Monday, April 25, 2011

Rocking Chairs.....

Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

When I was a little girl, I spent most of my weekends with my aunts who lived in Perth Amboy on Fayette Street.  The houses were so close, you could open the window, reach out, and shake hands with your neighbor.  At that time, there were Saturday afternoon walks to the soda fountain at Five Corners for chocolate ice cream sodas, a fenced-in yard with a big apple tree and a glider, hop scotch in the alley, and big green rocking chairs on the front porch.

Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
Those rocking chairs were one of my favorite parts of summer.  No matter how hot it was (there was no air conditioning), how many bugs were in the air, how upset you were because your hair was fuzzy from the humidity, how tired you were - you always felt better in one of those rocking chairs.  Was it because they were so big (or I so small)?  Were they comfortable?  There were no cushions - just wood slats - so I have to say the comfort level was questionable. Or was it just the rocking;  that continuous, soothing, back-and-forth motion that could so easily lull you into a day-dreaming state, if not to sleep?  Maybe it was a combination of these and something magical that only rocking chairs have.

All of us, at some point in our lives, should have a rocking chair -  especially for those times when we are upset because our hair is fuzzy from the humidity.  I have three rockers I put on the front porch this afternoon.  They are not the green rockers from Perth Amboy but they do have green cushions.  Meet me there later.  Iced tea or lemonade?

Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter - A New Beginning...

Ready for eggs.
So many of us feel that New Year's Day is a time for new beginnings - and it is.  But I'm a firm believer that it's the Easter season; before, during, and after the holiday, when we should truly begin again.

Butter and eggs ready for food blessing - only 2 of many items in the Easter food basket.

Both Christmas and Easter call for lots of preparation - cleaning, cooking, shopping, presents/candy.  But, for whatever reason, I, and I hope many of us, prepare more spiritually and emotionally for Easter.  At the culmination, we are given the ultimate opportunity to begin again.
Enjoy and embrace this holiday and this season, this new beginning.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mother Nature does some fabulous work...

Along the walkway, from the parking deck to the gym at the office, the tulips are in full bloom.  This signals the beginning of a season of riotous color that surrounds our office buildings throughout the summer and into the fall.

So many of us are in such a hurry to get to our desk - don't walk too fast, you might miss this spectacular show.  And look closely, the details are amazing.

These certainly make the walk to your desk much more pleasant!

Friday, April 15, 2011

What I Will Miss About Winter...

Yes, you read that correctly.  Your eyes are not failing you.  I did post the words 'miss' and 'winter' in the same sentence.  Pretty radical, huh?  Well, to be honest, I do like winter; not all of it, but a lot of it.

Yard work (or lack of) - I like the fact that I don't have to come up with an excuse and feel guilty about not going outside to get yard work done.  To clarify, I like yard work - the planting, the flowers, the vegetables, the birds, the bees but I can take a pass on the raking, picking up gifts dogs have left me, pulling weeds.  And cutting the grass (in my case, the weeds) - I now truly appreciate why people have lawn services.  This will be the second season in 19 years that I will have someone else cut the weeds once a week.  Believe it or not, last year I suffered from withdrawal when I fully realized I did not have to cut the grass every Saturday morning.  PS, I like shoveling snow.

Winter clothes - as I have grown older, so has my love of winter clothes - especially sweaters.  Think about how much summer clothes reveal.  It's just great if you're some 22 year old sporting a size 4 bod but, for most or many of us, after 50 the sweater is our best friend.

