~photograph of Marchesa boccella (a 1842 Hybrid Perpetual, image taken on 11 May 2013)~
I had a new experience on Friday evening (4 October) - I was the featured artist (I'm using the word loosely here!) at my friend's gallery, Limeblue. I've printed out very few of my photographs before - but for the show I printed out 15 photographs (taken in Virginia and South Carolina) and framed them. I learned a number of things in the process... I learned that different images look best at different sizes (and for the most part, bigger is better). I learned that good paper is important (Rick Rhodes Photography did a wonderful job printing out the photographs), and that anti-glare glass is worth the extra money (half were done with, half were done without). Mostly, I learned that if I ever do this again, I'll have to be more savvy regarding the framing.
But it was fun - fun to see folks I haven't seen in a long while, and fun to do something that forced me to print out a few images and learn something.
I was in Virginia last week, at my Father's home - and on my last morning, as I was walking outside - I noticed this large brown and yellow moth near the garage door light. I haven't thought about my 'Front Door Light Moth Series' in, well, forever (or so it seems) - so I went back inside, got my camera, and took this photograph.
There is so much to say about my Father, and Virginia - and I just haven't been able to sit down yet and coherently write about it. In early April my Father broke his hip - a clean fracture that didn't require surgery (just two months at a rehabilitation center) and even with his vascular dementia he responded surprisingly well to physical therapy, and walked out of the facility with the aide of a walker. We knew it was time (he had been living in his home with 24/7 live-in care for almost three years) to relocate him to a Memory Care Facility.
I toured five places. I moved him into a place in early June, and spent the first two weeks in Virginia, helping with the transition. It was awful... and I just went back up to Virginia for another week and things were better, thankfully. But when you read that having a parent with dementia is like having a young child, then leaving a parent alone in a care facility is like leaving a young child somewhere alone - they are anxious and scared. Everything I've read is true.
So photographing a moth, hanging out under a door light, was oddly comforting.
My daily 'camera time' is often early evening, before sunset, when I let the dogs outside for a good run. They're busy - chasing each other, chasing anything, chasing everything - while I usually find something random that I chase with my camera - the edge of a leaf, a color, tiny hairs on the tip of a Salvia hidalgo. Last year while living in the DC area I purchased a new Nikon - and more recently purchased a new macro lens that has been hard for me to get used to, much less master. But I'm letting go of the desire to have a perfect image in perfect focus, and instead I'm enjoying the chase, like my dogs always do.
My current chase? To see how many ways I can photograph swiss chard. Soon it will be gone (gone = sauteed) and I'll move on to something else.
The roses have now been in the glass jar for six days - you can see them at Day 1 here. The image above was taken on a concrete stepping stone - it's interesting how the roses almost appear as if they are in a rectangle, instead of leaning against the sides of the jar. And just like people, some roses age better than others.
My garden handled the cold quite well last night - I don't think we had either a frost or a freeze - it was a bit cloudy last night, and definitely windy - which helped. So today the fall-blooming salvias are still blooming, and the morning glories are still rambling and the elephant ears are still - huge.
I went ahead today and put a wreath of evergreens over the morning glories.
The spouse of the young woman who passed away yesterday published a South Carolina birding book earlier this year. When I was at Barnes and Noble earlier today, there was one copy on the shelf and I purchased it. It seemed like a small way to support Jeff today, a very small way - considering the trajedy that has befallen his small family. The book is great - and includes a number of places for birding that I wasn't familiar with and might add to a mental list of things-to-do.
I went to the store to buy a sympathy card, but I found myself unable to do so. Instead I got a card of a tree filled with different types of birds. It seemed more appropriate, better somehow.
Today I couldn't help but think of the line from the U2 song 'Grace':
Grace makes beauty out of ugly things.
Something good will need to come out of this. It must.
My Father had a good appointment with his physician today - and the MRI did not reveal any problems. He also scored substantially higher on his cognitive tests. There was much relief at this news, and tonight my Dad is happy and awaiting a weekend of bad weather in Virginia. He had asked me to send him a 'list' of possible Christmas gifts, and so tonight I sent him a list of something things I needed in the Airstream (a 'griddler' and a toaster), books (Henry Mitchell's gardening books), a few other things (including new Birki gardening clogs - replacing the ones that I said farewell to last summer)...and a 2010 convertible jaguar. Tonight on the phone I told him that he wouldn't have to wrap the convertible. He laughed.
I have ALOT of editing, writing, and reviewing to do.
I need to compile and post the 2009 Gifts for that Special Microbiologist in your List soon. Here is the list for 2008. I think that this post gets more hits than any other on this site - except perhaps for the post written about my visit to Pearl Fryar's garden in Bishopville, South Carolina. Who knew that so many people were shopping for microbiologists? That just warms my heart.
I need to make my holiday cards.
I have made them every year...for years...until 2006, when I bought these papers/colors that I obviously was at a loss about when I brought them home. (They are rather horrible, aren't they?).
I'm still at a loss - but want to do something. I have the envelopes, cards, paints, etc. Now I just need a VISION. Here is a look at a card from a past year.
This is my favorite (personal) holiday tradition - something I've been doing since I was in my 20s. I'm determined to do them again this year - if even they become a card welcoming in the new year (in fact, I might even prefer that).