Monthly Archives: August 2014

If …


… it were necessary to come back to earth as another creature after our human experience I think one of these magnificent creatures would be a good choice. They are near the top of the food chain among creatures that fly; just check that cutlery out … those talons are about an inch and a half long … they hang out near water and have perches overlooking some of the most beautiful waterfront property you can imagine. Some aspects of life as a wild creature may not appeal to everyone though … every day is a survival day for them as they have to find and kill their own food … no days off … no medical care … they are free as a bird with the caveat that they work each day, no days off. Still, to soar like this … sure, why not, work and no days off is nothing new.


So we are into the labor day weekend … time off from work … the end of summer and time with friends and loved ones … I like the human experience and that which we have in common with other creatures on our little planet.


Back Monday … tis a wee bit late.


Share a smile and enjoy your life and the part you play in the continuing and ever changing symphony that is life on planet earth.






I ask no odds of any man, I am not one that follies sway.

I am the source of my rewards, I do my work each day.


Max Ehrmann

In time

in time

… the new and fresh becomes the newly departed or nearly so … mostly we are used to seeing the vibrant blooms at the peak of their life cycle and when that passes we forget them … we go for the blooms just coming into their full beauty … yesterday’s bloom a memory soon added to the compost pile.


I took this shot of a Hibiscus at Eric and Jo’s home this afternoon; the lighting was not great, the bloom had taken a beating from the afternoon rain and too, it was well past prime and tomorrow it’s life will have been spent. The well defined veins that brought life to the petals are sagging and its glory is gone, but there is a beauty and radiance that tells us it was a good life and the rain drops are tears of joy sharing these last moments before continuing their descent to nourish new blooms and life continues …


I seldom wait for just the right light, or only shoot perfection … life can be a little messy and I like to shoot what we all see during the day as we are up and about. Ideal conditions for photography are not the conditions we spend most of our life in. They are beautiful moments, but so are all the ones that fall between the ideal moments … like this Hibiscus bloom … like us.


Enjoy the day … the rain finally arrived this afternoon and rather than reflect on reforming myself I turned the music off, opened the door and took a nap whilst listening to the beautiful sound of rain … in silence and solitude.


Wednesday well underway … 6:30 at the Hilton … Anthony is playing a gig in San Francisco tonight so he will not be there, but there will be delightful conversation and very nice people; hope you will join us.






PS time on the 6th has been changed to 1:30P from 10:30A. I am delighted, more time for espresso before the event.




Sleep sweetly now that the gates of the crimson night are closed,

and leave tomorrow’s struggle for tomorrow;

The earth is peaceful, only the stars and still moon are abroad, and they wage no war.


Max Ehrmann

The pillow

Cloud Pillow

… it only seems appropriate to find One taking a dreamy rest on the softest pillow you can imagine and clutching another pillow to rest her paw on. Such is life in the ether and the unknown is just a few thousand feet away from us … maybe closer … I successfully negotiated an 80 degree bank to get the heck out of the way and there was still a lot of sky left for me to play in. One has made things a little difficult for me tonight as she has been crashed on my Wacom Tablet for the past hour so I had to use a mouse instead of my pen to complete the merger of images … oh well, here she is. NO, it is not an option for me to move her off the tablet … I do have to sleep sometime and the fear of her wrath would prevent sleep if I did move her … check those claws out … smiling.


You can buy tickets for the September 6th Salon, Photography and Philosophy, 10:30A to 12N at the Mary D. Fisher theater in West Sedona, ONLINE. The link to buy tickets is:


The link to the story on the Sedona Film Festival website is:


Andrea and I spent some time this afternoon at the theater projecting images on the screen checking lighting and all the good stuff and we were very happy that the images retain their sharpness and more importantly the color is excellent.


The first salon will feature sixty photographs on the topic “Life … Ours and other creatures” and the discussion will weave the joy of life within the framework within which I view it. Am I doing okay Andrea? Just kidding and we’re looking forward to having you attend and join in the discussion.


Have a beautiful day today … hoping the rain will start pretty soon … what a beautiful way to go to sleep, windows open and the sound of rain on the roof and ground … freshly washed breezes flowing through the house.


Share your joy, smiles always work, and give a hand to someone who needs it.


