Archives for posts with tag: photos

I was amused, and slightly annoyed, listening to someone bash Facebook, calling it a complete waste of time. I understand that not everybody likes everything in the modern world, including television, movies, email, computers, smart phones, etc., but there are those of us of all ages who embrace every bit of it. So, this is my rebuttal on Facebook, in no particular order of importance.

1. The photos. It has replaced the brag book for parents and grandparents. When I first became a grandmother, we all carried books of photos in our purses, which quickly became obsolete as the babies grew up so fast. Now, we all see everything in our friends’ family lives. If you don’t want to see it, don’t look, but the rest of us are delighted to share the greatest of happiness with you. And, use the privacy settings if you don’t want everyone in the world to see them.

2. More photos. I love the travel photos, which give me new places to dream about, and the everyday photos, which take me with you. I love the weather photos, the food and coffee photos, and any photo you share! Again, if this isn’t your thing, don’t look. Scroll down for something else.

3. The videos. I love seeing what videos amused you or moved you, or seeing videos of your baby’s first steps. It saves me going to YouTube to search for them myself and I get an inkling of your sense of humor or your compassion or your life.

4. My own group of friends all in one place, sharing together. I am happy to have friends of all ages, from my grandchildren to elderly friends on Facebook. There are friends from various places I have been, friends from previous jobs, friends from school, which was a long time ago, old friends and new friends, friends of my children, and mere acquaintances. I get to choose which ones are there. And, I like that I can sort them out into groups and see only the posts of my family or a certain group or my close friends without having to search the site each time.

5. Private messages. Facebook messages have replaced emails in many cases and I’m for any way we can reach each other.

6. Businesses or groups I “Like.” I’m cautious with this because I don’t want this to end up like my email which is now 90% business ads. I do like to check on a restaurant or store to see what is going on there and Facebook is an easy way to do that.

7. Links to articles. It seems I find more information than ever on very interesting and timely issues due to the links my friends post. Once I read that one, I find more and keep reading on. Sometimes, these articles are linked to sites I have never heard of, so it’s a shortcut for me. If a friend posts it, I am likely to check it out.

8. Sharing important moments. When my son died, I was so touched by the tributes to him on Facebook and the messages to his family from people all over the country. We still keep his page so that his friends can post photos they run across or send a message when they are thinking about him. Facebook also lets people share when their friends are sick or going through rough periods in their life or having a happy moment, such as a wedding or graduation. We are all a community at those times particularly.

9. Deepening friendships. Through Facebook, I have learned so much more about people I knew at work or through my children or hadn’t seen in awhile or just met, or have known my whole life. Through their sharing, I feel much more involved in their lives and understand them much better. Sometimes, I admit, I don’t like what I see so much, but that helps me understand them better.

10. Sharing the news. When something happens in our world, I’m sure to find political comments, quotes, articles, and observations, whether we are discussing gay rights, elections, religion, entertainment news, commentary on television programs or movies or art or sports. I learn so much about you this way. Sometimes we don’t think alike and the discussions get lively, but we are discussing some serious issues and it’s always great to look at all sides of everything.

I understand that younger Facebook users are turned off because their parents and grandparents have taken it over and they want their own space with their own friends. Boy, do I remember that feeling well and I respect it. They have turned to Instagram, which is fun and makes us all art photographers, but is limited in scope as they don’t have to use words very much. They like Twitter, which has its limits also. And there are other sites. I hope that they come back along the way because, until something new comes along, Facebook seems to be the best community for those of us who value relationships and want to stay in touch. If I could be with all these people in person every day. . .well that’s not possible. This is my thank you to Mark Zuckerberg for his enterprise.

Nobody has to join Facebook, but it’s sure fun.


When you lose people you love, and we all do, most of us look for the pieces of them we have left. Photos, letters, recordings, the little things they loved. I have a few things of my husband’s and my son’s tucked away in a drawer by my bed. There are little things from my mother, father, grandparents around the house. Most of the time, the things are just there, but a lot of times seeing them warms my heart. They keep those loved ones close to me. That’s not to say I don’t have some of the same kinds of things around from family and friends who are still with me. I like to surround myself with pieces of my life.

One of the nicest things that happens is when you find a piece of the past unexpectedly. Once I found a piece of paper that was the last grocery list my husband wrote. I keep it tucked in my billfold. I guess it will wear out eventually, but it’s nice to know it’s there. I’ve got a trunk in my bedroom full of little treasures from my kids. The trunk belonged to my great-grandmother and was painted and decorated by my mother-in-law for a wedding present. I look in there every once in awhile and it’s like a bombardment of memories.

