Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Summer Vibes

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James

What will you be doing with your summer days, my Northern Hemisphere friends? This is the question and the challenge from our guest blogger of the week, Andre of Solaner in Germany. Beginning tomorrow, I will be backpacking along the Coast in Olympic National Park for four days. I am excited – on many levels! It will be a physical challenge, an emotional high, a journey in soulful wilderness, and eventually an unforgettable memory. I’m hoping to have some great pictures to share!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Seeing Double

“There is one art of which man should be master, the art of reflection.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“Without reflection, photography literally wouldn’t be possible. Without spiritual reflection, photography wouldn’t be meaningful. May the art you create bring you greater awareness, greater light!” I wrote that on my blog of December 22, 2018 in response to Patti’s Lens-Artist challenge that week.

In my March 7, 2020 blog post, I reflected on the changes I had been through during my cross-country pandemic move. I wrote, “Writing in this blog, storing photographs and memories, was a way to plant the seeds of realization. In my words and pictures, I remind myself who I truly am and see who I am becoming.”

This morning, it is Jez who invites the hunt for reflections with an amazing collection of great photo examples. Visit his post HERE.

The opportunity to see double – to revisit, to reflect, to look again from a new perspective – is a great gift. It often reveals treasures overlooked, depth unfathomed. It’s a practice worth repeating, regularly or periodically. New light can emerge from shadows, reflected from sources once obscured.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Geometry

“There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.” Pythagoras

What is the shortest distance between two points? What is the shortest distance between two people? What is the angle of intersection when you are happy? And when you are lonely?

“He deals the cards to find the answer
The sacred geometry of chance
The hidden law of a probable outcome
The numbers lead a dance”

― Dominic Miller, “The Shape of My Heart”

How do you build something structurally sound to house kindness, joy, courage, love, resilience? In a Universe of fact and feeling, of truth and spirit, how do you dwell in the spaces outlined by a complexity of ideas?

Aldo Leopold Shack

Geometry was my favorite subject my freshman year of High School. I liked my teacher; I liked that this kind of math was narrative. I was brand new to the school and to the state. In my 14-year-old brain, I was trying to figure out so much about how the world worked and how I fit in it. I was confused by many things, but I could follow geometry step-by-step and prove something. By the end of Freshman year, I had gained confidence and made some friends. ‘Geometry’, to me, will always symbolize a description of complexity in the cosmos that seems ordered and friendly, mysterious and vast, but approachable.

Thank you to Patti for this Challenge theme!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Cherished Moments

“The secret of life
Is enjoying the passage of time.
Any fool can do it,
There ain’t nothing to it.
Nobody knows how we got
To the top of the hill.
But since we’re on our way down,
We might as well enjoy the ride…

The secret of love
Is in opening up your heart.
It’s okay to feel afraid,
But don’t let that stand in your way.
‘Cause anyone knows
That love is the only road.
And since we’re only here for a while,
Might as well show some style.
Give us a smile...

Isn’t it a lovely ride?
Sliding down, gliding down,
Try not to try too hard,
It’s just a lovely ride…

Now the thing about time
Is that time isn’t really real.
It’s just your point of view,
How does it feel for you?
Einstein said he
Could never understand it all.
Planets spinning through space,
The smile upon your face,
Welcome to the human race.

Some kind of lovely ride.” ― James Taylor

Amy, the Lens-Artists host this week, invites us to “share some of the precious moments we have had, before or during the pandemic”. These images are favorites of mine, as is the James Taylor song. In my days alone of late, I have often returned to the pictures and music etched in my mind. I am grateful to have a rich array and a powerful memory. 

Alice Through My Lens

(Reblogging from 2012. Today would be Alice’s 61st birthday, but she will be forever 20 years old.)

