being.  I mean....I was just here 2 weeks ago!!  I was "all set" for exactly 12 days.  Also "all set" comes at a price.  Today's price will include 4 new tires (cha-ching), an alignment (cha-ching) and a new rear windshield wiper motor (cha-ching)....but I'll be "all set".
How much are the new cars?  Maybe when I get one of those I truly will be "all set".

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Blues Clues

I've been looking forward to blue day since I started looking for know, around.  Today it is here.  I realized  part way through the day that although blue is my most favorite color, that I was having a hard time finding it.  I had found it with ease when it wasn't blue day, but today it seemed to be hiding on me. 

My day did not allow time to head to the beach where the whole Atlantic Ocean would classify as blue.  There was definitely blue sky above, but it's got to be better than just pointing the camera up.  So my collecting of blue made me a little blue, but in the end, I was successful. 

When I walked into the library, I saw a lot of blue books, but decided on this magazine display in the teen section.  The blue mags on the top shelf, along with the MAD grabbed my blue attention.  There's something about this photo I find is today's favorite for me.

The driver of this truck saw me snap a photo and yelled "you can have the whole truck if you want!"  He had no idea it wasn't about the beer, it was about the blue.  I don't think I've ever tried a Samuel Adams.  Perhaps I should; ice cold beer on a hot day might hit the spot.

The heat today felt like early July, 90's rather than pre-Memorial Day Maine cool.  I took Tula for a short run in the woods not anticipating any blue anywhere.  The mossy liken on this felled branch was a blue surprise.

I mentioned the enticing blue sky today.  When Tula paused for a little sip from this stream, I noticed the sky's reflection on the water.  When one is looking for blue in the woods, one must really be alert.  Thank you Tula Dot!

Outside the library is a lovely faerie garden designed especially for children.  This sweet little faerie looked blue through my sunglasses.  She may be green, but for the sake of blue day, I'm going to say she's blue.  Her mood looks a little pensive, so perhaps she really is blue.

Blue hat, blue rain coat, blue walls.....Did I mention that I like blue?

This colorful birdhouse was also at the library in the faerie garden.  If I were a bird, I might like to live in a place like this.  Hopefully the children visiting the garden don't scare the birds away.  It would be a shame if no bird family occupied this tidy little home.  Location, location, location.

I have a blue desk at the office.  Shows my creative spirit in the land of deeds, contracts, title searches, home inspections, and all the resulting paperwork they produce.  Good thing my boss loves me....with my feet up, I look like I'm hardly working, not working hard, which is closer to reality.

My house is blue.  I remember when I first bought it, I didn't care for the color.  Now I don't mind it so much and it's wwwaaaayyyyyy too much work to paint it another color.  This is working for me.

When I attended my West African drumming class this evening I took my camera in hopes of finding one more interesting blue subject to photograph.  When asked what I was looking for and I said something blue....these two hopped up and said "look at all our blue; this will work perfectly for you."  I didn't have the heart to tell them it wasn't quite what I was after.  They said they were interesting because they were intergenerational.  So they are, and good drummers too.

Looking for blue was a tough job, but it had to be done.  Betcha dollars to doughnuts blue will be everywhere tomorrow when I'm not looking for it.  A little Murphy's blue law.  I'm thinking about going on the hunt for shapes next.  Hmmmm.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lookin' for Light

What the fuck?
How long does it take
To see the light?

Summer was here tonight.
I felt it in the hour before dusk.
Freeing the day's disappointments.
For a flickering moment
I saw the light
In the wisp of Tula's tail.

And then the pictures came.
The frustrated confused pictures
Of animals and embarrassments.
Of failure and darkness.

Up and down.
Her little feet giggle in the swing.
She delights in life's ride.
How can she know more than me
Before she's even two?

The purr pillow shifts,
Tickles, marches.
"Come on mama....see the light.
I'm bringing it to you all the time,
Just let it in."

