Lens-Artists Challenge: Seeing Double

I missed last week’s Lens-Artists Challenge because I was in Oregon visiting my three youngest children. I’m glad to be back for Tina’s challenge this week on Seeing Double

My two middle kids have been best friends all their lives. I call them “The Bobbsey Twins”, even though they are two years apart. They have shared so many adventures and continue to be “besties” as adults in their 30s. And you can definitely tell that they swim in the same gene pool!

Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet. – Vietnamese Proverb

My final shot for “Seeing Double” is a tribute to the creepy holiday coming up – Halloween!

May all the pairs of things you begin to notice after looking at “Seeing Double” challenge entries remind you that you are not alone. May that comfort you and bring you joy! 

Lens-Artists Challenge: Precious Pets

Tina is up for some fun in this week’s challenge as she invites us to look at Precious Pets. She especially mentioned a pet ox. So…

Meet Ted and Bear, a team of oxen that I considered co-workers when I was at Old World Wisconsin. They were very good at following voice commands given by Dirk, the farmer. They hauled wagons and did all the heavy lifting around the 19th Century living history museum. They weren’t really “pets”, I guess, but the photo Tina shared wasn’t really an ox, either. I think it was a domestic water buffalo. (I stand corrected. Tina assures me it is a domestic ox.)

Now, I must confess that I don’t have any pets at the moment. The only animals I have ever lived with were cats, fish, and my daughter’s mice.  But I love animals and consider them sentient beings worthy of the greatest respect. I am an enthralled observer of the wild creatures that live around the nature preserve where I rent a house. There are a pair of Sandhill Cranes that visit from March through November. 

I am delighted by their elegance and their devotion. Each year, I mark their nesting and parenting habits. The first year, they fledged twins. Subsequent years were not so rewarding. One year, they had a colt that was hit by a car. This season, one of the adults disappeared for a while. Now there are two again. A new romance, perhaps. Cranes are a symbol of fidelity because they mate for life and always look out for each other. When one is foraging for food with its head down, the other is not far away, and on the lookout. 

I am and have been a proud grandmother of quite a few “fur babies”, however. What I am most proud of, I think, is seeing how my children love and nurture and foster pets, truly doing their best to care for them and have meaningful relationships with them. My kids have taught me quite a lot about dogs, and I have learned to relate very well to them, overcoming a sort of phobia I developed as a young child who was overcome on the beach by an excited Irish Setter. Here’s a gallery of my “grandkids”:

For myself, I have a sweet little companion I call Jimmy Bear. He shares my bed and eats nothing. A pretty nice arrangement, I must say. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

I remember my grandmother telling me that it is lucky for brides to have “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe”. Patti has cleverly used this as her photo challenge for this week. Having just returned from a hiking event this morning, I’m too tuckered out to do a scavenger hike with my camera this afternoon. So, I’m putting my feet up and “visiting” my archives. I may even include an actual bride on this one! 

Something old…at my daughter Susan’s wedding, that would be her grandmother. No offense, just pride in that. And she’s wearing blue!

Something new…obviously, brides are new wives. Here are a couple: my daughter and my daughter-in-law.

Something borrowed…

I borrowed the mannequins at David’s Bridal for a close up. My daughter’s wedding party borrowed the dance from Rocky Horror Picture Show. My brother borrowed his bride’s bouquet.  

Something blue…decorations that my daughter-in-law made…

… and my son’s eyes.

And since silver sixpences are hard to come by, we’ll just go with some sparkly silver stuff that I’ve photographed around wedding time. 

 Now, if I could just get invited to bring my camera to two more wedding celebrations…(hint, hint).

 

Lens-Artists Challenge: Favorite Things

Patti challenges us this morning with a request to see our Favorite Things. Here’s a glimpse of me enjoying my favorite thing — 

Yesterday, I was volunteering at the Riveredge Nature Center in a classroom of 5th Graders learning about Pond Interactions. 

“Who can define ‘interaction’? The way two things engage with each other – excellent! Now, who knows what we call things that are living or were once living? Good – ‘biotic’ is the right word. What do we call something that was never alive? ‘Abiotic’ – that’s probably not a very familiar word. What do you see here that’s ‘abiotic’? The eyeglasses on my face is a good example. And how do I engage with them? I carry them around on my ears and they help me see. Exactly.” 

My favorite things are not things. They are biotic and abiotic energies. Living beings and non-living elements like water, air, warmth, and rock.

In my highest tier of living Favorites would be the family that I helped create. My late husband, who kissed me for the first time exactly 41 years ago today, and the four children that we loved into being.

And because I have four children, I am not practiced at playing favorites and picking out specific individuals for special affection. So I have to say that also in that highest tier is My Favorite Planet – Earth. The whole thing. My favorite part of Earth is that interaction of biotic and abiotic energy that has not been dominated by human technology. Things like water vapor and trees…

…and rock and air and plants…

…and wild animals in their natural habitat.

When I think of the abundance of interactions going on all around, of Life on Planet Earth, how can I judge that anything is out of favor? My preference can’t magnify or diminish any of it. All I can do is reflect on how much I appreciate being part of it, being here to witness and to marvel.

Maybe that’s my favorite thing of all – being alive.

Lens-Artists Challenge: Delicate

Love is like wildflowers;
It’s often found in the most unlikely places.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Once upon a time, I did a WordPress Photo Challenge on “Delicate” – but that particular interpretation is history by now. 

Yesterday, I was teaching kids at the Riveredge Nature Center about ephemeral wildflowers. They are delicate, fragile, and…ephemeral as well.

While the blooms of ephemeral wildflowers are a fleeting splash of joy and color on the landscape, the roots are native, hardy, and deep. They belong, they return, and they endure in the grand scheme. I believe Love is like that. That kind of Love returns to me each Mother’s Day. 

When a good foundation supports that which is delicate, its beauty transcends time and circumstance and endures. Let us all love each other with tenderness and care, for we are all delicate creatures yearning to grow strong. 

Thank you, Ann-Christine, for inviting us to ponder the Delicate nature of Life. 

It was 30 years ago today…

Added two more years to his life…and a puppy. I’m proud of you, Josh!

scillagrace

My smallest baby and only boy was born 30 years ago today, on a Sunday morning. We gave him a name to live up to: Joshua for lordliness and salvation, David for beloved (after a great grandfather and two uncles), and the Italian family surname that he could perpetuate into future generations. Quite a bundle to hoist onto a little guy! 

As he grew, he began to reveal what he had to give us: a happy and entertaining spirit, generous competence, and faithful companionship – qualities that echo his father…

…especially now in the years since Jim’s death. 

And today, he celebrates his 30th birthday. I am so proud of the man that he has become and the work that he is doing in his life, continually growing more helpful and loving.
I wish him a day of joy! The Birthday Boy:

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