Cheers and hope to see you on the 6th at the Mary D. Fisher theater … 10:30AM




I’ll not bother to reform myself today.

Perhaps tomorrow — if it is raining,

and I must stay indoors, and meditate

on the shortcomings of life.


Max Ehrmann


the dance

Dance partners

… with engine silent the dance begins thousands of feet above the clouds … paths are chosen as you descend to cloud level and then the fun as you wheel through cloud canyons picking paths, cranking and banking to music only you can hear and then you emerge below them … engine back on and climb another five thousand feet to begin again …


I took this shot this afternoon. Cloud base was around 11,000’ and the tops around 12,500’. This shot was taken from about 16,000’ … and through the clouds center right is the Sedona Airport more than two miles below me … I was to the SE about six miles. My average sink rate was about 200’ per minute so I had around seven minutes of each dance in the beauty of the cloud canyons. The time above the clouds picking the paths I would take were fun too and much cranking and banking partly to position myself for a clean run and partly just for the heck of it because I could. Two days of this and maybe tomorrow I will have to do it again. The lift was fabulous too, but I had to turn the engine on to go on top. Much other stuff done over the weekend, but what can compete with cloud dancing? Nada!


For those who wish to join me Wednesday at 6:30P, I have a table for twelve at the Hilton, 6:30P and Anthony Mazzella will be performing again. Hope you will join us as it is a great time and you get to meet some very neat people. Let me know and if we need more seating we can arrange that too … they like to sell food and drink.


Will have the PDF flyer for the Photography/Philosophy salon that Andrea Houchard and I are doing at the Mary D. Fisher Theater; first one is September 6, 10:30AM and I will include ordering information for tickets which I am told will be available tomorrow. The first salon is on “Life … Ours and other creatures”. The second one is October 4th at 1:30 and will be on “Where we live … the outer and inner worlds” and the last one on November 1st at 1:30 will be “The abstract and imagined … the artist unleashed”. It should be an enjoyable outing and perhaps you will find a new way of thinking about life and all the joy there is in it. I view the world and all creation in a somewhat unique framework and there is purpose in every shot I take … not that I always succeed in getting what I want because I don’t … but the score is pretty good :+) The photo tonight is to present the dance floor I was on and to take you with me through the beauty of the clouds … there is a certain joy in the freedom of wheeling silently through these ephemeral canyons.


Have a wonderful day and week … this moment is beautiful, it is filled with joy … it is all that there is until the next moment arrives … keep it going






At nightfall…though I know I shall sometime no more

Open my eyes to the light or day, I am one who looks at stars when

Unchained from the work-bench at Nightfall.

They are a sign that I am not ephemeral,

Not you, nor you, whoever you are.

The dawn comes and the dark and the sign sparkling in the brooding night,

Forever and forever.


Max Ehrmann


Living within

the face

… orchids are strange creatures and their various parts function to oversee the pollination and continuation of the species … thought of a few other descriptions, but will let them go for now. Looked up the parts of an orchid and they take away the mystery of this beautiful flower and describe the living mystery as though it were just another item in a Sears Catalog … remember them? Anyhow, enjoy the inner beauty of this orchid … pure function is always beautiful.


My grandfather Pearson built a Sears and Roebuck Kit home back in the 1920’s in Minneapolis, Minnesota and I have photographs of him on the scaffolding as he constructed it. My brother Bruce showed the home to me on one of my last visits to the cities and it is still standing and looking good … walking distance to the Mississippi River south of Lake Street. Seems that you could buy one of those kits for less than a thousand dollars which in today’s dollars would be about twelve thousand dollars which is still a bargain … if you could find it for that. John Albert was a great carpenter and cabinet maker from Sweden and later after Corky and I were married he taught me the trade … he was a hard taskmaster … a half hour lecture on how to hold a hammer … yikes … but I learned and finished off several basements for Corky and I and friends back in the Twin Cities.


We’re into the weekend … have fun … share a smile with friends and tell them you love them … like why not?






Hold high your head and be an honest man.

May kindness guide your daily steps

And in each deed and thought let Christ’s sweet soul always reflect itself,

And love your fellow men as I love you.

May words unkind and false ne’er pass your lips,

Nor harsh and low ambitions drive you on.