Blue eyes.  That was one thing that made her unique among 4 sisters.  She had our father’s eyes.   She was the shortest among us; I believe I grew to have at least a half an inch over her.  But that took a while.  Since she was 3 years older, I trailed behind her most of my life.  I definitely didn’t mind following in her footsteps.  I adored her.  She was the sweet sister, the kind one, the one who loved children and animals and had friends.  She somehow spanned the gap between being a nerd and being popular.  Not that she wasn’t picked on early in grade school.  We all were, and she was very sensitive to it.  When she was 10, she ran away from a boy who was chasing her down the sidewalk.  He caught up to her and managed to grab the back of her coat hood. He yanked her down hard, and she fell backwards onto the sidewalk, hitting her head and fracturing her skull.  The boy was sent to military school, and Alice recovered amid cards and gifts and angels surrounding her bed. 

She started dating first among us, though she wasn’t the oldest.  I wanted to learn how this “boyfriend” business worked, so I watched her very closely, sometimes through the living room drapery while she was on the porch kissing her date goodnight.  She modeled how to be affectionate in the midst of a distinctly cerebral family, shy about demonstrating emotion.  She gave me my first pet name: Golden Girl or Goldie, and then the one that stuck in my family, PG or sometimes Peej.  By the time I was 16, we were very close friends as well as sisters.  She invited me to spend Spring Break with her at college, and enjoyed “showing me off”.  She told me that the boys were noticing me and that she’d need to protect me.  I was thrilled!

Alice and Mike in Los Gatos, summer 1979

We spent that summer at home together in CaliforniaI introduced her to my new boyfriend, who eventually became my husband.   She begged our parents to allow me to be her passenger on a road trip back to campus at the end of the summer.  She had just bought a car, and although I couldn’t drive, I could keep her company, sing with her along the way, and be her companion.  The road trip was a travel adventure flavored with freedom, sisterly love, and the sense of confidence and brand new responsibility.  We flopped the first night in a fleabag motel in the same bed.  She woke earlier than I and told me as I roused and stretched how sweet I looked cuddling the stuffed bunny my boyfriend had bought me.  Then we stayed with her friends in Colorado.  Our next day’s journey was to go through the heartland of the country and hopefully, if we made good time, get to Chicago for the night.  We never made it.

Nebraska is flat and boring.  We’d been driving for 6 hours.  I was reclined and dozing when we began to drift off the fast lane, going 80 mph.  Alice over-corrected, and we flipped.  She had disconnected her shoulder strap, and flopped around, hitting her head on pavement through the open windowHer fragile, gentle head, with two blue eyes.  She was dead by the time we came to rest in the ditch.

Life is an experience, a journey of unexpected and unimagined happening, a verb in motion, not a noun.  Alice was in motion, at 20, and may be even now…somewhere, in some form.  I still taste her sweetness floating near me from time to time. 

Three of four sisters, Christmas 1978

Happy Centennial + 8, Girl Scouts of America!

On March 12, 1912, Juliette Low founded the Girl Scouts of America with a troop of 18 girls in Savannah, Georgia.   I became a Brownie Girl Scout on Jan. 21, 1970.  My mother was already a leader with one of my older sisters’ troops.  I stayed in Scouting through my senior year of High School, and then became a Daisy and Brownie leader when my youngest girls were in kindergarten and first grade.  Here is proof of my dedication to this fine organization: my fifth grade school picture.

School picture day just happened to be the same day that I had a meeting after school.  We were encouraged to wear our uniforms to meetings.  So, because I was an obedient child and followed the rules, I have this historic photo to prove that I was a bona fide Girl Scout at the age of 10.  I found it pretty embarrassing at the time, though, to be the only child in uniform for the class composite photo.  Ah well, there’s a nerd in every class.  Oh, this photo also supports the story I told about visiting Hawaii and being mistaken for a boy.  One could also have mistaken me for a chipmunk.

What was great about Girl Scouts?  Camping.  Singing silly songs.  Downhill skiing.  Climbing to the top of the Statue of Liberty in my uniform and platform shoes.  Sneaking out of my tent in the full moonlight and posing as a statue along a State Park road.  Skinny dipping.  Roasting marshmallows.  Learning a whole bunch of useful skills, like swimming and first aid.  Meeting other girls from all over the country at a national event and feeling accepted.  Gaining confidence in my capacity to learn and be responsible.

