Sunday Stills Monthly Color Challenge #White: Life Inside a Snow Globe

New Year New Hope

Welcome to the first monthly color challenge of 2022. With only so many colors from which to choose, there will always be repeats. We looked at the color white last February 2021.

Without resorting to black and white photography, show us the color white.

White grass white snow

Renoir said once that nothing was so difficult, and at the same time so exciting to paint, as white on white.

Ambroise Vollard, French Contemporary artist, 1866-1939

Like my post title suggests, I feel like I’m living inside a snow globe. (image provided by pexels)

Inside I’ve changed my Christmas decor to the theme of winter white. Not too much, lest it gets a tad boring readers!

Looking out, looking in; an icicle’s perspective

The world outside my window is white as it is full-on winter here in the Pacific-Inland Northwest. La Nina has gifted many of us with a lot more severe weather than we bargained for this year. Without boring you with a weather report, I’ll let the images do the talking in the shape of a snowglobe.

White sentinel pine trees
Winter Sentinels overlook our area
Life in a Washington Winter
Just outside our neighborhood

Within the snow globe are the concentric rings of my life—my household, my neighbors, and recently people I see at the schools when I sub as a teacher—which are all connected by perhaps being trapped in the winter snow globe, but at the same time, we can connect physically and manage to socialize.

As Marsha suggests in her WQW post, socializing and communicating within the educational system is the lifeblood of learning.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw

Currently, I can connect with the school kids and personnel face-to-face which really gives me the sense of community and a slight shattering of the glass globe that temporarily binds us. It’s amazing to watch the kids get ready to go to lunch or recess as they are given 5 minutes to grab their snow boots and snow clothes and bustle out the door as if nothing is different in their winter white world. Hard for this former California girl to reckon with.

Our school district is in a rural county and there are no plans yet (fingers crossed) to close and go back to remote learning. Other nearby districts have paused sports due to lack of covid tests and many are suggesting temporary remote learning. Please, God, no. And that’s all I will say about that now.

Some Warmer Whites

Enjoy this gallery of white that is NOT about winter. Just in case you’re too cold to go on…

Special shout out to my new favorite bird photographer Donna at Bay Photos By Donna, who shared this post of HER life in a snow-globe filled with snow geese last week!

A couple of interesting white objects to satisfy Lens-Artists: Interesting Objects. It’s not often you see a stand-up paddleboard in the bedroom. The white gate welcomes visitors to San Diego’s Del Mar Fair exhibit hall.

This was a rare, pink sunset to punctuate all the white and ended up being “last on the card” last week, as well as an entry to showcase a “weekend sky.”

pink sunset on white winter's day

Photo Challenges this Week

A compelling image on a white winter’s day. Hope springs (almost) eternal.

New Year New Hope
Evergreen finds the sunlight in 2 feet of fresh snow

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

Sunday Stills weekly challenge is easy to join. You have all week to share and link your post. Feel free to “double-dip” with other photo challenges!

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Tag your post “Sunday Stills.”
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below are this week’s links from bloggers who shared photos that display the color white.

To see more of my images and other news, consider following Terri on Social Media by clicking the icons:

Themes for the rest of January are ready to view on my Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Page. This page is updated monthly and I am open to YOUR theme ideas, too!

I can’t wait to see how you interpret the color white this week! Then, please join me next week as we explore WILDLIFE.

© 2022-2025 Copyright — secondwindleisure.com — All Rights Reserved

Sunday Stills: Christmas #Song Lyric Photo Challenge

Silver Bells on the Christmas Tree

Welcome to the holiday version of the Sunday Stills Song Lyric Photo Challenge!

The idea of this challenge is to match images related to your favorite song lyrics. If this is unclear, it might be best to think of your favorite song(s) and highlight some lyrics with your new or existing photos that help tell the story.

Also, to avoid copyright infringements of published lyrics, only post a few lines rather than the entire song. If you write poetry or your own songs, you can certainly use your work for this theme!

To see how the challenge works, here are examples from Always Write and my example from this summer’s song lyric challenge post.

Celebrating the Holidays!

Now that we are celebrating the winter holidays, think of your favorite holiday music or poem. I am choosing the song Silver Bells.

“Silver Bells” is a popular Christmas song composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. It was sung in the generally known version by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the motion picture The Lemon Drop Kid, which was filmed in July and August 1950 and released in March 1951. Since then, artists like Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, and the Judds, to name a few. Source

My favorite is Anne Murray’s version. I feel a real sense of nostalgia as I listen to the joyful lyrics that describe people preparing for Christmas.

