Word and Image

Food

Retro

Photography? No, I think I was more photojournalist. I documented events – birthdays, holidays, food, family. Photography came later. I was parsimonious – cheap! So, I shot more than most people and way less than I do since digital is “free.” Boy, oh boy, was I bad (photographer) way back then. Hey, I knew how to focus and take a picture. Fine art, it wasn’t! Food photography? I shot dishes we prepared for big family dinners. The turkey was not styled for a good photo. It tasted far better? (It looks overdone.) And the holidays were a documentation of the litany of presents bought, given, and received. Funny, I still do that. I did it this past Xmas. It’s a record. Someone might find it nostalgic in a few decades from now. But photography? I do both. Now. History or art? I don’t try to overthink it. I am happy to say there are plenty of pictures. I do not look back too often. Like time, I am always in forward mode. (Shhh… Lisa took the pics of me.)


Cheer

I’ve been morose. Ok! Enough!

I hate bugs. Ha ha. I love a good BLT! And, I especially love them when Colleen made it for me. Mmmmm…. Flowers never fail to cheer things. Ready! By the time this post is published, summer will be on its way.

Last year, about this time, I was engaged in scanning my collection of slides, once and for all? It was a huge daunting task. I was running two scanners – don’t ask, again – and two laptops. It went faster than one and took forever to complete.

Red, it perks me up. Time to go have a BLT. Yes!


windows

We’re trying not to dwell… it’s hard not. Colleen has noted that Nutley, Ray’s brother, is grieving. I do believe she’s right. A cat? Yup. I apologize. I’m working out stuff myself. Ray was a cat. In perspective, the lives lost and property destroyed by Russia in Ukraine pales.

Apropos:

The Windows of the World – Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach

… The windows of the world are covered with rain
There must be something we can do
Everybody knows whenever rain appears
It’s really angel tears
How long must they cry?
Let the sun shine through

Keep busy: eat out, laugh with friends, do stuff. We will never forget. Each day I am working toward coping. This one time it has hit harder than ever before. I do not know why. Colleen comforts me as I do her. Photography has been a comfort. No, you cannot tell that it is Nutley; they were twins.


Creme brulee

Today, it’s story more than pictures. What to do for your “anniversary?” Eat out! Of course! We had a splendid meal. There was a talking parrot. Colleen smiled from start to finish. The food was excellent. And, crème brulee for dessert! That is Colleen’s favorite. Yup, still married. Happily married! It’s no oxymoron. Nope, indeed!


Insanity

… doing the same thing over and over … hoping for a different result. We got another fleece to wash … spin. Yes, nuts! It’s spring, time to plant. Eating out is good. Colleen took flight on St Pat’s day. We had a reservation. 30 minutes later we were seated. It was a local place, definitely not worth the effort. Dinner with the cousins, priceless. And, the cats keep getting images into my camera.


Follow up

It was an interesting birthday on many levels. My side of the family is far and wide. Colleen’s family has taken me under their wing. Word got out and the list of folks coming to dinner grew and grew. I got cards, gifts, and a slice of cake too large for me to eat alone. And, family shot me from all directions. And the pics were sent to my phone before the cake was eaten! It’s a first for me. The world has changed. It’s good right? Shhhhh… they still believe me when I say I am fast enough to press the camera shutter, and, be in the picture too!


H.B.

Time is slipping by too fast. The decades go and I don’t have many to go. Maybe, none? No complaint. I’ve had a good ride, a charmed life. There were tragedies. Many. There has been great joy. Sometimes, the fries are great, others, not so much. Overall, I can only add, a happy ending is the preferred ending. Yes, it’s my post and today is my day. Happy. Happy? Happy! Yup, yep, yes!


Flight time

Grand Canyon – grand: setting, view, restaurant, food, fun… Why not? The first time we tried; the kitchen was closed – broken. A year later we succeeded in having a fine meal. Grand, indeed. Colleen loves dessert – flan. And, she loves beer. No Bud, craft beer, and, let it be dark beer, more flavor. To me it is like bitter beer medicine. She laughs; such a sweet woman. You can sometimes order a sample of beers – it’s called a flight. Fun! I watch. I photograph. That way you don’t get to see my face scrunch when I taste the beer. No!


