Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #205 The Eyes Have It

Tina challenges me to explore the concept that, “In photography, the most successful portraits will, with rare exception, include focus on the eyes.”

Eye Spy billboard captured in Times Square

The movie titled “Big Eyes” told the story of an American artist Margaret Keane. These murals reminded me of that style.

I have been shooting this smiling sun for over 20 years when I stop in Gilroy, Ca. for cherries on the way to Pacific Grove in May. I try to photograph this from a new perspective.
I printed this photograph many years ago and called it, “Peeking”.

The Sacramento Zoo provides many photo opportunities. This time I was focused on the eyes.

Alpaca after shearing. What is she trying to tell me?
Fish Eye

A salute to a dear photo friend who left us too soon. Greg loved to wear hats. Here he is at the Highland Games in Woodland many years ago.

Greg Morris

I found these odd eyed dogs at some dog events around town.

My Liberty (Libby) Love expressive eyes

Charlies had the most beautiful eyes

Moxie is really starting to vary her expressions. Raised eyebrow when the word “treat” or “dinner” is mentioned.

Did I hear the word, “Dinner”.

Thank you for stopping by to see how I focused on EYES! I would love to read your comments!

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #204 Doors

 This week Sylvia would love for me to share a few appealing or distinctive doorways I have discovered. Do you feel some have more character than others or evoke a particular feeling or mood? Hope you have fun viewing this challenge! 

Old Sacramento has many historic doors, While I was enrolled in a Color Photography class at Cosumnes River College my professor gave us an unusual assignment. I was given an adjective., a noun, and a verb. My three words were Flaming door expanding. So off to Old Sacramento in search of a good door.

Flaming door expanding!

I have always looked for unusual doors. Some tell a historical story, some make a statement, some are inviting, some provide a different message, and some provide a frame for a photo,

Fire House Door established in 1853.
Port Richmond, California.
Half Moon Bay Review established in 1898.
Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California.
Orange’s First Bank established in 1886
Orange County Fruit Exchange – Sunkist established in 1922. A landmark building in Orange, Ca
Doors, and more doors at the winery.
Niles, California
I wonder what was taking place behind closed doors?
Half Moon Bay decorated in the Halloween spirit!
Sending mixed messages.
Entering a wine celler creates a nice frame.
Looking through a doorway in Bodie, Ca.

This is just a small sample of doors and doorways that I come across when I am out with my camera. But the best door I enjoy opening up is the one I call home. My dog Moxie (14 months) agrees! Here she is after her spa day at Sunflower Pet Salon.

What door do you enjoy opening?

Moxie Turns One

It is said that puppies grow so fast. This is my girl when I first picked her from Mom Phoebe and Dad Bailey’s litter of 10.

Here she is on New Year’s Eve @ 8 months.

Her birthday starts off at 7:05 a.m. Moxie is my new alarm clock.

She first starts with a subtle whine. This evolves over time. I get up, dress quickly, and out we go to potty. Now we are ready for a game of fetch. Most of the time she is a good retriever. The ball is either dropped by my feet or she wants to give it to me. Sometimes, I think she likes the idea of tug.

Moxie can get distracted. I have a small secluded backyard. My neighbor’s landscaping could be called “natural” foliage mixed with strange stuff. I was surprised to see an airplane parked in the yard behind my house when I looked up a satellite map. Looking through the fence I also see an abandoned Edsel, and another vehicle I can’t identify. I have lived here for over 4 years and I have only heard interesting sounds from there. The latest was heavy equipment jackhammering for 10 minutes at 10 p.m. I hear the usual mowing of the field. Last summer welding went on and on as a shed was built from scrap pieces of metal. It sure would be interesting to get a camera drone and see the field.

