For my Best Friend, on his Seventy (Hundredth) Birthday (for a Photo a Week: Traditions) 9/8/19

For 43 years now, this birthday guy and I have been proof that men and women can be best friends without all that romantic nonsense that seems required when a boy and girl become friends. We have had a fairly gender-less relationship.

It’s not that we haven’t had a bunch of different roles with each other. We’ve tried ’em all, believe me. 43 years is a long time.

For 30 years or more of those years, we had a delightful tradition of competing over our birthdays…who could outwit, out do, out surprise the other? My favorites from him involved dinner on a train with friends, a sunset cruise with his family, and the really sneaky one, when I met him for a drink in a very dark, very fancy bar, where it took me the better part of an embarrassing hour to realize all the other patrons in the bar were friends of mine…just waiting for me to discover them and be surprised! My favorite for him was the time I had a limo drive him all around town to very specific locations. Waiting for him in each destination, was the friend (sometimes a long-lost friend) he had shared a memorable event with in that very location. That one I was so proud of because the logistics (arrival times especially) were a nightmare and this was before GPS, cell phone contact, etc. It all went off perfectly. The evening culminated in dinner at his family’s favorite Mexican restaurant, and by then, our limo driver, having witnessed all these emotional reunions, was so connected, he joined us for dinner.

Each year, this tradition became more dramatic and elaborate until I think we both maxed out and silently agreed to just stop, and go back to corny, insulting birthday cards.

We do have our other ongoing battles for sure (sometimes feeling like the sibling role we adopt with each other). When we were younger, the fights we had were, uh, intense, heated, passionate, dramatic, elaborate, but always clean. He is the person in my adult life who taught me, through experience, people could be really angry with each other, and it didn’t mean they would leave or the relationship would be permanently damaged….or damaged at all, for that matter. Not my experience growing up, believe me.

Here’s a milder example of one of our disagreements.

I believe art is about taste, and only “good” if you happen to personally like it. He believes art is inherently either good or bad. Different upbringing for sure. He is widely educated in, and had a lifetime of exposure to historically and world famous art. His whole family is well versed in the field. He knows “good art” and will tell you exactly what’s wrong with “bad art”. He’s just that informed.

I, on the other hand, have very little interest in or knowledge of “real art”…although, when he and his family took me to the Getty museum, I have to admit getting goose bumps standing in front of several paintings. But I couldn’t tell you now who was on exhibit at the time.

I think, because my Dad taught me so young, to observe the “art” in even the smallest details around me, I instead fell in love with photography. Starting in the 4th grade, I never went anywhere without a camera. Are you old enough to remember that cheap Brownie camera so many of us had? Then the Instamatic, and I also had a Polaroid or two. I even got my first real job working in one of those little drive-thru Fotomat booths. People were thrilled to be able to get their pictures developed in ONE DAY!! And I loved being around all those people who loved snapping pictures like I did.

One of our ongoing debates has been about photography. Can it be “art”? He has leaned toward “No”. But to me, there is nothing more beautiful than capturing the “art” that actually exists…in real life…right there in front of you and your camera!

Being such a good friend, sometime in the early 1980’s, he gave me my first real camera…a beautiful Nikon, with amazing telephoto and macro lens! In some ways, it was wasted on me as I never really maximized my knowledge of that great camera. But I did get hooked on that macro lens. Imagine some 35 years ago, being able to take a close-up of a butterfly’s feet, or the mountainous texture of wrinkled blue velvet. Of course, now most of our phones can do that, but back then?? People seemed impressed because that kind of close up was so new. I kinda got it in my head that I might be ever so slightly “artistic” with my camera…a bit of a stretch, but the bottom line is I became completely enthralled with photography and it has been one of my favorite hobbies (passions? obsessions?) ever since. I LOVE taking pictures.

I have my best friend to thank for that.

So for his birthday (very few know his actual birth year, because he looks and acts much younger than his age) I am dedicating this post to him. To say thank you for the life-lessons, the experiences, the joy all these years, and for sharing his family with me. But most especially, to thank him for finally finding his princess…a lovely modelesque, blond-bombshell, adorned in all her pinks!! (He’s met his match with her, educationally, artistically, and she is so wonderful, she may well bump him into the 2nd best friend position!)

Oh and to say thanks for that now almost antique camera.

Here are some of my favorite photos, many of which I deserve no artist credit for because they were completely accidental. But they are my version of Art, so I share them in love and gratitude. There are a lot of them but in keeping with our tradition, I had to go BIG and be dramatic!

Hope you enjoy! (If you want to see an individual photo bigger, click on it and it should enlarge.)

Flowers and other growing things

 

 

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back up ALL 8-07 068

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no clue what this is

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avocados you left in your fridge

 

Animals

 

Birds

 

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Landing HOT!

Hummers and Crows (different from the other birds…)

 

 

 

 

Oddities

 

 

 

Perfect Timing

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Favorite photo subject

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back ups 114
“Just resting Gramma”
sundog curve
Sun Dog

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very last family outing

Sky

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I would love comments!!! Even if they are to debate!!

