Sunday, November 30, 2014

Been Too Long!

Oh my gosh!!! I am a bad blogger for sure. I can't believe that it's been so long since I last wrote here. But, in truth, November has been such a blur. We have been so busy that the only break we have really gotten was Thanksgiving day itself. We spent a quiet day at home watching Star Trek, lol. Was really nice to not have anything pressing to do. It really made me reflect that I am so lucky to have the life I do and I am so thankful for all the blessings I have. I am hoping for an easier December but I am not holing my breath as I have quite a few things popping up and one really big thing that I can't wait to announce! Be on the lookout for that.

How was your November? I certainly hope that your holiday was a good one :)

So, with December right at the door, I thought it was a good idea to offer a print sale for the 1st 2 weeks of the month. If you place an order in that time frame, you will receive $5.00 off each print. Prints make great holiday gifts! Contact me today for more information!

All right, I have to make this one short and sweet. Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead! Happy December!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall Things & Synopsis for New Manuscript

Hello and happy almost Halloween to you all! I hope that this fall season is making you all feel right at home. We have certainly been getting the most of the season, especially with Buzz's vacation. Headed to Vermont on Saturday and I am super excited about that as I have never been before. Hoping to get in some of the local culture as well as getting some covered bridges photographed. What I could do without though are the increasingly colder temps. I am not ready to let winter in, but I had better get used to it quick. They say it will come to us earlier, like November earlier!!! Just in case, I have gotten all my sweaters out of storage and I just finished all of my winter shopping this past week. So, I think I might be ready. How about you?

Anyway, if you follow me on FB, you know that I recently finished my second manuscript last month. It was quite a milestone for me, as my last manuscript was written with a friend. While that was an amazing experience in itself, this was just lil' ole me! It was requested by some folks interested in it, that I write a synopsis. I am posting that below so you can see what I have been up to and hopefully you will like it. I have often said that writing is such a personal thing to me, (to all writers I know), and having your work well received is an amazing feeling. So, I hope this peaks your interest a bit. Should have some news on it soon. I have also begun the start of a new manuscript and have 6 chapters into it so far. I am enjoying the feeling of accomplishment that I get from writing and sharing it with you is awesome. Oh yea, I still don't have a title yet. Any thoughts?  Ok, enough of that....

Again, I hope that your fall is a warm one. I hope that your dreams are coming true and if not, that's ok my friends. There's always tomorrow :) Sometimes it's hard to keep on moving forward, sometimes it's hard to have hope and on those days, give yourself a break. No one is perfect, (this is something that I am learning now, lol) and things don't happen overnight, as much as we would like them too. But one day, you will get matter what your goal is. Here's to dreams my friends!!!!

Synopsis of

Serena Blaine, free-lance history writer, raven haired beauty is an average girl living a single life in Phoenix AZ and she is looking for love. Not just a one night stand kind of love and not her all-consuming shoe lust kind of love…the kind of love that steals her breath away and has her begging for more. The kind of love that she has been unlucky with her whole dating life. She knows it’s out there somewhere, it just doesn’t know her address.

Forming crushes on her current assignments tends to be the norm for her. She can always find something romanticize about them, but there is always one exception. THE father of the American Revolution.  You know, that guy…George Washington…Love him! As her assignment on him for History and Times magazine drags on, weird things start to happen. Serena starts to believe that she has traveled to the past and actually met the man. In her travels, they start a passionate affair that brings her quest for love to an end. She finds that all-consuming love that she has been searching for and a man who is a very sexy and in charge lover. His very touch brings a response from her body that she has never known before. Not at all what history books have written about him.  Becoming his confidant, his soul mate, she helps him with insights to the war that come with her knowledge of the future.

Then suddenly, proof of her love surfaces in the present and her whole world is turned upside down. The pull of the past proves too strong when her single girl life in the present is halted due to a car accident. In a deep coma surrounded by family in the future, will she decide to stay in the present or return to her love in the past? Is she in the reality that history has taught her or has she transported to an alternate reality where her life with the dashing General is an accepted one? 

Artfully Odd Photos 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Art Prints

New art prints are up and ready to view on the site.

Well hello there. How is everyone doing this weekend? Enjoying the month of October so far? Crisp fall has finally arrived here in upstate. We did not get much color in the Capital District, but that snap that the air gets this time of year, arrived today in full force. The smell of wood smoke has been in the air at night too...I totally love that. I think that if I could live in a world where it was this weather all the time, I could be very happy. Sweaters, hot tea, boots...Yea, its pretty great. I hope that whatever you are up to this fall, you are having a great time :)

I have a lot going on right now. I guess when fall comes around, the busy time picks up. Gone are the quieter days of summer. I am trying to take full advantage of it all. I have been working on a line of art prints that are turning out nicely I think. I have 2 novels in consideration as well as a short story, and my poetry has been coming along too. On top of all of that, I have a new job with an ad agency that I am quite excited about. Fall has been pretty good and for once, I am allowing myself to feel pretty good about all that's to come. I am, however, looking forward to December. Things will quiet down again for us then, and I plan to take full advantage of it. This has been a tough year for both Buzz and I. It taught us a lot of things about life...what's important and what isn' I am extremely thankful for everything. I hope that where ever you are on your journey friends, that you are happy and healthy and thankful.

Happy Sunday my friends.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Spooky Time and Senior Portraits

Hello again dear readers. I hope this finds you doing well today. As I write this, we are on the verge of another weekend. This week just flew by if you ask me and I can't believe that October is just around the corner! Technically a good thing for me, as I love all things October! I actually dug my sweaters out of storage the other day in preparation!!! Buzz and I have a couple of fun trips planned, like the Pumpkin Blaze and the haunted Albany tour. I can not wait! Hot cocoa time and all things spooky...yes, that's for me! And who knows what I will photograph :) Something spooky and beautiful I hope.

