SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 – 30: HUNTING THE WILD SCOTTIE

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 – 30

18 NOVEMBER 2015: HUNTING THE WILD SCOTTIE

Bonnie turned 8 this past Halloween. She joined our household when she was a mere 9 weeks old, rather younger than I will usually take a puppy. She was a rescue and her temporary home had too many other puppies … so she joined us as a baby Scottish Terrier.

72-GarryWBonnie_Amber-1

Is there anything cuter than a baby Scottie?

72-BonniePupInSnow-1

I don’t think so. From her first day, she was absolutely adorable, funny, playful. Charming in the extreme. We were still mourning the passing of Divot, our Norwich Terrier, but somehow, Bonnie broke through the grief and gamboled into our hearts.

75-TerribleTwoARTO-NK-Fade

Since day one, she has been a uniquely smart and funny little dog. Also, by a big margin, the most uncooperative photo subject. Ever. Anywhere.

She sees cameras as The Enemy. She will run far and fast … or crowd the lens so you can’t focus. Barring the first two options, she will hide in shadow so her dark fur and eyes meld into an indistinguishable lump of fuzz.

My most successful picture of Bonnie in which she has eyes!
My most successful picture of Bonnie in which she has eyes!

I took more pictures of her today. She sat there. She waited for me to focus and shoot. I’m sure she was laughing at me because she knows I will never get a good picture of her in natural light.

She’s a black dog with black eyes. Bushy eyebrows. All light comes from the window behind her. Backlighting makes a difficult photographic situation impossible.

72-Bonnie-111315_08

Next time, I need to use a faster lens because in all of these pictures, she has no eyes. At least she has a pink tongue. That’s something.

I’m not ready to give up. Someday I will get her in good light, groomed, eyes open. Sparkling white smile. She’s slowing down, so any day now.

dogs on stairs


Should you decide to accept this challenge, you can use a picture from this or any post of mine  — or any other picture you like. Write something about the picture or make something up, using a photograph — any photo — as a jumping off point.

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 – 26: AUTUMN FADES

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 – 26: AUTUMN FADES

Bridge across the Blackstone River
Bridge across the Blackstone River

River Bend is where the Blackstone River and Canal divide and flow side by side. It’s where a farm, built two centuries ago stands, housing a small museum and visitor center and where the trees of autumn are already starting to shed their leaves.

Bob Mielke at River Bend
Bob Mielke at River Bend

It has been an unenthusiastic autumn. Beautiful, because autumn is beautiful, no matter what. Far from one of our best or brightest. Brief, because it arrived late and appears to be departing early.

72-autumn-back-woods_09

We got some color, but mostly yellows without the deep orange and reds. At least we didn’t go directly from green to brown. The river remains low, with bottom showing. The spillway between the river and canal is dry. There was a heron fishing by the spillway. I think they nest nearby.

72-Heron_128

Footbridge at River Bend park
Footbridge at River Bend park

Lots of rumors about what effect El Niño will have on the upcoming winter. Some say it will be a warm winter with less snow, others say it will be the same as last year. There are too many variables.

We weren't alone at the park
We weren’t alone at the park

If El Niño stays strong, it should bring warmer temperatures to the northeast. If El Niño pulls up stakes and moves out before January, then other forces will come to bear, including a possible polar vortex.

72-fallen-leaves_06

So really, we don’t know.

More River Bend, with Bob in the foreground
More River Bend, with Bob in the foreground

But I believe. We bought a 4-wheel drive car which is like buying a big, expensive snowblower. This usually ensures at least one snow-free winter. (If you pay more than $40,000, you might get two.)

I’m counting on it.

Peaceful Blackstone
Peaceful Blackstone

Should you decide to accept this challenge, you can use a picture from this or any post of mine  — or any other picture you like. Write something about the picture or make something up, using a photograph — any photo — as a jumping off point.

This is the easiest prompt in the world.

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 – 21: NO PLACE LIKE HOME

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 – 21
2 September 2015: NO PLACE LIKE HOME

It’s Frisbee Wednesday again and suddenly, it’s September.

We’re off on vacation for the next three weeks. Therefore, this prompt will be missing for the next three Wednesdays — September 9, 16, and 23. I’m sure I’ll post something, pictures for sure, but I’m taking a long-delayed and much-needed vacation from daily blogging.

portrait marilyn by cherrie

My right shoulder has been sending shooting pains to remind me I’ve been huddled too many hours with the computer. Since we’ll be away, it’s a perfect opportunity to give my neck, shoulder, and wrists a rest.

This is my 21st prompt. Twenty-first? Yup, you got it. That means my prompt is old enough to drink. I’m going to send Serendipity to a bar tonight. Give it a vacation. Let it relax for a while. I might join it for a night-cap.


I’ve taken this week’s cue from my friend The Ladybug. She started her own prompt in which I have not participated because I’m brain-dead right now. It’s not just my muscles that need a break. All of me needs R&R.

Her prompt gave me pause for thought.

7-doors1

TOO OLD TO GO ADVENTURING

I never thought I’d say this, but I don’t want to.

