observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

  • Welcome to my photo journal

    Living on Vancouver Island in B.C. Canada Diane loves the scent of forests and rain, the rhythms of the sea, and holds discoveries and stories in high regard.

    Where mornings begin with a drum roll! --Diane M Schuller

    Updated on random Mondays ... simply an online journal of an ordinary life. Come on in to enjoy a breath of West Coast air.

    A blink of Rome

    After a painful thirteen hours pressed together like sardines, arriving in the city was like diving into a freshly-filled pool on a hot summer’s day. That was our release off the plane and into Rome. The narrow, winding, cobbled streets lined with scooters and a few tiny cars; windows framed with operating shutters; crowds overflowing narrow sidewalks; the Coliseum like an ancient sentinel seen from streets, alleyways and hotel rooms; and an abundance of ostaria and ristorante drawing in either locals or tourists, depending upon a traveler’s foodie-sense.

    view from our hotel in Rome

    Rome was a three-day layover to recover from jet lag and see a few sights before commencing our cruise. We marvelled at the narrow streets, gutsy drivers, yet life was much more laid back when it came to dining, browsing, or taking a stroll.

    streets of RomeDSCN0065

    Of course we saw a few of the sights.

    Coliseum in Rome

    Ancient ruins in Rome

    Trevi Fountain - Rome

    in Rome

    Good food was usually down a narrow and out-of-the way alley.

    dining in Rome

    Scooters outnumber cars. This would be a scooter version of a Porsche, I suspect, for this businessman.

    Businessman on scooter -- Rome

    Of course, there were crowds of tourists everywhere. Joining them was necessary if we too wished to see some of the exotic and priceless art that is abundant, particularly in the Vatican.

    grounds of the Vatican

    Vatican: mosaics & Ceiling art


    Finally, we embark. Our first cruise. Man that ship is big — MS Koningsdam.

    MS Koningsdam

    What I’m sharing in photographs is merely a blink at those I’ve taken. As I begin to share images from our many ports-of-call we experienced on the cruise, those too will merely be blinks.

    My favourite memory of Rome: the utterly flavour-bursting bruschetta like I have never tasted in my life! They were that good! Fresh (grown there), ripe (not trucked), dripping with flavour tomatoes cut in huge chunks over top the most delicious crispy-crusted handmade Italian bread (absolutely no additives), generously drizzled with (grown right there) extra virgin olive oil, with fresh (grown right there) basil torn on top. Simple yes. But I’ve never in my life eaten something with that intensity of natural flavour. Utterly memorable.

    So tell me, what is one of your favourite, or perhaps unique, memories of a trip you have taken?

    Until next Monday my lovelies may you notice the details, enjoy the ride, and savour a favourite memory.

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Lisa Gordon - May 30, 2016 - 7:07 am

    Oh my goodness, Diane, what a wonderful adventure for you!
    It sure looks beautiful there, and oh yes, that is one huge ship!
    I cannot wait to see more photographs as you post them.
    I am so glad that you had a wonderful time.
    Happy Monday to you! xo.

    Susan Clark - May 30, 2016 - 3:27 pm

    This looks like the trip of a lifetime. I get goosebumps when I follow a route through ancient buildings thinking of those who have walked centuries before me.

    Diane - May 30, 2016 - 8:50 pm

    Susan, it truly was a trip of a lifetime. Not something that will ever happen again. Lots and lots of great memories to cherish. I love how your thoughts go to those ancient ruins.

    Diane - May 30, 2016 - 8:51 pm

    Thanks Lisa, I think I may have been chintzy with the photos but I didn’t wish to have them go on and on and on … Have a great week and thank you so much for taking time to leave this lovely note for me.

    Celia - May 30, 2016 - 11:40 pm

    What was wonderful start to your adventure! Rome is so crammed with history, my favourite building is the Pantheon and I’m in awe of the construction (it’s made of concrete!) of that glorious dome with the hole in the centre through which you glimpse the sky.

    It rained when we were in Rome, I remember queuing to get into the Vatican. Then afterwards running to a nearby osteria where we were served spaghetti puttanesca by a lady who could have stepped straight out of a film by Fellini.

    I wonder where you’re going next?

    shawna - May 31, 2016 - 6:58 am

    How wonderful, Diane!! Really can’t wait to go back to Italy some day….but for now it’s great to live vicariously through you and your photos. Would love to see more.

    Jessie Stevens - May 31, 2016 - 7:15 pm

    You capture people and the essence of the street life so well in these shots!