Silver Bells

Winter streets of Coeur D'Alene
Snow falls in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style

Holiday Christmas Lights

In the air, there’s a feeling
Of Christmas.

Festive Porch lights

Children laughing, people passing
Meeting smile after smile…

Seeing the Lights
Japanese Exchange student and I enjoyed the Christmas lights in 2018

…And on every street corner, you’ll hear
Silver bells…

Christmas tree ornaments

It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling
Hear them ring
Soon it will be Christmas Day.

Strings of streetlights, even stoplights
Blink of bright red and green

Red and Green Holiday Decor

Hear the snow crunch
See the kids bunch

This is Santa’s big scene…

Silver bells
Silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them ring
Soon it will be Christmas Day!

Silver Bells on the Christmas Tree
Silver Bells on the Christmas Tree

Silver Bells © 1950 Copyright Writers Ray Evans, Jay Livingston; Sung by Anne Murray 1987

A Wordless Celtic Carol

Lindsey Stirling in Concert
Lindsey Stirling in Concert

Even though there are no lyrics to this, who needs them when you watch this performance by Lindsey Stirling! So impressed was I with her electric violin, when the opportunity came to see her perform in concert in Sacramento during Thanksgiving weekend in 2018, we jumped on it, got great seats, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! Below is the YouTube version from CMT Country Christmas.

‘Tis the Season

“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”

― Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express

Part of this wonderfully and sometimes chaotic season includes birthdays–mine! I turned the Big 6-2 on Saturday, Dec 4th. For many in the US, age 62 traditionally marks the first year one can receive social security benefits and/or retire from full-time employment. Both my 62-year-old hubby and I are waiting until at least 67 to draw on the benefits. Meanwhile, we still know how to play!

celebrating a birthday
60th Birthday Celebration in 2019

Don’t forget to make time for yourselves this holiday season, and “play” as Marsha suggests in this week’s Writers’ Quotes Wednesdays challenge. Listening to holiday music, walking outdoors, stopping to sip hot cocoa, or even playing with your children/grandchildren is good medicine for our holiday-weary (or covid-weary) souls!

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

George Bernard Shaw
Tree Lighting poster

Tonight, hubby and I are going to an old-fashioned Christmas Tree Lighting a few miles away in the main town of Nine Mile Falls.

Photo Challenges this Week

Each week I am inspired by my fellow bloggers’ photo challenges. I find it fun to incorporate these into my Sunday Stills weekly themes, when possible. As I attempt to connect my images to other challenges this week, I fell short. No flowers or leaves, unless my faux tree and the scene in Balboa Park qualify! In any case, please visit me fellow challangers and play along this week!

Alway’s Write Writers Quotes Wednesday: Toys or Play
Cee’s Flower of the Day
Dawn’s Festival of Leaves
Johnbo’s CellPic Sunday
Jude’s Life in Color: Kaleidoscope

Lens-Artists Challenge: Celebrate

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below are the last week’s links from bloggers who shared their coziest photos.

Beach Walk Reflections

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

Cath’s Camera

Easin’ Along Image shared in comments

Frost on the Moose Dung

Graham’s Island

Green Dreams

Hugh’s Views and News Image in Comments

Kamerapromenader

A Birthday Post for Me! Light Words

Loving Life

NEW Manny’s Adventures

Musin’ With Susan

Picture Retirement

Philosophy Through Photography

Retirement Reflections Image shared on Instagram

Robert’s Snap Spot

Stevie Turner

This is Another Story

Travel With Me

Une photo, un poème

Woolly Muses

Working on Exploring

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Tag your post “Sunday Stills.”
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.

To see more of my images and other news, consider following Terri on Social Media by clicking the icons:

Sunday Stills weekly photo challenge is easy to join. You have all week to share and link your post. I look forward to your favorite holiday songs highlighted with some of your new or favorite photos. Have a wonderful week!

treesignatureholidays

© 2021-2022 Copyright — secondwindleisure.com — All Rights Reserved

Sunday Stills: Lighting Up the #Night

Sunday Stills Night

This week, as the northern hemisphere languishes in gloomy, shortened Winter days, let’s explore night photography. For those enjoying sunny summers or climates, it gets dark somewhere, right?

