Friday, December 31, 2010

And My Favorite Photo of the Year...A Capture!

..."Hopeful and Innocent" was taken in late April 2010 at the Grove shopping mall in La Brea CA. I noticed the tiny girl among the water-feature characters and shot the picture! Later we saw her needful gesture--wanting the statue-girl to give her a drink, too. I hope her Mommy gave her a sippy-cup soon!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Most Enjoyable Nature Photo of 2010...

Hubsy took this one when the butterfly settled for a time in the Garden.

Another Concert...

...David Broza, an Israeli singing star, showed up at a community fair just 3 miles from our home! What a great show! And we were able to ride our bikes! Other cultural events included a couple of operas at the Lyric in Chicago, a couple of art galleries (we don't get to many, but when we do, we explore each thoroughly). At the St. Louis Art Museum, I made a point of viewing an original Holbein Painting after I read a book about the artist. We spent nearly a day at a historic rail museum in PA. And we had Afternoon Tea at
the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago, the generous invitiation of Amethyst's Grandmother. Maybe one or two other things, as well.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wild About Red...'s a better view of the Spectacular Poppy.

Back To Some of My Favorite Photos....

....I found this poppy plant at a local hardware store's about 1984; it's blooms proved to be spectacular: dinner plate sized flowers so brilliantly red! In the sun, it hurts your eyes to look at it! Since plants don't last
forever, each year I fear will be it's last. So I take a picture for posterity.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Mentioned....We Miss Our Boys and Their Wives....

...first Christmas since 1979 that we didn't have at least one boy in the house. But it helps so much to have our little niece, FlowerGirl! She now regularly "shops her closet" to put together trendy outfits like she sees on TV and in "mazzakeens"; click on the photo: she's "air-kissing". Her diligent Dad sits, outfitting her gift of the season: some modern slice of techology.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Usual Suspects....

....for Kids in CA and NC, here we are, ready to have Christmas Dinner. Missed you all.

Guests Arrive for Christmas Dinner....

...L'il Pearl's Father and Mother; with happy smiles and some good things to eat! But we all missed the kids.
For us, this was the first Christmas since 1979 that we have not had at least one of the boys home--31 years.
Of course, in 1979, Brown-Eyes (the elder boy) was less than 2 months old--but vocal, hungry and cuddly!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Special Holiday Surprise Event...

...I wish you could hear the music. We have known this young man all his life; son of friends from college days who visit us nearly every year. When he was six, he had a tiny little violin and would favor us with classical selections he learned to play. He and his violin are all grown up now; his passion has turned from classical to fiddling. The melodic, Celtic music was rich, reverberating through the house. It was great.

Real Life Unexpected, From the People Next Door... in: The Gardener was not Expecting a Camera Ambush, but managed a gracious smile! She and her Hubsy were dressed to the Nines and Hurrying to Church on Christmas Morning, in front of the new entrance to backdoor. A Merry Christmas Moment dedicated to my kind audience in St. Charles and DE, family and friends of the Gardener Next Door! (someday when i photoshop, i'll remove stuff like the electric doo-dad.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Perfect Way to Say "Merry Christmas"...

...anonymous young matron and her adorable toddler, captured in 2 versions, at our local park district exhibition "farm". (It was the last working farm in our community; there's a house, barn and outbuildings,
cows with grazing field and a corn field and other assorted farm animals.) A great destination for school field trips and parents with little children to entertain on a Sunday, like this. Among my favorite spontaneous "frozen moment" shots of the year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spring is Almost Here...

...after all, the sun is beginning it's journey back to us! One of my favorite photos from 2010 was this one, a small bouquet of the spring's first Snowdrops! Just enough moisture for Watery Wednesday

Monday, December 20, 2010

For Christmas, a Greeting from One of Our Lovely Cardinals....

...birds can be very territorial. (Sometimes I think they allow us to live here and feed them.) This one; caught amid a frantic flapping of wings to clear the suet feeder of pesky interlopers.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Favorite Photos from 2010....

..."It's Almost Springtime" taken at the end of January near Akeley MN. The next time I try something like this, I will refine my technique, but for now, I liked the cold brightness of the light, the contrast and the shadow. The temperature was described as "colder than snot!" by someone who is accustomed to it; the long dark shadows fit the somber occasion: Piper's Memorial.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Can't Forget the Trip to Missouri...

...with the bike ride on a portion of the Katy Trail and the entire day spent photographing and exploring the historic town of Hermann, MO during their Oktoberfest Weekend. What a place of romantic 19th Century charm, with many residential, commercial and industrial buildings from the period still standing and in use.
If memory the serves, the old factory above is now a micro-brewery.

Friday, December 17, 2010

2010: Welcoming Another Daughter to the Family...

