Sunday, January 29, 2012


Donkey and mule combinations are abundant around here.  Always staunch supporters and buddies for each other, aloof and distant to strange humans... until you hold up a bunch of grass from the other side of the fence. Then they come a running, full speed until...boom... they stop in their tracks right at your side, all teeth, reaching for the bundle of grass in your vulnerable hand.

                                                                                      Copyright 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Suddenly, for as far as you can see, a transparent dome, 100 miles deep into the earth and 45,000 miles high into the sky, cages a small town and farming community...

Just read Stephen King's book, Under the Dome.
Have to say, it was one of those epic novels that you can't wait to hear how it ends, and yet, don't want it to end because it takes you to so vividly into the author's imagination. And King's imagination is spellbinding.

If you have read King's epic novels, such as The Stand, then you know how totally you can be absorbed into the lives of its characters.
You have the egotistical, political crooks who are out for themselves, taking advantage of the community so they can profit, and of course, enjoy the power over others.
Then you have the everyday heroes...the regular folk who find the courage to step up to the plate in times of crisis.
The dome entraps them all inside and what happens?....well, alot of mayhem to be sure. You think your leaders will keep you safe and do the right things.  Don't be so sure. 

Pretty relevant to what is happening here with the political shenanigans out here in the real world nowadays.  In King's world of course, the evil and the profit mongers do get their due in the end of course.

Doesn't seem to work like this in the real world unfortunately.

Then there is the dome.  Who is responsible for it?

I figured it out quite early, yet, King put a twist on it that really was quite interesting to ponder and kept you on pins and needles to the end...if only to know who actually survives and how.

Never thought of how handy a cellar full of spuds could be! It is a unique life saver in the book.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Visualizing Life and Furnishing a Room

                                                  ...from March 2011 House Beautiful Magazine

Why is it that visualizing someone else's path in life seems so easy and so clear, but when it comes to one's own is just a foggy haze with enticing glimpses of starlight sparkling here and there, just out of reach.
It is like furnishing a room.
You can look at someone else's room and pull out a vast repertoire of ideas pertaining to repositioning furniture, color schemes, style ideas, textures and fabrics....but your own place?
Well...that is just darn hard.

I am sure there are many of you out there who feel the same when it comes to observing a close friend's life.  You can see what talents another has and if only they would pursue them one way or another, they could have a happier and more fulfilling life. 
We, on the outside, can praise and recommend, and even cajole, but until that person is ready to see it for themselves, well, nothing is going to happen.
Then again, anyone can visualize their own life differently, but extenuating circumstances can always foul up plans. Money for one.  Stability for another.  Fear of the unknown....whoa, now this is a big one.
And when it comes down to can have 6 friends saying, yes, this is it, go for it...and then there is the one friend who wait a minute, this may not be viable...and you are blown off course.
Your inner self was just waiting to hear those words, weren't you?

It always comes down to you and your willingness to take a forward step, even if it is a small one.
Moving forward is hard...definitely psychically and in many cases, monetarily.
My problem...I see it, but get so blown up in the midst of seeing all the pitfalls, that I easily can talk myself out of it before I even start. 
Over thinking.

In fact, it is very much like a Big Bang episode I watched recently.  No matter if you have not seen the show, it is a perfect analogy to all of the above.
A tenant in an apartment building is letting himself into his apartment.  He glances over across the hall to see that his pretty next door neighbor (whom he use to date) had her door open and he could see her chatting with friends....and he very bravely decides then and there to go up to her and ask her out again and take the chance to see if this time things could work out.  After many scenes of them getting back together, having dinner, arguing, making out, and finally ending it again in an uproar, the girl telling him he always over thinks everything....well, the show cuts back to it's very first scene again, him looking over at her.  His brain took him through all the scenarios of why he should not go up to her and ask her will end badly.
Yet, what does he do...he goes over to her and asks her out.

So just keep repeating after me....
....and I will too....

"Over thinking be damned!"

