Proud Mom of a Starfleet Cadet

Last month we attended Sue and Rick’s White Elephant party.  Remember Sue?

Everyone brought a wrapped “White Elephant,” something new or used to pass on.  We drew numbers, with number one picking a gift and unwrapping it.  The next person could choose an unopened gift or lay claim to someone’s opened gift.  But a gift couldn’t change hands more than three times.

I’ve always been a Trek Geek so in my opinion, the best prize was an email address “@,”and that’s even before I realized it was the gift that would keep on giving.  It was snatched twice by Star Trek officianados, AKA Trekkers.  When my daughter Bea’s turn came, she commandeered the Starfleet address and no one could take it from her, as she was the third to claim it.  At the holiday’s end, she returned to school.

Soon after, I received my first email from my cadet at Starfleet Academy.  She had enlisted!

Dear Mom and Dad,

 I just wanted you to know that I have settled into my dorm room and all is well. My roommate is an Aaamazzarite. It is a little awkward between us still because I can’t pronounce the name of her species. On the bright side, however, Aaamazzarites are hairless, so vacuuming is quite easy. It’s better than last year, when I roomed with that girl from Sigma Iotia II. She kept trying to extract protection money from me and teach me some weird game called “bizz fin.” 

I started classes yesterday.  I’m pretty excited for Andorian Early Empires, though there is only one other person in the class, and he’s…well…Andorian. Wish me luck. I’m also in Xenolinguistics, Intelligently Fudging Incident Reports (which, legend has it, Kirk got an A+ in), and the Starfleet Graphic Novel Project, which follows the struggles of 13 female Starfleet captains back when sexism was still a thing.

 I also made a couple of friends. One of them is a fellow student of xenobiology. We’re both interested in extraterrestrial ecology. He seems pretty fun, although he’s strangely obsessed with mustaches. The other guy is a Ferengi. He talks really quickly and likes juggling gold-pressed latinum. Unfortunately for him, he is very good at juggling but has no latinum to juggle. He plays the Vulcan lute surprisingly well. 

Anyways, I’ll let you know how things go. I love you and miss you!



Upon reflection, Bea at Starfleet Academy made perfect sense.  She was always keen to explore strange new worlds…

–especially her own little world.

I recalled the voyages of the star child Beatrice.

Her ongoing mission…

…to seek out new life…

…and new civilizations.

 Rife with pirates…


…and pink fuzzy brainsucking creatures.

From the tiny…

…to the towering.

And at great personal risk…

…To boldly go…

…where no man has gone before.

She is well qualified.  A Starfleet cadet needs to be flexible.

She always manages to bounce back…

…blend in with the locals…

…and keep her head.

We can hardly wait to beam down to the Academy in San Francisco to check out her new Starfleet digs.

Barring any transporter accidents…

…which can get SO messy.

We’ll tell you all about it.  In the meantime…

Dear Bea, 

It’s good to know you are all settled into your dorm.  Life goes on, but it isn’t the same without you.  To cheer ourselves up in our Empty Nest, Dad and I took a short trip to Risa.  When they say what happens at Risa stays at Risa, they aren’t kidding.  He left six bars of gold pressed latinum at the Dabbo tables.  It’s lucky I’m such a cheap date.  All I needed was a l’il sippy cup of Romulan Ale, and a few hours in the Holo Suite.  I like that program about The Battle of Hastings, only I programmed it so that King Harold Godwinson could kick William the Conqueror’s ass right back to Normandy.

The bad news is that we asked Grandma to take care of your pet tribble, Odysseus, while we were gone.  Unfortunately, Grandma forgot she wasn’t supposed to feed it.  By the time we got home, five days later, there were eight generations of tribbles crammed into the cage, and they had all died of suffocation.  We put them in stasis and can have the funerals—228 of them–when you come home for spring break.  Maybe we can get you a nice Cardassian Vole.  

Don’t turn your back on that Ferengi, and don’t get killed!


Mom and Dad


Copyright 2014 Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme: Letters

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Justaposition


Who Turned on the Lights?

People find the light in their life in so many ways and places.  It can be as easy as turning on a switch.


Some find all the light they need in a sunset…

…or a moonrise.

Others find illumination in a church…

…a synagogue…

…a mosque…

…or a library.

Sacred is a place that lights up your heart.

It isn’t always easy to find…

Some look for it in food…

…at the bottom of a wine glass…

…or through yoga.

Some light up with the joy and anticipation of adventure.

And what constitutes an adventure is very personal.

Sometimes light comes from the joy of creation in all of its many forms…


Everyone’s light shines through differently.  To each his own.

For me, love shines brightest of all.


It’s our life’s work and pleasure to follow the light…

…or to make our own.

It is there.

It is there.

It is there.

All words and images copyright Naomi Baltuck.

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Shine.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Sixteen months ago, I wrote my first blog post.  Since then, I’ve met fascinating people, made many friends, and discovered a new form of storytelling.  I’m like the Tortoise, not the Hare–slow and steady. Finally, I get to post for the hundredth time!

