Join iStockPhoto for FREE and get 10 FREE images Today!

Free Membership at iStockPhoto

The simpler side of life…..

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The simpler side of life….. +Pretty in Pink..

Sometimes, our world is so complicated, busy and one might stop to wonder if the joy of the moment is really cherished at all or is it the busyness that we cherish most.

I saw a quote and fondly place it here….

“One of the greatest titles we can have is “old friend”. We never appreciate how important old friends are until we are older. The problem is we need to start our old friendships when we are young. We then have to nurture and grow those friendships over our middle age when a busy life and changing geographies can cause us to neglect those friends. Today is the day to invest in those people we hope will call us ‘old friend” in the years to come.”  ∫unknown


Even when you live next door, it can become difficult to find time to enjoy the company of someone or spend some quality time.  So it just magically all came together, impromptu, everyone was available and we just pulled a bunch of food together had a cool new wine to try and a wine tasting to plan for November…. So we just did it.

Here are some images from our social around food and wine….  We had a delightful time, shared stories and caught up on one another’s lives.

Various cheeses…but by far the most popular was Lemon Zest Cheese..yummy

Artichoke & Jalapeno dip

Lime & Cilantro Shrimp

Grilled steak and Grilled Chicken with Teriyaki




I made a light little dessert of crushed Pistachios layered on bottom, then mascarpone cream, fresh blue berries, topped with strawberry and mint… put them in refrigerator and topped with a dark chocolate almond Bark … served chilled and so easy!

I don’t know where time goes sometimes, but it does disappear quickly… the best I can offer is to capture these slices of life as little memory jogger to slow down and spend a moment in the moment.

Short and Sweet….. as always,  many more images in the slide show…kick back or multi-task while you watch them flicker by…. Enjoy and Share!

Always FaithFul – Marine Devil Dogs

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Semper Fi – Marine Devil Dogs

The term “Devil Dog” is a very common nickname for all Marines and “Devil Dog” is historically a well-accepted term of endearment, as a title of honor.

The “dog” in the phrase is usually associated with the bulldog, in line with the original 1918 poster, such as the English bulldog being a common mascot in the Corps.

However, Dobermans play a significant role in the history of Marines.

The Marine Corps had the first large dog unit in the nation’s history to see action against the enemy.   As early as 1935, the Marines were interested in war dogs.

The first Marine War Dog Training School was at Quantico Bay, Cuba on January 18, 1943, under direction of Captain Samuel T. Brick.  There were 14 Doberman Pinchers donated by the Doberman Pinscher Club of America.   Another war dog training facility at Camp LeJeune, NC recruited dogs for the armed services in 1943.

Being a photographer, I find it so fascinating and moving that we have so much history documented in pictures… sometimes in places you would not expect.  Often times, the photographer is not really welcome but then later, almost always, it’s a blessing to have those captured moments in time that we chronicle photographers love to get…. As you know, I fondly refer to them as “slices of life”.

But I too have had my share of people politely and rudely asking me to just go away and not capture that moment…. I try to be respectful and walk away and then I always feel bad when later they ask me for images I don’t have because I honored  their request…And, and…. on many occasions, those same people have come back years later, asking me  “do you have any images of that “special” moment?  … people always want to hold on to a cherished moment in time and the ONLY way to do that is thru images… cause a moment waits for no one.   I try my best to capture as much as I can as often as I can…. It is my passion and when I am most happy.  People sometimes think I’m a nut job and cannot possibly imagine what joy there is in some of the pictures I take/make… I can’t explain it… but I’d be lost without my eyes in the viewfinder.

Back to the Devil Dog story….

The Dobie’s were tattooed on the inside of the right ear.  Their number recorded in a service record book, along with their call name, breed, date of birth and date of enlistment.   Detailed notes were maintained for type of training received, when they qualified for obedience, scout, messenger and/or special work.

The Dobie’s had to be at least 50 pounds and stand 20 inches high at the withers.   Dogs who failed the test for any reason were sent home.

Dobie’s begin training as Privates; they were promoted on the basis of length of service.  After 3 months, Dobie became a Private First Class, 1 year – a Corporal, 2 years a Sergeant, 3 years – a Platoon Sergeant, 4 years – a Gunnery Sergeant and after 5 years a Master Gunnery Sergeant.  The Dobies could eventually out rank their handlers.

In the early days, the Dobie handlers were just out of boot camp and no prior experience-handling dogs was required.   Each Scout dog was assigned to one handler.   Each messenger dog was assigned two handlers.  All dogs went thru intensive obedience for 6 weeks.

The dogs were taught to heel, down, crawl, come, stay – on both voice and hand signals.   During training no Marine was allowed to play with another Marine’s dog.

Following basic training, Marine dogs were divided up for specialized training:

Messenger dogs were taught to carry messages, ammunition or special medical supplies from one handler to another handler, avoiding all other men.   They were subjected to overhead rifle and machine gun fire and explosions of heavy charges of dynamite and TNT to simulate actual battlefield conditions.

Sentry dogs were trained to warn troops of the approach or nearness of any other humans.    Dogs usually alert to the presence of strangers by barking.  Not many sentry dogs were trained by Marines as they were combat troops and not generally used in the rears.

Scout dogs were trained to alert troops of the enemy and not to bark or tell the enemy where the troops were.  The dogs signaled the detection of strangers in different ways but not by barking.  Devil Dogs were trained NOT to bark.

They become know as SDOD  “Silent Death On Duty”

Dobie’s were trained to detect the presence of the enemy and if necessary attack but the Marines did not want to risk the Dobie’s in an attack, they had weapons for that.

During World War II, a total of 7 Marine War dog Platoons were trained at Camp LeJeune, NC.  All of the dog platoons served in the Pacific in war against the Japanese.

The first Marine Dog Platoon consisted of 48 enlisted men working in pairs as handlers for the 21 Dobermans and 3 Shepherds, plus 6 enlisted instructors and Headquarters personnel.    It was under the command of First Lieutenant Clyde A. Henderson, a Cleveland High School Teacher, who had been a Doberman fancier and amateur trainer for a decade before the war.

Because of the Dobie’s keen sense of smell and hearing, they could detect the presence of men several hundred yards away. In one instance, the dogs detected the presence of Japanese troops one half mile away.

The Dobie’s handlers always had help digging their foxholes; the other Marines always wanted the handler and their dogs nearby.

No unit protected by one of the dogs was ever ambushed by the Japanese or was there ever a case of Japanese infiltration.

During the Guam campaign fourteen dogs were killed in action and ten more died from exhaustion, tropical maladies, heat stroke, accidents, and anemia from hookworm. All were buried there on Guam, at what was to become the first War Dog Memorial years later.

The most outstanding incident of the First Marine Dog Platoon’s record on Bougainville came on November 14, with Andy (a Dobie) and his handlers as the principals. Andy was the Doberman who had led the Raiders inland on the first day: he was popularly referred to as “Gentleman Jim” because of his aristocratic demeanor and aloofness with the other dogs.

A Marine force up front ran into stiff Japanese resistance that day of the action. Andy’s two handlers, Privates Robert E. Lansley and John B. Mahoney, volunteered to take their Dobermans and seek out the enemy strong points.

They had complete faith in Andy’s ability to spot whatever was out there. The three moved beyond the lines into the heavy foliage. Andy was about 25 yards out front, when he stopped short; and looked to the left and right, the way he always alerted. The two soldiers crept up along a little trail behind Andy and saw two machine gun nests, one of each side of the trail. The two handlers started shooting, Lansley threw two grenades and when it was all over, eight Japanese were dead. The wiping out of the machine gun nests by Andy and the two handlers permitted that entire sector of the line to move forward.

More than 1,000 dogs had trained as Marine Devil Dogs during World War II. Rolo, one of the first to join the Devil Dogs, was the first Marine dog to be killed in action. 29 war dogs were listed as killed in action, 25 of those deaths occurred on the island of Guam. Today, the U.S. Marine Corp maintains a War Memorial (created by former 1st Lt. William W. Putney, who was the veterinarian for the dogs on Guam; and funded by public donation), on Guam, for those 25 War Dogs that served and died there during WW II.

Many people aren’t aware that Dobermans were used in the war. Their service to us in history only makes the Doberman breed even more special.

Here is a quick War Dog Memorial Video for the Dobie fans out there.  (8 minutes but really amazing)

You can also check out this previous post on the Doberman pinscher soldier for more information and pictures of the lessor known heroes .

Doberman Military Service—doberman-full.html

I came upon a lovely lady that does sculptures and befriended her, chatting for quite some time.   She is widely known for her war dog memorials.   She has many limited editions and commissioned sculptures.  She is on the video for the dedication of the Always Faithful statue at the Guam Memorial.

On Aug 26, 2010, at 2:54 PM, Susan Bahary wrote:

Hi Cass,

It was lovely speaking with you last week. I was at a horse show exhibiting my dog and horse pieces when we spoke. Just want you to know that I finally got to open your e-mail on my computer and see the links you sent. Love your photographs, from the nature shots to the adorable, Dobie’s to the patriotic images!

Best Regards,

Susan Bahary

The Doberman is my breed of choice,  I love them….

They are gentle, smart, low maintenance and the biggest hunks of love you’ll ever find.



I share my life with a Doberman,

A protector and a friend-
Intelligent and daring,

Devoted to the end.

So sleek and quick,

On constant watch,

A dog that earns your praise-

Yet with a heart of purest gold,

And gentle, loving ways.

So noble and reliable,

A winner from the start.

When I saw a Doberman,

I quickly lost my heart.

Poet: Unknown

 I’ve researched Devil Dogs and collected notes, images and information for several years now, and dedicate a blog post annually for respect to Man’s Best Friend.  I’ve tried to credit where I can, often the images are so old and so small with no reference as to where they came from and I wish I knew who the photographer was…. hint:  a reason to put watermarks or branding…it follows the image hopefully for years  and sometimes I would love to know more about these brave men or women photographers that took these action shots and how the image got preserved all these years….. and give credit where credit is due… duh!  How cool that would be to me!  I feel like sometimes,  while there are many heroes  to honor in our world, most often, the “photographer” is by far the least appreciated…. they are preserving the legacy of and for everyone else, but no one preserves the legacy of the person that captures, creates, savors and personalizes the moments to cherish and remember… why is no one curious of them but little ole me?  They are humans making a huge contribution, often big sacrifices, little pay, little recognition and yet they still do their job with amazing enthusiasm…. think about it at least for a nano-second.   Just Saying….imagine what the world would look like without images… without photographers… would you miss us then?   Take a moment to appreciate an artist today!  Make my Day!  🙂  be pawistive!!!!