I admit right off that I am no expert when it comes to night photography. I know there are all kinds of aperture settings to capture images at night. Here is a useful article that explains the different types of night photography.

For now, lets explore what we have.

On Christmas night we got a record 8 inches of snow, adding to the three inches that previously fell. Now for all you snow experts out there, please indulge me a moment. I stepped outside to let my dog out into the backyard and the night sky at 9:00 pm was lit up!

Night Light

Where we are staying in suburbia, the area is surrounded by nearby businesses a few blocks away. Between the white snow on the ground and the clouds, punctuated by street lights, it looked more like twilight than night. I took these with my Galaxy Note phone and did very little editing. I walked outside and needed no extra light.

Bright Snowy Night

I know, I’m easily amused. Believe me, I have been in plenty of snowy, night conditions at Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevadas, and with several feet of snow on the ground near the casinos at Stateline, it was still very dark.

Has that been your experience if you have been outside on a dark, snowy night?

Outdoor lights can also illuminate objects like the leaves below.

Backyard porch light illuminates delicate Fall leaves

Ambient light from buildings and other outdoor venues also lends enough light to an image.

Cal State Capitol
California State Capitol

Two years ago I took a photography class to learn more about my Lumix camera and all its settings. The instructor worked with me to get my first moon shot. This was taken on Manual mode and I braced the camera on top of the fence, looked up, and put it on full zoom.

Moon shot

Don’t worry if night photography is not your thing. You can interpret the theme in any way that works for you and your creative energy.

Thank you to so many who shared their 2020 retrospective last week! I always enjoy blogging in the new year as it seems motivation abounds! Please welcome bloggers who joined Sunday Stills for the first time this week.

I’m linking “up” with Becky B’s SquareUp challenge.

Next week we are back to my new-ish monthly feature, with the theme and color “glacier blue.” Hope to see you then!

Have a great week!

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: #Early to Rise

Winter Sunrise

The word “early” invokes a variety of quotes, phrases, and conditions. Let your mind run wild with these concepts of early:

  • Are you an early-bird, an early riser, or just love being early to events?
  • Were you highly intelligent at an early age or naïve in your early years?
  • Perhaps you are a “later-in-the-day” person and dread the early morning hours.

This week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge theme is EARLY.

If you are five minutes early, you are already ten minutes late.

Vince Lombardi, American Football Coach

Being a very time-conscious person, in most cases I tend to be early to appointments. Ironically, every Friday morning I rush out the door at 7:45am to get to my 8:00 am yoga class. Sort of defeats the purpose! Although I am only a few blocks away from my gym, I do try to arrive by 10 minutes before the hour to get a good spot and unfurl my yoga mat.

Arriving early to something gives me time to relax a bit and breathe if I’ve had to rush to get somewhere. I am always early to get to my campus office hours and classes. I like that 10 minutes of classroom prep time to gather my thoughts and get media ready for the lecture.

University classroom
Early to arrive in the classroom

Although I don’t claim to be a morning person, I have never complained when I am up early to see these sunrises!

This lovely winter sunrise was taken earlier this month while I was visiting in Spokane, Washington. I got up earlier than everyone, started the coffee and saw THIS out the kitchen window. Despite the COLD temps, I rushed out into the street in my PJs to capture the dramatic textures and colors.

Winter Sunrise

This image was from a few years ago in Baja, Mexico on the Sea of Cortez. Always strange to see the sunrise over the water. We west-coasters are used to seeing sunsets over the water!

Baja Sunrise
Early Baja Sunrise

Back in January, I complained about the gray foggy days typical in Northern California. February tends to be a cool, rainy month, but as of today, we have had NO rain in this area. These warm sunny days are ushering in an early, dry spring which translates into early flowers.

Here is a pic of my neighbor’s poppy.

California Poppies

These California poppies normally pop out in March, but with all this sunshine, I have already seen them along the side of the highways earlier this month. The other day I went to buy some birdseed for a new feeder and found these lovely Icelandic poppies in the garden section. They provide some beautiful color to my front porch.

The poppies are submitted for Cee’s Flower of the Day

Get an early start for March photo challenges! March themes are already posted on the Sunday Stills Photo Challenge page.

What does EARLY mean to you? Show us your take on early with photos, poems, stories or music! Remember, my blog posts early Sunday mornings at 7:00 am (Pacific Time)!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Unexpectedly #Frozen

Ice Frozen in Fountain

This week’s theme for Sunday Still is frozen! I figure we can endure one more week of winter scenes and freezing weather in some places, then start dreaming of spring!

