Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #137 Soft

My next Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is Soft. Anne-Christine asks what does the word Soft mean to you? Is it something that you touch? Is it the undefined notion that is the opposite of hard? Is it the contrast to sharp from a photographer’s point of view? This is not so simple a concept.

My first thought was that of a baby. We want everything about this new being to be soft. Soft blankets, soft toys, soft skin, soft colors, and soft sounds Nothing hard, or harsh. We want the world around us to be soft and welcoming.

The soft touch of father and son.

Only a week later, my Charlie joined the world. We follow his first developing steps on a webcam.

Charlie arrives home at 7 weeks.
His fluffy soft fur needs tending to. Every evening we bond over grooming

Nature softens the world around me.

Light falling softly on this lotus flower
The dandelion flower pod beakens us to spread its seeds with one soft blow.

My most favorite photographic technique is shooting with a large aperture setting. This narrow depth of field clarifies the subject. This blurred background is called the bokeh. I pay particular attention to this when deciding to purchase a lens for my Fuji x system.

My featured photograph is that of clouds. Soft, fluffy and white. What do you see? When you hear the work “Soft” what comes to mind?

Looking Back, Looking Ahead!

Days of Atonement, clarity, introspection, meditation, taking in the moment are ways I see the High Holidays. The time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur serves as a time to take stock of the past year, and think about the future.

Usually I start with creating the ritual meal. Shopping items include chicken, matza meal, noodles, apples, gefilte fish, Manischwitz Concord Grape Wine, and a round challah (getting harder, and harder to find).  The meal takes a lot of preparation and while I chop and peel I remember the past year. The lose of my parents is with me daily. I do take some comfort in knowing they are together. But this time the holiday felt different.

In the process of moving I get to look at a lot of accumulated stuff. 47 years of marriage, 31years in the same house, and only in the past month have we become “empty nesters”.  I inherited much from my parents. I found some home movies from early 1960s that I transferred onto a DVD. Technology has come a long way from a Super 8mm film camera. Back to the time of silent movies with exaggerated movements.

October begins a new chapter for the Frankel’s with the move to Fair Oaks (6 miles away).  Not so much distance, but a reset nevertheless. Still don’t know exactly how we plan to arrange our “stuff”. Luckily we have a 3 car garage, and that is where our boxes will go. Then we have another chance to decide about stuff before it finds a place in our new home. I feel excited, and I hope that enthusiasm continues.

Selling a house is not fun.  My house has never been so clean. My Libby is into the routine, and as long as I have her food ready, she jumps into the car in a moments notice.  Trying not to take feedback personally. I just hope that process does not drag on. Listed for not quite a month, and it is starting to feel old. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t go overboard and pick up every little thing.  Thinking maybe that a watched pot does not boil, a spotless house does not sell? My mother would say, “You just need one buyer, and for every house there is one buyer.” Patience. My friend Anne came over and blessed my house to release any negative spirits that may be preventing its sale.  An open house is scheduled for Sunday.  We are doing all we can!

In the coming year I plan to research my family roots. I started my family genealogy while studying for my Libraian credential in 1983. That was before Internet, computer software, and the end of the Cold War. Now there are so many ways wto proceed. New documents are coming on line all the time. I joined the Jewish Genealogy Society of Sacramento and participated in 2 classes. I am not sure where this will lead. Perhaps a book documenting my family history. Maybe just continued research into the Shoah and its  meaning in my life. Maybe a way to establish connections with other researchers and librarians. I hesitate to involve myself in another group, but maybe I do this for just that reason – to overcome.

I’m not usually comfortable joining a group, but being part of my 2nd Gen group encourages me to try and feel a part of something bigger than myself. I learn, find support and appreciate my CVHEN (Central Valley Holocaust Educators Network) 2nd Gen friends. After so many years, I finally have people I can count on. Photography helped to crack through my isolation. Despite the difficulties I encountered I could use my camera to refocus my thoughts. Getting out with friends, doing something, and creating is the key. I hope I don’t let my friends down. I plan to be mindful and appreciate my friends.

Thinking back over the past year I tried, but may not have succeeded in taking a step back around my family. The role of care taker may have placed me a position of power, and I may have sent the message that I know what is best. There is a delicate balance between taking care, and allowing space. I plan to be more mindful of this. The balance between decision making, and indecision. Some decisions I made were hard, yet I made up my mind for what I hope will be best for my family.

As is said at this time, “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.”

Finding Beauty in Nature

I wrote this post in April. Saved the draft, and stuff got in the way. Now in mid June with a moment to spare, and the weather heating up in Sacramento I am ready to share. My next post will address some of what has been going on in my life. My picture taking continued, but my blog did not.

Plenty of discouraging things to read about in the newspaper. So on Tuesdays my CTT group heads out to discover natural beauty. Plenty of rain filled the rivers, streams and creeks. The landscape is covered with brightly colored flowers upon a green backdrop.

Checking the forecast is part of the planning stage. So far the rain has found us while we were out shooting, but it didn’t derail our plans. Once we planned an indoor activity, just to discover the sun. You just never know.

It is good for me to get out with camera in hand and away from fb, phone, and internet. Sometime I find it fun to explore new places, and sometimes my return visit takes place at a different time of year. Anyway I always look for new ways to see things.

This a return trip to Crystal Hermitage Garden. Located north of Nevada City, Ca. I visited the Ananda Retreat last year. Then the sun was shining and the tulips were open. My return trip found us shooting in the rain. This is such a peaceful place, and the beauty was not diminished by the weather.

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Unfurling Fern

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Tulips in the Rain

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One of many statues found on the grounds

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Each space planned with care.

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Crystal Hermitage Garden overlooks the Tahoe National Forest

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Stand up to the rain, and be colorful!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Rest In Peace Alina

My mother’s journey on Earth is over. She died on Tuesday February 7, 2017.  When I left North Avenue Villa early Tuesday morning I felt that the time was soon. I felt that Tuesday would be the day. Alina lived without her Arthur for 21 weeks.

On Thursday my Mom was laid to rest at Home of Peace, a Jewish Cemetery in Sacramento. Rabbi Reuven Taff met with me and my brother on Wednesday. In addition to sharing family stories I appreciated the time taken to listen to me. It allowed me some peace at a stressful time. The rainy day seemed fitting.

In the Chapel my brothers and I told stories about my Mom. Each had a different realationship to her. But what made me proud was my son Joshua’s rememberances. And then my granddaughter Alyssa spoke. Right from the heart. My goodness I will always be glad that I included her in my visits to Mom. Time well spent!

My friends turned out to support me. I again asked Anne to help with the Meal of Condolences. Liz offered to host the meal at her house. Such a trememdous relief for me.  Zelda, Eva, Susan, Diane, Liz and Anne are such special friends. Thank you!

I feel sad that our time together is over. I tried my best to take care of her. My parents are together, and they gave me a great foundation. I know that her heart was with my Dad. They met after the war and saved each other!  Another Holocaust Survivor has past. I am grateful for having my Mom.

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