Monday, February 13, 2012

On Valentine's Day

I love it when synchronicity arrives. When it delivers gifts and I can say to myself, "Look, look at this beautiful coincidence." That's exactly what happened last year before making my Valentine's Day post. A heart-shaped mussel shell greeted me on the seashore, glowing in the late day sun. It was the perfect image for my Valentine's post. But this year, even though I took myself to the beach twice for long walks at low tide, in the glorious, unseasonably warm weather (which is the ideal environment for inviting synchronicity), I didn't find the image I was looking for.

I saw a snowy egret posing in a tide pool; a man and a woman trotted past me on horseback; and I found a couple of heart-shaped rocks clustered on the sand, but the special something that I knew I would recognize when I saw it, didn't materialize. The next morning when I awoke with my creativity in high gear, I switched to plan B. In this mode, I decided to create a heart from the heart.

Fully immersed in the delight of Valentine's Day and fueled by one, dark, pyramid-shaped chocolate drop, with espresso cream filling, I allowed myself to play with paint, paper and scissors. When I took my completed project outside to be photographed, a blue jay that's been appearing daily on my deck, was sitting on the back of a chair waiting for me. After paying him the high wages of dry-roasted almonds, he agreed to be my model and even tolerated the flash.

And so, Dear Readers, here it is . . . my Valentine's post to you, topped with much appreciation, warm wishes and a heart-shaped chocolate filled with chocolate chipotle ganache.


Sincerely, ~ Aneet

**I will likely post a photo on March 17th and make a post on March 20th as well. Hope to see you then.


  1. Happy Valentines Day Aneet,

    I'm "drumming" up a Valentines Day wish for you. Here's wishing you the loveliest and most delicious day. May you enjoy your heart shaped,mint ganache filled,dark chocolates! Chipolte ganache sounds very interesting as well. You could probably teach a course on ganache fillings.

    Although I must admit for me,my favorite out of the box is the white and the milk. One thing is for sure: We will never argue over the last piece!

    Best to you....

    Jonathan :)

  2. Hello Jonathan,

    Thank you for "drumming" up a delightful Valentine's day wish for me. It has been a beautiful day and I hope that yours was too. It sounds like your foray into Trader Joe's dark chocolate didn't last.

    Lovely to hear from you Jonathan, and on another note, I hope you saw the message that came in under your last comment.

    Sending good wishes your way, ~ Aneet

    1. Just saw it. That was nice of Al to comment.(thank you Al!) I will certainly keep you posted on more drumming You Tube videos to come!

      Ohhhh,now now,I haven't forgotten about that most delicious,nutricious ,innnnnncredibly smooooth texturious 72% dark that our favorite Trader Joe's has.Even though I admit my preference is milk and white, I still do dip into the TJ dark here and there. The fact is that too much dark chocolate can cause kidney stones in people who are prone to developing them. OUCH! There is a list of culprits but dark chocolate is way on the top. So I have to be a little careful there.

      Oddly enough,recently I had a client who was a doctor. I told him that we will get along famously. He asked me why do you say that? I then promptly explained to him that I'm a hypochondriac.

      Jonathan :)

  3. I love the choices you made in the ocean-side horseback riders image. The sea is delicately overexposed which enables one to demarcate the horizon with ease. The riders are (almost) a pure black, letting them stand out from the background.

    Nice job, Aneet.

    Cheers to you on Valentine's Day...


  4. Happy Valentine's Day Aneet!

    For the last day and a half, I was in Pasadena for a work-related seminar. Last night I was taking a walk along iconic Colorado Blvd and thought about you when I passed a bakery/candy shop with a mouth-watering display of chocolate items in the display window. Also in my walk I passed a Gelson's and immediately thought of you looking for some yummy chocolate.

    Once again thank you for sharing your beautiful photography with us. I would've preferred to walk on the beach today as opposed to being in a conference room in a hotel basement with no windows.

    For personal reasons, Valentine's Day is not my favorite day, but reading your post and looking at your beautiful nature pictures helps me see beyond the superficial Hallmark-dominated aspect of the day, and I wanted to make sure I sent you my regards today. I certainly hope that things are going well for you right now.

    Warm wishes and regards,


  5. Hi Aneet:

    Hope your Valentine's Day was filled with laughter and love!


  6. Jonathan, Hello,

    Yes, please do keep us posted on any further drumming videos. I hope their are many more to come.

    I did not know about the dark chocolate and kidney stone connection. I will have to give that some thought.

    Your hypochondriac comment makes me smile.

