Archive for the ‘Arizona’ category

Weekly Photo Challenge: Window

January 16, 2014

Besides being an opening in the wall of a building (framed and glassed) or the side of a car or train, a window symbolizes an openness, freedom, opportunity, and hope. So does a door, one might say, but a door can be shut in front of us and separate us from others – rapidly and powerfully. A door is not as penetrable as a window with its fragile glass. One can look through a window both ways – from inside out and from outside in.

Girl looking into glass window

Curiosity

People looking out train windows

As the world goes by…

Tucson traditional windows

Tucson traditional windows

Tucson modern windows & reflections in them

Tucson modern windows & reflections in them

Windows are vulnerable, just like our feelings. There is a reason why a house without windows often represents sadness. So when Roy Orbison sings, “I am moving to a house without windows,” it is clear that he is unhappy because his heart was broken by the loss of a great love.

A table with bottle of wine next to the window decorated with delicate curtains

Solitude

And there is another type of symbolism that relates to eyes and windows. Some see eyes as the windows to our (so called) soul, while others see them as windows to the world and how we perceive that world.

A decorative ceramic plate by Fornasetti

Piero Fornasetti’s concept

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann, except for the Piero Fornasetti decorated plate © 1995 by Fornasetti

Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy and … Happy New Year!

January 3, 2014

This past year I started with “dancing my troubles away.” I also danced for rain in Tucson while on Solana Beach last June. In both cases the dancing was not very effective – my troubles did not go away, and we did not get as much rain as we needed.

Every New Year is supposed to be joyful, and of course often it’s not. When you live long enough, you lower your expectations. To my surprise, this New Year’s Eve was more joyful than I anticipated. For that I am very grateful to Tucson’s Laffs Comedy Caffe! That is where I met the New Year of 2014 (http://www.Laffstucson.com).

Comedy Club at New Year's Eve

Alicja laughing

Every one of us defines joy differently. However, we can all agree that a smile is a good indicator of joy … I mean a genuine smile!

Rodney's Smile

It is hard not to feel the power of Rodney’s smile, which is totally disarming. He owns a one-man-operation restaurant on the main street of Wilcox, AZ. If you are ever in Wilcox, I am sure you will try his cooking as I did in November.

Rodney Menu posted on the window

There is another type of smile full of joy that is not interactive, but self contained. This flower girl in a wedding ceremony on a Cape Cod beach just couldn’t resist the joy of touching and sifting the soft, warm sand.

Flower Girl smiling while playing with the sand

I experience a similar feeling of joy while looking at luminaries – the characteristic holiday lights that are common in this part of the country – their soft glow evokes a soft smile.

Luminaries in Tucson

Happy New Year 2014! 

Let it glow with JOY for each of us!

Alicja at New Year's Celebration

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit

November 13, 2013

There is a natural readiness in us to label our habits as bad or good ones. They are also difficult to photograph. For instance, my good habit of religiously wearing a seatbelt while driving is not very photogenic, nor is my bad habit of misplacing sunglasses and frantically searching for them – a few moments before leaving home.

My custom of drinking wine on the patio at sunset I consider a very pleasant and definitely photogenic habit.

Patio on the end of the day.Glass of wine on the patio's table

Ever since we built our large, sunny patio that connects and embraces the house, my studio and a beautiful mesquite tree, we have had the custom, an end-of-the-day routine, to sit on the patio and enjoy the last warm rays of sun. The fact that the sun goes down right behind my studio is a nice coincidence for me. I welcome that soft announcement of the end of the day and, perhaps, the end of my work…. A glass of wine is a must!

closeup of the glass of wine and image of the studio

I offer a toast to the gentle, late warmth of Tucson’s sun, since most of the day that very same sun is hot and harsh – even in the middle of November.

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable

July 4, 2013

I hesitate greatly to reveal my secrets, but this weekly photo challenge calls for it … so here you have it – my favorite companionable friend is… my shadow! By stating this I might upset some of my dear “flesh and blood” friends, but yes – I truly like my shadow and enjoy its companionship a lot! We walk and hike together; we sit together and think about thousands of issues and wonders of the world.

My shadow is very patient and flexible – never complains or argues. It follows me everywhere, disappears tactfully when I go to sleep, and is ready to go at weird hours in the morning. What a great companion in the very late hours of the night since it is never tired! Youthful, reliable, and very loyal. This is truly one of my best “for better, for worse… till death do us part” relationships!

My shadow on the patio

Shadow on the patio

My shadow on the deck

Shadow on the deck

And here is another secret of mine. I learned to pay attention to my shadow many years ago and I learned it from my 4 year-old (at that time) son Leo (not his real name but an astrological one for my writings). I do remember that day so well, as if time had not passed at all since then!

It was the quiet morning of a sunny spring day on Cape Cod. My toddler Leo was playing outside all by himself; his older brother was in school already, and no other friends of Leo were around. Being a bit concerned, I walked outside and asked, “You don’t have any friends to play with today, Leo – aren’t you feeling lonely?” “Oh no, Mommy,” he responded, “I am playing with my shadow!”

What a terrific concept! I was stunned and deeply touched, my eyes became misty.

From that day my shadow and I started a good friendship as well. That relationship became even more significant when I began my photographic endeavors. In fact, after several years, I honored my shadow by making it the trademark of my photography. Some of you who have read my blog for a while might have noticed that already, especially since my shadow is placed in the header of this blog.

