Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #150 Let’s Get Wild

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photography Challenge, let’s get wild!  Dianne is talking about Mother Nature untouched and untrammelled, allowed to get on with her work without human help or hindrance.

Looking through my images I am more inclined to capture images with human interactions. My travels haven’t taken me far from home.

Squirrels take up residence in the trees.
And a dragonfly lands on a bush in my backyard!

I did manage to take a trip to the Island of Kauai with some of my photo friends.

Beautiful Kauai
Nene, official Hawaiian bird
Turkeys strutting their stuff
An Egret returning to the nest
Youngsters following along!
A wild discovery at Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael, Ca.
Finding nectar in the wilds of Kauai
Northern California coastal fog

Sorry, this wild blog may seem a bit scattered. My very special doodle, Charlie is in the hospital. His liver is not working to its best. The doctors are trying to figure this out. HIs numbers are quite unexpected for a such a young dog. Think good thoughts that Charlie will be home with me soon. We have never been apart.

Thanksgiving at home

For the past couple of years I have celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents at their place of residence. Easy for me, I just had to show up and be served. I kept saying was I was spending time with family, and that’s what mattered.

But I missed the smells throughout the house. Then there was the leftovers that I enjoy even more the next day. Growing up Thanksgiving always happened at my house. My father and mother would get up super early and stuff the turkey. Then house cleaned, Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day Parade on the television, and the table set. My aunts, uncles and cousins would start arriving in the afternoon. Sometimes some of the cousins would stay overnight. Sometimes a couple of friends would be invited to join us.

So this year I decided that I wanted to bring Thanksgiving back to my house. I invited my Mom, my daughter and her family, and my son and his family. Asked my brother to join us and he drove up from Southern California with a friend for Libby, Lola his Chocolate Lab. Vegetarian requirements and Thanksgiving with friends kept my son’s family in the Bay Area. Plans were set for 10. And two dogs, and two cats. This is a good number for getting back to cooking for a group. My granddaughter spent the night before, but she didn’t want to help stuff the bird. She helped make the corn bread as baking was more her thing.

Turkey stuffed and ready for the oven. Beanie Baby Turkey looks on.

Fully cooked and smelling great!

Brother Carving the Turkey

Many smiles at the dinner table. I did not spend too much time with my photography. I wanted to spend time with the family, and not play the role of documentary photographer. This is the first Thanksgiving without my Dad, and I was glad to have family around me.

Plenty of food, plenty of filled tummies, and plenty of excitement.

When my guests left I checked my email, and found the distressing news that my Uncle Mark passed away on Thanksgiving at 104 years of age. Not unexpected, but nevertheless so soon after my father’s passing. The last of the brothers are now gone.

Uncle Mark in 2004 taken during a visit to Florida

Here’s to holidays with family!


Baby Countdown – Final Week

By next week I will be welcoming my fifth grandchild into the world. Because gestational diabetes bumps up this pregnancy to high risk, baby Lucas and mom Rachel are carefully monitored. Lucas has until November 23rd to make his appearance naturally.

Something new to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  Planning for this holiday has gotten complicated over the years.   At the start of my marriage I participated in two dinners. In-laws served dinner early, and a short car ride to my parents and another dinner. Family spread out, and work schedule often would not allow time for travel, and I started to make Thanksgiving at home. Kids grew up, and new issues have left me up in the air about the holiday. The big family dinner around the decorated table never happened.  When my parents lived independently at Eskaton I would have dinner with them. In theory, this sounds nice. Someone to take care of the work, sit sown and have an enjoyable meal. But this was not the case. My Mom did not want to take part, my Dad did not hold up any kind of conversation, and I ended up in a sad place. Then off to my daughter’s house for a second dinner.  With new baby in the mix, plans are again up in the air.

Since my parents have moved to FountainWood, assisted living, they have not visited my home.  Many familiar pieces of furniture are now part of my home, and this may prove problematic.   I’m not sure if my parents would do well with a bit of chaos from kids, pets,  and change in surroundings. Tried to take Mom and Dad out for lunch for my Dad’s birthday, and that didn’t work out at all.

I have to decide. Safe and quiet and guilt ridden. Or chaos and guiltless sadness. This is probably why so many television episodes and movies have comedic twists on this holiday. Check out some funny Thanksgiving disasters as you decide on holiday plans.

I'm watching you.
I’m watching you.

I have mixed reactions to seeing all the family dinners served to us in television commercials. So much food to  prepare for one day, but  I do love leftovers.  I’m glad that there is less “Black Friday” craziness. Some stores remain closed on Thanksgiving.  After all that food is prepared, and all the family comes together it seems a shame to get up and leave for the mall.

But first things first.  Birth of Baby Lucas. Followed by Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas season, Eli’s 4th birthday and New Years to round out the 2015 year.

Baby contractions and calls from Rachel have me up finishing this blog.

One last photograph from my turkey collection.

Turkey Face Off
Turkey Face Off

November 19th would have been my father-in-laws 91st birthday. One of the good guys! RIP Jerry. May be a good day to be born!