Labors of love for food.Lens Artists Photo Challenge: A labor of love
Winter’s gone for now
Once again the world is filled
With colors of life.
Strength, wisdom, kindness —
They can only come to one
Who knows quietude.
Now that I’m back home in the house where I grew up, and living with my two sisters and a nephew and my son, it is not very often that I get to find some quiet time.
I am way busier now working from home compared to working full time in China during the last 17 years, which makes me treasure more those years of solitude and reflection.
Thankfully there’s gardening and visiting my tiny garden in the morning allows me some much needed quiet moments.
“A flower’s appeal is in its contradictions — so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect.”
This week Patti challenges us to show how we crop pictures we took, and for people like me who don’t know much about photography, the explanation/reason she gives for cropping her photos, are really helpful.
Before the crop:
As I am not quite good at focus, almost all pictures I take get cropped!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!🌹
This week Tina’s challenge is to post “wet images.” I don’t have a lot of those, except for the ones below taken on a rainy day.
“Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” — Gilbert K. Chesterton
“One can find so many pains when the rain is falling.” — John Steinbeck
This week Amy challenges us to post pictures of home.
For years after my father died, my mother was the core of our home — everything planned or decided depended on what was good for her. This was especially true in her last years. Because I worked away from home and only came to visit twice a year, home was my mother.
Though she has passed on, we still keep some of the stuff that was part of her daily routine — such as her rosary beads which she prayed daily, twice a day.
Now that she’s gone, the attention has shifted to the young ones — my son and my nephews.
Where home in the past was the sight of my mother praying and the sound of her voice directing the cleaning of the house, these days it’s the sound of my son’s endless chatter and the banging on (not really playing) the (not computer) keyboard, ukulele and of course the sound of my voice constantly reminding him to quiet down.
Our home is probably the noisiest in our community (thankfully we are all relatives — all first cousins who understand– living in separate detached houses), but for as long as my son is happily noisy making what he thinks is music, I’m fine with it.
In the distance — sounds carried
By the morning breeze.
Thank you, Ann-Christine, for this week’s theme for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.
Have a lovely weekend!
I did not participate in the LAPC Challenge for months because of my very busy schedule, but today I am able to squeeze in some time to write a post and John’s chosen theme is something that most of us, I’m sure, can easily find photos for as there are many places we would like to revisit or imagine revisiting at this time when we cannot travel to any place outside our home cities.
The first place I would really go to again as soon as travel bans are lifted is Jimei, where my husband has been living all alone for three months now after my son and I left. Jimei has been my second home for over 17 years, and this is the longest I’ve been away.
Last year, I was so lucky I got to see the U.S. of A. for the first time, and before the virus broke out. I got to see New York and Boston and enjoyed every minute of it. I was looking forward to seeing Washington, DC and Maryland in June this year, but I guess it’s not meant to be.
The one other place I would really love to visit again is South Korea, not just for the place but to see my best friend again.
I hope we all get to travel again soon, and have the chance to revisit places we love and create new memories.
Have a lovely week!
In response to Amy’s challenge this week, I am using photos I’ve taken in our local supermarket. Two of my favorite fruits are in this collection — mangoes and durian! Yes, durian! I know, for sure, most people dislike the smell of durian, but let me tell you, I love it! And the smell of it makes my mouth water. Lol.
Durian ice cream, durian smoothie, durian cheesecake….
I love durian.
So for this photo challenge, I am also challenging you to be brave and give durian a try! 😉
Last night, for the first time in a long, long time, my husband and I went out to attend a party. This time it was at the Kempinski Hotel. It felt good to go out again and relive those evenings many years ago when we used to go out with friends more often without worrying about adult stuff.
But those night outs aren’t what I’m nostalgic about.
It’s Christmas. Kempinski had nice Christmas trees both in the lobby and outside the hotel, and I felt like a kid again excited about Christmas!
And Christmas always brings me back to my childhood when our Christmas tree was small and simple and the Christmas presents we got from our parents were not expensive, but we had the tradition of getting up at dawn to go to Mass at 4:30 in the morning (Misa de Gallo, literally Rooster’s Mass). Yes, you read that right. 4:30 in the morning which meant waking up an hour earlier before that to wash up and have something hot to drink!