 My shadow - my trademark

My shadow – my trademark

I love to travel in summer, and so does my shadow. Every year in June Tucson is under a strong and very uncomfortable spell of heat. What a pity! June is a lovely month elsewhere. So I followed the call of the ocean as indicated in the previous post: https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/weekly-photo-challenge-curves/

This time an attempt to escape the heat took us, for a short time, to the Pacific Ocean near San Diego, California. Del Mar was the destination, but Solana Beach became my favorite spot.

 Entry to Solana Beach - long and steep wooden stairs

Entry to Solana Beach

 View of Solana Beach

Solana Beach

Author of the post walking on the line where ocean meets the sand

On that line

What a treat it was – I wish everybody who needs a small break could have it!

My shadow and I took late afternoon walks on the beach (usually empty at that time) following that line where the hard wet sand and the water touch each other in the rhythm of the ocean waves.

I love dancing, and I never had a better dance partner than my shadow. The day before returning home, we made a perfectly synchronized dance in honor of the monsoon which was supposed to arrive in Tucson any day.

Dancing on the beach - step one

Dancing on the beach - step two

Dancing on the beach - step three

Dancing on the beach - step four

The dance was effective – there was some rain in Tucson upon our return, but it did not last long. Perhaps the dance was too short. Perhaps we will have to repeat it over here in the desert. Perhaps more people should dance to bring down the rain – just like Native Americans do. I wrote about that in my post: https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/monsoon-report-from-the-patio/

Have a nice Independence Day holiday!

Please do some dancing for rain or for sunshine… or for whatever you wish the dance will bring.

Alicja

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

June 18, 2013

Fun with curves! That is what this photo challenge is about. After all, there are curves around us in great abundance, probably more so than straight lines.

Curves are sexy, mysterious, how can we not love them? There is a softness and charm in curves. Like the charm of a curving road and the gentle wave of the mountains in the picture below that I took a couple of months ago while driving from Amado to Tucson – a place not very far from the border with Mexico.

Curving roadin Arizona with the mountain view

Thinking about this photo challenge last night, I decided to focus on curves that are around us in our home. Well, there is a good reason for it – it is very hot in Tucson lately and not much fun to be outdoors – we are still waiting for the monsoon to arrive….

So I took some photos to honor the curves that are often unnoticed and taken for granted in our busy life, yet they define the charm of that daily life. Here are just a few of them:

Bowl of apricoats

Fuzzy Curves

Stack of colorful soup bowls

Stacked Up Curves

Colorful teacattle with cups

Great Companion

 Light in the Hallway

Light in the Hallway

White sea shell

Sea Shell

The shell in the last photo is a small treasure connected to my writing life. It sits patiently on the bookshelf most of the year, but in summertime (and it is summer here!) in the evening when the house is calm, I can hear it whisper – “Go to the ocean, go to the ocean….”

I might just do that…

Alicja

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

June 12, 2013

OK, fleeting, passing swiftly, not lasting…. The clouds on our famously characteristic blue Tucson sky are seldom present and are very welcomed but…fleeting.

Pink and fluffy clouds

Pink and fluffy clouds

Clouds at dusk

At dusk

Brief  shower

Brief shower

Clouds gathering for the monsoon

Gathering for the monsoon

Clouds bring the promise of rain so badly needed in this part of the country, especially now when temperatures are repeatedly 105 F daily, and the official beginning of summer is still 10 days away. They come and go and often nothing happens – till the monsoon arrives. Oh, and then what a relief! These heavy rains are worth waiting for, and they are celebrated with joy! So far we are waiting, we are waiting….

I wrote a special post about the monsoon – please check it out. Here is the link:

https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/monsoon-report-from-the-patio/

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

May 9, 2013

This is a relatively easy challenge to photograph from above, and a pleasant task indeed! It leads naturally to taking pictures of plants and interesting food dishes, as well as clouds and the ground from airplanes or high, elevated areas. The results are more predictable, perhaps, than the photos of the previous challenge “Up”, but very enjoyable.

Small rhubarb in dark soil

Spring has arrived by now in most of the States, and many of us are involved in gardening. This small rhubarb was embraced by my pink garden shoes while I was taking this photo. The dark, rich soil is characteristic of gardens in New England. I took this photo a year ago while visiting our place on Cape Cod. This fleshy plant grows well over there, but it is not at all suitable for our Tucson’s dry land.

Spiky plant fof  the Southwest

Southwest plants are not very huggable, yet they are beautiful and amazingly capable to strive in poor soil conditions. I adore them for their “spikiness” that represents their feistiness and strength.

White flowers of oleander

Oleanders are grown in many areas of this country and are popular in the Southwest, as well. These decorative plants are easier to approach since they are relatively soft and not thorny. There is some danger of being poisoned by them, and that’s why they are not always welcome in private yards. Personally, I love them in any color— from red and hot pink to pale pink and white.

Colorful electric cords

This photo I dedicate mostly to men who love to tinker in their garages and other spaces cluttered with tools, pipes and cords. One can find beauty in any place!

Pizza topped with spinach

Scallops served on colorful plate

Here are my two FOOD photos – a very healthy pizza followed by my favorite dish of scallops.

Small pomagranade plant with one red flower

This small baby pomegranate, which I named Weston, is a very promising little tree, especially after being transplanted into the ground. Soon it will be covered with many flowers like this one and, hopefully, produce fruit that is known for being handsome and healthy.

A pink pretty rose

This very simple and elegant rose is a new addition to our patio. I have chosen it to celebrate the coming Mother’s Day. This rose is delicate and tender, yet very strong and resilient – just like mothers are.

Have a great and affectionate Mother’s Day!

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Last year at this time, I wrote a post titled Mother’s Day Reflections:  https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/mothers-day-reflections/

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann


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