Nancy Merrill is hosting a photo challenge. The theme this week: Urban


Taylor park
Petworth Neighborhood
Washington, DC

One small boy
Not yet two
Pondering a chance
To make a basket

At his favorite playtime
City park
A few blocks from home

A ten minute walk
Over bumpy sidewalks
On tree-lined streets

Past parked cars
Row house porches
Tiny front yards

Stop for the lights!
One last crosswalk.
Look Both Ways!

Finally there…
Run. Jump. Climb. Slide.
Kick the ball. Take a shot.

Taylor Park!





When you turn three, maybe you can count that high.

With your fingers. Grapes on your plate. Cheerios. Green beans.

My grandson turned 3 today.  I was lucky enough to travel to Washington, DC to spend the weekend with him, his parents and his dog.

And attend…two parties.
One with his friends yesterday.
One with family today.


Two days filled with doing his favorite things…

Climbing. Running. Jumping. Giggling. Singing. Eating. Walking. Talking. Baseball. Basketball. Shouting…

Grandma Come!


Saturday Party at the Park

…Backhoes. Dump Trucks. Front Loaders. Construction Cones…everywhere!


bday morning
Sunday morning


Birthday morning visit to the National Zoo.  Lions…no tigers or bears…but monkeys, alpacas, an orangutang, cows, goats, donkeys, elephants and a gorilla family…oh my.



Afternoon with family from near and far. Sharing a small boy’s celebration of a third year of living life. Joyfully. Playfully. With energy to spare.

Blue eyes full of fun, love and mischief. Hints of his mother long ago, but mostly just uniquely him.

birthday 9th


Grampa and I fly home tomorrow.

We will look through the hundreds of photos we took.


And sleep.




Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Smiles

Cee’s challenge topic this week: Smiles

Back in the 1970’s my boyfriend went on a cross country road trip with his best friend. They intended to make it all the way from the East Coast of the US to the West Coast. In an orange Ford Pinto.

road trip car

They drove as far as Wyoming and realized they were running out of time. Before starting for home, my boyfriend insisted on stopping at a local arts and crafts store to buy a souvenir gift.

A small handmade metal sculpture of two grinning figures, crafted by a local artisan.

Which he gave to me – his girlfriend of 2 years – a few days later…

Saying with a huge smile…

This is US seeing each other again!


smiles 1




One year later we were married.


Also inspired by Nancy Merrill at Photo a Week Challenge.


Shoes: Times Past

Irene Waters’ Times Past challenge prompt for May is: Shoes

Have you any memories of shoes? A particular favourite pair, one that caused you pain, embarrassment or made you feel on top of the world?


I grew up in the USA suburbs as part of the baby boomer generation…wearing shoes my mother deemed practical and sturdy.

I was a very active tree climbing, kickball playing, jump-roping child. Sturdy was a good idea. Sneakers would not have lasted long on my busy feet.

Shoe shopping was carefully planned. Piled in the car with my siblings, my mother would drive me to “Kate’s Brothers,” the downtown shoe store. Shoe polish fumes hung in the air as a salesman measured our feet with a tool called the Brannock Device.

What a fascinating place…

I loved the machine (a fluoroscope) I could slide my feet in…for a quick x-ray.  Looked in the viewer…and saw my bones!  I don’t remember this questionable practice lasting very long and probably for good reason. It was, however, a fun way to wait while salesmen searched in the mysterious “back room” for our shoes.

Play shoes. Party shoes. Sneakers.

Play shoes were always leather – definitely durable – with laces or sometimes a strap. Color choices limited. Usually brown, navy blue or the occasional black and white saddle shoe. My go-to footwear for outdoors. Quickly scuffed and dirty, they withstood what I put them through.

I have no idea why I am wearing them with a dress in this photo…

play shoes
Play shoes


Party shoes were black leather or shiny patent leather with a strap. Often called Mary Janes. I wore them to parties, holidays and Sunday School. The patent leather ones could be shined up with Vaseline petroleum jelly.

party shoes 2
Party shoes at a party


Keds or P.F. Flyers were the only brands of sneakers available. White or blue canvas with white laces. Only allowed for gym class. I was very jealous of my one and only cousin – 5 years older than me – who was allowed to wear sneakers All The Time. My mother thought she was spoiled. I thought she was incredibly lucky. Sneakers were much more comfortable than tight laced up leather shoes. Better for running faster and jumping higher.

