Susan’s Birthday

Yesterday, Friday, January 8th, was Susan’s birthday. When I woke up on the day before, the 7th, I thought the 7th was the 8th.

Before she woke (on the 7th), I scrambled to wrap her present and make her card. (See Freddy above sniffing at her card and present.) Soon she came out of the bedroom and I said “Happy Birthday!” She said, “Today’s not my birthday. It’s the 8th.” I said, “Today is the 8th. Come. Let’s look at the calendar.” Sure enough it was the 7th. This confusion a sign of the times. To misquote a song by Chicago, “Does anybody really know what day it is?”

I know tomorrow is Sunday because the Sunday New York Times is delivered. And Wednesday is garbage day because I see that our street is lined with barrels filled with garbage. And Friday is Brooks and Shields (Now Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart since Shields recently retired). But other than that I am never sure of the day or date. Or time! This a sign of the pandemic and being in quarantine. I need a calendar!

Susan opened her card first upon waking on the 8th, a picture of our kitchen table which I think says much about who we are, our interests, our love of books and beauty. And it reminds me of a painting by French Impressionists. I enjoy still lifes of our home.

Years ago, I wrote:

This is
A Place
A Table
Round, of grace
A flowered tablecloth
A bowl of lemons and limes
Apples and oranges
We hold hands
Thank You God
For these gifts
We are about to receive
From your bounty
Through Christ our Lord
Amen.
A table of grace.
We then enjoyed a cup of coffee and soon I made us bacon and blueberry pancakes.
I spent much time organizing my photos of Times Square @ 1980s for my book, “Famous People Famous Places“. I am happy that I have made great progress on the project since reading about myself in the NYTimes Sunday Book Review section a few weeks ago (See previous post).
This is how the organization comes along. First I printed contact sheets of all the photos, cut them into “negs” and placed them on a large paper board.
Then I spent many hours looking at the images, determining an order, a sequence that made sense to me.
I then took these negatives and taped them into my journal so that I can reference them as I upload to Blurb.
During lunch, Susan suggested we order out for dinner. We often do order out for pizza on Friday nights. But after I walked Freddy in the afternoon, I returned home cold and thought there’s no way I want to go out later for a pizza. So while Susan napped in the late afternoon, I made a birthday dinner for her (It was her birthday!): Roasted Chicken Thighs with Pears and Dried Cranberries; Wild Rice; Carrots.
The recipe is based on one from Taste of Home:
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each) (I used 2 skinless boneless chicken thighs)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (I used 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary (I didn’t use.)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (I didn’t use)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar (I didn’t use)
  • 2 medium unpeeled pears, each cut into 8 wedges (I used 6 canned and drained pear halves)
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
  • Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook until a thermometer reads 165°, 8-10 minutes. Remove. (I roasted the chicken thighs in oven at 375 for 45 minutes)
  • Meanwhile, stir together next 5 ingredients until blended. Pour into skillet; add pears and dried cherries. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until pears are tender, about 5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet; simmer, uncovered, until heated through, 3-5 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with additional minced rosemary (I warmed pears, stock, vinegar, cranberries on stove top)
After dinner, we watched Brooks and Capehart and then a fascinating documentary of James Beard. I had forgotten he had a great gift for writing. I once had two Beard books (He wrote 18.): “Beard on Bread” and “The James Beard Cookbook.” I lost them in one of my moves. I will have to see if I can find a few in a used book store.
The show brought home to me the fact that I need, I am called, to again write. To write about food. To write about art. To write about life.
To tell stories. Which reminds me; did I ever tell you the story about the times I had lunch at the Four Seasons bar?

 

Pretty Photos

Just some recent photos from the last days of September and first day of October.

Leaves in our backyard.

Monarch Butterfly. I love this photo. And they are still visiting the garden!

Mittineague Park, West Springfield. Down the street from where we live.

Gooseberry Farms. Down the street from where we live.

Gooseberry Farms.

Gooseberry Farms.

Gooseberry Farms.

Gooseberry Farms.

Gooseberry Farms.

Recent sunrise on a walk with Freddy.

Mittineague Park.

Zinnia. Beautiful, Bruce!