What's not spooky though, is what else comes around this time of year. Senior portrait time is here again and I was lucky enough to have a shoot just for that last weekend. She wanted to do something a little different than the norm. So I chose Washington park as our background and boy, did we get lucky with the weather. We could not have asked for anything better than last Saturday. While my style tends to lean toward the more odd, I reigned it in a bit and I think we were able to get some beautiful and interesting photos that will be totally unique to her. My tip for a session like this is to listen to your subject, discover what they really want and work together with them to create that vision. Allow them some wardrobe changes and props. Let their personality shine through :) I am posting a few below and giving a shout out to Michaella for a wonderful shoot! Congratulations to you and the class of 2015!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! Happy Haunting :)

Monday, September 22, 2014

For Mark

Well hello there. How have you all been since my last entry? Good I hope. Fall arrived here in Upstate quite quickly. To be honest, the changing of the seasons came, literally from one day to the next. I am not complaining though, because I love this time of year! Crisp air and the smell of wood smoke in the air...ah perfection.Our leaves are changing here, but slowly. I hope that in another week or so we have some really good color. Yea, photographers dream! I hope you are enjoying this time of year as much as I am.

On to other things...I was talking with a friend this morning about writing. He heard that writers should write every day no matter what. No matter if its good or not, just get the words flowing. This is true and something I tend to do every day no matter what. My house is littered with little scraps of paper with scribbled words on them, notebooks filled with stories that I write when I have writers block. Sometimes an idea will come to me while I am in the shower and I will have to jot it down as soon as I am out. Like this thought I had today, 'What would a con look like in the 1600's? And if Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were really Vampires, would they be a part of it?' You know, something ala Oceans 11 maybe. I jotted it down and it went right on the pile of scribbles. Whoever cleans out my place after I am gone will be in for a treat, lol! Lots of paper, words and library books. Did I mention that I buy old library books? Our library here sells old books, $2.00 for a bag full. I always get my bag full :)

Anyway, on to the writing. Yes, its true...writers write. Sometimes every day. I generally wake up with a mission to create something every day if possible. Photos, Painting, Writing...I try to do something every single day. That's what it's all about, isn't it. There is so much beauty out there in life, in this great big world...I like to contribute to that beauty when I can. No matter if its good or bad. No matter if anyone likes it or not, because that's what its all about. You can choose to be positive and fill your space with words that feed your mind or art even when the world outside is hard. It can be a comfort food for your soul and a soft blanket for your mind. Create my friends and see what beautiful things start to bloom! Feed your soul...

 So Mark, this is what I wrote today. It's rough, bad even, but I find it very funny and funny is good right now!

They Never Call:

Stone walls
She waits

Endless fields of green
Spread out over the vastness of time
She waits

Line of sight on the blue horizon
No horses today
She waits

Tear stained cheeks
Feelings of love lost
She waits

Years fly past
Time stands still
She waits

The Reaper’s at the door
He knocks with bony knuckles
She’s dead

Death took her in his arms
Her love never called
She waits…………..
No more

Have a wonderful week my friends.
Light & Love~Anna

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Super Moon

So, I waited patiently last night to snap some photos of the last Super Moon of the year...I got 1, LOL, To my detriment, I did not have my tripod with me because I was on a sloping surface. You almost always need it to shoot something like this, but I really need is a new telephoto lens. I have been looking at new camera and lens packages, and I think I may have settled on the Nikon D3200, 24mp DSLR. If any of you have used this camera before, drop me a line and let me know how you like it. I LOVE my Olympus so I know that this will be a hard switch for me, but I think I need to step it up a bit.

Don't let this detract from the beauty of the Super Moon though! It was an amazing site and I am glad I got to witness it. How about you? Did you get any photos of the moon last night?

Hope you are having a great week out there :) Keep snapping my friends!

Monday, August 18, 2014

18 Chapters Done!!!!

Ok, so I surprised myself yesterday by writing 3 full chapters. That makes a total of 18 so far and that is also sort of a big deal for me! The manuscript I have been working on has been in the works for a few years now and it feels really good to be almost done with it. Now, fingers crossed that the rest of it writes itself as smoothly. Sometimes it's hard to get the vision in your head down on paper and sometimes your characters fight with you for a new outcome. I am excited to see where they let me take it.

Anyway, thought a would share a snippet that I wrote yesterday. This is the beginning of my chapter 17, hope you enjoy:

My Dearest Love-
I am most sorry that I was not able to travel back to the city with you. Leaving you in the care of others was a very difficult thing for me to do, however, Mary is a most capable woman with admirable qualities. She has informed me that you actually know one another and she looks forward to continuing friendship with you. I can rest assured that you, my love, are in capable hands.

I do not know when I may see you again, as this war seems to consume me. The army made some progress at Manmouth. A victory of sorts and I thought that you would want to know that I believe the tide has started to turn. Just as you said it would. I do not dare to hazard a guess at how you know the things you know, but your constant support of our cause and my men is enough to keep me moving forward.

I continue to pray for your recovery and long for the day when I might hold you in my arms again. You have become my constant in such a short amount of time, so much so, that I find it hard to fathom. We know each other it would seem, so well and yet, I long to know more. To know that your thoughts are consumed of me too is one of my greatest wishes. I meant what I said to you dear heart. I may not be able to promise you all you deserve, but I will continue to provide you with all that I have.

Please do not be cross with me when you wake. I did not know that the doctor had plans to bleed you and upon my return, I almost whipped him for it. The amount of the loss was little and I dare say that you did start to rally afterwards. Mary has continued to send me word of your health and I am encouraged by what she says. You will be well soon and we shall all be glad for it.

Until the day that I may return to you, I ask you to please remember that I love you most ardently, and If I am not to return, please know that my last thoughts were most certainly of you dear heart. I have been blessed by your grace. You are my life, you are my love, and you are my everything.

Loving regards-
(C) Anna Patten 2014

I am leaving out who it's from on purpose, lol. You will have to wait and see when it's all done. Again, I want to take a moment to thank you for all the support. It has meant more to me and has encouraged me at times when I wanted to throw in the towel. 

I hope this week is a good one for you as we go into the last days of summer. Remember to keep dreaming my friends and always try to stay on the sunny side :) Happy Monday!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Happy Friday My Friends!

