variations on a theme: vintage signs on the jersey shore

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme challenges us to find the endless variety that one thing can contain.  Here is my take on vintage signs on the Jersey Shore.  These were taken in winter, when most of the places were quite deserted.

Beach Shack – Cape May, NJ
Laura’s Fudge – Wildwood, NJ
Island Breeze – Wildwood, NJ
Bird of Paradise, Wildwood, NJ
Scoops, Wildwood, NJ

weekly photo challenge: names

Sunday, January 8: The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge encourages us to post photos that contain names.

As my maiden name was Cathy Birdsong, I have often used the name “catbird” on my blogs.  I was in New England a couple of years ago when I came upon this aptly named studio – one I’m sadly not at all associated with.  If only I had such a studio!

catbird studiio
catbird studiio

Last year in Chincoteague, I came upon this sign that carries part of my youngest son’s name.

Adam Dutch
Adam Dutch

My oldest son’s girlfriend is named Ariana.  I found her namesake restaurant in Philadelphia – a restaurant featuring Afghanistan cuisine.  Sadly, we didn’t try it out.  And we could have had 20% off with a movie ticket!

Ariana
Ariana

Unrelated to any of my family, I found this boat in a Maryland marina a couple of summers ago, an ode to Miss Betty.  Berthed beside Miss Betty is The Other Woman.

Miss Betty (and The Other Woman)
Miss Betty (and The Other Woman)

And at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, MD, I found the gravestone of Elijah Jefferson Bond, creator of the Ouija Board. 🙂

weekly photo challenge: edge

Today’s Weekly Photo Challenge asks us to share our interpretation of “edge.” The challenge: Take a photo from an actual edge, like a balcony, a window, or a seaside bluff (wherever you are, stay safe!). Focus on a sharp angle or object, or show us the outer margins of a building, a face, or a book.

These photos of edges are from our recent trip to Iceland.  You can read more about my trip here: in search of a thousand cafés where I write about my travels in Europe.

Siglufjörður on the edge of a fjord and a mountain in North Iceland
Siglufjörður on the edge of a fjord and a mountain in North Iceland
Standing on the edge of Godafoss
Standing on the edge of Godafoss
Waterfalls tumbling off the edge of the mountain north of Seyðisfjörður, in East Iceland
Waterfalls tumbling off the edge of the mountain north of Seyðisfjörður, in East Iceland
The edges of glaciers that have calved from a larger glacier and end up at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in South Iceland
The edges of glaciers that have calved from a larger glacier and end up at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in South Iceland

weekly photo challenge: curve

Saturday, June 18:  This week’s Photo Challenge asks us to get inspired by the curves around us, from curves in architecture to bends in nature to man-made undulations.  I had a fun time looking through my happy memories to find photos for this challenge.

Curvy arches at ruins in Oman
Curvy arches at ruins in Oman
arches in Cordoba's Mezquita
arches in Cordoba’s Mezquita
Lotus
Lotus
sunflower
sunflower
the Li River near Yangshuo, China
the Li River near Yangshuo, China
The Longji Rice Terraces in Guangxi, China
The Longji Rice Terraces in Guangxi, China
a curvaceous flag at the cowboy museum in Oklahoma City
a curvaceous flag at the cowboy museum in Oklahoma City
curving staircase at a Virginia winery
curving staircase at Creek’s Edge winery in Virginia
Grassy curves at Chanticleer Garden in Philadelphia
Curving grasses at Chanticleer Garden in Philadelphia

weekly photo challenge: pure

Sunday, June 12:  The Weekly Photo Challenge asks us to show something pure:

    • not mixed with anything else

    • clean and not harmful in any way

I love these peonies I found blooming at Meadowlark Gardens in May.  They seem the perfect embodiment of pure.

IMG_9876
peony in pink
IMG_9868
luscious peony
IMG_9877
peony heaven
IMG_9872
peony side view

 

weekly photo challenge: spare

Friday, May 27: Today’s Weekly Photo Challenge asks us to share photos representing spare:

(adjective) Additional to what is required for ordinary use.
(adjective) Elegantly simple.
(verb) To refrain from harming.

I’ve chosen some photos representing minimalist landscapes.  First, on a drive to the beaches on the south of Crete, I found this spare rolling landscape.

Southern Crete
Southern Crete

Anacapa Island, one of California’s Channel Islands is one of the most spare and desolate landscapes I’ve seen, except for the multitudes of seagulls dotting the horizon.

Anacapa Island off the coast of California
Anacapa Island off the coast of California

Weizhou Island in the south of China has some lava beaches that look pretty spare, yet elegantly curvaceous.

Weizhou Beach in the south of China
Weizhou Beach in the south of China

And finally, the marshland of Chincoteague Island in Virginia is spare, but beautiful.

Sea grasses on Chincoteague Island
Sea grasses on Chincoteague Island

weekly photo challenge: jubilant

Saturday, May 21:  Jubilant is an adjective: showing great joy, satisfaction, or triumph; rejoicing; exultant.  So says the Weekly Photo Challenge: Jubilant, challenging us to “end this week on a high note, with images that say jubilant.”

