Sunday, December 27, 2009
Ken, Yumiko, Yumiko's friend Laura and I took the day off yesterday and headed to the beach for a sleepover at a wonderful old bed and breakfast in Cape May, New Jersey. It rained like crazy the whole three hour ride down, but soon after we got there the rain stopped and Yumiko, Laura and I ran to the beach just before dark and I got a few photos of the two of them. Then I woke up real early this morning and got back to the beach just at surise. Here area a few photos from our adventure.
Friday, December 25, 2009
It's Christmas night around 8:00 p.m. The turkey's been carved and put away in the refrigerator. The presents are all unwrapped. My brother Peter and his wife Anna blessed us with their wonderful wit and humor all afternoon and have now gone home. Ken's friend Yutaka was here early and has gone for a few days in Boston. And our dear friend Barb Reid was here too and has also gone home. It's quiet. Ken is reading a book. Yumiko is drawing in her room and I am happy to be back here at the keyboard and NOT COOKING for a few minutes. We had a wonderful Christmas and hope you did too. Here are a few photos.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Well, as the U.S.A. knows, we had a whopper of a snow storm over the weekend. More than two feet here at 470 Glenmary Lane. By the middle of the day on Saturday, Yumiko was feeling quite snowed in and just wanted to go out sledding in the midst of the blizzard. She called a bunch of kids, but everybody was busy. Finally one kid said she could play the next day (Sunday) at 10:00. I felt relieved. But the next day at 10:00 the kid's mom called and said she was not yet home from a friend's house and she would call Yumiko when she got home at 11. 11 came and no call. Poor Yumiko. So, I suggested we try her friend Sonia who lives a little distance away. I would brave the snow and go pick Sonia up and take the kids up to the best sledding hill in our neighborhood. Sonya was game. We flew out the door, the roads were pretty clear, so we drove over to Sonya's whose steep driveway was still just a drift. Sonya slogged through her back yard, put her big sled in the trunk and we headed to the hill.
When we got through the woods to the road leading up to the top of the hill, I could see this might be a challenge, but I was determined. So I took a deep breath and started up the winding totally iced road. The wheels turned and turned and churned, the car weaved back and forth, we could smell the burning rubber, but somehow, we made it almost to the top of the road. Then the car would go no further. I told the kids to jump out, grab the sleds and pray for me as I tried to back the car down the winding ice sheet. They waved good bye and I began the slow backing down the hill.
I opened the door and kept my hand on the wheel and looked backwards. I was pretty impressed as I weaved down and somehow kept the car on the road. But after a few minutes I heard a beep and saw a big SUV right in front of me. The man who was driving jumped out of his car and came over to me and said I was a bit crazy to be going down that icy mountain that way and suggested he get in the car and do it for me. He told me to go get in the SUV with his wife.
I was more than happy to do it. (Dear readers, let me tell you, I looked a bit like a crazy woman, with wild hair and Ken's jacket, and just a little panic stricken.) But I got in the SUV and there in the back where three little teeny tots with red cheeks who had been sledding all morning. The mom was just as nice as can be and didn't let on that she thought I was a crazy lady.
The man driving my car, found a way to turn it around without getting stuck. He then pointed it down the hill and slowly we got to the bottom. I thanked them all profusely, jumped back in the old Ultima and made it home safe and sound.
A few hours later, Yumiko called from the cell phone saying she and Sonia had walked almost all the way home, but could I come pick them up as they were freezing cold. I jumped back into the old Ultima, found them in a snow bank on Matson Ford Road, brought them home to hot chocolate with marshmellows, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a good movie on the T.V.
