Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Today's blog assignment is another double-header: the first is "A picture of your favorite animal."
That one is easy. My favorite animal is a dog. Any dog. Every dog. To paraphrase Will Rogers, I never met a dog I didn't like.
To be sure, there are dogs that aren't properly trained, and there are some that can be downright scary. I've been fortunate not to meet any of the 'bad uns.'
When I was born my parents were living with my grandmother, my dad's mom. The first word I said (or tried to say; I can't believe it came out very clearly) wasn't 'Mama' or 'Dada' or even 'Gamma.' It was 'Jack,' or as close an approximation of it as I could make. He was the last of the family dogs living there at the time.
You can see I've had an affinity for dogs from the beginning.
Growing up, we had a boxer who was the dog to end all dogs. I know, you've heard it before, everybody's dog is the best-ever and all that. Well, Rocky WAS, lol...
I don't have a picture of him to hand, but I found a couple of boxer pix that kind of capture his expressions:
That last gets me. His ears were docked, but he would do the same lopsided 'smile' with a couple of his lower teeth pushing his lip up.
Okay, that was the easy photo. Now for the hard one.
"A picture of your favorite memory."
How do you pick just one? I feel like Emily on the cemetery hilltop. One? I can't choose one favorite!
Most of my pictures - that is, my 'old' pictures, from BH - Before Himself - are back in Pennsylvania. So I went looking on the 'net for pictures of Jefferson County, where I was born and where most of my family lived, and where some of them still live, and where the ones who are no longer alive are buried.
I found a picture of the town hall. There was a picture of the waterfall near my grandmother's house, the one where Himself and I got married. There were pictures along the shore of Lake Ontario, and over to the Adirondacks, and even pictures of The Thousand Islands area.
Looking thru these pictures and surfing around brought so many memories to mind, that at one point I thought 'Place. I'll use the place as my favorite memory.' But it wasn't quite coming together.
A couple days ago we went to the park around a nearby reservoir. We went down to the little beach (the one with big NO SWIMMING signs all over - signs where the people were paddling around) and walked along the shore as far as we could, until the hill got steep and there was no place to walk.
At that point there was a path that led back up onto the road, a path that continued thru the park back to where we'd left the car.
When we crested the hill, I was taken by the view across a meadow - and it called to mind a memory, clear and sharp.
Every summer we would spend a week at my grandparents' house. We would make the long trek (two kids and a boxer, all day in a car - don't tell me it wasn't long) and go Up Home. That's what my parents called it, so that's what we called it.
Up Home meant family of all ages and more cousins than you could shake a stick at. It meant sitting on someone's porch on rainy days and coloring or reading comic books. It meant going to the lake and swimming (well, I had an inner tube). It meant picking strawberries out of my grandmother's garden, and going fishing, and playing out in the street with other kids until the streetlights came on - our signal that it was time to go in. It was staying up late and eating ice cream and being spoiled.
So different from the rest of the year on a farm. It was such a tiny village, but practically urban to us. You could walk to the store, the library, the playground - so much to do, with so many other kids. Their parents had gone to school with our parents - their grandparents knew ours.
Nearly fifty years ago this week - the summer I was 10 - we met my uncle's new girlfriend. Another year and she became his fiancee; two more years saw them married.
One beautiful summer afternoon my uncle and future aunt took a hike with us up thru the fields in back of town. Me, my best friend from up the street, my brother, and his best friend across the road - you see what I mean about different? At home our nearest neighbor was about a mile away; the nearest family with any kids our age closer to two miles. Here, we could gather up a dozen kids our age just by stepping outside Gram's and giving a shout.
The six of us set off, dawdling along. The meadows there were lush with knee-high grass, and there were some large trees that we could climb... a stream to wade in... apple trees, minnows, oh, just the fun stuff.
My uncle is nine years older than I am, so he and then-girlfriend were still child-enough to get into the spirit of things. After rambling around for awhile somebody came up with the idea of playing hide-and-seek.
We probably played four or five games, then the light started slanting and we knew it was time to head back to the house for supper. Once we got there, as Uncle and Future Aunt were getting ready to go to her house, we pleaded for 'Just one more game!'
