Saturday, May 14, 2022

Yosemite... Free For All

So this was not my first trip visiting Yosemite National Park, but it was the first time I had visited this majestic place, free of charge.  It was during a random weekend where all visits were free, back in April 2017.  Jacques had never been (despite living in California pretty much his entire life!) so of course we took advantage of this.  The last time I'd visited was in 2011, twice during that year, the first time when my dad & his significant other traveled out here for our whitewater rafting trip in July, then later that year in September when my mom came out for what became her annual trip.

Anyway, it was just as beautiful as those previous visits.  I don't think seeing these views will ever get old for me. 💖

Following this creek led to the entrance of the park, so it is kind of what I see as the "opening view"

Another view as we made our way up to the entrance.

Capturing a different perspective, focusing on the 'railing' instead.

El Capitan.

I love the waterfalls at Yosemite.

Just another random view of the beauty that is nature's canvas.

And again!

Catching some people just relaxing in nature.

That fallen tree really caught my attention for these next few shots.

More of a panoramic view of the entire area.

A different view from the fallen tree.

This was seen as you left the little village area where they have lodging and a general store available.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

San Fran Through New Eyes

 So now we are on to the very last batch of the "wedding weekend" photos.  After we were done wine tasting in the previous post, we headed south into San Francisco, and stopped for some breathtaking views along the way to San Bruno where we stayed the night, before heading into San Francisco the next day.  This was my brother and sister-in-law's first trip into the city.  Let's go ahead and get started:

A wide view of the overlook viewing the Golden Gate Bridge, with San Fran in the background

Closer view of the Bridge, with Alcatraz in the distance.

A different focus, this time with San Francisco in the distance.

The view from behind us, I liked how the people are silhouetted here.

Dad pointing out the Bridge while Aidan gives him a funny look.  I always seem to capture moments like these between them. 😍

...and also these moments as well!  There is no shortage of laughter in my family.

Capturing a near-silhouette of everyone walking through the tunnel.

Catching the setting sun & creating some nice contrasts!

Just a closeup of a bench near the area.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Wine-Tasting Our Way South(west)

This batch of photos, still from March 2017, is from the day after the wedding.  The plan was to do some wine tasting on our way down to San Francisco from 'wine country.'  My dad loves wine, so this part of the trip was pretty much for him. 😊  But that's okay because I was perfectly happy taking pictures of the scenery outside!  The area is beautiful, so there was no shortage of opportunities.  My mom and I hung out with Aidan while everyone else had fun tasting the wines available from the places we visited.  Later that year, in October, this same area was ravaged by wildfires, so looking back at these photos is a little bittersweet.  We haven't been back there since these photos were taken.

The first stop we made was at this beautiful winery, Domaine Carneros, off of Hwy 12 in Napa. 

A cute moment between my dad and Aidan.

He's such a happy kid!

I love love love weeping willows! 💖

I call this one, "photographer Aidan."  This was taken while we stopped for lunch in Yountville. 

Another stop on our wine tasting adventure, this one called Menage A Trois.  It is now permanently closed.

Part of the grounds surrounding Menage A Trois.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Revisiting Churchill Manor

 I'm finally getting around to the pictures that I took of our wedding venue, Churchill Manor, (built in 1889) in beautiful wine country, or more specifically -- Napa, California.  And yes, I realize that I got married a little over 4 years ago... that just shows how utterly behind I am in getting my photos posted!  I really don't mean to be such a procrastinator.  Honestly, this past year has just been so incredibly crappy and I kind of lost my motivation for creativity.  However, I don't have an 'excuse' for the previous three years before that. 😬

Anyway... I really enjoyed being able to relive the memories that Churchill Manor brings to mind, even from just looking at photos.  It was one of the best few days of my life and this place will always be near and dear to my heart. 💕 So please join me in a tour of sorts!

Outside view of the front of the house.

The simple, but elegant front lawn.  This is where the wedding took place!

One of the sides of the extensive wraparound porch.  This was a great place to enjoy breakfast.  There are also some tables set up around the corner, if a larger eating area was needed.

 I absolutely loved the front doors! 💖

What greeted you when entering the main foyer.