This week’s images demonstrate snow and ice appearing in unlikely places at unexpected times of the year.

Most of you already know of my slightly frozen winter road trip to the so-called warm American Southwest.

Upon our arrival to Sedona we strolled around and came across this frozen fountain outside nearby art galleries. At this point, it was cold but had not snowed yet. Despite the frozen water, some of it was still flowing. Photo credit goes to my husband!

Ice Frozen in Fountain

The next morning, we experienced unexpected snow in Sedona depicted here by my happy husband (he liked the snow for a few minutes). We did pack for snowy conditions, fortunately, but this much snow really caught us and everyone else by surprise!

Man in the snow
Hans enjoying the Sedona snow

This second image shows a beautiful winter scene outside my brother-in-law’s home in Spokane, Washington over Veteran’s Day weekend, in mid-November. We expected the temperatures to be cold there, but this was the first snowfall of the season and it arrived early for this area.

Spokane Snow

This poor daffodil was unexpectedly snowed upon in early May in South Lake Tahoe. The day before was a warm, sunny day as we left Sacramento. The snow started in the early afternoon and covered the ground for several hours. And to think I entertained the idea of bringing my stand-up paddleboard along!

Daffodils in the snow
Unhappy frozen daffodils

Whatever your feelings for snow scenes and all things frozen, the subject matter makes for beautiful photos!

“Only mountains can feel the frozen warmth of the sun through snow’s gentle caress on their peaks”
― Munia Khan

This week, show us your version of frozen for Sunday Stills!

My sympathies to all who are enduring freezing weather conditions. Stay warm and safe!

VIVA Las Vegas: A Positive End to the Winter Road Trip

VIva Las VEgas Graphic
VIva Las VEgas Graphic

This is the final installment of our Winter Road Trip to Arizona and Nevada. To read how it began, click Part One and Part Two .

Once I cancelled the rest of our reservations on New Year’s Day while still in Sedona, and we agreed on the decision to end our road trip with a few days’ stay in Las Vegas, I caught myself humming that Elvis Presley tune “Viva Las Vegas.” I felt a load off my mind as we waited for the sun to melt the snow so we could leave Rancho Sedona RV park. There was still significant snow through which to drive.

View of Rancho Sedona Campground
Pink arrow marks our trailer/truck

Afternoon Arrival to Sam’s Town RV Park

After a six-hour drive from Sedona to Las Vegas, we pulled into Sam’s Town RV Park at about 3pm. Check in was swift and we received a free night’s stay for booking 5 nights. We also got casino discounts for Sam’s Town Casino a few steps away from the RV park. Although we missed happy hour due to unhooking and setting up, we ate dinner at the food court using some of the discounts. Of course, we played a little at the casino and I managed to break even.

Sams Town RV Park
A nice spot on the corner!

The next day, Thursday, we mostly did nothing but acquaint ourselves with the park amenities, which included two dog runs, three restrooms with free showers, clubhouse, pool and a hot tub. We then shopped for a variety of items, visiting Wal-Mart (ugh), Costco and Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Note to self: Don’t shop at Wal-mart during the holidays, especially in the afternoon. Need I say more?? The place was so crowded I actually got hit by another shopper’s cart! We attempted to buy tire chains, but the genius cashier informed us they only had one box left which contained one chain. “Don’t you buy them that way?” she asked, then her snarky comment after, “we don’t need chains in the desert.” Had I cared at that point I would have showed her a photo of snowy Sedona, but I believe she wouldn’t have known where Sedona was anyway.

What to Do in Las Vegas

Other than gambling, what else is there to do in Las Vegas?

On my list was a trip to the Hoover Dam and maybe nearby Lake Mead. I also wanted to shop for some turquoise jewelry. I still wanted to try to drive back to the Grand Canyon, but the roads were still iffy and the holiday crowds were still around. I also had wanted to visit Red Rock National Monument just west of Vegas.

A funny thing happened when I looked on Google. I found Valley of Fire State Park just 60 miles north-east! It looked very similar to Antelope Canyon with its twisted and striated red sandstone rock formations! And a slot canyon to boot!

The Valley of Fire

Friday was the day we planned to drive to Valley of Fire State Park. What a relief to drive on dry roads!

When we arrived, we stopped at the Visitor Center and then drove along the suggested route. The red sandstone formations are incredible in both size, variety and colors.

