VA Beach Sandsculpting 2018

I was shocked to realize it had been four years since I had been to the sandsculpting championship in Virginia Beach. Directly following my trip to Asheville, I drove to VA Beach! I could not have asked for better weather. It was in the high 70s, no clouds in sight, and no humidity. It was a wonderful beach vacation!

I purposefully picked a hotel right next to the sandsculpting tent.

As much as I enjoy sleeping in, I HAVE to wake up and see the sun rise when I am at the beach. Glad I did.




Please visit the site for more on the sculptors and the results.

“Chiseled” – Male figure struggling to break free from stone slabs but running out of time.DSCN5345

“Time Frame” – Looking back through time, a memory fills your senses. Happiness, joy and laughter, playing near the fences. A lifetime of memories, some stop you on a dime. Shape your heart and soul, a single frame of time.

“Atlantis – City of Love” – I believe that long long time ago a community had love for each other. This community was called: “Atlantis.” We are all different humans but we need to love and respect each other. Because from good things come good things. A good deed is more than one nice word.

“Re-Entrance” – That unexpected moment in time a love of the past steps back into your life. Just at the moment the memories of those days started to fade and dry up like an old painting. The beauty of that person energizes your life once again…

“Church Key” – While Ben Franklin may not have said “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” he did inspire the sentiment, and Dennis Denuto couldn’t help but approve, for, as he says, “It’s the vibe of the thing, your Honour.”

“Worshippers of Points” – Point: from old French word meaning “dot, point, period (the punctuation mark),” from Latin punctus, past participle of pungere “to prick, to puncture.” The Indo-European root is peug – “to prick.” Related borrowings from Latin include pugilist and pugnacious. When you puncture something, you use a sharp object to make a tiny hole in it. That tiny hole, especially from a distance, looks like a point, but if you zoom in there is a large hold. The HOLE by definition is hollowed place in something solid. A place or position, that needs to be filled, because someone or something is no longer there. But don’t do that, because you will lose point!

“When Loved Ones Become Treasured Memories” – My sculpture depicts a photo of a grandfather and grandmother (who have passed) in a warm embrace. The framed portrait reminds the onlooker of the “treasured memories” of times spent together. The back shows gifts given from them long ago as another reminder of happy childhood memories.

“Beauty Fool” – The Quest of Beauty, we are told/For to reach happiness, we should behold/Era’s fashion and perfection change/Slaves of Looks, we are shamed/Following the Age’s new standards and tools/Forever unsatisfied, we are Beauty Fools

“Flight of Love” – The main thing in life is love.

“Essence” – The final reduction of our memories, our quintessential spirit.

“Bait and Switch” – This example of Bait and Switch illustrates the practice of gaining your interest with something alluring and beautiful, something that ignites warm feelings of fun and fantasy, but in ‘reality’ delivering something that is distasteful and disturbing. The line between fantasy and reality is sometimes very thin and vague, then other times it is as wide as an ocean. This piece of art will hopefully get you to think. Think about what you can do to help save our natural resources by drastically reducing our use of plastics.

“Strange Love” – Sometimes love can be strange and powerful. Even nature gives up when true love comes.

“Lucid Dreams” – A boy finds a way to explore the world by connecting with birds in his dreams.

“What Goes Around Comes Around” – Literally, it means that the status eventually returns to its original value after completing some sort of cycle. In its figurative sense: a person’s actions (whether good or bad) will often have consequences for that person.

“Meditation” – Joy, anger, fear, happiness, sadness. As the clouds run through the blue sky emotions arise in our minds. And as the clouds bring rain and salvation from the scorching heat our emotions have a reaction to the outside world. They help us to understand what we want (as it seems to us). But what do we find if we try to look beyond. Sometimes in order to find something we need to get rid of something.

“Moses” – It was God’s hand and perfect plan to save Moses’ life as an infant. God spoke to Moses and used him to lead his people out of Egypt. We read of the plagues and the Passover, the parting of the Red Sea, Mount Sinai and the journey to the Promise Land. Moses was a foreshadowing of Jesus. Through God’s grace, he sent his son to rescue people from sin and death. The familiar verse John 3:16, is God’s rescue plan. For God so love the world, that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. To get a deeper sense of his plan, I encourage you to read the book of John.

