Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Category: Marriage

Yesterday and today

The beginning and the end
One day follows another

A hand reaches out
Eyes meet yet again

One true note after another
moves through time after time

A small bud bursts open
on trees swaying in the wind

The sun set in the west
and rose in the east
yesterday and today

Yesterday I accompanied D to a doctor’s appointment, and watched a procedure on his back. It wasn’t pretty or pain-free. It was, however, successful. We came home relieved and weary.

It got me thinking about times D has accompanied me in the last four years to appointments with a variety of doctors, including emergency room and surgical procedures. Some planned, some not planned.

I’ve always prided myself on being healthy. Looking back, however, I’d say I was fighting to hold it together as best I could, given the circumstances of my childhood, and my workplace. I didn’t expect retirement would surface so many health challenges.

Nonetheless, D was there for me. It felt wonderful to be there for him yesterday. A small way I could do for him what he has willingly and mostly gladly done for me, especially in the last several years.

This little poem came to mind while I was sitting at my kitchen window this morning. The minute it was on paper I knew it was for D. And for you, my friends and visitors who have your own lives, dreams, sorrows and joys.

Take care of someone you love today–or your pet. And don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 28 February 2019
Photo found at clicknmoms.com

Photos and a Poem | Longwood Gardens 2019

After we visited the orchid show, D and I headed over to see what was going on in the meadow. Not much, if you were looking for lush signs of spring. Nonetheless, what I saw inspired a poem. D took the photo from the wooden bridge over the meadow pond.

Floating on the pond
Webs crack through ice
Awake to Spring knocking
On soggy doors

Beneath the surface
Frozen life hibernates
Motionless and chilled –
Fragile beauty
Waiting for release
From Winter’s icy grip

And now this photo — a closeup of something lying on the ice in the photo above. A graceful, beautiful remnant of Fall. This time fragile beauty frozen to the surface, waiting for release.

So…what about that meadow? Though it was open to hikers, there were precious few actually on the trails. The happiest hikers we saw were in motorized wheelchairs! No muddy boots, no slipping and sliding.

This budding tulip tree next to the meadow seems to think spring is just around the corner –

After a look at the slippery, muddy meadow paths, we decided to stay on the paved perimeter and walk over to the pond. I’ve never seen it so full, or so covered with ice.

Still, it was beautiful, peaceful and alive with signs of life, even though nothing was moving below the surface. I love the reflection of tree trunks and limbs in the first photo below. The second photo documents our only live bird sighting on the ground around the pond and meadow. One lonely robin.

This last set of photos is from our walk back to the visitor’s center. I chose several with flashes of color, beauty, or quirky interest.

Shadows and hints of things to come. Even the icy pond shows promise. I can’t wait to go back when Spring has officially arrived.

Thanks for visiting!

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 February 2019
Photos taken by DAFraser, 5 February 2019

Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood 2019 | Photos

Thanks to Longwood Gardens for putting on the best annual orchid show in town! Here are some favorites from D’s prolific photos — nearly 300 photos this time.

We’re in the Conservatory’s spacious indoor gardens and hallways. Imagine the best-kept indoor garden you’ve never had, plus the sound of water flowing and/or cascading down in almost every room.

The photo above shows a passage from the main fountain garden to a quieter area. A small fountain at one end keeps the shallow water moving. Potted palms sit in boxes on the pool floor. Chairs and boxes of ivy and small flowering plants line the edge of the pool. Beyond the windows on the far side (above) are water lily ponds still in hibernation.

For special events the pool is drained, and furniture set up for elegant programs, dining, dancing or other celebrations.

Time for more orchids — beginning with this unusual black orchid from Longwood’s collection.

The ‘orchid curtain’ below lines a passageway beyond the orchid room. The second photo shows the same curtain on the reverse side, this time lining a tropical plant garden.

They next two photos remind me of college days and orchid corsages. That would be in the 1960s, when an orchid corsage or even wrist adornment was the mark of a woman spoken for! Or at least hopeful. We’ve come a long way, baby! And yes, the orchids were lovely — the mark of a caring gentleman.

