Archive for the ‘Celebrations’ category

Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie

February 13, 2014

I love selfies – especially with others! Here is my most recent one. I took it yesterday with my two favorite Valentines.

 Selfie hoto of three persons - author and two men. Photo altered to be very colorful for Valentine'sDay. h

Happy Trio

Have yourself a very colorful Valentine’s Day tomorrow

and the entire weekend as well!

From Tucson with Love – Alicja

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Text and photo copyright © 2014 by Alicja Mann.

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: Grand

December 12, 2013

Silver Bridge at the bottom of the Grand Canyon

There are many grand things, events, and people that I have encountered in my life, but the day of hiking the Grand Canyon down and up with my Canadian friend several years ago stands out. It was awesome to be able to face that ancient and grand creation of nature and at the same time to feel our minuteness in contrast with that rocky giant. I took this photo on Silver Bridge over the Colorado River – at the bottom of the Canyon, facing the lengthy journey (9.5 miles = 15.3 km) up the Bright Angel Trail to reach the top before the inevitable arrival of darkness.

I wrote about that hike in my post Footprints Left Behind  https://alicjamann.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/footprints-left-behind/

Potrait of Nelson Mandela

A similar feeling of awe and humbleness enveloped me last week when we faced the departure of Nelson Mandela – his strength, vision, perseverance, and political skills were not only grand, but super GRAND and will continue to inspire others for many years to come. I am happy to cherish memories of encountering that man during his visit to Boston in 1990 – soon after his release from prison. Even though I was a minute spot in the huge crowd of others who gathered at the Hatch Shell to honor Mandela, I will never forget that grand day.

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

November 26, 2013

I am running out of time this week for my blog writing, but not for writing a thankful note to my readers. Readers that I know and readers that I do not know, and for the very faithful ones who make comments regularly.

I am truly grateful for your presence in my life.

Thanksgiving flowers in a vase

THANK YOU, GRACIAS, MERCI, DANKE, ARIGATO and, in my native tongue, DZIEKUJE!

This year Thanksgiving falls on the same day as Jewish Hanukkah. Supposedly such convergence will not happen again for about 80,000 years. How this was calculated beats me, but one thing is sure – I will not be around for the next time! So we will celebrate this year the combination of both important holidays -THANKSGIVUKKAH! Somebody came up with this tongue twisting new word – cute enough to name some babies born at this time of this year, I suspect.

Something unexpected and amusing happened this morning. A daily blog written by my artist friend (painter) GC Myers (gcmyers.com/)  arrived as usual in my mailbox – thank you GC! It included Thanksgivukkah Anthem, a humorous musical creation by the Jewish singing a capella group Six13, that I am delighted to share with you.

Photo of a computer screen with the image of Six13 singing group

Please, please, click on this link and have a lot of ha ha’s with your family and friends.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yaFUcQZSvoE

Have a very joyful Thanksgivukkah Day!

From Tucson with Love – Alicja

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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: The Sign Says

June 6, 2013

Signs are all around us – warning, informing, communicating, decorating, and often irritating. They seem to be more visible when we travel by car.

I looked through some of my travel photos and made a choice of just a few, but with signs that differ greatly.   

Huge Rooster mounted on  white truck

This huge rooster is welcoming visitors to the small village of Hatch (population less than 2000) in New Mexico, located 40 miles north of Las Cruces. This village is proud of its bountiful chile crops and the annual event – The Hatch Chile Festival. The village is known as the chile capitol of the world!

Warm hospitality is part of the charm of Hatch and will stay in my memory as strongly pronounced Americana sprinkled with the chilli powders that I purchased there.

New Mexico Americana

While Hatch is a small village and there are so many small villages worth visiting, I had no idea that it is possible to have an official town of population 1… till we stumbled upon Lost Springs while driving along highway 20 West in Wyoming. So there it was – a green official highway sign stating just that: POP1.

Green road sign of Lost Springs with POP 1

I took this photo in 2010, not being aware that Lost Springs had a lot of media attention due to its demographic uniqueness at that time. Today, I learned, Lost Springs lost considerably its attraction since its population grew to 4 in 2011. Oh well… some gains and some losses.

The Sherwin-Williams Paint truck

Close up of the SWP truck  with their slogan - Cover the Earth.

This Sherwin-Williams Paint truck took my attention immediately. The Cover the Earth slogan reminded me of a political joke from the Cold War times when the tension between the Soviet Union and the United States also generated a strong competition in the exploration of space. Although in reality the Soviets did not land on the moon, for the sake of this joke they are placed there together with the Americans.

The Joke

Two teams of astronauts, one from the Soviet Union and one from the United States, were sent to the moon. After their landing, the Soviets immediately started to paint the surface of the moon with red paint – the color of their flag and symbol of Communism. Concerned, the Americans called Mission Control and reported that. They were advised to ignore the Soviets’ action.

When half of the moon was covered with red paint, the Americans called Earth again asking, “What shall we do?” The answer was, “Wait and do not worry!” So they did.

After a while, the American team called Earth again – this time with great urgency. “Look, the Soviets have already covered most of the moon with their paint – the whole world will see the moon in red!  What shall we do?! “

Mission Control now gave them an order, “Wait till the Soviets have covered the entire moon with red and then paint in huge white letters Coca Cola.

The End 🙂

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Text and photos copyright © 2013 by Alicja Mann

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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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