a second look, blessings, family, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, life, life goes on, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, Natures little dramas, perseverance, photography, unintended images

Orangutans…

I learned a few things about orangutans yesterday. First of all my dear friend gave me a heads up about a series on National Geographic called ‘Secrets of ZooTampa’. She had watched an episode about orangutans which included footage of Randee giving birth to little Riplee, I saw that message as we were heading out the door to go to a photo shoot with our group, to the zoo! Then a chatty little girl at the zoo told me about another episode, and at lunch after the shoot yet another mention of that series came up in the group. Since I can take a hint, we found the episode last night and watched it. For someone who was so excited to see that baby orangutan I’m ashamed to say that I was completely in the dark about that series. And the take away from the episode was that in the wild orangutans are solitary creatures. The fact that they live together at the zoo, nine of them, grandmothers, daughters, and grandchildren, plus the resident male, is unusual. Their interactions with each other is wonderful to watch, so the idea that they would live solitary lives in the wild seemed sad somehow. All this being said, I took more pictures of the orangutans yesterday than anything else, as usual. And there was still another surprise in store also.

It was a chilly morning, so the activity was to be covering up with blankets as they munched on leaves.
The day would be warm, but they looked cozy as they ate.
There was a bit of rearranging going on.
Dear old dad was covered up also, choosing a plain white blanket rather than the colorful blankets favored by the ‘girls’.
A little family time.

I promised another surprise, didn’t I? Another of the young adult orangutans gave birth about a month ago, a fact that had escaped my notice completely. Apparently this event happened during the day and was witnessed by the zoo-goers who happened to be there. What a photo op that would have been.

This is Hadiah, and this little girl is her second baby. Born February 6th. No news on a name so far.

Evidently I will have many more days of enjoying the baby orangutans ahead of me. What a nice surprise it was to see this new addition. And if Riplee was #9, then we now have 10 orangutans at ZooTampa.

a second look, attention to detail, blessings, brainstorms, changing times, childhood, Christmas on the brain, coping, facing facts, faith, family, growing old, Just do it, life goes on, making memories, memories, pastries, perseverance, photography, Yummy

Salvaging the spirit…

I have become a bah humbug sort of person. I don’t say that proudly, or lightly even. I grew up with a reverence for the day we celebrate the birth of Christ, and I loved making Christmas for my own kids through the years. Growing up in a big Italian family there were many treats to be had at Christmas that we didn’t see for the rest of the year. As the daughter of a fireman and a nurse I spent the major holidays at my aunt’s house, with my working parents coming and going, plus lots of relatives dropping in to visit. Special times that I couldn’t have appreciated at the time what treasured memories they would turn out to be. So when I got married and moved away I did my best to recreate the holidays I treasured. I made lasagna for Christmas dinner, something the family had switched over to some time in my preteen years when they decided that they were ITALIAN, for goodness sake, and weren’t going to duplicate the Thanksgiving dinner at Christmas anymore. I made the Italian cookies that are flavored with anise. I made strufoli, the tiny honey balls we only had at Christmas, and, when I could find it, I bought Torrone, a nougat candy that came in individual boxes that were exquisite little works of art in themselves. For many years Christmas was a wonderful time of year. But those days are long past, the kids are grown and gone, and even the grandchildren are grown. It feels like the media has taken over all aspects of life, including the holiday, and you can’t escape the pressure to be HAPPY, to spend more and more money. The meaning is lost, hence bah humbug.

With my bad attitude I have disappointed the new special person in my life who still treasures Christmas. Our first Christmas together and he didn’t expect my usual light-hearted self to just want to get this whole thing over with. We will visit his relatives for Christmas, and when a discussion of what to have for Christmas dinner came up my offer to make lasagna was accepted. That perked me up a little. It really warmed my heart when my daughter said that she is making lasagna for her crew too, and she is making strufoli for the first time in years! Now I will make strufoli too. I collected all my recipes yesterday, and my friend wanted to stop at the nice Italian deli near him, and I wondered out loud if I might find Torrone there. Boy, did I ever! Torrone in the little boxes. Torrone cut into wedges like a slice of layer cake, some topped with chocolate! Torrone packaged in the shape of Christmas trees! I stood there with my mouth open, and possibly drooling, as every where I turned I found Torrone. So, yes, I did find Torrone, and I think I might have found my Christmas spirit too.