But I digress. All kinds of stuff fall into my yard from this neighbor’s yard. I am learning the life cycle of pine trees. In Spring, pine flowers fell on my patio an inch thick, after a big wind. Then the occasional pine cone, often eaten by squirrels. Then come the pine needles. Again, not good for dogs to consume. Now, a wild berry tree is dropping blackberries into my yard. Moxie enjoys searching, and eating these berries. She even lets me think she wants to play ball, and off she trots with her ball to the berry patch. So far, there are no digestive issues. On the other end of the yard, they have a very large, very old, brittle oak tree. In the winter/spring branches fall. Today, a large branch that has been dangling over my yard finally fell down. No one was injured. but we were standing a couple of feet away. In the fall I go out and pick up acorns before Moxie grabs them. Acorns are not good at all. Learning what is good and what is toxic for animals is the number one question I ask at a nursery.

Moxie settles down for her breakfast. I imagine that she thinks if she eats it up fast I will forget that I even gave her anything. I grab some coffee and sit in my recliner with my Golden in my lap. Read a couple of emails, check out FaceBook, and plan the day. Today, a photo session is on the agenda

Her birthday photo session.

We try and groom Moxie every night. I have all the equipment I used on Charlie, and so I started early with Moxie. She even looks forward to having her teeth brushed. At first, she liked the taste – peanut butter! Now we do a full brush!

Moxie just finished her first heat cycle with no issues. The vet is now changing the dialog once again. Spay before six months, wait for at least the first cycle or 18 months to never spay a Golden Retriever. Something to think about.

Around 8 months of age Moxie developed a couple of fears. Her biggest is large trucks. This has interfered with our peaceful walks, and car rides. I have not settled on a crash-tested car harness because Moxie settles herself on the floorboards behind the passenger seat. With the harness, she was getting so tangled up. We both were stressing out. Each day I try and take her somewhere. During her heat cycle, we just drove around and made a stop at Starbucks. Now, we have started walking around Oak Park or Phoenix Field. I use a Gentle Leader on her, and it helps to get her to focus on walking with me instead of leading the way and pulling me. Also, we are back to going to Basic class with Carley, and we practice all the commands throughout the day. Some days are better than others, but today I feel that progress is being made.

Just like when I had kids, I arrange dog playdates. Moxie loves to play with other dogs. Right now we were sticking to girl dogs. But soon our next-door neighbor’s puppy Seven will come to play. Moxie’s Mom Phoebe lives across the street and sometimes comes to play.

So between feedings, playing, grooming, napping, training, and walking Moxie keeps me plenty busy. Having a puppy is a full-time responsibility, and I am glad I am up for it! Well, most of the time.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #185 Changes

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #185 Changes coincidently match my just posted subject about Moxie. John wants us to see what change means to me.

Moxie’s dramatic change from little pup to “almost” full grown.

I started this post over 4 months ago, and life got in the way. In August I expected my grandson to stay with us as he planned to relocate from Tennessee. He stayed with us two days, and he headed back to Knoxville, Tennessee. Refusal of CoVid vaccine, relationship issues, and youth.

Isaac enjoys a homemade waffle, meets Moxie, and leaves for Tennessee, again.

My daughter and family returned to Sacramento after a second try at living in Knoxville. They found an apartment, and as soon as their second house sold in Knoxville the hunt was on for house number three in Tennessee. Sometime in January they will head east. This time they left all their belongings in Tennessee. So that expense is eliminated. I’m not sure what draws them to the “Volunteer State”. Tomorrow I will again say goodbye.

Deja Vu. Or Groundhog Day. This photo was taken in June 2021. Moving to their new home in Tennessee.
Two month old Moxie

So what has kept me so busy that I haven’t posted in a while. Well, I look to my puppy Moxie. Time has a way of disappearing and moving at a snail’s pace. The other day I was making an appointment for a vet visit for Moxie and I kept saying she was almost nine months old. Wrong. She is now eight months old. I work with her daily, and sometimes I see the progress, and sometimes I feel defeat. I am told she is going through the teenage years. Training is ongoing. We go to training once every other week. Manners are being worked on. I am focusing on jumping up on people, and playing rough with me.

