Weekly Photo Challenge–Unfocused (and focused were crossing a bridge…)

My daughter Bea thought her choice was made–a very good New England liberal arts college for women.  Cozy and friendly, safe and secure.  Then Stanford, a huge University with 16,000 students and a daunting reputation, offered her a place and very generous financial aid packet.

One day her path seemed settled, the next day she was on an airplane bound for San Francisco.  This blurry image, taken on the airplane, is the face of a high school senior trying to concentrate on socialistic realism for her history assignment.  But she is having difficulty focusing on her homework.  Was she afraid that she wouldn’t like Stanford?  Or that she would?

She tried to keep an open mind as she looked around.

It was pretty to look at.

Much to reflect on…

Athena, goddess of wisdom, which shall it be?  Door Number One, Door Number Two, or Door Number Three?

Bea had a good look.

And a good think.


And went home.


She chose Stanford.



  1. leecarlsonyoga says:

    Congratulations to Bea and to all of you. Sounds like a great choice with plenty of opportunity and it will be nice to have her closer to home. Do you think she will have room in her dorm closet for everyone to sleep
    when we all come to visit?
    I love the airplane image. I can see both you and Con in that reflection.

    1. Thanks, Lee. It’s mostly a relief to us all, and especially to Bea, just to have the decision made. She’s the kind of kid who could be happy almost anywhere, and that’s why this was so hard a decision for her. I am confident she will be happy and do fine there.

  2. TheOthers1 says:

    I’m glad she was able to make a choice. I remember that process well (and am about to jump into again for my phd). Lovely photolog of the process. 🙂

    1. Wow! That is a huge step. It’s very exciting that you are going back. Have you chosen your school? Was it a hard choice? I congratulate you and wish you all the very best. I hope you will keep us all posted!

  3. Stanford, thats great! How exciting…
    The pictures were nice too.

    1. Thanks, Maggie. I thought it might be too big, but it helped to go see with our own eyes, and talk to the kids there. I was afraid it would feel snobby, but the kids were friendly and seemed happy. Every time we got lost, there was someone who was glad to point us in the right direction. I suppose that’s what this post was about–finding her way.

  4. Carol says:

    Good for Bea! And good for you, the one who instilled the values.

    1. Dear Carol, thank you so much, but I can’t take any credit for this kid. Both my kids just came out, not exactly fully formed, but as their own little person. I just kind of sit back and enjoy the show. I actually learn a lot by watching them. I never worked so hard as they work kids in school today, and I think I need to be better at taking risks. I guess that’s why I marvel at the kids and the choices they make.
      Oh, I am going to miss her when she goes away to college!

  5. June and Haskell says:

    As I have said before – I am proud to be able to say hello to such talented people. May your tribe increase! ! !

    1. Dear June and Haskell, thank you! You always make me smile. Connecting with you both was an unexpected and delightful way to increase the tribe! Love, Naomi

  6. Betsy Tobin says:

    That is excellent! Congratulations! xox

    1. Thanks, Betsy. I can’t believe my last little chick is practically launched. I hope you are well. I love receiving announcements of your latest shows–as always, they look extremely artistic and engaging and avant-garde. I wish we lived closer. Thanks so much for stopping by, and for taking the time to say hello. I bet Jesse is as tall as you are now!

  7. I enjoyed this a lot. My youngest son Christian is just now starting the exploration of colleges – so many exciting times ahead. Congratulations to all!


    1. Hi Beth, it is a scary and exciting time. As I watched my two kids going through this process, I thought of Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Less Traveled.” I had no idea that the choices I was making at eighteen or twenty-one or twenty-five would take me down roads I could never have anticipated, and that there was no going back. Our instincts are usually the best compass. I wish Christian all the best on his journey. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  8. Samir says:

    Congrats to Bea. I love how you presented the story 🙂

    1. Thank you, Samir. I’ll pass that on to her. I really just meant to use the first photo as an example of “unfocused” but one thought led to another.

  9. magsx2 says:

    What fantastic news, congrats to Bea and of course I wish her all the very best. 🙂
    I love the photos, everything looks very nice. 🙂

    1. Hi Mags, thanks so much. It was reassuring to see it and get a feel for it.

  10. Bea..utiful journey. Congratulations. Its fantastic news.

    1. Ha! Thank you, Sabrina.

  11. Steve C says:

    Wow! How cool is that! Way to go, Bea! My guess is she will thrive there and learn so much… about her major and life itself! Proud of you, too, Mom, for letting her spread her wings! You, also, Thom! Congratulations to all of you!

  12. Hi Steve. Thanks for dropping by. I got the feeling from being down there that it would be an incredible place and time for her. Stanford is more than five times larger than the school she had originally planned on attending, but California is much closer than the East Coast. Bea has always made her own decisions and known what she wants, and I will always support her in whatever she does.

    I hope you are well, and the house is coming along. So nice to hear from you!

  13. adinparadise says:

    So exciting for your daughter. I’m sure she will do well. She looks like a really happy young lady. Great photos.

    1. Thank you! And thanks for the follow. I really like your blog, and look forward to following yours.

  14. Tilly Bud says:

    A good choice, I believe 🙂

    Best of luck to her!

  15. Thanks, Tilly. I can see that your little chick is getting ready to fly. He was so responsible, structuring his days off to study for exams. Bea has always been self-motivated that way too. Bless them both! Bless them all!

