Hand-held Distraction

The first thing that came to my mind as I thought about what always catches my eye and distracts me from what I’m doing, is my smartphone. I expected to see that others suffered from the same affliction. But alas, as I scrolled through the various photos posted for this challenge I saw rainbows, sunsets, butterflies, and flowers. Maybe I didn’t scroll down far enough. Or maybe I’m the first to admit that this is my biggest distraction. I have a couple of library books piling up, bullet journals and a collection of pens and pencils to doodle with, and a camera standing by to go after “the shot.” But then I see my phone light up and I have to pick it up. Or maybe I pick it up every five minutes or so to make sure I haven’t missed an important Facebook post or see if someone new liked one my Instagram pics. I’m not alone here, right?

Ooh, shiny!

I will give myself a little credit for also being distracted by candlelight (you may recall seeing that in my blog title somewhere). My phone’s current wallpaper does reflect that I like taking pictures of candles. And cocktails next to candles.

Elemental Landscape

I was enjoying the beautiful weather this past Sunday, sitting out on the back porch with a good book. In the back of my mind, I was thinking about this week’s photo challenge to capture one or more of the four elements: earth, wind, fire, and water. From my vantage point on the deck, the one most visibly obvious was earth, as fortunately nothing was on fire and we weren’t in the middle of a hurricane (I did say it was a beautiful day, didn’t I?). But taking a picture of the back yard would not have been very interesting. So instead I tried to find a different point of view.

Elemental landscape

The Sunday Post: Bridges

Bridge in Alum Spring Park, Fredericksburg, Virginia

I’ve tried to start this post multiple times now, the blinking cursor asking me what it is exactly that I want to say. I haven’t figured it out still, which might mean the words aren’t quite ready to be committed to paper, so to speak. I wanted to use this image as the starting point. It would be my entry in the “bridges” photo challenge and the beginning of a story. But I don’t know the end of the story yet, or even at what stage of the story we’re in. Is it the middle? Or are we still setting the scene waiting for the plot to thicken?

I have hopes that this bridge is leading somewhere. That it hasn’t been burned down to ashes just yet.


Since I’m not quite ready to cross this first bridge, I have a different photo submission on this theme, one that I don’t have so much internal conflict over. I’ve tried to challenge myself recently: to be positive, to try to stay above the fray, and to concentrate instead on creative pursuits. I write about this often but must confess that much of the time it’s much easier to talk about it (or write about it) than to actually do it.

I’ve said for weeks now that I need to get up early one day and head down to the river and try to capture a sunrise shot over the Rappahannock, maybe from the Chatham Bridge (the furthest bridge in the second picture below). Some days I even wake up and think to myself: “Get up and go” but just can’t make myself. Today I got up. I brushed my teeth and pulled on some clothes. Didn’t brush my hair — that would have taken too long — and grabbed keys, phone, and my camera and left. I was afraid I was too late. The sun had been up for a few minutes already, and I wasn’t even sure where my best vantage point would be. Turns out I should have headed to the city dock instead of heading to the bridge first. Hard to shoot the bridge while you’re standing on it, but I thought I could shoot in the other direction, toward the railroad trestle. My photos from the bridge aren’t great, but I kind of like a couple of the other ones. And while there aren’t bridges in all of these shots, I’m sharing them with you here anyway. Because maybe they represent a different kind of bridge; one that will help me cross back into the creative world.

Rappahannock River

Bridges over the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg, Virginia


And I even used one of this morning’s shots for a Daily Prompt post – bonus!

The (Sometimes) Solitary Soloist

For me, most of the time solitude means I have time for quiet moments of reflection. Maybe an opportunity for writing, or reading. But for others, a little quiet time is also the perfect time to make some beautiful sounds.

Musician at work. #guitar #musician #theadaptations

A post shared by Marissa Othon (@salsanista) on

(This also gives me another opportunity to plug my husband’s duo, The Adaptations. Check out their website, follow them on Facebook or Instagram, and come out to see them this week at The Kenmore Inn in beautiful and historic downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia.)

My Name or Yours?


About this time seven years ago, my divorce with my first husband became final. It was over a year in the making and was quite often difficult and contentious, as most divorces are I suppose. About half-way through the process, my husband demanded I “give him his name back”. Being a stubborn Taurus woman, as well as a Latina, I refused on the grounds that it was my children’s name and I wanted to share that name with them. So I kept it. But not for long.

Months later I changed my mind. I was in the process of redefining who I was and what was important to me. What I valued and believed in. I was in a new relationship with an old friend. He suggested that going back to my maiden name might help me get back on the path I started to make for myself when I left my home in Panama so many years ago. As is almost always the case, he was right.

Later, when we decided to marry, the question came up again. Keep my name? Take his? There really was never any doubt what I would do. Changing my name to take his would not have made me, or him, feel any more married and bound to each other spiritually or emotionally or even legally. I kept my name this time. So we each have our own name, and no one is quite sure what the right pronunciation is for either of them.

Besides, after going through all the hassle of changing it everywhere (work, emails, bank, DMV, credit cards, insurance, etc., etc.) there was no way I wanted to deal with that again. 🙂




The Resilience of Sammy T’s

A local example of resilience is downtown Fredericksburg’s Sammy T’s restaurant, a local favorite celebrating 30 years in 2016. When it closed unexpectedly in October we found out the building was sold, along with the restaurant on the main level and all of its recipes. Earlier this month we were all happy to see that Sammy’s wasn’t gone forever, just taking a little break and getting a few much-needed renovations in the meantime.

You can read more about it in these stories in our local paper:

Yesterday as I was doing a little window shopping along Caroline Street I passed Sammy T’s and noticed this sign in their window.

A resilient Sammy T's

A resilient Sammy T’s