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/a-photo-a-week-challenge-traditions/

Dear Badfish, again (random memories)

  1. The Chart House restaurants in North San Diego County were a favorite eating place on vacation with my adopted family each fall.
  2. When I bought my house forty some years back, I picked it for its unusually large  piece of unincorporated city property, complete with corral and finished horse barn. It came with two Shetland Ponies, a great start to the idyllic Horse-Life I’d dreamed of. Country paradise smack dab in the middle of suburbia!! But 3 weeks after we moved in, my son’s father left us. He sold the ponies (and my Dalmatian Clancy) while 3 year old son and I were off gathering our wits for the next phase of our lives. I ended up boarding other people’s horses for years, throwing myself into two jobs and trying to finish a degree so I could start my practice. I had also picked this house because I could immediately see building my office and Group Therapy room in the unfinished basement. I had the same struggle we women all had back then, fighting the mom vs career battle and I wanted to work at home. 112_1248
  3. When trying to finish college, I waited tables at one of Seattle’s two Five Star restaurants, Henry’s Off Broadway. I got the job with zero experience, by barging onto the construction site and approaching the restaurant manager as the restaurant was still being built! He said he hired me for “my balls”. Hey, I was a young, desperate single mom and this place was just blocks from Antioch University. To fit everything in logistically, I needed a job either right next to home or to school, so apparently my ovaries turned into balls on the spot.
  4. I’ll never forget the John Denver concert at the Tacoma Dome, when we had just heard that one of our Board of Directors for INDEPTH (Institution for Developmental Education and Psychotherapy) had died. Buckminster Fuller was our most important supporter, and as it turned out, one of Denver’s closest friends. Mr. Denver could barely go on with his concert, all choked up. (One of my favorite quotes from Bucky was There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.)
  5. I would have done obscene things back in the day to cross paths with any of the Eagles. The closest I got was attending every concert I could, including one when I was 30, a Super Concert with The Eagles, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, and BONNIE RAITT!! An amazing birthday gift from friends!! And, I’m thanking the universe now that my family treated me to the Eagles History tour (again, in the Tacoma Dome) just 2 years ago, for another birthday. I will grieve for Glenn Frey for some time to come.photo 3photo 2photo 4
  6. I was a Hermit Crab thief. On a once-in-a-lifetime, non-touristy trip to Fiji, on an extremely remote, uninhabited island at the southern most tip of the Lau Group, I collected fifty of what I thought were uninhabited hermit crab shells, beautiful ones. I wanted to bring back a shell for each of my clients at the time. Normally, we would not collect anything off the many beaches we visited without that island’s Chief giving us permission (after the whole Kava drinking ceremony) but as I said, uninhabited. So I asked the Universe if I could take some shells and it said “Sure, why not?” What it didn’t tell me was how to know if my chosen shells were occupied. Nope. Didn’t discover that until later that night. Soundly sleeping in my beautiful stateroom aboard The Tau (means “friend”), a 90 foot yacht housing a crew of 5 and me, with my 6 best friends, I am awakened by this frantic scritching sound! FijiJust about all fifty of my “empty” shells, being stored in a bowl of fresh water, were scrambling to escape!!! Not to worry, unless you believe that Hermit Crabs are traumatized when you move them to a new beach. I gently placed all of them on the sand of the very next island we came to, with a sincere apology for their uprooting.(I’ve always struggled with anthropomorphism). And then our Fijian First Mate, Sefo, taught us how the natives find out if there is “anyone at home” in shells of all sizes. (They hold the shell close to their mouths and whistle. If someone is in there, they come right out to say HI.) I then successfully collected 50 empties!IMG_6309
  7. Cross Country Skiing- I learned in an idyllic circumstance. Imagine you are deeply, newly, psychotically in love…..with someone who lives as far across the country as you can get. (man, do I ever hate a long-distance relationship) BUT, he just happens to be in a location for 2 weeks that is a 12 hour drive from where you live. He is on the US Disabled Ski Team and West Yellowstone is their pre-Olympics Training Camp. He can’t get to me…he’s blind, so I decide to surprise him by showing up there. On our regular, nightly, blissful and painful phone call, I tell him to walk outside so we can be sort of standing under the same full moon. He dutifully (or romantically) walked out of his motel room, guide cane in one hand and phone in the other. I then scared the shit out of him by walking up to him to hug him! (I was not yet fully Blind Etiquette Trained.) It worked out though and we spent from midnight until the beautiful moon set/sunrise, with him teaching me how to ski the groomed trails he and his team practiced on all day. He already had them fairly well memorized, even though he skied with a sighted guide. Only surprise were the huge, and I mean HUGE buffaloes that apparently wandered across these same trails all night long. THAT was a bit less romantic.
  8. I married the guy, kind of, on the above mentioned Fiji trip, and we were together for 13 years, most of which I would not trade a minute of, including one spectacular, take-only-the-back-roads trip to his best friend’s wedding in Breckenridge. That’s the closest I got to your old stomping grounds. I loved my guy and I loved hanging with the US Disabled Ski Team for those years, a crazy, irreverent bunch with nicknames like Blinky, Wheelie, Stumpy, and Flipper (this last, a Thalidomide baby with birth defect shrunken arms that just flipped around). Ski Team (2)
  9. There should be a law against, and an immediate consequence (Karma takes way to long and is less satisfying to the injured parties) for certain kinds of marital cheating; like doing it with someone you know, especially someone close to you, or using any of your territory or equipment (your bed or vehicle), or right under your nose, etc. In my case, it was with a former client of mine who was now a client of HIS…definitely the biggest No-No in my profession! Can I pick ’em or what?!? Yeah yeah, I got the lessons part and all but shouldn’t I be able to choose (on purpose, that is) which classes to sign up for???
  10. And that brings me Back to the Eagles–Don Henley in particular (along with Lynch and Winding)…one of my favorite healing songs is “My Thanksgiving”. My favorite line is “sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge”.

Oh and Badfish, I’ll see your Ted Bundy and raise you with a Charlie Manson. (That whole thing was happening less than a mile from where I brought my sweet baby boy home from the hospital.)

And there you have it, at least until you write the next chapter of your memoirs, to trigger the next bunch of memories for me!!

PS I forgot San Diego, which I already wrote about, and your Om T-shirt!

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This is a handmade cloth paperweight.

If you have not visited https://badfish2.wordpress.com/  it’s one of my favorites, a visual treat and a fascinating journey!