You would think we were unhappy to be woken up that early, but we were actually pretty excited to hear our mother whispering our names to wake us up.
We then walked to church (a 10-minute walk from our house) and would see other churchgoers walking. During Mass, my sisters and I often dozed off especially during homily, but would once again perk up just before the singing of the Lord’s Prayer as it meant close to Communion and the end of the Mass.
After Mass, we would walk to the bakery and buy pan de sal for breakfast.
Life was so simple yet we were happy.
If only I could be a child again, and have my parents worry about things that only adults worry about.
Tiny Christmas tree in my apartment in Xiamen
Patti’s chosen theme this week is “Abstract.” And I’m taking that literally by posting pictures of my then 7-year old autistic son’s watercolor “painting.”
I have no idea what he was thinking about when he played with the brush, but I treasure these literally abstract exercises of my minimally verbal son.
The one above just got a title, “Raining Down.” Thanks to Ann-Christine at Leya. 😁
Tina’s challenge this week is a real challenge for someone like me who comes from a tropical country! Thankfully I’ve traveled to some places with a winter season. The first image above I have used more than a couple of times on my blog. It is one of my favorite photos because when I took it, it was the first time ever (and this was 2016) I had seen a snow-covered mountain! I couldn’t believe it! It was summer in Canada but there was snow!
Now let me say something about the word “cold” and how subjective that is: when I told my cousin who was then living in Alberta that I was visiting, she got so excited saying, “Perfect! You are lucky. It’s already summer here. Just bring shorts and T-shirts!” My mistake was I just believed her and did not bother to check the weather app.
When I arrived in Vancouver in my summer clothes (luckily I always bring a summer cardigan when I travel because I know in some planes and airports their A/Cs are just set too low), I was not ready for the 18C (64F) temperature. When I met with a former student, I noticed she was wearing a coat. And we both said, “This is not summer!”
When I finally saw my cousin in Alberta, she was wearing spaghetti strap top and shorts! And she had the A/C on in her house! I begged her to turn it off and borrowed winter pajamas. She couldn’t stop laughing at me and told everyone in the family how cold I felt.
Well, can you blame me?
The very first time I saw snow though was in my husband’s hometown, in Shandong Province in China. At first I was so excited to see snow. But after a day of being cold (in the countryside their houses do not have central heating), I begged my husband to let me move to the city and said to him, “Please, look at my skin! It’s brown! This skin is not for the cold!” And I’m not being racist about my skin! It’s really brown.
Hope you feel comfortable whether you’re in a cold or warm place!
This week’s theme is “Waiting.” Even before I read Amy’s post I knew I would post pictures related to flying — which I do every month.
Most of the waiting I do now happens at an airport. I often go on red-eye flights because they are cheaper, though the layovers are always longer than the flights themselves. But then again they are cheaper.
So what do you do when there’s air traffic and your plane can’t land because the airport has only one runway! Take pictures of those things that are so commonplace you forget they are there!
I used to look forward to flying, but now I just try not to think about it and simply look forward to arriving. I hope one day teleportation will become real!
Waiting for a flight may be exhausting, but at least you know eventually you will get to your destination.
It is less stressful than waiting for something whose arrival is forever uncertain.
Have a lovely week!
“Creepy” is a subjective word.
As Ann-Christine quoted from a dictionary, it causes “unpleasant feeling of fear or unease.”
So what one finds creepy may be just “normal” to somebody else.
A few years ago just after my son was diagnosed with Autism, a girl, who I later found out was one of our neighbors, gave my son a look that I thought was mocking. At that time I felt too protective of my then 2-year old son and was quite emotional that I glared at the girl and just walked away with my son. A few days later I saw the girl again and saw the same expression on her face and realized that was really how she looked — her facial expression unchanged.
That truly taught me lesson — not to be too sensitive. When somebody looks at you, do not think too much about it. It may mean nothing.
In the same way what you think of as creepy, others may see as harmless or even boring.
It’s all relative.
The fish in the photos may be giving you a creepy look — but they don’t have bad intentions! 😛
This week Patti chose “Monochrome” for LAPC’s theme.
She said, “Monochrome can also add drama, mystery, and emotion to a shot…” and I agree!
These are some photos I took yesterday when my husband and I went out for a walk.
