Saturday, December 31, 2011

And once again . . . here it is

Today I am abuzz. Words chirp through my brain like a mocking bird in springtime. Today I could fill pages, if not volumes, with words, thoughts and ideas. Perhaps it's the weather. On this New Year's Eve day, Santa Barbara hovers on the cusp of fog and sun, and the beautiful, clear, sunny skies we've had for two months are threatening to depart. The largest fog bank I've seen in years is sitting in the middle of Santa Barbara's channel and could, at any moment, plunge us into gray occlusion.

All day the fog has been taunting us, stealthily seeping into the city, then drifting out again. This morning, as I hiked on a path in the foothills, I was caught between two forces: the sun warming my back and the fog licking my heels. Within this dynamic, I found something stimulating and electric. This day of December 31, 2011, has been like our weather, teetering on the edge of two forces: the future arriving and the departing past.

Driving through town, images flooded my view. So many of them seemed symbolic of this particular moment in time.

On a street I travel often, I passed an entrance I'd never noticed before; an arched gateway in a rock wall; it was luminous and welcoming. Later, from a perch in the upper Riviera, I gazed across the channel to see only the tallest tips of Santa Cruz Island peeking above the pillowed fog.

From my view of the channel, Stearn's Warf was barely recognizable in the mist, and as I watched it, I thought about the mystery of our future. The, as yet, unknown 2012. In this moment of transition, at the beginning of a New Year, invariably we're filled with a sense of renewal. And so with great hope percolating within me, I will share an image I took at Rincon Beach on the day after Thanksgiving, and with it, I want to wish you all a wealth of perfect waves cresting in your New Year, along with happiness, health and realized dreams.

Happy New Year! ~ Aneet

** See you again on the 20th of January.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fa, la, la, la, la . . .

And this year, once again, the Christmas light extravaganza on Quinientos Street.

PEACE, LOVE, LIGHT and JOY to you all, ~ Anitra

** I will return on New Year's Day

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lighting the way

Dear readers, my plan was to post on the 20th, but overtaken by the beauty and charm of The Season, I published the post below as well. I plan to return on Christmas and New Year's. Extending my warm Holiday Wishes to you all. ~ Anitra

Monday, December 12, 2011

As Christmas nears,

I'm finding the visual treats of the season not only in gift stores and in window displays, but I'm seeing them in Santa Barbara's foliage as well. And I believe that this must be how Christmas ornaments evolved, from the desire to bring nature's abundance close.

At this time of the year, when the trees in much of the world are bare and their surroundings colorless, having an evergreen in the house, lush with the beauty and promise of nature, comforts the heart. And Christmas lights too seem to mirror the natural world like stars twinkling through the branches of the pines.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Being thankful for ones blessings and the gifts in our lives elevates our spirits. None of us escapes life's struggles, but expressing gratitude for what we have has a way of transmuting problems.

It's been said that what we think about and focus on expands. My experience is that it's true. And as I write this, Dear Readers, I think of how enriched I've been this year by your presence. May you all find peace and joy on this very special and exquisite day.

My warm regards, ~ Anitra

PS: I will return on December 20th with my next post :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November Skies

After six months of steady fog -- November has brought with it new clarity. Along with greater visibility, have come the long shadows of autumn and deep lush color in the sea and sky. For two weeks, Santa Barbara's sunsets have been mesmerizing, delivering ten minutes of luminous lavender descending into coral and gold.

Dear Cherished Readers, I plan to post on Thanksgiving and then again on the 20th of December. Hope to see you then, ~ Aneet

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Zombies, Ghosts and Ghouls . . .

are coming to your neighborhood. The signs are everywhere. It's now, when the moon is closest to the Earth, that many cultures believe lonely ghosts and departed ancestors hover around us, "All Hallows Eve," "The Day of the Dead" and "Feeding the Hungry ghosts" are celebrations to honor this time.

And so, if over the next week, you dress like a pumpkin, or play an eerie flute, or indulge in more than your share of dark chocolate, please be very, very creepy about it when you do--and let me remind you to be sure to have a blast. And oh, don't forget to leave an apple on the porch for dear old Grammy McAllister.

**See you again on the 20th of November :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sleepless in Santa Barbara

It's 5:00 a.m. My bare windows read black sky. I've had too little sleep, yet some part of me is eager, like a deer in the forest ready to greet sunrise with an early morning drink at the lake.

I hate to slog a tired body through a bright and glistening day, but I simply can't get back to sleep. It's not wild expectation that fuels me. In fact, for all appearances, this particular Saturday looks dull -- nothing on my calendar but one blank square smack in the middle of October. Even so, I'm prompted to look outside at what surrounds me -- to view the changing colors of the leaves, and to watch the shifting shadows of autumn as they intersect summer's light.

On this one, small day, in these hours before dawn, I'm reminded of that substance that the Buddhists call "The Arising" --and as I contemplate this concept, I can almost hear the day breathing, its heartbeat pulsing somewhere beyond the horizon, pacing forward like a promise -- like a silent serenade.

October Sightings

View From Channel Drive

Glimpse of Gibraltar Peak

Convergence of Crows at Alice Keck Park

Dashing Caddy

Mini Racer

Dodge Surprise

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Want Sun

Light, gold light is burning off the fog and delivering a sun-drenched Sunday. And just as I write this, a foghorn groans. That mournful cry that permeates the air and washes across the city until it hits the wall of our mountains.