Narnia is too … well … Christian. For me. Aslan is a great lion and a hero, but Narnia’s no place for a nice Jewish girl from Queens.

Neverland is charming I’m sure, but it’s for children. Or maybe grownups who want to be children — not me. Even with flying and pixie dust, I get tired thinking about all the zooming energy. Too many lost boys!

Hogwarts is a school. I’m done with schools, even magic school. I know I would not fit in with the hormonal, pubescent population of the school. I’d be a terrible wet blanket.

Wonderland is the only place which makes it to my vacation column. I’d like to visit there for a while, if only for the chance to finally meet the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and that big White Rabbit — all favorite characters.

Camelot, Middle Earth, Westeros … aah me.

There was a time when I’d have hot-footed it to Camelot or Middle Earth without a second’s thought. These days, I want comfort. Hot and cold running water in-house. Good showers. Flush toilets. My adjustable bed and reclining love seat. Big, bright television and good sound. I want my husband next to me, our dogs around me.

I need a world that fits. Me. I would not fit into any of those beautiful, magical locales nor would they  be happy with me. In a world full of adventure and magic, I would not be an asset.

Truth is, I am no longer seeking adventure. I’m avoiding it.

Sorry to miss such glorious photo opportunities, though. I hope whoever amongst you ventures forth to other dimensions of delight will return with pictures and stories to tell.

I’ll be waiting for your reports!


As usual, should you accept the challenge, you may use any picture — and this week, you have plenty of choices — or any of your own pictures and write something about the picture. This has got to be the easiest prompt in the world since basically, that’s what we all do as bloggers anyway.

I will be back in October, hopefully well rested and without that ugly pain in the neck and shoulder. And with lot of photographs taken in upstate New York and Vermont. Have a great September my good friends.

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 -20: GEESE

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 – 20
26 August 2015: GEESE

It’s Frisbee Wednesday again. Time just scoots right past me and this summer has been a blur, a whoosh of color. Bright blue skies and puffy white clouds. Spider bites and boats. Green shade trees on the town common and the cool green waters of the river.

This is the 20th prompt I’ve done. I am having trouble accounting for at least 20 weeks of my life.

And today … it’s …

Goosey goosey gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady’s chamber.
There I met an old man
Who wouldn’t say his prayers,
So I took him by his left leg
And threw him down the stairs.

Nursery Rhyme by Mother Goose

These were wild geese. They were willing to share space with us … as long as we didn’t get too close.

The geese were not afraid of us, nor were they tame. Not “office park” geese either. The geese who take up residence in parking lots will boldly go where no goose has gone before, are afraid of nothing. At least nothing human.

We did our best to be stealthy. No door slamming, driving into the parking lot slowly, quietly. No talking. Getting the cameras out in the car, then walking softly, getting as close as we could without making the birds nervous.

Having long zoom lenses on our cameras helped too.

And then. there was the day I encountered this goose. He pretty much posed for me, giving me his good side. Sidling right up to me, apparently wanting a handout.

72-New-Geese_18

Turned out, he was a domestic, pet goose from a nearby farm who just dropped by and wanted to be paid for his personal appearance.

72-New-Geese_13

As usual, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to pick one of my pictures or any of your own photographs and write about it. Directly, tangentially, sadly or with humor.

This message will self destruct in …

FIVE … FOUR … THREE … TWO … ONE … (long pause) …

Kaboom.

Oops, still here. Never mind.

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 #18 — CHAI — 8-12-2015

CHAI

Chai - 18 - Life

This is the 18th Serendipity Photo Prompt.

Eighteen in Hebrew is “Chai,” which means life. Every ending contains the seed of a beginning. 

Today is our little dog Nan’s date with destiny. We’ve been looking for a way out of this. Trying to find any excuse to make it unnecessary. Make it not true.

Nan Xmas

Life and death are imperatives. No matter how we parse it, Nan has run out her string. She can’t hear, barely sees, can’t manage the stairs. She has little sense of smell and often isn’t sure who we are — or for that matter, who she is.

All of which accounts for my dour mood.

Amber

Simultaneously, Amber, the mini-dachshund, has breast cancer. She isn’t well, isn’t happy, won’t eat. I suspect her final days are approaching too.

dogs with bishop and gar

One is hard. Two are very hard.

72-Bishop-Dogs-March_6

The only good side of all of this is that finally, the family is acting like a family and pulling together. Setting blame aside, now it’s time to do what needs to be done for the good of the creatures we love.


FINDING something POSITIVE AMIDST THE GLooM

It has been a good week for pictures. Garry and I took a lot of pictures in town recently. At the dam, on the Commons.

WHAT ARE THE COMMONS?

The commons is that big green lawn in the middle of most New England towns. Boston’s got a huge one, Uxbridge has a rather small one.

The Commons
The Commons

Originally, these green spaces were called commons because they were a common area where everyone could graze sheep.

72-Grass-Uxbridge-0807_060

Yes, all you cowboys. Sheep. Because sheep give wool and wool becomes warm clothing, sweaters, stockings, coats. Even big Pilgrim hats.