For a Golden Retriever, Moxie is a petite pup. She weighs in at 34 lbs. at 8 months. She is about 20 pounds lighter than one of her sisters. I have been dealing with her sensitive stomach, and it seems we have a couple of good weeks, and then I am back to square one. I enrolled in a puppy care club, and when I last tried to make an appointment for her acute tummy issue, the first available time was over three weeks away. As with all things CoVid, I found out that the hours and staff have been reduced due to staffing shortage in veterinarians. This is not adequate care so I will be looking for a new vet. Luckily, I have Golden Retriever friends, and I sought their advice. The “great resignation” attributed to CoVid is shaping our life.

Most puppy owners are shocked by the sharp shark teeth their puppies have. Until Moxie lost her baby teeth (around 5-6 months) I only wore clothes with holes around my pup. These denims kind of look like ones people purchase at fashionable stores. I now do not have to change before I play with my puppy.

At 5 months Moxie has lost her shark teeth.

CoVid caused many supply glitches. I have a small backyard, and two fences were down. Lumber prices rose dramatically. By the beginning of November my yard was fully enclosed. Lucky thing because my next door neighbor just got an adorable black lab. Perhaps a future playmate for Moxie.

Fully fenced, but not entirely safe for my puppy to romp around without harm.

Moxie is always on the lookout for something to eat.

This fall my neighbor’s oak tree hand an abundance of acorns that are toxic for puppies to chew. This along with a pine tree that continues to shower my lawn with needles makes for an unsafe environment for a curious puppy. So each morning a pick up acorns and a variety of mushrooms that appear out of nowhere each morning. So I am always on the lookout. Unfortunately, on Thanksgiving Moxie was too fast and ate a mushroom.

Mushrooms come in such a variety, and none should be consumed by my puppy Moxie.

On the way to the emergency room most of the contents of her stomach ended up on my backseat. Thank goodness my seats were covered.

Moxie is safely harnessed in the back seat. Most of the time she is not interested in the surroundings. Go figure.

There was only one vet at the emergency hospital and the parking lot was filling up. Puppy is ok. And I did make it to Thanksgiving dinner hosted by my friend Anne.

Well at least Moxie ate her mushroom early, and we arrived at 9:00 am. We were able to avoid the crowd.
After her ordeal, all she wanted to do is sleep in my lap. We often get some quiet time and a nap on the Lazy Boy recliner.

CoVid has taken the spontaneity out of life. No quick decision to go to the zoo. Now you must go online to make a reservation. I am waiting at Kaiser because to visit the optical department an appointment is needed. I need new glasses because Moxie chewed up my glasses. To be CoVid safe I make an appointment and wait my turn.

Next week my girl will be 10 months old. When I see her mother Phoebe they look so much alike. Moxie is at her adult size, almost. Puppies grow so very fast. I am glad I took all these photos along the way.

My husband and I quickly made the choice of Moxie for my puppy’s name. Many have asked the origin of the name. My in-laws had an advertisement for this drink in their kitchen. Recently, my husband brought home a bottle of Moxie.

Where we got the name “Moxie”

This is the second time around with puppy raising in the past two years, and I still am amazed at how quickly the tiny puppy grows to adult size. Glad I took all these photos. Change happens fast, and I am glad I grabbed some of these shots using my iPhone 8 instead of relying on my Fuji xt4. I plan to upgrade my iPhone since much has improved in the last couple of years. I’m looking at the iPhone 13 pro. I just need to make an appointment. The display on my Nixplay frame brings me a lot of joy. If you are thinking of getting one and have questions I’m happy to help.

This is my New Year’s Eve photograph. She has changed so much in these first 8 months.

Moxie at 8 months

I think things may calm down in 2022, or at least I hope so. Stay tuned for my continuing adventures with Moxie.