Ending 2012 with a beautiful drive across the USA

It’s been an amazing year. 2012 has brought new friends, beautiful travels, the loss of good friends, the birth of little Mesles, exciting work, and many other ventures. The list goes on. After a wonderful visit to see friends and family for the holidays in Kansas City, Jake and I drove back to California with the puppies in tow. What did we decide to throw into our road trip? A visit to the Grand Canyon, of course.

Yavapai Point at the Grand Canyon

As we arrived back in California, we trekked through the Mojave Desert to round out our adventure through the southwest.

Mojave Desert

We miss our friends and family back in the midwest, but we are excited to be back home in sunny California. Tonight, we will celebrate with friends and family in San Rafael, and count the many good times we had in 2012.

Have a Happy New Year!

One Orchid–Three Images

My holiday decorations are not complete without orchids.  This year I bought my orchids from Bird’s Botanical, a family owned business located in the caves at I-435 & 23rd Street, in Independence, Mo.  Only open for business on Tuesdays, it is an adventure just to be there.  The orchids run the gamut of colors, shapes and sizes.

I thought it would be fun to photograph this particularly interesting bloom.  Relying on my D 5100 Nikon and my Tamron zoom lens, I took a number of shots using flash, long exposures, short exposures, and “Auto”, as well as taking photographs from a variety of different angles.  In picking from all of the photographs, I eliminated some because they were blurred, over exposed, under exposed, or just bad.  I finally decided to show you three.  They seemed to me to make the cold winter day a little less dreary.




May your new year be as lovely as this flower.

Great Wall Art For A Winter’s Day

Meg is gone.  Tough day.  Need to have some fun.  Drove down Troost in Mid-Town Kansas City.  Found wonderful art on the wall at the Kansas City Urban Youth Center.  I don’t know anything about the Center, but they have great art on their walls.  It made my day a little brighter.  Hope it does for you as well.




Graffiti and wall art add color and life to our city streets. They are very much a part of the culture of our urban community. The artists deserve to be acknowledged.  But even  more, they deserve a wider audience.

Best Holiday Wishes From Our Family To Yours

Christmas is here!  It is a day for family and for celebration.  It is one of my favorite days of the year.  It is an especially happy holiday for us because all four generations of our family will share it together.


During Meg and Jake’s two-week visit, Christmas begins like every other day.  Feeding three hungry dogs! But immediately after breakfast, we opened their collective sock.  They were excited by the smell of doggie treats and each received an individual toy.  Of course the toys immediately moved from dog to dog as they picked the toy that fit their unique canine personalities.


The rest of the day is for human family.  We are really excited about seeing everyone, including meeting Parker, the one member of the family we have not yet had the pleasure of meeting.

We hope your day is as joyful as ours.  Have a truly wonderful Christmas holiday!

Ann and Meg

The Clouds Before the Storm

These are from our drive through Wyoming just a few days ago. We somehow slipped through a little crack in the storm in order to avoid the worst of the weather, but the clouds were beautiful, especially with the mountain background.

Here comes the snow in Wyoming!

More snow and clouds in the mountains of Wyoming

It’s definitely winter, and the holidays are just around the corner!

Good Morning, Fallon

I’ve made a few trips to Fallon, NV recently. It’s a small town of about 10,000 people in the western part of Nevada, about an hour away from Reno. My favorite thing about Fallon is the warmth and generosity of its people. Every time I walk into a coffee shop or grocery store, I have a wonderful conversation with a complete stranger. Fallon is also home to the “Top Gun” training program for the Navy, so it has a fascinating mix of people.

Here are a few shots of the morning view on my way out of Fallon during my most recent visit. The mountains and clouds were beautiful, and I saw the first of many trains that day.

Mountains in the morning, north of Fallon on Hwy 95

Train along BNSF tracks, where Hwy 95 meets I-80

Good Morning Fallon

Have a great day!

Jake Hodge Is 29 Today!!

IMG_0009It’s Jake’s birthday.  Jake, Meg and the dogs are driving between Wyoming and Nebraska on their way to Kansas City for the holidays.  At last report, they have stayed just ahead of bad weather.  It is a tough way to spend a birthday–driving across country with two greyhounds in the middle of winter.

Jake, we all wish you a great birthday. IMG_2042 Terry, Laura and Sophia send their love from Amsterdam Terry is visiting to be with Sophia for her 3rd birthday party tomorrow.

My dad, Sherry and Bill, Jon, Dana and Caroline all wish you a happy birthday.


I know you seem to work non-stop.  But you and Meg do have the benefit of those gorgeous California weekends to compensate for the hard work.

Have a wonderful birthday and arrive here safely.


Love from all of us.