All right, said Uncle, but don't go far. Just around the house and yard.
It didn't take long for him to find me, my brother, and my brother's friend, but my girlfriend didn't turn up. I started wondering if she'd sneaked home - she only lived two doors down. Finally Uncle called out 'She wins. All'ee all'ee outs in free!'
She popped up from just behind some tall grass at the back of the next-door neighbor's yard. It was great. She's the only one who didn't get caught at all, in any of the games we played.
When I looked across the meadow near the reservoir the other day, that all came back to me, in one flash. So I snapped a picture across the field and emailed it to my uncle:
I asked him if he remembered that day, a day of indulging children and being a kid again and playing games and enjoying life. A perfect afternoon.
I'll let it stand for all my memories - all the summer days, all the golden afternoons and wonderful people, of another place, another time.
Yes, that'll do it. Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Just a quickie.
I've had a few people comment and email about the photo blog themes, where I found them and so on.
The original list I read was a suggestion on the WeBlog team. Here's a link to that thread:
Carley also gave the link to the blog where she'd posted the list:
I read a list of photo-blog topics some months back, and thought I'd bookmarked it. Of course - my organizational skills being what they are, and my computer skills being even less so, lol - I can't find it. Makes me think, tho, that the idea of a photo 'meme' might've been floating around in the cyber-ether for a while.
Nonetheless, I don't do video blogs (vlogs?); gah, way beyond my technical ability, for one thing. And I'd feel like Jane Jetson with her videophone 'early morning falseface' for another. I feel as tho pictures are a nice in-between.
Besides, when it comes to blog-ideas, I'm all for priming the pump, as it were, and these photo suggestions really fit the bill, especially in the sort-of doldrums mid-summer can bring. Thinks me.
Go have a good'un, folks - I'll be back (Deo volente) by day's end!
Monday, July 04, 2011
Today's assignment: "A picture of the cast of your favorite TV show; and a picture of your favorite color."
This strikes me as a little odd - the pairing, that is, not the 'items' themselves. Kind of sounds as though someone couldn't make their mind up, lol...
There was a time when I could've flippantly dismissed the TV show part - I've gone thru phases when I just haven't watched television. I guess it was down to the old Bruce Springsteen song, '57 Channels (And Nothin' On).'
Ah well. Times change. At this point in my life, it was an easy choice:
The program* is called 'New Tricks.' The premise is that three retired detectives (i.e., old geezers, lol) are brought out of retirement and now are assigned cold cases that have never been solved. Their supervisor is a 'new age' policewoman who tries to keep them in line. Sometimes it works. Hah.
*You know, here it's a 'programme.' So the spell checker tells me.
In the picture left to right are James Bolam, Dennis Waterman, Amanda Redman, and Alun Armstrong. I think the only one you're apt to have seen in the US is Armstrong - he's done some TV work there, and had a fairly major role in 'Braveheart' as well as a few other films.
I don't get very excited about TV on the whole. I can record things, watch 'em at my leisure, and of course everything shows up in reruns sooner or later. But 'New Tricks' is one I really look forward to, and seldom record it to watch whenever, so when it's on I'm generally parked in front of the Idiot Box.
Favorite color: I can't help it, makes me think of school days, lol.
I came to this color late, having gone thru stages when it liked bold neon colors, washed-out pastels, deep jewel tones (which are still on my 'like' list). But my number one favorite is:
The thing is, pink can be so very different. You can have the warm, coral tones, when yellow has been added to the mix. You can have cool shades that verge on lavender, there's so much blue in it.
I like a pale, pearly pink, like you find on some seashells. I don't want it too orange-y, and definitely not too cool. Probably just about in the middle.
I don't wear pink well. If I did, I would wear it more often. But around the house I will, if only to please myself. My daughter's room in PA was painted pale pink - it was called 'Angel's Wings,' just the palest blush of color. Now THAT was a lovely shade of pink!
Y'all get out there and view the fireworks - it's the best Independence Day tradition, without question. Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!
Sunday, July 03, 2011
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it still doesn't explain everything. I mean, it's complicated.
Day #3 is supposed to be "A picture of your inspiration for weight loss."