Max Ehrmann

from Breaking Home Ties


(thank you Jogi)




… when all is said and done the beauty around us is simply there like this rose bloom, sharing its little role in creation … maybe it is a big role though in the calming of humans … it is beautiful … it is simple … until you peer inside.


A long and wonderful day … a lot of writing … dinner with friends at the Hilton and the magical music of Anthony Mazzella. I have a standing reservation for twelve every Wednesday at 6:30P at the Hilton, so please come and join me. Reservation is in my name so just ask for the Grussing party and they’ll bring you in. Everyone gets separate checks and the service like the food is very good. Last year Corky and I started this when she was on hospice and we had up to twenty join us … usually around ten and it just feels right to do it again. Reminders every Monday morning :+) They let us order off the bar menu and a good cheeseburger with fries or salad only around $12.00.


More writing and gem cutting on tap today … a walk or so … a party late afternoon … Game of Thrones in the evening.


Smile at someone you meet today (more than one person is okay … don’t stop there) and remember the beauty and this rose.






While yet we talk and linger late at parting,

And this say o’er each day as my last words,

Success will come by love and trust and work.


Max Ehrmann


It rained


… and I lounged around this morning drinking espresso, listening to the rain and making major revisions in my book. Talked to my friend Alice tonight who was expecting a proof to begin her meticulous and inspired editing last week … alas she received nothing, but next week it will begin and the focus has changed completely … I like it better too. As we discussed tonight there are things you just have to write, but then come back and say goodbye to and that has been the process I have been going through the past several months.


There are aspects of the life that Corky and I shared that were absolutely wonderful to write about, reliving many of the terrific moments that filled our lives and now it is time to put them back into the ether shared only by she and I … forever.


So the book is transmuted into my view of life as shaped by the life and love that Corky and I shared and expressed through my writings and photography … after the first few chapters it will take on the look and feel of these daily missives and photos and be organized into the five categories I will be following in the Salons at the Mary Fisher Theater beginning September 6th at 10:30AM.


Current title is “Life … Love … Forever

through the eye, lens and mind of Ted Grussing”

Without question it will change, but provides a framework within which to function.


I like this shot of a Gambols Quail keeping a vigilant watch for danger. The males keep a watchful eye while the rest of the clan feed and is able to provide warning of danger and their explosive entry into flight will startle and distract many predators.


Way into Wednesday and it will be filled with writing and stone cutting … both a pleasure. In the evening it will be dinner at the Hilton and anyone who would like to join in is welcome to show up. Around 6:30PM and Anthony Mazzella will be playing also … think we will resume the Wednesday night dinners there again like we did last year. So if you would like to join us either show up or give me a call so I can reserve a large enough table.


Have a terrific day and enjoy the moment and share a smile even if only with your reflection in a mirror :+)






With all its sham drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be careful. Strive to be happy.


Max Ehrmann

Moving out


… this is a shot I took of a Great Blue Heron earlier this year and he is moving out with grace to wherever … feeling the same as a trip back east is coming up. A long day in Phoenix and Scottsdale today, but fun; visited with friends, picked up a number of jobs at my goldsmiths and dinner with a friend before heading home. I was quite full, but made a stop at In N Out Burgers anyhow as I needed a fix of their fries and a chocolate shake. I am currently paying the price with that uncomfortable feeling you get when you have eaten too much and question whether or not it was worth the price … when I am feeling better in the morning I will declare that it was.


Yesterday on the way down to Phoenix at the top of the mountain coming out of Camp Verde I had the tread on a front tire separate from the tire … two new tires from Discount Tire in Scottsdale today. Tonight on the return trip I pulled over at the top of the hill north bound to take a few minute nap and when I woke the van would not start … Another AAA call. Same location but different side of the Interstate. I did get it started before they got there and called it off. Need to go fly again :+)


Have a terrific day and give thanks for all that is and smile






Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am;

and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me,  and I come not within

sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life;

and for time’s olden memories that are good and sweet; and may

the evenings twilight find me gentle still.


Max Ehrmann




… in geologic time … nourishment … refreshment … the continuing evolutionary process sculpting the earth and presenting new vistas if only we were here long enough to appreciate the beauty see it all unfold. What some see as rain providing nourishment to the forest, others relief from the heat, some a beautiful airscape of a beautiful part of this planet is all of that and more … it is the slow and continual shaping of the planet evolving from what we see to a much different vista in perhaps a million years … a sculpture in progress. Just as I enjoy watching John work on the clay forms removing a little here and adding a little there and eventually the clay lump becomes a beautiful piece of art I also enjoy watching nature sculpt the earth. Though I will never see the final version I do believe it is beautiful now and I can only imagine what it will look like eons from now. So I enjoy the now … this is a moment I have and can appreciate.