Ahhhh..... The blessings of a snow storm.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Who would think the lowly milkweed could be a thing of beauty. Well today, I got a message from the good people at www.betterphoto.com informing me that my "Milkweed Husk at Dusk" is a finalist in the November Photo contest. All those walks among the deer ticks at Valley Forge are paying off.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I was back at Valley Forge this morning walking the fields, taking pictures of milkweed. I took way too many, but the light was too bright and the day was too clear to get anything good. However, as I was getting back into the car I looked up in the sky and there were a few turkey vultures soaring overhead. Here are the best I got.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Guess what? My photo entitled "Stinkbug on My Car" won first place from the Masterpiece BetterPhoto contest!! Wu Huuuuu! The contest has been over for more than a month, but the winners were just announced today. There were over 200 photographs entered and to tell you the truth, I thought many of them had a much better chance of winning. But what the hey, I am very happy. Now, the question all of you may be asking - What is the big prize for winning first place? You guessed it -- the pleasure of winning. Ahhhh.... Life is good.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I know the winter is getting closer because it is much colder outside. That means fewer little critters outside willing to have their picture taken. Oh, it could be a long winter...... but luckily for us, we live in an old, old house and every once in a while a little critter crawls inside to get some warmth.
This morning, in fact, Yumiko had a friend over for a little sleep over. While they were in the kitchen making breakfast, I was in the living-room straightening up and there to my delight was a tiny little spider crawling up the wall. Now, I know most people would be totally horrified at the sight, but I was thrilled. I could see the little guy was taking his time, so I ran and got my camera and my tripod. I knew taking a picture of the spider on the wall probably would not produce a very dramatic shot, so I scooped up the spider on a piece of paper and carried him over to the coffee table. I found a blue C.D. sitting on the table and the light was just right coming in the window. I put the spider on the C.D. and he sat there for a little while - a bit stunned at all the commotion. And here is what I got. (By the way, after the photo shoot, I did pick up the spider and took him outside where he belonged.)
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Ken is sure I will come home with Lime's Disease one day, but I keep assuring him, the little deer ticks would never bother me. I have been walking the fields at Valley Forge Park these last few days. They are so beautiful this time of year. Golden tall grasses where lots of deer are grazing. And, what is even more wonderful, if you look closely, are all the grasshoppers, slugs, and beautiful little red milkweed beetles. This morning after dropping Yumiko off at school, I drove over and had the time of my life searching and finding all kinds of things. Here are a few photos from today's catch.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
O.K. Dear Readers. Now bear with me on this one. Today as Ken was out at a meeting and Yumiko was at school, I traveled the short distance to my favorite pond to see if I might find an interesting bug before it gets too cold. I slogged around the wet grass and lo and behold there was a big old fly sitting on a leaf. I carefully set up my tripod right in front of his little face and looked through the view finder. At first I wasn't sure what I was seeing, but as I looked more closely I could see this little guy sticking his tongue out at me and then bringing it back in again. Well, I just had to capture this on film - or is it pixels?
Take a look from top to bottom. (Click on the photo to get a real good view.) The first photo is the fly in profile in the spotlight- no tongue per se. Then the rest are front views with his tongue slowly coming out and then back in again.
How's that for your National Geographic lesson of the day?
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Today was the Japanese School Play. That means every class of the 16 different classes at Yumiko's Japanese school puts on a 15 to 20 minute play - one after another. Yumiko's class was the 15th. I sat through every one from Kindergarden 1 to Adult 3 and am still alive. Actually it was loads of fun and all the kids were FABULOUS. Here are a few shots from Yumiko's play - Manjiro - About a Japanese boy who was blown out to sea in a fishing boat in 1840 and rescued by the an American whaling ship (called The John Howland). Manjiro was taken to the United States and given a good education before returning to Japan. Yumiko was one of Manjiro's teachers. Here are a few photos from the play.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
It was a great trip to Tokyo for Ken and for me. Ken got to his high school reunion and saw friends he had not seen in more than 40 years. I got there a week later and reunited with all of Ken's good family. Yumiko stayed home and kept the home fires burning. I made a visit back to Arisugawa Park and saw all the fishermen. (Still too shy to say hello, but glad to see they were still fishing.) On Sunday, we got together one more time with Ken's best friends from high school. They have all made a commitment to come visit us here in St. Davids next year. I better start cleaning now.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Today was the day to turn over the vegetable garden and rake the leaves. Before starting, I needed to pull all the beautiful wild nasturtium that had grown throughout the garden. As I pulled the first few plants, I just had to get my camera and take a few last shots of the little orange blossoms. Got my camera, took a few pictures, then finished the job.
