Thursday, March 14, 2013

February Journal

It's a new day. This one is gray. Above me, milky clouds spill into pools of powder blue. Through my French doors, in my view across the canyon, morning light is lifting at the horizon. In the foreground, jays and crows flit and coast from the eucalyptus to the pines. We are in the path of changing weather: a storm is on its way, and after three days of luxurious sunshine with temperatures tipping 80 degrees, we're heading back to winter.

Two days ago, I took myself to the Goleta Slough. There, I watched mallards, widgeons and bufflehead, swimming and diving n the water. Egrets, knee deep in the runoff, stirred the sand with their feet. A long billed curlew -- a pretty little thing -- appeared young, fresh and ladylike, even with its enormous beak: a narrow arcing quill that extended in front of it almost the length of its entire body. The bird held the instrument high and paced through the shallow waters like royalty.

The slough is a wondrous place and close to the top on my list of new priorities. Lately, when in town, I've been visiting Santa Barbara's bird sanctuaries at least twice a week. I would have gone yesterday, and perhaps today too on this President's Day weekend, but Saturday, on my way home, my gray Toyota began acting up. It started making noises, much like the birds I'd been watching. I could hear chirps reverberating from the stone walls as I took the narrow curves on Alameda Padre Serra. They seemed to be emanating from a source beneath my car.

As I drove, the bird calls intensified, and when I descended down to the round-a-bout, and began to hit my breaks, the sound turned into a grinding screech. At this point, I told myself, "If you make it home, don't drive this car again this weekend. Take it in as soon as you can." And so, once home, 
I was housebound.

When my neighbor, Pat, heard of my demise, she offered to take me "anywhere." With me as her captive, she brainstormed the possibilities: "Michael's and Aaron Brothers are both having sales, do you need art supplies? Are you sure you wouldn't like to go? What about Costco -- they have great barbecued chicken?" Dear Pat will always drop everything in order to don her chauffeur's hat.

I, on the other hand, like to retreat, to lessen my activities, to pull in the reins and explore what I find underneath my plans. Kind of like those egrets stirring the sand beneath the water. In the wonderland that is Santa Barbara, I can find magic in a walk around the block. But, come to think of it, that could be said of almost anyplace if you slow down and nose your beak into the soft sand.

This brings me to Calle Corta, a steep hill a few blocks away from my house. The top of Calle Corta, delivers vistas of the ocean, the city and the descending coast. On this dishwater day, the colors of Santa Barbara's landscape will not pop. Today, there will be no panorama of Mediterranean blue. Instead, the ocean will sink into yellow-gray and practically disappear. Anacapa Island, one of the smallest of our eight Channel Islands, will not look a diamond shining at the edge of the horizon, but will instead, seem like a little chunk of coal, a blip rising from the yellow-tinged rim of the sea. Even so, I'm going to rouse my mental walking stick and delve into the adventure of this nearby hike.


Hello you lovely folks. It's great to be back in touch. At this time, I"m still involved with my project, which I can see now, is going to continue through the end of the year. I have decided to stick with my blog for the time being. In order to accommodate my other work, I will post an entry every other month. For this I have chosen the date of the 15th. This should give me time to travel as well as to check in with you, say "Hello!" and post photos and words.

And oh, at the moment SB's getting fog. This wreaks havoc with my WiFi reception. Please forgive me if this causes any lag in my posting and answering your comments. Hopefully it won't :)

As always, my fond regards,   ~   Aneet

***My next post will be on May 15th <3 nbsp="">


  1. Hi Anitra:

    I'm so happy that you will continue with your blog. Calle Corta looks beautiful as does your picture of yourself on the right hand side. I hope your journeys are safe as you continue your work. Would this work that you're doing be shown in a magazine or some kind of art gallery?

    My journey for work has taken me to do a volunteer project with a nonprofit and an organization which creates websites which feature local news and blogs. I even host a Internet radio show called "Community with Marie Lazzara" for Linked Local Network. I interview people who are authors and work for nonprofits and businesses. You can find my podcasts at Click on radio and then click on "Community with Marie Lazzara."

    I would love to even do a phone interview with you for my show one day though I suspect that you are quite busy. If you have a chance, please listen.

    May you have a great and blessed Easter and I hope you receive an abundance of dark chocolate and joy on this most holy day.

    Marie Lazzara

    1. Marie hello,

      As always, it's lovely to hear from you. Your project sounds exciting. Such a broad range of activities, as well as possibilities, and what wonderful experience! I much look forward to following up on the information you have posted and to hearing you and seeing your blog. Thank you so much for sharing this.