As always,  the slide show has many more images than in the post…. scroll forward or back with the arrows… or relax and watch history pass on your screen while you are on a telecom…. or sip a nice dark roasted coffee!


From a Former Marine Devil Dog:

On Sep 6, 2011, at 3:48 PM


Semper Fi! Awesome photographs, awesome story and awesome video. I noticed that the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Carl Munday, Commandant from 1991 to 1995, was the keynote speaker at the dedication of the war dog memorial. I meet General Munday at a Khe Sanh Veterans reunion in 1993, the year before the war dog memorial was dedicated. He was the executive officer of 3/26 at Khe Sanh in 1968. Munday was a fantastic Commandant of the Marine Corps. Oorah!!!



Peaches and Mascarpone Cream

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oh what a delightful little desert we made this morning.

We had this at one of our local restaurants with some friends recently and Marty said,  “Oh that’s easy to make” so while I set up my props…. He was mixing away with his giant Kitchen Aide mixer.

We had gathered fresh peaches at the local farmers market on Sat and they were ripe and juicy.

I thinly sliced the peaches and made two servings for us.

It was delicious!

We have enough Mascarpone Cream filling for three more with three more peaches.

It’s is light, fresh and not too rich or filling.

And with us, the pups are part of the process.  Raleigh was supervising the entire process,

Quigley is not as hands on, she will go take a nap and come out when there might be some dishes to wash…. She’s excellent at prepping the bowls for the dishwasher.

Recipe we used…

Mascarpone Cream Filling by Martha Stewart ©2004


Makes 3 cups

  • 2 cups mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream


Beat mascarpone and sugar on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk until combined. Add cream; beat until stiff.

From Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2004

Peaches and Mascarpone Cream

Serves 2

2 large peaches

Martha’s mascarpone cheese

1 teaspoon Almond
 (just added touch… I like a hint of Almond)

Slice the peaches using a paring knife, I left skins on peaches.

Beat together the mascarpone, almond, sugar and cream. Add however much cream you would like to get a desired consistency. I go for a thicker cream consistency.

Layer the peaches and cream in a bowl or glass. Enjoy at any time of day!

Enjoy and share!

Collaboration Kitchen With Mitch’s SeaFood

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tommy Gomes, the Son of a Portuguese fishing family and a Fisherman himself from San Diego, started Collaboration Kitchen on a bet.  Someone bet him he could not do it…. Tenacious Tommy took the bet and we are all happy he did because once a month, local folks get to experience a tasty meal prepared by one of San Diego’s finest Chefs right in the warehouse floor of Catalina Offshore Products.

Ticket sales are sold out lickity split!  Monarch School for homeless and at risk kids are the beneficiaries from Collaboration Kitchen Fund Raiser.

Let me show you how it works, around 100 + people show up with their chilled wine and get to tour the giant refrigerated rooms and deep chest freezers, lobster and shrimp tanks, see oversized scallops and a huge packing and distribution facility for Sea Urchins.  Basically see the freshest seafood and learn all about it from one of the most knowledgeable sources I’ve ever met.

A Chef and his/her team is in the designated kitchen area, cutting, slicing, dicing and getting dinner prepped.    There are plenty of things going on behind the scenes a good hour or more before guest arrive.   Specialty Foods brings over lots of fresh local farm produce for the evening meal.  Video and camera crews are setting up to film the experience.

The Chef demonstration begins and everyone is ready with hearty appetites because you are going to get a 6-7-course meal.  When the Chef needs a little extra prep time, Tommy pulls out fresh fish and slices up sashimi and the line forms.

An interesting bit of information shared this evening was about Fish Pearls…

Sometimes used for jewelry ….

July featured Mitch’s Seafood, a local place Marty and I go to probably 3 times a week.  It is a simple little restaurant by Point Loma Seafood and we sit on the deck overlooking the fishing boats come in.   It’s dog friendly, so we often take our Dobie’s or meet other dogs there as well.

Also Veni Delights from Venissimo Cheese, which is one of Marty’s favorite stops.

On to the evening in July where Dan and Tommy entertain us with banter back and forth of informative dialogs about local sustainable food sources.   This is a show and tell evening…. There are no Teleprompters and its just good stuff!   Where ever the conversation goes… one of them will go to the freezer and pull out a demonstration with that particular fish, crab, sea urchin.  There is no lag time happening at this event.   You are eating no… you are grazing non-stop the entire evening… and you leave with a belly full of healthy foods.   Many times the recipes are shared as the Chef prepares the meals and answers questions so people can make this at home.    *all recipes in amounts suitable for 2-4 diners

About Mitch Conniff-Chef/Owner Mitch’s Seafood

 | Featured Chef

Mitch Conniff is the chef/owner of Mitch’s Seafood in Point Loma. Mitch’s is a casual, waterfront Seafood restaurant specializing in the freshest, locally caught seafood. The restaurant was opened under the premise that good local seafood should be available in a laid back environment, simply prepared, showcasing the bounty of our coastal waters.


Besides Mitch, the restaurant is owned by a duo of fisherman that supply much of the fish for the restaurant.  

Prior to opening Mitch’s Seafood, Mitch Conniff was the Sous Chef/Banquet Chef at JSix restaurant in downtown San Diego, one of the local leaders in the Slow Food movement. Prior to that he was the Executive Chef aboard the sportfishing vessel American Angler, departing from San Diego on long range fishing trips down the Baja Coast.


Mitch has been an avid fisherman since early childhood and his years cooking aboard the boat were spent catching and preparing a wide variety of fish and learning as much as possible about our local waters and fisheries. Before embarking on his adventures at sea Mitch honed his seafood skills at Steamer’s Grillhouse, a well known seafood restaurant in Los Gatos, CA.


Salmon and Summer Corn Chowder


  • Two pounds fresh wild or sustainable farmed Salmon cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 ears fresh summer corn shucked
  • 1 cup cooked white beans (any variety will work such as Navy, Cannellini or Gigante or try a fresh shelling bean like cranberry beans or fava found at Specialty Produce or Local Farmers Market
  • 2 Leaks diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or peeled canned tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 4 sprigs time
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A few drops hot sauce
  • Chopped parsley or chives for garnish
  • Olive Oil for Sautéing and a little to drizzle over the top of each bowl.


Sweat the leaks, onion, garlic and celery in large pot.  Add Corn, bay leaf and thyme and cook for a minute longer then add wine and bring to a boil and reduce by one third.  Add tomatoes and beans and simmer lightly for half hour to combine flavors.  Turn off heat and adjust salt and pepper to taste, add hot sauce.  Add salmon with heat turned off and cover the pot.  The salmon will gently cook in about 5 minutes.  Serve the stew with a little chive or parsley over the top and drizzle each bowl with a little high quality extra virgin olive oil.   * For a different take on this dish you could also substitute some or all of the salmon with smoked salmon giving the dish a taste like you added bacon or smoked sausage.

BBQ Oysters



Shuck oysters leaving as much brine in the Oyster as possible.  Spoon a small amount of Garlic/Smoked Paprika Butter into each oyster.  Arrange Oysters on grill so that none of the oyster liquor or butter drains out, using aluminum foil under the oysters if necessary.  Cook for about 3 minutes allowing the oysters to poach in the butter and pick up the smoky flavor.  Do not overcook the oysters or they will become shriveled up and chewy.

Asian Pear Marinated BBQ Yellowtail Collar


  • 2-3 Yellowtail collars cut into individual servings (each collar should provide 1-3 servings depending on how hungry you are and whether you are eating dish as an entrée or an appetizer.
  • Asian Pear Marinade (recipe follows)
  • Quick Pickled Sesame Cucumber (recipe follows)
  • 2-3 Green Onions thinly sliced for garnish


Marinate Yellowtail collars overnight, reserving about 2 cups of the marinade for basting. Prepare a barbecue for grilling over medium flame.  Remove collars from marinade and let sit at room temperature for about ½ hour before cooking (this allows the fish to come up to the temperature which allows more even cooking and it also allows the marinade to drain off a little which will reduce barbecue flare up which can scorch the fish).   Grill the fish over the medium flame turning after about 10 minutes and grill for 5 minutes more basting with the reserved marinade a few times to glaze the fish.  You are looking to get nice charred grill marks on the flesh, but not overly blacken or burn the fish.  Which can happen easily due to the high sugar content in the marinade.  Grilling yellowtail collars is unlike grilling or cooking just about any other part of the fish in that you can cook it for a longer period of time without it drying out.  It is akin to cooking a chicken thigh or drumstick due to the fact that you are cooking it on the bone and it’s higher fat content.  It also contains muscle like a chicken thigh or leg which requires a little more cooking time to breakdown, but due to it’s higher fat content it becomes tender and luscious as it cooks.  Once the fish is cooked brush it with some of the reserved marinade, sprinkle with the green onion and eat with the pickled cucumber and rice and a little hot sauce to taste. Dig in with your hands and eat the collars like a drumstick or ribs and leave the knife and fork for another meal.

Asian Pear Marinade


  • 2 twelve ounce cans Asian pear juice (available in the Asian department of supermarket or at Ranch 99)
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup Rice wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tablespoons Ginger Grated
  • 2 tablespoon (or more if you like) of Sambal Oleck or Sriracha Hot sauce
  • 3 green onions thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted Sesame oil.


Combine all ingredients thoroughly

Quick Pickled Sesame Cucumbers


  • 1 pound Japanese or English cucumbers (peeled if you prefer, but personally I do not) cut into ¼ inch thick rings
  • 4 cups rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons crushed red chilies
  • 2 tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil
  • ¼ picked Cilantro Leaves


Combine all the ingredients except the cucumbers and whisk together to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour the marinade over the cucumbers and toss together to ensure the cucumbers are evenly coated.  Let sit a minimum of four hours until the cucumbers are slightly softened pickled.

Fish Tacos    |     White Sea bass (or any fish you want)


  • 8 2-oz pieces of white seabass
  • 1 pound shredded green cabbage
  • 16 white corn tortillas
  • Salsa Fresca (combine diced tomato, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, lime juice and salt, let sit for ½ hour before serving
  • Mitch’s seafood garlic lime crema (recipe follows)
  • Paprika, salt and melted butter with lemon and garlic in it for grilling the fish


Prepare a grill or grill pan to medium hot and brush fish with seasoned melted butter and season with paprika and salt.  Grill fish basting with butter while it cooks.  Fish will only take a few minutes to cook depending on the size and thickness of the filets, so be careful not to overcook it.  Meanwhile heat the tortillas on the grill until soft.   Using two tortillas for each taco put a little cabbage in the tortillas, place the fish inside and spoon a little salsa and the crema over the top and enjoy with a squeeze of lime and your favorite hot sauce.