What will I always retain from Girl Scouts?  My love of the outdoors.  My ability to build a fire.  My enthusiasm for hiking up a mountain in the hot sun. My desire to be helpful and do good deeds.  Here’s proof from this decade:

Team Galasso at the Diabetes fund-raiser

So, Girl Scouts, how about a chorus of the old song:

Girl Scouts together that is our song
Winding the old trails, rocky and long
Learning our motto, living our creed
Girl Scouts together in every good deed.

Happy Birthday, Girls!!

Present Moment, Beautiful Moment

Today marks 35 years from that January 7th when I got married.

scillagrace

January 7 – past and present

1984 – It’s my wedding day.  The weather is chilly and foggy in Northern California.  I am too excited to sleep late.  I have a date with my fiance for a morning meeting.  He comes to pick me up at my parents’ house.  My grandmother is aghast that we are seeing each other before arriving at the church; it’s just not done.  But we know what we want.  We want to focus on each other, on the meaning the day has for us personally before being caught up in the ritual.  We park the car under some oak trees in the foothills.  We decide it’s too damp and cold to walk, so we sit in the car and talk.  We are calm and happy.  He drops me off at the house.  The next time I see Jim, he is standing at the altar, grinning. …

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Josh Galasso and Daena Wallace: Wedding Photo Shoot – Part Two

Date: October 21, 2017
Place: Starved Rock State Park, Oglesby, IL
Bride: Daena Wallace
Groom: Joshua Galasso
Good Boy: Charlie
Entourage: Susan Galasso Seleen, Andy Seleen, Rebecca Galasso, Jake Class, Mario Navarez
Newbie Wedding Photographer and Mother of the Groom: Priscilla Galasso (me)

Phase VIII: D & J & Mario

Phase IX: Magical Leaf Shower Rock (good eye, Mario!)

Phase X: Sandy Ottawa Canyon 

Phase XI: Woodland Grotto 

Phase XII: Hike Out and Wrap Party

Josh Galasso and Daena Wallace: Wedding Photo Shoot – Part One

Date: October 21, 2017
Place: Starved Rock State Park, Oglesby, IL
Bride: Daena Wallace
Groom: Joshua Galasso
Good Boy: Charlie
Entourage: Susan Galasso Seleen, Andy Seleen, Rebecca Galasso, Jake Class, Mario Navarez
Newbie Wedding Photographer and Mother of the Groom: Priscilla Galasso (me)

Phase I: The Hike In to Council Overhang and Ottawa Canyon

 

Phase II: Practice Shots – Susan, Andy and Charlie

 

Phase III: Bride and Groom under the Overhang 

 

Phase IV: Setting the Stage

 

Phase V: The Veil 

 

Phase VI: Fun Bridal Portraits by Mario and The Groom 

 

Phase VII: Galasso Family Photos by Jake

 

The Grandparent Project: Part Eighteen

In this blog project, I’ve posted digital copies of my family photo album snaps and a chronological narrative to share with my family in California and my grown children in Illinois and Wisconsin. I’ve gone from 1985 to 2008 so far.

Some time around 2009, my sister Dharam and niece Amrit came out to the Midwest for some winter fun. I admit that I don’t remember exactly when this was.

In March of 2010, after seven years of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, my father passed on to a new life.  My brother-in-law John put together a beautiful slide show of pictures of George.

After the memorial service, we gathered in the Parish Hall of St. Luke’s (where my wedding reception was held in 1984) and shared our memories with Dad’s best friend Tim, his sister Judy, and others. Then we went back to the house, and of course, we ended up singing silly songs around the piano – a very Heigho way to celebrate. (And you’ll notice who ended up wearing The Hat that I mentioned in Part One of this series.)

Today, September 3, 2017, is my parents’ 62nd wedding anniversary. I am so grateful to have them as my role models for marriage, parenting and grandparenting. They were exemplary, and I love them both very much.