LAPC: The Lazy Days of Summer

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104 is about summer. Ah, summer! My favorite season of the year! Even with the distancing measures of Covid-19, I can enjoy the summer. (Imagine if the shelter-in-place had been in the winter – we’d REALLY get cabin fever!)

Two recent photos of our senior community that represent summer:

Daisies wet from the automatic sprinklers
A vigilant mama duck keeps watch over her young offspring.

Memories of summers gone by: on this day in …

Tourism in Europe: a group of tourists in Budapest (July 8, 2019)
A summer birthday party on a friend’s patio (July 8, 2018)
A week with family in northern Wisconsin – we rented two cabins on Lower Kaubashine Lake (July 8, 2017)

Flowers in bloom everywhere:

Gardens at Schoenbrunn Palace, Vienna
Schoenbrunn Palace gardens, Vienna

In summer, people like to be in and around water.

A pool party at dusk on a hot day in August (Des Plaines, Illinois)
Drinks on a boat with friends during a late June heat wave (Amsterdam)
Traffic jam on an Amsterdam canal

One Word Sunday: Umbrella

Debbie’s Travel With Intent has a weekly photo challenge, One Word Sunday, and the word this week is umbrella. I tend to not have an umbrella when I need one (and do have one when it doesn’t rain after all), but I like this topic!

Not exactly an umbrella, but cool nevertheless! It’s part of the décor of our daughter’s “tiki bar”!
Outdoor dining in Budapest, Hungary
Europe was having a heat wave last summer, and some smart person on our tour of Wurzburg, Germany put her umbrella to good use!

5 Things: Summer Desserts

Dr. Tanya is back with her Five Things Tuesday. The topic this week is favorite summer desserts. That is one of my favorite summer topics!! 😀

  1. ice cream, especially hot fudge sundaes! My favorite ice cream is peppermint but Hershey’s has a superb flavor called Roadrunner Raspberry! It’s vanilla with raspberry swirls and chunks of chocolate. A similar one, although I don’t know who makes it, or whether it’s strictly a Christmas holiday flavor is peppermint bark moose tracks – peppermint with chocolate swirls and pieces of chocolate!

2. Frozen yogurt – it’s almost like ice cream, really, but there’s a frozen yogurt chain here where you can serve yourself from many flavors and then add whatever toppings you want. They charge by the weight (which is a problem – mine ends up being expensive by the time I’ve loaded it up with toppings!).

3. Sorbet (is there a theme here???) – to me, sorbet, or sherbet, is a non-dairy but ice cream-like frozen treat made with fruit. I love raspberry, mango, passion fruit, and coconut the best. Passion fruit is the hardest to find here in the U.S. but I used to eat it often when I lived in Brazil.

4. smoothies – I like my own version of smoothie, although others are good too. When I make smoothies, I get out the blender (which I don’t use for anything else!) and put in fresh and frozen fruit – preferably something compatible. Usually I make it with fresh and frozen raspberries, blueberries and whatever other berries I have on hand. I add a cup of yogurt – preferably nonfat, and either vanilla or raspberry flavor, a little bit of milk – about 1/4 cup max. If there is no frozen fruit, the substitute would be crushed ice. This berry smoothie is my favorite – I even use special glassware, metal straws and long handled spoons when I serve it!!

Doodle of a half-slurped smoothie

5. fresh fruit and/or fruit salad – my husband makes a great fruit salad, using only fruit, no juice, etc. that would add calories. Fresh fruit in the summer is a wonderful treat! I like the strawberries and raspberries, but I look especially forward to cherries (in June-early July), fresh peaches (July-Aug.), and crisp apples in the fall. I buy most of my summer fruit at a farmer’s market. There is nothing like a ripe, fresh peach on a day like today! (about 90º F/33ºC) Fresh mangos are available here in the summer also, but not at the farmer’s market because they are imported from Mexico.

See the source image

Photos of ice cream and fruit salad downloaded from Bing images.

Pull Up a Seat and Stay Awhile!

It’s probably best NOT to sit one of these seats! I took this in mid April, after I’d already gotten out the patio chairs!
This chair may not be suitable for most adults to sit in! But perhaps quite nice for a child to pull up a seat and sit in the shade of a tree!
Pull up a seat and stay awhile in this Israeli cactus garden.