Let your little light shine, shine, shine.
There are angels hovering 'round.
When I was sinking down,
Friends to me gathered 'round.
Walking in the light of God.

The medium is there,
I only need reach out and take it.
'Tis such a long lonely stretch
Between here and there.

I Need to get out More

I wonder about things far too often.  Things of no consequence.  Things that occupy my mind when it should be otherwise engaged with more pertinent and compelling subjects.  Sunday afternoon I went to the local chain pharmacy.  In fact I went to both of them.  They are conveniently sited across the street from one another, but that's an entirely different competition-esque topic.  Anyway.....I was looking for a jigsaw puzzle which is irrelevant to what I started wondering about.

On the exterior of the building was a sign indicating that the store was an "agency liquor store."  Somehow this struck me oddly.  I assume most people do not go to the pharmacy for jigsaw puzzles and in my own defense I did buy aspirin and Tylenol PM,  (They had no jigsaw puzzles or I would have bought one of those too.)  but do most people head on over to the CVS to stock up their bar for the upcoming party?  "Gee Honey, take a run over to the pharmacy so we have enough gin for our party tonight."  Huh?  "Get some disposable shavers while you're at it."

As I'm wandering the aisles of "drugs"....pain relievers, cough medicine, hemorrhoid preparations, hydrogen peroxide, vapor rub, wart removers, bandages, Depends, vitamins, ointments, and more I start thinking about the booze in this setting.  They had an end aisle display of Captain Morgan's spiced rum which was on sale. A remembrance of my friend Patsy drinking that with me 25 years ago took a hop, skip, and jump through my mind before I noticed that the Bud Light Lime 6-pack was actually about 70 cents cheaper here at the agency liquor store than at the local grocery.  Hmmm.  That made me decide to check out the wine aisle which I admit was a disappointment.  No good bargains there, well except for the brand that was selling 3 bottles for $10.  I took a pass on that.  Ugly label too.  Nothing worse than bad tasting wine with an unsightly label.

A long ago friend of mine did wonderful and funny impersonations of ordinary people.  One of her stock impersonations was of the elderly woman who worked at the local college town multi-purpose store.  The impersonation included of peering first through eyeglasses dangling at the tip of the nose, and then over them in order to stare customers down.  Another imitated the machinations of an old fashioned cash register, the type you punched the price of the item with numeral buttons and then it made a clunky "cha-ching" sound when the drawer popped open.

As the story portrayed, this woman, in order not to lose her place (perhaps she was having some post-menopausal brain fog) would state the name of each object to be purchased while she simultaneously rang it into the register.  According to my friend's routine when the woman's Puritan senses were negatively heightened by something a young college student was purchasing, she would use a louder and more pronounced voice surely heard by most anyone in the check out line or in the store.  For example, "One light blue t-shirt, 2 milky way candy bars, one PENTHOUSE MAGAZINE, and 3 pencils."  Many a red face stood at that counter enduring her unbridled wrath.

I think it might be fun to have this woman as the cashier in the pharmacy with the agency liquor store:  "One box Johnson & Johnson band-aids, 1 bottle aspirin, 2 boxes SUPER-PLUS SIZE TAMPONS, one GALLON VODKA, one HOME PREGNANCY test, and 3 packages juicy fruit gum.  What a mis-mash of stuff.  What a way to send shoppers across the street to the "other" chain pharmacy.

Drugs and booze in the same store....who'd have thunk it?  I wonder if they sell cigarettes too.  If you could get a tattoo, dirty magazines, and condoms (oh wait, they do have condoms) this would definitely be one stop shopping.  I told you; I wonder too much.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ready for Red

Last week I started looking for colors in my day to day travels....which often aren't very far and wide.  I didn't latch on to this idea until last Wednesday so I missed some colors.  No one says you can't continue to look for colors whenever the hell you want.  I am the master of my own blog destiny, so more colors it is.