                                                                                                copyright 2012 Stepka

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Old Country 2 Room Schools


                                         Union Elementary School - Press Democrat Photo

I was amazed how many two room schools still exist in Sonoma and Marin Counties.  One is right down the road from Petaluma. They had closed them in Wisconsin in the area where I lived, but not before I went thru 1-7th grade. I think there were only about 24 kids in the whole school.  1-4 on the right side.  5-7th on the left.
Milk break was one of my favorites.  Chocolate milk.  Oh, my!  We only had the full bodied, cream infused and yellow, milk straight from the cows and cooler. Have you ever drank the "real" milk straight from the cow?  Well, let's just say my brother and I never drank much milk on the farm.  Homogenized and especially chocolate milk at school were a real treat. 
Now....butter made fresh from cow milk, that is a whole nother story.  Yum.
We also had real, flushable toliets at the school.  What luxury! 
Nothing like that back on the farm.
My father lived pretty much in the early 1900's and we, of course, were along for the ride. 
Now so many people want to go back to that type of lifestyle.  Well, as long as they have a choice.  That makes all the difference.

We learned to polka and had a smashing band made up of triangles and sticks.  Talk about the dark ages!  But simple, good memories. 
We played Four Square and Dodge Ball.  No worries that someone would sue if you got hit in the head. I just looked Four Square up on Wikipedia and someone in the UK wants to make it a
national sport.  Hey! I thought that was purely American!
Red Light, Green Light, Simon says.
There was that game that everyone held hands in a circle, with one person blindfolded in the middle.  They spun around and pointed at someone and that someone had to come  into the circle and avoid the blindfolded person.  The blindfolded person yelled out Jacob and the other person had to yell out Ruth. then the blindfolded person had to find and grab hold of the other person and guess who it was.
Anyhow...all this came up when I saw an article in the paper today about this dying breed of school.
I think we should get right back to the small, traditional and local schools wherever we can.

I have to say...the two room schools out here are much cuter than the brick two rooms I attended.

Click the link below for more photos.
Union Elementary School

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thrifting...Getting To Be Not So Thrifty Nowadays.

Yes, I was very obsessed with taking pig photos lately.  They were right on the side of the road...easy pickings for a photographer needing a subject.  Well, the farmer now have moved them more inland and they are growing rapidly, so my interest has faded for the time being.
But what did I find in a local thrift shop the other day, but a REAL piggy bank.
What a cutie. 

Found the painting behind him at a thrift shop also a few months back.

Amazing what you can find sometimes...though it is becoming so much rarer to find that special treasure at a price one can afford. Many thrifts are now pricing as if they are antique shops or a department store.

  Back when, you could find oldies, but goodies for "thrift shop prices", but that is getting so much rarer.
I understand that they are a non profit organization with money going to good causes, but what the heck!  They got them for free.

Yes, yes, they still have overhead to pay for.

Thrifting is an adventure and a hunt for beautiful (and useful)  things the, let's say, "economically disadvantaged", can not afford at department stores or antique store prices.
That is starting to disappear.
How sad.

Still, every so often...
The treasure hunt continues.

                                                                                            copyright 2012 Stepka

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Screen Resolution

Things have been looking a bit dark for a while.
Then I looked at my screen resolution and saw that my brightness level was at the lowest level!
No wonder I was squinting and hurting my eyes trying to read just about anything on this lap top.

How long has this been going on...and why haven't I gone into my computer to check it out sooner?

The other thing that has been happening is that I have been sleeping horribly for ....a few months now.

I finally took off all my accoutrements on my mattress and saw that I was sleeping in a hole!
Really, I knew I felt I had to drag myself out of bed in the morning...well, I really was dragging myself out of a hole!

It took me another month to contact the mattress company and then send them back photos that even without myself in the bed, it was sunk over 2 inches.  It has a 10 year warranty and I had it 3 years. After contacting them and then taking photos with a string and weight device, they said, yes, you get a new mattress.  Well, then I found out that no one in the area for 200 miles carries their beds anymore and I sure did not want a replacement of the same mattress that the saga continues.
After initially discovering that I was in a hole, I ended up folding up an extra mattress pad and filling the hole with it.  After that no longer worked, I tried turning over the mattress to the side that they say do not sleep on.  That worked for two nights.  Now I have pulled out the old air bed. I slept on that for a few nights before I got this bed and was actually comfortable, soooo we shall see how long that will last. 
Maybe I should set up the hammock next!