Mitch’s Seafood Garlic Lime Crema


  • 2 cups Mexican sour cream (available in pretty much every supermarket now, but you can also use regular sour cream)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • Salt to taste


Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.


Venissimo Cheese was founded by Gina & Roger Freize in San Diego, California, in 2003. But it almost never opened! The owner of the retail space was not interested in splitting a larger space nor leasing a little wedgie to an unknown business in an unknown industry (who wants to buy just cheese)?  After spending months calling & faxing reasons to let Venissimo in, Gina overheard that the owner would be at the site on a certain day. So she snuck in with a cheese plate to let the product speak for itself. Needless to say, the owner was convinced & agreed to the deal the very next day!  Venissimo Mission Hills opened its doors on January 17, 2004.  Roughly three years later, Venissimo opened its second location in Del Mar.  It’s third shop in Belmont Shore opened in November 2008 & its newest location – complete with an Academy of Cheese (AoC) – just opened in downtown San Diego in September 2009! 

Bucherondin with Edible Micro Flowers

A classic French chevre (goat cheese), aged only two months, with mineral notes and chalky texture at the tip and tangy flavor with a silky texture near the edible rind.

Lamb Chopper with Dried Cherries

Organic sheep milk Gouda from cypress grove cheese in Northern California, silky smooth and rick in pure sheep milk flavor.

Gorgonzola Dolce with Honeycomb or Fruit Nut Crostini

A sweet (dolce) blue from Lombardy, Italy, creamy & dreamy, classically enjoyed as a dessert.

Collaboration Kitchen 7/10/11 – Mitch’s Seafood & Venissimo 

Mitch Conniff Chef/Owner Mitch’s Seafood in Point Loma“Sustainable Seafood and the Consumer”

Venissimo CheeseMission Hills 619.491.0708 | Del Mar 858.847.9616 | San Diego 619.358.9081

Sometimes, they even cut and package take home bags of fresh fish for sale at the end of the evening.

A great evening for a wonderful cause put together by good people.  Catalina Offshore donates all the seafood and all the produce donated by Specialty Products to support Monarch School.

100% of proceeds will go to San Diego charities through Fruit of the Soul!

A good thing and a wonderful time!   Enjoy! Comments welcome!  Nice one  of  course!

Julie & Robbie Frans | Environmental Chefs

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Julie & Robbie Frans | Environmental Chefs

I was photographing a Grand Opening Event for a local restaurant and in come many of the chefs I typically work with.  I was overjoyed to see familiar faces and by now the crowd was large and loud but I worked my way over to greet them with my camera in hand.  I was introduced to a new person,  Julie Frans.  We immediately hit it off and it was one of those occasions where you just bounce from one topic to another so quickly, while excited that you have so much to talk about to this person you just met.

We quickly discovered that we were both going to Hawaii in the next couple of weeks and it was shocking to realize we were going to the same Island of Oahu…. And the exact same dates… Get Out!  How can this be?   Well we immediately decided we would get together while we was there, they would prepare a meal, I’d photograph it along with family.   Oh and did I mention, Julie’s husband is a Chef too?

They have two adorable small kids, a boy John about 2 ½ and a little girl just a crawling age ….and her name is “Cassie”…

OMG, it just was amazing the things that continued to pop up in the conversation that made you think the universe sometimes does just bring people together for a reason, a season, or a lifetime…. We just never know.

Over the next few weeks, Julie and I corresponded to make sure we had all the information, dates and arrangements made before we left for our trip so it would go smoothly while we were all on vacation.   Early Thursday June morning, I left for the airport to catch a direct flight to Hawaii; my husband had gone earlier and was already on his way there.  I had dropped off the pups and now waiting patiently, relaxed with plenty of time to spare.  I hate travel, so feeling relaxed was a good thing, I was a bit worried about my gear cause I took lots since I had two working jobs there and the airlines are no longer the friendly skies of days gone by.   While I was rocking and playing with my ipad, I see a couple with two small kids … yep, it was Robbie & Julie with John and Cassie.   We were on the same flight.

Once in Hawaii, vacation started mixed in with some prior work commitments so while it’s a laid back tropical Island, we did keep a rather hectic pace.  I was out photographing early before sunrise each day and then I’d meet up with Marty for Breakfast somewhere.   Saturday was my photo shoot at the Frans home and we were going over for dinner and sunset.

It was a lovely drive to get there and on a part of the Island I had not yet been to.   They had such a lovely home with a fabulous view, Julie’s parents were there as well, along with other siblings, and it was a Wedding event that brought the whole family to the Island.

It was so fun to see two chefs work together while also managing little ones, a balancing act you could see they had managed to get under control quite well…of course the Grandparents were also there picking up any slack with the kids. Julie’s parents, Kathy & Jim were equally nice and fun to visit with.

I begin to learn more about how they met and backgrounds.  Robbie was super friendly, it was my first time meeting him and they were so hospitable.   Robbie was from Grand Rapids, Michigan and I had been to Mackinac Island and it was fun to chat about that cute place.   Robbie told us he went to school in Denver, Colorado… Well that’s where I had my USAF technical training, so we chatted about Denver, which I also dearly loved.

They made us drinks and we proceeded to get acquainted.  My senses were in overload!

There were views, beautiful family, adorable kids, and glorious foods being prepared…. And great stories being shared.  It was amazing!   We also learned we were at the Hawaii beautiful Farmers Market at exactly the same time that Sunday morning!

Robbie landed a job as a private Chef aboard a 110’ yacht for a US Ambassador.    He traveled all over the world with this family as well as studying foods throughout Europe, specializing in healthy, low fat but delicious tasting and gorgeous presentations.

He met Julie at the produce stand at Chino Farms.  He proposed to her with the diamond tied to a purple mustard green, if that doesn’t say “creative” wait till you see some of the foods!

Julie got her culinary education at UC Santa Barbara in 2000 and then worked as a private Chef traveling aboard private and charter yachts for several years.

She returned to San Diego, her hometown, in 2005 to realize her dream was providing luxury gourmet dining experience for people in their homes. She started her own business, Dining Details, a catering business that provides quality Chefs to homes and businesses throughout San Diego.

Clients can choose from Seasonal Menus and Dining Details provides the recipes so the guest can make their own meals later as well.    She also created newsletters and cooking clubs to teach the importance of organics, whole foods, healthy lifestyles and the business continues to grow and sprout up new services such as Chickpeas | Healthy Kid Food.

Chickpeas provides Mom Cooking classes, cooking for kids with allergies and baby food making to name a few.   Julie and Robbie work with local schools for school lunch catering and consulting services.   They have an on line ordering system so the parents can click and order special menus for each child.  They work with the parents for cooking demos for the kids and summer camp programs.     Julie has request for several book projects and so far she has not had the time to do them but has the ideas clicking in the back of her head.

With two small children and owning their own busy catering business, they rely heavily on family to help with the kids and juggle schedules.  Julie was back at work 4 days after Cassie was born.   She was telling me how sometimes it would break her heart to hear John cry and say “Mommy go work now” and they started to re-evaluate what they wanted and how they would go about getting that so that their new family life could become their priority and not take the back seat to the business daily demands.

Robbie will be returning to work as a private chef for a family in Miami that he worked for previously.   He will begin working with them late July early August and Julie will join him in October with the kids.  This will give them time to sell their home belonging, arrange for relocation housing in Miami and tidy up the business ends.   The 1750 square foot Dining Details rental kitchen in El Cajon, has been picked up by Chef Julie Darling of “Just Call Us – Catering, Volunteers and Kitchen Rentals”.   Julie Frans will continue to create recipes, write newsletters, develop her blog and start those books that she has so many requests for.

This change in their lifestyle will allow Julie to be Mommy first, continue in her school lunch programs and remain active in the food industry.  Since her family lives in San Diego, she will come back to visit frequently and keep the catering business and staff running thru their website on line business.  She can manage these activities from anywhere and she said little 2-year-old John said “Mommy stay home?… Yea!” and that brought such relief and a smile to her face to think she will have the opportunity to raise her own children, spending quality time with them while being able stay active and connected to her passion which is to participate in the local food movement and it’s impact on children.  She has many ideas on how she will follow that dream.

While I think this is such a wonderful thing and a very smart thing, I will surely miss my new friends.  We enjoyed them so very much and had a delightful visit in Hawaii.

I was fortunate and had both my parent with me on the farm 7×24, and I have fond memories when little knowing they were always there.  I guess I never really understood why have kids if  you just had someone else raise them and miss all those special moments? In a wink …then they are gone…  It really is the parent’s who are ultimately responsible for their own children I believe and the best way to do that is to spend quality time learning what it takes to be a parent to each little unique creatures you’ve created… Some say it’s the most prestegious job on the planet…a gift per se. I always admire people that cherish the position of parent,  teach them how to make and keep friends…but “Mom” “Dad” that’s a pretty special role if done right.. and it take wisdom, time, and unselfishness to sometimes be strong enough. Not an easy task but rewarding if early stages are firm and consistent… I always thought a good test to see if you could do it was raise a dog… with their short lifespan, you get to see the fruits of your labor.

I know on a much smaller scale with my Dobie’s, each one is so unique and different, I have to learn what works and what doesn’t with each personality and take the time and patience to develop the best qualities in them so they are pleasant to be around… so I think this is definitely “A Good Thing”!

I will miss you guys and will always remember fondly that beautiful Hawaii day.


Greek yogurt marinated lamb slowly roasted on the grill topped with an herbe salsa verde

Aloha! Enjoy and share a note.  Many Thanks  as I do my best to “capture the moments, freeze a little time…it’s what I do!”

Figs the Forbidden Fruit

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Figs have become a fascination with  me.  While l I don’t recall ever having them as a kid, my husband, who grew up in Southern CA, will get them when they are in season.   I remember as a kid having Fig Newton bars and then during the years when I bicycled a lot,  I’d get the whole wheat fig bars and have them for my quick energy snack.  But as a raw fruit, it’s a little bit new to me.   It’s not un-common to have a fig tree here in Southern CA.  So might as well figure out what to do with them I suppose.

I’ve come to realize that the fig is an ancient fruit, many believed forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.  According to the California Fig Association, figs are an incredible versatile dish that can be made into chutney, jams, jellies, spreads, salsa, baking, appetizers or just slice ’em and dice ’em.  I guess I had no idea they went much beyond fig newtons… ha!  Got to love sometimes living a sheltered life on a farm.  You eat what you grow and we did not grow figs.  We didn’t buy much food from the store and Fig Newton were one of the things we did get store-bought.

