Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


Best bridge walk, ever…

I met up with a long-time friend Tuesday (our daughters, who are in their thirties, were in elementary school together), and on a lark we walked the new bicycle trail next to the new Bay Bridge. An excellent adventure, indeed! I not only got to enjoy the clear skies, beautiful weather, and soaring elegant bridge structure but I also learned a lot. Thanks, Amy! Added bonus…15,600 steps on my Fitbit!!

First we stopped by the lobby of the Caltrans office where there is a model of the bridge structure and then we went to  an adapted building which had been part of the maintenance yard but now is where they had held the reception to celebrate the opening of the new bridge. It is decked out with some great murals of the bridge (without the old bridge) and banners of workers who actually built it.

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This is my guide (not as tired as when we ended the walk)…

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A graphic display of how the toll booth used to look…


Then we were off to trek the bridge…

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Removing the concrete of the old bridge…


Nice views of Oakland cranes…


and cormorants…

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Disaster struck…and this is really the major disadvantage of using an iPhone for photos…in the glare I inadvertently activated a filter but couldn’t tell because in the bright light even with an anti-glare film on the surface, I really can’t see what is happening on the face of my phone. I line it up by the blank spaces around the edges of the frame but I can see nothing. I was disappointed at first (what shall we call it…an antique tint?) but then I told myself that all it means is that I have to go back and walk the bridge again to get some better pictures. My Fitbit will love that! I am including some of the pictures anyway because the gap in the old bridge as they tear it down is pretty spectacular…

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Then back down the way we came…


To add frosting to the cake, whipped cream to the hot cocoa, and chocolate to the biscotti…I got an official water bottle…!!!

BLING! So much bling I could not get rid of the reflection in the picture. Now I am really set for meandering!



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Bird field trip, two…

Coyote Hills Regional Park

Our March bird field trip was an hours distance from home to a regional park with a marsh and rolling hills. The bird-life was abundant and it was an especially good raptor day.  We saw White-tailed Kites, a Merlin, Northern Harriers, a Sharpshinned, and a Cooper’s Hawk. Bright, shiny, and gorgeous, we walked the trails and were rewarded with a great variety of birds. They were difficult to take photos of because of their fast movement. I ended up with many shots of blank skies where a Kite or a Harrier had been. My photos were of the scenery, interesting in its amber and brown-green colors. The marsh is low in water (draught California)  complicated by the fact that the marshes had always been humanly supplemented with pumps until they broke last year and the decision was made that it is too expensive to fix them. They have found that there are fewer birds but not fewer species frequenting the area.

First view of the rolling hills…


Monarchs on a eucalyptus in the parking lot…


The birders begin their walk…IMG_0027 IMG_0036

The parched California landscape…IMG_0030

Some water in the canals of the marsh…IMG_0064 IMG_0063 IMG_0057 IMG_0050 IMG_0045 IMG_0039


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A few California poppies were in evidence…IMG_0184 IMG_0183

In places it looked a little like Sedona…IMG_0177 IMG_0174

There is the Cooper’s Hawk…IMG_0189


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The early morning walk of Easter morning just after a night of rain. The sky and reflections cleaned and glistening. A song from long ago leaping from a recess of my mind and whispering across my lips as I walked. Of course, the version in my head is sung by Cat Stevens…did I skip?  Well, just a little…

Morning Has Brokenby Eleanor Farjeon

Morning has broken, like the first morning

Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word

Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day


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Garden of paradise and a little bit of knowledge…

Rainy, cold, wet, but still walking to see as much as possible during our time in Portland. In a direct line on our path between Powell’s Books and the Portland Art Museum, before hopping the MAX train to the zoo, was the city library.
A Georgian Revival style building built in 1913.

It has a foyer entry with this quotation and etched glass above the door:
“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.”-Jorge Luis Borges

This building has some wonderful features revolving around arts and crafts. (Second to baby elephants the theme of Portland was awe inspiring arts and crafts…my kind of town.)
Entry foyer ellipse, Garden Wreath.

“Gardens of Knowledge” and “Pathways to Wisdom” are next to gilded leaves.
The most amazing staircase I have ever seen sweeps up to the second and third floors. Garden Stair by artist Larry Kirkland, is black granite etched with images and words to inspire the imagination.

The columns are faux marble painted in the scagliola technique (I only know this because of the brochure the library has available.)





Off the library is the Children’s Library named after author Beverly Cleary. It has a most amazing tree sculpture…



Combined on the trunk of the bronze tree are objects from Oregon’s natural history and subjects found in the Dewey Decimal System. As favorite things get rubbed the bronze shines brighter. Preserving a Memory was created by Dana Lynn Louis and Barbara Eisworth.











My favorite is the bear nose and the sea otter head…
Plus, three of the library stacks are ended with a collection of shadowboxes called Souvenir. These were created by Kay Slusarenko.




The ultimate frosting on the cake is a WPA mural from the ’30’s by Florence Thomas. Alice in Wonderland

These shots are to show the beauty of the spaces, curves, and angles…









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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…

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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…