Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year


At the urging of my sister-out-law, Shelley, I joined a group of more than 60 haiku writers in sending snail mail Nengajou. The short description is that these are traditional Japanese New Year's cards, most often postcards which usually include some reference to the creature associated with the new year. 2008 is the year of the rat. Follow this link to read more about Nengajou.

The snail mail group has brought a wonderful array of cards to my mailbox. Both Amy and I have enjoyed seeing the different approaches and reading all the haiku. Pictured above is the card I sent. Each of the elements is something I created.

The photo at the top was taken in Brighton, Massachusetts a few weeks ago. (Although it looks like the middle of nowhere it was in fact taken from the Turnpike exit ramp looking north toward Cambridge Street.) The numbers at the bottom are details from other photos - the 2 is from a photo taken in the parking garage at work, the first 0 is from the ice castle at the 2004 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, the second 0 is from the Wellesley College class of 1940's banner and the 8 is from the Wellesley class of 1981's banner. The rat is based on a mouse my college roommate (hi RT) used to draw next to her signature.

I hope that the new year brings each of you peace, love and happiness.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thursday Challenge: Broken

Taken on a walk in my neighborhood in September. I don't usually post pictures that I've already posted but this was the only one I had to fit the theme and since it wasn't posted in response to a photo challenge I thought it would be okay.

See more Thursday Challenge here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Lensday: Rainbow

The flag that hangs by our front door.

See more Lensday here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Lights

Most of the people who put up holiday lights in our town do so with restraint - a few strings on the bushes in front of the house, lights around a few windows, a lighted blow-up character or two. There is one house, though, which we pass when returning from the grocery store that goes all out with their Christmas decorations.

It started innocently enough. When we first lived here the bushes on one edge of their yard looked like a row of gum drops. When the holidays rolled around the owners added colored lights to the gum drop bushes. With a coating of snow the bushes were quite beautiful.

Slowly additional holiday items were added. And during the last couple years the house has attracted enough attention to slow traffic. There are lights on bushes, lights on the house, lighted blow-up characters, slide shows and those gum drop bushes - they now sport not only the lights but a stereo system playing carols to which the lights are synchronized.

For your viewing pleasure here are a few shots of the spectacle. (Click on the pictures to see larger views.)





Red and Blue

Long View


Gumdrop Bushes

Holiday Baking

Our kitchen has been humming with a flurry of cooking and baking this weekend. Turkey and stuffing, roast beef, pork roast and ham & beans were the entries in the cooking portion of the weekend. Below are the entries in the baking category.

Vanocka ( Czech Christmas Bread)
Full of golden raisins and walnuts.

Homemade Chocolate Danish.

Amy's Fudge

There was also a marginally successful attempt at divinity. There is no photographic evidence of that.

Tuesday Challenge: Christmas

Santa Ornament
This santa graces my aunt's Christmas tree.

See more Tuesday Challenge here.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

PhotoSunday: N

N is for

See more PhotoSunday here.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Holiday Memories

Cookie CuttersI don't remember a childhood Christmas without piles of gingerbread cookies to decorate. (Well, actually they were mostly molasses crisps, but we don't need to get technical about it.) I don't remember any sugar cookies, just gingerbread. The cookies came in many shapes and sizes - Christmas trees, rocking horses, little men. We were as attached to those cutters as we were to the ornaments on the tree.

This family tradition was born, or so I've been told, when my older brother who was 3 at the time wanted to send Christmas cards to his friends. My mother suggested that he decorate cookies instead, and so the tradition was born.

Each year a table was given over to the decorating. Wax paper, toothpicks, spoons, paper towels or napkins were our tools. Confectioners sugar, water and food coloring became simple icing. Some cookies were decorated with great care. I can clearly remember my sister bent over a single cookie for what seemed like hours. I remember her cookies as the most intricate. Other cookies did not get so much attention.