This area was used for the daily early evening cheese and wine (and other snacks) provided by the B&B.  They would be found on the table in the center of the room.

Turn to the right from the previous photo and you found yourself in the entrance to the formal dining room.  It was exquisite!

If you look at the previous photo to that little cabinet at the back of the room, this is what you will see, upon closer view.  I just thought this was a pretty angle with the flowers and the sconces.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

A Visit to Bubbling Well

 Moving right along to January 2017... (I know, I know, I'm so behind on this) How do I even start out a post like this?  -sigh-  While we were on our vacation to Oklahoma for Christmas, we got a difficult phone call from my mother-in-law, who was back home dog-sitting for us.  Our female Irish setter, Mari, had decided that December 28 was her last day.  She had lived an incredibly long life, so we were kind of expecting it, but hoping that she would hang on until we got back to say goodbye.  But life threw us a different plan.  So here are some photos of her final resting place, Bubbling Well Pet Memorial Park up in beautiful Napa, California.

This adorable statue is what you see upon driving into the park (though I captured it as we were leaving)

Just a view of the pathway walking up to the main tribute area.

Beautiful words, needed to see at this time 💖

The main memorial area that held cards for all the pets buried here.

More encouraging words during a difficult time.

Walking further along the pathways in the park.

Just capturing a closer view of the wall of this pathway.

Loved this view of the shadows in the grass...

...and this one as well!

Well, that was it.  I love that she's in such a beautiful place.  We have since lost both of her playmates that grew up with her as a constant in their lives, and they are also resting in this place with her, which gives me comfort to know that they are back together again.  They will all forever be missed. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Return to a Tragic Day

So I usually visit my hometown of Oklahoma City, where I grew up, at least once a year since I moved out here to California.  And every few years, I find myself drawn to visit the OKC National Memorial in downtown, which honors the victims, survivors & rescuers of a tragic day for all of Oklahoma.  I will never forget the exact minute when a bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, twenty-three years ago, at this very moment.  I was 12, and home sick (alone), suffering from a blister on my eardrum, and I can still feel that slight shake of my house, and hear the frantic barking of my pup outside, immediately afterwards.

Anyway, the day before Christmas in 2016, we visited the memorial again, and the experience was just as poignant and brutally heartbreaking as it always is.  Here are my photos from that day.

Supplemental information, via Wikipedia, on the specific features of the Memorial: found here.  This will help to enlighten you on the symbolism of some of the pictures I took.

The "entrance" to the memorial, as well as the museum, housed in the former Journal Record Building.

A collage of hand-painted tiles from kids that sent them in from all over the United States & Canada, showing their support, shortly after the bombing.  These kids are all grown up nowadays.

More of the tiled collage, on the other side.

View of the former Journal Record building, looking back from the Reflecting Pool.
This is known as one of the "Gates of Time" along with its twin on the other side of the memorial, representing the first moments of recovery, while the other says "9:01," representing the last moment of peace before the bomb hit at 9:02am.  The Gates frame the moment of destruction.

Since it was Christmastime when we visited, family members had come to decorate the empty chairs of their loved ones who had perished on that day.

Overlooking the "Survivor Tree" from the field of empty chairs.

Macro view of the small wall that surrounds the Survivor Tree.  The full inscriptions says: "The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us."

Overlooking the field of empty chairs, from the original plaza area, which is part of the only remaining remnants from the building.

Found among the Plaza, the motto for the United States, Latin for "Out of many, one."

There wasn't anything specifically important about this, other than I liked how they implemented the Survivor Tree into the design of the bench.  (This is actually a bus stop.) 

Part of the Memorial Fence, originally used to protect the site from damage, before the memorial was built.  I liked this view of someone's Run to Remember medal left on the fence.

Apparently people from all over the world still leave small items on the Fence, as seen by this keychain of Australia!

"And Jesus Wept" memorial sculpture, erected by St. Joseph's Catholic Church, located across from the OKC Memorial.  Jesus faces away from the devastation, and the wall in front of him has 168 gaps in it, representing the voids left by each life lost.

There is always an incredibly somber and quiet atmosphere to the Memorial, every time that I've visited.  It reminds me that life is short and nobody is promised tomorrow, so you have to make sure to make today count.
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