bridge song

Found myself in the city by the bay recently. You can include me in the hordes, the masses who are compelled to photograph the Golden Gate bridge.

On my last afternoon in the city, I hopped a bus (along with a couple of fellow-intrepids) to the Presidio. I was told this was an easy place to get stellar photographs. My guide told me this excursion was imminently doable in under 2 hours. With 15 million shutter bugs visiting the site every year, would I be able to capture a unique view of the sweeping icon?

Exited the bus in the Presidio (a former military base) and began schlepping to the bridge. Could see the object of my desire in the distance. ‘Hello, lovely!’

ggfarawayShe seemed pretty far away. ‘Ladies, let’s keep walking….not sure exactly where, but keep walking! You with me?’

006a‘Crissy Field? I need to be at Crissy Field? Gone.’

013aGetting closer, but still so far away. ‘I’ll tell you what, you ladies enjoy the park and Chrissie Field. Enjoy a cold drink and cool off. I’ll keep walking to the bridge. Meet you at the bus stop at 4 pm. See you there!’

o16aFinally made it to the water’s edge. Inexorably drawn by the Siren’s song. A wind-blown bridge zombie.

023aAwwww…..goooooey, oooooooey, sweeeeetie, pa-teeeetie. A dawg. A very big dawg.

‘Mister, may I take a picture of your handsome dog?’

037aHiking up the hill.

047aDoes having an object in the foreground make for a more interesting photo? Maybe not in this case. Can’t fault me for trying.

Cell phone call, ‘Hey guys….I’m not gonna make it back by 4 pm. Go without me and I’ll find my way back to the hotel. Sorry. Don’t worry about me. See you later.’

This melody is getting more interesting.

063aWhy are my best views being blocked by a chain-link fence?!’

048a‘Sure. I’ll take your picture. Will you take mine?’ Please forgive the crazy outfit. I was cold most of the time, so my warmth-strategy was to don all the clothes in my suitcase….hence the pants with a skirt look. My nightgown is probably underneath there somewhere. Don’t the red sneakers top everything off? An old lady on a mission.

o84aMade it under the bridge and to the other side. Better light over here. I like this shot, but I’ve seen plenteous versions of the ‘tree with the bridge’ shot done much better than this. Meh, move along….nothing new here. From this vantage point, the wind is so stout I can barely hold my camera. As an added bonus, I’m being refreshingly splashed with the spray from crashing waves. Suffering is part of making art. I’m humming her tune. No way, this journey is made in under two hours.

Back under the bridge, she draws me to an interesting perspective. Problem is, there’s another annoying 6′ chain-link fence blocking my view. I do the only thing a compulsive-obsessive photographer could do. I set my camera’s dials and hoist the beast as far as I can over my head and over the fence. I blindly snap shots and pray I capture something.

Here’s the result.


It’s different, for sure. Haven’t seen this one in the guidebooks. My heart sings. Could be better, but for now I’m content. Live and learn.

Here it is in B&W.


Do you like this shot better in color or black and white? I’d really love to know which version you think is visually stronger.

Oh yeah….barely made it back in the nick. Didn’t crash and burn on the rocks. Windblown, damp and tired….but I made it.

Hope you are honoring your unique perspective.

Unchained melody-love to all.



beautiful rooms

I’m not talking about decorating ideas for your home, but rather enjoying the view from the room in which you find yourself.

Spent last week at the ranch cooking for the branding crew. I enjoyed my view from the kitchen, even though things got a little hectic.

Did you know the branding crew likes to ride out at daybreak? That means the cook’s alarm clock is set for 3:30. I’m talking in the A.M.

Being a compulsive extremely organized overachiever, I put a pork roast in the oven one night, so lunch the next day would be easy-peasy. The sweet daughter-in-law woke up at 3:30 to prepare breakfast. She was jolted awake to a house full of choking smoke. My roast had overflowed and smoked up the entire house. Yeah, that’s the kind of quality help I am. You can thank me later.

Did you know there’s a very valid reason no one makes fried chicken at home anymore? It’s complicated….hard….a lot of work….so of course I HAD to make homemade fried chicken and mashed potatoes for 25 cowpokes.

The night before the chicken feast, I filled two big aluminum pans with chicken pieces soaking in buttermilk and salt/spices.


Job #1 the morning of the BIG LUNCH. Peel 10 lbs of potatoes.

potatoes Check.

Retrieve the buttermilk-y chicken and coat with flour and spices. Tell yourself you’ll have time to wash your buttermilk-soaked Levis later.

chickendippedPour a boatload of peanut oil into two deep skillets on top of the stove.

chickenfryingDon your hip boots so you can safely wade through the grease on the kitchen floor.

Mash the potatoes. Assemble a salad. Make beer bread. This was a big hit with the diners.

beerbreadTry to keep your energy up as you continue into your second hour of frying chicken.

kathytiredI forgot to take a photo of the huge pan brimming over with fried chicken, but here’s a photo of the aftermath.

chickenandpotatoesHappy cowboys and a gratified cook. The smiles and conversations really enhanced the time I spent in this room. Hope my chicken reflected the fondness I feel for each of them.

Sometimes, I left the kitchen and enjoyed other rooms.

The view from the pens.

Cherished this view. He’s my favorite cowhand.

Dragging the calf to the branding crew on the ground. They have the HARD work.

downloadI enjoyed my view from the back of the forgiving ranch horse, Pogo. This room is one of my all-time favorites. Being horseback is medicine for the soul, I tell you.

photo(1)Events of the week had me recalling this verse of Scripture:

John 14:2-4
English Standard Version (ESV)
2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.

paradisebranding 179b

Hope you are savoring the view from your room this weekend.

Original-recipe love to all.



No, no….not American Idol. I’m not talkin’ J-Lo or Harry Connick, Jr. Settle down.

Can you remember being a small tyke? Think as far back as you can possibly remember. A time when you couldn’t do everything for yourself, but you were learning. Maybe recall a time when you still wore a onesie pajama.


Do you remember idolizing an older kid who could do so much more than you? Maybe he could saddle his own horse.

paysonsaddlingAlmost saddle his own horse.

payson&dustinThis older cowpoke has his own cowboy hat, boots and spurs.


He can climb on tall things without assistance.

paysononchuteHe’s a general stud, but you know what the coolest thing about him is? He’s nice and he takes time to play with you….a lowly little kid.

payson&graham1He takes you huntin’ for yyittle yyizards on the rock wall.

grahamandpaysonHe helps a small feller out when he needs a leg up.

graham&paysononwallThis friend is so nice, he allows you to play with the baby frog he caught.

Your friend responds with a sly grin when you ask for the thousandy-eleventh-time, “Can I go to youse house? Can I go to youse house? Bye mommy. Can I go to youse house?

After a long morning of rounding up, branding, working calves, yyizard-hunting, frog-playing, horseback-riding, and chute-climbing, the truck ride back to the chuck wagon can cause your older, idolized friend to get bone-tired.

Your only thought, your sole wish is… want to BE him. Just like HIM.


Soon enough, little guy. Soon enough.

Best-buddy love to all.