Photo a Week: Signs

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: Signs

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO (OR TWO OR THREE) THAT FEATURES SIGNS OF ANY KIND.

~~~

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Joan Baez and her band rocking it out in Newport – August 2, 2009


Surprise!
Happy Birthday!
We are going to the 50th Anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival!
Pete will be there! Arlo! Joan! Judy! Gillian! Guy!
…and a bunch of other people I haven’t heard of but you love them!!!

That was basically the presentation of my best-wife-ever birthday present to my folk singer husband, who is also a guitarist…a teacher…a songwriter.

He practically worships at the feet of – and knows the music and life stories of – many “old” & legendary folk singers. An opportunity to see some of his idols perform live…a once in a lifetime opportunity.

So off we went to the festival for both days – August 1 & 2, 2009 – located at picturesque Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island.

I am happy to report he was in folk singer heaven the entire weekend. I enjoyed myself as well, but also included strolls around the park taking photos as part of my experience.

 

 

My highlights?
Watching Joan Baez and Judy Collins on stage…just as professional and enthusiastic and at ease as their younger counterparts. If not more so.

Perhaps their voices had changed over the years, but their music was still transportive. Entertaining. Beautiful.

It made me smile and sing along.
A very good sign.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Judy Collins at Newport August 2, 2009

 

Photo a Week: Sun and Water

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: Sun and Water

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO (OR TWO OR THREE) THAT FEATURES THE SUN AND WATER TOGETHER.

~~~

Bring me the sunset in a cup.

Emily Dickinson

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sun plus Water = Sunset

This photo was taken from the deck of a cruise ship off the coast of Bermuda, where my husband and I celebrated our 30th anniversary a while back.

It was unbelievably breathtaking to be surrounded by ocean water as the sun went down.

A complete immersion experience.

 

Helping hands

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: Hands

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO (OR TWO OR THREE) THAT FEATURES HANDS.

~~~

helping grampa

 

Little hands on deck helping Grampa make pancakes.

The day before Christmas 2017.

 

helping hands
I got it Grampa!

 

Photo a Week: Changing Seasons

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: Changing Seasons

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO (OR MORE) THAT DEPICT SEASONS.

~~~

I live in the Northeast USA and signs of Autumn are everywhere.

My favorite indicator of the approaching fall season is what I like to call the “natural look.” The trees changing color on a daily basis.

It reminds me of the huge leaf piles I loved to jump in when I was a kid. I don’t recall having to rake them, but I probably did help. The sound of the crunch, the distinctive smell of…fall…drew me in one way or the other.

I clearly recall – one late fall afternoon in the backyard – lying face up on the damp grass amongst the fallen leaves. Watching the few clouds in an otherwise blue sky. The sun’s rays shifting. Leaves continuing to float down. I must have been 9 or 10. I will always remember this moment…I thought…staring hard…listening…trying to make sure the memory stuck.

There was also a dubious activity I took part in: hiding inside leaf piles at curbside. Dutifully raked by all the neighbors. Huge mountains of leaves…ready for the loud lumbering city trucks which came by to suck them all up every week. My game (along with my friend Kathleen): jumping out seconds before the trucks reached us. We shocked the heck out of those drivers.

Not smart, I know.

Remember, children were very unsupervised in the 60s. We played outside all day. One adventure after another.

We also got lucky. At least I did.

It was an exciting time.

natural fall

 

Other signs of summer changing into fall?

Walking downtown yesterday,  I noticed the local shops had updated their decor.

Orange is the new color-of-the-hour. As in pumpkins…and mums.

signs of fall

 

On the other hand…

During my afternoon trip to the local wholesale club, I was greeted by another type of decor marking the change of seasons.

Still orange, but not nearly as tasteful.

Definitely not the “natural look” I know and love.

commercial fall

 

[To my horror, this was also a few aisles away from a display of artificial 7 foot high Christmas Trees!! Yes, Christmas Trees on September 28th – WTH]

 

Photo a Week: Stacked

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: Stacked

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO (OR MORE) OF THINGS THAT ARE STACKED.

~~~

This past June I enjoyed a visit to a farmers’ market in Washington DC.

Fresh vegetables stacked on tables…under tent after tent.

Local produce at its best.

Including carrots…as fresh as you could find anywhere.

carrots

 

Let’s compare to carrots from a plastic bag…in the produce section…at my local grocery store.

Stackable…but just not the same.

baby carrots

Agreed?

Photo a Week: Something New

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: Something New

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO (OR MORE) OF SOMETHING NEW.

~~~

When a kid gets a new bike…if that kid is fortunate enough to get one…it is an exciting day. Exciting enough to document with a photo.

At least it was at our house.

When my daughter was five, she was so done with her Strawberry Shortcake tricycle. She was usually “done with” things like that far sooner than we thought she would be. In her mind, she was always ready for the next thing.