Well hello and happy Friday to all my friends out there. This week went by fast, didn't it? Happy that the weekend has arrived though. Not much to report, as this month has been somewhat quieter than the last. That's good in a way, gives me more time to accomplish what I want. How has summer been for you?

I have a couple of shoots coming up and I was able to get out and take a few of myself the other day.  I have a few art donations going out too. The one below is headed to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society for their annual Art Saves Animals benefit. We found our Lola there so I am more than happy to help with this wonderful cause. I shot this in March and you can find this mural in downtown Albany off of Broadway.

I think that about wraps it up in my neck of the woods today. I hope that you are enjoying these last days of summer and are making great memories with loved ones! Stay safe and have fun my friends :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Self Portrait Project 2014

Ok, while on the surface this post will seem extremely vain. Self centered even, but let me explain. Like most of my gal pals out there, I tend to pick myself apart any chance I can. Who's with me? As women I think that we are just conditioned to do that for whatever reason and I think I have just had enough of it. Enough of looking at magazines and the internet and seeing perfect bodies and faces everywhere. Enough self hating on myself or other women. Enough wishing that I could change something on my face or for lord sake, my thighs! I don't have a flat tummy and I suffer from boob butt syndrome, lol! I have them in spades and I tend to look down on them instead of embracing my curves.Well, enough! Enough of the male dominated, social media, fashion magazine culture that tells us that we have to be on and perfect all the time. Haven't you had enough? There is way too much fat shaming out there...skinny shaming too. Did you know that now the debate is about thigh gaps or lack of thigh gaps? It's just crazy!

When my daughter was born, I swore I would never let her pick herself apart. I told her every day that she is a beautiful and wonderful person, both inside and out. After all, our children are gifts and should be cherished. However, some of my self loathing leaked out of me and onto her, for lack of a better analogy. For she too has developed the same syndrome as her Mother and my Mother and all of the other ladies out there. It is sad really...sort of breaks my heart. My syndrome got worse after I suffered a bells palsy a few years ago from untreated lyme disease. Because I did not know I had been bit, and it was untreated, lyme is with me for life now and I deal with its effects every day. So, after I healed and my face got back to normal, well the new normal really, I tend to struggle to find myself in the mirror every time I look. It has been hard and damaging and a whole bunch of other emotions. I tend to beat myself up for it a lot.

So, I thought that I would start a sort of project to see if I could find something beautiful about myself. I do not usually like photos of myself, I picked that trait up from someone who I love, but will remain nameless. So, today I shot some selfies. Something I am not super good at, but I try. Don't worry, there are no duck lips to be seen, lol. I picked 4 that had something I liked about myself in them. These are not photo-shopped at all. (but I do have makeup on.) I just brightened them a bit. My faults are there, I have crows feet, a somewhat droopy eye and some weight to me. But it's ok. My eyes have seen beautiful things through the lens of my camera and my smile has greeted many friends warmly. My body brought a wonderful girl into this world and helped my husband through some tough times.

Today, I choose to stand up for myself and say enough is enough Anna. I hope that maybe it may inspire all the ladies out there too. You are beautiful! You are good and kind and enough just the way you are. Go ahead, hug yourself. Like your shoulders and your toes. It's ok. And maybe if we all start to love ourselves, we can change the world? Well at least our world, lol! After all, life is far too short to be anything but happy with yourself.

Have a blessed day my Mothers, my Sisters, my Daughters!

Photo Copyright Anna Patten 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Busy Summer & Other Stuff

So sorry, I know it has been a bit since I posted here. This summer has been incredibly busy for us and it does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon either. I enjoy being busy, but I must admit, I am looking forward to our vacation in October! Need a bit of downtime to recharge. How has the summer been for all of  you? I hope that this summer has brought many happy memories with your loved ones.

I have been doing a lot of writing this summer. I am happy to say, I am almost finished with the book I have been working on. I have 15 chapters done so far and expect about 5 or so more before this book is done. For the times that I have encountered writers block with the novel, I have taken to just writing whatever pops into my head. It has helped some and I think I could put all my ramblings together and make something of them....I could, lol, not sure if I will though. However, I could share one or two. Below is one of those ramblings:

Can you die of a broken heart? Can the heartache of it all reach down into parts of  your soul? Can it reach parts of you that you didn't even know you had and splinter them into jagged pieces that you cut yourself on every time you feel? These were questions that I was slowly finding out the answers to.

It had been three days since the news hit my ears and sucked all of the air out of my lungs.  Three days since the shadows darkened my vision and blurred my surroundings with tears that never seemed to dry up. The depths of this well I was in, knew no limit. What was worse was the fact that I was stuck in the past. Stuck reliving memory after painfully beautiful memory.

The current memory of choice was of a beautiful afternoon spent in a field of heather and earth. Brilliant sunshine touched all the loving faces gathered around us. With Lilly's wound in my hair and lips oh so red, I whispered, "I do."  The sunlight reflected off the darker hues of his blonde hair, I remember that it seemed to glow in the warm light.  He smiled, whispering the same and then those close to us cheered as he kissed those oh so red lips with promise. We had so much ahead of us. Wonders of a beautiful life stretched out over the path of time. there was a funny word. It gave you the illusion of infinity, but then slipped through your fingers like grains of sand. And just like that, everything was gone. Stolen in the middle of the night with just one phone call

(C) 2014 Anna Patten

I don't know if there is anything to this or not, but I thought I would share anyway. Maybe after my book is done, I will pick this up where I left off...

Anyway, I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend. Make sure to get out and do something fun. Go get some ice cream and sit outside in the grass. Feel the sand between your toes or the wind in your hair! Summer is fleeting and we must enjoy it while we can! 

Happy Lammas to all my Pagan friends and happy weekend to all of my friends.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Store is Coming Along Nicely

Well hello there :) I hope this finds you all doing well today. Are you surviving the heat? I wont complain about it because we did survive winter apocalypse. It would just be wrong, lol and I do love summer time so, but this humidity has to go!!!! I want to open my windows again and be able to dry off when I get out of the shower. Had  a great week so far. My Aunt and Uncle were up from Florida for a visit and we had such a good time! Even though we got caught in the middle of a downpour on a metal boat while out on Lake George! It was sort of Titanic-esq, lol! It was so nice to get spend one on one time with them and it was also nice to show them around Upstate. They are our first visitors here, so it was special.