I found several recipes that interest me while these magically little fruits are in season,  some of my favorites are the ones that blend salty taste with the sweet such as prosciutto or bacon  wrapped figs, another is in an Arugula Salad with a vinaigrette dressing.    Cheeses I found have a nice flavor with Figs.  I love cheese and it seems you can eat them cold with an appetizer plate of variety of cheese or melted and slightly baked with the figs and served hot.

My iStock image

My iStockPhoto image

A fruit and cheese platter with some herbs would pair well with white wines,  but then I enjoy a light refreshing white wine in the summertime.

My iStock image

My iStockPhoto image

Some red wines are good  choices such as zinfandel for these bold flavor combinations of blue cheese or stronger flavored cheese and figs.   I generally have a supply of  Raincoast Crisp crackers on hand and one of the flavors even has fig in it.

My iStock image

iStockPhoto image

Another thing I learned, is figs just don’t last long.  So what ever you plan to do with them,  better have all your ingredients and be ready to whip it up cause you only have a couple of days tops and that seems to be a stretch from what I’ve found, maybe I’m just busy and time slips away but seriously,  I need to get a platter ready to serve for a nice sunset.

This is just a short little teaser for things to come with figs while they are in supply here in Southern California,  I will be trying a couple of recipes … here is one that sounds like I will try soon:


  • 4 to 6 regular smoked bacon slices (2 1/4 to 3 1/2 ounces uncooked)
  • 12 small fresh ripe figs, such as white or Calimyrna, halved lengthwise
  • About 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) crumbled mild herbed goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a medium heavy skillet, place the bacon slices in a single layer and cook over low to medium-low heat, turning as needed until just beginning to brown. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Cut each bacon slice into 4 or 6 pieces.
Arrange the figs on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Brush the cut surfaces with balsamic vinegar. Place a piece of bacon on each cut side. Top with a small crumble of cheese. Bake until the figs are warmed, about 8 minutes. The cheese will not melt but may toast a bit. Serve immediately.
Let me know if you try this before I get to it and tell me what you think!  Enjoy!

My iStockPhoto images 

Three Chef Delight at OliveWood Gardens

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I watched, camera posed as Chef Julie and her dog,  Camie (a gentle black lab) meet and greet the 3rd grade group, welcoming them into the OWG kitchen to participate in preparing a meal with three experienced chefs.

Chef Julie is telling the kids to ask for help in putting on their aprons as she hands out the aprons to this particular group of kids.   I remember hearing one little kid saying “I can put my apron on all by myself, I don’t need any help”  and Chef Julie replied,  “I know you can, but we need to learn how to ask for help as we go thru life so this is a little exercise in helping one another”.

I smiled to myself, thinking what a nice thing to teach these young kids cause I doubt any of us get thru life without asking for help at some point in time and also learning to give help to another is something that may be becoming a lost gift with our “me-centric” society.

So the kids come bouncing and laughing into the kitchen to meet the other chefs,  Chef Caron and Chef Tommy.

Brief intros are given by Chef Julie;  Chef Caron is a food writer for a variety of magazines and Chef Tommy is a life long fisherman who now sells fish commercially to local restaurants and business for healthy meals,

and me, a Photographer who loves capturing picture stories… it’s fun to watch the kids as they hear about each of us and I remember when I was a kid learning what someone did may spark ideas in my brain putting a journey into my head that just  might be something I wanted to grow up and be someday… it’s so cool  to see the little mind-wheels turning as the introductions are made and almost always someone has a question or two… they are listening, studying each of us and curious to understand or compare what they already knew,  one kid’s Dad was a fisherman… it’s so cute!

Each kid has to march by the sink to wash their hands and then around the counter to find a seat at the bar where they will be given the kitchen rules.   Once their hands are washed, they are not to continue petting Camie,  I remember one little girl being afraid of dogs and Camie is so sweet and gentle,  a trained therapy dog,  she obediently lays down once the kitchen work is started.

The little girl continued to watch Camie as if she was going to jump up from her sleep and attack her, she even asked Chef Julie if the dog would bite her and Chef Julie assured her that Camie would not.   By the end of the kitchen hour – she was hugging Camie and completely smitten by the gentleness a good dog brings to the atmosphere and attitude of the room.

The Pledge: I won’t get this exactly verbatim and I should as many times as I’ve heard it myself, but I’m busy capturing all the shinny little eager faces that I hear it in the background and haven’t committed it to my own memory… but it goes something like:   Raise your hand and repeat after me please: I solemnly  promise to raise my hand to speak and only one conversation will be going on at a time and I promise to take at least one bite of the food today before I say No Thank You I don’t like that, and I really really really mean it.. Today’s menu is fresh Garden Gazpacho and fresh shrimp.

All the kids repeat and giggle as they site the pledge….

and the kitchen work begins!  Chef Caron asked for help to chop garlic and gets the energy of the room going with enthusiasm, many of the kids had never used a chopper and Chef Caron demonstrated how you could really get rid of any anger or mad feelings by pounding on the garlic chopper,  the kids laughed and cheered as the volunteer made minced garlic pounding their tiny fist onto the chopper.

Next someone needs to shuck and cut the corn,  chop up tomatoes, peppers, onions, parsley and cilantros, squeeze limes….

one by one the ingredient was prepared by a volunteer child and they watched with wide-eyed amazement as a Garden Gazpacho came to life in minutes….

They had many questions or stories of their own to tell if they helped in their own home kitchen preparing meals.

Chef Tommy taught them how to peal and devein shrimp,  the difference between frozen and fresh,  how to smell the ocean and not fishy smell…

Thumbs up or down on the meal they prepared was amazingly positive and if someone was not so sure,  the Chefs added a squirt of lime or hot sauce and that usually did the trick.

Each group had a designated Compost Commander to help with putting the compost from today’s meal onto the OliveWood garden compost pile for use in the garden.

On this particular day,  it was the first visit to OWG from this school and the groups were divided into kitchen meal planning, garden identification of plant parts and a tour of the 116 year old Walton Home which is the OliveWood Garden House.

There were six (6) groups that would come thru the kitchen so by the end of the day, the chefs, tour guides, photographers and all general helpers were exhausted for sure.

The tour around the house was a favorite of many of the kids because the house is an old victorian style home with secret passages and stain glass windows, trees that reach beyond the upstairs windows to allow you to see the birds, flowers and the beauty of nature at it’s peak.

One of the new words they learned in the home tour was “symmetry” as the house was built with a sense of harmonious balance and proportionality, meaning that the house shape on one side or floor mirrors that of the other half or side.  The human eye naturally finds beauty and appeal in Architecture symmetry.

In addition to the design, they loved the old stairways, squeaky wooden floors,  old fireplaces in almost every room,  the old style toilets with the water tank on top and a chain pull.

Stories were told about the Walton family and how one of the sons had cancer and they grew all the fresh foods from the gardens and provided him with the healthiest of fresh foods and he is now 23 years old and living a life free of cancer.

They loved looking at the old paintings, many done by Mrs Walton and the rooms had artwork on the walls in the children’s room that displayed many of the things you would see around the house and farm.

They played the game of “I SPY” led by one of the older children, Cerise,  working at OWG for summer camp.   The younger kids were completely mesmerized by the stories of the house and Walton family.  (I used fisheye lens for interior and most of the images I left with the fisheye distortion)

Off in the gardens,  they have many new words to learn as they explore the grounds and find things they can eat from the garden.  They are taught to identify what part of the plant is edible into Roots, Stems, Leaves, Flowers, Fruits or Seeds.

As they do a sort of Easter Egg hunt for these Six elements of the plant parts they can run to a big chalk board and write the name on the board.

Lots of discussion is going on around all this and the kids are like little sponges…absorbing everything and sharing it back to their teacher and Miss Cass (me) or who ever is there at that instant.

I smiled to myself so frequently as I listened and watched.   I had a 300mm lens to get away from them and still capture moments because I found the kids are fascinated with my camera gear and want to be in the photos,  Model Releases are done in advance so they are fully aware that there may be TV crews and camera crews around and are all too eager to smile for the camera but sometimes it can create a little “ham” in the group and he/she is not paying attention. So, once I’m introduced and they know who I am,  I prefer to just become a fly on the wall and capture my moments in a more subdued or low key style, hopefully getting “real moments” as opposed to too many “overreactions or exaggerated” faces geared to the camera.

It was an EXCELLENT day and most all the kids were so interactive and eager to try everything, but there is always a few who are not as adventurous and a little bit of creative talent is needed from the Chefs and OWG volunteers.

I notice that these picky personalities are developed very early in years… we are already quite set in our ways at such an early stage of life… funny, how sometimes an experience like today can give them a new perspective and maybe change their lives in a positive way forever…. we may not always know how  we impact or influences others behavior… Role Models are very valuable!

This day was an experience I know ALL these kids will remember the rest of their lives,  it’s so unique, fun and educational and with a few little clever maneuvers the Chefs were able to develop a complete attitude adjustment turing a “no-way” into “can I have seconds” with healthy, yet yummy food experiences.

I’m so happy I grew up in the country and had all this every day but city children don’t get to see live chickens roaming around, gather eggs, pick tomatoes and eat them right then, pet a dog and dig in the dirt.

Combine that with some of the finest Chefs from San Diego that volunteer each week at OWG and you have a moment in time that Will Be Remembered the rest of their lives.. I guarantee it!

There are tons of images in the slide show (well 347) and I encourage you to watch it rather than your favorite TV show…. if it does not bring a smile to your face to see all these kids excited about learning where food comes from and how to prepare it… you are just having a bad day…

…but I bet it will still bring a chuckle or two.  Take a moment and enjoy these slices of life… it was small space and really low light and I wanted to fire for action, so I shot a very high ISO and sometimes the grain shows but just look beyond that for the beautiful moments.   it took me over 7 hours of post production just to get thru a 6 hour power shoot with dozens of kids  and many fun ones left in the folder but over all…..Priceless!

It would bring a big smile to my face if you left a nice note just letting me know if it maybe touched you in some way, or you enjoyed it….Thank you in advance!

Home Grown Tomato Sandwich

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Being from a farm in the south, I grew up on Peanut butter and banana sandwiches and sometimes Tomato Sandwiches…. well today seemed like a good day for a fresh Tomato Sandwich.

