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Acquisition

Since we are only recently found and married together Colleen and I have a lot of decades to make up for. We both bring things to the marriage and we both are still in the acquisitive stage. For instance: Christmas.

Thank goodness we do not collect everything. But at about this time of year we haunt antique stores for Santa figures. Recently Colleen admired carolers. Too expensive $$. Then we got some in an estate sale. Cheap! And now we are acquiring them. It seems they jump out and the price is too low to resist. We do not collect nutcrackers. Nativity scenes? Nope. Not them either. Vintage mixing storage bowls – would you believe the price? Hundreds of $$ for a set. No way!! Too expensive for us. Ha ha! We do not like nor need them. Blue Willow pattern porcelain – yup. Music Christmas boxes – on occasion. And our home? It’s cozy and getting more cozy after each trip to the antique store. Ah! And it is always a photo-op.


Antique

Antique – older than 100 years old. Vintage – older than 1999. Antique – anything old…

Hey, we are old! Antiques?!

Ladies Home Journal 1898 issue, that would be old, vintage, and antique. I’m impressed that it sold for as little as we paid. But, then again, who’s heard of the magazine, much less who wants an old copy?

I remember mine. Colleen remembers hers. Each other’s parents. They were born after 1900. 10, 20’s? It’s a number. It is abstract. And we approach the same relative to our grandchildren. Sadly, my brother has not yet seen his grandchild. Life is never simple. Age is not just a number. Hug the one you’re with.


Fun

Looks like… we get out and about. An island full of gnomes. Seal. Defibrillator with instructions confusing enough to stop you in your tracks. Rent a bike. Castle. Foreboding sky. Rain, but of course. We saw this couple in the pub with a pitcher each. Alcohol? Oh boy! Soda? I don’t drink that much. What the…?

It’s not the travel or the location. It is the adventure you have with the one you love. We had a good time. We have good times. We have had good times. We will have good times.


What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

Harry Connick Jr sang… and with a bit of luck I never have to be alone again on New Year’s. Ah! Peace and serenity. It sure is good to have it and if you get it, it sure is good to have it at the end. I got no complaints. It is like an O Henry story around here. We trip over one another worrying about the other. Are you happy? Are you ok? You bet!!


Getting around

We chase wildlife. Sheep, cows, it doesn’t much matter. We do fiber which starts with fleece and goes from there. I can now process a fleece to spun yarn. Actually, Colleen does it all. I help. But it is a fun thing. The family that works together…. Or, is it, the family that plays together…?


Almost

From the time of my childhood I wanted to see Blackwater Falls. There was a winter photo with ice framed by a sunny day as the water cascaded. The picture never left my memory.

Who knew I would return from Saudi to finally see the falls in winter. Ha ha. From desert to this. But it would be disappointing in some aspects. We were not there on that magical day my memory recalled. There was ice to be sure. There was much to be needed to make the perfect picture. And in other ways it was a perfect picture. I had never dreamed I would be there with Colleen. She was not in that original memory. Somehow I think this real memory is so much better.

Right after I retired from Saudi and returned to the US, Colleen had me on extensive road trips to visit family. Her family extended across WV, CO, and OH. Do the math. It’s a lot of driving. But she did divert me through Blackwater Falls to see that mythical falls of my childhood memory. It was my first time. And, to return in winter with ice falling….

On so many levels this is a memory of almost. Almost good to almost perfect. I’ll take it!!


Going back

Sometimes you go back. Things don’t/didn’t change much. The lamppost of buoys is still there. The lighthouse has not gone away. I am still with the one I love. No, they did not open the Olsen House. The museum is open. The house is not? Go figure. Only a handful of folks visit the Olsen House. Plenty of folks wander the museum in Rockland without a mask in sight…. Going back. It’s never quite the same.


Three star

I rate my pictures as I edit. Two stars – technically good, not outstanding, but a good shot. Three stars – a little bit better. I’m looking through three star edits. No worries. Good shots. Fun. Solid. Wow! They might make you smile. It’s not necessarily an easy shot to get. The smiles are real. I can admire my technical prowess sometimes. It’s like kids. Don’t you love them all? Equally?


About time

It’s about time for the annual family shot – Colleen, me, and the seven cats. They march up onto the table and I shoot with the remote control and tripod. Simple. Easy.

This year the pandemic is over. Is it? To all intents and purposes it is hard to find many masks and precautions. We are not taking risks. But pretty much wherever we go there are few admonitions or masks. People are still hospitalized and dying. Our social exposure is slowly ramping up. For the first time in several years we will have a family gathering at Thanksgiving. Good luck to all.