      As far as an interview, it's true, I am busy, but why don't you contact me through Facebook's message application. I would love to discuss this more with you :)

      Again, Marie, lovely to hear from you, and wishing you a blessed Easter as well. I know that yours will be.

      My warm regards, ~ Aneet

    2. Hi Marie, see yours and my additional comments below :)

  2. Anitra,hello!

    I'm glad to see your writing assignment is going well for you and it will carry through the end of the year. Also happy that you're staying with your blog for now.

    I remember in one of your previous posts, there was mention of an egret slirping down your friends prize goldfish from a pond in his backyard? Do I have that right? Your mention of the egret brought a flashback.

    80 degree days are something I always look forward to as baseball season starts for me in 4 weeks. I will be wearing #8. Someone very special came up with that number for me to wear on the ball field. Your neighbor Pat gave you great advice about Costco's rotisserie chickens. They are the best as I buy them weekly. I identify as well with Toyota's as I've owned a few. Sorry to hear of the trouble you had with yours. I'm sure it will be roadworthy soon and you will be back driving.

    Wishing you continued success with your assignment Aneet and all the best as always to you........


    1. Jonathan, hello, hello!

      So good to hear from you. As I look out my neighbor's window to fog as thick as whipped cream (I'm using her WiFi, as mine is not working -- thus a little delay in my answering) I find it hard to believe that it's already time for your baseball season. Wow, now and then time kicks into high gear. I still smile with delight when I hear of that number eight :)

      You know, I'd forgotten that I'd mentioned my friend's encounter with the egret in his koi pond. Yes, it's true. Even though the pond is shrouded with foliage, and in the hills of Beverly, there it was, a tall egret, standing smack in the middle, breakfasting on his red, orange and white prize-winning fish!

      Well, well, you too appreciate Costco's offerings. It truly is a small world. As for my car, it was fixed in a day, and is now better than ever.

      Thanks a million for your well wishes Jonathan. I'd love to send many, many happy days to you, along with a beautiful springtime.

      My fond regards, ~ Aneet

  3. Anitra,

    Thank you thank you thank you for deciding to continue with your blog for at least a while (and hopefully) much longer.

    One reason I look forward to each installment is the way your writing makes it so tempting to the reader to say "Sit down, let's have a cup of coffee. You mention the fog. Oh, let me tell you-- when I lived in Monterey a quarter century ago, a block and half from the ocean, I don't think there was ever a morning without fog rolling in from the sea to kiss the mountains towards Salinas.

    "You mention the Goleta Slough and the birds you see. You're so lucky to see birds. Here in the desert, they rarely leave the shade of shrubs during the day. One flew onto my land two evenings ago and I rushed inside for my trusty Nikon to prove they do actually live here."

    What a wonderful gift this blog of yours. Today you reminded me the seasons change and that it's time for me to grab the camera and take some pictures before the spring rains arrive and carpet the desert with too much greenery. Not that I don't love the flowers but the dry country is at its most beautiful when it faces the challenges of heat, wind, and lack of precipitation. As I do this, I'll think of your beautiful photo of a distant island mountain and an endless sea framed by plants, carefully tended and framed into arches. Perhaps there is hope, the picture says to me. Perhaps man and nature will coexist as they were meant to do.

    Take care, Anitra, and enjoy your project. I'm certain I'll enjoy the next blog.


    1. Louis hello,

      It's great to hear from you! I so enjoy reading your smooth and flowing words. It's interesting to know that you once lived in Monterey. I somehow imagined you from the East Coast. I love your description of the fog rolling into the mountains of Salina.

      I wanted to thank you for sharing your blogs and art posts. I really enjoyed looking at the art there. I loved the hard-scrabble features and mixed texture of certain photos of yours. In fact, I enjoyed all of it. It's true, the desert's beauty shines in its stark deprivation. We have certain succulents in the garden that when they're stressed turn red at the edges and become even more beautiful.

      It's lovely to receive your impressions Louis. I'm glad that the photo of Anacapa Island kindled your idealism. That arcing plant is the plume of a giant blossom of what I think is a century plant. I have not made mention of the oil rigs in the foreground, something we Santa Barbarans ultimately tune out.

