Unlock Your Imagination – Photo Essay

Bound by commitments of time, what we know, the physical, and the social, we bump into invisible barricades, most of them created by our imagination. Traveling unlocks these shackles and we leave them hanging on the concrete walls of our lives. We experience a new kind of freedom. Our boundaries expand.

Towering Boundaries

Overwhelmed by choices, we fill our time with adventure. Our senses soak up the vibrant colors and patterns while we inhale the delicate and sweet, the acrid and the pungent. Days blend with the sounds of busy city life to seagulls calling from above the crashing ocean. This new place responds to our touch and we rush to what it has to offer. Continue reading

The Moose is Loose!

I have always wanted to shoot a moose… with my camera. They are huge animals which can be aggressive and dangerous. They are also majestic and fearless, qualities I have always admired.

A few years ago, I freaked out and fumbled with my phone as a cow and her calf pranced by the liftline in Breckenridge. By the time I pulled off my mittens to take the shot, they had dashed into the forest.

Last Friday night, Danny and I walked the Pearl Street in Boulder after dinner. We stopped in a shop and I overheard a conversation about a moose encounter. The man and his wife had dropped off their daughter at CU and then hiked Brainard Lake, about forty-five minutes away in the mountains.

“I want to see a moose,” I whined like a two-year-old.

He pulled out his phone and showed me the extraordinary photos of a bull moose whose antlers were in velvet. Can you imagine stumbling over them in the spring? Whoa…

I Jonesed for a moose encounter, but Danny planned to play golf on Saturday afternoon. He doesn’t doesn’t have the opportunity very often. He had a meeting on Sunday. Hiking would have to wait.

With rising temperatures Saturday morning along with smoke from Western fires, he hoped to finish some yard work in the morning while I hosted a Drop and Hop Party on my blog.

Then divine intervention occurred.

He cut his right hand with the hedge trimmer. I sent him to Urgent Care and then found out how it happened. I won’t laugh because the last time, this happened…

After four stitches (only a flesh wound between his index finger and thumb) he was told to skip tennis and golf for the next ten days.

Now the afternoon was WIDE OPEN!

“You want to hike Brainard Lake?” he asked.

“Yes!” I abandoned my party. We packed water and snacks in one backpack and then stuffed jackets into another. We drove up Lefthand Canyon.

Like we had expected, the temperature was in the low 70’s. There were others hiking, but it wasn’t crowded like Rocky Mountain National Park. That place is a zoo in the summer.

We hiked on a trail through the aspen and evergreen forest up a thousand feet to another small lake in the high alpine environment.

moose munch

It was ablaze with wildflowers.

We avoided loud conversationalists and listened for breaking branches. A dude with a boom box passed us with his posse. Okay. This is a wilderness area and the third time this year someone has blared music while hiking. What are they thinking?

I had to say something this time.

“Dude. Although I appreciate that your music is turned down to a reasonable level, this is a place where people go for peace and quiet. You should turn it off.”

The group kept walking. He yelled something back at me. I think he said, “Thanks! Have a nice day.” Pshh.

The temperature dropped and the wind picked up. I didn’t want to get caught in a storm. It was hard to tell what kind of weather was afoot with all the smoke. We turned around. Continue reading

Creepy or What?

haunted house

A couple of weeks ago my husband Danny and I drove up to the Mount Grays and Torreys trailhead. My SUV wound up the steep dirt road so slow a granny with a walker could have passed us at times. While struggling over rocks and pot holes in the comfort of my Toyota Highlander, I thought of the hope and courage miners carried in their hearts while traveling up this same treacherous road more than a century ago.

We came upon a miner’s boarding house. Situated along a stream and within view of Mt. Torreys, it appeared ready to tip over. When placing my hand on the weathered boards to take a few photographs, I expected it to lean with me. Continue reading

Surrounded by Vivid Color

Last week, I biked outside for the first time since knee surgery. Surrounded by vivid color, I had to stop and take a few photographs. I had looked forward to riding to Hygiene, about ten miles away, but the skies threatened.

bike hike in Boulder County

It has been stormy here in Boulder County. When I rode again yesterday, I made it to the tiny town. I returned home as the skies opened up. After going out for dinner, tornadoes, torrential rain, and a lightning show like no other, made driving a challenge.

Stormy skies above Niwot

Thunderstorms rolled in early today and the landscape is muted. When the skies clear, mountain vistas will once again burst with vivid color.

Have you been spending time outside? Has the weather been stormy in your neck of the woods?

This week’s photo challenge is “Vivid.

Help Solve The Mystery!

While vacationing in Santa Barbara, California, my husband, Danny, and I walked to the farmers’ market. I spied something enveloped in a garden bed. I took a double take. Yep. It appears someone partied hard Friday night and trounced home naked or in their boxers or thong. I left the pair of jeans in their new habitat and didn’t investigate for size or gender. I didn’t want to find *gulp* underwear.


The de-pantsing (unpantsing?), took place around the corner from the main drag, State Street, and one mile from the ocean. Continue reading

My Blurred Lines

I’m back in Wisconsin and took these selfies in my parents’ living room. The rectangles in the background are my father’s paintings.