Fast forward

Life is in fast forward these days. There’s no let up soon. We returned from Maine and flew to California. Day trips. Thanksgiving at our house. Ohio a couple of trips. We are on the go. In between there is a lot of fleece to wash, card, and spin. No boredom around here. Looking back at the first part, maybe that was the slow part?

Family, kids, nature, cats… repeat.


O Henry

It’s like an O Henry story – everyone is trying to do the right thing and we all miss by, that much. Alternately – no good deed shall go unpunished. Or, vacation – a game the whole family can play.

We tried to visit Jules and the kids before she started work once more after maternity leave. How many times have I had sick kids during important events? Christmas flu anyone?

No surprise. The little girls were both sick. And Jules…and us. You name it, they got it and had it. And, they shared! The coup de grace was getting shoes and socks soaked when a rogue wave overtook us on the beach! Yeah, well, nothing so dramatic?!

We all stumbled over ourselves trying to be good to one another. Jules wanted to entertain us. She wanted to take us to see things. She wanted me to cook with Noa. Etc etc… I was not at all demanding and wanted everyone to get well. We just never seemed to mesh. Plenty of smiles but there was a lot of illness. Funny. The kids never did look too ill. Neither were we.

Colleen and I spent the second night home alternately coughing and trying not to wake one another. The girls are mending. Jules missed her first day to return to school. And, it was all on Halloween. Boo!


Matching

On occasion we wear matching clothes. It’s not intentional. For a while I would see matching Japanese tourists in NY. They wore the same T-shirts or whatever. It was oddly curious to see.

As you can readily see I can go both ways. It’s a joke not a gender insult or confusion. Otherwise, our museum antics would be considered schizophrenic. And hats? Why, of course!


Tea

High tea. It’s referred to:

“English High Tea usually involved a mug of tea, bread, vegetables, cheese and occasionally meat.

What is difference between afternoon tea and high tea?

Delectable scones, tea sandwiches, and cakes are the hallmark of an afternoon tea, which is served in midafternoon. A high tea, however, includes much more substantive fare…

“Tasha Tudor: was an American illustrator and writer of children’s books.” Beloved!

Colleen has loved her books and illustrations long before I met her. We have bought several of her books which are collectibles from antique stores.

And, I have become introduced to the Tasha Tudor society. Yes, a fan club! On her 107 birthday we attended a Tea in her honor far from our home in Lancaster PA. I won the door prize! Imagine that! We had a splendid time. There were speeches. There was a tour.

Yes, there are cults that promote good. We met people who had met Tasha during her life. Some folks have pursued celebrations like this for many years. It is indeed humbling to see living history pass as the participants grow ever older and the tenuous connection to Tasha fades.

The day started in fog and ended with a spectacular sunset replete with rainbow. Nutley, as ever, did not want us to leave him for the day. Colleen ate in a favorite restaurant as a coda. Perfect! Priceless!


Enough?

I was thumbing through the catalog… I shoot flags when they present. I shoot bridges – from/in the car. We do selfies. Jump? Street photography? – selling carnival food to the extreme? And then, there is always fall – the quest for the best shot (Maine, beside a bank, a real bank, not one by the river.)

One thing leads to another. I had the girls jump. They really were thrilled to pose and to jump. They did it for a long time never seeming to tire of posing. Okay!! And the bee sting kiss? Jen spoke about the young girls doing this pose as the latest craze in phone pics. And then, she and Mike showed me. My handy dandy camera was right at hand! Yay!


Revival

https://photocriticism.wordpress.com/

Scotland! I owe Colleen a return trip. Our flight was canceled at the onset of the Covid shutdown. It rains a lot in Scotland, hence the same rain jackets throughout. This time we will take more rain gear. The thistle is a Scottish national emblem. Cat? Shhh… not mine. We cannot pass a bookstore without stopping.

Ah! Revival? I have resurrected my old blog site Photocritical. In case you clicked on it in the past… I have recently begun to post there once again. Thank you all who have followed and visited this blog. Meanwhile, I am making a shameless plug for you to have the opportunity to see other photos.


Azalea woods

Winterthur. Springtime. Spectacular! We should do this more and again. We never do. There is always so much else to do and so much to see. I live near the beach and don’t go to walk there nearly as often as we should.

The azaleas are in full bloom. Peonies, rhododendron, and the hydrangea all contribute to the colorful display. Mr. DuPont would be happy to know his garden legacy is so appreciated. We certainly felt privileged to be there among his blooms planted so long ago that others would benefit so many years later.


One day

It depends on how you say it and where you put emphasis on the words. There are multiple meanings. Jane responded she liked the triplets. ?? dunno? Meanwhile, how much fun can you pack into one day?

