Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Birds

I took so many bird pictures this month, I have a whole new set of pictures on the chip in one of my camera that I’m leaving there until I at least use a few more of the ones I’ve already taken. I spent some extra time trying to get color as part of the black & white image. I do not know how well I succeeded as far as their black & whiteness goes, but they are pretty pictures!

A goldfinch

Yet one more goldfinch

These were House Finches (red)

Hungry little yellow birds

Quick black & white sketch

Sudden landing

About to fly away

Cee's Black-White

GROWING UP IN THE MIDDLE – Marilyn Armstrong

I was both the emotional and intellectual center of my family. I was also the middle child and the communicator. Everybody talked to me which is WHY I knew everything while everyone told me to never tell anyone about what I knew. I kept secrets I probably should not have kept for many years, to my own and others’ detriment.

I think that was why my mother was stricter with me than my brother or sister. She thought I was going to blow up. I DID blow up, actually. At my father and eventually at her for telling me her personal truth, then acting against it.

Sex, for example. She believed in freedom. Really she did. She told me many times, with one exception. She never mentioned the exception which was, it turned out, me. Everything was fine, just not for her daughter. Since I didn’t know her beliefs excluded me. I thought she really meant it and joyfully told her the truth. The results were not what I expected.

I’m not into the “exception” thing. You believe it or you don’t. The rest is hypocrisy and for a long time, I resented it. Eventually, I recognized she had made a lot of intellectual leaps in her life, from a Yiddish-speaking Orthodox family on the Lower East Side through WWI to becoming a Communist and eventually, a socialist and from Orthodoxy to atheism.

She found some leaps harder than others. Sex was one of them. She thought of sex or the lack thereof as a matter of honor. I didn’t get to see a lot of honor at home or for that matter, anywhere else. I still don’t … except among my friends. Maybe that’s why they are my friends.

Uxbridge is notoriously full of angry, antagonistic people. I don’t know WHY this is true because right next door in all the adjacent towns, people are a lot more normal. But this town is very weird that way. it’s why most of the churches in Uxbridge are closed. Nobody could agree on anything. It’s also why no one bothers to vote in town elections. The candidates are always the same people or children or uncles or cousins of the people we didn’t like 10 years ago. I remember talking to the nurse in my Doctor’s office and I said, “The people in Uxbridge are jerks.”

She said, “Yes, I know. I live there too.”

So in other places, people are helping others. In this town, if Owen didn’t live here, we could be dead for a month and no one would stop by to see if we were breathing. Not all places are towns where people get together. I wish I lived in one of those towns.  This one is a good example of what’s wrong with the world.


There were 871 pictures on the chip this morning. I was sure half of them would just be the feeders swinging in the wind. I was wrong. There were pictures of flying squirrels and raccoons in every picture. Among the flying squirrel pictures, about 500 of them were squirrels glued to the sides of the feeders sucking fruit and nuts. I had to go through all the photographs and pick out the ones that had the sharpest contrast and at least some detail so you could tell you weren’t just looking at a lump.

The problem is that just because you’ve got pictures, doesn’t mean you have interesting pictures. Three hundred pictures of the same three raccoons eating from the same feeders is not a thrill. I have to look for a few pictures that don’t look like every other picture. With the raccoons, that was a problem. They were seriously dedicated to the eating part of the experience.

Two hundred pictures. One hundred and ninety-seven of them look almost identical: two raccoons sucking the seeds out of the big feeder and another working on the other large feeder.

Are the landing lights on?

As for the flying squirrels, I got interesting pictures, but it’s so hard to clean up the pictures enough to post them. It took me most of the afternoon to do fewer than a dozen pictures. So today, it’s pretty much all about flying squirrels.

THE ROAD GOES EVER ON AND ON – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

On the road again. Lots of great road pictures from every season of every year. We aren’t driving nearly as much now as we used to, so I think I’ll be relying more on archives.

On the road to Skowhegan, again

A tiny, very old road that actually doesn’t go anywhere (anymore)

GPS and the road ahead

Photo Garry Armstrong – More road, with snow almost gone


Aldrich Street sunset

The street where we live



Toronto Symphony Plays Aaron Copland’s
Appalachian Spring From Their Homes

Leave it up to musicians to find a way to keep the music going.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra Principal double bass, Jeff Beecher has corralled musicians from the orchestra to perform Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring from their homes.

Each played their part, with Beecher editing it all together with the help of a click-track. See the wonder unfold here:

More music to lighten your day!