Once enough cookies were decorated the packaging and distribution began. We carefully chose which cookies would go to which recipients - frequently cookies were decorated with a particular person in mind. We packed the cookies in layers of wax paper and nestled them into boxes. We would walk to the neighbors to deliver theirs, and then head out in the car to deliver others.

The cookies were always received with great enthusiasm. Oohs and ahs were common.

There were always a few of the cookies left for us. But, here's the confession portion of this post, although I would eat a few I didn't really like them. I'm not a great fan of molasses. And yet for a few Christmases when I was on my own I continued the tradition using the same molasses crisp recipe.

See It Sunday: Snow

We have a lot of snow, although they're predicting rain for tomorrow :-( .
I looked out the window yesterday and noticed the azalea bushes holding little snowballs.

See more See It Sunday here.

Shutterday: Holiday


See more Shutterday here.

PhotoHunters: Light

Sunlight filtered through tree.
Taken along the Sudbury River September 23, 2007.

See more PhotoHunters here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday Challenge: Communication



See more Thursday Challenge here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lensday: Peace

Rainbow Lake
Taken August 1, 2005

See more Lensday here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Poetry is Work


she shuffles the post-it notes
dictionary solitaire
seeking the perfect flow
wrestling with "beleaguring"
orphan words in search of new family

Last night Amy was hard at work on a poem in response to the prompt at Read Write Poem. Her method in this instance was to write each of the words she was working with on a post-it note, and shuffle them trying out different arrangements until it was just right. This poem was inspired by her working out that poem.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Blueberry Hunt

Blueberry Hunt
small boy hunting through
jungle of green in search of
yummy orbs of blue

My nephew N loves blueberries and each summer while at Wakanda he heads into the blueberry bushes to pick treats. This picture (he was not quite 2, he's 4 now) was taken just before the bushes got the better of him and he sat down to wait for rescue.

Read more yummy haiku at One Deep Breath.
See more search photography at See It Sunday.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thursday Challenge: Body

Yes, I know it's Saturday not Thursday.
Bonus points to the first person to correctly name whose hand this is. :-)

See more Thursday Challenge here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ten Years

ClockAt the work holiday party yesterday I received this clock for my 10 years of service. The side of the clock is engraved with my name, and it's even spelled correctly (my last name is difficult for many people to spell, and harder to pronounce).

Shutterday: Bokeh

Oak leaf caught in our dogwood tree.
An explanation of bokeh is here.

See more Shutterday here.

PhotoHunters: Small

Small Turtle
Small Kemp's ridley turtle.
I took this in 2004 at Xcaret Eco Theme Park in Mexico. The park does both rescue and breeding of turtles. This fellow was in a tank with about a dozen other babies. Amy enjoyed seeing these because the New England Aquarium, one of her favorite places, has Kemp's ridley turtles.

See more PhotoHunters here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lensday: Urban

The Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC

See more LensDay here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Rainy Commute

It's rainy here, not icy like in so many places. Since Amy was driving today that left me free to play with my camera on the way home. Here are some of our favorites.
Blue and Yellow

Red and Blue


Christmas Lights
This is the Christmas lights in a nearby yard.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Morning Visitation

Just after I got up this morning I caught sight of these turkeys in our driveway. By the time I got the camera they'd moved to the front yard. The picture was taken through the window since rushing out in my pajamas and slippers on this very icy morning was not a good idea. We think these critters have visited before - there are large bird prints frozen into the snow in the yard.

Moody Monday: Smooth


Another shot from my October 21st kayak on the Charles River in Natick.

See more Moody Monday here.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bonus Road Sign Haiku

Five letter road sign
merge or yield too complex for
Boston drivers' minds

I couldn't resist this bonus poetry for Totally Optional Prompts "road sign" prompt.
My original road sign haiku are here.

Unique's Photo Challenge: Drip Drop

Rain dripping from dogwood berries.
Taken this fall.

See more drip drop here.