Spin doctor

It came to me as I awoke – idea!! I would be in costume – well, not exactly, but scrubs. My (personal) PJ’s, working gear. We were to demonstrate at the local fiber show. Ok! I am not a volunteer. Colleen volunteered me/us. A local newspaper came by to get a pic and a story. We will be in it – the news. (WITSEC) Witness protection beware. Ha ha. And of course, pizza and a beer for dinner.  Colleen had seafood lasagna. Note: be careful what you wear in public, especially if you don’t have the figure for it. She took mine (pic); I took hers.


Less is more

Maine. Colleen would move there in a heartbeat. I don’t have another move in me. Where I am is just fine. We can go anywhere. Been there, done that, I lived in Maine. It’s a long way from family. The healthcare is not the greatest. It’s nice to visit and then go home. I will admit that I was never in the Co-Op store while I lived there…. ditto, the yarn store. Damarascotta was a pass-thru town for me – Colleen’s favorite. “Pop” went to U of M. Fall colors – minimal. Red’s? We never ate there and never have. Runaround Pond, my refuge of peace and tranquility, sharing it is a very personal thing. Very! I’m glad we could and we did. Yes, we live to eat. Today? I ran backwards in my catalog to choose. Too many pics, not enough time. But, we try to make every moment count.


Dream

You are going along all happy and content – and – you are hit by a truck. It’s a joke. But. I feel the other shoe is always about to fall. Gloom? Reality? Are we ever really, just happy? I dunno. Escapism?

Colleen’s lifelong dream has been to visit Scotland. We did it! We got here while we were able. We got sidetracked by Covid while planning the return visit. We await for travel restrictions to abate. It was a splendid visit. Tea, golf, sheep, scenery, countryside, city, views, did we miss anything?

I am sure more adventures await with another trip.  … happy to say we are following her dream.


What else?

The pandemic is over (?). We went to a family event. The cousins have not met in two years – since 2019. I was still reluctant. But… pot luck. What to make? Our oven decided to go south. I did not know what temp I was baking. And the first coconut custard pie was lost to a serious burn. The mushroom strudel fared better. I got raves for the (second) pie. And, the cousins met for the first time in a long time. We have/had all been in touch. But it was an icebreaker to meet in person without masks. … all this on the night of the start of the Ukraine war. Memorable.


Details

Home is a catalog of your life. In this case we had separate lives and have a joint life. It’s quite a mish mash of stuff. In making up for lost decades we have collected a lot in a hurry – old typewriters, old sewing machines, old spinning wheels… old beer steins. Colleen weaves. That shuttle is sitting on a Revolutionary war era barn loom. Yes, we basket. And, I built/constructed the bobbin display rack to hold spun skeins. We got old art and new art. The old wheel is our TP holder in the half bath. The master bath has too many cosmetics. I hid them in a nearby backpack. Yes, it’s all jokes in self-defense – we are out of room for stuff. Ditto, my pantry sits partially on the counter. We did not start out this way. They have shows about hoarders.

Us? We? Nah!!


In plain sight

Today, is it story or picture? Things go missing in our house. Ha ha. We live with projects in progress, progress being the operative word. It’s a nice way of saying “mess.” It’s us. It can be overwhelming… sometimes. Can you lose a 3-hole punch? Sure, it’s easy. Just stick it behind something in a place you hardly look. Yeah, it would help if it were where it’s usually kept… A yoga mat? This is about 6’x8’. It ain’t small! We got another; don’t ask. Now we have two. The first? It was standing behind an open door. Oh yeah! “ Look behind the milk.”

Another story? Fake cheese? It’s milk product. It’s not cheese. Oh, but you knew that? I like cheese. Shitake mushroom? Why do they come packaged dry? I was an adult (middle aged I might add) before I ever saw a fresh shitake. Fake duck? Yup, they got that too. It’s good. Colleen won’t touch it. It is all in fashion now. Fake – plant based – meat.