On other news fronts, the store is coming along nicely. I got some of my greeting cards done today as well as some more prints framed. Placed a new post card order this morning, fingers crossed that they arrive in time for opening on the 15th. All that's left is painting the wall, building a half wall, ordering a ton of prints and getting set up! It's going to be great, and as my Mother pointed  out the other night, the first thing I have done for myself in some time. I am super excited, so be sure to check back with me for updates. Posting some photos below of the work in progress. Should have some of the space soon too.

Have a great day and happy 4th!
Artfully Odd Photos

 Greeting Cards
 Post Cards
Prints framed

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Point of View from an Empath

Life is beautiful and terrifying and wonderful and terrible. Sometimes it can be all those things at once. But whatever it is, I know that it leaves holes in all of us. Sometimes those holes are deep, and one has to wonder how they will ever fill them...others are shallow and scar over quickly. I think that we all search for that something that will heal us. It could simply be a smile from a loved one or a really great day or even a new spiritual path. No matter what it is, we all have our ways of coping. But for those of us who feel things more deeply than others, how do you fill those holes. As an empath, how do you block things out when you are doing extreme archaeology in your deep hole?

I write this because I know we all go through this. All empaths certainly do and there are some days when all the grounding and chanting and candle burning and cleansing in the universe will not help. I have read that true em-paths often struggle with this and that some days it's best for them to stay in bed. While I can appreciate that, I am far to busy to be able to do that. Sometimes I lose myself in creative pursuits and that seems to help a lot, but at the end of the day, it does not take the feeling away. Now, don't get me wrong here, I love what I am. I love that I am able to help others and I love that I am easy to talk to, but there is a huge downside and it might be one that you never think of, I certainly didn't, and it's loneliness. I have gotten very good at walking my path,(I often walk it alone), so very good at helping others and taking care of negative energy that one day I turned around and I realized that I desperately need to talk and there is no one there who really understands. And let me say, I have a wonderful husband who loves me, but he has a hard time understanding what is going on with me for many reasons. The main one being he is not an empath himself. But he is a wonderful support to me and I love him so.

The path of an empath is indeed very lonely. We don't like being in crowded rooms as there are too many emotions to steer clear of. We feel things so deeply that it gets us into trouble sometimes because we often can't control our emotions. People often don't understand us and because we tend to distance ourselves, think we are standoffish, or worse yet, fake. We carry a bit of extra weight...I have read that its to shield us, but who the heck knows if that's true. We are sensitive to a fault as well. I have trouble watching sappy or disturbing movies, commercials or listening to some music. Reading blogs and emails can be difficult. I often need moments of quiet to steady my mind and ground daily. It makes normal life difficult. Thank goodness I am an artist at heart. I have lived a normal reality most of my life and it almost killed me. That's not being dramatic, that's truth. I had a very hard time coping and it makes having a normal job difficult. Now, here's the part where I vent. It's hard! It's frustrating! I feel so much sometimes and lately it has gotten worse. I have read recently that many of us are feeling this together. I try to find comfort in that.

One of my favorite authors, Laurell K. Hamilton wrote recently in her blog that, "True faith is a path filled with many stones and thorns, because it is not the easy road that makes a warrior." She posted that on a day when I needed to hear it and no truer words were ever spoken. I saved this statement and I look to it often for wisdom and a reminder that I am not alone. (Which I am never truly, she is always with me)

 So, to my like minded my spiritual do we cope when life grabs us by the shoulders and yanks us around a bit? How do we fill the destiny of our path? How do we balance our Karma? How do we ask the Goddess to take us by the hand, even just for a moment, and share her wisdom?

I wrote this for many reasons, sympathy not being one of them. Mostly, I felt compelled to write this for anyone else out there in the universe that feels the same way or lonely tonight. To you, whoever you are...You are not alone.

To the Goddess- Thank you for your constant. As without. Blessed Be!


View from the Bridge

View from the bridge over the Hudson-
Peebles Island State Park

Sometimes a diary of a photographer is just that, the diary of my day. I was out for a walk early last evening because the weather was just so beautiful. I have been stuck in doors too much as of late and last night, I just wanted to break free. So, I headed out to my usual walking spot and this is what I saw. Pretty view if I do say so myself. I love being out this time of the day because the light is just amazing. The sky is just so blue and the sun sets on the water...It's a pretty great sight! I am so blessed and I never feel it more, than when I am out in this light and nature. It's just a wonderful thing!

On another note, the store is starting to take shape now. Getting a lot of my inventory ordered and painting will start next week. I will keep you all up to date on the happenings. Also, I had my first official hanging this week! That was pretty exciting. A big shout out to Robin and Sue and Robins Shining Shears for having me!

Wishing you all a lovely weekend and a happy holiday week.
Artfully Odd Photos

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Viva Summer!

Well, June is almost over and it's been a busy one for us! I know that when we were in the midst of this horrible winter, I was begging summer to that it has, I want it to slow down. I want to enjoy it. I want to have fun afternoons that I can dream of fondly when there is 3 feet of snow outside! So if the summer ferries are listening, please hear my plea. Let these days stretch into sun filled days packed with fun as we endeavor to get back to nature. It's funny that we forget during the dark months, that nature sustains us. It breaths new life back into us and grounds us with an energy that is all around. If you close your eyes and clear your mind right now, you can feel it. Go ahead...try it. Just close your eyes and let your mind go. There...feel that? That gentle hum? That's it! That one feeling, is for me, the reassurance that we are all connected and tied to the earth. So remember to get out and enjoy these days. Walk barefoot through the grass. Play in the sand at the beach. Lay down and cloud watch...Enjoy! Let Mother Nature know how much she means to you! VIVA Summer!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Big News Coming!

Thats right...Big, I mean really big news is coming in the next few weeks! So excited! Cant wait to share!!!!!