      In a way, I envy your immersion in your wonderful desert and your devotion to your art. Again, lovely to hear from you Louis. Wishing you a fulfilling and inspiring springtime,

      ~ Aneet

    2. Whoops, forgot the "s" in Salinas. Can't correct these comments. Oh well . . .

    3. Oh well... what's an "s" here and there, Aneet? Plus you do have to admit "Salina" has a nice ring to it. It makes one think, perhaps, of some poor bandit on the run with only memories of the smile of a lovely dancing girl in a cantina down Salina way to comfort him as the Federales close in...

      And many many thanks for the kind words about the blog and the art posts. Our last "chat" convinced me I really did need to go take some more pictures. And I stumbled on a stand of Feather Daleas on the resultant jaunt. I've been trying for about five years to catch this particular wily shrub in full bloom so I shall credit you for this little gift from Mother Nature. One of the shots has been posted to my photography page on Facebook and you should be able to see it there as "Dalea and Yucca". Plus I also found four species of wildflowers I hadn't photographed yet!

      Wishing you a wonderful early spring! And looking forward to your next glimpse of life on the Beautiful Coast.


    4. And then, there is Salina Gomez.

      I took a look at your flowers and some of the other art you have posted. I really enjoy looking at the delicate offerings and sparse designs that the desert delivers. Once again, thank you Louis!

      Tried to open a brilliantly colored print that said "Blue," as it looked particularly fetching, but I couldn't access that art link today.

      Meanwhile, Louis, sending inspiration and cool oases your way, ~ Anitra

  4. Hi Anitra:

    Anitra, you are truly very kind. I do need to do some more blogging but I'm busy learning how to use Wordpress and booking guests. I'm very happy that we can discuss further about the radio show. I did go to your Facebook page and I didn't see a message button. I tried going to your web page to see if I could drop a message and I couldn't get your page. Maybe there is another way to connect with you. I would be happy to give you my e-mail address on the blog here, if it's okay. Thanks so much for the joy that you give to people through your photography. Sincerely, Marie Lazzara

    1. Hello Marie,

      Gosh, you're right, I no longer have a message application on my FB page. I so depend on that. If anyone knows how to reinstate it, I'd be oh so grateful. Meanwhile, how do we get in touch? I think you're right. If you send me your e-mail here, I will keep it private.

      Warm regards, ~ Aneet

  5. Hello Aneet!-

    So glad you've decided to continue with the blog. I always enjoy your posts and beautiful pictures. The areas around the Santa Barbara coast sound absolutely peaceful and serene.

    Sorry to hear about your car troubles. Those are never any fun. I always seem to have bad luck when it comes to tires. Where's Bob with "a new car!" when we need him?

    I was down at my favorite Starbucks a couple weeks ago, and it was a radiant day, the sun shining brightly, the ocean clear and blue and the pelicans flying in formation back and forth looking for fish.

    I had a wonderful, albeit brief, visit to Vancouver a few weeks ago. It was an adjustment dealing with the almost incessant rain there. it was interesting to see how Vancouverites deal with the rain as opposed to a southern California native like me. When it rains here, life almost comes to a halt and traffic becomes a nightmare. Up in Vancouver, most people put on the rain gear and go about their routines like normal, many without umbrellas. In spite of the constant rain, I love that beautiful city and hope to be back soon. I managed to snap a few pictures even though my camera's battery ran low and I forgot to pack my charger.

    Oh by the way, while I was there, I visited the Vancouver Art Gallery, and saw a lovely collection of watercolor works by a couple of local artists from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There were quite a few art students from a local school taking notes on the works, and I could picture you explaining to these students about the artists' techniques and so forth.

    I hope your assignment is going well for you, and as Easter is quickly approaching, I hope your basket will be full of lovely flowers and oodles of dark chocolate. =)

    Best wishes and warm regards as always,


    1. Joseph,

      Lovely to hear from you! So glad that your trip to Vancouver was a winner. That you liked it so much, even with the rain, says a lot :)

      I always enjoy hearing from you and reading your expressive words. The scene in the art gallery sounds like it had that wonderful energy that young artists bring to the table.

      Thank you so much for your good wishes. I will hope for more warm and sunny days for you at your "favorite" Starbucks (with all of those wonderful pelicans flying in formation), and of course, on this upcoming and revered holiday, your choice of dry roast and chocolate as well.

      And, oh, Joseph, my message application on my Facebook page is gone now. What a loss that would be to no longer have it available. Do you know how that could have happened, or any way to reinstate it?

      Meanwhile, sending you my fond regards, ~ Aneet

  6. Hi Anitra, I write so much elsewhere that your blog motivated me to create a photo blog with few words and more attempts at art.