After that, I came in and downloaded the photos. In one photo, in the center of a nasturtium bud, there to my absolute delight was a tiny little bug hiding way back behind the stamen, sitting on a star. He looked like a little frightened frog. I never even noticed him when I took the photo. Check it out. Click on him to see a little better. Isn't nature amazing?
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I've been having fun lately taking photos of centipedes in the basement, slugs in the rain and a wonderful little deer sniffing the air. Remember - click on the photo to get up close and personal. Be brave.....
Sunday, October 25, 2009
A few weeks ago I mentioned I had gone to my local photography club and showed a few of my recent photographs. The club members were less than impressed. I included one photograph - a stink bug that had landed on our car while Ken and I were parked in Valley Forge Park. Well, after I posted that story, a few of you wrote saying you truly liked the stink bug. Sylvia, my artist friend from Japan said she was going to use him as a prototype for a children's story she is writing and illustrating. And Maryann said not to let the club members get me down. She suggested I enter the Stink Bug into a contest. WELL.... it just so happens that my on-line photography school - BetterPhoto.com has a masterpiece contest each month. This month the theme is reflections and shadows. I entered my stink bug about two weeks ago. This morning I checked the results and lo and behold, Mr. Stinky is in FIRST PLACE! Now, of course, all this could go down hill quickly as the contest is not over until the end of October. In the meantime, I am riding high and have a new appreciation for all bugs and all dear friends who love bugs.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I'm taking a new photo class this month on macro photography. I was out in the garden this morning and this afternoon. I took a lot of flower pictures, but what I loved most was this big fat spider. I only got one shot of him before he streaked back to his hiding place. Tomorrow I will try to find him again, but in the meantime, take a look and click on him to see how cool he is.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
The last time I saw Carol Scafuro was eleven years ago - before Yumiko came home. She flew in this weekend from Vermont and we picked up right where we left off. So wonderful to see and be with this great, great lady. She cooked us the best spinach lasagna and broccoli rabe known to mankind. Ken is considering divorce and remarying Carol after such a fabulous dinner.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Back in early June while we were still in Tokyo we got an e-mail from our next door neighbor, Sharon Garcia. She told us a great big snapping turtle had walked up our shared driveway, dug a deep hole in her garden and laid about 20 eggs. The whole neighborhood stood around and watched while this was happening. They even took a video of the egg laying and sent it to us. When we got home at the end of June we found Sharon had placed little pink flags all around the spot where the eggs were laid. For the last three months, we have walked past those pink flags and wondered if the eggs would ever hatch. Sharon got a little impatient and even planted a few mums on the spot. Well, as nature would have it, this past weekend while I was in Washington, Ken and our friend Millie found a little brown lump moving up our walk towards our side door. Millie picked it up and asked Ken what it could be. Lo and behold it was a little baby snapping turtle. Sharon's son Andres found a second one also in the driveway. Both babies were taken down to the stream at the end of our road where their mom came from. Now, we're all on the look out for the rest of the crew. Here's a picture of that little critter next to Andres' hand.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I went to my second ever Camera Club meeting tonight. The meeting was held in an old Main Line mansion that's been converted into a night school. I brought a little "jump drive" with a few of my favorite recent photos to show to the class. There were quite a few other budding photographers there who got to show their work before mine. Everybody's stuff was pretty darn good - beautiful photos of the Grand Canal in Venice and the Matterhorn rising out of the Swiss Alps and other stuff like that. With all that grandeur, I got a little nervous before my turn came up.
First picture I showed was of a deer in Valley Forge Park. Nobody was crazy about the deer and after looking at it on the screen, I wasn't so crazy about it either. Second up was a butterfly (that I thought was pretty good). Again, the reaction was a little ho hum - another butterfly picture.
Finally, my last shot of the evening was of a stink bug that had landed on our car when Ken and I had parked for a minute in a parking lot at Valley Forge. I LOVE this photo. But somebody asked, "Is that a Stink Bug?" I said yes and the instructor quickly moved onto the next student's portfolio.
Maybe this MainLine camera club just might not be the ticket for me. Ah heck, I'll give it one more try.