Remember the old saying...When 1 closes, another opens!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Camping Under the Stars-Question of the day

I wish I were camping right now! There is something about sitting under the stars with the smell of wood smoke in the air! Something about roasting marshmallows until they are burnt and telling scary stories with a flashlight under your chin. Yes, it sounds pretty relaxing right about now. Now here is the question of the day...Tent, camper or rent a cabin? I think they all have their merits, but let's break them down.

Tent: I have only been camping in a tent a couple of times. The first time, it rained the whole time we were out there and I did not like it one bit. The second time the weather was good, but there is just something about a tent that leaves me feeling exposed. If you are in a place where bears tend to roam free, (which we usually were when I went camping as a child), a tent just doesn't feel secure. Having said all of that, I would be willing to try it again. Buzz and I have been talking about doing just this recently.

Camper: Now this is the way I camped for most of my childhood. My grandparents had several as well as camper shells on trucks. The last one my grandparents had was just short of a palace on wheels. Complete with a full shower and a fireplace. I am well versed in staying in a camper and perhaps, this is why a tent never feels right to me. I have very fond memories of camping with my family. Cooking outdoors, sitting around the fire, going to bed smelling of wood smoke and and s'mores. The table actually folding down into a bed!! Yea, it was pretty awesome and as a kid, I was mesmerized! This is an option that Buzz and I have been talking about too for a lot of reasons. We have friends who sold their house and most of their stuff a year ago. They packed up the rest and hit the road. They have settled in a place now, found jobs and such, but they have the freedom of no house payments and lower monthly costs. Now that our daughter has graduated, we have talking about this option a lot. It's still a ways off, but getting the camper soon, could be on our horizon. Oh, and your safe from bears...did I mention that?

Cabin: I have done this numerous times. There really isn't much downside to this option. Everything is provided for you, you have running water sometimes and you are safe from all things the woods can throw at you except for maybe, spiders and of course, fire! LOL! (No really...the spider thing really happened to us and we woke up to a scene liken to the the one in The Great Outdoors! Yes, there was screaming! Yes, I did run around like a mad woman begging for Buzz to get them off of me! Ahh, nature!)  This could be a short term option for us, as we live in an area where there are many available to rent. This might just be the option we go with.

Have plans to camp this summer? Let's share :) This is bound to be a great summer!
Hope you had a great weekend!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saratoga Geyser Trail 2014

Hear that? That's right my friends, that is the sound of Summer approaching! Could anything else be more perfect? Buzz and I have been trying to get out and about more often. You know, like normal people do, lol. We were able to do that this past Tuesday when we ventured to the Saratoga Geyser trail. A lovely 5 mile hike that winds you through some of the most wonderful wilderness.

Traditionally, the geysers were used as a health retreat. You would go there and take the cure for about 3 weeks back in the day. The geysers are both carbonated and fresh spring water. It sounds like heaven to me really. What has happened to our country? 3 weeks to rest, recuperate and rejuvenate and you still had your house when you got back. All though this is what we would consider quack medicine today, the rest alone had health benefits I am sure. You can read more about the park here and if you are ever in the area, I highly recommend you them in.

On the downside, it is tick season here in upstate and it is in full force, let me tell you! Poor Buzz got stuck with 5 of them and we had to rush him to the doctors the next day for a big does of antibiotics and a tetanus shot. Happy to report that he is on the mend now and rearing to go hiking again! I look forward to our next adventure myself!

Posting a few photos below. They are available for prints if you find one you really like :) Happy Summer my friends!

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Photographer tries to go the Natural Route

Hello world. I hope that this finds you all doing well out there. Now that Spring is officially here and on its way to being glorious Summer, I find that I am wanting to make some changes in my life. There is something about the changing of seasons that makes one think, ponder and sometimes even, dwell on certain things. One of the things I have been pondering is all the chemicals that we put into our bodies every day. This thought actually came to me in February, as I sat around the table at a beautiful Mexican restaurant with my family. We were talking about the pressures on women these days to look nothing but perfect and how, even if you try not to buy into all of that, it still effects us all. One of the point that I brought up was all the chemicals that we put into our bodies and how I think they make us fat. I mean, our food is pumped full of them, our shampoo is positively dripping with them, our lotions, creams and what not, (You know, the ones that are suppose to make us look better and feel better about ourselves because that's  what the media tells us we need to do...Yea, those) are brimming over with things I can't even pronounce. And on top of all of that, we are constantly bombarded with prescription drugs every time we see the doctor. There is a pill for everything my friends and our physicians are more than happy to prescribe it to us any time we have an ache, pain or just don't feel right. Yes, this is the world we live in. And while I can agree that some of the crop and preservative advancements that we have witnessed in the past 20 years, benefit us...the others simply do not.

So, what does this mean my friends? Well, it means that this gal has had enough. It's time for a change in the Patten household. I recently piled all of my old shampoos, creams, lotions, cleaning products and what not into a box and went on the hunt for natural alternatives. I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. I was prepared for sticker shock, but was met with reasonable prices. I found a wonderful line of hair care products called RenPure, new lotion and some new body wash from Delon Labs. I have been using them for almost 2 weeks now and while the shampoo doesn't suds up, I am liking the results. I found that Walmart has its own series of natural household cleaners and they actually work! I switched our laundry detergent to an all natural one and Buzz just said to me this morning, that he loves it and the way it smells and he's a guy! Today I decided to switch out one of the most important products we use...deodorant. I found the Toms brand and I am going to give it a try. It smells good and does not have any of the icky stuff that you find in name brands. One draw back though, its a little pricey. If it works though, I am all for it. We are also buying more veggies and fruit from the farmers market instead of the store. I am still currently looking for an all natural skin care regime, but I am happy with the little steps we are taking now. 

What have I noticed so far? Well, believe it or not, we are not as bloated as we were 2 weeks ago. Water weight has been lost I think. My allergies are also not nearly as bad as they were before. My hair feels better to the touch, our skin is not so dry and I am not nearly as tired as I have been in the past. Is this proof of chemical poisoning? Well, I can't say really. All I know is that the Patten's are feeling better and we actually might survive the zombie apocalypse when it comes! Whether it be mind over mater or getting the chemicals out of our systems, we are feeling better. I hope to be making another positive blog update on the subject after we have been at this for a month or two, so stay tuned. Given the state of the environment these days, I feel better just trying to lessen my carbon footprint. Other good habits will surly follow.

