Tag: family

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Cousins and Buddy

Date unknown, but sometime in the 1970s during my early teenage years, my cousin pats a freshly-made snowman while I watch. I would like to thank Dan for emailing the Featured Image. The photographer likely was one of our dads. Camera is anyone’s guess but I will make one: Kowa—likely the seT R2. Leaf shutter! In the interchangeable lenses!

Snow is a constant during Northern Maine winters—as much today as 50 years ago, if not more so. Average annual snowfall at the National Weather Station in Caribou is 278 cm (109 inches). An April 29, 2022 analysis by Emily Jerkins, St. John Valley Times, appearing in the Bangor Daily News, affirms: “Maine is snowier than Alaska thanks to Aroostook County“.

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Imperfectly Perfect

Today is the fifth anniversary of mom’s passing. Chatting with my sister Nan, she said something about a Facebook quiz querying whether one would want a different mother if such circumstance could be. She wouldn’t. Nor would I. Mom was imperfectly perfect.

She was selfless in all the ways that matter. She was generous within her means. She wasn’t one to hold grudges or to flush with anger. By measure of core character, she was—and I should say is in the afterlife—genuinely good as most anyone can be in this world born from evil seed. We four children were blessed to have her.

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Gone But for Memories

Call me shocked. On several occasions during the two years leading up to the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns—and at least once after they started—I contacted the woman who managed our rental in Kensington, Md. We lived there just shy of a decade, and I felt sentimental about the place. Should the house become available to rent, or to buy, could she let me know? Absolutely. Promises. Promises.

Opportunity passed unbeknownst to me, and I am baffled about missing it. The house, previously purchased for $56,000 in 1965, sold for $475,000 a few months ago. I had checked on the property’s disposition from time to time and never saw a listing, nor is there any indication that there ever was one. Perhaps the tenants bought the place. I’ll never know.

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Annie and the Snowman

Merry Christmas! My wife poses with an inflatable along Madison Avenue, between Georgia Street and Park Blvd, in our neighborhood. I photographed kitty nicknamed Alcatraz nearby the same spot 10 months ago; early March 2021, the black and white appeared in my “Cats of University Heights” series.

I left Leica Q2 at home and so used iPhone 13 Pro to take the Featured Image—first of four and best of the lot. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 32, 1/328 sec, 13mm; 10:31 a.m. PST, today. As you can see, the snowman is quite large, and the smartphone’s wide-angle lens let me capture the inflatable and surrounding scene for context. We had heavy rain for the holiday. I’m dreaming of a wet Christmas…

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‘You Are Being Watched’

Funny how the intention for taking a photo isn’t the reason for publishing it—as is the case with the Featured Image, captured yesterday using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/4, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 5:26 p.m. PDT. The crusty, “Criminal Beware” sign struck me as really funny—no deterrent at all—and I planned to wisecrack about how the old, neglected thing would frighten off nobody. Then my wife got into the final frame, and everything changed.

She stopped to check her mileage (from walking), while I fumbled with the camera. I really like the synchronicity of her dipped head and hat with the cloaked villain’s posture. Her presence lends perspective, too—how ridiculously high off the ground is the warning. I have passed by that intersection, at Mississippi and Monroe, hundreds of times and hadn’t before noticed the sign. If a posting doesn’t register with residents, will criminals scouting people and places at eye-level see it—or even care? By the way, newer “Neighborhood Watch” signs are lower.

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Make a Wish

I know our daughter feels fairly disheveled on this 27th birthday—kind of like the Featured Image of the cat that we unexpectedly inherited from her in October 2014. I met Cali on June 4 of that year—the evening before she showed up in Molly’s bed. Now Cali is bonded to Neko, but her origin story will always be our recuperating birthday girl.

In the portrait, captured using iPhone XS, Cali sun-sleeps against my home office window on the Katris blocks that sit between the Belham Living Everett Mission Writing Desk with Optional Hutch and Casabelle Mail Center. Vitals: f/2.4, ISO 16, 1/142 sec, 52mm (film equivalent); 3:16 p.m. PDT, June 19, 2021.

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A Simple Remembrance

Mom would be 80 years old today; she passed away in August 2017 and will always be missed. Short stature, she put on the pounds with age, which would eventually make her bound to a wheel chair. She navigated the thing like a sports car, and I would like to have seen her race someone riding an electric scooter. But their popularity zoomed after she departed.

Linda was a sun around which other people revolved like planets—not because she was a narcissist demanding attention but for being affable and generous. They nourished off her light and enjoyed being pulled by her gravity. My sisters and I were blessed to have her as a parent.

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Five Years Later

Eldest daughter. Second born. Older twin. There are many more appropriate ways to describe my sister Annette but none more than loss. She unexpectedly passed away five years ago today. Left behind: Three children. All adults and parents of their own. Must be mentioned being Mother’s Day.

I used Leica Q2 Monochrom to capture the Featured Image, made from a print. The copy can’t be better than the original, which isn’t sharp. Maybe soft focus was the photographer’s intention; he or she is unknown. The re-creation is edited with a fair amount of noise reduction applied (due to ambient overhead lighting ISO is 16000).

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Brother and Sister

Uncle Arnie passed away last night, Eastern Daylight Time, in Northern Maine. He was 74. Three years ago today, we lost Mom, his sister. Their bond tightened as they aged, and I wonder about the strange synchronicity of one sibling departing on August 4 and the other on the 5th.

My strongest personal memory of Uncle Arnie is him yelling at me and my being perplexed by his reaction. He was known to be cool-headed. I was as old as 12 and about to cross the street in front of my grandparent’s house to the neighbor’s place when he screamed “Joey!” with supreme urgency that caused me to stop and turn towards him just as a car topped the hill and roared past. Uncle Arnie almost certainly saved my life that summer’s day. He gave me one hell of a scolding and sent me inside.

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Annie (Revisited)

On May 22, 2015, as Flickr a Day 142, I posted a self-portrait taken by my wife, sometime in 1980—likely at age 21. The photo was a screen-shot enlargement from a 2006 scan of a print. Image quality lacks, to say the least.

Quite unexpectedly, last month, Annie found the original negative for this selfie, and for several others. San Diego-based Nelson Photo made new prints and digital copies, and I present a fresh Featured Image,  with IQ worthy of the original.