    Good wishes to you Jonathan, ~ Aneet

  7. Dave,

    It's so good to hear from you. I hope this message finds you happy and well. I'm delighted that you like the couple on horseback. That means a lot.

    Sending you my good wishes Dave, ~ Aneet

  8. Joseph, hello, hello,

    Gosh, spending Valentine's Day in a basement room with no windows, that's quite a metaphor -- even a subject for a poem.

    Your mention of Colorado Blvd took me back. The office of my first modeling agent, when I was just a teen, was on Colorado Boulevard. I haven't been there for years, but understand that it's quite trendy today.

    Thank you for your kind words Joseph, I trust that soon you will find time for that walk on the beach.

    Sending you my regards, ~ Aneet

  9. Bitsey, hello,

    So good to hear from you and to receive your warm and expressive message. I hope that you too had a day filled with laughter and love <3

    My warm regards, ~ Aneet

  10. Thank you for the lovely Valentine's Day gift to your readers. Love your photography, love your essays.

  11. Dear LRN,

    It's lovely to hear from you. Thank you so much for your kind and generous words. They are much appreciated.

    I visited your blog to discover your fine photography and your brilliant and informed words.

    So nice to meet you. Sending you my regards, ~ Anitra

    1. You're very welcome, Anitra. Nice meeting you, as well. Thank you for visiting the blog. It's a labor of love. Looking forward to your next installment. You've a nice low-key sense of humor that sneaks into your essays and photography and makes it even more enjoyable.

    2. LRN, hello,

      I want to say that it shows that your blog is a labor of love. I'm glad you shared that. It seems to me that the blog format is a perfect platform for the creative mind.

      You are perceptive in catching my humor. I find it an important and valuable aspect of life.

      Once again, sending my good wishes, ~ Aneet

  12. Hello Anitra,

    This month's post makes me want to walk the beach myself - you never know what you might find at low tide, especially after a storm. Your photos are flat-out terrific; that jay couldn't have posed more perfectly. I read this fueled by some chocolate - but unlike you, I had a few more than one...


  13. Hi Al,

    Welcome. So nice to hear from you. I hope you have a beach where you can walk. It's a wonderful tonic, and it's true, beach combing is an adventure. So glad you liked the photos. Your chocolate comment makes me smile.

    Take care dear Al, ~ Aneet

  14. Hello Anitra:

    I am new to your blog. Being a first-time visitor as well as a game show aficiando, I finally get to see your work and I enjoy it very much.

    I also enjoy seeing your modeling days "The Price Is Right" on YouTube. I agree with you about Jay Wolpert creating the humorous Flaky Flicks Showcases. Wolpert possessed a great and rare talent when it came to creating game shows and skits. I hope that if you find some more, that you can put them on your blog.

    Your pictures are very beautiful. I live in Illinois where winter reigns for most of the year. These photos give warm and thought-provoking images to a Midwesterner like myself. I'm so glad your found a way to share your photography with many people.

    That must have been serendipity when your feathered inquisitive visitor arrived to see your many hearts. My favorite one was the recent entry of Thanksgiving where the clouds formed an image of majestic bird.

    I look forward to seeing more of your work. Have a great and blessed day.

  15. Marie, hello,

    I'm glad you found my blog, welcome! It's nice to hear from a game show aficionado. I can't help but wonder which game shows are your favorites.

    I'm so pleased that you enjoyed seeing the classic showcases. As I've said before, I too wish there were more of them available. On this blog, I enjoy reflecting about my present life in Santa Barbara as well as spicing it with details from the past. Thank you for your kind words about my photographs. I am so glad that you liked the bird cloud. It appeared at one of those serendipitous moments.

    As for the Midwest, I understand a bit about how you feel I spent the better part of two years in Milwaukee, I loved it there. It was very beautiful, and in many ways, I felt more closely connected to nature living with four seasons. I have two posts about Milwaukee on this blog.

    In regards to the blue jay, even though I know him, his appearance on this post was unplanned.

    I'm delighted you've come to visit, Marie. I very much enjoyed reading your words.

    Sincerely, ~ Anitra

    1. Hello Anitra:

      Thank you for your kind words. You asked me about my favorite game shows and they are "Press Your Luck," the 1970s and 1980s version of "Pyramid," and "Match Game 7x." I also like obscure game shows such as 1983's "Hit Man," a Jay Wolpert creation.

      Thanks to Youtube, I like seeing old episodes of TPIR from the 1970s and 1980s and that's how I saw your modeling on the show.