I would love to hear from some of you out there though. Have you tried the natural route? How did it go? Did you stop cold turkey or take baby steps? I can't wait to hear your comments. 

Have a wonderful day my friends!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Victorian Post Cards

Hello and happy Spring my friends!!! It looks like the summer weather is on its way up north and I have to say, thank goodness!!! You all know what this winter has been like! As I write this, I am actually in a tank top! A tank top my friends!!! My shoulders have not seen day light in so long that they were shy today, lol!

Anyway, on to artist things. I have been working on a series of post cards for a bit and the first set is done. I am so loving the Victorian feel to them. Super cute and whimsical and I will be placing an order for them this coming week. In this first printing, I will have 8 sets and I will be offering them for sale for 15.00 a set. That price includes shipping and handling. If you would like to place a pre-order, email me at to get the details or hit me up on Facebook. (You can also order individual prints of each image as well and they will be added to the website soon. Keep your eyes peeled.)

As always, I want to thank you for your support! I could not do what I do without it! Enjoy this weather my friends :) and let your bare shoulders run free! Happy Mother's day to all the wonderful Mother's out there!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Letter-Writing Works

As many of you know, I like to write too. ( I am hoping to get my works added to my website, but that is on the shelf for now) I am currently working on a manuscript and am toying around with ways to publish it. I have been putting some thought into releasing it chapter by chapter in my blog, but that presents some challenges. So, my thinking cap is still on. In the mean time though, I thought I would publish a short story I wrote about 2 years ago. ( My hope is that I have grown as a writer since then) I am also, as always, in search of freedom of expression and since I can not get outdoors to shoot photos just yet, this is the next logical step for me in my pursuit.

So, below is my short story. I don't think I have posted it as I have my poetry, but I do hope you find something to like in it. (Oh and it's prepared, lol)

The Letter

My Dearest Ana,
If you are reading this then my days on this earth are done. There were so many things that I never got the chance to say to you.  Damn my foolish pride! It always seemed to get in my way. I know that your place is with Duncan now.  He makes you happy and that has been more than evident. But I have always regretted that our love did not last Ana.  If I could have changed anything in my life sweetheart, it would have been that.

You came into my life when I needed you the most. You managed to bring beauty and laughter to my otherwise dull existence. For that my dear Ana, I will always be grateful. Quite simply, you brought a great general to his knees and then showed him exquisite passion and incredible love. I could not have asked for more.

My last thoughts were surely of you my beautiful Ana.  I often dream of an afternoon spent on the lawns of Grey Manor.  Your glorious auburn curls shining in the sun and the feel of your smooth alabaster skin against me…How you smiled every time I whispered your name…Rest assured that thought of this beautiful day carried me home. Always remember that I loved you Ana Macgregor and know that my life was truly beautiful because you were in it. Thank you for that gift.

Now dry your emerald eyes.  What’s done is done Ana. I have no doubt that we will be reunited one day and what a glorious day that will be! You lean on Duncan now. He is a good man and I know he will get you through this. Amanda is holding a key for you. It unlocks a box at the Bank of Zurich. You will find all of the papers for my estate there. Grey Manor is yours. It could never belong to anyone else. Never forget Ana, please never forget…

All my love-

That’s how it read. Sophie still could not believe how beautiful it was. The tears that weighed heavy on her lashes, finally set themselves free. This letter had touched her so. When she had retreated to the attic for some peace and quiet, Sophie never expected this. Today had been awful. Her family had laid its matriarch in the ground and with all the people that came to leave their respects, Sophie was sure that she was going to burst if she did not get some peace. Being particularly close to her Grandmother, this was the one place she felt that she could be near her.

The attic was a treasure trove when she was growing up. Grey Manor was a wonderful place to spend a childhood and Sophie had always considered herself lucky to have done so. Whenever Grandma was in town, she always made time to play with her. The attic was their play ground.  It was full of old trunks, furniture, paintings, clothing, jewelry everything a girl could want. There truly was nothing better than spending the afternoon playing dress-up and then letting Grandma take her to afternoon tea.  She always felt like such a lady on those days.

Sophie sat on the floor now in the middle of a group of trunks, the letter clutched in her hand. The sun was beginning to set and it sent streaks of light through the arched window. Particles of dust began to dance on them like some secret ballet that was for her eyes only. Her tears were starting to get the best of her. What it must have been like to share this love. In the midst of all of this, she found herself wondering who Eric was. Ana was her dear Grandmother and Duncan, her Grandfather, now sat downstairs brokenhearted over the loss of his love. Amanda was her Grandmother’s sister, her mother’s aunt.

‘So why have I never heard of Eric?’ she thought. ‘What had Grandma done when she learned her love was gone? More importantly, ‘Did Grandpa know about this?’  She mulled these thoughts over in her mind while she twirled a blond curl around her finger.

The attic door opened and her grandfather poked his head in. “Sophie?” he questioned.

“Ya Grandpa.” she said softly, trying to hide her tears.

The old man began to walk up the stairs and met her with a smile. Sitting down next to her on the floor, he took her hand.

“I thought I ‘d find you here honey.  Are you ok?”

“I should be asking you that Grandpa.  Have you eaten anything?”

Duncan patted her hand gently and smiled again. “I wish everyone would stop asking me that. I will eat when I want to eat. Now tell me, what have you found?” He questioned as he looked down at the letter still clutched in her hand.

Sophie smiled at her grandfather. Reaching up, she gently tucked a strand of grey hair behind his ear.  “It’s a letter Grandpa.” As long as she could remember, her Grandfather had always had long hair.  It was one of the things that lent to his “old world” charm.  Grandpa was ever the gentleman.

“Is this the cause of your tears my Sophie?”

“Well, it is just so sad.  I am afraid to show it to you though.”

The old man tipped his head back and chuckled. The silver tie that held his grey hair in place shined in the waning twilight. “You have found ‘the letter’ I take it?”