Several more beauties — a random mix of smiling (sort of) faces and the unexpected.




Finally, one last look at three Conservatory paths. First to the orchid room, then through the bromeliad display, and finally around the edge of the main Conservatory entrance. I wish I could capture the sounds and fragrance of this place. Maybe someday….

I hope your day is sunny, filled with fragrant beauty and moments of calm joy.

Thanks for coming along!

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 13 February 2019
Photos taken by DAFraser, 5 February 2019, Longwood Gardens Conservatory

Autumn in the Park | Photos

Grab it before it’s gone! Autumn loveliness. Including my friend Rita’s way-too-lovable dog (above) who has more energy than both of us put together.

D took all photos. Normally he doesn’t bring his camera when we walk through the neighborhood. But this year’s brief autumn flame-out was too much to resist. He took the photos in and around Gladwyne Park, open year-round to the public and to pets on leashes.  D took these between 4 and 5pm.

Here’s my favorite tree to stand beneath in the fall! It always takes my breath away. Especially when the late afternoon sun is hitting the leaves just right. The closeup below shows damaged leaves–heat, insects, too much rain or not enough rain. Still, the colors come through right on time.

The first year we lived here (well over 30 years ago), I remember stopping my car to stare at the fall colors in this park. I hadn’t seen anything so beautiful since we’d lived in New England. The tree below is the largest on the lot. It’s a maple, similar to the one above. And look! Just below you can see Rita’s beautiful little dog walking Rita through the park! He’s that little speck of white fuzz pulling Rita along.

Here we’re coming to the recreational area of the park. You can see picnic tables on the right, and the corner of an athletic field on the left. Beyond the picnic tables there’s a basketball court and playground area.

Finally, several random photos taken as we leave the park and head home.

Even Rita’s little bundle of energy is ready to go home.

Here’s to at least a few more days of autumn glory! Thanks for stopping by.

Elouise

Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 November 2018
Photos taken by DAFraser, 4 November 2018

Loch an Eilein, Scotland | Photos

This week I enjoyed looking back through photos D took on our 50th wedding anniversary trip to Scotland three years ago. If I had to pick one place I’d love to revisit, it would be Loch an Eilein. It’s got everything–mystery, 15th century small castle ruins on an island, and a gorgeous 4.5 mile hiking trail around the lake.

The proud male duck at the top is guarding his mate who’s hidden in the marsh grass, sitting on at least one egg.

For perspective, here’s an overview of the lake, with that mysterious island in the distance. Can you see the bit of stone emerging from the trees? The hiking path goes right around the perimeter, offering several views of the island and castle.

So here we go…one foot after another. Loaded with water and snacks. Sometimes the path was smooth. Sometimes it wasn’t. Good hiking shoes required. We walked through stands of towering pines and meadow-like blankets of heather and thistles.

Here’s the best view we had of the castle ruins. Make up your own mysterious, romantic story….

From this point, we walked around the top of the lake and followed the path on the opposite side of the island. The path so far had been friendly for wheelchairs or walkers, if a bit bumpy. Beyond this point we went through several rough, rocky patches along with a few uphill climbs. Still, it was beautiful, and gave us one more good look at the castle ruins.


Finally, after walking for what seemed an eternity, we came to the end of the hike. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Well, most of it anyway….

Happy Friday! Here’s to a weekend of dreams come true and the creative rewriting of our worst nightmares.

Thanks to D for all these photos, and thanks to you for visiting the gallery!

Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 14 September 2018
Photos taken by DAFraser, September 2015 in Scotland

Tripping out at the Zoo | Photos

Yesterday we joined at least a zillion happy children and their caretakers at the Philly Zoo. The weather was great, so the Zoo was the place to be! If it were polite to take pictures of children’s faces, this post wouldn’t have a single zoo animal in it. Nonetheless, as we were leaving the grounds, we passed a group of children sitting on the edge of the fountain just inside the entrance. All dressed up for a day at the Philly Zoo!