Posing in Valley of Fire Arch

Nevada State Parks have few restrictions on bringing dogs on the hikes with us (unlike many trails in the National Parks). Someone along the sandy, winding trail described Aero as agile!

Red Rocks and Dogs
Hans with Brodie and agile Aero!

Since I didn’t get to tour Antelope Canyon in Northern Arizona, we headed for the White Domes area which boasts its own slot canyon! It did not disappoint. In the photo below, you get the idea of the sheer size by looking at the tiny hikers in the lower right corner.

Red Cliffs
Immensity of the slot canyon

The holidays crowds were soon out and about, and we ended our sightseeing in the early afternoon. There was still so much to see! Check out the website here.

It was a bright sunny day and the temperature rose to 66 degrees! What a difference from just two days before in Sedona! Isn’t that how winter weather in the Southwest desert is supposed to be?

We got back in time to enjoy the Friday night steak and seafood buffet. We raced over thinking the lines would be ridiculous, but no one was in line! The weekend after a major holiday like Christmas and New Year’s sees more people staying home. Lucky for us!

The food was great. I noticed our waitress wearing turquoise rings and she told me she bought them in Boulder City, near Hoover Dam. I added that spot to my list!

Another Blogger Meet-Up

Terri and Maria
Lunch with Maria in Las Vegas

We met Maria and her cute daughter for lunch on Saturday and had a great time chatting about how she liked living in Las Vegas. Maria had recently moved there from Northern California, a couple of hours north of Sacramento. In case you’re wondering, Maria is Ms Zen from Sagittarius Viking! Check out her recent visit to Valley of Fire State Park.

After lunch and still on my quest to find turquoise jewelry, we attempted to drive to a couple of pawn shops and GPS sent us right through the Vegas strip! Just as crowded as I remembered!

Of course, sticking to our theme of winter weather, it rained Saturday afternoon and evening. It even snowed on Mt Charleston!

The Dam People in Boulder City

Boulder Dam Hotel

Sunday, our last full day, was spent driving about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas to a town called Boulder City. This town was originally built in the 1920s to house the workers and their families who built the Hoover Dam. Boulder City is one of two Nevada Cities that does not allow gambling!

Hans loves antique shopping and found a bonanza of goodies in the local antique shops. I found some beautiful sterling silver turquoise rings at an antique store and at a jewelry specialty store. The store owners were so helpful, honest and friendly!

rings
Turquoise Ring Collection

It was a cold sunny day with a bit of wind. We thought we might drive over to Hoover Dam, but we simply ran out of time.

Saying Goodbye

Once we got back, I started packing the non-essentials while we still had daylight to get ready for Monday’s long drive back to Sacramento.

Our last evening was spent warming up leftovers for dinner in the microwave and utilizing the hot tub at the clubhouse. A fun and fitting end to our 12-day Arizona/Nevada road trip.

Sam's Town Sign

Our drive home took 11 hours. We drove home the same way we came, through I-15, back up through Kramer Junction and Tehachapi Pass with no incidents. This was our view of the Sierra Nevadas at a rest stop on Hwy 99 in California’s Central Valley, a few hours from home.

Snowy mountains
A look at the snowy Sierras on the drive home.

As I reflected on this road trip, I was extremely disappointed that I missed out on seeing Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks, as well as camping at Lake Powell, which was the gateway for visiting Monument Valley, Navajo Nation and Antelope Canyon.

We learned to be flexible and to go with the flow. Arizona is not very far from where we live in Northern California, and we intend to go back and try again, whether we pull the trailer, or drive and stay in hotels.

The Positives of Our Road Trip?

  • Enjoying the Arizona desert area and appreciating its beauty
  • Spending time with two bloggers and their families
  • Getting and taking advice from folks who have traveled there
  • Learning about the trailer and its features
  • Becoming a better traveler by paying attention to surroundings and using technology for fuel stops
  • Feeling a sense of peace as hard decisions had to be made to change the itinerary
  • Discovering more about the Las Vegas area with its surrounding desert beauty and points of interest
  • Learning to expect the unexpected!

The Sunday Stills Photo Challenge is hosted by Hugh this week. Sunday Stills will be back in my hands beginning Feb 3. More Valley of Fire photos!

Sharing today’s photos for Snow’s Friendly Friday photo challenge!

Thank you for taking this journey with me. Has anything beyond your expectations ever happened to you while traveling?

