A Photo a Week: Candid Camera

Those of us over 50 most likely remember the old TV series Candid Camera – I can still remember the last line of its theme song: “Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!” Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week challenge this week is candids. I offer my submission, first with two photos taken of family members at my grand-nephew’s birthday/going away to college family gathering (that’s him in the second photo); and a few animal candids of wild and domestic furred or feathered friends.

Our cat had been sleeping behind some propped pillows on the bed – she’d never slept there before, and she seemed a bit surprised and perhaps annoyed that we found her hiding place!

Bodhi is a Tibetan spaniel (very much like lhasa apso).
A pair of swans preparing their nest – swans mate for life and both share the nest preparation duties. Tragically, shortly after this photo was taken, the male swan died!
A different pair of swans, a happy couple – they are always together!
I seem to have caught this Canada goose at an awkward moment!

Irreconcilable Frustrations: Based on a True Story

I felt guilty even as I was dialing my sister’s phone number. This was the first time I had called her since the pandemic started, but what better day than on her birthday?

She answered on the third ring, saying, “Hello” in the way she always does, as if it’s a final statement, not a question. I sang Happy Birthday to her.

She was surprised to hear from me but not being the emotional type, I could tell she was glad I called.

“So what’s news?” I asked her. (I may as well get this over with – my sister can talk non-stop for fifteen minutes, at least.)

“Oh, nothing much. I’m staying home a lot, not going out much. But I keep myself occupied.” My sister lives in a senior community where she’s involved in many things. During the pandemic it’s slowed down, but not completely.

“How are your beautiful granddaughters?” My sister has two very cute granddaughters, aged six and five.

“Oh, they’re fine. Ginny is really getting into distance learning with Molly. The teacher has the kids doing projects. They go around to various places to experience them, they look for things, like a scavenger hunt. Ginny says she’s exhausted, what with her new job and Molly’s kindergarten teacher keeping her occupied!” My sister chuckled as she said this.

“How’s Sophie?”

“Sophie’s okay. I’m worried about her though – she’s getting confused, first with remote learning, then living in the house with only her mom one week and her dad the next week…”

“Huh? Why’s that?”

“Oh, I thought you knew. Nate and Julie are living apart. They each have their own place to live, so Sophie lives in the house all the time, and the two of them alternate living there with her.”

“Weird. Expensive, too, I imagine.”

“Oh, yeah. They couldn’t agree on who would get the house, so they left it to their six-year-old!”

“Why are they split up?”

“Well, a lot of things built up over time — Nate’s been taking this computer course, you know. He dropped all his piano students to do it, while Julie works all the time. Apparently she also suspects him of infidelity, but he doesn’t have a perfidious nature. Nate can’t handle her frustration and accusations, so he blows up at her. Then she rants about how she’s having to support the family, while Nate gets to just ‘do his thing,’ you know.”

“Wow, I’m so sorry! They’ve been together so long! I hope they reconcile their differences.”

We moved on to lighter topics and chatted for another fifteen minutes.

Image downloaded from Google Images: https://adamsfamilylaw.com/2018/03/irreconcilable-differences-mean-divorce-case/

Posted for Fandango’s One Word Challenge, Ragtag Daily Prompt, and Your Daily Word Prompt.

Life Lines

For Becky’s October Square (lines & squares) and Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge: hands, I decided to take a look at the lines on my palm.
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Analyzing these lines is called “palmistry” and while I consider this to be superstition, much like astrology, it still somehow interests me. I guess it has to do with the human desire to predict the future, which cannot be done with any certainty, so we resort to such things as palmistry and astrology to tell us what will happen in our future or something about our personality.

I was most interested in my “life” line and my “fate” line. The life line is the one that is closest to the thumb and curves downward. Here’s what one web site had to say about it:
Is strong and deep: You have a lust for life and you strive to reach your full potential.
Is shallow and faint: You tend to be less ambitious.
Is curved: You are strong.
Is straight: You are cautious when you enter a new relationship.
Is broken: You have experienced a sudden change in lifestyle.
Has circles: You have been hospitalized or injured.
Isn’t alone and you have multiple life lines: You are a very lively person.
My life line is definitely curved, so I am strong. It is pretty strong and deep, so I have a lust for life and strive to reach my full potential.  Physically, I’m not very strong. But I have endured a lot in life (even though I’ve been pretty lucky, too), so I guess by that standard, I am strong. I do have a lust for life and I sometimes strive to reach my full potential, but on the other hand (no pun intended), I have ADHD so I get distracted and never seem to finish what I start.

I won’t bore you with what my “fate” line or other lines say. You can analyze your own, if you wish, by looking up “palmistry” or simply “lines on palms.” The web site I looked at was the kind of thing people share on Facebook.

