Daily Post Photo Challenge: Angular

A multi-level wall art

A multi-level wall art

Today I had to go to a medical clinic. It is a new building and the architecture is contemporary. So even though it was damp and miserable outside, I took advantage of the internal design of the building. It is a Sunday so the place was very quiet and I was able to shoot some pictures without inhibition. My entry to the Daily Post Photo Challenge of Angular, here.

The photo above is the centerpiece of the atrium. The huge wall art looks like a stack of condominiums with windows but actually behind it is a wall. It does work very well for the space because that is quite hard to fill.

There’s also a post in the middle so the angular challenge gave me an idea to shoot creatively and not include the distracting vertical pipe.

Here’s the stairway guard. It looks very boring shot this way.

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I think this is more interesting.

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Posted in Day-to-day, Photo Challenge | Tagged | 7 Comments

Photography 101 – Landscape

Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk, Virginia

Trying to get my mojo back in photography by joining Photograph 101 challenge from Cheri Lucas, here.

Been taking my camera at work and errands but the sky has been so gray and the nights are getting longer. But on a gray day, three pm seems even too dark for photography.

So am using a photo I took on my last vacation.

Here’s one from one of my afternoon forays on my way to my sister’s house in the suburbs.

Riverview Farmstead

Riverview Farmstead

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Breakfast with M

Am a breakfast person. This is one meal that I never skip. I could miss lunch or dinner but my day starts with breakfast – coffee and a toast and when on vacation something more substantial – depends on where I am.

M was my co-worker at my part-time 5 years ago until she moved on. And then I moved around too – jobs and residence – so many things changed and so finally on Saturday we managed to squeeze some time from both our busy schedules.

Meeting place was Egg Harbor Cafe. It was ideal because she lives nearby and I used the pass the place before when I would catch my commuter train there.

I didn’t realize how long ago that was. There were so many one-way streets and trying to figure out how to get to the restaurant was a challenge. And then for a Sunday, parking was difficult. I remember Downers Grove used to be a ghost town on weekends when commuters were absent and the shops were closed early in the morning.

I think what made the difference was in the short span of 5 years several condominium buildings have sprung up. With the express commuter train depot there – the location is prime. It is a hop to go to the city.

Anyway, it was lovely seeing Mary again and her family. Her family came later when we were just about finished so it was nice to see her husband and daughter who’s visiting with her son. They are a very nice family and M and I had a lot of catching up to do.

Mary looked wonderful and her positive outlook in life shone through. Don’t you love to be with people like that?

Am not big on sweet things for breakfast, I almost always favor savory things. Must be because I grew up eating fried rice for breakfast. The cafe offered so many choices I was ambivalent so many times, going back and forth on so many items. In the end I had a 3-egg omelet with bacon, sausage, cheese and all the good things thrown in.

Just home cooking, our omelettes were excellent and plentiful with Intelligentsia coffee.

After our visits, I went to see a dear family friend who’s leaving for her sabbatical to the Philippines. Again am jealous that she would be skipping the Polar Vortex but the warm humid weather would be better for her.

In all I must have had 5 cups of coffee all day and to my surprise, I say that because am normally more careful with my caffeine intake, I didn’t get any sleep at all. It is almost mid-day and am still wired.

I should swear not to drink coffee again next time I have a delightful breakfast and great companies like that.

Posted in Flowers, Food, Friendships | 9 Comments

Sweet 16

The celebrant

The celebrant

Saturday was the 16th birthday of our neighbor’s youngest daughter, Celine.

It was her Sweet Sixteen Party. I read somewhere that families nowadays here in the US combines the traditional Mexican quinceanera with the 16th birthday as a daughter’s coming out celebration.

This is my first to attend one and am glad to have experienced it. I didn’t realize how filled with significance and symbolism this celebration is.

She walked down the aisle with her very proud father

She walked down the aisle with her very proud father


It all started with a mass in her honor in a church nearby attended by her families, godparents and friends. It was like a mini-wedding except there was only one person. The celebrant wore her ball gown and the church was decorated with flowers, white carpet and an arch. During the ceremony she was also given a bible, a rosary, candle, a cross and a tiara. The priest emphasized on her the importance of her faith and prayers.
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From there we drove to the reception. The hall and tables were likewise decorated beautifully. Some Hispanic ladies who sat with us explained to us the significance of quinceanara – that it is the end of a girl’s childhood and is now entering into adulthood. We were told that some families give more significance to this event than a girl’s wedding sometimes and would have a lavish and extravagant celebration.

Like in a wedding Celine had a female court or damas made up of her closest friends. They too wore gowns that reflected the color theme of the celebrant – red and black. Celine was radiant and beautiful, same with her court.


The guests also received tokens/mementos from her. She also gifted her friends. After a speech from her parents and closest girl friend, the girls presented a choreographed number. There was also a father-daughter dance. Well I must say, the father did this part extremely well and could dance just as well as the younger daughter.
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Later, the daughter returned to her mom her First Doll and was given the Last Doll which is kept as a memento of her past 15 years and signifying her changing role. The father is supposed to present her new shoes to replace her flat shoes but this time her mom did the honor. She is now a young lady ready to face the world.

Religion, food, dancing and lots of cheers and tears – I love them. I wish we keep these beautiful traditions – they are important reminders of our culture, of where we came from and who we are wherever we are.

Celine is very well loved and I could imagine her having a bright future.

365 Project: Day 275

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Dailypost Weekly Challenge: Minimalist

Sandbridge sunrise

Sandbridge sunrise

Here’s my entry to the Daily Post Challenge: Minimalist

365 Project: Day 274

Posted in East Coast, Vacation | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Travel Theme Challenge: Arches

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From East to West, here are two arches for my entry to Ailsa’s Challenge for the week. The one above was taken in Jamestown, Virginia.

The one below is an arch on a ranch in Montana.

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I love them both for their simplicity.

365 Project: Day 273

Posted in East Coast, Photo Challenge, Vacation | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Travel Challenge: Autumn

DSC_0899Am glad Ailsa picked Autumn as the challenge for the week. To join and see more Fall colors, go here.

Even though I say Autumn is not my favorite season because it heralds the end of life in the garden, it is still not as bad as Winter. I like it when the sun is out and the Fall cool weather is crisp. When just a pashmina or a light jacket is enough to keep you warm and can still bask in the sun without shivering.

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Many of us don’t have to travel far to marvel at the beauty of the season. This tree is just across the street from where I live.

At the Farmers’ Market we frequent I saw these odd looking pumpkins.

And not to be outdone are these Fall crocuses. When everything on the ground is bidding goodbye to come back next Spring, they just come alive to provide contrast.

Today is the first day when it snowed. I feel sorry for the families who’ve been looking forward to Halloween. It was too cold even for adults to venture out. It was cold, damp and windy. I could hear the wind howling and lashing by my window and the wet snow beating on the glass. Pixie has stationed herself by the furnace vent monopolizing the heat.

Goodbye Autumn!

365 Project: Day 272

Posted in Flowers, Photo Challenge, Sissi and Pixie | Tagged , | 20 Comments