Marty has planted tomato plants 2 years now and we get these large beautiful vines and sometimes little yellow blooms but no tomatoes….this year I trimmed the vines back and we got a couple of tiny tiny little tomatoes that took about 3 weeks to ripen and did not taste much better than the ones from the CA grocery store.

He came home with some fresh tomatoes from Linda, his Admin, that her husband had grown in their yard and he was overflowing with tomatoes. We can only image that maybe the weather is not warm enough along the coast? Marty thinks we don’t get enough sunshine but we actually get full sun all day where the tomatoes were planted…. Nonetheless, we have a bowl full of pretty tomatoes that are tasty from Linda and I decided I’d make myself a tomato sandwich.

There is a number of things I’ve learned to add to this simple but delightful light lunch, sometimes I make a Tomato | Basil | Bacon, sometimes, a Tomato | Avocado | Cilantro, but today what I had on hand was Tomato | Sweet Onion | Cucumber | Basil with Tzatziki yogurt & cucumber dip. I added a little organic mustard from Trader Joes and toasted my Multi Grain bread and had a wonderful quick and light lunch!

Add my bubble water with some mint and cucumber in it and it was as refreshing a Popsicle

Thanks Linda for the Tomatoes!


Oh where were the dobies today?   Well Raleigh, now 18 months old… has graduated from his night time crate to a full size dog bed…. he’s doing great!  But the bed came today so both dogs are fascinated with it….

Quigley who already has her own bed,  had to be first on the pups new bed….just like kids!

Enjoy!  Got to run to an appt now!


Sustainable lifestyle…. here’s one way..

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sorry I’ve been traveling, super busy and NOW I have a lot of things to tell you about!   While I like to “chronicle”, I’ll be playing catch-up in no specific order…. I  do  hope you enjoy and share with me the delightful experiences I’ve recently had!  And trust me, there was always a good meal around the corner!
What do you do when one door closes?   One person just looks for another door to open….
Corey Butts, from Baltimore, MD came to San Diego working as a Personal Trainer with Lava Sport & Fitness center.
Lava being an upscale posh place to workout, learn boxing and feel the ocean breeze… went out of business along with many small businesses in this economy, especially hit hard in California.
During this time,  I personally found Corey to be of strong character, honest and fair.  My husband and I had prepaid annual membership to Lava  and prepaid personal training sessions,  Corey honored the remaining personal training on his own time to prevent our loss from the abrupt closing of the gym.
(I loved those “big ass fans”)
Corey had opportunities with other local gyms but decided maybe it’s time to do his own thing!
Corey found himself a partner, Steve Orosco, and together they started working hard to build a “Boot Camp” Ocean Breeze workout.   When you just look at Corey & Steve,  you know they are fit and in shape… you don’t get that level of fitness from just jogging from time to time.  These guys have a balanced approach to their body and mind.  They eat healthy, workout smartly, utilizing cardiovascular and weights, they add a fun aspect to their training and combine that with a San Diego outdoors and you have MOTIVATION!    or

Here in San Diego, we are lucky enough to have temperatures ranging from 68º-80º,  360 days a year, seldom rains and surrounded by Pacific Ocean waters….
well Corey chose to put his gear in the back of big SUV and go to the client!
He is targeting anyone with a desire to be healthy, look good in their clothes and enjoy the outdoors for starters!
BMorFit Boot Camp will allow you to work at your own pace but it is a hearty bite of fitness challenge.
These guys are are building relationships and  networking with Susan G. Komen for the cure and Corey has visions of gaining new members from the already fit communities of San Diego such as Navy folks and Firefighters.
He also wants to be involved with the “get rid of obesity in kids” school programs that many of the local chefs I already work with are doing.   I’m hoping I can help bring some of these wonderful folks together to champion their efforts with more local sustainable support such as BMorFit can do for their body and minds… a positive alternative to violence and school drop-outs.
Fitness has been proven to provide the healthy motivation to avoid fast foods, drink lots of water, build confidence, treat your body like a temple and become competitive in healthy good way.
In the early 1990’s I had my own small Corporate Fitness center, while going to CSLB Studying Exercise Physiology, in Long Beach, CA and my focus was career people with little time to exercise.   I was able to bring in resources from the community to assist in providing an overall balanced approach and view to healthy lifestyles.   Dogs also help keep you “in Check” for fitness…
But-Of-course my dobermans are always fit, well trained and role models for the kids and adults to see what the long term benefits of that can do for you!  Since a big dog only lives 11-14 years generally,  having one be ideal weight, with lots of exercise all the way to the end of their life is possible to see in our lifetime and realize the benefits right before your very eyes.
I am excited for Corey and he is not only practicing what he preaches… he’s such a pleasant person to work with and be around.  He is gracious and kind and gives back to each individual that helps him along this journey, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time, his vision allows him to show real appreciation and gratitude.   It is truly wonderful to be a part of the ground floor of an upcoming success story!
BMorFit is now on Facebook, Twitter and Yelp, check it out, pass the word along and come join in the California Sun Work Out!
Remember to hydrate!
While Summer is a great time to eat local and healthy… in Southern California, it’s Summer every day!  No excuses even if you are looking for one,  you can bike to the riverbed, workout on the grass facing the water…. life choices are all about YOU!
Corey is also part of a family owned restaurant business, Cueva Bar, on Adams Avenue in San Diego.
 Cueva Bar has healthy salads, delicious dessert, craft microbrew and a great selection of wines along with home made empanadas, flat breads and music!   Oz and Jo moved to San Diego in 2009, Oz likes to cook and Jo loves to bake.   Corey married to the twin sister of Jo, all four can be found at their restaurant creating a unique atmosphere on Adams Avenue!
Check it out!  Enjoy!

Esmeralda, the longest sailing tall ship ports into San Diego this morning!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I could not resist just a short post to tell you about this one…. cause the 4th of July weekend there was an amazingly beautiful old old rustic boat at Embarcadero and I missed the shot…. and I’ve not seen it since.  So my neighbor alerted me to this one last night and it’s another one of those moments you just have to stop everything to go collect some slices of life… my favorite thing on this planet to do!

The Esmeralda came into San Diego Port today.  I was going to get down to Shelter Island to watch it come into the harbor, but I had a terrible sleeping night with Raleigh up twice in the night to go potty… that pup has serious stomach issues that greatly impact my sleep.




Anyway,  I was not my usual 4:30am perky self…. hence I got to the port about 8:30am and the sails were down but the ship was lined with white uniformed sailors.

Since I’m so behind schedule and post production along with all the water issues and house hold chores beckoning me with out mercy! YIKEs!  …… I just grabbed some fresh strawberries, a banana and a cup of coffee – hit the shower and ran out the door with one camera and one lens…. nothing more… very very unusual.

Amazing it was not very crowded and people were super nice and friendly.  That’s such an unusual occurrence it seems these days at most events such as this.  The security actually smiled and encouraged me to come on in and take photos.  Everyone there of course was snapping away with iphones and cameras.  NBC was the only news station I saw but they seemed to give it a good coverage…I believe they are hosting an open house on the tall ship for their entry into port today.  The ship is birthed at B street pier.

The festivities were unusual with dancing and I was not totally clear (and still not at this point)  who or what the origin of the dance was.  I asked a few people and no one seemed to know exactly but it was very entertaining.   It would seem to me that the Father dancer had a daughter that was in the Navy on board the Esmeralda.     People were allowed to go on board the vessel and many did.   I was more intrigued with the nautical stuff and capturing the emotions of people.
As I research and find more information I’ll update, but for now, it seems it will be in San Diego for 5 days and 3 of those days open for tours from 2pm to 5pm.  The Esmeralda is a steel hulled four masted tall ship of the Chilean Navy and currently the second tallest ship and the longest sailing ship in the world.
I enjoyed seeing and hearing all the sailors aboard the ship sing and the band was below deck so could see them in the shadows and they had the white cracker jack uniforms with navy collars I love…. well they never came topside while I was there and I was one of the last ones to leave the docks.
I would have loved to spend a little more time since they were so inviting and kind,  but I have a lot of chores and appointments today so just got my shots and headed out.
Enjoy!  and don’t forget the slide shows has way-more images than inserted in my blog post.  You can click on it to go forward or backward by hovering the mouse  or just watch the show.  Cheers!

Refreshing Cucumber | Kiwi | Mint | Cilantros | Lime Crush

Well it’s been ages since I’ve posted it seems but trust me I’ve been super busy!  I think I have too many irons in the fire and maybe none of them getting hot as my Grandma would say…..

This is a very short post… but I just sort of  made up a refreshing drink with some of my favorite things.  The heat in San Diego has been unusually hot and a number of other things going on too…    so I decided I needed a treat of some sort…. I really enjoyed this light tasty – thirst quenching drink!

I took some fresh mint and cilantro from my herb garden and used a mortar to crush it up a bit…. put all the crush plus juice into a tall tumbler.   Next I did the same with cucumber, just sort of mushing it up a bit…. and dumped it right into the glass.

I thinly sliced some kiwi and lime… added them… …thennnnnnn   I just poured ice-cold seltzer water into the glass, let it sit just briefly and slurped it up.    I really found it refreshing!

I think it would be even better in the blender with some ice and make it into a smoothie.     Add a touch of rum maybe… hummm, open for other ideas.

Refreshing, light, and easy to make… I  don’t particularly like “sweet” so I did not add any type of sugar.


Spirit of Aloha

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Just the right amount of work and vacation time….

Well as we say good-bye “Aloha” to the Islands….. I’ll post a few of my favorite textures.  Most of my eats were iPhone uploads to FaceBook…. once I get back and have my moments to ponder,  I’ll fill in the blanks of the last few weeks and there have been many many amazing foods, people, experiences….

I’ve had very little computer time or access..which you know,  sometimes I think that is a good thing to force us to be in the moment, tasting life right then and there.  As much as I love to share, sometimes, I never hear a peep from anyone so I don’t know if the sharing aspect is as important as the “living” times of life…maybe sometimes,  our moments are just our own but I sure enjoy hearing and seeing others experiences and WOW did I get some of that on this trip!  

What wonderful people I’ve met.  Well I just don’t have the luxury of time to tell you all about it right now,  but my passion and love for textures…. compelled me to just do a quick goodbye note and see you when I get back home for more things you might not normally see.

Hope you enjoy!




Aloha….. Island of Oahu..

All my iPhone images on Face Book as we checked in from place to place….

As always,  enjoy the slide show for multiple images….. Loved hearing from all of you and sharing our time on the Islands together around the world!

