Sprinkled

Double inspiration this week…

Lens-Artists Challenge #95: All Wet

I hope you’ve enjoyed my departure from the everyday challenges of our COVID-19 world, and that you too have some archived wet images to share.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #95: What a Child Knows

This week, let’s tune into the wisdom of children, or look inside to reconnect with our inner child and innate wisdom.

~~~

If you own a home…with a yard…you often end up with a lawn that gets a bit finicky every now and then, especially in the summer.

In other words it gets crunchy in places.

Back in the days of such situations…when rain became elusive, we dragged out the green 25 foot garden hose and attached our sturdy “oscillating” lawn sprinkler. It needed to be positioned just right – in order to direct the much needed drink of water to the thirsty spots on our lawn. This took patience.

You also had to calculate exactly when to dash out of the way to re-position the sprinkler when necessary.

No sense in soaking yourself, the driveway or creating a river into the street.

Just the grass needed to get…All Wet…

With special attention paid to the Brown Spots.

sprinkler

 

Children meet up with a lawn sprinkler…and it’s a whole different story.

Never mind the grass. Or crunchiness. Who cares about brown spots? They sure don’t.

Water shooting high into the air out of a rotating metal bar with holes in it…is not about soaking the grass. Not at all.

It is really just a mechanism designed to get them all wet and cooled off in the hot summer sun.

Including a variety of delightful shenanigans…

Enjoying every sunlit moment.

They know.

backyard001

Summer times

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #93: remember

Remembering past times, especially joys, is a good way to ease tension. This week, I invite you to remember and share.

~~~

I remember…

…when spring signaled it was time to start planning our family vacation. One week away for just my husband and me…then for 3 of us…then 4.

One thing I knew when I became a parent…we would make sure to set aside a family-only “getaway” every year. A time of just plain fun and connection. None of the usual distractions. Or “things to do.”

It did not have to be far or fancy. And it wasn’t…

For 20 years we packed up the car and drove 70 miles to Lake Winnipesaukee in NH. We stayed at a conference center that also catered to families. Where I had worked for two glorious summers as a teenager.

What do I remember about that one family week every summer?…

The days slowed down and opened up with time for everything and anything. I didn’t have to cook. Or clean. Or wash dishes. We all ate from a basic all-you-can-eat buffet at the dining hall.

We didn’t have to go anywhere.

There were no televisions. No phones except a payphone (remember those?).

What we had was a beautiful lake. Canoes. Kayaks. Sand. Baseball field. An “old-time” ice cream store selling locally made ice cream scooped into crunchy cones.

gpc 95 T

Acres of woods surrounded us…to hike and collect “natures” – as my kids would call the pine cones, acorns, leaves and assorted scraps of treasures they found. Filling a sand pail…

Then sorted and counted and carefully lined up…for display on the deck railing of our building.

gpc 92 T copy

There was, of course, the small beach where we plunked down our sand chairs, towels, plastic pails and shovels. Dug holes to China and constructed sand castles with moats. Read a paperback book or two. Splashed, jumped and played catch in the water.

One of my favorite activities for evenings or rainy days…playing lots of cards…

gpc 95 all
Dad barely makes it down a flight of stairs before the self timer takes the shot (1995)

Was life simpler then? I don’t know.

All I do know for sure…

…it was joy...pure and simple.

gpc 97 T&K copy

That’s what I remember.

Easter Time

Today is Easter Sunday.

In 2020, it almost seems like any other day. Being on the inside looking out.

In the interest – and satisfying the desire – of connecting to the familiar, I am re-posting an edited version of a 2018 blog post about Easter traditions and memories…

~~~

When I was growing up, the Easter Bunny always left baskets for me – and my sisters and brothers – to hunt for on Easter morning. We each got straw baskets complete with the requisite Easter “grass” which ended up…everywhere.

Inside we’d find jelly beans, foil covered chocolate eggs, a chocolate bunny and those marshmallow peeps – which were just as bright neon colored then as they are now.

easter baskets

My younger sister and I often wore matching dresses and Easter hats. I actually got a kick out of the hat – I remember one had small red fake flowers around the brim. Patent leather shoes completed the look. It worked for my sister much more than me, as I’d just as soon run around the backyard and scoot up the jungle gym, Easter finery and all.

 

easter 1959040 copy

 

A few days before Easter we dyed hardboiled eggs different colors using the wire holders, still stained, from previous years. The kitchen table was covered in newspapers to limit the mess we’d make and the smell of vinegar permeated the air. When I was older I was allowed to drop a different color pellet into each cup and watch it dissolve.  Sometimes we used wax crayons to draw designs on the eggs before coloring them. We were each allowed about 6 eggs to decorate and we took our time.

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 4.47.25 PM
TV dinner containers…recycling in the ’60’s

My best childhood Easter memories were when my grandparents came for the day (or sometimes the night before and slept over). We’d play cards…Parcheesi…Sorry…checkers. We always saved the black jelly beans for Opa. Those were his favorite.

One last thing…

Easter is the subject of my most treasured book from childhood.

It has the sweetest illustrations and I love the comforting story. Nobody is perfect – not even the Easter Bunny. And sometimes things don’t go as planned…and it’s okay.

This book made the cut when we downsized. The paper jacket has long since disappeared and the binding is loose and fragile.

But precious all the same……

IMG_5809

IMG_5808      FullSizeRender 11

To all who celebrate…Happy Easter!

Fandango’s Friday Flashback: April 3

Inspired by Fandango’s Friday Flashback: April 3

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year….Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

~~~

This post is from April 3, 2018. I had not yet gone “public” with my blog. And, yes, I still have all those photos…

******

downsizing and stuff – part 2 – photos

It shouldn’t be surprising, but too much stuff can still survive the process of downsizing. Despite the carloads and truckloads and endless Craig’s List posts and sales, too much stuff snuck into our new – smaller – home.