Posted for Xingfu Mama’s Pull Up a Seat Weekly Challenge.

2020 Sunday Stills Home Photo Challenge

After living in an increasingly crowded suburb for 30 years, last year Dale and I moved to Arlington Heights, where we live in a senior community with a large campus – lots of pretty flowers, landscaping, and a community garden area. We have two “lakes” (that’s what they’re called here but to me they are more like ponds) with a pair of swans on each lake. I take a walk around campus every day and there’s always something or someone to see. There’s plenty of other wildlife here too.

The pair of swans on West Lake (who lost their eggs in a storm just before they were about to hatch!)
There is a large group of mallard drakes on West Lake too – we call them the Bachelor Club! Every afternoon they take a siesta in the shade of a tree.
Although Canada geese can be a pain (they poop everywhere!), we have two permanent resident pairs (geese, like swans, mate for life) and this pair has three young’uns. The goslings are getting big now, but still haven’t lost their downy coats!
Every day in late afternoon, a heron comes, because I guess our ponds have fish! Usually he flies away before I can get anywhere near him, but yesterday, I was able to get pretty close. And now that I compare my photos, this is probably a different bird – he is quite a bit larger than the usual one!

2020 Home Photo Challenge

Sunday Stills: Happiest at Home

CFFC: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Sound is all around us, both delightful and bothersome. For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Cee continues with her series on the senses. This week it is sense of hearing. I hope you will imagine hearing what I heard when I took these photos.

Music – the most wonderful sounds of all…

Can you hear the pure harmonies sung by these young performers?

20190504_155618d
The singing was sweet and the performers, all high school girls, were very talented.

The photo above was taken at a concert of a barbershop chorus here called The Arlingtones. They often invite high school vocal ensembles to perform a few songs. The Arlingtones also have several quartets made up of different members of the group. My brother-in-law is in one of these groups (he’s the short bald guy). Every year on February 14, he and his quartet do singing valentines. They go to businesses, homes, and senior communities – like the one that we live in! (My sister and brother-in-law live here too!) This year, they were hired to sing for a couple on a special wedding anniversary.

Can you hear the blend of men’s voices singing a love song?

20200214_174417
The quartet sings Let Me Call You Sweetheart. As a special touch, they always give the ladies a rose.

I have seen – and heard, of course! – the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing live at Ravinia last summer…

Do you still hear the music playing in your head during intermission?

20190712_213120
I took this during CSO’s break – at that moment, the instruments were silent, but soon would be tuned and played once again to the crowd’s delight!

…and after the quarantine started, on closed-circuit TV in our home.

Can you hear the vigorous bowing of the cellos during Beethoven’s 9th Symphony?
20200329_145034
There are always big crowds at Ravinia (they’ve cancelled their entire season this year 😦 ), and before gatherings of more than a few people were banned, on warm summer evenings, many performers did concerts outside – often free of charge, like this one, last July. The performer was Wynona Judd, and she did a wonderful concert of upbeat songs in a park in Elk Grove Village.

Can you hear the twang of country music sung by a woman with a big voice?

20190723_201856
We weren’t up close but could hear perfectly well from where we were sitting with our friends. Long gone are the days when I wanted to be as close to the speakers as possible!

Besides the music, when the Wynona and her band weren’t playing, there were the sounds of the crowd.

Can you hear the cacophony of voices?
20190723_194234
A few times during the concert, airplanes flew overhead from nearby O’Hare Airport, drowning out the music and the crowd chatter for a few moments.

Can you hear the plane’s loud whine?

20190723_204202
An airplane taking off from O’Hare traces the trail of pink clouds overhead, which were made by an earlier jet!

Besides music, crowds and airplanes, there are the sounds of nature. When I walk outside, I don’t put on headphones and listen to music; I prefer to experience the outdoors with all my senses! Mostly what I hear these days are birds.

Can you hear the trill of the redwing blackbird and the pecking of the woodpecker?SONY DSC
20200502_121416d

 

 

Hunt For Joy Challenge: Gardening

Cee’s challenge On The Hunt for Joy this week has the topic of gardening.

