Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Nostalgic

The subject of Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #75 is nostalgic. I feel nostalgic for places that I used to go to, such as our family’s cottage in northern Wisconsin. We sold the cottage in 2015, which had been in my family for 50 years, because it was no longer possible or feasible to manage the place from far away. But for many years, that beautiful place was a relaxing – and inexpensive – vacation.

Dale used to love to fish there, off the pier and in the rowboat. He would stay out there for hours. This photo is from July 2013.
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Our lake had a couple of pairs of loons which nested somewhere across the lake. Their calls echoed over the lake as they communicated with each other and even with loons on nearby lakes. I got to know what each of their distinct calls meant – danger/fear, looking for company, and just “I am here.” It was a treat to see them get relatively close to the shore, so that I could take a photo like this one in July 2014.
a pair of loons! They have been getting so close to the dock.
At the cottage, I always felt close to nature and sometimes I would sit on the screened porch during a thunderstorm, watch the black clouds covering the sky, listen to the falling rain, feel the cool, moist air and smell the earthy freshness that rain brings.
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Another place that I have visited several times is Rio de Janeiro – I always spend at least a few days there every time I go to Brazil. Most of the times I’ve been there, I’ve stayed with in-laws or friends in Leme, at the far end of Copacabana. Just looking at this photo makes me feel nostalgic.
20161123_190534And when I am there, I always insist on taking the cable car up to the top of Sugarloaf in late afternoon, and watch the sun set. And as I look over that beautiful scene – the colors of the sunset and the lights coming on in all the neighborhoods I can see from there – I always get tears in my eyes and promise: I will be back. And so far, I’ve kept that promise, but of course I never know when it will be my last time there. I took both the photo above, of Copacabana Beach looking toward Leme at the far end from the bar at the top of a hotel, and the photo below, at sunset on Sugarloaf, in November 2016, during my last trip there.
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These places I love, and the people, scenery, smells and sounds associated with them, give me what Brazilians call saudade, which is roughly translated to nostalgia, but it is more than that: it is sweet sorrow, it is happiness and sadness, love and longing, all at the same time. You can have saudades even when you are with the people and in the places which invoke it. Because you know that life is fleeting, that the moment you are experiencing is just that – a moment. Saudade reminds you not to take life for granted.

 

Since the end of 2013, Dale and I have had Hazel, our cat, as part of our family. But for 20 years before that, I did not have a cat, primarily because my son had asthma and was allergic to cats, which was sad for me because I love cats. Amazingly, he outgrew both his allergies and his asthma, and anyway, he no longer lives with us, so we were able to welcome a shelter cat into our home at Christmas time that year. Prior to 1993, I had pet cats for much of my life, and I remember them with nostalgic fondness.

From left to right are Kirry (a male Manx, my family’s pet cat during most of my childhood), Joia (1976-1992, a female half-Manx;  I was with my first husband then and she traveled from Los Angeles to Wisconsin to Brazil and back), and Blackfoot (female tabby, 1993 – I had this cat only briefly before having to give her up because my son developed asthma).


I have developed nostalgia (or more accurately, saudade) for all the places I’ve been and the happy times I have spent in them. That is one reason I love photography – the photos I take tell the story of my experiences and invoke memories I would otherwise have forgotten.

SYW: On being old, rainy days, why I don’t play golf, and love of flowers

It’s time for Melanie B. Cee’s weekly Share Your World!

When you’re 90 years old, what do you suppose will matter most to you?
I think it will be whether I am healthy enough to have a good quality of life. I’d like to be able to travel, but if not, I would want to be able to look forward to something. If I am in pain or suffering from a disease or health condition that isn’t going to improve, at that point I would rather die.

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When I’m 90, I want to still be able to eat and enjoy chocolate ice cream!

What’s the best way to spend a rainy afternoon?
I know this sounds cliché, but I like sitting on the porch reading a book. I love the sound of the rain and the smell of fresh earth; I find it very relaxing. If I don’t have a book, I am content to just sit there and watch the rain coming down. Thunderstorms can be awesome to watch!
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What is one thing you don’t understand about yourself?
Why I am competitive. It’s something I don’t want to be and I don’t admire it in myself. I want to win and if I am playing something (a sport, a game) that I can never win, I lose interest and give up. Logically, I would rather be the type of person that just enjoys what I’m doing regardless of whether I’m good or bad at it. But instead, I compete, even if it is with myself. Then I am hard on myself when I don’t succeed.