Suffice to say-today is red day for me, myself, I, and anyone else who would like to check out my pics. I went looking for red, especially red that caught my eye unexpectedly or delightfully.  Red often is a statement color.  It is for alarms, danger, emergencies, warnings.  It is also for passion, heat, boldness....and anger, frustration, and rage.  In almost any setting it is intense.

Red is a color that goes in and out of favor with me.  Mostly I'd say I like the color. I go through periods of wanting red clothes and things, and then times of avoiding those same red clothes and tiring of said red belongings.  My home uses red as an accent color...just enough around to keep things interesting.  I like red foods especially anything with a tomato base, but nothing spicy.  I'm a bland kind of girl, I guess.  I had no trouble finding red today and I enjoyed my search.

I like this picture.  It is one of my favorites from today.  I love how subtle the red is, hiding amongst all the green leaves that are stating in deep voices: "This is our time of year".  I found these just by chance while walking Tula this morning on a wooded path.

Sometimes I forget what a beautiful area I'm blessed to live in.  I was photographing something across the street and turned around to see this magnificent barn with it's sensible metal roof.

They don't call it Patton's Berry Farm for nothing.  Best farm stand around for fresh foods and flowers.  Growing up I remember going there with my parents...long time quality reputation in the area.  I had stopped to take a shot of the huge display of red geraniums, but this photo appealed to me much more so.

This shady photo may be my favorite today.  This tired old shed isn't far from my home.  The Wilson Brothers own the property. Their business is yard work, basic landscaping, snow removal, etc.  There is no residence, no sign, or business at the site, it's simply a couple run down sheds for storage. It continually amazes me that these brothers, both at least in their late 60's, hang all their tools outdoors, day and night, year 'round and no one steals them.  How refreshing.  Perhaps they keep a Doberman in the shed and I don't know about it.

Our family once had a visitor from Brooklyn NY fascinated by mailboxes.  She didn't know what they were for and couldn't understand why no one stole what was inside.  We had to explain how mail is delivered in rural areas and if you want your outgoing mail to be picked up, to alert the postal deliverer with a raised red flag.  Today #155 has nothing outgoing, but the neighbor does.

Boat for sale!  I have a friend who says "Everything is more fun in a costume."  I think she's crazy....but everything IS more fun in a boat.

My beloved djembe drum.  The roping holds taut the goat skin head against the wood frame.  This drum was made in the Ivory Coast, Africa.  I probably should have used this for purple day, but I can see red making a dainty appearance.  I could also include more drum shots if I decide to do a brown day at some point.  I love my drum.

I stopped to take a picture of this cupola.  Then thought I could get a "two-fer" by including the flag too.  I backed up another step and obtained the triple crown when I added the leaves of a nearby red maple.  Sometimes I even amaze myself.  This is the top of the former Cousin's Street Elementary School where I attended kindergarten and 1st grade.  The building was recently restored and expanded into tasteful but inexpensive apartments.

These are some vegetables I actually like.  I was truly called "no veggies" by the women who worked in the cafeteria at college because I never wanted any vegetables they were serving.  Notice the hint of red on the rhubarb in the background.  Reminds me of my late grandmother who often made strawberry rhubarb jam in the late spring/early summer.

It has been so long since I've had a Coke I don't remember if it's the real thing or not.  For many years it was one of the major food groups in my diet, starting with breakfast.  This bold image certainly endures.  I recently sold my Coca-Cola stock, but I'll buy it again when it becomes a good value.  I don't think I'll start drinking it for breakfast again though....unless someone offers cold leftover pizza to go with it.

That's all for my tour du jour of red big and small.  I don't know if tomorrow will be another color day, or if I'll let it rest a bit.  We'll see what whim defines me tomorrow.  I must say I enjoy looking for colors.  It creates opportunity to see things from a different angle and with fresh purpose.  I think of the expression "stop and smell the roses"....another sense that often gets little thought.  Thanks for looking.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Place or Yours?