Sunday Stills: Something #Red

Sunday Stills Red Graphic

During the holiday season, it is nearly impossible to find something red to photograph, right?

Wrong!

While I prefer green, the reds of the season lend a dramatic contrast to white snow, lush evergreens, and cold, dreamy blues!

I had planned my usual macros (see below), which are always fun to photograph and edit!

But by kismet and luck, my featured image below (also shared for Becky B’s timesquare) is my attempt at a wedding photo of our dear, next door neighbors who held their wedding in their backyard last week! My hubby thought I should take a couple of photos of them and have the image printed on canvas as a wedding gift.

Wedding photo

Instead of purchasing other artists’ prints, I found this website to print my own images onto canvas or acrylic. In addition to this wedding photo, I had three of my favorites made into canvas prints to be framed (or not) and hung on my own walls. I use CanvasDiscount (no affiliate here, just a satisfied customer!).

It is doubtful I would explore wedding photography as a profession, but I am more than pleased at how this one turned out. At the time of this post, they have not yet received their surprise gift! They chose not to have a dedicated photographer at the wedding, so I was so glad to make this portrait of them!

Now for more reds!

Whether or not your image is holiday-themed, show us something red for Sunday Stills!

Sunday Stills Red Graphic


This post is my last Sunday Stills post of 2018! There is no challenge on December 30.


As I will be traveling extensively during the last week in December and first two weeks in January, Sunday Stills will be hosted by Hugh and Carol. More details on my Sunday Stills Page.

Thank you for a fabulous 2018 with Sunday Stills! I wish you Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

Terri_holly

 

Winter Solstice Moon

Moon shot

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, the solstice arrives one day before the full moon.

I couldn’t resist posting my full moon shot for Becky B’s December Squares Challenge! Click on the link for her round-up of posts.

Moon shot

Friday also marks the astronomical beginning of winter, even though meteorologists and climatologists view winter as starting Dec. 1, which is the start of the coldest three months in the Northern Hemisphere. After the solstice, the days slowly start to get longer again. USA Today

I admit to using this same moon photo in a previous Sunday Stills post for Bucket List Images. It’s been too cloudy for moon shots lately. May as well make those rare images work a little harder!

 

Sunday Stills: #Festive!

Festive Graphic

Nothing is more festive than the decorations and lights people use for their holiday celebrations!

That is our theme for this week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge!

Last week we looked at traditions as we explored Christmas light displays in some of the neighborhoods with my darling Japanese exchange student! Here are some images.

Festive Purple Lights

Quick selfie with Ayaka! There were a lot of people enjoying the lights!

Seeing the Lights

A festive wreath adorns Pacific Beach’s Crystal Pier at Christmas time, even as surfers hit the waves.

Wreath on Pier

A festive pic of Aero from a couple of years ago! He thinks he is a gift (and he is!).

Aero thinks he is a gift...he is!

What puts you in a festive mood?

 

treesignatureholidays

Winter Macro in #DecemberSquares

snowy bough

I don’t always get to see snow, but when I do, I am so happy to capture an image that depicts a winter day.

snowy bough

We still have some colorful autumn leaves hanging on for dear life, but wintertime is here!

The pine stays green in winter, wisdom in hardship. – Norman Douglas

Submitting for December Squares and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Close Up or Macro.

 

Friday’s Frosted Festival of #Leaves

Fallen frosted leaves

As Autumn begins to wane in most places, I wanted to share two photos of what was left of Autumn in Spokane, Washington, from our visit last weekend.

Fallen frosted leaves

In the featured image above, the last of the leaves abruptly fell overnight after the snow.

Before the snow fell, it was a brisk 29 degrees when we went for our morning walk.

frosted leaves

Here in Northern California, Fall is alive and well, but the smoke from the Camp Fire continues to fill the Central Valley with extremely unhealthy air. College campuses and schools have been closed all week due to the incredibly unhealthy air.

The extreme conditions make it difficult to get out and take photos of the peak of Autumn here. My prayers go out to the victims of the wildfires and to the brave men and women firefighters continuing to battle the fires.

Festival of Leaves

Cee’s Flower of the Day (FOTD)

Autumn SIGNature

Fitness is Still Where You Find It

Finding Your Fitness

Finding Your Fitness

January is the time of year when folks think and do something about their fitness and exercise regimens.