Want to step back to 50’s or 60’s for a moment?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Almost weekly we take a step back to the 50’s and 60’s and go to our coolest little beach town, Ocean Beach or OB as it’s known locally.   There is just something about it that attracts us and it’s so relaxed there.   Tie dyes are still a fad here and you can buy them at the street markets or in the shops,  it’s a trip!   Head shops line the streets, people dress from hippy days to modern days.   Kids and old folks ride their bikes, skate boards and the surfers come to the ocean in all ages.
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.21.02 AM
There are great antique shops,  often a little on the pricy side but still worth meandering thru to see if you find something you just can’t live without.  I have been collecting props for many years and people tell me I could open my own shop my treasures have been collected with my photography in mind.  I have everything labeled and cataloged so I can locate it fairly quickly.    So I’m a sucker for these sort of places.
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.28.34 AM
There is always live music and it can range from Reggae, Country, Pop, Hard Rock, USAF band, and so on.
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.25.53 AM
It’s always entertaining and the locals seem to really enjoy it!   The street scene becomes such a fun part of the entertainment and evening festivities.
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.12.52 AMScreen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.10.30 AM
OB is super pet friendly, which also attracts us because we love our critters!
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.09.47 AM
OB is also artist friendly too,  my eyes are always searching for wall art and graffiti art on the doors, utility boxes, curbs, pretty much everywhere.   I have a whole collection of this type of art which some day I’ll do a whole blog on just that.   It’s beautiful!
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.48.47 AM
Down by the pier,  which is the longest pier in Southern CA,  you’ll find locals, fishermen, tourist and all sorts of interesting things.   Seems everything about this little beach town has it’s own unique character.
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.57.50 AM
We stroll up and down the venues and talk to the local farmers and some of them I’ve visited on occasions at their farms.   OB is super friendly and comfortable… well, if you enjoy that really laid back feeling… Some people might look at it and think what a weird dumpy place… I guess I can see how one might come to that observation,  I don’t see it that way at all,  it’s just a collectic group of very different people that seem to ebb and flow well together in the same space… I think that’s kinda cool!
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.22.51 AM
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.44.56 AMScreen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.45.53 AM
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.27.48 AM
My husband’s brother, Joe, in West VA now, lived in OB for several years many years ago and we often call him from there or send him iphone images of the stores,  he gets a big kick out of seeing that it practically looks the same as it did 20 years ago.
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.18.08 AM
I enjoy our weekly trips to the Farmers Market in OB and each week, it’s different in a way,  same vendors and same feel but just the entertainment and flare is enough different that it mixes it up a bit.  Last night was a sort of Reggae style and the whole crowd was filled with dancers and people in the moment, as I like to refer to with my images.   I could not help but get a smile on my face as we walked thru the crowds and see all the pets, people, unique people in their own world, and having a ball in it – mind you!
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.13.36 AMScreen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.14.33 AM
Our whole family,  which is my hubby and me and the dogs…….love going to OB and everyone gets a big smile and happy face at the thoughts of being there.  We all know that once we have enjoyed all the interesting things to see and watch,  we’ll find a super good place to eat.  We have many favorites in OB but one of our most favorite pizza places is Pizza Port!  It’s just my favorite pizza.   We first discover Pizza Port in North County, Encinitas and they have opened a few more through-out Southern CA now.   The one in OB I think just opened in 2010 but it’s always full and again,  almost every place is dog friendly so it’s so convenient to take the dogs for a bath or walk and then grab a bite to eat somewhere they are welcome too!
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.28.13 AM
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 9.05.16 AM
One more thing that makes this location, sort of cool, is the local wild parrots…  there are hundreds of these beautiful green parrots and they are soooo loud when they come flying over, you can actually hear them above the airplanes taking off over OB.   They fly high enough that you think they are rather small, but they are actually a good size.  They tend to fly in a flock and they all yakety yak,  Where they live in the winter is as much a mystery as how they got here… but in the summer months,  they are beautiful to see and watch.   It’s unlikely you would make a trip to OB and not hear them flying thru.  They seem to have a routine of early morning shortly after sunrise and late afternoon a few hours before sunset,  they swarm thru town, singing their song, talking their talk, quite loudly.  There is a huge population of them and their daily flybys with their loud screeching, they definitely announce themselves.  They are bright neon green with red heads,  they seem to have some blues scattered thru their feathers too.  They love tall trees particularly palm trees, which we have several in our yard.  Interesting,  they travel in pairs.
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 8.35.46 AM2011.06.26 04 59 47 AM _CAS1642
My dogs have gotten used to their screeching flyovers, but at first they went nuts from the noise.  The pup would look for them and he’s so curious of everything, try to figure out what all the racket was about, what they were saying and why so loudly…. he would get that puzzled furrowed brow and sometimes close his eyes or shake his head  as they squawked by or landed in a nearby tree to annoy him. We would have to laugh.  Quigley would want to eat them… she thinks anything small with fur or feathers is a meal.  That’s from her survival days… we rescued her when she was 6 months old and she was just a tiny bag of bones living in the desert and that dog can catch anything.
You can definitely find good food, interesting entertainment, beautiful beaches, rare and unique art forms, as well as rare and unique individuals in OB.  Makes for a nice relaxed evening stroll.
Screen shot 2011-06-09 at 6.18.52 AM
…. We love it!  
As always, more images in slide show…
Free High Res Images when you “like” my Facebook page at:
Please enjoy and share on Facebook or Twitter… I welcome your comments too!

Sea Rocket | Chef Chad | Three Year Anniversary…. New Trends!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sea Rocket Bistro 3 Year Anniversary

My friend Chef Chad launched the 3 year anniversary of Sea Rocket as their new Executive Chef.   I went over for the evening,  arriving around 5 and hanging out until about 9:30pm.   It was a fun evening for me,  I love documenting and capturing the “essence” of an event, evening, or as I fondly refer to those classic slices of life…. As a photographer,  sometimes, I don’t get to relax and enjoy the moments with everyone else, cause I’m working.  Events like this one,  allowed me to be able to share the action, grab a plate or drink – photograph it and then devour it!  What a delight.  I also knew many of the guests and that made it fun to visit.   In addition,  I met new friends and created new opportunities.

This little girl was so adorable in her little hat and with her scooter.

Her Dad was teaching her manners,  telling her to wait to be served as the style of the evening was servers coming around with trays of delights to sample.   The funny part was, she was so patient and because she was small,  she often got over looked… so she went to the manager, Derry, and politely told him she had missed some of the items and really wanted to have a chance to sample everything.  He assured her he would take care of that.

Also there was a Collaboration Kitchen event on Sunday, that I was going to miss and they are one of my favorite things to do!  I did however, meet Chef Julie who was the honored Chef for the event and we hit it off.  You know when you meet someone and things just “click” and how all your sentences start to run together because you segue  from one thing to another so quickly?  Well that’s Julie and me and we set up a time in the near future to get together.  I’ll share more of that which in itself is very cool and amazing.

Crowds turned out to see the new signs, taste the new menu and mingle with locals in the North Park area.  Also I observed,  bicyclist would come in with their boxes to return for a pick up of fresh local farm produce.   Sea Rocket is a drop point for local farmers to bring goodie boxes of their organically grown crops right into town for people to enjoy.   I asked to see in the box of one of the ladies as she strapped it to her custom bike mini-trailer.  She said, it’s always a surprise we never know what we are getting, but we are always happy!  It’s packed full of fresh vegetables and fruit.   It was!

Sea Rocket brings the best wild and sustainably caught local seafood, organic fresh produce and get ready….. they are going to have Monday Night Burger Night!  I have often gone with Chef Chad to shop for his daily menu and that’s usually a trip to Catalina Offshore Products for the fresh fish from Tommy and produce comes from both local farmers markets and Speciality Produce.  Sometimes,  much like my work, there is way more going on behind the scenes than just in the kitchen.  By the time people are arriving for their tasty meal,  the staff has been polishing glasses and silverware,  shopping for all of that day’s menu, done on a daily basis so you get to enjoy the most fresh food of the season and it’s all local.  I can only imagine running a restaurant is much like entertaining guest every day!  Ye Gads!  Think about it…. that’s amazing!

I was super tired by the end of 4-5 hours of mingling and shooting and I headed home,  pleasantly full and tired is a good combination for a photographer.  I look forward to the next day which was going to be totally different but what a wonderful way to take this journey pixel by pixel for me. Although I don’t think much about actual pixels,  I think more about what something looks like at that moment in time and then… and then,  sometimes, it takes on a whole different look a few minutes later, as the light changes, the plates are clean, the  whole mood changes and evolves…. I enjoy watching all that metamorphosis… crazy me, but I really do!


I remember one guy asking me if I thought what I was shooting was “a worthy subject” and I was so  taken back by the question.  In my mind,  most things are worthy subjects it just depends on the time of day, the lighting, the moments, the occasion, the experience…. I am still pondering that one…. I guess we creative types are strange creatures to some people… but hey to me it’s just all about the moments in time and finding something beautiful about each moment may be a bigger challenge for some than others…… sometimes I feel that challenge, but not on this night.  

Please enjoy and remember the slide show has more images so don’t miss it …share this link on Twitter and Facebook….

Mini- Vacation

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I had an amazing weekend of sort of fun filled vacation type photography.  It was relaxing and most enjoyable, shared with two other photographer friends, Lee and Shelly.   I’ll go into more detail on another blog about each segment of what I thought was the highlights,  but this post is more of a summary of just how happy it felt to just feel and see things I love.

2011.06.04 10 23 27 AM _CAS5427

The eye that sees....

I can’t tell you how frequently I’m told by people; “gosh you have the most fun job” and they are right it is, but there is so much hard work and 90% of it is behind the scenes, not behind the camera.  There is a lot of desk time, computer time, marketing time, post production time,  all those things are not sometimes as much fun as the actual shooting time.   My camera is heavy and since I never know just what I’ll need I try to take enough to get me thru most any situation,  I try to make myself notes so if I ever go back I can regroup or better manage my amount of gear.  For example,  I went to Japan in October 2010 and I didn’t really take much more than I needed but there was a couple of things I did not use ever and I doubt I would if I went again.   I make an extensive packing check list before any trip or job so I have a record for myself what I left with, used or didn’t and it also helps me keep track of inventory.
2011.06.04 10 15 45 AM _CAS5367
This trip was all about having an enjoyable time and clearing my head of work work work…now when you do what you are most passionate about,  it doesn’t always “feel” like work, but it also never stops, never ends, always in the brain and always a camera in my hand… I’ve been this way since 8 years old pretty much.  It drives a lot of people nuts cause I’m so passionate and enthusiastic about it all and I just want to “document” life as I see it.
2011.06.04 10 41 02 AM _CAS5534
My whole experience of life in general is thru the lens of my camera… I truly want to be documenting the moment and when someone tells me I can’t have a camera,  I just lose a little bit of my spunk, cause that’s stealing my moments from me and I cherish my camera connection,  I really do.   I’ve often been called “The Little Chronicler” and then other times, some people can get pretty annoyed with all that enthusiasm and energy and they can do a pretty good job with a creative person at cutting me right down to size so I have to find ways to rejuvenate myself.  This weekend was more about that, clearing my head, hearing my thoughts, feeling connected to my own being, without having to “fit” into someone’s ideas of what I should feel or be… I could just be… how cool is that? Way Cool! I say!   I actually wished …on a few moments, I could stop time and just hold on to that moment forever!  It was just that good for me!   Well, we all know we can’t do that and so we balance life out with those other moments where you hope you make it thru!  ha!  There were not many of those this weekend thankfully!