75-BonnieInSnow_45

Winter in the northeast is a cruel mistress. We need all that wood to make the warm clothing that keeps us from freezing. We thank our friends, the sheep, for their donations. And let them graze on the Commons.


You can write anything about anything, as long as you link a picture to the story. You can link several pictures and more than one story. This is a free writing challenge. Have fun.

75-Bishop-in-Snow_18

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 #17 – THE PHOENIX

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 #17 – THE PHOENIX

Frisbee Wednesday almost snuck completely past me. Where did the week go? We have been in a family crisis whose focus keeps shifting from humans to dogs and back again.

My family, his family, both families … all interwoven with dogs, old, sick, well, young. Without going into details, it has been very difficult for both of us, but especially rough for Garry who shows the pain less, but feels it more.

nan almost christmas

Meanwhile, the Daily Prompt came up with a suggestion we talk about tattoos. And why not? I’ve got one. It’s even relevant, packed with subtext and meaning. Amidst all the emotional and actual mayhem of life …

BODY ART: THE PHOENIX

I got my tattoo when I was 55. Definitely a late starter. It took me years to figure out what I wanted, then years to find someone I trusted to do it.

A tattoo isn’t a casual thing. Once you’ve got it, it’s got you, too. Unless you go to heroic lengths to rid yourself of it, it’s as much a part of you as … well … your skin.

phoenix tattoo me

I’d been vibrating to the phoenix for a long time. Having had my world collapse a few times and arise from its ashes, I figured it fit. I have phoenix earrings, pendants, and pins. What I didn’t have, was a phoenix as part of me. The younger generation were seriously into “body art” and dragooned me. It wasn’t hard to get me to join since I’d been thinking about it anyway.

My husband was amused, but not buying into the event. His skin would remain pristine. No tattoos, no piercings. He got through the Marine Corps unscathed. He wasn’t giving in now. Garry has a will — more accurately — a won’t — of iron.

I knew what I wanted in general, but needed a design. The tattoo guy and I created a design based on a variety of Phoenix patterns he and I found online and in books. Which make it a one-of-a-kind design. When he sketched it on my left calf, I was surprised it was so big. It covers my entire calf. I had something more petite in mind.

My Tattoo phoenix

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound so. I did it.

When this prompt showed up in this morning’s email, I was delighted. Here is something I could relate to. Then I thought about it.

Taking photographs of the back of one’s left calf is not easy. Not only is the angle difficult, involving significant twisting of your torso into interesting configurations, but unless one is a lot taller than I am, it’s hard to get it in focus — I didn’t, but came close. Software did the rest.

Finally, it came together. My tattoo, in honor of surviving life crises and a brave hope for times to come. A phoenix engulfed in flame.

Phoenix doesn’t have quite enough flames. I always wanted to add more fire. Life got in the way, and now, I never will. My phoenix is happy. Long may he reign.

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 #16 – SMALL TOWN SUMMER

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 #16 – MID SUMMER IN A VERY SMALL TOWN

It’s Frisbee Wednesday again. How time flies! Last time I looked, it was barely spring. Then whoosh, summertime. Now, summer is beginning to wind down. The flowers that bloomed in the spring (tra la) are fading away, holding their collective virtual breath for the riot of color and energy that is Autumn.

72-Victorian-7-26-15_054

But not yet. The whole month of August remains which we must traverse. Then, a week and a bit of September will pass until we whirl into prime time and the trees show color.

HEART OF TOWN: THE PARKING LOT

72-Hannaford-Parking-7-26-15_06

Last night, we watched “The Quiet Man” on Turner Classic Movies. After the movie, Robert Osborne did a wrap up. He talked about the citizens of Cong (Ireland, County Mayo) where the movie was filmed. How the local folk were so excited to have a movie company in their midst, it was difficult to keep them off the set. They were always peeking out of windows, hiding behind buildings, trying to catch a glimpse of the stars. It was the biggest — only big — event to happen in Cong.

72-Hannaford-7-26-15_041

We visited Cong on our honeymoon in 1990. They were still reliving the grand days when John Ford came to town with his cameras and crew. Most important, he came with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Nothing else ever happened. Or ever will.

I said to Garry: “Nothing has ever happened in Uxbridge. Not a film, not an episode of a television show.”

72-Hannaford-7-26-15_057

“We had one pretty juicy murder,” he pointed out. Ever the reporter, Garry keeps a mental tally of murders in the commonwealth. Catalogued by town.

“Okay, other than that one murder. I don’t think anything has ever happened here more memorable than the day the bank card readers went down.”

“That was a traumatic day,” Garry agreed.

A fly photo-bombed my picture!
A fly photo-bombed my picture!

To further my point (or perhaps, beat it to death), we went to Hannaford today. It is our grocery store. It’s where it all happens. Where we gather to discuss upcoming weather events and the price of things. Garry wanted to pick up a newspaper and replace our depleted supply of kitchen cleanser.

I wanted to snap a few pictures.

We succeeded at both.