Through this blog I share my passion for travel, photography, writing, storytelling, and that which I hold dearest, my family. But if not for you, this blog would not exist.  There is an Armenian folk saying…

Three apples fell from heaven.

One for the teller,

One for the listener,

And one for the one who took it to heart.

Thank you for being here, for reading, for caring enough to follow this blog, and for sharing your thoughts, your stories, your lives with me through your blogs.  To mark this milestone, here are a few of my favorite posts from the past sixteen months.

Sunday Post:  Doors

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward Movement

Oceans (and the Irish Coastline)

Sunrise in Gibraltar

Flowers (are like people)

One Village

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

To Shorten the Road

Reflections (On Life and the Art of Aging)

Where Are We?  Where’s Walter?  And Where is That Fleeting Moment?

Editing Monet’s Garden

All words and images c2013 Naomi Baltuck

Through the Looking Glass

January has been a busy month for storytelling– dusting off old stories, rehearsing new ones, attending to related business correspondence.   Last week I was pressed for time, polishing a story for its public debut, when I heard a little thump.  I peeked through the French doors onto the deck.  A tiny olive gray creature, scarcely bigger than a hummingbird, lay stunned and shivering where it fell after flying into the glass.

It was a male Golden-crowned Kinglet, with a bright orange and gold crown.  They favor coniferous forest; this one was likely nesting in the grove of cedar, hemlock, and Douglas Fir in our backyard.  Kinglets are monogamous, and raise two broods each season.  As soon as the first nestlings can fly, Mama Bird lays another batch.  While she protects the new eggs, Papa feeds up to ten fledglings until they can take care of themselves.  Good Daddy!

Perhaps the little bird was an adolescent, driving too fast on his first solo flight, or maybe he was an exhausted frantic father trying to feed his hungry brood.  Birds are delicate, and often die of stress.  Not wanting to frighten it, I didn’t open the door, but I kept watch through the glass for neighborhood cats and hungry crows. What would happen, I wondered, to the fledglings if their Papa died?  How might his mate manage as a single parent when the next brood hatched?

As The Bard said, all the world is a stage.  Everywhere tiny dramas–life and death performances–are played out.  Most will never be witnessed or even imagined, completely lost in the big picture.  Or worse, they will be observed by cold and uncaring eyes.

On my deck, in city streets, in our wealthy country, and all over the world, baby birds are not the only creatures who slip between the cracks, with no voice, and no champion to speak out for them or watch over them.

I turned for an instant to check the clock.  When I looked again, the little bird was gone.  My eyes stung with tears of relief.  Someone looking through the glass onto my deck would see only a few bird droppings, but to me it’s a reminder that life can get messy.  Not everyone has a safety net.  Not every story has a happy ending.  Sometimes we can only  look helplessly through the glass at the world’s suffering.  But sometimes it falls within our power to change the world, one tiny story at a time.

Something to think about.

Click here for more interpretations of the Weekly Travel Theme: Glass

All words and images c2013 Naomi Baltuck

2012 Blog of the Year Awards!!!

On December 9th 2011, I wrote my first post for Writing Between the Lines.  I’d been told for years to start a blog, because a writer needs a social media platform.  I kept putting it off.  I knew nothing about blogs or blogging.  I felt I had little to say, and why would strangers want to bother reading?  But I took the plunge, because that’s what authors are supposed to do.   It turns out to be one of the best investments I ever made!

Through blogging I discovered a new way to tell stories, using photographs from my life and travels.  I’ve read so many great blogs, learned so much, met so many people, made so many friends from all over the world.   Some of these friends have nominated me for the 2012 Blog of the Year Award.  They have helped me earn my six stars, and then some.  Before I pass this award along, I want to thank these folks for nominating me for this honor, and tell you about what makes these bloggers so outstanding.

Jueseppi B. of The is a passionate blogger who has accumulated well over a million views in the last year.  He is a passionate man who speaks out for justice, champions many causes, but also has a soft spot for poetry and fine cuisine.  He was one of my first followers, and I have been a follower of his since I took my first baby steps into the blogosphere.

Maggi Myklebust of is the author of  a memoir Fly Away Home, which reads like a novel.  She has led such an interesting life as an American ex-pat in Norway.  Her blog is many things–read about the writing life, learn about adjusting to life in another country, and get to know a very lovely person.  When she nominated me for this award, she mentioned that I was the first person outside of her family to leave a comment on her blog.  I thought surely she had been writing her blog for years, as it was so well done.  What a fortunate day it was for me to have stumbled upon her.  I hope you will check out her blog, and buy her book!

Anotherdayinparadise is written by a woman who has traveled the world.  She plays piano, shares lovely photos from her travels, and has home bases in three continents.  Her family is large and adorable, and I love the peek into that side of her life too.   She was one of my first followers, and I have truly enjoyed following her blog this last year.  I think you will too.

Marsha Lee AKA The History Gal is a force of nature in the blogosphere.  A retired history teacher, she is interested in everything, and blogs about all her interests, from history to quilting to travel to the pros and cons of a timeshare in Hawaii.  I have learned a lot about the basics of blogging, such as watermarking photos, from her posts about the nuts and bolts of blogging.

