Silhouettes

Inspired by Lens-Artists Challenge #62: Silhouettes

 

After a recent long walk up and down the shoreline at the beach, I noticed a row of seagulls perched on the roof of a shelter near the parking lot.

I assumed they were taking a rest from a long day of swooping down on unsuspecting tourists and their dropped chunks of sandwiches, fried dough and chips. Always on the lookout. Always hungry.

They didn’t seem to mind being photographed.

seagulls on roof

 

A couple of years ago, another beach goer on the lookout…

silhouette beach

…who didn’t know he was being photographed.

 

 

Precious Pets

Inspired by Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Precious Pets

…We have a dog. Her name is Kaki. She is a beagle…

kaki 1965
Kaki

That was the grand announcement in my diary for January 1, 1965 for the first (and last) dog to appear during my childhood. Three scrawled blue ink sentences interspersed between waxing my new white bike, describing my parents’ Open House and watching The Addams Family and Gomer Pyle that night on television.

Kaki’s arrival actually happened on Christmas Eve 1964. I imagine she was supposed to be a Christmas present for me and my 3 younger siblings…

…We have a surprise for you all!
The front door opened and a small dog broke loose from my father’s grip. She started running – taking off down the hall through the kitchen and into the dining room. From there she ran straight into the 4 of us waiting in the living room. Where a fully decorated Christmas tree was standing in the corner. All hell broke loose.

We all chased her. She ran faster. Repeating the circular path around the main floor of the house. Kitchen-Dining Room-Living Room. My parents yelled. The next thing I remember, our new dog ran into the tree and grabbed ornaments in her mouth. Glass ornaments. The tree may have tipped over. I was petrified. She’s swallowed glass. She might die!

My remembering gets murky after that. I think my father finally caught her and checked her mouth. Gave her bread to eat, which was supposed to stick to the shards from the ornament. Perhaps the actual drama was shorter lived, but it was scary for all of us – Kaki (named for her brown colored ears) was probably the most scared.

It was my mother’s well meaning idea to give us a dog. I think it completed her dream of the ideal family unit: mother, father, 4 kids and a dog. In her dream we would all help take care of it. Without complaint. The dog would, of course, behave perfectly. There would be no peeing on the floor. No chewing on furniture. Eating the pompoms off the tablecloth. Throwing up on the rug.

Unfortunately for Kaki, she behaved about as perfectly as the imperfect children in this less than ideal household. She was a sweet dog, though. I enjoyed walking her around the block. Searching the neighborhood (repeatedly) for her when she escaped out the front door…not so much. I wonder now if my parents ever brought her to obedience school.

Several years later (4 or 5?) my parents gave her away to a single guy (I think he was a veteran) who wanted a dog. I don’t remember why or when or how.

 
When I had a family of my own – including a daughter and a son – the subject of getting a dog came up a few times. My husband and I decided we had enough to do with jobs, a house, kids and activities. I saw first hand as a child…dogs are a lot of work and take a lot of time. And sometimes it doesn’t go according to plan.

When you grow up, you can have your own dog!…was our standard answer.

And they did.

My daughter and her husband adopted a rescue dog in 2014. Lutra is a well loved (and well trained!) member of the family. She loves squeaky chew toys, cheese and helping out with crumbs below the chair belonging to the newest human member of the family. She does not like squirrels or cats and lets them know it too.

My 3 year old grandson considers Lutra to be his dog.

Lutra 2017
Lutra

 

My son finally got a dog of his own this past February. He and his girlfriend also adopted a rescue dog. It had been found lost on a highway in Arkansas with no chip or ID.  They discovered him on an adoption site online and he arrived via a freight truck at a rest area nearby. We went with them to pick up their new pet.

They were understandably a bit nervous – after all they lived in a small 4th floor walkup apartment in Boston. A high strung barking dog would be a challenge. The agreement included a 2 week trial period, but as it turned out…they had nothing to worry about. It was a perfect match. We could see it that cold day in the parking lot as they met for the first time….

 

Taco is the most chill and relaxed dog ever.

taco 4
Taco

 

My children have grown up.

They have their own dogs, just as I predicted.

Life is good.

 

Framing the Shot

Inspired by Lens-Artists Challenge #60: Framing the Shot

This week, we will explore different ways of framing images. Many photographers agree on one thing about framing – that it can help direct the viewers eyes to where you want them to look.

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It’s hard to believe the summer of 2019 is – for the most part – in the rear view. I don’t know what it is about summer, but it always seems to “go by” faster than winter with its endless cold dark days.