As you know, D takes the photos, and I get to pick my favorites to share with you. So today it’s almost all about Zoo animal faces. I often wonder what’s going on inside animals’ heads. As in, “Who orchestrated this bizarre parade of human beings for us today?”

Here are some of their faces, beginning with a squirrel monkey watching everyone coming through the front gate. Plus a few photos of his/her small furry relatives.


Here’s an unlikely assortment of water-lovers, beginning with an otter. Note its sharp little fangs! Followed by penguins luxuriating in their brand new digs–which includes cool, clear water. Chilling out. Followed by a behemoth hippo that’s also a graceful floater. And, of course, a lovely trumpeter swan.

The Zoo recently welcomed a new baby giraffe. Here he is, checking out Zoo visitors, followed by a few more large animals that thrive in summer heat–as long as there’s a watering hole nearby.

Finally, four photos I like just because of color, faces, feathers, fur and/or general quirkiness.

Here’s to a cool weekend for all creatures great and small! Including you, unless you’re pining for more heat.

Cheers!
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 August 2018
Photos taken by DAFraser, 23 August 2018, at the Philly Zoo

Keeping on the sunny side

Last night I opened my journal to make a short entry about the day—generally gray and dismal, including a computer-related crisis. Instead, this is what came out:

A thought just came to me. I’m almost afraid to write it down.

For every day and night I live without Alzheimer’s, I want to be grateful – and take advantage of things that bring me joy. I don’t want to live each day under a growing cloud of fear and anxiety about my future or our future [mine and D’s].

I grew up consumed by anxiety, dread and fear. They followed me every day of my life. They were in the air, even when we were having fun. Never too much fun, of course.

I enjoy life, and I generally enjoy being myself and not someone else. Yet often hanging over all of it are clouds of anxiety, dread or fear.

Today it’s easy to point to fear of Alzheimer’s as the chief culprit. But it isn’t. Sometimes it seems I inherited a gene that predisposes me to the dark side of life.

I can’t stop the bad stuff from happening, and I can’t get back what I’ve already lost.

So instead of focusing on what might happen today or tomorrow, I’m choosing to focus on things that bring me joy. No matter how small or ordinary they may seem to others.

If you’re scratching your head wondering why this is such a revolutionary thought, I don’t blame you.

In my family of origin, community and church settings, the struggles of life were often celebrated and even rewarded with attention. Or so it seemed to me. The fun stuff was cake and ice cream we might get to enjoy someday if we were good girls.

I’m choosing instead to feast right now on the sunny side of life. With gusto and without apology, no matter how small or insignificant my choices seem to anyone else.

As for the other stuff, it is what it is. I can’t make it go away. I can, however, shower it with small gifts of joy and delight as often as possible.

Thanks for listening!
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 July 2018
Keep on the Sunny Side found on YouTube
Live performance by The Whites and Jerry Douglas (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou arrangement)

Favorite Philly Zoo Photos | Part 2

Let’s go to the zoo again! You’ll recall that we’re in downtown Philadelphia visiting the oldest formal zoo in the USA. This was just over a week ago when it looked like Spring had finally arrived. D took this photo as we were leaving the zoo. The skipping girl and abstract deer are fairly flying through the air.

Which brings us to birds. First, here’s a peek at a caged primate enjoying the fly-around tube. Primates housed in protected areas (not outdoors) get to roam from time to time. The tube snakes like a railroad track through several areas of the zoo, so they get to watch us for a change!

The McNeil Avian Center was my favorite stop. The first area was wide open, with tropical plants and a stream. Exotic birds roamed at will, and guides were available to answer our questions. Other areas had protective boundaries, always with a variety of birds housed together, with plants and ground cover that suited their natural habitats.

As we walked back through the exhibits, the afternoon sun hit the ground. You can see what happened in the second photo. Sunbathing, bird style!

