Love is Where You Find It

Oh my sweetums, one day, right here at the Porterosa, I went in search of hearts. Because sometimes a girl needs signs of love from the universe, just sayin’.

And I found them EVERYWHERE. A veritable plethora of love signs.

hearts root

On the ground.

Heart leaf

Fallen from trees.

hearts rock

Cast by shadow.

hearts tree blog

Created by fleeting light.

hearts web

And spun by Charlotte (with a little help, perhaps, from a pony nose. Or not.)

Lessons learned:

  • Open your eyes.
  • Open your mind.
  • Whatever you’re looking for is right there in front of you.

 Technical info: All photos taken using an iPone 4S. Point. Shoot. Dat’s all.

As always, my best best BEST beloveds, if you like what you see here please tell me about it in the comments below. And share it with your friends. I’ll be your best friend if you do. Really. I’ll sit with you at lunch. Play with you during recess. And if you pin it, I might even do your homework.

Pinky swear.


Summer in the Garden

Ah my sweetums, it’ SUMMERTIME!!!

Melons! Flipflops! Corn on da cobb!!!

Now if I was a little kid I’d be whining right about now how bored I was with vacation. 

And my mother would be telling me there was laundry to fold, dishes to wash, furniture to polish. Then off she’d go to work, leaving me with a couple of older siblings calling the shots. Or she’d pack us off to Nana and the family summer place on the Long Island Sound where the beach was a one minute walk. And the hammock under the oaks was the best place to read Nancy Drew. 

And the front porch was perfect for lobing water balloons at passing teenagers, the BIG kids, y’know..

All theses years later (and no, I’m not going to tell you how many) my summer vacay consisted of jumping out of bed early, what FirstBorn calls the butt crack of dawn, to be showered and dressed and semi-coherent before a herd of pickup trucks and landscapers descended on the property like a colony of worker bees in Levis.

Because after nearly twenty years of living here, Mr. Spouse and I decided it was time, way past time, to pretty up the property. To define a little patch of civilized garden between the house and the forest that surrounds us. For years we’ve been building rock walls and terraces because we’re good at making things. But since neither one of us had a clue what to do about plants, we hired a designer. And a contractor.  Got the soil prepped and the irrigation in. 

And then the plants came. I took a week off from work to greet them.


from the Shadows and Reflection Series
©2013 Susan Lobb Porter

Did I mention this is summer? That it’s hot?


from the Shadows and Reflections Series’
@2013 Susan Lobb Porter

I spent most of the week running around with the hose. Hand watering precious little green things still in the can. Or newly planted but not quite in the irrigation system yet. Telling them this was their forever home and they would be very happy here. Please don’t die!



We’re still not finished. The next wave of plants comes this week. The icing on the cake according to the designer. And after that there will be more as I grow into this. Already I know that the three old fashioned English roses, the ones that smell divine, will not be enough. I can move this and that and have room for a couple more.

And I see spots for bulbs. For Day Lillies and Daffodils. And those whatchamacallems with the big poofy flowers. And up in the little orchard I’ve been assured there’s room for two more fruit trees. I’m thinking Nectarine and French Plum will go nicely with the Apples and Pear. With native wildflowers growing between them.

I suspect that this garden will further blur the lines between LIFE and ART. Plans are growing in my head for sculptures. For wild haired crazy women spirits among the trees. Assemblage! Mosaic! Whatever…they will evolve as the garden evolves.

One Step at a Time
from the Shadows and Reflections Series
©2013 Susan Lobb Porter

But for now there’s more work to do. And I have to keep at it, one step at a time.


Are you a gardener? I’d love to hear about your favorite plants and adventures in the comments below, especially if you know anything about zone 9. I think it’s 9. Snows some in winter, hot in summer. That sound like zone 9 to you?

And remember, if you share this on FaceBook I will eat chocolate for you! What’s not to like about that???

Shadows and Reflections

“Summer in the deep South is not only a season, a climate, it’s a dimension. Floating in it, one must be either proud or submerged.” Eugene Walter, The Untidy Pilgrim

Last week the weather was so HOT, so sticky sultry all consuming miserable, I could’ve been in Florida. Or Texas. Or some place sane Yankees don’t venture to in July. I know because back when Daddy was alive and my parents retired to Florida I used to have to go there every summer for his birthday. For his ‘this might be the last birthday’ guilt-trip vacation.

I’m NOT a fan of Florida. NOT. At. All. But my children have fond memories of those southern summers: beaches with holy roller baptisms and alligators all in the same day, giant grasshoppers and cute little armadillos squished into the pavement alongside the highways and back roads.

But the thing that impressed them the most was the exploding cow.

She was dead, lying in a field and puffing up in the summer heat like a bovine balloon. Until. She. Popped. I kid you not. And let’s just leave it at that, okay?

So I know something about summer. Sultry heat. Know something about what Eugene Walter means by that quote up above. And last week, in the hills of northern California, far far from the deep south, I let the heat get the best of me. Let it wring me out like an old sweaty rag and leave me shuffling through life limp and cranky.