Cute Little Girl Playing Golf On A Field Outdoor
I never liked golf because I am lousy at it; therefore, I refuse to play it.

When was the last time you tried something to look ‘cool’ (hip), but it ended in utter embarrassment? Details?
Unfortunately, it’s unfit to print!

This is an opportunity to share a picture, a story or event that shows your gratitude.
I am grateful for flowers:
to be able to appreciate them
the eyes to see them
and hands to draw or photograph them.
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First three photos: downloaded from Google Images.

Month of Squares: #In the Pink September

Becky at The Life of B has a “Month of Squares” photo challenge. In September the theme is “In the Pink.

Pink flowers are the first thing that comes to my mind! I haven’t participated often in this challenge but I think I will do it more often this month. Here are hydrangeas after a rainstorm.
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Becky’s rules and suggestions are as follows:
The theme for squares this month is ‘In the Pink‘ and the one rule as always is that your main photograph must be square. After that the world is your oyster, or should I say flamingo?! To help you get started here are some ideas you might want to consider;
‘In the Pink’ – means perfect condition or in good health, so that could be human or not!
‘Tickled Pink‘ – means delighted, so I’m thinking happy, fun and of course delighted. That could be you or the subject of your photograph.
Pink – you can of course simply share anything that is coloured pink
There is an extra challenge for those of you up for it – can you manage to combine two of these, or maybe even all three?

Getting Our Kicks in the Texas Panhandle-Part 2 (Route 66, Day 7)

June 13, 2018                Amarillo, TX

We woke up to a much cooler morning. It had rained quite a bit and puddles were everywhere. After checking out of the hotel, we loaded the car and headed back to Cadillac Ranch. 10 vintage Cadillac models from 1949 to 1963 are lined up, nose down, facing west, supposedly at the same angle as the Great Pyramids of Giza!

When we got there, I realized we would have been better off coming yesterday – the entrance gate stood directly over a trail of mud puddles, 20180613_094015and the Cadillacs were no longer half-buried in the ground – they were now in the middle of a lake! DSC_0759The cars are covered in graffiti and visitors arrive with spray cans to add their own over the layers of graffiti from those who came before them. 20180613_094415As we walked toward the cars, we heard the rattling of spray paint cans behind us, being shaken by a group of young people. Discarded spray cans littered the ground, which was disheartening, since there are garbage cans just outside the gate, and a few people had sprayed graffiti on the ground as well as on the cars!20180613_094306
Cadillac Ranch was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm, according to Wikipedia. The cars are arranged in order by model year, to show the evolution of their tailfins.
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The installation was originally located in a wheat field, but in 1997, it was relocated by a local contractor to a cow pasture two miles (3 km) west so it would be farther away from the expansion of Amarillo.
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Cadillac Ranch can be seen from I-40, but to get to it, you get off on a frontage road (the historic Route 66). Visitors are encouraged, although it is located on private land.
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In addition, spraying the cars with spray can graffiti is also encouraged and the Cadillacs have thus lost their original colors, but they are now much more colorful! If the installation had been placed in a remote location, the cars could have maintained their original state, but that was not the artists’ intention – they wanted people to interact with it.
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Periodically the cars are painted in various solid colors – once all white to film a TV commercial, once pink to celebrate the birthday of the wife of one of the millionaires who funded the project, and once black for the death of Doug Michels.
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Occasionally they are painted solid colors to provide a “fresh canvas” for visitors.
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In 2012, they were painted rainbow colors to commemorate Gay Pride Day.
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The last time they were painted over, they lasted less than 24 hours in their fresh coat of paint before being attacked by spray paint again!20180613_094836
Well, no one was going to get near them the day we were there, although Dale did walk around farther than he should have in order to take photos at a different angle. DSC_0761
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When he lifted one of his feet out of the mud, his shoe got stuck and he realized both of his shoes had sunk into the muddy quagmire so that they were mostly covered with the brown sticky stuff! He traipsed back to the car and removed his shoes and socks (also covered with mud) and threw them into the back of the car. The picture below was taken later, when he took them out at our hotel in Oklahoma City to clean them off!20180613_183445d
I was not happy with all the dirty smudges made in the back seat of my (new) car as a result!