“There is no satisfaction in any good without a companion.” — Seneca the Younger
Two penguins at the New England Aquarium
Meteorites exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Natural History
Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Wax figures of two former presidents at the Dreamland Wax Museum, Boston
Wax figures of two members of the Royal Family at the Dreamland Wax Museum, Boston
“A good companion is one you wouldn’t mind dying with. “
— Frank Herbert
May you find a good companion in life, if you haven’t yet. 💕
Lens artists photo challenge: Seeing Double
Underneath the layers
Underneath the layers
Lies something hidden,
Lies something hidden,
Waiting to be seen.
Waiting to be seen.
There are two places my 8-year old son who has Autism, loves to be at — the airport and the beach. But whereas at the airport he likes to walk or run around, he is most calm sitting on the beach. At one beach we went to early this year, he and his dad sat watching the sunset for over an hour.
I was at first hesitant to post candid photos of my son, but then I realize most of these photos were taken with his back to the camera.
I have used these photos before in my posts about him and Autism, so these are “recycled” photos, but definitely candid. 😉
Gentle and glowing,
She dazzles every creature
With her candid pose.
I know Ann-Christine suggested candid photographs of people and animals, but I don’t have lots of those that I think I can share publicly. Then I saw the moon tonight and thought, “What a beauty!” And I attempted a haiku praising the moon, and thought of the word “candid.” So there. 😉
Have a lovely week!
My favorite subject for photography is flowers as I find them easier to frame than it is to frame a building or a wide, open space or a moving animal. And flowers, whether you zoom in or out, almost always come out beautiful.
Here are some photos of flowers I have taken over the years. They all “fill the frame.”
Have a lovely week! 💕
There is something about the countryside that is so relaxing. Though it doesn’t give me the same sense of serenity I get from sitting on a quiet beach, being in the countryside still feels like taking a break from the busy-ness of life.
The picture above is of a rice farm in Northern Mindanao, Philippines. I was on my way to the airport when I saw this farm. The sky was so blue with some white clouds, and the hills in the distance so green — I just thought it was so beautiful. I asked the driver to stop the car, and I got out and saw this farmer. I asked him if I could take a picture of him, and he said it was OK.
Then I got back in the car, and went to the airport and back to my busy life. But this picture always gives me that feeling of wanting even a quick break from life and its worries.
I had the same feeling visiting my cousin’s uncle’s farm in Alberta, Canada. After a 12-hour flight and then wandering around Vancouver, it was relaxing to not see people and rest the eyes and the soul by just watching green grass, blue sky, white clouds and farm animals!
Hope you have a relaxing week!
I love looking up at the sky, whether in the day time or at night. I often wonder what it’s like up there looking down, (which is why I follow NASA and the International Space Station on social media.)
To me the sky or whatever is up (or out) there is magical.
Sometimes when I am going through a difficult time, I only have to go to a quiet place — by the lake, on a quiet beach, or my balcony and look up at the sky and remind myself of the vastness of the universe and the minuteness of my life and worries.
Now isn’t that cure magical? 😉
Have a lovely week!
I had a wonderful time at the New England Aquarium and took lots of photos, but the one below of the jellyfish is my favorite. I find this shot the most unique among all the photos of creatures I photographed.
Have a unique week! 😉
Last week I took a break from my Philippine reality and flew to the States for the first time. Now that I’m back in my home country, those six days in the States seem just like a dream.
I took lots of photos while in NYC and Boston, but these ones below were taken while on an unplanned trip to New Jersey at the Liberty State Park. It was very quiet on a Friday afternoon. It was a welcome break from busy NYC!
After that long walk around the park which probably made up for one week of no dance workout, I had strawberry milkshake — a very welcome break!
Have a lovely week! 💕
Serenity. One of my favorite words, next to solitude.
I find serenity.
It was very hot and humid yesterday, but I insisted that we went out for a walk at 6pm. The sun had not set yet, and my husband said we could compete as to who could find the smallest mushroom. I didn’t find the smallest one, nor this one but I took these photos myself.
Happy Sunday! 💕
Happy to discover a photo challenge.
Here are some of my favorite things (and things to do!)
Sitting on my balcony at sunset … musing
Sunset by the beach