I’d walk into the studio, look around and walk out again. Over and over and over. Couldn’t think of what to do, couldn’t get the creativity rolling when simply being worked up a sweat.

Just when it looked like my life was one big creative sputter (drumroll please) ta-da… I started another online photography class with Catherine Just, In Plain Sight.

Handsprings! Backflips! Da Muse is back in town!

The assignment: pick a topic and photograph it for 30 days. Well, you know what happened the last time…the pony series. Which is still going strong 170 something days later.

I had to pick a new subject for this class. But I was hot and cranky, remember, and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. On the first day I had to run an errand downtown and I came across this.

Shadows and Reflections #1 Susan Lobb Porter

Shadows and Reflections #1
Susan Lobb Porter

The lines and shadows intrigued me. I thought of all the ways I could take that concept. Shadows. Paths that I walk. Lines. Convergence. The possibilites were making me crazy until I decided to let the photos lead the way.

Day two took a slightly different turn. I woke up early, around 6. The sky was yellow and heavy with smoke from a distant fire. I lay in bed thinking so much for shadows.

But I was wrong.

Shadows and Reflections #2

Shadows and Reflections # 2
Susan Lobb Porter

I caught sight of this on the wall as I went to take the dogs out. Aha! Heat, dull sky…mystery. Time to sacrifice another chicken to da muse. (Disclaimer: No chickens, except for the one that went into last night’s chicken salad, were sacrificed to the cause)

Day three dawned bright and sunny. And hot. I did say hot, right? First thing in the morning, probably between 6 or 7, I went down to feed the horses. But my shadow wouldn’t cooperate, she stayed behind me.

Shadows and Reflections #3

Shadows and Reflections #3
Susan Lobb Porter

No matter how fast I moved, how much I twisted, she was there where she wanted to be. As long as I remain in the light my shadow self will always be there. 

Day four. 6 AM. Same time of day, same wall but look at the difference between this and day two. 

Shadows and Reflections # 4 Susan Lobb Porter

Shadows and Reflections # 4
Susan Lobb Porter

The sun was bright, the light against the wall shifting and changing by the minute. I hurried to take a few shots before taking the dogs out. But the windows needed to be shut against the promise of the morning heat as well.

Dogs won.

Day five. Puppy potty break before bed. I never noticed it before but the lights on the patio cast two shadows. Two illusions of me connected , overlapping at the lower legs  like a couple of conjoined twins.

Shadows and Reflections # 5 Susan Lobb Porter

Shadows and Reflections # 5
Susan Lobb Porter

Bean decided to come between them. Did he prefer one over the other, I wonder? Did he even know they were there? Oh man, getting way too existential here. Whatever. I think this is an interesting image.

Day six. Early morning. On my way to feed the horses. I stopped at the top of the front porch steps and thought holy crap! Visions of good stuff all around me!

Shadows and Reflections # 6 Susan Lobb Porter

Shadows and Reflections # 6
Susan Lobb Porter

Shadows. Lines. Angles. I was AWASH in creative inspiration.

Day seven. DearDaughter’s birthday. It was evening. I was in her old room, the one she painted hot pink the year she was 16. The only light came in through windows to the north and east. There wasn’t much, just enough to catch me sitting on her bed.

Twenty-six years, almost to the minute, that she was born.

Shadows and Reflections # 7 Susan Lobb Porter

Shadows and Reflections # 7
Susan Lobb Porter

And here I was twenty-six years later, sitting on her bed taking pictures of my shadow. Thinking about the time that passed. Wondering where it went. My baby’s milestones…learning to walk, learning to talk. Going to school. Graduating from Berkeley. Where she’s been. Where she’ll go. Future milestones she’s yet to define. 

And then I realized those memories were like the shadows, shifting and changing over time. The only thing about them that remains consistant is the love. And that’s good enough for me.

Because no one need the daily reality of exploding cows, now, do they?

Technical info: All photos were taken using an iPhone 4s. There was a little tweaking involved in PhotoShop with some of them but not too much.

So that’s it, m’dearies. What I did on my summer vacation. Oh wait, I’m not on vacation. Okay, what I did the first week of July, the first week of In Plain Sight. There’ll be more next week. Perhaps some painting as well. So come on back and check it out.

Meanwhile, as always, if you liked this post please share it with your friends the world the whole freakin’ UNIVERSE. I’ll give you a pony if you do. Or  chocolate, yes, chocolate. Which I’ll eat for you and enjoy very much.

XOXOXO Heart emoticons here because you are my best best best beloveds.

But you KNEW that, didn’t you?

Now go share this post, okay? And thanks for the chocolate.





Heat Wave



It’s hot. Too hot to write without whining. So I’m going to take a break from blogging for a few days. 

Meanwhile, here’s a peek at my new digital series, The Bottom of the Bowl.

Bottom of the Bowl # 5
Susan Lobb Porter

I’ll tell you more about it next week.

When it cools down.