    Sherry G. - June 2, 2016 - 7:31 pm

    It’s so great to check in with you again after a while away and see these fabulous images of ROme. They bring back such wonderful memories of my time there. I identify with your comments about the intense natural flavours of simple food because of the quality of the ingredients. In fact that is one of the things I most remember about my travels throughout Italy. Fresh, flavourful, simple, natural food. It really makes you realize how plastic so much of our food can be.

    Lionel Daneault - June 7, 2016 - 5:55 am

    My favorite Rome anecdote is very personal. While having a lovely dinner with my late wife a little boy with the biggest, darkest eyes came to our table. He asked if we would buy a rose. He looked Romany (gypsy) and had probably been put to the task by his family. I nodded him away but those big eyes had drilled right into my soul. A young waiter watched all this and called him over, The boy’s name was Giorgio and the waiter lifted him up and sat him on his rather spiffy looking scooter. Giorgio was elated, dreaming his boyish dreams of one day becoming just like the kindly waiter. For a week I was haunted by those dark eyes as we rested in the sunshine of a Greek island. On our return to Rome before flying home we overnighted at the same hotel on the Via Margarita and dined at the same little restaurant. When Giorgio came by, this time I bought two of his roses. The smile in those dark eyes was worth more to me than whatever I paid him.

    Like Pearls Slipping off a String

    “After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” — L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Avonlea.

    fallen rhodo blooms in Qualicum Beach BC

    “I live in my own little world. But its ok, they know me here.” — Lauren Myracle

    Yes indeed, I have returned. Though I chose not to ‘announce’ my absence from home for an entire month, it’s now safe to reveal that we’ve been on a month long sojourn cruising the Mediterranean. Yes, I do realize just how fortunate we are though it was a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I will attempt to share snippets of my experiences, photographs, and highlights in future posts. It won’t be a true travelogue but rather a glimpse dropped in from time-to-time.

    As you can tell, I am heartily delighted to be home though I must admit how sore every one of my muscles and joints have been due to all the bending, dead-heading, weeding, and cultivating this huge yard has needed since our return. While my muscles moan, I sing with the delight of being back home to this place that I love.

    golden full moon maple in Qualicum Beach

    “Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic.” — Nora Roberts

    Being without Internet an entire month was no big deal, at all. In fact, when I got back online to check emails and have a brief gander at what I may have missed, the only thing that caught my attention was a nature challenge by David Suzuki. He wrote that many folks spend too much time in front of their screens and too little time outdoors (unfortunately so true). I’m truly in love with nature so David Suzuki’s 30 x 30 challenge to spend 30 minutes in nature over 30 days is a cinch, but one I’m tickled pink (or green) to slide into. Are you up for the challenge? Let’s do it together okay? Breathe barefoot. Find a quiet green place. Kick off your shoes and stand, feeling the earth beneath your feet. Take 100 slow breaths, eyes closed.

    wild foxglove in bud

    home - shoes - comfort

    Until next Monday, may you breathe barefoot, cherish the gentleness of home, and the delights of your own little world.

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Ms S - May 23, 2016 - 11:33 am

    Welcome back Diane! I’m sure your garden missed you too. Enjoy settling back into these loveliest of days. 🙂

    Jesie - May 23, 2016 - 8:20 pm

    Welcome home! You had an adventure- good for you! And good for us- because I bet we will get to see some great pictures too! 🙂

    I like the nature challenge, the days here have been perfect, warm but not hot, slightly breezy, no bugs we’ve been eating outside every night and I’ve been ignoring all the inside things in favor of outside chores- It’s been great- I hope it lasts!

    DIANE J PATMORE - May 25, 2016 - 12:30 am

    Oh! Wonderful! I, too, have been absent.I “ran away” again, to Florida, then Ohio and finally returned last night.So it’s going to take a while to catch up with everyone.But I will write.promise!

    Gabriele - May 25, 2016 - 8:01 pm

    Welcome home! Can’t wait to share some snippets of your adventure. I will take your 30×30 challenge.

    Toffeeapple - May 26, 2016 - 11:11 am

    Good to see you back with us, I hope you enjoyed your cruise and that the weather was kind.

    Candace - May 28, 2016 - 9:32 am

    Home is the best place to be but it sounds like a great and memorable trip. I look forward to some glimpses.

    Lisa Gordon - May 30, 2016 - 7:09 am

    Welcome home, my friend!

    merry melody of spring

    Even before the horizon fully awakens, ribbons of fuchsia, tangerine, and cherry blossom pink sets the backdrop for the spring flutter. Eagles paint shadows over yards and homes and beaches. Birds carving the air, crows calling other birds dirty names, and robins’ merry melody occupy these sunny days. And somewhere in the strength and silence of giant trees is an owl waiting for day to melt into darkness.


    inside a magnolia www.dianeschuller.com

    the inside and outside of a magnolia

    tulips at our front door

    tulips at our front door

    My dear friends, there will be a pause here so no Monday morning postings until mid-May as I will be without Internet access. Until the third week in May may the birds of spring entertain and inspire you.


