Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…

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Mars, one…

We are almost ready for another trip, yet I haven’t processed the photos from one of the best days we had in Paris last September. The day took a radical turn and was not what we originally anticipated. It was a total making lemonade out of lemons type of experience.

On September 11 last year we ventured by train from Paris to Giverny. We were pleased with ourselves and over-confident at having navigated there and back. (We were very accomplished except for the minor fact of not “composting” out ticket. Train tickets are issued for a period of time but when you actually use them they need to be stamped with day and time in the “composte machine.” The conductor was nice about it and really only asked us if we were tourists…had to admit to it.) Confidently we set out on the next Sunday for a trip by train to Auvers-sur-Oise a haunt of Vincent van Gogh and where his grave is. Different train station, this time the Gare du Nord, and we could not find the correct platform…so we missed the train.


The yellow box on the pole in the lower right corner is the composte machine (don’t ignore it!).


I think you can tell by now that I am fascinated by steel and glass construction.

Chagrined at our inability to catch the train, we had to come up with a Plan B on the spot. Seemed like it would be our chance to see the Eiffel Tower up close, at last. We hopped back on the Metro to the École Militaire Station. When we came above ground we could not cross the street to the park around the Tower due to a bicycle race that had just taken off.



We took a detour through security into the École Militaire because we could hear a drum cadence and came across a recreation (or maybe we were on the set of Les Miserables) where we found some very interesting characters with great faces.

IMG_5710IMG_5707IMG_5708 IMG_5709IMG_5712 IMG_5713 IMG_5711 IMG_5714IMG_5721When we came out of the facility, we could get across the street and walk through the grounds from the Peace Monument to the Tower. The Peace Monument is made of steel and glass and contains the word “Peace” written in 32 languages and 18 alphabets.

IMG_5719IMG_5726IMG_5716 IMG_5718IMG_5720 IMG_5723 IMG_5725Then we walked the paths in one of the busiest parks in Paris, always focused on “The Tower” through the Champ de Mars, passing the perennial favorite of Paris parks…the merry-go-round…

IMG_5727IMG_5728 IMG_5729Before standing directly under the Eiffel Tower, I did not realize the amount of bracing it contains. It almost looks like lace.

IMG_5732IMG_5733 IMG_5734 IMG_5736The day had just begun but this post is getting long so I will split the pictures into two groups…tomorrow: part two!




We went out to Fort Cronkhite last weekend. TM needed to do some off-season maintenance jobs for GGRO (Golden Gate Raptor Observatory) and I always jump at the chance to go with if he is going to spend the morning at one of the most beautiful places in the world. Plus, I get a lunch in Sausalito and a dash into the Heath Ceramics Factory Store. An ideal day, IMHO. It was so foggy this particular morning that you could not tell that there was a Golden Gate Bridge when the road passed it and there were raindrops to dodge. It was beautiful anyway. I took a lot of video clips  and included some 8mm app footage, but wasn’t quite sure what my story was until I ran across a poem by Mary Oliver. Here are some still shots, the poem, and the iMovie I made with them all. You can make the movie full screen by clicking in front of the word vimeo.

IMG_9258IMG_9194IMG_9204IMG_9267IMG_9328IMG_9335IMG_9336I Go Down to the Shore  by Mary Oliver

I go down to the shore in the morning

and depending on the hour the waves

are rolling in or moving out,

and I say, oh, I am miserable,

what shall—

what should I do? And the sea says

in its lovely voice:

Excuse me, I have work to do.

https://vimeo.com/63275654 (click to see the movie)


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Sartorial splendor…

I was feeling the need to add a little spice to my early morning walks. We walk out the door before it is light in the morning. We see a few cars on the street, and often beat the paper delivery man. No one is around but still I recognize my 15-year-old fleece jacket has seen better days. What kind of impression was I making on the flora and fauna?