      I was a baby (dating myself here) when The New TPIR debuted on CBS so I couldn't really watch those episode with any remembrance or understanding. But I tell you the seeing those 1970s fashions and the contestants "coming on down" were fun to watch.

      Speaking about the Midwest, we've experienced a very mild winter. I didn't want to have another mega blizzard like the one we had last year. I did see your photos from Milwaukee and I liked the one with the deer standing peacefully against the wooded background.

      The photos that spark summer memories for me are the ones that you took of a local farmers market. I like what you said about meeting that sartorially mismatched couple. I envy you with having a such a market year round. I believe Chicago may have one that does go year round but I'm not close by.

      Farmer market season here starts about late May and early June. I visit one in another city near where I live. I can't wait for that as well as seeing concerts at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park.

      Ravinia is an outdoor music festival. You can have a picnic dinner and hear music on the lawn surrounded by a gorgeous sylvan landscape and starry blue-violet skies. The festival hosts jazz, pop, classical and world music artists. If you've never been there, it is worth a visit if you visit the Midwest in the summer. I'm sure you must have something similar where you live.

      I definitely look forward to seeing some more of your pictures.

      Have a great weekend!

  16. Marie,

    Hello. Thank you for your very interesting response. I haven't seen many of the game shows you mention, but I have a sense that I would enjoy them. I find the fact that Jay Wolpert produced a show called "Hit Man" very interesting.

    The summer festival that you mention sounds much like a festival they hold in Milwaukee. When you have spent so much time indoors, it's wonderful to be outside in good weather celebrating with music and comradery.

    On another note, I am impressed by the fact that you commented on both the bird cloud and the couple at the open air market. It shows a particular perceptiveness on your part and an ability to see beyond the norm.

    I am so glad you have joined us Marie. Once again, my good wishes -- and welcome! ~ Anitra

  17. Glad to see you took some initiative, and worked up a truly unique blog illustration!! I'm not surprised the blue jay was cooperative; they can be tamed if you're patient, but can become a bit of a pushy nuisance if tasty goodies are involved! Although jays are highly territorial, they're also fairly social creatures under the right conditions. The end result you captured resonates strongly with me, as I have hundreds of tales of blue jay shenanigans under my belt.

    As a rule, I've sworn off of celebrating Valentine's Day per se, but that doesn't mean that I'm aloof to compelling imagery like your pic, Luv. Too bad you feathered friend didn't pose with a chocolate morsel in his beak - that would have been "totally off the hook," as they say today. But your effort comes mighty close. Why not submit it to Hallmark? I daresay they might could find a commercial use for it!!

    Lovely pic!

  18. Hi Chris,

    So enjoyed your message. Glad you appreciate the photo. That you have so many blue jay stories, I find fascinating. I'd love to know why that is. With that, you have a great subject for a book of short stories.

    Your suggestion for the "off the hook" version of the photo, would certainly present a more powerful shot. But I would never have allowed that winged creature to abscond with MY reward. In fact, that the heart-shaped chocolate survived long enough to be photographed in full composition, took a good amount of will-power.

    I surely hope that life is treating you well Chris. Lovely to hear from you, ~ Aneet

  19. When I was growing up, my subdivision was lousy with jays, as well as cardinals, robins, mockingbirds, woodpeckers, wrens, you name it. The jays were always the noisiest, sloppiest birds of the bunch. A typical jay's nest looks more like a beaver dam than a bird's nest. They don't tamp and shape like other birds - they just plop the building materials down where they feel like it. Oh, and they use anything they can find to build with; sticks, leaves, rocks, moss, trash, anything.

    My childhood home had a patio that was roofed, but no walls. For many years, the jays would nest up under the rafters out of the weather, and everybody in my family got tired of sweeping up hot dog wrappers and beer cans when the jays were building. If a robin or a mourning dove tried to get on their turf, the jays would go ballistic, and you could hear them squabbling at the other end of the neighborhood! They'd also dive-bomb any of us that wandered out on the patio if they had babies in the nest, cussing us a blue streak the whole time. My dog Captain lost several tufts of fur before he learned to look up whenever he was on the patio.

    Had to laugh about YOU being so possessive over the chocolate; can't say as I blame you there! Ah, the sacrifices we must endure for our art, no? I'm sure the chocolate was gone as soon as the shutter clicked on your camera - and the poor jay was knocked back by the sonic boom from the chocolate-snatch!!!


    Too much.........

