Word and Image

Photography

NKA

Lives out of backpack, gathers no moss, do I, admire or regret? If you carry all your belongings in a backpack, you are exactly opposite to Colleen and myself. We are happily overloaded with clutter. What to say? It’s easy to shop presents. Get nothing that won’t fit into an already full backpack. Dave’s already Noa’s favorite uncle. I was gonna say, ‘only uncle’ but, that ain’t true. Prodigal son? Not strictly. But he sure has a lifestyle only a few can imagine. I worry, all the while wishing him the best. From my vantage, we all put aside worry, this day.


Mixed blessing

I had the dubious fortune of visiting my old ornaments. Separated but not entirely lost in the divorce, they are remembrances. Jules and I reminisced over their (she and David’s) favorites. There was a horn; every year they vied to place this on the tree. They took turns; year by year they remembered who had put the horn on the year before. Colleen and I have a tree. Ours has a mix of old and new (memories). She brought ornaments from WV. We bought ornaments. New memories and new traditions are now part of me. Old and new, it’s something that makes you think hard at this time of the year.


Circle Game

It’s a completely foreign sight to see your grown children reading to theirs.

…We can’t return, we can only look
Behind, from where we came
And go round and round and round, in the circle game… – Joni Mitchell

Mice or mouse? Twas’ the Night Before Christmas – “…not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…” The concept of mice or mouse, or, are they their names, plural vs singular, ah, that is the question?? Did it matter? Every night I read to “my” kids, and, Jules would stop me right here, without fail! “Which is the mouse? Which is the mice?” Without fail, we would pause. I gave my explanation. Jules expressed her doubt and confusion. We could never quite communicate our thought. It persists even now. Mice or mouse? It tugs at my heart to see my kids all grown up. A new dress? – universally beloved by little girls.


We got out alive

Xmas with the “ex.” It’s not that bad. Lisa likes Colleen better (than she likes me). No, this is the Part I story of Christmas, a game the whole family can play! It goes like this: Each Christmas someone goes down with some calamity. The most frequent is illness. The Christmas flu!! Yup, we got it in one of the homes this year. So, all plans changed in an hour. There were many tears and regrets. Covid is amongst us. But, this was the plain ole Christmas flu. Therefore, all parts subsequent to Part I changed. We will still get to all destinations – WV, OH, and so on. It will just happen in a different order and at different times. Ha ha! We made it past Part I. Everyone lived. No presents! No more!! Jules admonished sternly! Too much! I am guilty. Yes, I am! But, it ain’t a present if it’s not wrapped. (It says right here in the rules!!) Christmas cookies! A new holiday tradition? Nope! … an old one being passed down a generation. The best of all? Dave arrived home. Jules says it is the first time we have all been together since the wedding (hers).


Staff

It is said that we are just “staff” to our cats. Ha! They certainly have free reign. Free range? Do as you (my cats) will. They are, for the most part, careful to step around all things breakable. Only Willow has a tail that has a mind of its own. He knows how to walk about with chaos in his wake. Have I ever considered that we might have one cat too many? Nope.


Gnome for the holidays

Gnomes were all the rage this year. We got some. Carol sent hand knit free trade ornaments. “They” got their own little tree. Yes, spinners have their own special wreaths. Air plants – here’s a new take for Xmas. Santas? Our mantle is full. Carolers? Colleen admired them. They are $$$. I like a bargain. We found these at an estate sale for $. Ok! Then, I/we could not find them. Nope!! I looked high and low, but, not behind the milk! Nope! I was even wondering if I left them in the estate and forgot to take them home. ??? of course!! Colleen found them while she was looking for something else. (not behind the milk!!) … we have a missing yoga mat… not any little mat, it’s a 6×8 foot mat. How does a mat that size go missing??


Black plate

In the Walmart parking lot: The black Delaware license plate is an old one reserved for the early settlers of Delaware. You can get one at auction or by inheriting one. Yup, Delaware, Sussex county, Republican, asshole. Really!? And, you left your window open. I’d have liked to have poured a bottle of root beer into the front seat. Some people walk around as though there are no vindictive Democrats left in the world. But, without too much trouble, we know who you are and how to find you! Yeah, you should be looking out your rear view mirror.


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.


Too little time

Too many stories. We are lucky. A picture can tell a thousand words. I prefer to be succinct. Pictures!

Colleen says I look at people (women) too much. Things have changed. How do you come to work? Really!? Mom always said wear clean underwear. If you come to the trauma ER, they cut your clothes off you. I’ve seen some pretty fancy underwear (shredded). Just wondering…. Another sunrise? I am so fortunate to see another. It’s a gift. The Turkish plate? It’s totally out of character and out of sync to everything else in the house. It fits right in. Nope, we are not in need of a bed pan. I don’t see an old “set” every day. Likely, I will not again. Everything is disposable now. Yes, the times are changing. I used to go to work in suit and tie. In my last job, I simply lived in scrubs for four straight years. A tie and jacket came out of the closet only a handful of days.