  16. Debra Kristi says:

    I lost my high school boyfriend to that school. He became a very successful doctor. 🙂 Great school! It’s fabulous that she had so many wonderful choices. 🙂

    I wish her the best of luck. I love S.F.

  17. Madhu says:

    Stanford no less! Congratulations to Bea and the proud mom!

    1. Thanks, Madhu! It’s a lot closer to home than the East Coast, too.

  18. Beautiful presentation ♥ Many Congrats to Bea and to you!

  19. Sharon Creeden says:

    Stanford is lucky to get that talented daughter! And the big school and big city will give her expansive opportunities. I am so proud of her.
    Sharon Creeden

    1. Dear Sharon, thank you so much. I think you’re right. When we meet at Luna Park, I’ll tell you more. Last weekend she and I talked about taking about a proper road trip down to Stanford, and about what she might want to bring down there with her. She said she wanted to bring the painting you made her for her wall. What a lucky girl she is to have you in her life!

  20. erica says:

    Congratulations, Bea! Sounds like a bright future! She looks happy.

    1. Thank you. She is happy, and relieved just to have decided. Thanks for stopping by, Erica. Say hello to Lucee for me!

  21. Looks like you daughter found the place of knowledge and wisdom that will bring her happiness. Standford is one of the best schools in the country. I bet she will have an amazing time. Beautiful images with thoughts that breathes joy and excitement. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much! She is the sort of kid who would be happy almost anywhere, but Stanford has so many opportunities for learning and growing. I appreciate your visit, and your sharing your thoughts.

  22. My son, as a shy twenty-two year old, got an unconditional offer from a small and cosy university before he’d finished his certificate course in creative writing, so the choice was made for him. He grabbed the offer. He’s now a confident, outgoing, twenty-five, who’s just handed in his final dissertation and hopes to go on a course for teaching English as a foreign language. I am so proud of him – he has even learnt to cook decent meals.

    I know very little about US colleges, but I’ve certainly heard Stanford and Yale are the tops. Some of our genius kids from the UK opt for those two gems. What a wonderful opportunity.

    All my best to Bea, who looks as if she has a huge amount of personality like her mum. I get good feelings about her choice.

  23. HI Sarah, it sounds like your son made the perfect choice–it was obviously a nurturing place where he could come into his own. I’m so glad for you both, because that’s what a mom hopes for her kids. Your chick is launched!

    I wasn’t sure at first–I thought Stanford might be too big, but the opportunities are astounding. Once they decide they want you, they will do anything they can to help you succeed. The atmosphere was surprisingly relaxed and the students seemed happy. I think Bea will be fine.

    Thanks so much for your kind thoughts and good wishes. I do hope you are well. Warmly, Naomi

  24. Really nice photos!

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate your visit.

  25. Hi Naomi! I’ve told you a ton of times I enjoy your blog. Now I’ve nominated you for the Reader Appreciation Award. Have a great weekend! 🙂

    1. Wow! That is so kind of you, Vanessa. thank you for thinking of me. I will try to do you proud.

      1. You already have! Don’t change a thing. 🙂

    2. And a well deserved award it is, too. Well done, Naomi 🙂

  26. Congrats Naomi!
    I’m sure you are very proud of her!

    I love the photos, the first one is very cool and original, I wouldn’t have come up with something like that; and the one with the oranges, is a beauty, the colors and the contrastt is perfect.

    I wonder how the little bird looks like when it’s in focus 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

    1. I do have another photo of that same bird that is in better focus, but since the theme was ‘unfocused’, I decided to use the unfocused bird as a symbol of my daughter’s uncertainty about her college choice–and I loved that the background of the bird was perfectly focused. The other photos are in focus as her choice becomes clearer to her.

      Most of my ideas in writing and photography are intuitive, and I just hope that people get a sense for what I’m trying to say, but really, the beauty of art is that everyone can take from it what they need.

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your thoughtful comments, Pablo.

  27. Worrywart says:

    Congratulations! My daughter graduates tomorrow from UC Berkeley. She called today after her last final and said, “I’m done with college.” Even better news, she has a really cool job and will be paying her own rent.

    Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help Bea’s transition to Stanford; I learned during the last several years that these are my talents: cleaning, moving, and packing (and . . . smiling and crying). 🙂

  28. Congratulations on your daughter’s huge accomplishment, and in landing a great job besides. And thank you for your kind offer! I must be feeling emotional–just working on a post about my mom–but seeing your message, overflowing with generosity, made me want to laugh and cry too.

  29. Phew! Thank goodness. For a while there I thought she might veer right back to the safe option:) What a splendid start in life for your daughter.
    By the way, an interesting way to tighten up an unfocused assignment:)

  30. Kourtney Heintz says:

    Congrats to you and Bea. What an amazing university experience she will have. And what a wonderful way to let her make her own choice. She looks so happy in that last picture too. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Kourtney. It was such a huge relief to her to finally decide. I think she will be happy there.

  31. Subhan Zein says:

    That’s a great choice. She’ll enjoy studying in Stanford. Some of the brightest minds in the USA graduates from there, and I hope she’ll be one of them. 🙂

    Subhan Zein

  32. What a lucky girl. Palo Alto is one of the best spots in the Bay Area….and well Stanford. That goes without saying.

  33. Hi Naomi you are lucky and blessed.

    1. Twice blessed! Once because I am, and twice because I know it. Thank you for the visit, and for taking the time to comment.

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