As much as I'd like to be, today I am not looking for color. Today I am looking for dirt and clutter and so far I'm having complete success.  Tomorrow the appraiser is coming as I am refinancing my home to save me a little moo-lah-lah each month on my mortgage payment.  While I realize that dirt and clutter add nor subtract any value to a home, I think my home would look more, je ne sais quoi....."Better Homes and Gardens" without the piles of mail, dusty TV screens, tumbling tumbleweeds of dog and cat hair, clothes that are somewhere between wear again and hamper, and assorted other schtuff that I walk by daily without a thought or blink of the eye.  I don't want the appraiser to trip over the cat hair on the way in.

As a Realtor I see a lot of houses.  I am awed sometimes by how others live.  Awe comes in the good and bad variety.  I see so much of it, that often I don't even really see it anymore.  I walk into a home and get a sense of "neat and tidy", or "Oh my God".  Most of the time it's somewhere between those two extremes which is where I think my house falls.  I'd like it to fall a little closer to neat and tidy when the appraiser comes tomorrow.

It is to note how much we can ignore in our own homes that would smack us up the side the head if we wandered into someone else's house.  I often show houses to clients and as they consider whether the house interests them or not they remark, "this color has to go" or "why did they put this here?" or "this is so strange; I've never seen anything like it." I've stopped trying to figure out why people do what they do to and with their houses.  It works for and let live.  Funny how each of us has our own "normal" that the rest of the world finds eccentric.

I'm blogging now, not because I have great things to say, but merely to procrastinate the next item on the list of dirt or clutter or both.  There has been progress this morning, but I anticipate I'll be working and finding "more" to tidy most of the day.

Friday, May 21, 2010


One year ago tomorrow, my sweet Abbie Louise Downing passed away.  I still miss her....a lot....and often.  We had a special bond, likely built on the energy I spent trying to channel and calm her seemingly boundless energy.  She was all go and often she was going long before her brain was going, and that's when the trouble was likely to start.  It was who she was.
She was however a very smart, sensitive, and loyal companion and never much farther away from me than I could see.  A happy girl with a zest for life who truly never forgot a place where she had found food. Scavenging was an art she excelled at.
The day after she passed away a single bloom opened on my resident Christmas cactus.  I found that odd at the time, yet comforting.  Now I see there is a big fat blossom ready to open, likely this weekend.  No other blooms are in sight.  And yet around the first of December the plant will be covered with fuscia blossoms.
Abs, my dear...I still miss you so very much and hope that you are having the bestest time running around heaven.   I'm sure there's swimming for you and endless games of ball and frisbee toss.  I'll catch up to you when I get there, but for now, I feel your spirit here in the sunshine.  Be a good girl.

Sorpresa Verde

That's's green day.  Maine is brimming over with spring, green, and sunshine; even a caveman could find green today.  I could step out in my yard, do a 360, and come up with hundreds of green photos.  My personal challenge was to find green, but not in such obvious places.  My mission: the unexpected green.

I'm not crazy about the color green.  I do like green in nature.  It speaks of energy and liveliness, of warmth and sunshine, of living in a small town and not a city. But aside from that, I don't choose clothing that is green very often, and my house doesn't have much green inside.  I have trouble remembering and finding green clothes for St. Patrick's Day, and doing the green beer thing was a once in a lifetime experience for me.  It is not a color that draws me in, but today I did find plenty of interesting greens that I would normally have ignored.

The new Hannaford supermarket had plenty of green shampoo bottles on display today.  And look!,  something is on sale for $2.99.  Probably Suave.

This is a lousy photograph, but I turned around my car and went back just to take it.  I have no idea who Nala Stone is, but today she turns 18.  It says so, right on this fluorescent green sign.  Notice just by chance I caught the green light in the traffic flow too.

Confession:  I took this photograph at the monastery on purple day in anticipation of today being about green.  I found this angel very pleasing and delicate.  It seems almost a shame to have her holding such a utilitarian modern day light fixture, but it too is green.