“Embrace” – Our heart is wide enough to embrace the world and hands are long enough to encompass the world.

“Emerge” – I am you, I am me…I am everything you see. I am strong and the most powerful thing. You may surely see me sometimes as being rough and cruel but I’m also capable of bringing the sweetest things to your eyes. I am fragile…delicate and elegant. I am made of pure life itself…Life is intimately connected to me, it cannot exist without me. I am Nature. And I am wounded. I need your help quickly for future generations to emerge…

“Colors of Feelings” – “We use colors, but we paint with our feelings. The brush, hand and palette are necessary to draw, but the picture is created not by them.” (Jean-Simeon Chardin)

“Carousel” – “We can’t return. We can only look behind from where we came and go round and round and round and round in the circle game.” — Joni Mitchell 1967 / Our life is composed of circles and cycles. Daily, yearly, a life time. The choices you make throughout your life build the person you are. That accumulation of choices has brought you to this spot, right here, right now, reading these words. Change one choice in your past and you could be living a different life. We can’t see into the future, we can only learn from our past. Your next choice will be the first step into your future. Which path will you choose? Choose wisely. And, oh yes…Enjoy the Ride!


“150% Organic” – 0% fertilizer

“Blackberry Blossom” – Music is the language of the soul. A simple song can transport you back to a moment in time or conjure feelings that bubble from deep within. A rhythm, a beat, or a tune that tugs at your heart strings can trigger a tidal wave of emotion of lull you softly into tranquil calm. We are frequencies, vibrating through the space time continuum. Our breath and our heart beat looking for another with whom we may harmonize and synchronize. Not only us, but the world around us. We thirst to create music and live out the vibrant humming of life that resonates from our heart and our soul.

The next morning, I had planned on just watching the sun rise from my balcony, but as soon as I saw it was going to be a cloudless sunrise, I quickly brushed my teeth and headed outside.


Another beautiful beach vacation! I really need to plan one every year. I feel like Superman when he is re-energized by the sun. I get the same feeling by the ocean.


Chihuly at Biltmore – Asheville NC Sept 2018

For those of you who don’t know who Dale Chihuly is, he is a world famous glass artist. I first saw his work at an exhibit at VMFA several years ago. When I saw he would be exhibiting nearby in North Carolina, I immediately booked tickets! And even better, the exhibit was going to be outdoors in the gardens at Biltmore, and you could view the sculptures at night! Win, win, win!

We stayed on property this time and made reservations at the Inn at Biltmore. Very nice, I highly recommend it, especially because they have free shuttles that will take you around the property. It poured down rain on the drive up and stayed mostly cloudy the whole time, but the mist was really cool to see just hovering in the mountains.


Antler Village is just a couple of minutes away from the Inn, so we started our vacation with wine tasting (I may or may not have bought 6 different wines to bring home)! Antler Village also had a couple of the Chihuly sculptures on display (the Inn is in the background in the upper left).


Day and night viewing.



I’ve been to the Biltmore a couple of times before (in 2012 and 2013), so rather than spend time in the house, or wandering around town, I wanted to find something else to do before seeing the main event. NC is known for waterfalls, and I found one that was less than an hour away, and required zero hiking.


After the waterfall, it was time to head to the house!



Evening shot





Took a break from glass for flowers!



It started to rain on the way back from the conservatory to the main house, but that didn’t stop me from snapping pictures!


Cucumbers (?) growing down from on top of a trellis.







I thought these would be lit from underneath in the water. The shots definitely didn’t turn out how I wanted them to, and the rain didn’t help.














Photography wasn’t allowed inside the house before. I should have gone on the house tour and taken more pictures. Oh well, just another excuse to go back again.


The last day included an all-you-can-eat brunch at Deerpark.  It was a wonderful way to end a fantastic vacation!


San Francisco CA – March 2018

I WENT HOME! Well, my short, temporary home anyway. My parents lived east of the city for a couple of years while I was in college and I only spent a couple of Christmases and summers there. It was a short trip, but gotta say, Monterey is in my top three dream retirement cities (after Sedona and Carlsbad).

