Tag: family

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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.

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Saying Goodbye to a Classic Car

On the morning of April 15, 2018, a (now former) friend of my daughter rang my cell in frantic state. The (then) twenty-three old had borrowed her car, while his vehicle was in the shop. The young man claimed that someone sideswiped Molly’s convertible when parked and he was away meeting a client. I learned that dents and scrapes spanned front to rear panels and the door between them, amid his gasping and repeated promises about paying for repairs. He never did.

The car is gone now; the why and how is an oddly twisted tale that I tell after depositing the insurance check. That act closed the story’s last chapter. 

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A Memory for Mom

Perhaps because my parents were perennial renters, our family moved residences every few years during my wayward youth. Undoubtedly, the house on Vesta Drive across from Hilltop School is most memorable place. I fondly recall walking out the front door, across the street, sneaking through a neighbor’s yard, and onto the elementary school’s sports field to classes.

During summer evenings, several adults would fly gas-powered model airplanes, using Hilltop’s driveway to take-off and land. Watching them soar was the coolest thing for a fourth-grader. Drones are their modern-day equivalent and way more prevalent. 

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Decorating Shabby Chic

While my daughter was away for two weeks, I furnished her new apartment, which was a fun exercise. I decided to go vinatge, buying several semi-matching Shabby Chic-style pieces—the majority from local store Loveseat.

The Featured Image is Molly’s nearly completed living room; a few additional accents are not shown here. She already had the phonograph player and guitar—earlier Christmas and birthday presents, respectively; I added most of the rest, including the picnic basket and painted box, with a few exceptions like the painting. The lamp, light, and chair are from IKEA. 

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A 2017 Reflection

While so many people, put off the the Presidential election, particularly out here in culturally crazed California, looked upon 2017 with dismay (or even disgust), I started out with hopeful, reminiscent mind. Two thousand seventeen marked 40 years from 1977, which was one of the most signficant in my life; a year of firsts and transitions.

That year, in order of events, I: passed the FCC exam that would let me go on the radio; graduated high school; turned 18; moved away from home; started college; and worked as a deejay on the campus radio station. There were many milestones, all marking the path to adulthood and greater independence. 

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The Great Gift Mom Gave to Me

On this first Christmas without mom, who passed away nearly five months ago, there is little pause for reflection. Flu symptoms started on December 20; today is the first in five where fever dropped below 37.8 degrees Celsius (100 F); 38.9 C (102 F) was frequent. My core body temp tends to be below normal (36.1 C; 97 F), which (I hope) explains why low-grade fevers are so debilitating. I let the blog auto-post several entries to my “Cats of University Heights” series, which is one reason there are so many uninterrupted.

There is little sentimental about this December 25. My wife finally succumbed to the flu by Christmas Eve; we steered our daughter away from the quarantine household. She is in Northern California with a friend’s family, and looks like she feels out of place, too. We’re here, as is her bag of presents, and she celebrates without mom and dad but with the loss of two grandparents. My father-in-law passed away Jan. 11, 2017. He already was in desperate decline last Christmas Day; I can’t imagine the dire circumstance if Anne and I were this bedridden then, when he needed so much assistance.