I tell people that one of the best things you can do for someone who loses a loved one is to share an old photo or memory of them. It’s like filling in a piece of the person they were. I found a box of slides in the bottom of a box last week. They were dated 1979. I must have taken them but don’t remember taking any slides. Maybe I put the wrong film in my camera or was just trying something new. I’m not sure I’d ever seen these pictures before. I realized they were from my son’s 4th birthday and took them to have prints made. We never knew what we were going to end up with in those days so some photos aren’t very good, some are almost too dark to see. There are a couple of my mother holding her youngest grandson, a month old at the time. I lightened them on the computer and they brought back her tenderness as she held that baby close to her. There’s another one, also very dark, of my sister holding her youngest, that same month old baby. So long ago, yet so close in my heart.

There are photos of my son that turn up from his friends now and then. They are good about posting them on his Facebook page, which we keep open. It’s good to see him alive and laughing. It fills in pieces of how he was when I wasn’t around. I keep a lot of things written about him and by him in a box for his daughter to have later when she wants to get to know him.

This holiday season, we all might think about finding some of the pieces for other people, reminders of loved ones. Yesterday, I got this picture of my son, seeing it for the first time, from a long ago slide. His daughter, the greatest gift he left us, just turned 4 and here he is at the same age. It makes me laugh and cry at the same time to see my little snotty nosed, goofy kid with his Wookie cake on his 4th birthday. It’s a piece of him recovered for my heart.

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When I first got a digital camera and scanner, I thought this was the place that all my photos would be stored, the great preserver of all the images of my life. That was naive to say the least. My friends of my advanced age think I’m pretty good on the computer…I would say I’ve embraced it and love all my technology. But…

With 16,000 photos stored on my computer, along with a back-up drive, I managed to delete them all last year in a quick move that still makes me cringe and that I’m still paying for and trying to correct. I had them all on my Mac, stored in events and albums, dated, some labeled. Very organized. Then, in a move I can’t believe, I moved the photo file to the trash and emptied the trash. Just like in the real world. I threw them away! I recovered about 14,000 of them from the hard drive and then had to go Snapfish and Facebook or rescan them to get the rest. The ones I had sent on a disk from Snapfish were out of order and not dated, so I’m still working with a few hundred of those. Lesson learned. I asked the Apple guy at the store how he stored his photos and he said he has them on two hard drives and disks. You can’t over-save them. That’s my Tip for the day.

That was last fall. Dang! Then, last week, I was looking at the media library for this blog. It said I had used up so much storage and had so much left. In my overly active or overly tired mind, I thought it would be a good idea to make some space. So, I deleted most of them. Then I noticed that not all my blogs had the photos. What was I thinking? Why would I think that inserting them in the blog automatically stored them somewhere else? So, I’m recovering the photos I deleted from various places and re-inserting them into the blogs. If you are looking through old blogs of mine…THANK YOU!…you might notice some blanks where there should be photos. I’m in the process of fixing it. It’s not as hard as it sounds, but it takes some time. I’m considering it as learning a new skill. Come back another time for complete blogs!

The good thing is that I am about to celebrate my first anniversary of blogging and this idiotic move of mine has made me go back through every one of my pieces and I’m forced to see what I wrote over the last year. That has been a fun thing and makes me realize how much I’ve learned. It also reminds me how much I don’t know. Which I already knew. I knew I really don’t know much…I’m just not afraid to admit it and keep on plugging away. Thanks for bearing with me…


Going through old pictures is a weakness of mine. When I was growing up, my grandparents kept theirs in the top drawer of a dresser in the spare bedroom. Both of my grandmothers did this, so I would rummage through those pictures, studying my parents and grandparents at younger ages. My mother wasn’t such a picture person, but I took it upon myself to keep track of our photos. When my grandparents and parents died, I ended up with a lot of the pictures. I get immersed in them sometimes and go on scanning binges so I can share them with relatives and friends. It’s an obsession, an addiction. Probably not a bad one, but I have to pull myself out of it into real life.

A reunion brings it all back again. I don’t have too many pictures from high school & college. Enough, but not to compare with the thousands I have today in our digital age. After our 50th reunion, friends began rummaging through attics, scrapbooks, drawers and coming up with some I’d never seen. The pictures flood you with images that you had forgotten in the everyday rush of our lives. You stop for a minute and go back in time, in wonder at the person, the child, you were back then when you thought you knew so much and had the whole world out there to conquer.


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Well, we all know more now. We’ve been out in that world and we’re glad to have survived. Our stories are varied, our lives tangled with children, grandchildren, spouses and parents, all in various throes of needing us. We know that we still haven’t seen it all, because what is life but one surprise after another, but we’re still living it and learning from it.

But, oh my. That girl child I was…I hope there’s still a lot of her left in me.