When I was 11, we moved to a neighborhood with no trees to climb or woods to explore. My active outdoor play life came to an end – for better or for worse. I didn’t need “play shoes” for hanging out with my girlfriend listening to Beatles records or 77WABC Top 40 hits on the radio.

What did girls wear in junior high?  Loafers! – sometimes with a shiny new penny inserted in the slit atop each one.  Earning them the nickname Penny Loafers.

They were my first slip-on shoes. Usually brown. Since they were flats, I could be comfortable and stylish at the same time. At 5’7″ in the eighth grade, flat shoes were a definite bonus.

Still leather…but without laces or straps.

I felt very grown up.

Loafers & a camera
Family day trip




My First Car

Inspiration: Ragtag Daily Prompt – Memory


My First Car
(A slant six engine will last forever!)


Fresh out of college in 1976, I was hot on a search for the perfect car.
My first car.

The budget: under $4000.

The dream: a shiny, new, reliable, 4-door ORANGE set of wheels (this was the ‘70s after all). It needed to hold all my stuff; which remarkably – back then – fit completely inside a car.

I found just what I wanted at a Plymouth dealership in Nanuet, NY one blistering June day.

A bright orange Volaré complete with its famous slant six engine, real vinyl seats and AM/FM radio. It practically had my name on it. And it was under budget.



I signed up for a “how to take care of your car” class. I learned how to change the air filter, spark plugs and fuses. I waxed it until it practically glowed, even in the dark. It was easy to locate in a parking lot.

My Volaré lasted 12 years and over 106,000 miles. It took me to my first hospital job. From the church to my wedding reception. To Chicago for my college roommate’s wedding. Home from the hospital with my newborn daughter safely secured in her first car seat.

I even won a free sunroof in a radio contest in 1986.

In 1988 it was time for a new car. The evils of rust were starting to win the battle. After I negotiated a fair price on a Corsica at the local Chevy dealership, the salesman mentioned that I could probably get $400 wholesale for my Volaré. He also mentioned the slant six engine.

Good idea!

The next day I returned to the dealership. Late afternoon, around 4pm. My son and 6 year old daughter came with me. She waited patiently in the showroom with a book. My 6-month-old son, balanced on my left hip, accompanied me to the car lot to meet with the salesman…

Who no longer thought $400 was fair.

He called for the sales manager to join us.

Sales Mgr: I’ll give you $100 towards the new car.

Me: It has a slant six engine. Those last forever! Please take it for a drive! I was told it’s worth $400.

The manager drove it around the lot.

Mgr: Okay, $200. Look at the mileage!

Me: Maybe I don’t need a new car after all. This one runs great. It even has a sunroof.

Manager walked around it again. Salesman stood behind him.
Mgr: Alright…$300

At this point my son was getting more and more squirmy. He looked straight at the manager. And blew really loud raspberries.

Me: See! We both know this is a great car!

The salesman and manager went inside to talk to The Senior Manager. They both came out and walked around the car again. Went back inside the showroom. My son and I followed.

The sales manager finally returned…to where I waited with 2 hungry and cranky children. He shook his head, looked at me…okay $400.

Me: You’ve got yourself a deal!

As I was signing the paperwork, I heard a voice call my name. It was the Senior Manager sitting behind his big elevated-on-a-riser desk. In the middle of the showroom.  I looked in his direction…as he continued…

“Hey! Anytime you need a job, just call.”

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Feet

This post inspired by Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: The topic is Hands, Feet or Paws

reunion feet

Summer 2005
Family Reunion #10
Four giggling daughters of sisters
Squeezed onto grandma’s bed
6 years old to 23
Dusty dirty feet

Years later
many miles

Those toes now dipped in new waters…
College student
Emergency Physician
Merchandise Manager
PhD candidate

…two doing double duty
as mamas
on their feet
chasing giggling little ones
of their own.