I took my sweet dog Tula Dot to the beach today.  She wandered through the blowing grasses-probably trying to run away from the camera.  The wind caught the tip of her tail and the tall, dry, yellow-green stalks.

Squishy green mossy stuff on the sand.  Glad I didn't have bare feet today.

Look at the green flowers on Tula's collar. Pretty girl.

Not only have I never noticed the ivy growing on the roof line of this house, I've never noticed this house before.  As we might say in the real estate business....needs some TLC.

This afternoon at the office I was thinking I could use one more green picture and was running up against a block.  Nothing was popping out at me.  As I stared off in space out the window my doggy decor caught my eye.  And then I looked at the huge shingled roof that is the bulk of my view.....all green.  Duh!

My favorite picture of the day.  I love clean lines and sharp angles.  A lovely 3rd story doghouse dormer.

I actually did a quick tour of my backyard this morning.  This picture reminds me of my mother.  She loves the look of new growth that all the fir trees spit out in the spring.  The new tips are always a yellow-green that darkens to forest green as the year progresses.  This tree has grown as tall as I am yet was only knee high 3 years ago.

That's it for my adventures with green.  Tomorrow is multi-color day, but I'm going to have to pass.  I'll be at a concert all day where everyone has to wear purple and black.  That's leaving a lot of colors out, so never mind.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Color in Violets

You may have noted that yesterday my blog was about yellow and orange.  I decided to continue to search my world for color and the color du jour is purple.  I am glad I'm searching for color.  It reminds me that tho' my musical world now feels primarily black and white, my visual world is loaded with vibrant colors.  Note to self: I think you've been focusing on the wrong sense.

Here in Maine finding purple flowers this time of year is easy, peasy, Japanesey....too easy.  I found multitudes of lilacs, Siberian iris, lupine, iris, phlox, and pansies.  I did photograph some, but that didn't feel like much of a challenge, so I soldiered on.

This was my final purple find of the day.  I know they call it red wine, but let's fess's purple.  Purple enough for me.  It is a lovely spring evening and I dined al fresco.  If one dines al fresco, they absolutely must have a glass of purple wine to go with it.  As a disclaimer....the wine is now inside with me at the computer.  If my clarity lessens as my post goes on, well, you'll be among the first to know why.

I practically tripped over this FedEx drop box on my way for morning coffee.  "Good morning!  You've found purple."  I've walked by this location many times....noticed the drop point, but not the vibrant purple.  I dusted the purple section with my sleeve before photographing....dusty purple, not!

Yah, yah. I know I said no flowers, but these Siberian iris buds I found so enticing, I had to include them.  I love the way the green mutes the purple, creating almost a red wine color.  Soon they will show their royal purple magnificence.  I'm not much for gardening and am delighted these will make my neighbors think I know what I'm doing.  Take that, Jones'.

This young man cast his purple shirt aside and caught some rays....and bikini views at the beach.

I sensed I might find some purple amongst all the grays, whites, browns, and tans at the rocky beach.  Growing up near the ocean teaches you things you don't realize.

This is my favorite photo of the day.  Dannah always has the most interesting and artistic displays.  Today she had the French doors wide open to let in the warm spring air.  All I did was point and shoot, Dannah deserves all the credit.  Look at all those beautiful scarves and necklaces.

Check out the fun funky purple around the door and window....and two for one....the shop next door is painted a pale purple.  Stop the car and take a picture for sure.

I stopped at the Franciscan monastery today in my search for purple.  There is a large outdoor altar with a statue of the Virgin Mary, larger than life size on the grounds.  People leave all kinds of things including messages asking for prayer and guidance, flowers, candles, money, and personal tokens.  The altar is surrounded by a natural rock outcropping.  I spied these rosary beads tucked in a crevice below Mary.

For my last purple I just can't resist these lupine.  Beautiful purple flowers were everywhere today and these are just too lovely not to share.  Don't you think?