    1. Uva,

      So nice to receive your message here. Thank you for sharing with us your blog. You have some wonderful photographs, as well as a keen artists eye. There were so many photos I enjoyed. I want to mention just a couple: the bottom of a glass bottle that said "liberty," and the rows of pennies beneath it.

      You say that you write so much. Would you care to share with us what you write about?

      Lovely to hear from you, ~ Anitra

  7. Your appreciation of my photos has made my day Anitra! I write for Science 2.0. Some of it is a little on the technical side, but I also aim some of my writing at intelligent readers who don't have a science background. They've been picked up by Forbes' Real Clear Science:

    1. Again, Uva, I'm so glad you have shared with us. I look forward to checking out some of your articles when my WiFi access is a bit more dependable.

      Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring work.

      My best wishes to you, ~ Anitra

  8. Hi Anitra,

    Just when it seems spring will never arrive, a vision of a beautiful lady enveloped in a forest of happy flowers arrives to announce the rebirth of her Santa Barbara Sketches, chasing away the cold and gray of winter just in time!

    Congratulations (I assume is in order) on your continuing assignment. And thank you for continuing your blog in between. It's always warming to read your artistic prose and this time your photos have me even more anxious for spring to just get on with it. To me, the century plant plumes appear like a single giant caterpillar making its way down to the sea, perhaps for its own rebirth? A great perspective to frame the shot so they link together.

    As a Toyota owner as well, I never would have forgiven the company had your vehicle failed you! Such a harrowing adventure and so grateful you are safe.

    Thank you for brightening the world with your written and visual sketches. I hope your assignment goes well for you in the coming months.


  9. Allan hello,

    It's so good to hear from you. Fun to receive your Colorado perspective. I enjoy your prose as well, and trust that you are capturing some great photos.

    I'm so happy that you receive sustenance here, and I trust that the new buds of springtime are just around the corner for you.

    On the Toyota: Though the sounds in my engine were worrisome, keep in mind that our hills and curves here are minuscule in comparison to the grande scale of those in Colorado.

    Glad that the photo of Anacapa Island inspired a bit of reverie, and that you have shared with us your insights, perspective and delightful words. I want wish you warm and happy days, Alan, along with frequent visits from your muse:)

    Sincerely, ~ Anitra

  10. Anitra, You truly live in a magical place. Thanks so much for your word painting and the photos.

    This morning, nature's light show performs outside as the thunder rumbles and rain rings in the gutters of the house. The hot cup of coffee tastes even better on these special mornings.

    Your blog inspires me as I creep toward the day of retirement. Pencil sketching has returned after a 40 year retreat due to the busyness of life. Maybe this will be my form of communicating those thoughts and pictures so deeply pressed into the background when I finally have the time to drag them out for expression.

    I encourage you to continue expressing your artistic gifts in this form for all of us to enjoy. May Easter truly bless you in this awesome time of year. I look forward to your May blog.


  11. Hello Joel,

    It's so nice to receive your message. I'm delighted that you chose to share with us. Your words remind me a bit of my own journal entries. I appreciate your ability to communicate a certain "in the moment" presence.

    Retiring after 40 years is an interesting subject to contemplate. It's sounds to me like you are ready and will be handling it with aplomb.

    Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words Joel. And yes, I agree, this surely is an awesome time of the year. I'd like to extend many blessings to you and continued inspiration

    Until May, sincerely, ~ Anitra

  12. Hey Hey Aneet,

    Wishing you and your family a Happy Easter! Those dark chocolate eggs have your name on it!

    Jonathan :)

  13. Ah Jonathan,

    How lovely to hear from you. Thank you so much for you thoughtful message. I surely hope and trust that you had a wonderful day today. I can't be sure if you dared to imbibe in chocolate, but I can tell you that you are correct in saying that a bit of Easter chocolate found its way to me :)

    My fond regards, ~ Aneet

  14. hello Aneet
    Happy Easter! I Hope you had a wonderful Holiday.I came together with my Family
    on this Easter Sunday to look at your blog.Your beautiful pictures really do speak
    a thouand words!.It uplifted us today in a profound way.we realized while we are all
    busy living our lives there is still much beauty,and hope.The Birds,the water,the magnificent landscape it 's still there waiting for us just to stop and take it all in.Im so very happy
    you continue with this blog,albeit your busy schedule......It is very uplifting and really
    we all need this from time to time......all the best to YOU Roger

  15. Hello Dear Roger,

    Oh, what a beautiful message to receive from you. I so enjoy hearing of you and your exceptional family. Thank you for sharing these kind, generous and very touching words. I am humbled and oh, so fortunate.

