Saudi is a beautiful country? Hot desert sand, no rain, every day over 100 degrees, strict religious rules… yes, uniquely totalitarian. Good?! Hmmm… let’s say I am happy to be home again. Did I mention everything stops for “prayer time” five times a day?
Dave learned to dive in Saudi. His sister joined us and we adventured together. They did their first night dive together with me. Scared of the dark? Nah, they were just holding hands because…. Yes, Jules had to wear an abaya! It’s a man’s world in Saudi.
No matter what, my kids can say they visited Saudi and experienced the culture for a brief time. I feel fortunate to have given them this opportunity. What memories!
Abruptly, it ended – my adventure in Saudi. Colleen was relieved. Very! We reconnected while I was still there. She never got to visit. Saudi law/rules prohibit casual visitors. My daughter was family – ok! Can you say culture shock!? I was lucky. Photo ops! Did I say Colleen was relieved? Can you imagine being trapped there for a couple years during Covid? Colleen worries. She has a vivid imagination! Relief!
Another birthday. Dave visited earlier this year. He comes and goes. I am not at liberty to say how and where. We were glad to have him. And, then he was gone once more. We are in touch. The internet allows everyone to be in touch no matter where we may be. Dave is just fine. Mysterious? Ha ha. He left; we went to the museum. We will miss him. He is a very good house guest. I hope he comes again soon.
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.
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.
Spring. I don’t have to get photos of flowers from my garden. I can do it at Winterthur. We are members. Someone else does the hard work and gardening. I just take the pics. How sweet! We are so lucky to be able to wander and enjoy. Of course, dinner out is a great way to finish. We skipped dessert. And, in the car, I dipped randomly into my M&M stash to pull the Ukraine colors. Nuts! Staging a selfie without a tripod takes a bit of skill. It recalls the cover for some indy rock band, in this case, absent a title. Eh? “Mom and Dad rock – on.”
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!
… 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.
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!
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!
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.
Random today… selection of pics. I have evolved from a single pic and story. Too many images, too little time. Good? Cats are our – Colleen’s and mine – life these days. We share much love with them. Yes… she loves to eat out, water view preferable. A frog, a duck, the sky, the moon, a grasshopper, all are fair game. Imerfect, (sic) true. Ha ha. I’m glad to have had the opportunities. A single shot/picture? Maybe once again, someday, but, not today.
…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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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?
After my recent fiascos with Mexican food, you would think I would lay off for a while. I don’t much like Mexican food. Sorry! What it lacks in taste it makes up for in hot sauce. But… Colleen remembered burritos. Her fond memory was akin to Proust’s Le Madeleine. Ok! Off we went. The restaurant at the first address from the internet – was closed, permanently. Aha! Someone else has the same idea as me. So, we drove a long long way… far away. And, it was a typical “joint.” The margharita was half the price of that overpriced unnamed place we ate in last. The food was otherwise typical. I love the taco bowl for my salad. What can I say? We had a Mexican meal like all the others I have had in my life. Considering all things, that’s not so bad, sometimes. Ah, the memory of – salsa and chips.
My visitors/followers come and go randomly. There is no requirement or subscription other than my ability to capture your attention and entertain you for a few moments. Family, friends, visitors, and followers all alike will drift in and out. Some of you follow all of my posts… hey! I preaching to the converted. Thanks for being here. I’m musing, randomly, too. Colleen hates Indian food; she told me. We eat Indian food. Standard fare: papadam and condiments. Note: anything that tastes good is bad for you. The essential fact: Colleen loves to eat out. She likes Thompson Island (restaurant). We go to the beach: I get a selfie; I get a wave shot. Here’s a shot you don’t try while driving; I was stopped at the light. What was this happy couple thinking?? After all the above nonsense: my point? My dear wife faithfully reads my posts. There are dear friends who read too. … and acquaintances. Others: one time visitors; alas. To all of you: thank you. I’m still here and hope to be if should you return another day. Daily thoughts and photographs. Free! That’s the (my) price!
This holiday season things are returning to normal in an abnormal state. Covid rages and 1000 people a day die in this country – still. No worries. Everyone is virus fatigued. Masks are off. Well, not quite. We went to a Xmas concert. Certainly, many venues recommend and suggest mask. Many ignore masks if it is optional. Stupid? Ignorant? Or Republican? Eating out? Obviously, you don’t wear a mask. Safe? Who knows? There are a lot of moving parts in a restaurant. It’s a risk. At this time of year, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. And, we need a table that is bigger than just for two.
Things cycle. Many years ago, I became aware of mozzarella sticks for the first time in Hawaii. Ok, odd place, but it was my first memory of encountering this appetizer. We have gone thru tiramisu and so many other things. This year juicy dumplings have been on the radar. You take a bite and hot soup pours out of the dumpling. Be careful not to burn yourself. Ha! It’s a neat trick. Someone in the kitchen is tasked with injecting soup into the dumpling as it goes out to the customer. (Ha ha, it’s not so, but, then again, I ain’t sayin’ how they do it). Scallion pancakes? Yup, they were Dave’s favorite for a long time. Colleen always has trouble splitting her chop sticks open. Go figure. I wonder what dish will dominate our consciousness in the next year.
The Third Category: I have three: good photograph/image; good (illustrative) story; fun. The lines blur. Sometimes we have all three. Art is not limited to the museums, (right after being Van Gogh immersed). Fun is the one you’re with, or, the food we eat. We found a dim sum place in Philly! Duh! They would have a “Chinatown” there – complete with grocery, bakery, and restaurants. Oh boy! Double duh! Well, we had fun – eating. Then, we went to a bakery for roast pork buns – closed, permanently, as in, out of business. The internet is not always up to date. So, we got our char siu bow elsewhere, a Vietnamese bakery?! Ha ha. The story, the art, and fun – it’s better than “sliced bread” today!
Surprises abounded. This is a very popular restaurant. It opened a branch and was immediately swamped with customers out the door and waiting for about an hour for a table. No reservation – taken; just show up and stand around. The food was expensive and not worth the price of admission. How about fajitas for two – $64. Huh? Mike ordered it for himself – steak, chicken, shrimp – 2 of three choices. He asked for all steak. He got an up charge of $26. What?! Yes, they up charged him. A surprise I caught as we split the check and paid the bill. Mexican dinner for four – $200 before tip!! Damn! The frozen margarita? $13. Ok!? Complaining. Nope. Going back? Nope. On so many levels,we drive past the place now and laugh at each other. Agave! They are better than we are and do not hesitate to remind us. Nope, not gonna be there again. But we got some relatives (I don’t like) – to send there.
I’m reaching here. Uninspired, lazy, I am in a writing drought after the past month of a plethora of subjects and photographs. So, spin the photo catalog. This series was all nearby one another and disparate in subject. It turns out we don’t see Dave very often at all. This was a visit to Jessop’s Tavern close to the train station where we pick him up when he comes to Delaware. Unfortunately, we got a round of bad service there on our last recent visit and it will be a long time before we ever return. Alas! Ida is not imprisoned. She was running a Memorial Day fundraiser and we saw her behind the fence as we walked up to the event. (That’s my story – to protect the innocent!) Flowers? Gee, I was so much (less) better a few years back. Nature! The rose managed to grow thru the fence and bloom. I am, indeed, heartened to see that I (photographer) am getting better as time passes.