But where does this all lead to in this missive?....

What the hell am I doing to myself?  Why suffer so long until I take action?

I am at a point in my life right now that feels uncomfortable in general.
So many ideas in the brain, so little accomplished moving forward. I can feel and even visualize a change coming, yet that will not miraculously happen as in divine intervention.  You gotta just do it!

I have heard this from others also.  They want to make changes and move forward, but for some reason, everything feels stuck.  That needs too much effort and it is hard to see over the next hill...or should I say mountain.
I think we are all just tired in general.
Life tired.
Soul tired.

Day to day making a living is just not doing it anymore.  There is so much more out there.

Wouldn't it be lovely if we could all just easily access that vast little computer we call our brain and increase our screen resolution and brightness.

                                                                                                          copyright 2012 Stepka

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Old Oaks

I hardly ever remember my dreams.
The other morning however, I woke up remembering a wonderful scene in a huge courtyard outside some type of college or institution.
As in the way of dreams, I came into the courtyard transported like I was floating. In front of me, a huge oak tree with old gnarled branches, sun lit and just overwhelmingly beautiful. Then, all of a sudden, I was under the branches, on my back, but instead of just laying still, it was like I was on a dolly rolling under the branches, a feeling of childlike wonder pouring through me.

What a contrast from the dream I had just before this scene.
I knocked two peoples heads together that were irritating me.
It felt great too.

                                                                                                            copyright 2012 Stepka

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I think I have definitely found my next photography obsession.
I have always loved looking over Fitz's shoulder, looking out and observing what he sees out the window.   Lately, instead of seeing what is outside, I love observing what is relected back...even through a dirty window.

                                                                               copyright 2012 Stepka

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Beauty of the day...

....reflected in these gorgeous green eyes.

This is the same kitty that follows the the family dog when he is led on his walks up the path.  She follows, lagging behind, checking clumps of weeds for tasty morsels, then runs to catch up both ways on the path.
Not enough time to check out all the gopher holes and waterways. 
Now I see that she ventures out on her own for an afternoon hunt onto the farm. 
A total love dove, she does comes up and rubs against the passerby, but then the cat independence kicks in and she is off to explore on her own.

                                          copyright Stepka 2012


Friday, January 6, 2012


Been having a hard time the past few days shutting the mind down.
Too many thoughts running thru, and not good thoughts.
There go shutting out pessimism already.
As I have been perusing blogs I enjoy, it seems to be a trend for this beginning of 2012.
Everyone's mind is a racing.
My last days off, I did not even go out to shoot some photos...spent the time going thru the garage and cleaning out the old and organizing the rest so it is not just a jumble.
Jumble...that's it.  My mind is just a jumble also, and needs to get cleaned out and organized.

So I have gone back to some photos I took at the end of the year and found a photo of cows on a haze filled hillside. Lovely.
When I shoot photos...I stop and find my mind shutting down and just breathing.  My yoga.
And looking at the photo again, I can breathe and feel the peace that moment held for a moment in time.
                                                                                              copyright Stepka 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012...My Year

Christmas morning.
I looked across to the farm, and what did my wandering eyes behold, but a lone little lamb, fresh from the fold, taking it's first few steps.

2012...I will be taking some wobbling, scary new steps in my life.
2012 is going to be my year.
What the heck...I deserve a year.
Don't we all.

New beginnings.  New adventures.  Lots of new photos and creative endeavors.
Lots of hard work and perseverance tinged with much optimism and dreams.
Optimism will be essential.
Pessimism and procrastination be banned.

But again...what the heck...I am tired of the same old, same old. 
Oh... and I want to have fun, and actually enjoy life...and work.

I started this blog in March 2011, and I have to say that I am proud of myself holding in there and keeping it going. 
It is fun to look back and see a visual diary of what happened a certain week or a day.

By next March, I want to have this blog not only recording visuals, but working for me as well.
Others do it, why not me?

So onward into a New Year chock full of bright possibilities and achievements.

Happy New Year to all.