Eunice at Living and Loving is another blogger with many interests.  She posts about travel, jewelry and beading, birdwatching, trucking, and photography.  She is a very interesting person, and she writes an interesting, well-rounded blog.

Len Williams-Carver at truly does write from the heart.  Like most people, she wrestles with questions about faith and family, life and death.  She also shares her writing, humorous posts that highlight human behavior, and her take on the world.

Ivonprefontaine of Teacher as Transformer is a teacher, a poet, and a gentle soul with an open mind and a big heart.

The London Flower Lover is a team of flower lovers who are all about flowers.  Poems, photographs, stories that celebrate everything floral.

FIRST OF ALL…to all of the bloggers listed above, I say “Backatcha!”  Just in case you haven’t collected all six stars, I am nominating you for the 2012 Blog of the Year Award.  AND NOW… I would like to pass on the 2012 Blog of the Year Award to the following bloggers…I hope you will take a moment to check out their outstanding blogs.

Nikki of is an excellent writer with a fresh voice, capable of eliciting laughter and invoking profound thought.
Scilla of Scillagrace is another writer of exceptional talent.  She loves history and photography, but whatever topic she addresses, she does so with a grace and wisdom that inspires.
Jamie of The Poet By Day is one of the most talented poets in the blogosphere, with a depth and wisdom to her words that is often breathtaking.
Sarah of sarahpotterwrites is a novelist, a talented musician, and a poet with a fresh voice and a sly sense of humor.  Her mastery of the haiku is a wonder.  Now she is organizing a novel-writing support group to help fellow writers their first draft from start to finish this winter.
Grace of Czech the Flip is a Filipino mom married to a Czech and living in the Czech Republic.  I really enjoy learning about the history and culture of the Czech Republic, as well as snatches of every day life in another country.  The bonus: watching her little boy Jakob growing up!
Lisa at Zebra Designs and Destinations has created a blog rich with color and full of zest.  An artist, a traveler, a photographer, and an observer!  Now go check out her latest post on the hatching of a nest of sea turtles!
Carol of Wanderings of an Elusive Mind is a wise and gentle woman who lives her life with a grace I can only aspire to.  I like to go with her on a morning walk.  She might give you a tour of the garden, or a peek at the birds that flock to her yard.
George Weaver of She Kept a Parrot is another gentlewoman who has a way with both words and a camera, and  a great eye for a story.
Sabrina of Sabrina Garie is a mom, sci-fi geek, and an author with a fresh new voice and a great sense of humor.  Check out her blog for an excerpt from her exciting new book, Fires of Justice.
Madhu of The Urge to Wander has a classy blog featuring stories of her travels, and amazing photographs of exotic and enchanting places.  She has been EVERYWHERE!  She gave me my first award, The Leibster Award, which was welcome encouragement for a newbie blogger.
Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack? inspires a global blogging community interested in travel and photography by offering a weekly travel-related theme to which bloggers throughout the world respond.  Many of my favorite posts were written in response to her prompts.
Jake of Jakesprinter is a great guy who also encourages and inspires the blogging community with a weekly challenge called Jake’s Sunday Post.
Frizztext of Flickr Comments is a musician, a photographer, and a storyteller.  He too challenges his readers to contribute stories to his blog–everything from A-Z, one letter at a time!
Island Traveler of this man’s journey is a man with a heart full of love.  He inspires the community to think about life and love and family through a weekly challenge posed to a global blogging community.
Kourtney of Kourtney Heinz’s Journal is a writer who writes, attends writing conferences, and is sharing, step by step, the process with readers the process of marketing a novel.
Pat of  A New Day writes of living life fully with Fibromyalgia.  Get inspired by her strong spirit, beautiful photographs, and observations of life.
Tess of How the Cookie Crumbles will give you an irreverent view of life after 65.  She is a talented writer who will treat you to some striking samples of Flash Fiction.
Lesley of Inspiration Import: Lesley Fletcher Art and Words–Spirit and Soul says it all in the title of her blog.
Cee of Cee’s Photography is a great photographer.  She poses another weekly challenge, the Fun Foto Challenge, which attracts many participants from all over the globe.
Elizabeth of Mirth and Motivation is an intelligent blog that features great photography, poetry, and insight on life.
Elisa of Fun and Fabulousness for great photos and a great perspective.
Cathryn Wellner of This Gives Me Hope, a blog which always inspires, entertains, and makes me smile.
Winners, if you don’t have time to pass this on, that’s okay.   If you’d like to thank and acknowledge the friends and followers who have enriched your life and the blogworld this last year, check out this link for official 2012 Blog of the Year rules.

No Such Thing As An Odd Couple

Couples come in all shapes and sizes.  They always have, since the beginning of time.


Life is short, and often cruel.  Finding true love, or even a true friend is not just a comfort.

It’s a miracle.

But I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. True love happens.

It is easy to recognize when you see it.

Love… all its many forms… a gift to us all.   It fills the world with light.

Let it shine!

All words and images copyright Naomi Baltuck 2012

Click here for more interpretations of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Partners.

For more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme: Friendship.