Sophie’s eyes widened. “You know about this?”

Duncan reached over and gently took the letter from her hand. “We were all young once too Sophie.  Your Grandma was a beautiful woman.  She was so vibrant.” He looked off into the distance as if he could see her.

“Who was Eric?”

The old man met her gaze again with his warm brown eyes, “ I will tell you, but first, tell me where is your young man today?”

Sophie fixated on the letter. “Well Grandpa, I am starting to think that love is the stuff of fairy tales. Steven was suppose to be here today. Today of all days…when I need him the most, he is nowhere to be found!”

“I am sure he has a good reason Sophie.”

She exhaled slowly, “I am not so sure Grandpa.  I think that you and Grandma had it.  Mom and Dad have it.  But me?  Well, I just don’t think it is possible.  I am not sure I could ever love someone like this.”  She pointed to the letter again.

“You are young my sweet.  When it happens for you, and it will, I hope that it is as powerful as this was. As powerful as my love for your Grandmother.”

“Did she…” She hesitated, “Did she love you?”

“Yes, she did.  We shared a great love.  It makes today all the more difficult.  But I must tell you that I find great comfort in the fact that she is with Eric again.”

“You knew him too?”

“Yes, we all grew up together. It was obvious even when we were children that Ana and Eric were meant to be.”

“So what happened Grandpa?”
Duncan took a deep breath. It was plain to Sophie that for her grandfather, this was still very real. Silence filled the attic and she began to feel a pain of regret for even asking him about this.

“Grandpa, I’m sorry.  You don’t have to tell me anything.  It’s none of my business really.”

The old man reached over for her hand, clasping it tightly.  “No, its ok my Sophie.  As I said before, I am very glad that she is back with Eric.  What happened is a long story really.  It seemed like we were children one day and then grown ups the next. We all grew up in this region.  Our parents were all friends and so vacations were spent together.  Trips were taken. Parties were had. The three musketeers…that’s what they used to call us. Your grandmother was a beautiful child.  I should have known that her beauty then would lead to extraordinary splendor when we grew.”

“Sounds like a wonderful way to grow up Grandpa.”  Sophie whispered.

Duncan smiled thoughtfully, “Much like the way you grew up dear.  Only the houses were smaller then.”  he waved his hand in the air. “Nothing compares to Grey Manor.”

Sophie smiled as she felt a twinge of emotion. That one statement summed up her whole childhood.  Grey Manor was truly a magical place.  And Grandpa was right about one thing, the houses she had grown up in were bigger.

“So, you wish to know what happened.  Well, it is quite simple really.  As I said, even as children it was plain to see that Ana belonged to Eric.  I don’t say that lightly Sophie.  They truly were one when they were together.  They made a fantastic team.  When ever Eric did something bad, Ana was right there covering for him.  She even took a spanking or two for him. He in turn offered her love and loyalty.  No one ever picked on Ana.  If you did, you had to answer to him.  Sort of like a knight in shining armor I guess one might say. As teenagers they were always running off together.  Your Great-Grandmother was fit to be tied when they ran away to the cove for the weekend. Eric was always surprising Ana with adventure.”

“And you Grandpa?”

Duncan smiled, his eyes softening.  “You are so much like her you know.  She always had a question too.”

Sophie giggled as she clasped the old man’s hand.

“I offered her unyielding friendship and a shoulder to lean on when times got tough. Friends til the end you could say.”

“You loved her then.” Sophie whispered.

The old man paused and took a moment to reflect. When his brown eyes met hers again, she saw that they were glassy with unshed tears. “For as long as I can remember my dear, I have loved Ana Macgregor. I woke every morning with her on my mind and she was always the last thought I had before I fell asleep each night.”

“Oh Grandpa.”

“But she loved Eric and that was ok with me.  I was just glad to be in her life.  So, time moved on.  We grew up. I went to medical school, your Grandma went to art school and Eric shocked us all by joining the military. He wanted to become an officer. Oh, Ana was furious! He was away for six weeks in the beginning and she was not allowed to see him or talk to him.  It was hard for her. That is when things started to shift in my favor.  While Eric was away, I was there for Ana. Now, do not misunderstand me Sophie, Eric was my best friend in the world.  I knew he loved your Grandmother and I tried to be mindful of that.  But spending that time with her was glorious.  She used to come up to Dover on the weekends to visit me.  We must have visited the pier a thousand times.  Whenever I could get away, I would drive down to her dorm.  I used to take her to the beach and just watch her paint. The sun would shine on her auburn curls…Ahh Sophie she was beautiful.”

“She always was Grandpa.”

Duncan reached out for a lose blond curl and tucked it lovingly behind her ear.  “You remind me of her my sweet.”

Sophie looked out the window, trying to hide her emotion from the old man. The evening  twilight had given way to a velvet sky lit with stars.  Her heart was truly breaking.  Not only had she lost her best friend, she was very concerned for her Grandfather.  ‘How would he make it through this?’ she wondered.

“After the first six weeks, Eric was off to the academy.  Ana was only allowed to see him once a month.  Again, it was hard on her and again, I was right there.  Whenever she needed to cry, or laugh or even when she needed a ride to visit Eric.  I was always there.  At Christmas Eric proposed.  Of course, Ana said yes. And of course, I was asked to be the best man. That was a lonely time for me.  But school kept me busy.  Then…I guess it was about three weeks before the wedding, the war broke out.  Eric was the first to be shipped out.  Ana was frantic. I took a leave from medical school and joined up myself.  My medical training kept me off the front lines.  I am not proud of that, but I saved as many lives as I could and that I am proud of.

Eric and I both sent letters home and in turn, she always wrote back to us. I found that absence really did make the heart grow fonder.  Her letters were the only thing that kept me sane.  A man can only see so much blood before he feels like screaming.”

“It must have been awful Grandpa. I can’t even imagine what you went through.  Grandma always spoke of how brave you were.”