Our last photo stop tells a little story. Several peacocks roam the zoo. It’s spring. As you can see below Mr. Peacock is in resplendent glory. And he tries his best. For a long, long time he tries his best. And we all watch, hoping to see what we’ve never seen before…

Alas, Ms. Peacock seems to prefer the giant sea turtles. Or was it that other male screeching from across the sidewalk?

Thanks for coming along!
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 6 June 2018
Photos taken by DAFraser at the Philadelphia Zoo, May 2018

Favorite Philly Zoo Photos | Part 1

I don’t generally like zoos. Nonetheless, the Philly Zoo has my admiration on several counts. Besides carefully thought-out habitations, it supports worldwide efforts to strengthen endangered species. The Zoo also houses endangered and almost extinct wildlife. It’s the first ‘proper’ zoo in the USA, and is located downtown in a busy area–lots of city traffic noise. You can find out more about the Zoo, with photos, at Wickipedia and at the Philadelphia Zoo site.

Following are some of D’s photos. I’ve chosen them based on what I love to look at. Usually because of color, light and shadows, though personality counts too. I don’t remember all inhabitants’ names or countries of origin, so won’t try. The photo at the top shows the area just outside the main entrance.

We began in the exotic (often endangered) species house. It was nap time!

 

 

Now we’re outside with flamingos and other warm-weather birds. Despite their stately appearance, the male flamingos were in a take-no-prisoner mood, with too many males vying for too few females who were already sitting on their still-empty mud nests. A Great Racket ensued every several minutes, especially from the Chief Male. The yellow iris were stunning, as were brilliant feathers the males kept ruffling and showing off.

Next up were warm-weather penguins. Cute and chubby. They’re followed by the loudest of the outdoor birds. They aren’t caged, and are sitting at the end of a lovely pond watching visitors go by. D’s pond photo is another of his impressionistic water shots.

 

Finally, in the spirit of taking it easy, here are some large animals who look cool to me.

Thanks for coming along! In Part 2 we’ll visit the aviary and our last heart-breaker stop for the day.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 1 June 2018
Photos taken by DAFraser at The Philadelphia Zoo, May 2018

Attic Update with Photos

Whew! I can hardly believe we’re getting there. Our daughter and her husband arrive Saturday night, and will be our first guests in the new attic bedroom/sitting area! Except for Smudge and I. We’ve already stolen a little snooze or two on the new mattress.

The photo at the top and the following photo are painful reminders of What It Was Back When….after more than 30 years of living in this old house. The top photo looks Northeast, the one below Southwest. D took the top photo before we began clearing stuff out; below we’re well over halfway there, believe it or not.

And here’s what the contractors had to work with–almost ready for them to begin.

Below you’ll see the Northeast look, with everything but the floor finished. I loved the old checkerboard linoleum, though it was well past its prime. In these photos we still have carpet to go, plus furniture. The trim is white; the ceiling and walls are very light green with blue tint that complements the view from the attic windows–tree tops and blue sky. The third photo looks toward our back yard–Southwest. You can see the handrail we had added to the attic stairway. There were already skylights over the stairs and on the East side of the attic roof.

So here’s where we are today–still getting things put together and in place. Carpet all laid, with the painter due to return and put one more coat on the attic stairwell. The carpet is gray–a short, tight plush weave that’s supposed to resist cat claws.


Last but not least, I took some photos with my IPad to document the contributions of the two males most present in my life these days.



I’m surprised at how wonderful it feels to have this task well along the way to completion. I’ve dreaded the day when we would either die and leave the mess to our family members to clean up, or when we would finally grab the bull by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. Actually, I have D to thank for wrestling it to the ground–though I’ll take my share of the bows, as well.

The rest of this week we’ll be getting things back to a bit of sanity downstairs and upstairs. I’ll post as I’m able, and take attic snoozes with Smudge whenever the urge hits me.

Thanks for stopping by today!
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 25 April 2018
Photos taken by DAFraser and ERFraser

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