    Sending my warm regards to you and your wonderful clan, ~ Anitra

  16. Hello Anitra,
    Your return is enlightening to say the least and earlier than you had mentioned!
    As always, your post is a soothing dose of wonderful prose,which fits nicely with a cup of tea!
    Enjoyed the new side bar picture of you as well! (The mane of the century)
    I was hoping for a re-post of the "Shamrock Shot" which I missed last year, but ,,,,,,,,, I guess I'll have to wait for your memoirs, or the movie perhaps?


  17. Terry hello,

    So nice to receive your visit. Your words are always welcome and very much enjoyed. I trust that life is treating you well. I gave thought to posting the photo you mentioned, even dug it out of my archives. But then, since I didn't feature St. Paddy's day, it didn't fit the theme.

    Now that you mention it again, I will post it for one week in your honor.

    Lovely to hear from you dear Terry. Sending warm wishes your way,

    ~ Anitra

    1. You're too kind Anitra!
      Thank you so much for posting the "Shamrock" shot again!
      And in my honor, no less?
      Must be the luck of the Irish?
      Beautiful as always I must add!
      You always surprise...


  18. You are most welcome dear Terry. I guess I'll leave the photo up a wee bit longer.

    Sending good wishes your way, ~ Aneet

  19. Hi Anitra:

    Just wanted to say that I hope you are doing well and that your journeys take you to new and beautiful places to explore. Tomorrow, we will finally have close to 70 degree weather. I can't wait for farmers markets to start opening again. I'm also doing some freelance writing again. It makes me happy but it also challenges me to do the best that I can for my editor who is also a good friend of mine.

    Take care and have safe travels.

    Marie Lazzara

    1. Marie hello,

      Lovely to hear from you. I'm delighted to know that you are back to your free-lance writing. Your dedication, perseverance and hard work, not to mention talent, are paying off. Hooray!

      And now, it's that special time for farmer's markets. Such a wonderful season of the year.

      Thank you for your magnanimous good wishes. They are much appreciated. I'd like to return them to you twofold.

      Sincerely, ~ Anitra

  20. Hi Anitra:

    I thank you so much for your generous well wishes. I'll take them wherever I can receive them. We'll see how the freelancing will go this year. As you know, it's whenever there are assignments, editors will call. I bet yours are more exciting than mine.

    The warm weather will be a great distraction to my writing and interviewing people on my show. I need to catch up with my social media skills. When you get caught up in so many tasks, some things fall by the wayside.

    Anitra, I hope you are enjoying warm weather and beautiful sites. Can't wait to see what you will show us next month. I just love the month of May.

    Be safe and take care,

    Marie Lazzara

  21. I will be holding my good wishes for your success Marie and for the health and happiness of your twins. Thank you so much for sharing these meaningful things with us.

    Blessings and have a radiant May, ~ Anitra

  22. Aneet:

    The original version of The Longest Yard will be shown tonight on Channel 56, Orange County. Maybe Channel 56 is available in Santa Barbara.

    Hope all is well. Have a good week.


    1. Hello Bits,

      Lovely to hear from you.

      Thank you so much for the info. I'll have to check my TV log to see if we have it here.

      You are so thoughtful. I surely hope that life is being good to you.

      My warm wishes, ~ Aneet

  23. Dear Anitra!

    What lovely fotos! I especially like the one on top, where you can see the clouds vanish into the distance... I find this picture very beautiful!
    I get a feeling that it is an interesting place you live. Mountains, the Goleta slough and close to the ocean with a lot of funny, cute birds.

    A kind thought from here to you.

    P.S.: In Denmark the recent days have been summerlike, and we've have enjoyed this a lot! Recently there was an evening at the beach. We enjoyed a firecamp at the beach and cooked our foods by the fire. Next to me I found a dead buzzard, which, in Denmark, is a very big bird. It is, in Danish standards, almost an eagle. So that made me a bit proud ;)

    With my warm and sincere regards, Michael.

    1. Hello Michael,

      Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your Denmark experience with us.

      Sending my good wishes your way, ~ Anitra

  24. Newcomer to your blog. Remarkable photos and I sure like how you write. My compliments. Following.

    1. Hello Geo,

      I'm glad you enjoy my photos and writing. Thank you so much for your kind words.

      And WELCOME!

      Sincerely, ~ Anitra