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

A Garden Needs Weeding

Yellow Tiger Swallowtail
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
In my garden
I am
Weeding
I know not the names of the weeds
They surround my plants
I do know my back and leg muscles
Will ache the next day
I am on my knees
Two hours on my knees
I think this  is a form of prayer
Man On Knees Weeding
There is
The smell of basil
The smell of tomatoes
The smell of mint
Parsley
Thyme
Oregano
This all happened
On Saturday, late morning
Cloudy and breezy
I am filling a pail with weeds
My heart fills with Joy
I sing a new song
“You will be like a well-watered garden,
Like a spring whose waters never fail”
My hands are full of weeds
The garden grows more beautiful
This is why I worked
In the garden, to see
Myself weeding, letting go
Letting God direct me
This is a story about love
This is a story about growth
This is a story about beauty
Stay a bit longer
Listen
To wings of the butterfly flapping
The wings of the hummingbird whirling
Do you hear
Do you see
This all happened
On Saturday
On Sunday I rested

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

I AM

On Friday
In Springfield, Massachusetts
I waited in the waiting room
At the urologist’s office.
I waited and I worried.
I prayed and I meditated.
I said my Mantra.
I said the great I Am.
There were a handful of us there
Waiting with our masks on;
Our face-coverings protecting us
From the virus. I was told
I had a number of large kidney stones.
The shock wave procedure did not work
And here I sat worrying, wondering
If I would need another operation.
My mind wandered as I waited.
I asked myself what is the meaning of life?
Jesus said “You must love
The Lord your God with all your heart:
All your soul, and all your mind.”
This is the first and greatest commandment.
A second is equally important:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
And I remembered this:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry
About your life, what you will eat or drink;
Or about your body, what you will wear.”
Someone calls out my name, “Bruce.”
And I remember this:
“I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me
Shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The physicians assistant says,
“Bruce, there is not much we can do now.
The kidney stone is too deep for surgery.
Let’s wait six months. If pain and problems arise
We will try shock wave therapy again.”
We don’t shake hands and I can see only
His eyes and I say Thank You.
And this I remember leaving
The waiting room, “I am the light
Of the world. Whoever follows me
Will not walk in darkness,
But will have the light of life.”
I return home to my other guiding light;
My wife, Susan, and our dog Freddy.
I go outside to our garden.
Freddy following me.
I see a Tiger Swallowtail.
And all is well here.

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

God’s Tiny Flying Ballerinas

Thursday morning
A hummingbird
At the feeder
I imagine
It is God’s
Tiny flying ballerina
Dancing from feeder to flower
The garden of zinnias
Pink and yellow and red and orange
I must hurry
To photograph
The tiny ballerina
The tiny dancer
Moves so quickly
Here then gone
Not like the swallowtail
Spending all morning
In the garden
At the purple butterfly bush
And hovering at a zinnia
Gifts this morning
Beauty
I wait
In the garden
To see
To contemplate
New ways
To extend my voice
And bring beauty to the world

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

Mother’s Day

Although my mother has passed on, her love still lives in my heart and her wisdom continues to inspire me. I am grateful for the many ways my mother has blessed me. I also feel deep appreciation and tender affection for all those who have blessed me with the selfless gift of motherly love.

Gardening Is About Patience

Yesterday, Susan bought me a basket
A box really, a cardboard box basket filled with herbs
Four white plastic pots, basil in one
Rosemary in another, oregano in one
Thyme in another, waiting to be
Planted in late May in my garden

Walking Freddy down our street
I see a man cut down a pine tree
He calls out to Dot and Jack
Also walking down the street
“Merry Christmas” I wonder why
He cut down the tree
I don’t stop to ask
He’s a smoker and I am not
And he’s not wearing a mask

Earlier in the day
Outside near the garden
Yet to be planted
Susan cut my hair
Short and if my head was flat
It might be used as a putting green
That is if you played golf

Walking into the kitchen
Susan said those are beautiful
Speaking of the shrimp spring rolls
And they were and they were
Delicious as was the shrimp stir-fry

I am in a place I love
With a woman I love
With a dog I love
With art and books I love
A few weeks ago we read
Shakespeare’s Sonnets
“So long as men can breathe or eyes can see
“So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”