It is very easy to give up on attempts at exercise when the weather is freezing cold or you and everyone around you are dealing with illnesses and colds. Even I have to force myself to get that gym workout in every other day, and yes, my dogs always need walking.

I am thankful I have my Fitbit to gently nag me to get my 10,000 steps in every day. Do I get them all in? Not every day, but that external motivation does push me a little but further.

With my school schedule set up differently this semester, I can take my favorite Friday morning yoga class again. Boy do I need it!

I end up parking far away on campus from my office so that I have to walk a ways. Every little bit of activity that you can sneak in every day counts for more benefits than you think.

I am sharing some older posts that may help and motivate you toward your fitness goals.

Please check out this previous post. Comments are closed here.

Original image by Scott Webb via Unsplash

via Fitness is Still Where You Find It

Ten Ways I Beat the Winter Blues

How I Dealt with SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder

How I Dealt with SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder

If you reside on planet Earth, you are aware of the storms and wild weather that have affected the U.S. and beyond. California has made the news, not for its famous 5-year drought, but for the record rain and mountain snowfall the entire state has experienced all winter.

The rain and foul weather is a blessing…and a curse. A blessing because the state desperately needs the rain and snow-pack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

A curse because… 1. It’s too much water too fast (see link on Oroville Dam); 2. Gloom, rain, clouds and lack of sunlight affect many people and may lead to a form of depression in a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD for short.

Winter rain pours from the sky on a dismal gray day
This much rain poured from the sky and from my roof recently!

The Mayo Clinic website suggests “The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression. A drop or change in both serotonin and melatonin (neurotransmitters) levels can bring on seasonal depression.”

Fellow blogger, Sally Cronin, writes extensively about Seasonal Affective Disorder in her blog, Smorgasbord: Variety is the Spice of Life.

This insidious condition does not affect everyone. You would think that by my living in “sunny” California, SAD would not be an issue. I’m here to tell you, um, yes, it’s an issue.

Since 2011, our winters have been mild. We’ve seen much more sun January through March—our typical rainy season. Sure, we had a decent amount of rain in November and December in those years, enough to keep the Sierra ski resorts open for business. In 2011, we even had record snowfall that kept snow in the Sierras well into June. After that? Nada! No wonder I have not experienced the “winter blues” in a while!

What is SAD? Here are some symptoms:

  • Lack of energy—feeling overwhelmed and helpless. These are confusing and horrible feelings for a rather positive person like myself.
  • Feeling guilty or worried—heightened anxiety. I found myself frowning and unconsciously grinding my teeth. Why??
  • Weakened immune system. I got two severe colds in December and January. I am rarely sick, so getting two colds within a two-month time-frame now makes sense.
  • Experiencing sleep disturbances, lack of sleep or the ability to socialize. This did not affect me that much, thank goodness, or you might be visiting me in the hospital!
  • Irritability—Having a lower threshold of crankiness and impatience. Oooh, no wonder I’ve snapped at my poor hubby lately.
  • Overeating and weight gain (or craving carbs and sugar more than usual). After a year of successfully using Weight Watchers to lose 30 pounds, I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t gain any weight at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but started craving carbs and sugar in mid-January and gained two pounds. What was different? It also didn’t help that we celebrated a few family birthdays in January.

“Many (may also) attribute these symptoms to the lack of vitamin D in the winter. To help battle these symptoms, it is advised to get as much natural sunlight as possible; which may mean heading outdoors in and around the lunch hour, or during a bright winter day. Even on the coldest of days, if the sun is out, bundling up, and heading outside for a least an hour, can improve SAD symptoms significantly.” 10 Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

It would be unwise of me to live in the far northern hemisphere without access to a sunlamp.

All of this explains my feelings of being disorganized, always overwhelmed, and unable to multi-task (my super-power). It also explains lately why I am slow to read blogs, comment and share on social media. The low energy just makes it difficult to engage. So, I apologize now for my sluggishness, and soon I will be back to my bubbly self and to your blogs!

I now have a new appreciation for the depression and anxiety my daughter went through in the last few years. She told me, “people would ask, what do you have to be depressed about? That made me even more depressed and anxious.” For her, graduating from college and landing her first job with the State of California pulled her out of her anxiety.

How did I beat SAD, or the “Winter Blues?”

