Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #193 Birthdays

Maybe you had a special birthday anniversary, or you have a new birthday in the family. Do you celebrate your pet’s birthday? Maybe it’s a birthday of an organization, or of your blog. For this week’s challenge, John wants me to show you what is special to me about birthdays.

First birthdays are special. This is probably more true for the parents. After all most kids, especially first kids have no idea about what the fuss is all about. I was invited to my friend’s grandchild’s first birthday. You can tell who was blowing out the candle! The Birthday piñata added to the fun.

On another “First” birthday, I photographed my grandson’s Smash Cake! At first tentative, then he really got into the spirit of the Smash!

Delicious First Birthday
Here is another way to look at first birthdays!

Party decorations add to the festivities. But with my children, the reaction was often unexpected. I remember that my son was afraid of balloons.

Birthdays over the years.

Death by Chocolate is the name of this image

Birthdays often bring the family together. In the past couple of months, I helped celebrate two important birthday celebrations. In December, my sister-in-law invited us to Southern California to celebrate my brother’s 70th Birthday.

Celebrating with my brothers.

The next very important birthday celebration brought many relatives together. Ed and Leti joined us in Sacramento to help my Israeli cousin’s grandson celebrate his Bar Mitzvah. I knew I have cousins in Israel, but the family lost touch. I last saw my cousin when I was 17 and visiting Israel. Through Ancestry.com, his son located and called me and let me know that he and his family lived close by for this year only.

A solemn occasion for a young man at 13
Wait for me family!
First Cousins
Together again.
Fun times

Now I do celebrate my pet’s birthdays also!

Found this graffiti at the beach. My first dog was named Liberty “Libby”

Last year I celebrated Charlie’s first birthday. Sadly, this was his only birthday.

Charlie’s first birthday

April 30th will be MOXIE’s first birthday. I am starting to get ready. Picked up some special treats. On the lookout for some interesting toys. Just discovered non-toxic peanut-flavored bubbles for dogs. Might be interesting. Thinking of photo elements for her birthday picture. Bows? Signage? What would a smash cake look like? Or better still, how long would it last? Again, like first birthdays she won’t know why all the fuss, but I will have some fun!

Have fun on your next birthday! Let me know how you celebrate it!

Computer Time Genealogy

After working on my travelogue for a couple of days, I quickly decided I needed to actually take some of my photography from Kauai and create a photo book. Spent all of Thursday working out the details, and sent it off to Shutterfly. I haven’t been disappointed with my book produced by this company. If you haven’t tried them, send me your email and a free 8×8 hardcover book is yours. Full disclosure. I will also get one too. Shipping is not included, though. Just got an email saying my book has shipped. Fast service. Sent it in on Thursday 1/31 and it is on its way 2/4. Excited!

While at the computer, I caught up with some of my family genealogy. I have a world subscription to Ancestry.com and Family Tree Maker software on my iMac. After much worry, and much reading, I decided to sync both trees. My next goal will be to bring this tree to life. I would like to put a face or information other than vital statistics (birth, marriage, death) to names of my direct descendents. I check the hints that appear, and that usually draws me away from this goal. And it is so easy to do. Follow one hint, find another. I am getting better at keeping track of my research by using a notebook, and adding notes to my online trees.

My father and his two brothers (Doctor Rubinstein) are part of the story cited in
Schindler’s List

Another distraction is my DNA test matches. I find a match, and I try and figure out how this can be. Recently connected with a second cousin online with a DNA match. I think of this person as a little kid, who I understand is a recently retired physician. Talk about where did the time go.

Before I went to college most of my relatives lived in the New York metropolitan area. And every couple of years there would be a large family gathering. I knew the names and faces of most of the 100+ people, but I could not see how I was related. I never had grandparents, so anyone over 25 was called uncle, and under 25 cousin. A family tree would have cleared a lot of this mystery up. A suggestion for large family reunions would be a family tree.

I remember thinking that it would be nice to have a Grandma.

I’m thinking of trying to connect with my living relatives online since we are now spread around the country, and beyond. I plan to gather as many email addresses from extended family so that we can send out event notices and keep connected. I may set up a private family page where we can share. Kind of like Facebook’s original intent to connect people. I haven’t decided if Facebook is the way to go, or should I create some other venue. I belong to two private pages, and they have worked. But maybe there is another way to connect. I’m looking for suggestions. How does your family stay connected?

I now possess all my parent’s photo albums, and I have a cousin (1st cousin 1x removed) who researched one branch of my family since 1985. All his research was done without benefit of computer. It is remarkable that his research checks my online hints. He is no longer working on this, and will be passing along more of his research to me. Problem is that I live on the west coast, trunk full of stuff on the east coast. So either I make a trip back east or have another family member ship it here. Will figure this out soon.

Many posts started, but life happens…

The short version. Crazy times happened after Halloween. Things were looking up. I spent some time with my grandsons, voted and saw a reverse in the U.S. House, horrific fire in Paradise, smoke choking Fair Oaks, and then my dog Libby started having trouble on our slippery floors. So off to see Dr. Faith at Reagor Pet Hospital, x-rays taken and placed on pain medication. Thought a few weeks of rest, install a different flooring and all would be better.

My 16 year old granddaughter has been living with us since the start of the school year. Things deteriorated quickly. Sneaking out, rules ignored, school work non existent. Tried counseling, talking, setting boundaries and nothing works. Teenage rebellion in full swing.  My mother always said, “There is a time to be parents, and then she was done.”

About this same time my friends invited me to join them on a photo vacation. This would be a first for me. After quite a lot of thought, and encouragement from my husband,  I decided to go. Left right after Thanksgiving on December 1st and returned on December 7th. Spent all the time on the island of Kauai taking photographs. Explored most accessible places that didn’t require a lot of hiking. Came home with 1000+ photographs. Had a wonderful time. So why haven’t I posted any, you may ask. 

Answer. Stuff happens. My dog Libby missed me, and her limping got progressively worse while I was away. What we thought was a sprain, or blown out knee turned out to be a head scratching hard to diagnose question mark. We took her to UC Davis Vet Hospital where an MRI was done. There is inflammation around the sciatic nerve and spinal disk. Hoped it may be just a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotics. Culture came back negative today. Or it may be an inoperable tumor. I am plenty worried, and mucho distracted. Recheck in two weeks. Libby is happier now that I am home, and not complaining with either medicine. Her appetite improved. That is a big indication that something is wrong, when a Labrador Retriever needs to be hand fed.

1603_26_Dennis_0707

As for me, I also have issues like my dog Libby. And I too had a MRI. Results show severe lumbar spinal stenosis. MRI looks terrible and the Spinal/Pain management specialist is referring me to a surgeon. Something to look forward to in the New Year.

My husband’s second phase of tooth implant takes place next week. Hoping that will be easier than the tooth extraction.

So 2019 is set to be an interesting year. I do hope for some peace in the coming year for my friends and family, and the growing connected world.

Happy New Year 2019 to all!

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.”