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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

It's Orange Again

You'd think I like orange given how often I seem to feature it. It's actually third from the bottom of my list (purple and pink are below it). That said, I like color in general, and any color that displays itself nicely works fine for me.

This bush was growing at a house I surveyed yesterday. It's the horrible Japanese Barberry. But it's still often planted as an ornamental. You can see why. It's beautiful in the fall, and the red berries last all winter.

Japanese Barberry

This was going to be featured alone, but the sunset tonight was amazing. It ended up with blue and pink stripes, but it began with orange flames.


Early bed for me... early work in the morning. And I got extra hours today too.

See more about the barberry
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Step Around and Check a Different Angle

Out doing cases today. Went to Natahki Drive on Big Bass Lake. Actually, the lake's name was officially changed to Lake Natahki in 1907, but somehow that didn't stick. It is the name of an Indian girl who married James Willard Schultz, a popular explorer and author at the turn of the 20th Century. Here, the name survives only on this one road and a variant, Na-tah-ka, a very popular local bar, which is also on Big Bass Lake.

Anyway... I snapped a picture looking down the lake, even though it wasn't a day for attractive water pictures.

Big Bass Lake

The next stop I had to make was around on the other side of the same lake, on Bluegill Drive. The timestamps on the pictures show that these were taken 22 minutes apart. I thought it was two sides of the same island, but looking at the map, I see that it is not. However, it's the same lake taken from another angle. What a difference!

Big Bass Lake

Maybe if life is looking glum, we just need a different angle?

Right now, it's raining pretty hard. But I'm inside and warm and doing reports. All is well.

See A Winter View from Natahki
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Monday, November 16, 2015

Who's Important? and a Family Mystery

While sorting some things today, I came across a leather 4-fold picture frame that I don't recall ever seeing before.

family pictures

Judging from the age and three of the pictures that were in it, I'm sure it was my grandmother's. That said, there's a bit of a mystery...

The far left space has a picture of "Aunt Lucy." She's no relation at all, but was a friend of Granny's. She went on several vacations with us. To me, as a child, she was sort of a non-person. Just an adult who showed up for various things. Right at the moment, I can't even remember her last name. Clearly, she was very important to Granny. I never realized how much, if this collection of pictures means anything.

Aunt Lucy
The next slot is filled with a photo of my grandfather, Granny's husband, Howard Meade Rowe. I never knew him. He died before I was born.

Howard Meade Rowe
Next is, well... me. I'm about two. This was one of a set of professional photos that Granny had taken. There is another one that ended up being framed with Granny, Mom and me together (same dress, age, etc). I don't think I've ever seen this one of me alone.

Joan Hall Leary
Now comes the mystery part. Who was in the fourth frame? Clearly, there is a picture there of my mother. But it was not put there by Granny, and it doesn't fit the frame. The picture was taken after Granny was no longer living on her own. I'll show you the picture of my mom, in a minute. My guess is there was a picture there of "Jacques." (just say Jack- Granny had pretensions) Here's why I think that.

First of all, Granny never made any bones about it that Jacques and I were her favorites. She made a point of snubbing my mom regularly. Secondly, behind the too-small-for-the-frame photo is a letter written by Jacques that I've never seen before. Obviously something Granny really treasured. I'll treasure it too. Jacques (Merrill Fisher Rowe) was killed in a terrible accident when he was 26. We don't have many mementos of his life. Granny (her writing) has dated this 8/4/15. That's 1915. Jacques would have been eight. (In some ways, it's a little creepy to find something written a century ago, by an uncle I never knew.)

On the front it says "Dear Father, Uncle Lew put a saddle on Kate and I rode her around the yard. Love, Merrill."

letter from Jacques 1915
On the reverse is a picture of a horse with a rider. It's labeled "Kate and me."

child's drawing of a horse and rider
I think that Mom found this picture set at some point and removed the photo of Jacques. I know that she loved him dearly, but was naturally always hurt at Granny's favoritism. She couldn't keep it out of her voice when family topics arose. Then, she added her own picture, and three other letters to that last space. Those letters are two short notes I wrote to her, long after I was married and raising kids. Also, there is a thank-you note to her from Steve, our youngest, for a birthday gift. I would only classify one of those letters as anything significant, so I'm not sure why Mom chose to stash them there. She kept all my other letters, but I discovered them in plain manilla envelopes, long ago.

If Mom sort of commandeered the frame for people she cared about, I'm not sure why she left the photo of Aunt Lucy. I never had any sense of closeness between the two of them.

Do you think I'll come across a loose picture of Jacques that would fit this frame somewhere?

Anyway, here's Mom. Photo taken around 1965, my best guess anyway.

Catherine Rowe Leary
Families can be strange things, can't they?

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Staying Safe in the Cemetery

If you are in Michigan, you know that this is opening day of gun-deer season. I took a walk in the cemetery rather than be anywhere near where people are hunting. Generally, I think hunters are fine, but there are some who drink too much, or are a little crazy.

One maple has somehow held on to its leaves and whispers "winter's not here yet."

cemetery creek

It was a peaceful walk. The residents don't bother me much.


See How's the Cemetery Creek?
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Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Auditon

Tonight I went to a one-act play put on by one of the local high schools. The title is The Audition, and it gives an insightful look behind the scenes as various students try out for parts in A Chorus Line.

The scenes I am sharing have more to do with which of my pictures turned out, rather than any particular attempt to cover the story.

First, all the interested students show up for the audition, with an odd assortment of ideas about what it is they are actually doing there.

The Audition

Yuma is the crazy, athletic, extroverted student who wants to dance everything out.

The Audition

Carrie wants to be cast in a love scene with Tommy, who is shy. She tricks him into reading a romantic part with her.

The Audition

Soliel is the girl that doesn't fit in anywhere. She's different. The dim figures behind her are the other kids who are always telling her she's no good, that she doesn't belong, but she's determined to be OK, in spite of them.

The Audition

I didn't get a good picture of these scenes, but two cast members are at odds with parents. The mother of one wants her to be in everything and be perfect, so she can get into Yale. Another girl is very good at dramatics, but her mother doesn't care at all. When the girl is cast in the lead role, her mother makes her quit so she can get a job.

Through the use of heavy stereotypes (the ones I mentioned and others, too) we can all find ourselves when we were younger. There were as many motives for trying out as there were auditioners. I'm sure this play resonates strongly with high schoolers.

But, of course, in the end, the show must go on.

The Audition

I got extra work hours in the morning, so it's off to bed with me!

See Theater
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