...and celebrating them both! Blondie and l'il Pearl on the left; Brown-eyes and Amethyst to the right. One set of kids lives in CA, the other in NC.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blessed with Family, Gatherings and Get-Togethers...

...can there ever be too many? With our happily "blended" interfaith families, there are "double Holiday occasions", which means more meaning, more togetherness and more fun! If only some of the kids could have been home for this one.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chronicles Of the Adventures Next Door....

...the flower garden, the artful and original yard ornaments, fun, food, plans, dreams, driveways, home construction and their new grandchildren galore! Another great year with great neighbors. We have been blessed to be Surrounded by Great Neighbors!  Above, our little friend Alice has some homemade peach ice cream at the Great Meat Fest Celebration. "No Girlz Allowed--unless you are under 2". Other babies ate hot pepper chocolate or passion fruit: all hand crafted.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Days for Hubsy in PA...

...a rail museum, a train ride and some photo ops at two steamtrain exhibition sites in PA. I had a pretty good time myself; steam trains are picturesque and photogenic; the countryside was lovely and new to us.

Monday, December 13, 2010

UpState NY and PA in August...

...the "reason" for the trip was to help move our new daughter-in-law, Amethyst, out East. But who needs a reason? It was fun to get to know her better and helpful to the kids. So this was lovely, hilly NY State, on the lower-tier highways.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Love Small-Town America...

...always some interesting place to point the camera. The old-fashioned method of advertising was to paint your sign on some local building or barn. Over the years, these out dated relics have faded. Or the buildings torn down. Once in a while, I find one in pretty good condition, mellowed by time, faded. Sunshine on old brick walls--along with the painted signs--makes a nice picture.  This one is in Anderson, IN, if memory serves.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

From the BikeTrail...

...the next weekend after the return from CA, we needed to see Green Midwest again! We explored The Cardinal Greenway, which goes thru Muncie, IN (a moderate drive for us). I've seen enough "rail-trail" style
bike trails to say that this one is "just ok": nothing too scenic, part of the trail parallels a busy road; however,
I loved this functioning, pristine, round barn.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Trips, Get-aways, Jaunts, Weekends and BikeRides....

...late April found us homebodies on an Actual Airplane headed for a visit to Blondie and l'il Pearl in faraway and exotic LA. A distant view from the hills above the city. It's nice to know that California is out there, to go visit.  SkyWatch Friday? Why Not?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

2010: A Great Year for FlowerGirl...

...full of animals, friends, family, school, church, lessons, dance, now karate, swimming, biking and clothes.
She loves clothes and has a great sense of style! She fulfilled her blogname role one more time in 2010 at her older cousin's wedding. She loves to read (what she calls) Mazzakeens for children about nature. (you may know them as magazines). and, oh, they signed her up for a Brownie Troop, too and Mom is an Assistant Leader; this will be fun. Eventually they will go camping!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Her Dance Debut...

...we were charmed and proud of FlowerGirl and her dance classmates. She beams with happiness, along with her "staff" aka Mom and Dad. It takes lots of work and fetching and carrying to arrive at such a proud moment. Another show is planned for the spring, as well.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fashion-Forward in Her Trendy Boots...

...FlowerGirl made her stage Debut at her Church's Valentine Cafe Fundraising event in Feb. 2010. The other children were her friends from her preschool class.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A New Cast Member At FlowerGirl's House...

...early in 2010, she and her Mom and Dad went to a shelter and picked out a kitty-cat for her as a pet.
Our 'Girl LOVES animals. She made a point of showing us how to "sit just like a cat". She's grown a lot this
year. Now she has a hamster she calls HerVhey, and she has hopes for a ferret. (but I doubt that's gonna happen.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Appropriate for the Holiday Season...

...the horse barn at Tamahay, the place for feeding and storing the winter hay. Evocative of the mood of shelter from the cold; the muted colors and the contrast makes this my favorite of that series of photos from
the Memorial Trip to Minnesota in early 2010.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

One More Photo Dedicated to Piper...

.., taken in the mid-1940's, probably in Wichita, KS. In those days, people dressed up to go "downtown" shopping, to appointments, or for entertainment. Once the dressed-up people got to town and walked along the sidewalk, they were likely to have their photo taken by an annoying-if enterprising-person with a camera. He would hand you a numbered ticket with an address and you were supposed to send him a small amount of money and a SSAE and hopefully he would send you back the (right) photo. It appears that's what happened to Piper and her Mom. The little snap-shot was sent to Piper (and Hubsy's) Grandparents,  to illustrate how much of a little lady Piper had become. I love the inquisitive, even troubled, look: "Who is he and why is he doing that?" 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Can't Say Enough About Piper... another time, she would have been a pioneer. She was a wonderful sister to her two younger borthers, seen above. As well, a wonderful friend, a great teacher, a business woman before that was "cool" and an inpiring leader of youth. That is only a partial list of her accomplishments. She is missed by all who knew her.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2010 in Review: The Best, the Worst and some Photos...