I wonder…so what? I found room for it – piled in closets and the 2 tiny storage units that we own. And there it stays…possibly mocking me.

Hundreds of photographs, negatives (remember negatives?) and slides (remember slides?) neatly organized by month and year in those fancy decorated shoe boxes you get at Michaels on sale for $2. Who will ever want them? Will they all end up in the nearest dumpster someday?

Photos are now mostly digital…poof! no boxes. No spaces to fill up. You can fit thousands on one of those little flash drives that fit in your pocket.  But nothing to hold in your hand….in their hands. Pieces of photo paper – glossy or pearl finish, with borders or without. Images of history.  Flip them over and if you’re lucky you’ll find dates, names, places. The older ones may be faded or yellowed. Well loved ones may be creased or lightened from the sun where they were tacked to a bulletin board or hung near a sunny window.

Remember this? When we went to watch sunsets at Sunset Beach? Remember when she was learning to eat with a spoon? Remember when he shot a 3 & pretended to be on the Dream Team? When Opa and I played Pinochle for hours? Look at us sitting there, both of us with cigarettes alight. Memory triggers….

They all tell stories if you look close enough. I think that’s what fascinates me the most. Body language. All lined up sitting on the couch but not touching. Or with arms entwined. That smile, that frown, that wink, that grimace. Who is there and who isn’t. It all tells a story. Some happy. Some not so happy. Some painful. It is all important. To someone. I am the keeper of all that.

And there are the photographs from a hundred years ago – long departed relatives and friends posing for photos only taken a few times in a year. Most are carefully posed with older women and men standing stiffly in a back row behind the younger women or children. Or, as in the case of my grandfather’s family; his father and uncle standing with arms crossed, others grinning, others not. Three generations together. What was the reason for the photo – bow ties and all? A turn of the century family story.

1915
circa 1915

 

This still doesn’t solve my problem. All those photos in the Michael’s boxes. And the rest in file size storage bins – including the aforementioned old photos plus polaroids and instamatic prints. Then there are school pictures of….everybody. I can’t imagine that my adult children will ever want the full extra set of their toothy grin fifth grade photos. Plus the bookshelf stuffed with 40 years of photo albums.

A new friend said to me recently – do you want to leave behind a gift or a burden? Not that I am planning to get to the “leaving behind” stage of life for a while.

So what to do? I still have no idea.

BUT…..It’s so much less than before.

I insist

(to myself)

Who would have imagined…

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #89: Imaginary

The word this week is imaginary. Respond in which ever way the muse moves you. Looking forward to your responses.

~~~

IMG_1694
March 27, 2020

My life is surreal enough as it is right now. Fear is everywhere. The enemy…invisible.

Not just in my own little universe. Throughout the world…women, men and children are dipping their collective toes into unfamiliar murky waters. Trying to figure out this new “normal” as Stay Safe replaces Have Fun or Have a Nice Day.

Breaking News assaults us nightly. No escaping it if you want to stay informed.

This morning I went out to get gas for my car. Not that I am going too far, but a full tank of gas is one thing I can actually do. Alone.

Imagine my surprise when I glanced at the prices. WTH? I haven’t seen gas selling below $2/gallon in…forever it seems.

Although these days a month ago feels like forever.

Never in my wildest dreams (which aren’t all that wild, but you get my drift) would I have ever imagined panic buying of toilet paper. This morning I asked a neighbor if she needed anything at the store (yes, I had to run in and out for salad and bananas).

She thought a moment and then…”macaroni…and toilet paper?”

As if the second request would be a total miracle.

It turns out miracles do happen. Limit of one package per customer. My neighbor is rejoicing. I do what I can.

Now I have a full tank of cheap gas. In case I want to drive around the block. The governor just closed all state beaches, so I can’t drive to one of my favorite spots. Well, I could drive there, but I’m not allowed to walk the beach.

Apparently people were recently congregating too close together on the sand. Ruining it for those of us who would find some momentary peace and comfort walking six feet apart in the fresh air.

Imagine what would happen if I just went down there anyway.

Would I get arrested? I’ve never been arrested.

Imagine the report: Senior Citizen arrested for walking on the beach. Even though she was minding her own business and was six feet away from the nearest human.

Maybe worth it?

Nah…I think I’ll pass.

reflection 1
Hampton Beach, NH

These days my imagination continues to expand in epic proportions. Taking on a life of its own. Sometimes that’s not helpful…when it wakes me up at 3am.

This won’t last forever, I keep telling myself.

And then a sweet reminder…

How young children can cope in a world they don’t understand…

My daughter and my 3 ½ year old grandson took a walk yesterday. They live in Washington, DC. Their neighborhood…complete with sidewalks. Lined with trees.

She texted a photo and the story behind it…which she often does – and for which I am most grateful…

…On their walk my grandson carried a stick…

“a special sprayer he was using to spray the germs away….”

He also announced:

Mama, I will keep you safe from the germs. If you get covered in germs I will spray them all off of you. Then the germs will be all gone and we can go to parks, fields, schools, and go visit Grandma and Grampa.

IMG_5447
Imagine that. ❤️