The old man chuckled and looked off into the evening darkness again.  “Bravery, my dear had nothing to do with it. We just did what we had to do in the worst of situations.   Life is funny Sophie. It can bring you the most beautiful things you have ever seen and then the next day, show you the ugliest it has to offer.  But that is a story for another time. You wish to know what happened with your Grandmother and Eric….” He raised a shaking hand and waved it through the air.  “She simply got tired of waiting I suppose. Eric postponed their wedding three separate times and on the eve of the fourth, she ran away to Dover and called me.”

Sophie was shocked. Her Grandmother was always in control of her life. Running away did not seem like something she would have done, but then, she never knew about Eric. There was more to Ana Macgregor then she had known. “So that was it Grandpa? The two of you?”

“If only honey. We could have had so much more time together if it were that simple. No, she just needed my shoulder again. When she finally found the courage to go back home and face everyone, we said goodbye and I went back to medical school. Your grandmother threw herself into art school and graduated, before moving to the city. We didn’t speak for five years. Seems strange now, given the closeness between us.”

“Oh Grandpa….five years?” Sophie questioned as she rested her head on his shoulder.

“It all worked out for the best my dear. I had to go to the city for a conference and she literally bumped into me at a news stand I had stopped at to get my morning paper. I remember it like it was yesterday. The autumn sun was shining on us, she was draped in a lavender trench coat…..her hat had the most beautiful feathers in it. Then there were her eyes.  Those beautiful emerald eyes. We must have stared at each other for minutes before she threw her arms around me. It was then I knew, Ana Macgregor was my home. There would never be another woman that would ever hold my heart. As it would turn out, she felt the same way. We spent the most glorious night together…dinner, dancing, a walk under the stars and then said our goodbyes. But it was not for good.  I came to the city as often as I could and she traveled north when she could. The love that I had for her all those years only grew and when she told me that she loved me? Well, I keep that night right here,” he reached up and pointed to his heart. “I can replay it whenever I wish. A year later we were married and a year after that we had your father.”

Sophie curled up next to him tighter, feeling as though her heart would overflow with emotion. “That’s wonderful grandpa. You two were always so much in love.”

He patted her hand and smiled. “That we were Sophie.”

“And Eric? How did he take it?”

“Well, that may surprise you my dear. He was at our wedding and gave the grandest toast out of anyone. Gave us Grey Manor for a month so we could honeymoon. He was there the night your father was born.  He was always right there. Then this letter came.  He was killed on a campaign in the east somewhere. Ana was devastated as was I. Eric had been our friend forever it seemed. I am still not sure that your grandmother ever really got over his death. She used to spend hours sitting on the bench in front of his stone…..just talking to him.  I never asked her what happened between them during those lonely five years, but I know that she never stopped loving him.” He paused and lay a kiss on her hair. “And that is that my dear. Now you know.”

Sophie raised her head and began to wipe her tears away. “She was a wonderful lady.” she said softly.

“That she was Sophie. She was also the most devious person I have ever met. I am afraid that she hid your birthday gift honey and I cant find it. She never told me anything….knew I could not keep a secret when it came to you.”

Sophie reached for his hand, clasping it tightly. “Don’t worry about that Grandpa. My birthday means nothing right now.”

“Nonsense honey. The day you were born was not nothing. The world rejoiced on that day. I promise that I will keep looking. It has to be around here somewhere. Now tell me, will you be all right? I had better get back down stairs. Your father is probably frantic.”

“I will be fine Grandpa. Just give me a few minutes and I will be down myself.”  She leaned in and kissed his check before watching the beloved old man head down the stairs again, leaving her in the dim light of the attic.

Sitting there with her tears, she realized that she missed Steven desperately. She felt it then. She loved him the way that Eric loved her grandmother.  How could he leave her alone on a day like today? If the love was that strong, he would never have done that.  Thinking back to the letter, Sophie began to run parallels from it to her and Steven.

 Fresh tears clouded her eyes again as she stood up and began to put the things back into the trunk that she had unpacked. This had been a strangely beautiful yet heart wrenching day and she was weary. Sophie just wanted it to be over with. It was then, she heard someone clear their throat and she swore she felt her grandmothers hand on her shoulder, as it had so many times before. Just for a brief moment it rested there, giving Sophie a reassuring squeeze and then it was gone as she lifted her head.

He stood there in the dim light of the staircase, gently wringing his hands. His blond hair was pulled back tightly and emotion rested in the deep depths of his blue eyes.

“Steven.” The word came out as a whisper, almost as if it was torn from her lips.

He began to climb the rest of the steps and onto the attic floor. “Your Grandfather told me I might find you here.” His warm English accent caressed her ears like velvet.
“I….When….” Sophie found that she couldn’t complete a thought.
“I just told Wentworth and the partners that you needed me and that if they saw fit, they could replace me. I got on the first plane I could and now here I stand.”  Steven was hoping for some sort of reassurance from her. He knew that she was livid with him, and rightly so. Sophie had given him so much and all she asked was that he be here with her on this day.

Sophie felt herself smile through her tears. “And? Are you in need of a job?”
His smile matched hers. “Yes. But all I can think of right now is you my darling. I am sorry Sophie. I know you needed me today. I promise you that from this moment on, I will always be there when you need me and even when you don’t. Can you ever forgive me?”

Sophie was moving before the thought had come to her. Crossing the attic floor to him, she jumped into his open arms and held him tightly. It was all ok now. It would always be ok as long as he was there to hold her.  And in the split second, she realized that this was ‘that’ kind of love. She had not known it until now. This was the best birthday gift she could have ever gotten and she knew that her beloved grandmother had shown her the way.

Pulling away from Steven’s warm embrace Sophie turned briefly, looking towards the windows. She could see her grandmother standing there next to a man in uniform and they were both smiling. Ana and Eric, together again. Then with a blink they were gone.  Steven’s strong arms pulled her back into an embrace. Sophie accepted it wholeheartedly feeling as though Grey Manor had opened its arms as well. Sharing with the two of them, all the generations of  love that had come before them. Sophie and Steven’s love story would be written here as well and one day, their grandchildren would know of it. Perhaps finding a letter tucked in a trunk. Perhaps finding the letter that started it all.

AO/AP 2011