But these are photo challenges, so getting back to images… One of the things I love to do with my dominant hand is to draw. Here are two sketches of hands that I drew several years ago:

I don’t have photos that are particularly focused on hands, but I do have several of people holding children and one can get a good look at the holders’ hands.

Finally, here is a newlywed couple whose hands combine to cut their wedding cake.
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One final opinion: I like astrology better than palmistry!

CB&WPC: Taking Sides

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week is sides of things.

Whose side are you on?

I’m not sure I’d want to be on THIS guy’s side – especially its bad side!

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Sculpture at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Climbing up the side of this pyramid might be tricky, not to mention slippery!

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Glass pyramid at the Louvre, Paris

I’d rather be on this animal’s side than in front – whoa, watch out!

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Rhino sculpture, Musee d’Orsay, Paris

I’m on your side, lions! (My, what big teeth you have!)

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Lions in front of a house, Des Plaines, IL

I’m definitely on the side of these newlyweds on their wedding day!

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Our niece’s wedding, Port Gamble, WA

Being on the side of a dahlia lets me see the unfolding of this lovely, delicate flower.

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Dahlia, Port Gamble, WA

This side view is one of my best and most favorite photos.

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My cat Hazel, at home in Des Plaines, IL

Birds’ eyes are on the sides of their heads – and this one is giving me quite a stare!

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Gull, Sweden

Give me the evil eye, but don’t worry – I’m not going to steal your worm!

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I forgot the name of this bird! Tanzania

I hope you enjoyed my journey of taking sides. And remember, I’m always on your side (hopefully with camera in hand)!

 

 

Pull Up a Seat in Poulsbo, Washington

Attending our niece’s wedding recently, we stayed in the town of Poulsbo, WA, with a population over 11,000 and a Norwegian flavor (its heritage is Norwegian, so there are Norwegian flags everywhere). An early settler, an immigrant from Norway, actually had the surname “Paulsbo” but the pen he was writing with was kind of scratchy and so the “a” looked like an “o” – this is how the town got its name, according to the docent at the local history museum. Residents do pronounce the name as “Paulsbo.” The main street is touristy but quite pretty with interesting shops and great restaurants.

I photographed these for XingfuMama’s weekly Pull Up a Seat challenge.

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Identical bright blue benches like this one were available for taking a load off all down the main drag.

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We just moved and need patio furniture for our screened porch, so I briefly considered how these would look….but since we live in Illinois, I figured shipping them from Washington would be more expensive than the chairs themselves!

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Lots of comfy places to sit and drink coffee or eat ice cream at a coffee shop in downtown Poulsbo.

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Outside the same coffee shop, another of our nieces drinks coffee and checks social media while her sister hides herself from being photographed! (I got a good shot of her when she wasn’t paying attention!) The empty chair was soon occupied by the girls’ mom.

CFFC: Feet, Legs, and Paws

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is: feet and/or legs – I’ve added paws!

My niece shows off the clogs she got for her birthday in April.20190420_171819

Chinese Foo Dog paw crushing her “baby” underfoot (in front of House of Szechwan Restaurant in Des Plaines, IL) . This has some symbolism. Foo dogs are typically placed at the entrance to buildings as sort of a guardian. I don’t know why they sometimes crush their baby underfoot!

 

One of Hazel’s paws
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Dale in his bright blue athletic shoes
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Pencil drawing I did of my feet
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Carving of the foot of an Egyptian pharaoh (Kom Ombo, Egypt)
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Your Daily Word Prompt: Nostalgic

I have had many opportunities lately to feel nostalgic, mainly because we are preparing to move to a senior community in six months, so we have to drastically downsize. This means going through boxes in the basement that haven’t been touched in decades!

I have found old photos of myself and my family from the 1970s – 1990s, drawings I did in 1972 and artwork my son did in elementary school, as well as old journals (as far back as 6th grade!), comics I made and stories I wrote.

Most valuable to me at this current time is a journal that I started in 2007 which I found in a drawer of my desk. Just 12 years ago, I had only written in the first 10 pages or so. So now I am carrying it around to encourage me to write and draw instead of playing games on my cellphone! Right now it’s an all-out war between my phone and my journal! The problem with a journal is that it is larger than a cellphone and writing by hand is getting more difficult lately – my hand cramps up and nice, legible handwriting after a page or two becomes erratic and less legible! However, a journal doesn’t need to be charged after using!

My next post happens to also be about something nostalgic: the music of my generation! Here’s a link: Song Lyric Sunday: Feelin’ Groovy.

Here are some of the things I found in the basement that made me nostalgic.

My son’s childhood

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Jayme – 18 months old – at a beach in Milwaukee

Julia Waeffler & Jayme Villa-Alvarez
Jayme, about age 3 with his cousin Julia, age 5. These two were the best of friends for many years.