At the same time we have been reading a new mystery series (thanks sister-in-law Jenny for the introduction!) about Bruno the Perigord detective where a character was described as wearing a waxed cotton  jacket, “that had become highly fashionable in France.”…light bulb! My walking partner, the bird-man, has had a waxed cotton jacket for fifteen or so years that has the most wonderful glossy patina buffed on the sides and pockets where the sleeves rub. This has been a perfect jacket for him as often he must check on a raptor rehabilitating in the aviary before light or after dark in the winter, come rain or shine or dusk of night, when he gets home from work. Good in the rain (the water just peels off) and (it has never happened) but quite a barrier, I think, if talons ever went prematurely for their food. I quested for a similar waxed cotton jacket for myself. Most of the ones I found after a google search were boxy and would have made me look like a linebacker, but I did find one, styled like a motorcycle jacket (Lois and a motorcycle jacket? If you knew me in person you would think that was an oxymoron. Even in my youth I did not go for bad boys…but, as they say, you only live once and it is never too late.) It had a significant sale discount so it became mine.

The jacket has put a spring in my step (even though there is no audience except the dog and husband) and energized my walking because I swing my arms much more, closer to my body. A girl must work on her patina after all. (How many years will this take me?) I do not think this jacket will actually make its way to France with us because it is quite hefty and June probably won’t need it, but waxed cotton is sweeping the world from France to California. Dare I say it is the new orange, therefore the new black?! Just this morning I got an email with this link on how to make our own waxed cotton camera bag. (I am surprised that they do not give these instructions with cautions about flammability  and fumes of the wax, but that is just the art teacher in me. Personally, I would not use my home dryer for this but dust off my heat gun. Remember the days of embossing powders…perfect use for the tool in the drawer!)

Last weekend we went to lunch in Healdsburg and in one of  the small stores around the Plaza I found the perfect gloves to spark up even this new jacket. I didn’t know it could be sparkier, but there you go. Fingerless, weathered but with a hint of flowers. Excellent for taking iPhone photos without freezing your hands off and waving at the neighbors as they pass in their heated cars on the way to work. It is sartorial splendor…gets me out the door and embracing my days…





For the hands:


Here, from the runways of Milan and Paris, the bird-man and trusty companion showing the waxed cotton jacket put to use walking the Briones Reservoir.


The Briones Reservoir is a lovely walk we sometimes take but it is virtually impossible to get a picture that does not include high power utility lines. I will take this opportunity to show you what a couple of iPhone apps can do for you. I always bring out Pro HDR when I walk here because the landscape is so wide-open and seems to beg for the lush color the app gives photos and in the picture above there was originally a white utility box sitting behind Katie’s head. Gone now. Thanks, TouchReTouch app.

More of the landscape:






You can get rid of the power lines by cropping, pretending that they are so far in the distance that you can’t really see them, or by trying TouchReTouch App to erase them. Here is an example:



Same picture but no power lines in the middle left…frames were put on the pictures with Snapseed app.

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Morning walk…

IMG_8127IMG_8134IMG_8136IMG_8137IMG_8139IMG_8141IMG_8144IMG_8145IMG_8146IMG_8238IMG_8238 - Version 2IMG_8239IMG_8241IMG_8242IMG_8126IMG_8240

Morning walks have been cold here. Crunchy, frozen grasses and frost on top of hedges. Still the greatest way to start the morning. These shots are from today…even some gutters not normally full were supplying some delicious reflections…a stuck-in-on-position sprinkler, somewhere…and the first daffy of the season…

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Photo walk…

My friend Lisa and I went for coffee and a photo walk last Saturday. It was a lovely day in my neighborhood (hard to tell it is winter) and I worked on my video technique…no tripod so some shaking going on but for the most part did not try to pan. My goal was to be brutal in my cropping and brutal in my leaving out of unnecessary shots but still I keep thinking that it needs to be as long as the music. Maybe next time I will concentrate more on what can be done with the audio.

My town has a community center that was built in the 1930’s and recently they built a new library. I think they did a nice job of melding the structures together. Plus I like the public sculptures they have situated around the site. Quite whimsical… (wouldn’t want this town to take its self too seriously!) As always I am fascinated by the color and texture. Most of all it was fun to do art with my friend and visit my most favorite coffee store in town.

Welcome to my town…