    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Ms S - April 4, 2016 - 11:41 am

    Ahhh…blue skies and pink trees. What a delightful start to the season!!

    dinahmow - April 4, 2016 - 2:57 pm

    What a poetic opening!In both words and pictures.

    Enjoy your break,Diane.See you next month!

    Gabriele - April 4, 2016 - 3:39 pm

    I will look forward to your lovely pictures in May.

    Lisa Gordon - April 4, 2016 - 3:55 pm

    Magnolias are my very favorite summer flower, Diane, and these are just gorgeous.
    Have a wonderful time away, and I will surely see you when you return.

    Toffeeapple - April 5, 2016 - 3:18 am

    Enjoy the blooms and birds of Spring.

    Jessie Stevens - April 5, 2016 - 8:57 pm

    Your spring blooms are beautiful. I’m sure the mid-may flowers will be too. Enjoy your internet break!

    Candace - April 18, 2016 - 2:03 pm

    Beautiful words and photos, Diane. No internet!?!?!?! I would go nuts but I have a feeling you’ll do just fine 🙂

    coming into leaf

    “The trees are coming into leaf 

    Like something almost being said;”
    –an excerpt from the poem The Tree by Philip Larkin.
    © www.dianeschuller.com
    Qualicum Beach www.dianeschuller.com
    Sorry for being late this week. Oodles of noodles got in the way. Until next Monday, enjoy the sun!
    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Gabriele - March 30, 2016 - 4:49 am

    I really am enjoying the sun. Your pictures are beautiful.

    Ms S - March 30, 2016 - 11:39 am

    Oooooo…..so gorgeous! Given how beautiful your winter garden is, your spring garden must be absolutely breathtaking.

    Lisa Gordon - March 30, 2016 - 4:05 pm

    What beautiful colors here, Diane.
    Some of our early spring flowers are starting to bloom, but I am so concerned, because over the next week, we are in for some very, very cold weather. I’m going to try to cover as many as I can at night, but…

    Keeping my fingers crossed.

    Wishing you a wonderful spring week, my friend.

    Ine - March 31, 2016 - 12:21 am

    Beautiful photography! I love the second o e the most.

    stephanie young - March 31, 2016 - 12:26 pm

    so pretty….we’re slowly finding spring around town, too….some dogwoods in full bloom, others still budding….daffs are just about gone….azaleas just about out!

    Candace - April 18, 2016 - 2:04 pm

    Dreamy images!

    how simple a thing is

    “We write to taste life twice.” — Anais Nin
    DSC_4272herring fishery on Salish Sea ©Diane M Schuller

    Eagles gathered with the squabble of seagulls — anticipating and scavenging as the herring run on the Salish Sea began this past week. Sea lions, fat as slugs, stalked and barked, then floated in their rafts after an earnest gorging. Orcas skimmed the shore hopeful for unsuspecting or inattentive seals. All the while, armies of fishermen netted gleans of herring. According to the local newspaper, over 4.4 million pounds of herring were captured in 10 days.

    sea lions at French Creek marina ©Diane M Schuller

    sea lions ©Diane M SchullerDSC_4296

    the fat slugs … er, sea lions!

    Friends stayed with us for five days this past week so we covered as much local territory as possible in those few days. With all the herring, the resident eagles were fending off all the intruding eagles, though it made for great viewing by our guests. The only thing I didn’t photograph were the eagles: without a serious zoom lens, it is impossible to capture their magnificence in a photo.

    getting snaps of the sealions

    fascinated onlookers getting a few snaps

    unloading at French Creek marina, herring season ©Diane M Schuller

    unloading at French Creek marina, herring season 2016 ©Diane M Schuller

    unloading their catch

    plum blossoms, spring in Qualicum Beach, BCDSC_4310DSC_4314

    plum blossoms in our neighbourhood

    “I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.” — Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek.

    tulips in the guest room www.dianeschuller.com

    tulips in the guest room

    “I love tulips better than any other spring flower; they are the embodiment of alert cheerfulness and tidy grace, and next to a hyacinth look like a wholesome, freshly tubbed young girl beside a stout lady whose every movement weighs down the air with patchouli. Their faint, delicate scent is refinement itself; and is there anything in the world more charming than the sprightly way they hold up their little faces to the sun. I have heard them called bold and flaunting, but to me they seem modest grace itself, only always on the alert to enjoy life as much as they can and not be afraid of looking the sun or anything else above them in the face.” — Elizabeth von Arnim, Elizabeth and Her German Garden

    Until next Monday my friends may you gather with friends, submit to happiness and the simple things. Nothing else.