This summer, we traveled more than usual. Not very far…Vermont in June and Washington DC in June and August. No trips overseas or cross-country. Which is okay…longer distance travel is probably not going to happen anymore. Also okay.

As always – no matter how far I travel – I document. My ongoing attempts to freeze time.

For this challenge, these 2 shots came to mind.

The first one is from our three day June visit with friends on Lake Champlain in North Ferrisburgh, Vermont. We witnessed spectacular sunsets over dinner from their back porch.

At one point venturing closer to lake’s edge for unobstructed views…

lake frame
Sunset on Lake Champlain – framing the shot

During our second visit to Washington DC we spent a few hours babysitting for our 3 year old grandson. A few blocks away his parents started painting his new bedroom a pale shade of pink…in preparation for their move a few days later.

I think he sensed that big changes were in the air. After an hour of making multiple garages with magnetic tiles for his miniature construction trucks with Grandma & Grampa, he became restless and began looking for Mama.

That is, until we heard a Home Depot flatbed delivery truck across the street. The front porch offered the best view…as we watched one man unload a large pallet of lumber and building materials. By himself! With an attached forklift! Fascinating stuff for a lover of all things construction.

Several minutes of respite for a 3 year old…and for Grampa too.

guys watching lumber
Two guys on the porch

 

Airport Angles

Inspired by Lens-Artist Challenge #59: Angles

During a recent trip home from Washington DC we flew out of Reagan National Airport. The interior of Terminal B caught my eye as I walked from one end to the other before going to the gate. I was intrigued by the amount of artwork and use of the color yellow throughout the architecture. Perhaps for yellow’s calming effect?

Angles…everywhere! At every angle.

I took the first photo at one end of the very long hall looking up at the ceiling…

airport one

The second photo…pivoting to the right, facing the windows and blue sky…

airport two

…a picturesque day for flying.

Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

Inspired by Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #58: Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

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My entry for this week’s challenge dates back to 1980…

 

house 19800

…when thanks to a first-time homeowners federal loan program…we were able to borrow 95% of the dollars needed to purchase our first home…

A new four room cape on a half acre lot. Simple and small. Two bedrooms. Living room. Kitchen. One bathroom. Full basement. Unfinished attic.
With my father-in-law’s help we planted new shrubbery. Those tiny rhododendrons eventually reached the windows.

We chose Potomac Blue for the color…which changed 6 years later to Barn Red…and 5 years later to We-Are-Tired-of-Painting white vinyl siding.

What was this land before the builder covered it with houses?

Old farm land.

 

 

Taking a Break

Inspired by Lens-Artists Challenge #57: Taking a Break

…respond to this week’s challenge by showing how we and/or others “Take A Break”…How many ways can you think of for getting away from the daily grind and finding peace?

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I like to walk. Outside. I will admit I count steps – or at least keep track of them – via an older model fitness tracker I wear every day. No bells, whistles or flashing lights. Just an app on my phone which records how many steps I’ve accumulated. If I can count at least 5,000 in a day I don’t feel like a slug. 10,000 is the elusive goal. It all depends on how I’m feeling. How well various body parts are cooperating.

If nothing else, it motivates me to push back my desk chair, close my laptop, find my walking sneakers and head outdoors. Sometimes I call a friend to go with me – we chat and discuss the world’s problems.

Five years ago, I had a regular walking buddy – also a good friend – who would drive to my house for an afternoon walk. At that time I lived in a quiet neighborhood on a cul-de-sac. A relatively level road. Perfect for walking and talking with minimal huffing and puffing (more for my benefit – my friend, an experienced hiker, slowed her pace down for me).

Since then, she moved to California and I moved out of the house on the cul-de-sac. To a condo a few towns over. The “walking trail” promised by the developer is no trail at all. Just crushed stone gradually being taken over by grass and water runoff from the roof drains.

My steps outside now consist of walking up and down in front of the condo buildings.  I can also turn the corner and walk further into a neighborhood of matching houses…which are really condos. One “active adult community” next to another…but without many active adults visible.

A big change from the old neighborhood. No swing sets. No children on bikes or running to catch a ball. Rarely anyone at all.

Sometimes I drive downtown and walk to the end of the main street to reach the town “parkway” – which isn’t really a parkway like the infamous Garden State Parkway I grew up next to. It’s a quiet two lane road next to a tidal river. Grassy areas on either side of the road. Lined with memorial benches…often filled with locals finishing up their ice cream cones.

And for those of us who need one…a resting spot…to take a break.

parkway benches

The parkway’s sidewalk is next to the river.

Perfect for walking…especially late in the day…

river downtown

It doesn’t get much more peaceful than that.

 

parkway sign