At first, I thought this is the one to post:
In some ways, my inspiration is born from hoping to avoid the complications of some major health issues - hypertension and diabetes being the two biggies in my case - which you might say boils down to fear. I'm afraid of courting disaster by not trying to do everything I can to get healthier.
In my SparkPage introduction I've written "I have a very worthwhile goal - I want to be healthy the rest of my life."
I could say I wish I'd started thinking about it and working at it when I was younger, but regardless, better late than never applies here as much as it does anyplace.
So in an effort to see the glass as half-full, I thought this is the better picture to illustrate my inspiration to lose weight:
As I said in another of my blogs, I'm not perfect. I don't always make the wise choice, the right choice. But my awareness level has certainly been raised, and I make the right choices a lot more often than I used to.
So rather than fleeing from bad health out of fear, I'd prefer to think I'm running toward good health because I want to. My inspiration for eating right, exercising, and looking after myself is the desire to live a healthy life.
So that's it from me. You wouldn't believe how long I had to struggle to put that together. Sometimes the words come easily, and sometimes they don't, lol...
Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!
Saturday, July 02, 2011
The second assignment is: "A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest."
Now, that's an interesting one. What I would've liked to have done is use a picture of me with my brother. Sadly, he died nearly forty years ago.
My best friend from school days is still very much a friend, and we communicate fairly often. But there's a long - quite long! - gap from about '77 until maybe five years ago, so while there were the usual annual exchanges (birthdays, Christmas cards) and the occasional phone call during the 'gap years,' we aren't nearly as close as we were way back when.
There's a time I would've used a photo of me with my first husband - I've known him since we were six. Alas, we split up in '95 and it's been bitter acrimony ever since.
That's a long-winded way of saying 'closest' doesn't work so well with 'longest,' in some respects.
But there is one person who has been a constant fixture in my life for... I had to get out a calculator. For nearly 35 years.
In the mid-'70s I worked at a college, academic secretary for the English department. A student was assigned to me for work-study, more or less an office go-fer. Nominally titled 'Student Secretary,' she ultimately did nearly every job going, including hanging out of my 3rd-story office window to clean the outside. I think I paled visibly when I came down the hall, waltzed into the office, and saw her feet dangling off the floor as she leaned backward to get just a little more of the window clean - scared me to death.
I wasn't all that much older than the undergraduate students, and she was in her sophomore year, so there's a little less than five years' difference in our ages. For some reason, we clicked. Jane became the sister I never had.
She's seen me thru a 'big' wedding, the births of two children, the horrible divorce, and marriage number two. I've seen her thru graduation, post-grad degrees, and an incredible job - she works at a school for deaf students, and is so fluent in ASL she's a joy to watch.
She's met my parents, my extended family, and become a surrogate aunt to my children. I've been with her thru major surgery, several boyfriends - two of them serious and near-contenders for becoming husbands - the trials of her parents' health, and the ups and downs of her four siblings.
Come to think of it, I don't know that we've ever had a cross word. That strikes me as pretty amazing - I can be a real grump. Not that you'd notice or anything, lol.
So meet my friend Jane:
The last two pictures are from my son's wedding. After he was born, Jane took care of him for a couple weeks when I went back to work - he was about 8 months old at the time - and has been his best grown-up friend ever since. 'Miss Jane' is as much a part of his life as she is of mine.
Next year is in the works to be a big year for me. I'm turning 60, and I hope to make it the biggest year-long celebration I can manage. I'm planning to take a cruise - never been on one before - and I've asked Jane to go with. I don't know if Himself is going or not, finances being what they are, but truth be told, I'd rather it was just 'us girls.' He hates shopping, lol.
* * *
Now, on a different note: the viewing went fairly well, a young couple who spent more time here than any of the other people have. I wasn't kidding when I said I'm not holding my breath. Que sera, sera. These things have a way of working out, ain't?
Today's been sunny for the most part, and the temps are coming up - finally. I haven't looked at tomorrow's forecast. Sometimes I like surprises. I'm hoping it will be almost hot, with scads of sunshine, and if it is, I'm going for a long walk outdoors. Maybe two walks. No holiday on Monday for us, but then, every day's a holiday when you're retired. Thinks me.
Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!
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