Tuesday, November 30

This time of year the apples start tasting especially delicious. Maybe because now they are from local orchards, instead of being imported from other parts of the country (or world). Or maybe this is the time of year when nature wants us to eat like mad and store fat for the upcoming winter, so EVERYTHING tastes delicious and tempting! I am pretty sure that the bag of Cheetos I ate yesterday was not from a local orchard, but boy did that taste good!

Monday, November 29

I visited my old college roomate Liz today and her new baby. I got to breathe in a bit of that New Baby atmosphere, as distinct and exciting as that of a new car. Of course a car is easier to maintain, and don't they sell spray cans of New Car aroma if you want to keep the romance going? I guess if you wanted to recreate New Baby aroma you could sprinkle baby powder around and open up some A & D ointment, leave out a glass of milk overnight. But it wouldn't be quite the same. You'd be missing that elusive aromatic combination of exhaustion and elation.

Saturday, November 27

is a fistful of marigolds planted by your youngest child. I also think it is appropriate for this weeks's PhotoFriday challenge (of "Prosperity") because the word marigold is said to be derived from "Saint Mary's Gold". At any rate, despite being considered the most plebian of flowers, I happen to adore them.

Wednesday, November 24

Paul's annual pie-making efforts. Two glistening pumpkins and a crumble-topped apple, all wafting sweet spicy aromas around our house as they cool. Too bad we don't have Thanksgiving but once a year! He has an especially good touch with the pie crust, a very delicate operation. Maybe from all those childhood years spent building ship models? Anyway, I think we should institute a new holiday similar to the reputed "Half-birthday" celebration: "Half-Thanksgiving". Not to celebrate the things we sort of half-heartedly feel thankful for, but just as an additional outlet for pie-making. Lets see, six months from November, will land us in late May. What's growing around then? Rhubarb? Can't remember. Oh well, just a fancy brought on by too much hot cinnamon in the air.

Tuesday, November 23

Monday, November 22

Having a child with autism decidedly changes your understanding of many concepts, including that of friendship. For Henry, a child whom he is content to sit next to and occasionally glance at counts as his friend. Here he is with his friend Hazel. A relatively new definition of a friend for me is someone who will invite me and all my children to their house and graciously acommodate Henry's differences. I feel lucky to have a goodly number of such folks in my life.

I was on the phone to my friend Katie yesterday and mentioned that Henry's afternoon babysitter had canceled, Paul was playing soccer and it was a wet gray afternoon which precluded playground visits and we were all going a little stir crazy. She promptly invited us all over, even though she is in the middle of a major house renovation and a thousand other things as well. It was a huge relief to get out of the house and see some different faces for a few hours, have a cup of tea and some "grown-up" conversation, while keeping Henry amused at the same time. As for Katie, my grandmother would say "She'll get HER crown in heaven!"

Friday, November 19

I am enamored of the way doughuts look: the gloss, the glaze, the colors, the promise of indulgence. The way they are so uniform yet with endless variations, even amongst the same flavors. Fortunately, I do not have any corresponding passion for eating them. To me they are just little works of sculpture. So I am able to go out and buy boxes of doughnuts for painting (and photographing) without piling on the calories. Now, if these were shiny little bags of potato chips...!

Thursday, November 18

Henry's autism has him searching out sensory stimulation in every way possible. He particularly loves sharp tangy smells, like vinegars (balsamic is his favorite), mustards, soy sauces, bleach etc. I like pickles, and so does he, and whenever we have them in the house I must keep them under lock and key because he wants to play with them! This play mostly consists of shaking the jar and then holding it up to the light, and sniffing the leaking juices. But, pickle jars leak like mad, and also shatter easily. So vigilance is required. Who would ever have thought that you would have to give any thought at all to having a dill pickle once in a while? There are hundreds of little things like this about our life with Henry, little everyday things that most people can take for granted. Sometimes these hundreds of details you need to stay aware of can really wear you down. But, it certainly is interesting, and makes you look at (and smell) life differently.

Tuesday, November 16

A painter friend, Janice Wilke, asked me if I would take some pictures of her. She needs a photo of herself for a design project she is working on. I was happy to oblige. She brought along the first portrait she ever sat for, from years back, for her (now) husband, painter Scott Noel. (One look at the tender Degas/Vermeer way he painted her and one could have started planning the wedding before the varnish dried, sorry to embarrass you Jan). She wanted me to create a similar light/dark pattern thing in the photo, I think, and I am not sure I was able to deliver. But it was all very interesting. Shakespearean lines kept rolling through my head "When age hath made me what I am not now..", and I was very glad to know that I also have a portrait done years ago by Scott. Someday, perhaps, I will look at it and hardly be able to believe that that was me. (Jan's still looks like Jan of course!)

Sunday, November 14

Hydrangea and human. I was trying out Paul's work camera, a big Nikon. Lots of fun, but I had no time to study the instruction book (no book-let!) to really see what I could do with it. Just clicked the shutter a few times. Even the Ka-chunk of the shutter release was intensely satisfying!

Saturday, November 13

This is for the Photo Friday theme of family. I had to laugh when I saw that this was this week's theme. My entire blog is about 95% family stuff. I guess a lot of the photographers who enter PF are young and single and still undomesticated, so it must have seemed exotic to them.

When I was looking through the hundreds and hundreds of family shots in my archives, looking for one to post I saw that there was an interesting group, all of family, taken over this past spring and summer. Without exception, they were all taken while visiting my mother in the hospital this spring, and then on the several visits home over the summer to help out. There was a peculiar intensity to all these photos, as though I was in a state of heightened awareness due to my mother's health crisis and was looking at my family as if for the first, or the last, time.

Some of the very best ones were all taken in my mother's hospital room, but I won't show them without her permission. It made me think of that old saying, "Home is where, when you go there, they have to take you in." I would add, "Family are the people who visit you when you are in the Hospital."

Thursday, November 11

on another world. Hugh in the office of his elementary school. I guess the fish are there to soothe and relax the populace.

Tuesday, November 9

A lovely flower with a fun name. And still hanging on in my neighbor Fay's garden, despite the frost. Who'd have thought something so frilly and pink would be so tough?

Sunday, November 7

I went to the most unusual birthday party today. My friend Roz has just turned 50 (that is her up front in customary "dazzling urbanite" black), and to mark the big day her sister rented out an entire movie theatre for a private showing of Roz's favorite movie: "Blazing Saddles"! I had never actually seen this comic masterpiece before, and the whole event was great fun. Popcorn, sodas, paddleballs and cupcakes and we didn't need no stinkin' tickets. Happy Birthday Roz!

Friday, November 5

on Hawk Mountain. We went up there today and enjoyed the blasting gusts of wind and the quickly changing light patterns on the countryside all around. The air was clear and you could see for miles! Unfortunately, the high winds also literally blew most of the migratory hawks off course, so we saw only a handful. But the boys had a wonderful time being mountain goats and Paul and I enjoyed the refreshing views. (In case those who read my last post in which I broke my camera were wondering, I borrowed Paul's for the day!)

Tuesday, November 2

This may be one of my last posts for a while as I broke my camera a few days ago. I was holding it by its strap, uncharacteristically, and as I walked it swung gently and tapped into a dresser, just at the right point of contact to crack off several crucial components! The plastic looked almost rotted away, if that is possible. Time for a new one anyway, but who has the time for research and comparison shopping?