We took the slow road up US 9 to get. Sometimes, it is about the journey and the scenery. One mansion and gardens, one farmer’s market, one museum, and dinner! Wonderful! Behind every great man is a woman – a great one! That’s what the tour guide said. Antics? Triplets?? Whatever! It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be fun! And, so it was! Priceless!

Scheduled? No. Unplanned? We had a loose framework – tickets to Nemours and a dinner reservation at either end. In between we made up our own adventures. I love it when a plan works! I changed into khakis for dinner. You cannot see I am without shorts at dinner. Neat trick! Still, no socks.

Antics? Triplets? Photoshop for better or not gets us to an old trick which is amusing or not. Sometimes good and others not so. I just go with it. It fools some and not others. There was never any pretension of skill, only fun.


Scene at the antique store

What is it? Seen it? Need one?

I had an early Kodak instamatic camera back in 1965? It was the “100” model and shot 126 film. I got it and we went to the NY World’s Fair in Flushing, NY. Old soda? Can you drink it? At these prices? How about a sewing box? Need one? Dirty or clean? I guess the clean ones sold out. It’s a winder. Wind what? For what? Elephant pottery. Use? Dunno. New! In the box! Food mill. It’s a bargain, you don’t see them around nowadays?

Nostalgia? Memories? We go to the antique store and find more stuff we don’t need and didn’t know we wanted and didn’t know we missed. Fun. But, no.


A year ago

It seems so long ago… but it was but a year ago. I was on a quest for a good pizza. It was not easy and did not come for a good long while. We discovered Milton. So? It’s been there for a long time already… Flowers on my deck, they are the same and they are different. The black-eyed Susan were abundant. Perennial plants, they did not come back robustly again this year. Peas was a brand new kitten that came home with us. Donna had a different wig. Mozzarella and tomatoes, a summer classic is usually served in one dish together. The lighting is stark. I guess that is why the image caught my eye. The selfie: I just got a throwback Canon G3, my first digital camera. The original went lost and missing. Not too bad, except I got old. It’s a year later and I am still seeking a good pizza.


Hullo, g’bye

The family has been gathering for a very long time in this place at this time. Call it reunion. It happens annually. There are fulltime residents/relatives close-by in disparate branches of the family to make massive gatherings of 40 or more. Is it hello? Or good-bye? The picture could go either way. Too soon! Younger. Older. The groups change. It’s all bittersweet. Hugs and kisses. Wave!


I remember this one

I remember taking the pic of this flower. We – I was rushing along the pool edge to get to the other side… this would be a grab shot. I just fired off a couple frames and didn’t stop.  Specifically, we were visiting Winterthur. A nice day, a very nice day was had by all. We did the garden tram tour. And, I made Colleen and Lee stand on the stairs for which Lee was reluctant – camera shy. I cut off their ankles. Did you notice? The pond view with three flowers had potential. Alas. It did not translate as anything special in the edit. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. Hey! Ankles would’ve been better.


Who’s missing?

Missing? Ha ha. It’s cats and flowers. I simply have too many. Flowers are available in great quantity, too numerous to choose one above the others. Cats, I have seven. Try to herd them together. Nope, not happening. The best I can do is to get some individual shots (of the cats) and usually I will not see them all at the same time. Feather is smart enough to avoid me when she wants to hide. Smart cats? Oh, yes! May I also “point” out that the family responds to command and suggestion differently as is amply on display here. They are cooperative but can be hard to herd together too.


Icebreaker

I have a secret life. ??? I am shy. My interests are unlike most other people. In other words they find me boring or I do them. Large groups are worse. It is a lot of noise and chatter. Politics no, nope, nada – outta bounds. What? So, I just circulate the room and never say anything. No harm no foul. I enjoy my solitude with Colleen. As for the rest, they all pose when I point the camera as I document the family legacy. Who would remember the conversation anyway? The upshot: I was there: we wuz there: there is a historical record for the generations to come. Good. Boo! Negative waves! Nope, a good time was had by all… see the smiles!


Groups

At the end of the day photography is about creating anchors for your memory. Landscape and wildlife shots are ooo and ah. But the real keepers are the photos of family and friends to commemorate a gathering that can be recalled in some future years. How quickly does memory fade and how poignant to see loved ones. Some folks are camera shy and reluctant. It cuts both ways with few appreciating the value and later realizing that the legacy is so sweet. I try to get groups whenever I can. Some are larger than others. All folks seem to appreciate the effort and gesture. Herding cats is akin and often the pics are not ideal for everyone especially if your eyes were closed. But it is the record. After seeing so many poor grainy black and white groupings from the past, mine are apropos to the times and the technology available today. With a remote control I am even in many of the shots.