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I went to dinner with one of my grandsons this week. He just got his driver’s license and he drove…another day, another blog. Great kid, about 6’3″ and growing, and loved hearing my stories about the reunion while he told me about his recent mission trip at church and his basketball and soccer and his new job. He’ll have his own photos of high school to look through on the computer probably, until the next new invention. He said he couldn’t wait for his reunion. Isn’t that interesting? I never even thought about a reunion back then.

We’re all out there making more memories all the time. And going back through the photos of our lives…

In the aftermath of a fun 50th high school reunion weekend, there are lessons to be learned and shared for those who love reunions, those dread them, those who never go to them. The 50th is a unique milestone, one that always seemed, to me at least, an event way off in the distance. Now it’s behind us and I think we all were surprised and warmed by the reality of it. Here are my top 10 thoughts:

One. There is a little sharing of what’s going on with the kids, sharing pictures of the grandkids, but it’s not the main thing people talked about. In fact, it was the least thing talked about. Sorry kids. We are much more interesting people as ourselves than you think. Our peers know this.

Two. There were people who attended that I was afraid would feel alone in the crowd, didn’t know if their friends were attending because I didn’t know them that well in high school. I never saw anyone who stayed alone. Maybe it’s because we all look so different now, but classmates introduced themselves to everyone. They were genuinely interested in meeting them and hearing their stories.

Three. The conversations were on a deeper level. In bars and restaurants after the events, at breakfast, lunch, casual conversations, people were discussing the important things in life. Nothing was judgmental, just sharing stories and understanding what life throws at you. Everyone has a story, an interesting one.

Four. There was no division of groups, cliques. Sure, people sat with their closest friends when they could, but people rarely sat still. Everyone was looking for someone they wanted to see or meet. Everybody was interested in the stories of their classmates.

Five. Nobody cared how you looked then or now. Of course it was sometimes amusing or sad or surprising to see how different or how much the same some were, but everybody understands that it’s a combination of life style, genetics and pure luck that we are here at all. There were a lot of classmates with minor to major disabilities, but that was part of their story. We were celebrating that we’re still standing, we’re still here.

Six. You never know what life is going to bring. At the 50th, many were retiring and diving into new interests or careers. We had lots of authors, photographers, travelers in this new stage. People were moving after lifetimes in one place, leaving their homes and friends, to start new adventures closer to their children and grandchildren or just moving to new places. It’s an ever changing time of life being 67-68 years old.

Seven. People commented that they made new friends. Not because they didn’t like the other in high school, but because they didn’t know them then. They met and found common interests and a common past.

Eight. There are a lot of things buried in our memories that just need a trigger to recover. Our 92 year old Latin teacher came from 4 hours away to inspire us once again. She called all her former students to the front with her and then told us to sing. After 50 or more years, the words, most of them, to Gaudeamus Igitur came from our mouths like we sang them yesterday. Who knew that was in there? In fact, I looked it up today and am really touched by what the song says.

Gaudeamus igitur
Iuvenes dum sumus.
Post iucundam iuventutem
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus.

The translation is:
Let us rejoice, therefore,
While we are young.
After a pleasant youth
After a troubling old age
The earth will have us.

What a wise teacher and what a gift to us to sing something we learned in our youth that means so much more today.

Also, when the band played the songs of our youth, we knew all the words and our bodies moved the same to the music. Talk about muscle memory! We can still party like it’s 1963. Maybe not as long, but the spirit of our teen years lives on.

Nine. Hugs are universally healing. A weekend of hugs and kisses from those who shared your youth does wonders for your health and attitude. There were lots and lots of hugs.

Ten. A classmate wrote afterwards that he realized how much we all need “love, belonging and connection.” That was what it was all about in the end.

The nicest thing is that we are so connected in this place in time when there is no excuse to lose the glow of the weekend. Our class has a website, a Facebook page, and addresses. There were more people adding contacts to their phones, sharing pictures, writing down information than ever before. Those connections mean even more now because we understand that our time is precious and we want to enrich it with the best people we have encountered in our lives.

If you never attend a reunion, I’m sorry. They only get better with time…

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My lifelong obsession with photography began with looking through drawers of photos at my grandmothers’ houses.  They both threw them in a top drawer of a chest of drawers in a back bedroom and I would just stand there going through them, looking at my parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles, and friends and relatives that I didn’t know.

My father used to take a lot of pictures, especially during the war.  He had movies he took from his bomber while traveling to Puerto Rico and South America before flying over to Africa, snapshots of the guys stationed in Africa, and color movies of African cities.  He even took movies while on bombing missions.  He was the Squadron Commander and pilot.  He laughed much later, saying he took rolls of color film with him, not realizing he couldn’t replenish it easily during the war.  He took a few pictures of me when I was a baby, but he didn’t take that many through the years.  A few when he and my mother travelled, but not so many.