Spring brings clouds of blossoms
Spring brings clouds of blossoms

1. First, simply recognizing the symptoms. I had all but forgotten them because of the (abnormal) winter sunlight. Even reading about the symptoms, it still did not occur to me that I was currently suffering.
2. Talking it over with family members went a long way toward acknowledging my problem. For many, depression is difficult to discuss and carries a social stigma.
3. Getting on with my life and not letting anxiety and blue moods get the best of me. Now I have a better understanding of my youngest daughter’s anxiety in the last few years and what she went through. It is easier than you might think to get caught up in these moods,  leading to Number 4.
4. Not giving up or giving in to defeat, or making rash decisions about life events and hobbies that can’t be undone. It was literally on the precipice of giving up writing and blogging altogether, thinking “I have nothing left to share.”
5. Recognizing that the blues and doldrums will affect me occasionally and strive to pay better attention to those cues.
6. Opening the blinds and letting more light into the rooms. Yes, that means I will see dust and know that “spring cleaning” is imminent. But that’s OK.
7. Just getting outside and letting a little sunshine wash over me. March is here and with it, stronger, longer sunny days. The sun arcs a little higher in the sky each day.
8. Pulling favorite spring clothing items out of my closet and gazing upon their bright colors (“oh, hello, pretty pink shirt—I can’t wait to wear you”).
9. Investing time in small indulgences like buying a new, brighter lip gloss or new make-up always makes me feel better. And it is definitely time for a pedicure!
10. Keeping within the structure of my fitness and weight loss routine. Exercising regularly and eating healthy foods are critical to normal functions.

“Since I started writing this post, we have had four days of wonderful sunshine! I can already feel the difference!”

What should I do for future gray days?

  • Mark a big SAD on my calendar in mid-November as a reminder. The frenetic pace of preparing for the holidays may mask the symptoms. It did in my case, leaving me hollow and empty right after New Year’s.
  • Plan a sunny winter trip. Next January, I hope to spend three weeks in San Diego and Baja, Mexico. Those three weeks I spent last January 2016 in the warm sun, were just enough to stave off that year’s SAD symptoms. I better start saving for an annual January trip! I’m thinking Baja and Hawaii in alternating years!

I do not want to make light of this potentially serious situation. Depression in any form is dangerous and, if undiagnosed, can eventually lead to health problems, feelings of suicide and death. If you are experiencing the “winter blues” and the feelings are not diminishing with the coming spring and sunlight, I urge you to see your doctor right away.

I am also linking this post to Colleen Chesebro’s blog, A Mindful Journey

My haiku and image to celebrate the end of SAD!
My Haiku: Spring blossoms flutter, whisking away winter blues, hope springs eternal.

Have you experienced the “winter blues?” Please feel free to share in the comments what helped you lift your mood.

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Seasons Beneath My Feet

Step carefully, spring green beneath my feet, but watch out for the ladybug!

“I think that to one in sympathy with nature, each season, in turn, seems the loveliest.”
― Mark Twain

For the weekly photo challenge, my photos show the Seasons  beneath my feet.

Step carefully, spring green beneath my feet, but watch out for the ladybug!
Step carefully, spring is green beneath my feet, but watch out for the ladybug!

“Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

“Winter brings a colder palette with more heavy blue and violet, Fall has substantial more reddish and brown, Summer brings a variation of pastel colours and Spring fresh green and tangerine.” ― Siren Waroe

“In the summer heat the reapers say, “We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair.”
― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Vibrant in Winter

A bright pink tent beckons vibrant college students to explore leisure activities on campus.

Vibrant is the theme of this week’s WordPress photo challenge. What could be more welcome on a cold, gray winter day than pops of color in the landscape? After teaching my Friday morning class today, having just seen “vibrant” as the theme, I saw the colorful tents on campus lined up for Greek week activities.

A bright pink tent beckons vibrant college students to explore leisure activities on campus.

Seeing these bright pink colors against the drab, gray backdrop of the university campus in its winter glory really lifted my spirits. Even on a dreary Friday morning, students still engage, chat and hurry to classes eager to be done for the day.

One definition of vibrant is “pulsating with life, vigor, or activity.”

But vibrancy goes a step further beyond the visual.  Students also have the opportunity to sign up for clubs and other campus activities to keep up their vibrant leisure lifestyle when done with classes and homework.

This photo is also submitted for Jennifer Nicole Wells Color Your World challenge “Cotton Candy.”

Even in my own front yard, there is a hint of vibrancy. I was surprised a few days ago to see my cute paper-whites blooming!

Vibrant Paperwhites