PhotoSunday: L

is for

See more L pictures here.

Shutterday: Photo

When he was younger D was fascinated by my cameras, particularly the "big camera".

And here's a bonus shot of the photographer.

See more Shutterday here.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Road Sign Haiku

Sign of brown and gold
designating a blue line
Adirondack Park

Welcome says the sign
Joy and adventure await
Inside the blue line

Inspired by the "Road Sign" prompt at Totally Optional Prompts.

PhotoHunters: Long

Long way to Boston
The Charles River winds its way through the countryside before it reaches Boston. By car from this point it's about 20 miles. By river 36.8.

See more PhotoHunters here.

Friday, December 07, 2007

PhotoFriday: Primitive

Primitive Fence
Fence at Claude Moore Colonial Farm in McLean, Virginia.
I visited the farm last fall (2006) with my friend Mary. Mary's family participates in the reenactments of colonial life at the farm.

See more PhotoFriday here.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


GloveI don't lose things very often. Misplace them, yes, but lose them no. I'm not sure where this came from. I suspect it may have something to do with the fact that my brother lost things all the time and I witnessed how upset my mother got about a number of those losses, particularly the brand new, very expensive eye glasses. But whatever the reason I am very careful about making sure I hang on to all my stuff.

Tuesday was a cold day, and as we were leaving for work Amy reminded me to take a hat. I picked up my fleece hat and stuck it in my jacket pocket. I didn't want to put it on because my hair was still damp, and I didn't want to go through the day with flat hair. I wore my gloves. I'm pretty sure I kept them on until I was in the building my office is in. When I take off gloves I stick them in my jacket pockets.

Fast forward to the end of the day. Amy was in my office, since she'd had an afternoon meeting in my building, as I suited up to leave. I put on my coat, pulled out the right glove and stuck my hand in the left pocket for the left glove. All I found was hat. I pulled out the hat and all I found was emptiness. My left glove was not in its usual place. I checked around my office, I checked with the main desk in the building, I checked the food court next door, I checked by the car. The glove was nowhere to be found.

I am upset about this missing glove. The gloves aren't new. They are several years old, one of two pairs of leather gloves Amy bought me for Christmas one year. The lining is deteriorating and they were likely to be replaced in the very near future. So the loss of this glove isn't really a big deal. I have another pair of leather gloves to wear. But it is driving me crazy that I lost this one. I don't lose things. But apparently I do.

This lose pales in the face of the families who have lost their homes and cars to a fuel truck driver who lost control on a rotary (traffic circle/roundabout) in the middle of the night Tuesday - he was speeding. I can't imagine the terror of waking up to flames everywhere, (well actually I can because I have a _very_ vivid imagination but imagining never comes close to the actual feelings). Or the sorrow of the families in Nebraska whose loved ones were gunned down in a mall yesterday. Even so, I miss my glove and I wish it would find its way home.

PhotoSharks: Morning

Rainbow Lake Morning

I took this early one morning in July.

See more PhotoSharks here.

Thursday Challenge: Red


See more Thursday Challenge here.

LensDay: Cold


See more LensDay here.

Monday, December 03, 2007


My post for last week's Moody Monday challenge got picked as a favorite. Five images of the 74 submitted were chosen as favorites. This is really cool given the quality of the photographers who participate in that challenge.

That picture was taken behind the Unified Arts Building at Brookline High School (where I take an adult ed woodworking class). The construction technology class (a high school class) is building a small one room house in that corner of the parking lot. The tree stump sits next to that house under construction. My guess is that the nails have been added by bored kids.

Now to find a picture that will work for this week.... If I'd known in advance that the challenge was chaotic I would have taken a different set of pictures at my nephew D's wrestling practice (more to come on that soon) on Saturday.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Unique's Photo Challenge: Woods

Hugging Trees
Hugging trees at the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary.
Taken in February 2005.

See more Unique's Photo Challenge here.