Making up for lost decades

We met when we were eight years old. We then orbited in proximity for five years. I knew Colleen (back then), though we remained not much more than acquaintances. We lost track of one another for nearly five decades. And now? We’re trying to make up for a lot of time. Does accumulating stuff help? … a lot of stuff? I would not know. We just go with it. One Santa, two Santa… one leads to another and another. You would think we were an old married couple. Well, old yes; together, not nearly as long as we will be from now on. If I had one wish….


oh, Canada!

Another random stroll through the catalog… I came across a biker on the road with a French road sign (Sortie). Oh!? Canada! Did we really eat in this place? Pop-up store in a truck? Gee, memories fade. My pictures are the anchors. I have forgotten a lot of stuff. This would all be lost without a record. It was not memorable? Enough?


Once upon a time

Once upon a time Amelia, the dove, hatched a clutch of eggs in Jule”s window box. Several more generations of eggs followed and hatched. Imagine, it was 5 floor up in NYC, hardly the place to raise a family of doves. Several years later there was a reunion of the extended dove family on my 6th floor deck – one time only. It was poignant and priceless!

I have seen Gates, a one-time art installation in Central Park. I flew over the Verraznno Bridge during the NYC Marathon. I got to shoot at the US Open. I have been to Patriot Day in Boston. Why did the turkey(s) cross the road? Um, I don’t know either. Puffins??! Cute?! I got seasick three times unsuccessfully never seeing the birds, before I got this shot. The dragon – New Orleans – mardi gras, I was there to see the warehouse housing the trappings of the celebration. Walter Mitty had nothing on me.


Highlights

It seems the beginning of my catalog has some highlights – shots over the years that were “keepers.” At least that is my opinion. They were pretty much unplanned shots that turned out surprisingly well. You may readily disagree. I like them. A very early effort was the child at a street market in London. The shot in the pool was a blurred image – wrong exposure, nice shot. Moonrise? It ain’t easy without adjusting the exposure. Motion blur (waves), moon detail, not bad. Wedding? I was a guest. It was a “grab” shot. The couple enlarged and kept it as a highlight. Panning – I learned with a San Francisco cable car. Reading about it is one thing; I gotta do it in order for the lesson to stick. Candid family? There are shots, and, there are shots that make you laugh out loud. Exhausted? Or, no turkey, please! Jules did not cook the meal… What else to say? I simply stuck the camera out the window and pressed the shutter once. Surprise!


Years later… pink juicer

This is a tale. Ha! Colleen saw a pink juicer a long, long time ago. We have been to many antique stores since (years!!). We have never seen another. I presume she did not buy it when first seen, because it was too $$. Oh! The waiting! Don’t they sell them? They sure don’t make any! I caved. This past autumn I went on eBay. Voila! Delivered! Done! Ah! She said I was so sweet! We haunted antique stores this Christmas for Santas and other such Christmas bargains. This shop, we almost did not go into. It was the end of the day; we were tired; and, how many antique stores can one wander into? Damn! Sitting pretty! Right there on the shelf! A pink juicer! The price was reasonable. It was almost surely coming home with Colleen at about any price! And who knew there was a pitcher that went under the darn thing?

You win. You lose. We have not lost… any cats. And we are pretty much safe with ornaments (too)… so far. We got some retro ornaments. Nice. It’s nostalgic. Ha! I/we never had ornaments that looked like this when we were kids. Bargains. One Santa was a little as a $1. I made the Santa blocks. Ok, “V” is for Victor. The other letters? Dave? “U, K, B??” Huh?! And where is “C” for Colleen? I’m in deep trouble if she figures out the names of old girlfriends?! For, now I will stick with the glow of that “found” pink juicer!


Santacon 10 years on

Santacon. Carol reminded me. I was there ten years ago in 2011. Do you believe it? The affair is an opportunity for a flash mob to gather at a designated spot. No warning. No permits. Party, and drink alcohol. It’s a photo op. I was able to get there one time only. The subway to South Street was packed with Santas and their “helpers” headed to party hearty downtown. Neat?! There was no unruly action going on while I observed. It was a good time had by all.

Now, we have our own little Santacon going. Colleen got a few… then went back… and scooped up… all the available Santas for sale. Ha! Santacon Delaware style! Ray, the cat, is a bewildered participant. We have a Santa themed tree this year. Colleen is brilliant. Great idea! I do believe… I do believe.


Way back

I opened my catalog to find an error. Oh boy! I had not copied a folder to my redundant array of hard drives. So much for being on top of things. There are always mistakes. This is pretty glaring. But from years of bookkeeping my medical practice, you know there are always errors along the line. And, you go with it, hoping the mistakes are minimal. I am glad to correct things. And, I am glad there was no catastrophic drive failure beforehand. Meanwhile, a view of Christmas past is always nostalgic. Nellie did climb into the box. I added the lid. Ha ha. My cats climb into boxes too. There are a lot of memories here. Those of you who know me well, will understand. I am fortunate to have preserved these pictures.