I took the shot yesterday around 1:30PM at about 8,000’ heading towards Sycamore Canyon. In the lower right quadrant you can see Enchantment Resort in Boynton Canyon which is a side canyon to Long Canyon which runs vertically on the right side of the photo. West fork is above center line although you cannot really see it unless you know where to look. On the horizon from the left you have Sitgreaves Mountain with a smoke plume coming up from the left side; next is Kendrick Peak, then the San Francisco Peaks and finally Mt. Elden. Storm cells are pounding the surface as they wander around the plateau gradually shaping the earth below and the runoff providing the means for erosion and the deepening and widening of washes and canyons … wind driven rain adds a little acceleration and perhaps new angles carved into the rocks … lets come back for another look in say 100,000 years and see how it has changed …


Laid down and took a nap at 10:30P, woke at 2:30A, should have got up and done this email, turned off all the lights in the house and gone back to bed … instead I did neither … I resumed my sleep.


A very busy day seeing friends in Phoenix, and picking up some jobs, dinner with a friend at the Cheesecake Factory and then home to One … and another photo and thoughts on the beauty that is our lives … in the present always.


Share a smile and have a beautiful day




PS made the image a little larger this morning to fill your screen :+)


Thou. Great God, uphold me also in the lonely hour; and though I fall in the din and the dust of the world, resurrect Thou me.

Even to the last, turn my hands to kindly service, and part my lips in gleeful songs of love.

And in the softly falling dark, when all grows strangely still,

May I be glad to have trod the sweet green earth, and know the tender touch of love.

Yet may I depart with joy, as one who journeys home at evening.


Max Ehrmann




… this was my last morning to feed the hummers in Eric’s yard and I decided to try a new lens combination to see if I could get a little more depth of field and also get closer to the birds so that I could make up for the loss of long glass reach. I used the EF 70-200 mm f/2.8 IS II USM telephoto lens with the Series III 1.4 extender to give me an effective 98 – 280mm zoom lens. I took the shot from about 12’ at 280mm f/5.6, 1600th second. ISO 400 and with an effective depth of field of 2.1 inches which is more than double what I was getting with the 400mm lens. Also I am getting better at holding a spot focus in el servo mode (continuous focus) on the little hummers. Net result I had 70 plus keepers out of 126 shots and the additional DOF allows the wings to be in better focus. Probably going to try bumping the ISO to 800 or 1600 and stopping the lens down to F/18 which would give me a DOF of more than 6 inches. Think I’ll give it a try later this morning and see what happens. If you use the entry level DSLR’s or fixed lens cameras you are better off keeping the ISO to about 400 or less as the high ISO settings can introduce a lot of noise in the image … compensate by using a larger lens opening.


I really like this photo of the Rufous hummer and the background of the flower bed with diffuse colors wonderfully out of focus. He has a deposit of pollen on his bill from the flowers he was feeding on and as he entered successive flowers to feed he completed the pollination process so that the cycle of life would continue not just for him, but also for the plants on which he feeds. Life is kind of like that where there is an interconnectivity and interdependence among all species; an act or absence of an act can have a ripple effect all the way down the chain. We are conscious of that … at least some of the time … good to think about the effects of what we do or do not do and see where choices can work to make things and life a little nicer for us and others … should I really throw that wad of gum on the street? Ever come home with a mass of the sticky stuff on your shoe? Ever wonder about the mindset of the person who discarded it? Ever wish … smiles


We’re entering another weekend … the week is “fini”, some chapters of our lives are “fini” and life is continuing as new chapters unfold. Embrace the past, love the moment and smile when thinking of the next moment … you will arrive with a smile on your face … and on the faces of those you meet each day.


Back on Monday … have fun!




But from the brooding beauty of the night, and daily dancing shafts of golden sun …

The mystery and wonder of the world … that play the soundless music of the soul

And fill the heart with memory’s olden dreams … From these will come at last your faith in God.


Max Ehrmann