The worst things happened early: on January 8, 2010 Hubsy's sister, Piper of Tamahay passed away.
Later in the month, we visited Northern Minnesota for the memorial service. This is the side yard at the residence, overlooking the camps Lake (or "water front"). Sorry, no swimming today, girls.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Benefit of "Low Tunnel" Gardening....

...just prior to Thanksgiving, I cooked a mess o' freshly picked carrots from Hubsy's covered garden rows.
Orange, and a few yellow, carrots. He grew the beans, too, but had frozen them in late summer.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Here's the Young Male Cardinal...

...a "late baby", as late as September, he would appear--feathers on sideways--beside Mom or Pop.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nervous Eater...

...our little female cardinal feeder-guest doesn't like the camera "click"; she tries to flutter away.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Sunset... NE Illinois, USA. Hope you had a Great Thanksgiving! At the coming solstice, we will see the sun set near the chimney on the house to the left.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Little Grains of Sand thru the Hour Glass..., little Alice only wanted her Mommy to Play Chase, up and down the drive way--she'd have played all day if she could....    We have lived here since 1983, Alice GP's a few year more... Tho I didn't know Alice's Mommy when she was quite this little, she and her sibs were pretty small when we moved in.  So while I watched Alice's Mommy running up and down the drive, through the yard, hiding from her, laughing--Alice positively gleeful with all the fun, it was bittersweet with the shadows, echos and memories of the little children who used to play here, then. But are now Grown Up Adults.  Most of the time, I feel like Alice here--only with a very long memory.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Alice: Still in Wonderland...

...we met Alice last summer, just before baby July was born. She adores her new sister, she's happy and funny and impish--like here--I think she's trying to give herself rabbit ears in the picture.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Something Seasonal...

...and pretty for Mellow Yellow Monday!

July in November...

...the World's Most Serious Baby visited the neighborhood the other day! It's the "Lady, get away from me with that blasted camera!"-look. They learn early. She's about 5-months old now, still cheerful and happy, inspite of the photo. I love how her little pink cheeks matches her outfit.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Proceeding with the Construction-Next-Door... the Gardener, it feels like the job goes on forever. But in truth, it's been fairly straight forward. Sadly, the old fashioned, real wood clapboard sliding (in beautifully maintained condition) had to go. Gardener's Hubsy can no longer paint it to his high standards. (Hired painters' work not good enough). So new vinyl siding will replace it. I'm certain it will be great; no one our age should be up on high ladders painting gables, anyway. Just asking for a trip to the emergency room trip!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Wish-Making Process...

...fulfilled. One of her celebrations is a weekend trip with Mom and Dad to an indoor waterpark and resort in Wisconsin Dells. It has educational value, as well--this way she will be able to keep up her practice on all the swimming lessons she had this past summer!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hubsy Quietly Dozes in the Doorway...

...these Celebrations a bit too much "social butterflying" for his comfort. But he awaits Cake....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Those Common-Place Items that Keep Showing Up....

...the big bread knife that FlowerGirl's Mom is using to cut the cake belonged to our late Mother. She probably got it early in her married life--late 1940's--and used it every day in meal preparation.
I remember it well, since there was a time when I was distinctly forbidden to touch it; I was younger than FlowerGirl is now.

FlowerGirl can be a Clown...

...she sits with her Aunt Ella, winding up to blow out her candle. What an age.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another New Cast Member...

...a new FlowerGirl Cousin, 1-year old. Haven't figured out a "stage name" for her yet. (Hubsy instructed me to look down at the baby, since I always blink when the flash goes off. It's not much better.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Little Party-Maverick...

FlowerGirl's younger cousin is only 5, but several inches taller than our 'Girl. Last year, at the Furry Friends Birthday Party (nature center / petting zoo) the 'Maverick went wild and tore off across the big park after a flock of Canada Geese; had to be rounded up and brought back by a grown-up. She's a spunky l'il half-pint.

FlowerGirl, Still Busy with Her Game...

...her cousins put on their pretty-faces for a nice photo.

FlowerGirl Wanted to Open her Gifts Right Away... she focused like a laser-beam on her new game. (Don't worry about her cousin, Party-Maverick: her party was scheduled for the next day and she was to have 25 guests and tons of gifts)

The Butterfly Hotel is open for business--and packed!

We started, several years ago, to assist the butterfly population by nurturing the young specimens indoors. It was slow going. But this...