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    steph - March 21, 2016 - 8:15 am

    what a lovely weekend you had…..spring has most definitely sprung!

    Lisa Gordon - March 21, 2016 - 10:12 am

    What fun for you and your guests, Diane!
    Now that’s a “whole lotta” herring.
    I love that precious little face of the sea lion.
    I think they are the sweetest creatures.

    Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

    Susan Clark - March 21, 2016 - 11:41 am

    Doing the tourist thing in your own backyard is always fun. I hope we are not depleting the herring like we did the cod. So much of the food chain relies on it.

    Mary - March 21, 2016 - 4:18 pm

    My goodness what a beautiful place to call home. Thank you for those pictures and the uplift of spring flowers–my favorites. You make a gray day sunny, Diane.


    Toffeeapple - March 22, 2016 - 9:12 am

    How I wish that I could see Eagles!

    For knitters & sewers — all wrapped up

    I accomplished one of my knitting goals for 2016 — I knit my first fair isle project. A wee little baby hat made from stash yarn. It was an incredibly simple little pattern and I had no issues with the process. So now I plan to move on to making even more projects like this in the coming year. I have two Salish-inspired items I hope to tackle plus a traditional Lopi Icelandic sweater intended for wearing next winter. Oh and who is this wee hat for you wonder? I don’t know yet, though it will definitely end up as a gift to someone with a new baby or expecting a baby in the near future.

    fair isle baby hat || www.dianeschuller.com

    fair isle catching floats

    For those of you who gift your luscious hand knits (or other handmade items such as quilts, etc.), do you have any photos of them? I’d love to add some to a new board I’ve created at Pinterest. The reason I’m ‘collecting’ them is to see how you wrap up those handmade gifts and to share with others for inspiration. With all the photos I take, I’ve realized I haven’t taken a single image of any of my hand knit gift items.

    I’ve come across a few photos recently, and love how enticingly some people have ‘wrapped’ up their knits (or sewn items) to gift to someone. I tend to really be drawn to the items that remain revealed but perhaps have a simple thick luscious ribbon or bow to show them off. Like this one or like the one below, for instance:

    from Ravelry

    From now on, I’m going to try to remember to take a photo of the items I make and gift before I hand them off to the recipient. I’d really love if you would share a link to any of your photographs of hand made fabrics that you’ve wrapped simply and beautifully.

    wrapped baby blanket

    This baby blanket is wrapped so cute with the baby booties and ribbon matching each other.

    Two weeks in a row my post has been just for the knitters or those who loving knitting. Next week I’ll move on to a different subject. I’ll see what unfolds in the coming days.

    daffodils ©Diane M Schuller

    Until next Monday may you wrap yourself in all your favourite activities, surround yourself with friends, and enjoy the sights and fragrances of spring.

    French Creek marina ©Diane M Schuller

    Tweet thisFollow me on TwitterPin thisshare on Facebook
    Lisa Gordon - March 15, 2016 - 6:02 pm

    Diane, the hat is wonderful!
    Someone will be so very happy to receive it, I am sure.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful creations here, my friend. xo.

    Toffeeapple - March 17, 2016 - 3:15 am

    The little hat looks very good, I recently knitted one but the yarn made the pattern, not my needles. I do enjoy knitting in the round.

    I like your image of the port very much.

    steph - March 19, 2016 - 4:46 pm

    nice job on the fair isle!!!! and so nice that you have already lined up more!!!! I’m sort of itching to get some on the needles, too….must concentrate a bit more, but soooo worth it!

    Andi - March 27, 2016 - 5:13 pm

    I love the idea of wrapping gift knits in a special way. Look forward to checking out your Pinterest board for inspiration.

    Your little colorwork hat is absolutely wonderful! The colors you chose are glorious.

    Ann - May 10, 2016 - 9:08 pm

    Hi Diane, just read about your request for pictures of ways we “wrap up” our handmade items, so thought I’d share mine. I roll up my quilts and tie them with ribbon or twine, and attach a little note to the back of my business card. Hopefully you can read it clearly! I can’t pin it to your board, but here is the link: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/a2/53/da/a253dad742846308e2f94564ac352ced.jpg

    Laura Baylis - July 4, 2016 - 7:18 am


    Your art work is beautiful. I aspire to have a 1/10th of your talent and eye. I can only hope and continue on with my photography classes and home attempts.

    I will continue to watch your site, it’s just so beautiful. You’re a very talented lady.