Wallow

We buy fleece. Sheep shearing is an art. The fleece can be dirty. Very. Or, clean. We get average, pretty dirty fleece. It has lanolin (grease) – a lot, grass, dirt, and poop. TMI. It has to be processed. A lot of times it is stored in old pillow cases… till washed. Our cats? They love to wallow in the fiber. It’s not ideal to do so. The fleece could get felted. Ha! I swear, we’d have sheep grazing outside the house if only the homeowners association would allow. Do you wallow? Willow wallows.


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.


Confession

I’m perfect. And, I’m the first person who will tell you so. Not, nope! Your family keeps you honest. In this case, my wife, Colleen. She said the pic we printed was not good. Color balance was chiefly the culprit. She could not articulate all the mistakes. I’m perfect and argued, “How can it be bad?” Wrong! She was right. I improved composition and color. It’s not perfect. Yeah, yeah. But, better. It was hard to get those cats to jump up and sit for another photo. But then again, I’m the dad.


Resolve this

Resolved: no more cats. Really? Well, we have not been to the pet store recently. (I was banned.) Healthy eating: ha ha. Seafood diet? – see food, eat it. Take more pictures? For sure – everyday. New year? It’s like a reset or restart? Way back when, I was here in Woodstock. I was an unwitting witness of history. Things changed. Things remain the same. Humbly, if I were asked – no reset, more of the same please. Because, I am happy with my new year and life as I know it, now. Happy new year, again.


The year in review

Dawn or dusk? If you have no orientation, it looks the same. You must know where to look, east or west. We had quite a year around here. Coming or going? We lost one and added two – cats. It was a year of sorrow and of joy. In the midst of this, Covid raged around us. Our experience pales in comparison to a pandemic which killed hundreds of thousands. The vaccine came, then the booster was available. Half the population is currently vaccinated. The unvaccinated group remains a large source of ongoing Covid infection… and death. People gather now and take off their masks in an effort to believe/pretend the pandemic is now over. It’s not over. At the beginning of the year we had no access to vaccination. Now we are triple vaccinated. We have come a long way. Have we? It’s been a hell of a year. Which way out? I cannot say. Ummm… no, we still have eight cats. And, yes there are nine pictures. It would appear Colleen loves Nutley most. Happy New Year.


Ah! You…

…bastards! You tiptoe around. You do dirty tricks and hope they won’t be found out. You truly are evil bastards! In the miserable pouring rain as we passed on a cold dark night through Maryland on the way home… Colleen was struck by revelation! She has been casually watching gas prices as we traveled this holiday season – NY NJ MD WV OH. Democratic friendly states – about $3.29 and up for gas. West Virginia, $2.75. Ohio, $2.83. Umm… who #$#@#% represents those states in Congress? manchin and jordan. I read how joe is in the pocket of fossil fuel… oh! This is how they pay/BRIBE! joe back for his efforts to stall the democratic agenda. This is pretty blatant “pork.” Payback’s a bitch. Me? It never occurred to me how low ‘special interests’ would go. Price gouge your neighbor especially if they are Democrats. Colleen is simply brilliant. Or you are dumb to think, we would not notice your “stink.”


Anything else?

Sometimes I think Colleen and I have a lot of time to catch up. That is to say – what would have had happened if we had been together fifty years? Shopping? Oh boy! The candy store is now, an antique store. We don’t buy candy. But… in an antique store Santa and Xmas is fair game. Gifts – the nativity went to a cousin. Snow globe – for Noa’s pleasure. The stone tablet, now painted – was ballast for ships coming to New Orleans. We scored a German pyramid ornament. Rare indeed to see; we have two now. Oh boy! Santa? Yes, Colleen decided to collect ones she liked. Oh boy! It means that they all don’t come home with us. The beneficiaries? My cats love siting scrunched up in boxes and baskets that we get. Yeah, yeah, I cannot blame Colleen alone; I have been guilty of a purchase or two. How about a light up Mexican style kitchen scene?


Oh no!

Why couldn’t it be rolling pins… that I/we collect? I never considered masks.?! And, well, I should not! No! No no. We simply are out of wall space. Oh well, time to reinvent myself (ourselves) once more. These masks are from Mexico. I bet you could tell. Masks are ingrained in many cultures around the world. These masks tell a story and are full of stories about the ceremony and how they evolved. You can see primitive culture and the Spanish influence all wrapped up and melded together. Symbolism is heavy. Top left – Moor/Chinese influence ?? go figure. You can readily see Hispanic influence. Snakes? They are not ‘garden of Eden’ evil, but are water sign. Rain dance! Me? It’s another thing to eye more closely when we go thru and antique store. Gee! Can we just get one? NO!!!

Non sequitur: driving to the museum lecture we were treated to a spectacular sunset all the way up the road. It was gone by the time we arrived. Note: crescent moon over the parking lot.