Here are some jubilant moments from my life:

In Hanok Village, Jeonju, South Korea, some jubilant musicians inspired all the English teachers to join in with the festivities.

jubilant Korean dancers in Hanok Village, Jeonju, South Korea
jubilant Korean dancers in Hanok Village, Jeonju, South Korea

As we took a day-long drive down the King’s Highway in Jordan, my Japanese fellow traveler Minako and I felt jubilant at different spots along the drive.  Me at the Wadi Mujib Nature Reserve and Minako at Karak Castle in Jordan.

The traditional dancers in Siem Reap, Cambodia showed a more subdued kind of jubilation.

Traditional dancers in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Traditional dancers in Siem Reap, Cambodia

I celebrated my 57th birthday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at Yod Abyssinia Restaurant, probably the most jubilant celebration I’ve ever had.

Traditional Ethiopian dancers
Traditional Ethiopian dancers

And finally, on my month-long trip through Spain and Portugal, I was inspired by the jubilant flamenco dancers at Jardines de Zoraya in Granada, Spain.

flamenco dancers at Jardines de Zoraya in Granada
flamenco dancers at Jardines de Zoraya in Granada

weekly photo challenge: face

Friday, May 13:  I’m taking a trip down memory lane today for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Face.  I loved the serene faces of Buddha seen all over Myanmar.

Buddha in Bagan
Buddha in Bagan
Buddha in Bagan
Buddha in Bagan

Of course, I carry close to my heart the characterful faces of the Omani people I met during my two years in Oman.

Fisherman at Al Musanaah
Fisherman at Al Musanaah
a fisherman at the beach at Al Musanaah
a fisherman at the beach at Al Musanaah
Omani girls on Jebel Akhdar
Omani girls on Jebel Akhdar
a local man at Misfat Al Abriyyen
a local man at Misfat Al Abriyyen

 

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weekly photo challenge: earth

Saturday, May 7:  The Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth invites us to share: On this day, between the global Earth Day celebration, and Mother’s Day in the United States, share your vision of our glorious Mother Earth.

To celebrate the earth, here’s a walk among the skunk cabbage carpeting the Difficult Run Stream Valley along the Fairfax Country Cross-County Trail.

skunk cabbage
skunk cabbage

Skunk cabbage is a flowering perennial that is one of the first plants to emerge in spring, especially in woodlands, wetlands and near streams.

The Difficult Run stream
The Difficult Run stream

Apparently, skunk cabbage gets its name from the unpleasant odor it emanates.  The scent attracts pollinators that are attracted to rotting meat.

I do have to say I didn’t smell anything unpleasant on our walk. 🙂

skunk cabbage galore
skunk cabbage galore

It’s amazing how the earth is a living, breathing system that abides on its own terms, beyond our understanding.

Difficult Run
Difficult Run
Skunk cabbage and tree branches
Skunk cabbage and tree branches

Happy Earth Day and Mother’s Day! 🙂

weekly photo challenge: joy {christmas day}

Wednesday, December 25:  Having been away from home for the last three Christmases, it was pure joy to be home this year to celebrate with my family.  We woke up at a leisurely pace, we had coffee, we sat beside the tree listening to Christmas carols and waited for the boys to wake up.  When they did, we opened gifts.  It was a simple Christmas, much more so than in the past, and I liked it that way.

Christmas morning in our house
Christmas morning in our house

I got new pajamas, a workout shirt, some snow boots and a bunch of books, mainly by my new favorite writer, Ann Patchett.  Mike got biking gear and clothes, Alex got a new computer, and Adam got some books and his upcoming trip to Australia (which is costing us a fortune).

Alex & Adam
Alex & Adam

After taking a long hot bath, I began preparations for the traditional Christmas brunch that I made for 20 years before I went away to Korea and Oman.  We don’t make a Christmas dinner because there is no room to eat anything after this brunch.  I know we should think of changing the menu sometime as it’s not at all heart friendly.  The problem is that we all like it so much.  I made a big Southern Grits casserole.  Lots of butter, a pound of cheese, four eggs: these are all involved.  Next I made a Breakfast Frittata that includes red pepper, a dozen eggs, milk, scallions, tarragon, goat cheese and red potatoes.  As always, on Christmas Eve, I assembled Chicken and Apple Sausage Patties, made from ground chicken, Granny Smith apples, onion and fresh sage.  Mike sauteed them this morning while I made the Cranberry Maple Compote to go on the pancakes he also made.  All of this was accompanied by mimosas and a fruit salad featuring star fruit made by my sister-in-law, Barbara.  My mother-in-law also joined us, as always.

After eating this huge feast, all we really felt like doing was napping.  Everyone spread out all around the house, finding a quiet and comfortable place, and caught a peaceful bit of slumber.

Finally, after everyone woke up, we played a game of Bananagrams (I lost), then Oodles (I lost), and then Scattergories (I also lost!).  I never win these kinds of games, but it’s fun to try!

It wasn’t a terribly exciting Christmas.  There were no big crowds, and there wasn’t a lot of rambunctious behavior, but it was enjoyable just the same.  Truly, it was a joy to be back home for the holidays.

This post is in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge of JOY.