I would look harder for missing things, but, then that would take away the fun from having put things away. …nary a surface is open. Some folk are just destined to have things all about. That, would be us. Oh, and my photo catalog is so crowded, it was easier to photograph the house (again) than to cull a picture from the catalog.


…how much…

…fun can you have with your clothes on? It’s perception? Looking at things differently? Art is there to make us think. I interact. I see things and try…. My mind races. I never considered myself an artist. Photography appeals because the image is accurate and absolute in its real depiction of the world around me. I could never draw it. Photography is deemed an artform. Ok!

The sculpture gave me pause… long enough to walk around and discover, a new perspective. Plane crash? … as art? Without being there, you know it is a cold day outside my window. Food fun? The cup says Chinese. The food says dim sum. Fun?!? Yeah, keep your clothes on, stay warm, eat a lot of food!


Last supper

It’s nothing so dramatic as the title suggests. But, it is the last supper we will have with Dave for a while. He’s off. He visited for about as long as he had been here since we moved to this location. He’s working remotely and needed time to reorganize and regroup. He ate healthy – cereal, oatmeal, and salad. He ran about seven miles a day. He decimated my inventory of junk food – several boxes of Cheese-Its, M&M bags (several more), roasted cashews (by the pound), cookies, chocolate (dark) chips, Milk Duds, and whatever else temptations I had around. Healthy is relative, I guess. I offered to take him for a “healthy” salad on his evening with us. Nope, he never orders salad out in a restaurant. Funny! We ordered the Caesar salad and shared it with each other. And then, just like that, we dropped him at the airport where he began his next adventure. He’s a good house guest. He hardly left a trace of his presence. … there is a lot of missing junk food. That’s good for me? Yeah, we will miss “the boy.”


Speaking of … still tryn’

I tried to illustrate wide angle distortion in an iPhone  portrait of a child the other day. Everyone liked how cute she was and ignored the forehead distortion. Ok!? So, here is a loaf of challah right out of the oven. Smells great, butter glazed, good enough to eat!! Colleen made a braided proportional loaf. That is to say, it was a parallel loaf!? I intentionally moved in close and distorted the lines. Do you see? It doesn’t matter when it comes to bread. But a child?

Ok. I didn’t want to do a formal portrait of my son. Shy?! I don’t mind sticking my camera into Colleen’s face. She is used to me by now. But, “the boy?” So, I sneak/snuck a few grab shots. The lighting was not helpful. It would help if we got the right situation before he is on the road again. Yes, they (the images) are a good representation. But it’s not what I am trying to achieve. … another day, another opportunity.  


Best friend

Got one? This is my high school buddy. We look a bit different. At least I have hair. No names please, to protect the innocent. Ethiopian food? (There’s a joke in this somewhere.) A good time was had by all. Go to Chicago, meet up with friends and relatives. Eat, drink, be merry. How good (best friend)? We were at Woodstock together. Most of you would have to look up this historic event. It was a blip in our lives too. But, we can say we were there.


Lemons

Our house is a home, cozy and warm. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it. Crowded with stuff and full of projects, it has ‘stuff’ all over. This is not a showplace. We use our space! There is no plan and most folk would cringe with the dusting that must be required. Fun? The table is covered by towels which cover a puzzle in progress. The cats lie on screens covered by washed fleece. Your house got that? Messy? Nah!

Lemons – you got ‘em? Lemonade! Dave was coming to visit, hence, the relative picture-worthy cleanliness of the living room. Ha! Late! It seems all the flights cancelled over the holidays spread to mass transit and the trains too. Trains fly? So, instead of going straight to the train station… we stopped and ate. Hey, things close early around here! He did ok. I got him an order of scallion pancakes – one of his favorites. And, trains don’t fly – though his was way late!

Note: Pfewf! Looking back, this was quite a series of non sequiturs. I have often been admonished for having runonthoughts.