Going home will be like waking from a dream. Flashes of memories will surround me after focused time with my parents. The clarity I have now will dissolve after returning to Boulder. Like most memories, this week will become a blur.

selfie 4

Selfie 3

Do your vacations race by? Do you photograph special moments?

This post is a response to the Daily Post Photo Challenge – Blur

A Fresh Flashback!

We probably won’t take a vacation until May, so I’ve been drooling over my vacation photos. These are a few I took in California last year. I miss the fresh sea air, the farm-to-table restaurants and the blending of architecture, art, and landscape found at the Getty Museum. I hope to visit again soon.

My daughter, Courtney, gazes at the ocean in Santa Monica.

fresh in Cali Continue reading

Silhouette – Weekly Photo Challenge

sunset in Aruba

Sunset in Aruba


Original – Santa Barbara Pier

sbpier 3


All images were photographed directly into the sunset resulting in a dramatic contrast of light and dark.

Which is your favorite?

 This post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Silhouette.

Reflections on a Perfect Night – Photo Essay

Last summer was WILD! After my double mastectomy, I had restrictions and  limitations. My doctors expedited the process so my husband Danny and I could fly to Barcelona, Spain. We picked up our daughter Courtney from her Study Abroad program and drove to France.

While in Paris, we took a bike tour through the heart of the city. Courtney had traveled there with her friends a few weekends earlier and found the tour to be the highlight of her visit.

The Louvre 5

The fact that I took these photographs outside the Louvre weeks after major surgery reflects the power each body has to heal itself. They also remind me of the courage and strength of my daughter.

The Louvre 4

While studying in Spain, Courtney contracted tonsillitis. That weekend, the rest of the students in her apartment traveled to the South of France. She stayed home with a high fever, a painful sore throat and wasn’t able to keep any food down. Of course, I was freaking out from thousands of miles away. She dressed and hailed a taxi to the nearest doctor’s office. Without speaking Catalon, the doctor examined her and wrote a prescription. She found a pharmacy, taxied back home and took care of herself. Continue reading

Snowshoeing Photo Essay – Get Featured!

After my big adventure, I had to take Danny snowshoeing. Roxy raced ahead.

snowshoeing 7

Danny followed my lead down to the Sally Barber Road.

snoeshoeing 1

Once we hit the mining trail, we cruised on the hard-packed snow.

snowshoeing the Sally Barber

We ran into a runner who suggested trekking to the mine or looping around by taking Nightmare on Bald Mountain Trail. We couldn’t find the trail, so we made our own tracks up old Baldy.

The slow and steady climb through heavy snow proved to be too much for Roxy.

snowshoeing 3

We found the trail back home and Roxy sprinted ahead.

Snowshoeing 6

Our little outing took more than two hours, but the exercise while taking in Colorado’s beauty was worth every minute.

Come up with a caption for “backpacking Roxy” and get featured on the Wild Ride!

snowshoeing with RoxyLeave your caption in the comment section below. The winner will be featured on my sidebar until next month’s contest! My kids, Kelly and Courtney, will choose the finalists.  Good luck!

Happy first day of spring!

Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer

The First of Many Wild Rides

Impulse and risky choices have taken me on all kinds of adventures. This story epitomizes who I am.

After graduating from college, I struggled to find illustration jobs. Every month or two, I drew promotional advertisements for an upscale women’s clothing store where I worked selling clothes. The intermittent opportunities paid a meager wage. I made more money selling clothes than drawing them.

Esprit Girl

Then, I had a brilliant idea. Madison, Wisconsin is only a few hours away from Chicago, so I took the Van Galder Bus to the Merchandise Mart. I hoped to find a few businesses willing to pay me to draw their clothing and accessories.

With an art portfolio held tight in my hand, I knocked on doors all day, but only found one interested company. I showed the owner my drawings and paintings. She picked a purse from a pile on a table and said, “Draw this one.” She handed me a #2 pencil, a piece of typing paper and escorted me to her desk. She and her staff watched as I drew. Perspiration dripped from every pore on my body. Somehow, I managed to finish. She smiled and paid me $10.00. It covered less than half of my bus fare.

Purse Illustration

I took the elevator down to the lobby and stepped into the chilly spring air. After reorienting myself, I made my way to the bus stop. I thought about my career choice and if it would be worth it to travel to Chicago again.

While I stood shivering on the curb with my back against the Lake Michigan wind, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and a thirty-something, unshaven man in a light jacket and jeans asked, “Are you waiting for the bus back to Madison?” Continue reading

Jumping for Joy! Literally…

As part of our family’s Christmas traditions, I shop, bake, decorate, and create homemade greeting cards. I am always up for adding something new to the list.

My son Kelly figured he would receive a Playstation 4, but he still expressed over the top happiness when receiving his gifts. That’s when I had an idea…

Kelly jumped for joy, but what happened to his feet? His new snow pants need a hem.

Kelly jumping for joy 1

Then my daughter Courtney jumped! Continue reading