Old glass vase with wheat grass back lit in window of old store

The thing about the photographer breed,  we get up before sunrise and we go to bed well after sunset and the biggest moments in any day is that 20 minutes either side of sunrise and sunset where the light might be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen and you just know there is a God somewhere doing all this beautiful stuff and then you wonder why he can’t let everyone see it and then the world would be a more peaceful place I’m so sure of that, cause it’s these moments in time that I feel so spiritual and serene and balanced in my soul.
2011.06.04 10 23 50 AM _CAS5429
The other thing about going on a photo mini-trip with fellow photographers is we know when to just be quiet and be in the moment…. I think we each have that same sort of spiritual place we go to in those few seconds and just that 20 minutes in time where the light is just right,  where you can see details normally not seen and we don’t want to destroy it for ourselves or others… we respect the universe and each other greatly in those times…. where, what I like to refer to as “normal” people would be yammering the whole time about something until the 20 minutes passed and you never got to go to that really special place in your soul.
2011.06.04 03 24 14 PM _CAS6215
Now mind you once those frames are taken and the light has moved on we share the experiences if we want to with each other and we always love sharing the images we captured!    So here are a few that just touch the tip of the jam packed weekend for me and sometime later,  I’ll fill in some more details…. with images.   So if you believe a picture is worth a thousand words,  then I can save myself some time and be quickly in touch with you today with a few of my memories…..    Where we are is not as important as just being in the moment and I think what is special for one person is not always as special for another… sometimes I can ponder something for hours and then other times, I start to get bored and “Next”,  as Lee would say.

My friend, Shelly, sent this photo she got of me with the Wild Mustangs...

Scroll over the image for brief description or click for large size view.    Please enjoy!

To the Point

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s been a hectic crazy week, filled with good things!  But I am so behind in my post production work and I’m heading off to another photoshoot!  Oh my Gosh,  when it rains it pours, but who’s complaining?  Not me!
Marty is on a plane somewhere between East and West Coast,  he had a 2 hour wait at the airport between connections and so I sent him some iphone shots as we chatted. Just as he gets in,  I’ll be leaving for my for my four hour drive.  So I’ll be up earlier than my usual 4:30am.
I ran my errands to get ready for this little trip,  I stopped at Peoples Organic Food Market in Ocean Beach where it’s just the friendliest place in town to people and dogs!   Also they have tomatoes with flavor so if I don’t have time to run to farmers market or specialty foods,  I can just bike on down to Peoples.   Also along the way is one of my newest favorite spots to stop, To The Point,…which is also dog friendly and the happiest people working there of anywhere I’ve ever been!   Amy is just soooooo nice, well they all are!  I’m just getting to know Amy because she’s been there most of the time I go which is usually with my husband and dogs after dog bath days.    I always have my trusty camera and they make my plates just beautiful for me to do my thing!
For late lunch today,  I had a BLT and Tomato bisque….  it was so good!   But I had to wrap a portion of my sandwich up and you know, it will brownbag well for my photo trip.  We are going to be hiking a lot in and out of canyons… so I’m sure it might even taste better when I pull it out of my lunch bag!
2011.06.10 07 39 27 AM DSC_0260copy_1
Oh almost forgot,  today’s water was lavender infused and so pleasant.   R and I Love Lavender, we grow it,  we use it all over the house and to have with refreshing water was quite nice.
They were telling me of a new thing they just started, for every other Thursday is “Film Night”….  They will bring together three art forms – cinema, culinary art and wine appreciation.  It is such a great find for us,  I just wanted to let you know about it too!
This post is short and sweet, cause I’ve got to go…just wanted to keep in touch!   Love to hear from you too!  Please don’t be shy,  just drop me a note,  it will lift my spirits to hear from you!
Enjoy &  repost on FaceBook or Twitter.   Don’t forget to follow me on my Face Book Page,  I’m offering free high res images there while I’m trying to spread the word.

Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle

The first time I ever ate at Roys was on my birthday in March 2006.   Marty took me there for dinner and it was absolutely wonderful.  Being from the south, and had never been to Roys,  I remember thinking… Roys… is it western decor?  You know Roy Rogers?  Marty laughed and say no, it’s Hawaiian.
I am not typically much of a desert person, but since it was my birthday,  the waiter suggested their  Signature Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé……… My husband loves desserts and he said it was really good.  If I didn’t like it, not to worry, he would eat it.
So they brought me this Soufflé…. it was still warm from the oven and when I cut into it all the chocolate started slowly trickling and oozing out…. OMG I  thought I had to have the whole thing myself and this is from a person who maybe takes a tiny taste and I was just loving this cake!  It was so moist and wonderful, not too sweet and not so rich that it made you feel sick after eating it…. I said this is my favorite new restaurant!
HA!   Like I’m going to eat  Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé every day!
Well it has become the choice place to go if it’s something special that I want dessert…cause I’ve not found anything like it anywhere else and actually,  we’ve tested a few other places and not even close!
Now the other thing that made that 2006 first impression so special, was Dad Greene had just passed away at 87 years old in Jan 2006 and Mom Greene had moved back to PA to live with her oldest daughter.   The serving plates all had Roy on them and I wanted one to send to Mom Greene because Dad Greene’s name was Roy and she missed him terribly and I thought this would cheer her up a little.  We actually called her while we were eating to tell her where we were eating at a place called Roys.  She giggles a lot and she thought that it was great for my birthday dinner we were dining at Roys.
Well the chef came out with the plate and a tshirt for me!   I was so tempted to keep it because it was so special but I wrapped the plate all nice and sent it off to PA and Mom Greene said she would eat all her dinners on that Roy plate and then she would be eating with her Roy!
Well here it  is 2011 and for our wedding anniversary we went to Roys at the Waterfront and of course among all the other delicious samples I had,  I ended my meal with my  Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé.  It was as good as ever!   Our service was wonderful with Kyle and he made me up this great cucumber & cilantro’s margarita…. it went down soooooooo easy!
On Marty’s last trip to the East Coast he went up to visit Mom Greene in PA who is sadly fraught with Alzheimer’s now for a few years.   But M.E.,  Marty’s sister,  sent the Roy plate and all the pretty things I had packed with it back home to me.  I was so thrilled!  I never thought about ever getting it back and so now I have the special first dinner plate I ever ate on at Roys and it’s even more special cause I got to share it with Mom Greene for 5-6 years.  How cool is that?
We are heading to Hawaii shortly and Marty said he would take me to the Original Roys there.   I can’t wait!  I’ll let you know how that adventure goes!  And yep, I WILL have the Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé without a doubt!

Be sure to glance at the slide show at opening of this particular blog to see  the Hibachi Grilled Salmon, Roy’s Blackened Island Ahi & Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish, burger and yummy things we had.

On the road during June….. lots of travel days…

During the month of June I will be on a lot of business travel.  I will try to blog as much as I can and sometimes I may combine locations…. I hope you enjoy traveling with me….I think you will be surprised by the variety of terrain, foods and activities…. so sit back, relax and let’s see where we are next…. for sure there will be eats along the way and expresso coffees is one of my favorite travel delights!

I’m not the best traveler,  some people just love it …. well I’m not one of those really.   I guess once I get some place I’m happy to be there,  it’s the travel part I dislike… you know the airport, the slumping of bags and I have to travel with so much gear and I want it to NOT get broken.  Also I don’t always know just what I need for each location so I try to plan how I will move around once I get there and what backpacks or special bags I will need.   I’m very lucky in that my husband is a world traveler and he loves it.  In addition, he has a lot of perks being a frequent flyer and hotel accommodations, rental cars, etc.   Nice!

The pups love their Pro-Train Camp and that makes things worry free for us cause they are pretty dog-gone special dogs!  Q loves it there and R,  he’s more of a frat-boy and gives us sad eyes when we leave.   Well I have a lot of planning and packing and last minute things so off we go!

Please enjoy……….

Memorial Day… hope it was thought provoking for you.. it should be I believe, after-all, somebody gave their life for YOU to have today… A Day…just the way you wanted it to be.

A time for reflection, memories, realizing others live in our space, our world and sometimes we are so caught up in ourselves we fail to realize that we may be thoughtless or have a complete disregard for others that might need a tender touch at this moment in time.

As humans we should know how to do that…but I can tell you the best teachers for that is our paw friends…. dogs just know how to love unconditionally while at the same time know how to sniff out phony or mean spirited people where we humans are sucked into fame and fortune and lose sight of what may be real. If that is the case… then what the heck are we teaching our children??? Be careful Children learn what they live….  here’s a good role model image to have…

Local Heros


Well today hopefully if you were selling something, you made record sells… I wish you all success but hopefully you took time to realize some people, many people in this country at this time have made sacrifice so you could have those benefits.

Greed, my Dad always said is the root cause of all relationships ending and mean spirited behaviors consuming people… we sometimes think poor people or street people will steal from us and we don’t feel comfortable being near them when in reality, more often than not, rich people become obsessed with success and there is an insatiable pallet that cannot be satisfied at any expense and eventually the only outcome is self destruction.

That is why we have these “holidays” or “vacations” to take a break, realize there is more to gets more and more difficult with technology and being so connected yet so distant in our relationships….people are important, friendships are everything and being nice is just as good as it gets.

