The open road

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Here we are at the beginning of a new year.  The time of year when plans are conceived and resolutions are made.  We shake off the disappointments of last year and dream of possibilities.

Like a traveler on the eve of a trip, we are full of anticipation.  Our senses are heightened.  We see, hear, smell, touch and taste with childlike intensity.

It is the time of year when courage visits us, kicks the chair from under us and propels us to explore new realms.  Listen to her and travel the open road.

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.”           – Rainer Maria Rilke

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I love brunch

I love brunch. I love waking up a little later on the weekends and think about what I’ll have that morning.

Coffee is an essential part of the meal but it is equally appropriate to have champagne cocktails. You can have a sweet and savory meal at the same time.

But, most of all, I love lingering over my food and catching up with friends or family after a busy week.

I took the first three pictures last January at Untitled in what essentially is the basement of the Whitney Museum in New York. It has a relaxed and casual atmosphere making you feel refined and homey at the same time.

The last two pictures were taken at two different restaurants last February in Johannesburg.

The Hudson River

One afternoon in late November, I received my “new” used Pentax K1000 in the mail.  It didn’t come with a manual so I had to look up the instructions.  It took me about thirty minutes just to load the film.  Determined not to miss the last minutes of light, I walked down to the river and took these pictures.

The weather was crisp.  The sun was setting.  It was a perfect autumn evening caught on film.

Apple pie

On a cold winter afternoon when I was in DC, I met David at Kramerbooks Cafe for dessert and coffee.  We didn’t really plan on the dessert part but, I saw the apple pie in the display case.  It had me at hello.

When I was growing up in the Philippines, apples were a luxury.  We could only have them on special occasions. Back then, I associated apple pies with Christmas.  I remember the smell of butter and cinnamon wafting throughout the house on Christmas eve when my mother baked them from scratch. I could never wait until after dinner to eat pie.

All of this changed when we moved to the U.S. many years later.  Apples were inexpensive and every store sold pie. My mother didn’t have to slave in the kitchen all day.  My father bought apple pie from the grocery store every week.

There was a downside to all of this.  The store-bought pies were always a disappointment.  It never tasted as buttery as my mother’s freshly baked pie. It contained too much sugar masking the tartness of the apples. It also had a gelatinous consistency I didn’t like.

Baking was always intimidating to me.  I love to cook but baking, to me, required more time and work. But, a few years ago at Christmastime, I craved freshly baked apple pie.  Intimidated or not, I had to have one and the only way I could was to make it myself.

I remember vividly that first pie crust.  I’m sure I missed a step or forgot an ingredient. The dough was fragile, breaking in bits and pieces when I rolled it out.  Although the filling was delicious, I couldn’t quite call it a pie without a fully formed crust.  Luckily, my next pie baking episode was much better.

Over this past holiday, I had every intention of baking one but, I never quite got around to it.  So, when I saw the pie that January afternoon at Kramerbooks, it was kismet.

Imagine

I had been living in New York City for over a year before I finally got to Strawberry Fields in Central Park.  I had always wanted to see it.  A few times while walking through the park, I thought of passing by but, because of something or another, it eluded me.  Finally, on a crisp October day when I was out finishing a roll of film, I finally made it to this popular spot.

Just inside Central Park on the West side a few blocks from where he died, this memorial to John Lennon was created by his widow, Yoko Ono.  At the heart of Strawberry Fields is this black and white mosaic bearing the word Imagine.  I like the simplicity and timelessness of this mosaic that pays homage to Lennon’s famous song.  Created by Italian craftsmen based on a Greco-Roman design, it was a gift from the city of Naples.

H is for Halloween

Yes, I know it’s not Halloween.  I have been slow to develop a few rolls that have been sitting on my coffee table for months.  I finally had some down time a few days ago, braved the single digit temperatures and went to my local photo shop to drop them off. When I picked them up today, these came out.

Last October, I went to Marshfield, Wisconsin to visit my friends, Jane and Gunnar, and their daughter, Mimi.  It was around Halloween so one day, we carved pumpkins.

Mimi’s cousin, Tanner came over and the two of them drew the pumpkin faces and scooped out the seeds while Gunnar carved, Jane looked on and I took pictures.

After what seemed like hours (Gunnar didn’t have the pumpkin carving tools you get at the drug store for three dollars, which are easier to use than regular knives), they were finally done, Tanner’s scary face and Mimi’s smiley face pumpkins.

Marilyn’s garden

This is a first on this blog.  Photos from a regular camera.  And not just any regular camera, but a film camera!

For the past few months, I have been following this blog, which has inspired me to take out my old school Nikon SLR camera.

So last weekend, I bought several rolls of 400 speed film, switched the camera on manual and tried to capture the last lingering signs of summer in Marilyn’s (aka Mom) garden.

She had zinnias, petunias and roses in her garden.  She also has a vegetable garden but that’s for another post.