Less daylight - OK, I can hear you moaning right through the computer.  But, when the sun disappears earlier, I'm packing it in earlier.  I have a terrible habit of keeping late hours and I know this could easily be remedied by setting goals for when to hit the sheets but, honestly, how can you get to sleep when the birds are still singing and that magical hour to photograph has just arrived.
Hot chocolate - yes, I will miss hot chocolate; I am a big fan of this beverage.  To me, it is one of the supreme comfort foods.  Note, I said 'one of.'  My list of comfort foods is very long.  Many of them I don't even eat any more or, if I do, it's a rare occasion.  One day, in the winter when I have time during a snow storm, I will have to compile a list of my comfort foods - just to take stock in what I'm missing.  But, if I had to come up with just a few right now, the list would include donuts, cake (preferably birthday-type with butter cream frosting and lemon filling between yellow cake), oatmeal cookies - 2 surrounding French vanilla ice cream (it's got to be French vanilla, not that stuff with the vanilla beans dotted through it-yuck!), pizza with ground sausage and mushrooms - OK, that's enough!   But, back to the hot chocolate - it's got to have a decent size portion of whipped cream on top and, if I'm not in a hurry (rare!), I'd sprinkle some chocolate sprinkles or cocoa on top.

The last cup before summer? I think not! Now, where are those chocolate sprinkles?

So, now I've got to think of a replacement for this hot chocolate; something that is more in tune with the spring/summer season, something that I know I will miss when summer is over.  Got any ideas?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Decisive Moment...

I recently read Eric Kim’s blog post How To Master “The Decisive Moment” ("How to Master The Decisive Moment"), specifically making note of his comment concerning the moment “when a person points a finger at another.”   The comment struck me and I immediately recalled a candid photo someone took of a decisive moment immediately following my son’s wedding.  The photo is of my daughter-in-law and I having a conversation in the church foyer.  I can’t recall exactly what we were discussing; I suspect it had something to do with logistics, but this photo gave many people a good laugh.  It really looks like I’m dishing out some serious advice!  I wish I could take credit for this 'decisive-moment' photo (I think it was my sister-in-law's work) but, in sharing it, I hope it makes you smile and look for the decisive moments that might cross your path and your camera's viewfinder.

A new bride and her mother-in-law - Oh my!

Always have your camera ready; you never know when that decisive moment is going to jump out at you.     Henri Cartier-Bresson was the Master of capturing those moments.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rutgers Gardens - a feast for the senses....

If you're ever in Central New Jersey or are already here, make some time to visit the Rutgers Gardens.  Nature is beginning to wake up over there and it is a feast for the senses.  No matter when you go during the season, there is always something to see - and it's all beautiful.  Right now the ornamental trees are beginning to bloom along with some ground covering flowers and staff is beginning to prep the flower beds.  In fact, the fragrance from some of the trees is so heady, it can be overpowering -  but it's still irresistible.
This was an unplanned visit and I wish I had had a shorter lens, a polarizer, and maybe a tripod with me.  I was using a 50mm and had to walk quite a distance back to the road in order to get the entire tree in the frame.

What is really amazing and cool is to step 'inside' this tree.  From what I saw carved on the trunk, many college students have spent some time here.

All the fragrant white flowers reminded me of a bride's bouquet.

And the pinks are so vibrant.

After my visit yesterday, I made a promise to myself to make an extra effort and get there at least once a week, weather permitting.  I don't want to miss any part of this show!

Monday, April 11, 2011

No more sticky brakes!

I finally got over to Kim's Bike Shop today.  Timing is everything - I was able to get a parking space right in front of the shop.  And that's saying a lot since it's a high-traffic area with very little available street parking.  I was not as lucky when I returned later and had to park about a block and a half away.  But, I'm not complaining - at least it was a spot at the end of the block and I was able to pull right in.  I'm not sure I would have been able to parallel park an SUV with a bike rack in tow.

There must be several hundred bicycles on the floor at Kim's.  Every available space is occupied.  And the beautiful thing about dealing with a shop like this is the quick service and reasonable price - 4 new brake pads, adjusted brakes, realigned tires all for $20 and in one day.  The chain bike shop on the highway wanted to keep the bike for a week!!!  Well, it's nice to have brakes that don't announce my arrival!

And afterwards, on this gorgeous day, a stop at Rutgers Gardens - but more on that later.