I have reserved a plot in the community garden, but have not started planting. In this area of the U.S., the recommendation is to plant annuals no sooner than Mother’s Day. I plan to plant tomatoes, peppers, and possibly another vegetable. I also want to plant some flowers.

Last fall, at our new house, I planted daffodil bulbs and iris bulbs. I planted daffodils in four different spots. Naturally the ones that bloomed first were on the east side of the house.
20200407_11420920200407_114227
Later, the daffodils I planted in a pot on the patio behind the house began to bloom. Actually, although there are two plants, only one of them bloomed and is currently in bloom. The irises are just starting to grow.
20200428_150033_001
Inside our house, I have two plants on the kitchen window sill – orchids and a perennial geranium. The orchids have been blooming for several months.
DSC02705
I admit, I miss my garden at our old house! Here I am last May, working in that garden.

The first flowers that came up every year were snowdrops.
20190325_124536
I also had tulips, strawberry plants, blazing stars, scallions, and other flowers, some of which can be seen in the garden picture above. One of them was bleeding hearts.
20190424_142500
This post is also for Cee’s FOTD 4/30/20.

SYW: Stress Relievers, Strange Creatures, Creepy Russians, & Appreciating Life

It’s Monday and Melanie is ready with a new set of Share Your World questions.

QUESTIONS:
What do you do to get rid of stress?
Different things – coloring, drawing, reading, taking a walk – sometimes it just takes fresh air! Writing – either a journal, my blog, or whatever I can think of. It has to be something I am fairly good at, otherwise it would cause me MORE stress!

19-10-15 glitter gel pens
Mandalas are one of my favorite things to color.

20190525_142154
I took this photo on one of my walks in my old neighborhood.

In the past people were buried with the items they would need in the afterlife, what would you want buried with you so you could use it in the afterlife?
art supplies, a notebook or journal, camera

What’s the opposite of a koala? (this is strictly for fun. I know what I came up with as an answer, but it was nonsensical. Alaok. See? It’s okay to pass on this one too if you want). An alaok is a meat-eating land dweller, fairly large, and it can be aggressive. Also, it isn’t at all cute!

20190721_143410
Maybe an alaok looks something like this! (early artwork by my son)

What’s the creepiest tech out there? (My interpretation of “tech” is app or program. If you know what “tech” is supposed to mean, hey! Great! Educate us. The Internet Resource Agency (IRA) – this is where young,  hip, techie Russians go to work. Their job is to learn all about the culture of another country (such as the United States), find out what the people of that culture value and what their weaknesses and conflicts are. With this information, they infiltrate social media in order to spread fake news, get people riled up, such as using white supremacist memes, and promote conflicts within that society. Some of them specialize in hacking. The IRA is what messed with our heads and our social media during the 2016 campaign season, disseminating lies, preying on people’s fears. It is especially creepy, because it was very effective and they are still doing it.

GRATITUDE IS AN ATTITUDE
What method are you using to find your smile right now? Please explain in detail so others might utilize the same ideas. Some bloggers have shared a daily (weekly sometimes) method that they are using to keep their spirits up right now. I’d love to hear from anyone who does and is successful at it! Have a great week and stay safe!
1. Noticing the miracles of nature – flowers opening, birds singing and making their nests, trees flowering or budding leaves. Looking at the sky to see the clouds – whatever that looks like, it will never be exactly the same again. Maintaining a garden and appreciating the fruits of my labor. 20190515_152403dDelighting in a sunset (or sunrise, for those who rise early). And for me, watching our community’s swans. Right now the female is in the process of laying her eggs – last I heard, she had five but there must be more by now. Her mate fluffs up his wings to make him look bigger and more threatening – he swims around the pond, scaring away geese and approaching the shore where he sees a human.

8-two swan eggs
Our female swan after laying her second egg.

2. Connecting with friends and family – Zoom and social media are at the center of our lives now. Last week, our family had a virtual birthday get-together for my nephew. Today I spent two hours with a group of friends – virtually, of course.  Also seeing friends during walks – we can talk if we stay 6 feet apart!
3. Engaging in my stress relievers (see my answer to the first question.)

I heard an interesting quote today: Think of this day as your first day and your last day on Earth.