Lan Su Chinese Garden, a beautiful escape

Lan Su garden is a small oasis in the middle of old town Portland.  Lan Su meaning “Orchid awakening” and from the moment you walk through the gate, that’s exactly how you feel. The gentle meandering pathways  lead to an opulent garden full of Chinese botanicals and tranquil waterfalls. Chinese gardens are observably designed to stimulate one’s intellect and spirit while wandering in Nature.

                     You can easily spend an afternoon here with a good book or just watching the Koi in the reflective water.

Visit the Tea house, sit, relax and enjoy as you gaze out at the garden.

E.H. Wilson, noted 20th century plant hunter, referred to China as the Mother of Gardens.

“In the Chinese Garden, the solidity of stone (yang) is balanced by the softness of water (yin).  When opposites–yin yang–are in balance, there is rejuvenating qi energy. As the circulatory system of the world, water brings vital energy to the Garden and to its visitors.”

This, the last day to wish you a happy Chines new year!

The year of the Dragon!

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Road Warriors!

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved road trips. As a child my Dad and I would often jump in the car on a lazy Sunday afternoon and go for long drives out in the country. The road seemed to go on forever and it didn’t matter that there was no destination in mind. We would stop at abandoned houses and go through them hoping to find some long forgotten treasure sometimes we got lucky. Then we’d stop for Ice cream on the way home. Those were good times. Still, I love nothing more than packing it up and hitting the highway with the one I love.

We left bright and early Friday morning, trying to beat the imminent storm ahead.  We smoked Cigarettes while Gillian Welch sang us down the road with her dusty Americana vocals. Eating PB & J’s, sleeping in noisy truck stops and shooting pictures through mud-spattered windows. We thought we’d be able to pick up a hitchhiker or two along the way but there were none. I suppose that had something to do with the weather. So, we made our way through snow, sleet, wind and torrential rain. We can’t wait to do it again.

Through a rainy window

Snowy trees

Snow covered gate, Dunsmuir Ca.

Good~bye for now!

Starfin

 

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Our favorite place…

Oak 

I suppose you could have guessed that our favorite place is nature, if you can call it a place. Maybe it’s more of a consciousness? A way of being. Anyway, Santa Barbara is such a unique place geographically, which is why it’s home to so many a nature lover. We have the ocean on one side and mountains on the other, all in close proximity. It makes it so simple to get away and be intimate with nature. Whether it’s fiercely exciting waves you seek or somewhere calm and meditative, you don’t have to go far. A very short distance may feel like you’re a thousand miles away. Suddenly time stands still and with very little effort you are glancing down at the ocean from high on a mountaintop or traipsing through the woods with your awareness of natural beauty becoming cloudless and acute as all else slips away. Nature, whether it’s a place or a way of being within this chaotic world, it’s where we love to be.

Abstract nature

Lake lopez

Shoreline

Fly away

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Stardust

Morro Bay Harbor

I can’t think of a better way to spend a day than leaving your daily troubles at shore and sailing out to Sea. There is always that hint of mystery and if you’re like me, you thrive on that. I often daydream about sailing around the world, of the long beautiful days on the open water, the star kissed nights. Arriving in foreign ports to simply while away the day taking in the offerings of local food, drink and culture. Anchoring in a sheltered cove sipping wine and watching the sunset, maybe skirmishing with Pirates in the Indian Ocean?  I know this conjures up images of Johnny Depp and kiera Knightley but we all know that’s not the reality.  They’re actually quite real and brutal, still to this day. Thankfully it’s rare to run into these kinds of water hazards.

Ahhh, Someday we’ll do it, (we’re always looking to crew on a Boat) but until then, we graciously accept every offer to go on board. Our recent Sail on the Stardust, built long ago by Shawn’s Grandfather and now lovingly maintained by his Uncle, was a perfect day sailing around Morro Bay

At Sea

Harbor at Sunset

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A shot in the dark…

Way up there....

On a recent trip down South I found myself wandering around the Santa Monica Pier. I had never been there but I’ve always wanted to go. I’ve driven by it at night and seen the Ferris wheel looming high in the sky like a colossal rainbow spacecraft. Below the hoards of people lining up to board it like it’s the mother ship.  I understand the fascination with these places but I guess I’m more of a spectator when it comes to amusement park rides. The thought of strapping myself into a large mechanical device run and maintained by people who may not remember to oil their own chains let alone the one that holds my life in it’s grasp makes me a little wary. I ate Funnel Cake and meandered through the crowds, captivated.

These are a few of the Photos….

Full Moon

Dart Lady

Santa Monica from the Pier...

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