We headed through Amarillo again on I-40. Once out in the country again, we saw alongside the road a shuttered business which had tried to capitalize on Cadillac Ranch – and the cars (Volkswagen “Beetles”) as well as the building itself were covered in graffiti!
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The next attraction was the Leaning Water Tower of Texas (1.5 miles east of Groom, via I-40 take exit 114, go north to Frontage Road – which is what they renamed Route 66 after building the freeway). This was a tourist trap – standing in the middle of a farm field, the old-style water tower was built at a tilt to lure drivers off the road and into the town’s commercial businesses.


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After that, we continued on the frontage road (historic Route 66) to our next stop – Shamrock, Texas. The U-Drop Inn and Tower Service Station (101 E. 12th St. – Route 66) is an example of art deco design from the 1930s. The Conoco gas station gained more recent fame as the inspiration for “Ramone’s paint shop” in the Disney movie Cars.
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In contrast to the old-fashioned gas pumps, there were also these ultra modern Tesla electric car charging stations!

That was all we expected to see in Shamrock, but we ended up taking pictures of several businesses with murals painted on their facades.
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Even a garbage can was painted with a Route 66 theme!
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Besides the colorful signs of life in this town, as on much of Route 66, we saw plenty of shuttered buildings, which also made me a little sad to see.
20180613_121026.jpgDale speeded up as we reached the edge of town, but then I yelled, “STOP!” I had to take a picture of a typical Texas motel in which each of the guest room doors were painted blue with a white star in the middle. This, I could see, was a surviving (perhaps not thriving) business which seemed to be well maintained.
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I took the photo above while Dale waited in our car, the Prius seen in the picture. I saw a half-dressed man looking out the door of one of the rooms and was going back to the car when he emerged from his room, having thrown on a shirt. He, as it turns out, was the proprietor of the motel, curious about who I was, and he told me the story about how the doors came to be painted with the stars and other local lore.
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Our last photo opp in Shamrock:
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Leaving Shamrock, we were only a few miles from the Oklahoma border. We got back on I-40 and sped on.

SYW: On crossword puzzles, doctors, dates with parmesan cheese, and dogs

Cee’s Share Your World this week:

In regards to puzzle what’s your choice: jigsaw, crossword, word search, mazes, logic or numeric puzzles, something else, or nothing?
I do lots of different puzzles but mostly crosswords or jigsaw puzzles on my tablet or phone. I find myself obsessively doing one after another while I’m supposedly watching TV!

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Crosswords are the best, however. My husband and I do them together and between the two of us, we can figure most of them out. 20180725_182137
Dale sometimes gets stuck because he spells something wrong and then I come along and fix it, then fill in more of the clues! We take crossword puzzle magazines on trips and I work on them while he drives. He’s able to visualize what should fit without looking at the puzzle better than I am. I occasionally do Sudoku also, but mostly the easy ones I have on a phone app.

List at least five favorite treats and it doesn’t necessarily have to be food.
1. Anything chocolate
2. Dates with parmesan cheese inside (New! See below)
3. Ice cream
4. Traveling to new places
5. Sitting on a dock next to a cool lake in Wisconsin and watching nature.
6. Sitting on my porch when the rain is coming down all around me outside.
7. Being able to read as much as I want to (I love being retired!)
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What is your favorite type of dog? (can be anything from a specific breed, a stuffed animal or character in a movie)
When I was a kid, my favorite was collie because I liked the show Lassie. Lassie
I also preferred beagles because we had a mutt that was mostly beagle. Now I like just friendly dogs. And puppies, they’re always cute! puppyThis is a hard question to answer because I haven’t had a dog as a pet since Corky (our mutt-beagle) died. I like dogs but much prefer cats.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.
See #2 under “treats” above: at a gathering of girlfriends the other day, one woman brought dates stuffed with pieces of parmesan cheese. I found them so exquisite! Something about the texture and melting in my mouth reminded me of fudge, but it doesn’t taste like chocolate.

Several weeks ago, I fell on the sidewalk and really bashed up my face and my right knee. The knee is the only thing that is still recovering – still somewhat swollen from a hematoma. What I appreciate about this is that different doctors (emergency room, my GP) had suggested different things for why the swelling had continued and why my right foot had gotten swollen and sore a week after the fall: bursitis, cellulitis, septic arthritis – the scariest of all! Finally, I went to an orthopedic doctor referred by the ER doctors, who examined my knee and told me it is (just) a hematoma. As for my foot, it was a sprained ankle, but it’s now healed. I appreciated this last diagnosis by the specialist because I don’t have an infection or any other complications! I am grateful that my knee is getting better every day and I can walk normally again.20180725_183923