  This is just one of ohhhh so many expressions of love…..  click this link to see a lovely photographers heartfelt images.
So if you forgot, got to busy or caught up in your “me syndrome” do remember all these fallen soldiers and the people they left behind today if only once in 365 days… take a moment… you will feel good about yourself and the world if you do…I promise…No big deal, just quietly, reverently, respect our Freedom and the cost of it.
A photographer or Artist hopes with all their heart and soul to “make an impact” “make a difference” “show others  what we see”…. Sometimes,often, we are valued long after we are gone; sadly I think but a fact that could be changed by… YOU.  I think Laura does a beautiful job of revealing her emotion in her images!  Hopefully you can feel it and share both the joy and sorrow.   Sometimes pain can bring emotions to the surface that all can feel and share.
I personally do feel and I’m glad I do and if you are just too busy to, then I’ll feel for you too. ©CassGreene

Sustainable Farming…. a glass of Wine!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sometimes you have a dream and sometimes dreams come true.  Well that’s exactly what happened with Dennis and Julie at Eagles Nest Winery.   We have enjoyed visiting with them on a few occasions from the beginning of making their vineyard and cozy cottage for overnight relaxation time.    We have watched their hard work over the last 4-5 years and it has really paid off for them in that they have started to have award-winning wines.  How cool is that!?

When you arrive,  you have been on a long winding country road and arrive at a beautiful gate with the vineyards on the other side.

We just attended a tasting at their Southern California Vineyards and was pleasantly surprised how many award-winning wines that now have.  There is the Gold Metal Cabernet Sauvignon Ruby Port, Zinfandel, Merlot,  and Syrah.   In the white variety they have a Gold Metal  Picpoul Blanc Port.

Their award-winning estate wines benefit from sustainable farming with sheep for weeding, no herbicides or harsh pesticides are used.    They have a high regard for quality control and close hands on monitoring of each barrel during the fermentation and aging process.

The cottage is atop a hill with incredible views.   Dennis and Julie are amazing host and have little utility vehicles to take you around for tours of the estate.  It has giant rocks and hills with little private corners with wonderful benches, trees, and rustic wine decor all over the hillside.   You feel like you may have gone to another country and can get lost in your thoughts and enjoy the beauty nature has to offer and it’s an ever abundance of beauty.

Dennis and Marty have been friends from their Navy days and Julie and I have our love for photography and technology.  She is a techno genius and they both work night and day,  so sometimes,  even when your dream comes true,  it’s often hard to take the time for yourself to enjoy and relax when you are providing so much environment and ambiance for others to enjoy… the fruits of your labors yield more to others than for yourself sadly in a way.   We also share an incredible love and bond with our animals.   They have sheep and chickens and dogs and critters everywhere is numbers!

They even use their little paw buddies on their wine labels!   We remember when they rescued Duke, the Doberman,  we had our Meli at that time.  Duke is getting old now and it’s always sad to see the rapid aging process with dogs.

The creativity, science and chemistry knowledge along with farming and laws of the land is a most rewarding time for them when they finally get all us folks up there, tasting their delicious wines!   If you want a short little get-away,  I highly recommend a trip up to Eagle Nest Winery and for sure get connected with them on Twitter and the internet,  you’ll enjoy seeing their upcoming events of wines, grape crushing, fermenting, pressing, bottling, corking, labeling and packing…. for Premium wines and breathtaking views… take a gander and experience this peaceful place!

Julie said she might consider Raleigh and Quigley for a label in the future, so they are hard at work discussing how to tell the difference between Aroma and Bouquet in Wine Tasting….. Raleigh says you put your nose directly into the glass and if it smells fruity or floral, that’s Aroma… Quigley said if it smells yeasty, woody or buttery like stems that’s Bouquet…. I laughed and said I don’t think either are you are going to be hired for “tasting” the wine… it’s a “modeling job”!

Thanks Julie & Dennis for making us a part of the Good Food, Good Wine and Good Friends!

Enjoy, Share, tell your friends and now go have a glass of Wine!  My husband is pouring one for me now!  Cheers!

Papaya… Paw Paw… My All Time Favorite

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I read that Papaya is called Paw Paw in Australia and plentiful all year round…. well I have two friends there and hopefully, they will let me know if that’s true?

Papaya is one of the first natural digestive enzymes I started taking many years ago,  (pill form) then when I moved to CA,  I found the papaya to not only be plentiful but sweet, delicious and amazing elegant desert.  I grew up in the South and I had never had Papaya as it’s a more tropical fruit and at that time not so plentiful in our grocery stores.  Plus we generally ate what we grew on the farm rather than buy much produce at the store.   Among it’s many benefits, Papaya also helps lower the inflammation in the body so can be an excellent food source for people with sports injuries or arthritis.

The enzymes of the papaya aid in digestion and breaking down proteins into amino acids.  Because it helps with anti-nausea, it can be beneficial to treat the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.  I used to always have papaya on hand to snack on and generally ended my meal with some papaya desert concoction I came up, depending on how ripe my stash of papayas were at the time.

The skin is not edible but the seeds have a spicy, sharp taste and could be ground to use as a black pepper substitute.  I’ve never tried this substitute because personally, I LOVE fresh ground black pepper!

Papaya is pretty easy to find for Breakfast or Lunch around Southern CA restaurants.  Papaya is sweet and succulent, one of the healthiest of nature’s fruits.  An exquisite tropical fruit and so easy to prepare a variety of ways.  If you have not tried it,  please do and let me know how you like it.

Share and Enjoy this post with others!

Beat the scorching summer? Remember crunchy cucumber!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cucumbers are refreshing and a great digestive aid.   Since I was born with a structural deformity of my entire digestive track,  I’ve had to rely on increasing my awareness and knowledge base of what I could and could not eat without being rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.  I had surgery at birth and two other times in my life because I could not digest properly.   So these little green things became my friend early early in life.  I found them refreshing, crunchy and easy to snack on.    This wonderful, low calorie vegetable has more nutrients to offer than just water and electrolytes, but since I was prone to dehydration,  it’s a natural food source for someone like me!

I also found some crazy wild tips on other uses of the mighty cucumber! Check it out!

  1. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.
  2. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
  3. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!
  4. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!
  5. Cucumber Facts and CuresLooking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
  6. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
  7. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!
  8. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.
  9. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
Double click images for full size.
Enjoy and Share this post

Radishes good for treating thyroid imbalances

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you are like me, you avoid the doctor unless necessary.  But I ask myself often,  do they NOT read journals and magazines and current trends of things?  Why is it that the thyroid is so misdiagnosed and even if you go in fully armed with a journal of events for changes in your own body, they still tell you that your T4 and T3 are in “normal ranges”.  Who’s normal?  Clearly not what I had before they insisted on removing one of my body parts that I was using quite well .. thank you!

I had Thyroid surgery in 2003 and that changed my life more than anything I can remember.  I went from a hyper 90 pound little thing, sleeping less than 5 hours a night and could practically move mountains with my energy… once they removed a portion of thyroid, I felt tired, gained weight, loss my hair and all these things made me depressed on top it all.

Well life has never been the same since for me.  I quickly realized that doctors do not know what is “normal” for my body and frankly they didn’t care as long as I “fit” into a “category” nicely for them, they were happy with their work.  Well I was not!  Deluded doctors and test results that fall within “norm” are unsatisfactory to me… Gosh, don’t think anyone in my life ever described is as “norm”..ha!  I don’t think doctors believe as much in vitamins, food values and nutrition as I do and I’m not sure it’s part of their medical training?  Well I have devoted my entire lifetime to eating healthy and being part Cherokee Indian,  I also believe in a lot of natural remedies.

I’ve continued to search and look for ways to boost my thyroid naturally and avoid doctors and medicines as much as possible.  I have found sometimes a little success.  I found that Russia has used radishes for treating thyroid imbalances, particularly black radishes but red ones as well.   Another great help is coconut oil and I have used that for many years now.   Just a tidbit of information worth researching if you feel you have a thyroid problem and the doctors just don’t understand you.  I LOVE radishes and will look for ways to add them to my meals and snacks!  Good Luck and let me know if you have any success!

Share and Enjoy!

The Simple side of Breakfast

Blog 52311

Sometimes I think how simple it is to have something we maybe take for granted in our daily habits go from “ordinary to extraordinary”.    My husband laughs at me cause I’m always talk about ambiance…. whether it’s a candle lit just to give that pretty glow light or the beautiful morning light with a soft cloth napkin, a pretty glass, a daisy petal on my plate, or just the dog’s nose so hard at work to capture the smells of daily life….

I cherish it all every single day and I capture some part of it each and every day with my camera lens a little bit.  This makes me happy and I sort of freeze that moment in time that I can come back to again and again…. and I do as I tend to cogitate life frequently!

Awwww….it’s sometimes just the “simple” things that make life so special to me! I call that “Appreciation”;  a special gift of being self aware enough to “See” and seeing is an Art.  (hence The Art of Seeing)

Sometimes I think I was “born” this way (I guess I was to some extent, cause I’ve have always been more than a little passionate with my photography and making “sets” to make my eyes dance with the light since about the age of 8 years old) and sometimes I think after surviving 3 cancers that dominated about 15 years of my total life… you just “see” and “appreciate” and “desire” beauty maybe in a little different perspective, I don’t know for sure… but I do all I can to create the most simple pleasures, that many others may never stop to see, into my cherished memories and moments of a lifetime for myself… I think about is as the Everyday lifestyles made a little fuller, a little richer, a little more memorable with just that extra moment to give it a  “thoughtful” touch.

Enjoy and take a moment to be give a little joy along your journey… while it’s all about your life… life has more meaning when you give back a little.  Thanks for the memories! Classic… Now Share & Enjoy!

Fishing Docks 6:30am

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We love Sunday morning to go down with the Dobies to the watch the fishing boats arrive with their Catch!   I photograph while Raleigh sniffs the air as if he is in absolute heaven… I swear,  I think this pup is part cat… he loves being around the fish and is so interested.

I noticed they were cutting one tail fin off each fish and I asked why?  They said that sport fish catches could not be used for commercial use and this tagged the fish for the Dept of Fish and Game.

Wasn’t anything big like some mornings… but we still enjoy the walk and morning air there on the docks.. the fisherman are all friendly and nice and sometimes super excited about their fish!  It’s just another pleasant way to start a good day!

Enjoy & Share

Weekends on the West Coast

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You know it’s just magic sometimes to get up early and go out before the world wakes up…. the things you see, smell, do,  are all different before 7am and it’s my favorite time of day…watching the sun rise, seeing the light change, watching my Dobies sniff the air… seeing young kids out that early in the city on their skate boards or bikes… it’s just magical to me! No words or feelings are quite like that “before the rest of the world awakes” time!  Maybe it’s those days on the farm of getting up so early to beat the heat of the day to complete our chores… I don’t know but I cherish the solitude and the rare breed that is up and out to see the sun rise and I’m glad it’s only a few of mostly us dog lovers!

Yummy Avocado

Avocado sliced on top of Eggs Bacon Benedict for Breakfast Plate