  20. Hi Chris,

    You have a great sense of humor, along with a spontaneous and free-wheeling writing style. I enjoyed the images you conveyed. Thanks so much for enlightening me about blue jays. I had no idea they could be so pesky and messy. I hope I don't live to regret encouraging them. I still think the jays would be a good theme, or subplot in a story.

    As for rewarding myself with the chocolate: I had to practice three days worth of restraint while making the valentine and perfecting the shot. So, you are right, when I finally seemed to have the shot in the bag, and before breakfast, that chocolate was all mine.

    Thanks so much for your message Chris. My regards, ~ Aneet

  21. Hi Aneet.
    Love the Pic of the Bluejay.I hope you had a wonderful Valentines,I have been quite busy
    have not had a chance to relax,and that's not how I want to continue the rest of this year
    but with all thats going on in my life I do check in on your Blog,and it makes me just stop,and relax breathe deep,and take all the peacefulness that your blog brings to me.I recently this past week celebrated a Milestone Birthday surrounded by family,and close Friends.sending you good wishes Roger

    1. Roger, hello, hello,

      I'm so glad you liked the blue jay. A friend of mine told me that when she first saw it, she thought it was stuffed! I suppose with it being static, it could look that way. It made me think to post some of the outtakes from the shoot. Two of the blue jays on my deck have become really good buddies.

      I have to tell you that I can't think of a complement that I appreciate more than hearing that my blog has brought a peaceful and meditative feeling to someone. That really warms my heart and makes me so happy to think that I have been able to truly convey some part of my experience and the beauty I see.

      Congratulations, Roger, on your milestone birthday. So glad you were able to celebrate it with your family and friends. I hope that you continue to find space, peace and joy in your life.

      My sincere good wishes, ~ Aneet

  22. I am Ashley, 43 yr old married mom to 6 fur babies living in Little Rock, AR and just learned of you for the first time yesterday when I saw a movie come on called "The Big Bird Cage"..had never heard of it and was instantly drawn to it because of Sid Haig/Pam Grier being listed as being in it..I about fell out when i saw you enter the screen and it was at the island...I have never seen anyone so beautiful!! I couldnt take my eyes off the screen or you.WOW. So today I was compelled to find out who on god's green earth you were and you are and I am allowed to leave a post! Feel kinda stupid doing this since I dont know you but had to!! Glad you are doing so well and posting such beautiful pics.

  23. Hello Ashley,

    I'm so glad you left a message here. I've heard that Netflix has been airing "Bird Cage" recently. It's fun to think that a new generation is enjoying this great "camp" movie. Gosh, thank you so much for your generous compliments. Making that movie in the Philippines was a delightful experience.

    I'm wondering if your fur babies are dogs or cats?

    Sending my good wishes your way. Sincerely, ~ Anitra

  24. Hi Ms. Anitra!! Thank you for the good wishes! And you deserve those compliments a 100x over! The Philippines? Didnt realize it was so beautiful. I have Netflix..will have to order the movie, want to see it again..kinda makes one fired up mad at those sexist guards, but I suppose that was the intent for Female Empowerment!

    My fur babies are 3 Boston Terriers and 3 very large "Heinz 57's" as I call them..mixed breed. I do animal rescue. I have even rescued baby Possums from getting eaten by my dog and grew them up. There names were Crash and Eddie:) I can barely hurt a fly, they are all gods creatures, accept for cockroaches and ticks. What purpose they serve I will never know.

    By the way, that red dress at the opening scene was fabulous!! Hope you got to keep it:)

    1. Ashley,

      Hello again. I'm glad you answered my question. Boston Terriers are so smart -- wonderful dogs! But then, as you know, they all are. You are definitely a tender-hearted person.

      So interesting that you mention that red dress. I've been thinking about it recently. The fact is, most of the clothes you wear in B-movies are your own. I brought that dress with me. It got a grease stain on it while shooting the scene. The wardrobe people took it, saying they needed to clean it. I never saw it again. Was told it got completely destroyed in the cleaning process. In hind sight, I never should have let them take it. Live and learn, right?

      Once again, so good to hear from you.

      Sending you my good wishes, ~ Anitra

  25. Hello Anitra! This was the other avian capture I really like-the snowy egret! We have great blue herons at my home and they are quite the presence. The photo appears as though you have captured the snowy egret in snow!
    And I love the Blue Jay photo. That's a great valentine.
    I generally dissent from Valentine's Day. But, I'm glad you enjoyed and shared with us.
    Take Care.

  26. Hi Joe,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    Sincerely, ~ Aneet