When I was in college, I took a black and white photography lab class. We had to produce a portfolio by the end of it, and there is SO much in San Francisco to see so I had no lack of inspiration. But that means a lot of my photographs are in black and white. Like…the Golden Gate Bridge, was gray! Needless to say I was super excited to get the opportunity to shoot in color!

We started the trip at the Palace of Fine Arts.




We accidentally drove over the bridge. I was trying to make it to one of the viewing areas, but the GPS was slow and told me to turn after I had already passed it. No biggie, the bridge is beautiful!


Next stop was Pier 39.


View from the hotel room!

View from the hotel bar on the top floor.

Sunset over the City, Bridge, and Pacific Ocean!

This was all from the same sunset!

Sunrise the next morning! The windows were filthy, but I still got to see it.

Turns out I did take a couple of pictures in color.



Pictures don’t do gooseberries justice, so I had to take a video.




Can you see the fish in the very middle? An eye and slightly parted mouth…


I have never seen an active octopus. This one didn’t stop moving long enough to get a good shot!


After the aquarium, we did the 17-Mile Drive around Pebble Beach.




The last time we were in Monterey (16 years ago!)…

The hills in the city are SUPER steep!

Fisherman’s Wharf and real sourdough bread!

The last day was spent driving to our old home and seeing how the town had changed.


I say it all the time, but I HEART California!

New York City – Holiday Edition

Other than making connections in New York, I had never actually been into New York City (and I don’t count the time we stayed overnight during a long layover because a travel agent had no clue how to do her job).

I thought Mom had always wanted to go to NYC to see the Christmas windows. She thought I had been dropping hints for a long time. We both thought this little jaunt was for the other, but regardless we had a good time. Despite the FRIGIDLY COLD TEMPERATURES! But I guess it wouldn’t be December in NYC without the cold.

We arrived a little early to the hotel, so we walked around as much as we could stand (which wasn’t long).

View of Central Park from our room

The Plaza

Walking to Rockefeller Plaza

 Rockefeller Center!

Top of the Rock!

It snowed overnight, which was BEAUTIFUL!

But it slightly dampened and tampered with the open-air double-decker downtown bus tour planned for that morning. But I made the best of it, shivering all the way!

These were probably cool shots, minus the ice on the partial enclosure.

Times Square

NY Public Library


One of the Christmas Marts. We went to the one in Columbus Circle and I don’t know if they are all the same, but the one we went to was more of a flea market.

Brief glimpses of the Brooklyn Bridge

I’m not 100% sure what all of these buildings are, but I’m pretty sure the justice statue is from the NY City Hall building.

After zooming in, I could see this was the US Customs building.


Charging Bull in Wall Street. The tour guide said it was “anatomically correct” and if you take a picture from the bull’s back, it is said to bring good luck. I’ll take his word for it. Not sure there is any superstition to putting one’s purse on the horns, but they ruined a good on the move shot!

We had to disembark at Battery Park for some inexplicable reason. The new bus would not arrive for 15-20 minutes, so we walked down to get a shot of the Statue of Liberty.

Was also able to see the Freedom Tower unimpeded by other buildings and ice on the windows. Hard to believe that was the site of so much devastation.

Our new guide pointed out a rich guy had to move to NYC, but didn’t want to leave his cape cod, so he moved it piece by piece and reassembled it on top of a building.

Our new tour guide was strangely obsessed with pointing out every hospital and medical center on our route, rather than the popular touristy sites, so not sure if any of these buildings are actually something, or just cool.

This is just something cool though.


Empire and Chrysler (respectively)

Not sure, but the connected walkway is cool.


I think this is Brooklyn.


Rockefeller Plaza (from the ground)

Saks Fifth Avenue (finally some windows!)

More Christmas-y stuff!


After the tour, (and after I regained feeling in my lower extremities) I walked around on the hunt for decorations!

Bergdorf Goodman

A cool building that was concave (did I say that right?)

Tiffany & Co.

I don’t know why I find this juxtaposition ironic.


Ferragamo and Cartier

Several more…

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, just smack dab in the middle of all the sparkles.

And half a block away is St. Thomas Church.


Back to the sparkles!

A walk through Central Park ended my adventure.





The next day was even colder and kept us inside while we waited to go to the airport. But I experienced de-icing for the first time!

All in all it was a very merry adventure!!