Celebrate… muted

Celebrate, loudly, in a crowd, make a spectacle, whoop and holler? Why do folks feel the necessity? New Year’s. Maybe age has mellowed me. We did do some of the pomp. I tuned into Dick Clark’s Times Sq. Dick is long departed… TV – mute, definitely mute. A few macaroons, I scrounged in the pantry, a bit exotic and not every day fare. A bit of sparkling cider, not Martinelli, another find in an off-beat store. And, the magical kiss, at midnight… what more can one ask for? I am glad to be here another year. Bittersweet. Bittersweet? You bet. How many more do we have… together? I cherish each and every one. Yes, we celebrated! As usual, the room was crowded … with cats.


Contraband

If you live in a Muslim state there are multiple dietary restrictions. Well, you don’t find ingredients in the grocery that I once took for granted. Soy sauce! The Filipinos don’t use the type I use. Trust me, it’s very different than what I get in NY. There is no bacon or ham – no pork is eaten in Muslim culture. My departure from Jeddah was more rushed than planned. I gave away a lot of groceries to the Filipino nurses who had befriended me. I hope they like bacon. How do you get it into the country. You put it in your luggage and hope the Saudi inspectors don’t squawk. And I got caught! They triumphantly held up my bottle of soy sauce from my bag. Wine?! Alcohol!? Nope, soy sauce, ha ha, the look of abject failure was obvious as I snatched back the bottle from the Saudi cop. He missed the bacon. It doesn’t show up on x-ray. Yes, my home appliances were given to  the nurses too. Ok, I take pictures of everything? My pantry? Ha ha, yes. Imagine that, portrait of a package of bacon.


Perfect

The quest for the perfect gift is serendipitous at best. You would never guess and can never quite guess what will be a hit. Certainly, capturing the moment of surprise and joy is just as fraught. Sometimes a moment passes too quickly to capture. And, sometimes, you catch the moment perfectly. Certainly, the joy is apparent. It makes me smile as I edit. Have you seen the new plant based food? There is something disingenuous in making fake meat. Either you eat meat or you give it up for … broccoli. You simply can’t have it both ways. ??? So, fake bacon? It was enough to make me an instant vegetarian! The moment? Everyone had their phones out. I reached for my camera/flash. One shot. That was it. One chance. Perfect.


Positivity

The original post scheduled was too negative. (It comes later today.) Instead for a while, focus on the humor of family. Colleen has two ditzy sisters.

dit·zy: adjective – (informal)- silly or scatterbrained (typically used of a woman). — herein, used in the most loving of ways. (they don’t tune in to my posts…)

Ha ha. I got the best one (sister) though there are times… Let’s be positive and say Colleen is nearest my age. (no, not ditzy, either) Enough! No names please. One, who is unnamed here has eyes bigger than her stomach. Or, rather, I goaded her into ordering a Shepard’s pie off the menu. It arrived, bigger than her head (and her stomach). Close your eyes and pretend she ate and enjoyed it all, (instead of taking it home to discretely trash it later). Eyes? Yes, she, still, ordered dessert, too!

It’s summer! It’s the family gathering of Colleen’s extended clan (at our house!). A good time is had by all. I get to watch and be endlessly entertained. The smiles are simply priceless. Happiness. Family. Joy. … and Shepard”s pie.


Mmmmm….

Things sit in our childhood memory. They are recalled fondly. The leftovers after Thanksgiving bring different recollections to Colleen and me. I recall hot turkey sandwiches. My mother made them open faced and covered in hot gravy – on white bread. No? Not the thing you remember with fondness? Got it. Colleen recalls a completely different sandwich scenario. Leftovers! We had enough to satisfy dinner and the memory of the day after. Day after pumpkin pie? Well, we were too stuffed to tackle pie on the day of. (Don’t forget the whipped cream!!) Potato cakes? Colleen’s specialty. It holds no significance to me. But, delicious! Food photography? It’s not the pictures. It’s not the food. It is all about tasting the fond memory of meals gone by and the love mom put into our lives.