Jayme Villa-Alvarez, Dale Berman
My husband, Dale, showing Jayme how to put air in his bike tires. The most striking thing for me in this photo is how black Dale’s hair was then!

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Jayme wrote me this letter from summer camp. He was about 10.

My family used to gather around the piano every Christmas and sing carols. This might have been the last time we were all together (1967). My mother probably took the photo because she isn’t in it. I am standing (2nd from left), while two of my sisters were at the piano.
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In high school I had a boyfriend who taught me how to develop photos in a darkroom. These are three photos I took and developed back then. The top two were taken at my school, Verde Valley School; underneath is the front of the house of a family that I stayed with in Oaxaca, Mexico, during my senior year.

Here I am with two of my sisters at my high school graduation! They had graduated from the same school years earlier. (I’m in the middle.)
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When I was in elementary school – and even before that! – I loved to draw more than anything else. My mother used some of my drawings on the family’s Christmas cards a couple of times. This one made the local newspaper! I was 7 at the time.
Katy's Xmas card design - age 7

In 1973, I went to Mexico with a college boyfriend (my future 1st husband) and we traveled all over the country. This photo was taken at Uxmal, Yucatán. I am climbing down a very steep Mayan pyramid, holding onto a chain as I descended. It was scary!
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After my mother became a widow, she made arrangements to move to a retirement community. She moved there after her dog died. In this photo copied from a scrapbook, taken in 2003, I am posing with her after a concert my church choir performed at the retirement home. My mother lived there many years, first in independent living, then she moved to assisted living, and finally to memory care, where she passed away in 2014.
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Posted for Your Daily Prompt: Nostalgic, 5/26/19.

CFFC: Busy Hands

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the theme of HANDS. Looking through my photos, I found hands in various positions and engaging in various tasks – hands are seldom idle!

Some hands are meant to scare…
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like on Halloween!
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Sometimes hands are helpful, pointing out things of interest…
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Hands demonstrate how to make things…
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like this man showing us how to make papyrus. He owns a shop that sells paintings made on papyrus “paper.”
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Some hands have painted fingernails.
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Hands can be used as perspective to show how (in this case) deeply ancient Egyptians carved their images in rock.
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Little hands are very busy! My grand-niece makes “buttered popcorn bagels”…
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A 4-year old’s hands are always busy exploring! Here my grand-niece (the same one) tried on some big yellow gloves and held something in one of them.
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Sometimes to get a photo of the inside of a flower, I have to hold it up…
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Hands can spoil your photo when they reach up to take a photo and their shadow falls on your subject!
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Sometimes hands are used for sacred acts…
such as prayer;
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or when Mary Magdalene touched Jesus’ robe and felt the power of his spirit;
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or when a man’s hands protected the children of the Warsaw Ghetto, while their hands could do nothing in their sadness and fear but hang at their sides.
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Hands are essential in the evolution of the human species: they grasp tools, they work, they perform intricate surgery, they play music, they embrace, they pet animals*, they are used to show emotion, or to use sign language – they are used in all kinds of expression and communication. Without the development of our hands, we would not have evolved into who we are today.

*I wanted to include photos of hands petting my cat, Hazel, but she jumped on my computer, which I took to mean that I will have to create a separate post on my cat-centered blog of hands petting her!

CFFC: Make Me Laugh!

The theme for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is: Funny.

I looked through my photos to see which ones really made me laugh. Here’s what I came up with.

Fish mailbox (Dempster Ave., Des Plaines)
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Speaking of fish, here are fish and duck Toby jugs:
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Dog Toby jugs:

(If you are scratching your head, wondering what a Toby jug is, I will be posting about it soon in my Open House Chicago series.)

Banana dog on Halloween
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My cat, Hazel – she would rather quench her thirst on toilet water than from her water “fountain” with constantly running water.

When she gets new catnip, she goes wild – we attached a “carrot” full of catnip to her scratching post – here she is enjoying it by licking it (and getting a little high!):
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Hazel loves to play “chase” – when we are upstairs, she’ll “hide” on the stairway and when we start coming down the stairs, she takes off!
phone photos 147I laugh also at funny political cartoons and signs, like this one at Resist Café in Des Moines, Iowa.
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More (non-political) funny signs…
Good sign! (Fire and Ice, Marengo)
This one is a funny English translation on a sign at a beach in Buzios, Brazil.
Dale and I still laugh when we remember this sign we saw in Buzios in 2003!
This one is actually a bumper sticker.
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Children can be funny! Here is my three-year-old grand-niece, Frances, pretending to dry her hair…
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…and playing dolls with her four-year-old cousin, Sylvia.
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This last picture is hilarious – my grand-nephew (age 7, first grade) drew this portrait of his mom for Mother’s Day – and I just had to include it, even though I didn’t take the photo, because…
Ben's portrait of his mom-1st grade
it really MADE ME LAUGH!