She helped pick out her new purple bike, complete with a bell similar to one I had when I was little.  We insisted on a helmet, which she was too young to protest. This was 1987 and children did not commonly wear bicycle helmets yet. She was the first one on the block to be seen with one.

The neighbors commented that we were overprotective. I did not care what the neighbors thought. Protecting her head when she (inevitably) fell off was uppermost in my mind.

It wouldn’t be the first – or last – time she heard me say I don’t care what the other mothers do/say/think.

Regardless, she was one mighty proud five year old with her new “big girl bike.” Training wheels and all.

new bike K

 

Her younger brother, on the other hand, graduated from a tricycle to his sister’s hand-me-down purple bike with training wheels. A bit banged up by then – 6 years later – but it still transported him around the driveway. Carefully up and down the street. And he didn’t seem to mind riding it. When you are not the first born, you often don’t get “something new” right away. If at all.

However, when my son outgrew his big sister’s bike, it was time for a new one of his own. Which he helped choose at the same local bicycle shop where we had gotten his sister’s bike before he was born.  By then a helmet was standard and seen on the heads of most of the neighborhood children. Thank goodness.

A mighty proud almost seven year old, he did not need those training wheels.

new bike T

And off he went.

Photo a Week: Traditions

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: Traditions

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE ONE OR TWO OR MORE PHOTOS SHOWING A TRADITION YOU HAVE.

~~~

Did you check the bathtub?
Look in the closet!
Behind the couch!
Under the table!

When my two children were growing up (and even when they were grown up and home for a visit), Easter morning meant hunting for Easter baskets.

During the Easter Bunny era, it involved more and more intricate hiding places as they got older. The thrill of the hunt was paramount.

The E.B. had to get extra creative (hence the bathtub)…or else the search was over in ten seconds.

After all, the E.B. filled four baskets with carefully selected jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, candy eggs and small stuffed bunnies. As the years went by…basketball cards, little books, stickers, trinkets & puzzles were added…

…so let’s make it a challenge! (thought the E.B.)

The E.B. was usually successful…and a sweet family tradition was born.

 

easter baskets1989
1989

 

easter baskets1993
1993

The sister and brother team eventually figured out where to look…every time.

Photo a Week: Texture

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: Texture

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE ONE OR TWO OR MORE PHOTOS WITH NATIVE OR ADDED TEXTURE.

~~~

Friends of ours live in a home with a wood burning fireplace. Not a wood stove, but the old fashioned version where you build a roaring fire on a snowy winter day. Where flaming sparks crackle and fly when you toss more wood in to keep it going. The type of fireplace with the chimney for Santa. A real life yule log.

It’s for keeping extra warm while enjoying a book from the local library in the comfy chair nearby. Or while watching a Patriots game on television.

During one hot summer day, I noticed their growing collection of wood logs…freshly cut by our friend himself. Stacked very carefully in the backyard as they age and dry out. Waiting for the cold.

Textures ranging from smooth to bumpy to rough.

wood pile

Photo a Week: What’s for Dinner

Inspired by Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: What’s for Dinner

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO OF A FAVORITE MEAL.

~~~

In my family, there has never been such a thing as too much cheese. If a recipe called for 1 Cup, it would be a…very…heaping cup. Or let’s just sprinkle on some extra. Or use up the rest of the hunk.

My baked macaroni and cheese recipe – revised over the years – was a family favorite. My daughter has since tweaked it and made it her own; offering it to college friends and now her own family. Probably with even more cheese.

I had to change it up when I was diagnosed with celiac disease 10 years ago. Not because of the cheese (phew!), but the pasta. That was a challenge, as anyone who has cooked with gluten free pasta knows. I experimented with a few different pastas and cooking times until the recipe worked…complete with the bread crumb topping that – of course – is as important as the rest.

A recent dinner:
Gluten free macaroni and cheese
Green beans and a side of leftover chicken.
Tossed salad –  including home grown tomatoes from a friend’s garden.

plate

salad

 

Macaroni & Cheese Final Prep
Step 1: Sprinkle liberally with extra cheese
Step 2: Cover with buttered GF bread crumbs and crushed potato chips. Bake.
Step 3: Remove from oven

 

Dinner Time!

Yellow

Inspired by Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week: Yellow

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO FEATURING YELLOW.

~~~

Yellow brightens my day.

Forsythia bushes are my favorite yellow. We had two at our former home…one in each corner of the front yard next to the street. Mother’s Day gifts from my husband and kids. The spot for photos during the few weeks each Spring when they were in full bloom.

I often remember the forsythia from my childhood. It had also marked one corner of the front yard at the house I lived in until I was eleven. I think it actually belonged to the neighbor next door, but its massive branches stretched in all directions…providing the perfect backdrop for family photos of squirmy kids in their Easter finery.

This past Spring my husband and I planted a small forsythia on the edge of the condo property. Within sight of our living room windows. 

forsythia

 

We also planted a few daffodil bulbs last Fall. What a delight to see flashes of yellow once again…still brightening my days.

daffodils