I've been living with gray skies and fog for the better part of this summer, and today, I want sun. The weatherman promised sun, and today I'm going to demand it. Not just for me, but for all those kooky succulents in my garden. They're fine, good, so adaptable and acquiescent. They survive in most every kind of weather. But I want to see their edges turn purple and their yellows pop; and that bud that's emerging from inside what appears to be a split rock, I want to see it bloom.

Yes, I want to see the succulents bake and watch their mysteries unfold. I also want sun for the lizards. I want bright light to illuminate the rock wall so that Huey, who's shedding his skin, can sprawl across his favorite chunk of sandstone and catch the rays.

(See you next time on October 20th)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Greetings from Charles -- with blog revisions

Dear Cherished Readers,

My time away from the blog has brought changes and new perspective. I've recently received a writing assignment, which will include travel and, of course, time. I now realize just how much time creating my blog has required. And I see that it's simply not possible to generate the time I need to keep this blog going as it has been.

During this time away, I have thought of you all, those of you who comment often: Roger, Jonathan, Joseph, Mark, Bitsey, Tom, and so many others. It's been a fantastic experience to have met and interacted with you all and to have revisited my past.

I am a person who lives in the present and rarely thinks about her past. But in this process of sharing myself here, my past has resurfaced and I have been so surprised to find how alive and vibrant it still is.

I also enjoy sharing my experiences with you, especially the personal tidbits of prose and a particular moment captured in a photograph. The photos I post take an inordinate amount of time. George Bernard Shaw, who was not only a great writer, but also an avid photographer, said, "Photography is like the cod that lays two-thousand eggs in hopes that one will hatch." Photography is definitely like that for me. Over the past year, in creating this blog, the photos alone: taking them, editing them and posting them On-line, has involved many hours of every day.

I want to keep the blog going, but I must simplify my posts and comments at least through the first of the year. My plan is to post just once a month, on the 20th, beginning next week.

It's lovely to be back in this arena. My warm wishes to you all. Welcome, welcome, ~ Anitra

Friday, July 29, 2011

On Vacation -- see you mid-September

After one year and two months of running this blog, I am actually amazed. It has, as I have expressed before, been an illuminating process. I've so enjoyed meeting you via your generous and colorful words and ideas. This time has been a special treat for me. I never planned to have a blog. The truth is, this blog was an accident. During my exploration of a blogging web-site, out of curiosity, I inadvertently created one. And I'm probably more surprised than you are that I've kept it going ever since.
Right now, I'm feeling almost organically like I need a good, long break -- a hiatus, if you will. I have resisted the urge to do this in the past. But now, the time not only feels right, but necessary. And so, I plan to cast "Santa Barbara Sketches" into the realm of summer reruns.

I don't plan any new posts until mid-September. I'm thinking, September 15th. I will check in from time to time, and perhaps change a photo in the sidebar. But all in all, it's time for my vacation.

I know I'll be thinking of you, as you have played a special part in my life, and I know that after being with you for over a year now, I will see things and have ideas that I will long to share. I surely hope to see you when I return.

And so, even though this blog will be quiet, these months we have shared will be with me, that is certain! I want to wish you a summer that delivers cool breezes. safe enclaves and beautiful surprises. Sending you all my Warm Regards, ~ Anitra

Sunday, July 24, 2011

These Days (with an advance notice of my summer vacation)

These days, we've been getting fog -- lots of it. Every morning, on the hill where I live, gray buffers the sky. The good thing is, it tamps down the heat that's been grilling the better part of the U.S. And also, on most days (not all,) the fog burns off by noon. And as the dense layers of mist dissolve, our fence lizards, Huey, Lady Gaga, Slinky and the new baby dino on the block, Bennie, appear on the rock wall.

August spreads before me like a smorgasbord of undiscovered treats. What will develop, I know not. Just that each day and each breath (even in the midst of crazy, world chaos) is a gift.

***I want to give you a little advance notice of the fact that I'm going to be taking my first break from this blog. It will be a long summer vacation. I know I will miss you greatly, as you, Dear Readers, enrich my life. I also know that I need a revitalizing break. And so, today, I'm airing my regular post, which will be followed some time towards the end of the week, by my last post before vacation.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Residual Images From Santa Ynez with author's flight of fancy

Supermodel Karina Fabuloso
on the runway in Paris
modeling the latest creation
by Jean Paul Gaultier

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I love them, simply love them.

Even as a child, the pebbles in the driveway drew me in. I found them fascinating. The textures and the colors of those tiny fragments seemed to me like secret and unrecognized jewels.

And later, on the beach, searching for smooth moonstones and jade, I could loose myself for hours.

I think of rocks a testaments of time, miracles of nature. Some are miniature mountains, others have fantastic shapes, and many exhibit images and patterns that I find as remarkable as paintings by Picasso.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hello Summer!

There's a saying that the sun always shines in Malibu. My experience is that it always shines on Santa Barbara's Summer Solstice Parade as well.

Every year a community of artists and volunteers creates this exquisite parade. The non-motorized display of flamboyant floats proceeds up State Street powered by the sturdy resolve of strong arms and legs alone. This year's theme was "The Jungle." In our city with its population of two-hundred thousand, the Summer Solstice Parade often draws an extra one-hundred thousand people to our town. I could write pages of description on this joyous celebration, but instead I'll let the photos tell the story and offer a short list of words.

& reverberating drums
Smiling children
Happy oldsters
And everyone in between
Roller skates
Brilliant color
Tears of joy