My mother didn’t really like photos until much later in her life.  Her father died when she was 5 and her mother struggled to raise three kids during the depression, so maybe she was trying to put those memories behind her, although she recalled those years with much humor and love.  She just didn’t like photography as much as I did, I guess.  In her later years, she treasured the photos of Daddy after he died and loved the ones of her grandkids.  They began to mean more to her.

When I was about 12, I got disgusted with the photos in our house being thrown in a box and put them in an album.  I didn’t really organize them and I glued them, so they’re hard to get out now.  I got my first camera around that time.  It was a Christmas present and I can still remember the bright yellow Kodak box it came in.  I was so proud of that camera!


It’s hard to explain to this generation, with their phones that have cameras built in for instant gratification, what it was like to have a camera until very, very recently.  My Brownie Hawkeye was the latest thing at the time for the general public, not like the fancy Nikons and Leicas that real photographers used.

My camera used flash bulbs, which were sometimes unreliable and not always handy.  You could take the flash attachment off if you wanted and we took a lot of pictures outside.  At my age, I was dependent on my parents for supplies, like film and bulbs, so I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I would like to.


Basically, here is what you had to do to get a picture:

1.  Load film in the camera.  This was tricky because you had to insert the end of the roll in one spool and roll it around, then insert the spool in the camera.  Sometimes, you didn’t roll it straight and had to do it again or the film would break.

2.  Once the film was in the camera, you rolled the film with the little knob on the side until the number 1 showed in a little window at the back.  Rolls of film had 12 pictures back then.  Later we got rolls with 25 pictures.

3.  If you were using flash, you had to attach the flash attachment and then insert a bulb, making sure it was in all the way.

4.  You looked down into the viewfinder and held the camera very still while pushing down on the release.  If you pushed too fast, you jerked the camera and ruined the picture, which you wouldn’t know until you saw the pictures later.

5.  Then you rolled the film to the next picture so that you didn’t double expose the film and have one picture on top of the other.

6.  You removed the flash bulb, which would be hot, and threw it away.

7.  At the end of the roll, which sometimes took weeks since we couldn’t take as many pictures, you rolled up the entire roll before taking it out so you didn’t expose the film to light.

8.  You took the roll to the drug store or someplace where they could develop it and waited a week to pick it up and see your pictures, which were small squares with black and white images.

Betty & car

Needless to say, I have embraced the advances in photography through the years, having many cameras, and loving my digital Nikon D5100 I have today, which takes photos and movies and gives me more than instant pleasure.  I took classes years ago, learning to develop and print, which has helped me now that I can edit on my computer.  I don’t know if photography is less or more trouble now since we spend more time on way more images, but it sure is fun.  My kids and grandkids won’t have a drawer of photos to look through, but they have my computer and Facebook and albums.

My lifelong fascination with capturing moments in time is undiminished through the years.  Click!

Celebrating the holidays on Facebook is a somewhat new tradition.  I have friends who won’t go near it and even more friends of all ages (from ages 10 to 90s in my case) who embrace it.  What I’ve found is that you have your community of friends at the moment you need them…or at least those who are online at the particular moment.  It’s different from emails, where you don’t get the same immediate feeling, more engaging than texts, even with cute emoticons.

I’ve seen Facebook at its best and at its worst…depends on how the user knows how to handle it.  Some things shouldn’t be public and not everyone understands where to draw the line.  At its best, it’s brings people closer together and closes the distance gap.  People reach out with questions, in desperation, in loss and to share happiness.  They reach out to help other people, they reach out to support groups, they reach out to share a precious memory.  And, in return, they get answers, they get comfort, they get shared laughs, and they get love.  Sometimes, they find lost friends or family, sometimes they find people they would like to lose again.  Sometimes, they hear from the least likely people to help them and it’s a nice thing.

It’s no wonder that there are billions of people on Facebook worldwide.  It’s fun, it’s addictive, it’s high tech for even non-techys.  For me, it’s been an open adventure.  I’ve found people I’d lost over the years, gotten wonderful birthday wishes, shared grief and happiness in my family, and learned more about my friends than I ever could, even if I saw them every day.

Yesterday, Christmas, I loved seeing my friends instantly on their holiday!  I loved seeing how their families are growing up.  I noticed some who were missing and reached out to them.  I shared my family.  It wasn’t time consuming.  I didn’t spend hours on the computer while my family was around.  It was a glance here and there as I rested during the day or kicked back when everyone left.  It was touching people I love for a few seconds and knowing that all was well with them.

I consider it a wonderful gift to be able to connect with so many people so easily and I’m grateful for it.

Hope your holidays are joyful!