The feature photo is a display of containers of strufoli, larger honey balls than the ones we used to make, but it made me happy to see my familiar treats. I wrote this post early yesterday, before a heart-warming (and tear-jerking) message from my daughter showed up online. I was already on my way to finding that elusive Christmas spirit, and now I’m happy to say that my strufoli is made, and my lasagna is coming together. So let me wish a Merry Christmas to all with a happy heart. And the new year? Well, there is always hope…

'scene' along the way, exploring new places, family, foggy sky, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, road trip

In the Smokies…

We are enjoying lovely weather in the Smokies, but not having WiFi has prevented me from working on my pictures and sharing them. It hasn’t prevented me from taking tons of pictures however, so I will have lots to keep me busy when we get home. The fall foliage we hoped for isn’t at it’s peak, but it smells like fall, and there are enough beautiful trees to make me happy. And we still have a few days.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, blessings, bugs, butterflies, exploring new places, family, flowers, friends, fun, making memories, natural wonders, perseverance, photography, road trip

Those hazy views…

We looked into the haze at every stop along Skyline Drive. I don’t know if it was better or worse than usual while we were there, but it didn’t stop us from taking shot after shot at every overlook we came to. A couple of days ago I mentioned my previous trip there when the pop-up camper popped off the hitch of my car, and how I just headed for home after that. What I didn’t mention is that my cousin was a supervising ranger at Skyline Drive for 21 years, and that he lives in the area. We had lunch with him on Cape Cod while we were there, but he wasn’t going to be back home when we got to his area the next week. So imagine my surprise when I posted a picture of a surprise engagement shot I got on our first day on the drive, and he commented that his farmhouse is in the background of the shot. Small world and lucky accident of timing, it all factored into the shot, which I love all the more now.

They are strangers to me, but I wish I had approached them to say I had photos. Someone else took pictures and I assumed it was a friend of theirs, or a professional photographer, so I kept quiet. I regret that now.
I don’t know these people either, but I was waiting for them to clear out so I could take a picture of the sign. Then I decided that someone else’s memory-in-the-making would make my photo more of a story. Did I walk on the Appalachian Trail? Of course not, I do photos as a ‘drive-by’ of sorts, content with the overview rather than the details.
Okay, sometimes I take close ups. This fawn showed up just as we got onto Skyline Drive. Then he turned out to be the only wildlife we saw in three days oof driving the winding roads of Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
What was odd about the views was that everything close to you was so clear, the distant view was hazy. The color was great. The not-so-great skies meant that the light was softer so your foregrounds looked great. And there were flowers in your foregrounds, and lively butterflies who challenged you to get their photo.
And when I got lucky I spotted bees too.
And yellow butterflies that spread their wings for you.
And yellow butterflies on pink flowers.

There are so many pictures that now I find them hard to group into a cohesive story. The iPhone will tell me where the pictures were taken, and when, which is helpful provided I also took a few shots with my phone as well as the camera. As we approached home I said that I didn’t know when I’d be ready for a long trip like this one was, but the thought of a couple of days here and there is already sounding like a good idea.

'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, black and white, exploring new places, family, friends, fun, grandchildren, kids, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip

Dewey Beach sunset…

We arrived in Dewey Beach and found our accommodations included a short walk to view the sunset. And family to boot! How great is that?

Should I sit, or should I kayak? Or just take pictures…
The requisite Great Blue Heron joined us, just like back home!
I loved the row of seagulls. They were making a racket.
The sky was pretty in both directions…
My granddaughter and her friend wandered onto the beach and I asked them to strike a pose. I don’t think they minded one bit.
They gave it their all!
I like people in my shots.
Another day ending, but more days of fun ahead!
'scene' along the way, adventure, connections, family, finding my way, friends, fun, grandchildren, life goes on, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip

Stops along the way…

On Friday we were headed to the Heritage Gardens, which I posted about. But I forgot about our stop to see this pretty gristmill along the way.

We purposely looked for this grist mill to take a few pictures, but it turned up right on the route.
It was prettier than I expected.
It was a quick stop, but so fun to see it.
This church was equally pretty but an unexpected find. St. Patrick’s in Falmouth.
We came across this church while we were driving around, and when we parked to take some photos we found a vendor setting up in advance of an event of some kind.
Here he is, the proprietor of Reid’s Real Baking. He was fun to talk to, and his bread and blueberry handheld pies were great. Stop if you see him, okay?
We stopped again when we saw these quite small cottages on stilts. They were cute, but I’m not sure I’d like to be inside looking out the window at a raging storm.
This is the Nobska Light, the same lighthouse that’s in the feature photo. With only a few parking spaces we felt lucky to snag one for a closer look.

I’m a lucky woman. Not only have I had someone special to enjoy this journey with me, and spent time with old and new friends, and family, but I’ve also spent the last couple of days with my daughter and family. So I’ve spent more time face to face with people than on the computer. And all the while I’ve been taking pictures, but I’ve lost track of all the places I’ve been and photos I’ve taken. But I’ll find them, they are in this computer…somewhere.