The theme for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #180 is Favorite Images of 2021
The year 2021 was a roller coaster. There were many excitements because we could resume doing things after being restricted for a year or longer. Those moments seemed serene yet felt like wanting to shout for joy. Those were my favorite images of 2021.
My younger granddaughter was born on March 22, 2020. California reinforced the restriction on March 14. I canceled my flight at the last minute to be with my daughter for her childbirth. By March 2021, the restriction of traveling eased a little. We wanted to be there for Nora’s first birthday. I booked the flight with premium seats so that we didn’t have to pass by many passengers. We were so thrilled to see Nora for the first time.
We spent Mother’s Day with my daughter every year except the year 2020. In 2021, we were with my daughter for Mother’s Day and had a wonderful time having three generations of girls together.
The summer of 2021 was my first-time raising Monarch butterflies and there were some casualties, but 20 butterflies made it to adulthood.
I booked a trip to Banff, Canada in August for our anniversary, but the border was closed. I canceled the trip, and we went to Santa Barbara instead. It was the first long trip since Covid.
We also wanted to take day trips to the beaches, but many beaches were closed during the pandemic. We eventually made a trip to Laguna Beach in September.
We missed Autumn’s 3rd birthday in 2020 but we were excited to go to Autumn’s 4th birthday party in September last year.
Last but not the least, we had a white Christmas with my daughter’s family and had fun watching the grandkids playing in the snow and making a snowperson in the backyard. Autumn helped to put the pebbles on to make the eyes and buttons and put the carrot on for the nose. Nora gave the snowperson a big hug.
There are three more hours in the year 2021 PST. I’m writing this post torecap our Christmas.
My daughter Mercy is my only daughter. When she was a small child, she received Christmas presents from us as parents and from her paternal grandparents. She also received presents from a few of our friends. Most of my family members are in Hong Kong and they don’t have the tradition of sending Christmas presents. In another word, there were few presents for Mercy to open. Her paternal grandparents sent one large present and several stocking presents. I did the same thing–had some large presents, and several small presents. Mercy had fun opening all the presents even though they were not from many people.
This Christmas, my husband and I spent Christmas with my daughter’s family. My granddaughters received so many presents from grandpa and grandma, aunts and uncles, parents’ friends. They opened some on the morning of Christmas day. We had to ask the girls to take a break, then opened some more in the afternoon. It took longer for the younger one, Nora, to open hers. She had to open some of them the day after Christmas.
Last year, when Autumn was three, she wanted to play with the new toys right after she opened them. It took longer for her to open all of them. This year, she wanted to keep opening them. It took longer for the two-year-old Nora to take off the wrapping paper. After she took the wrapping paper off, she had fun playing with the paper.
Several presents from Amazon came with gift bags tied with strings. Mercy and her husband Will only helped the girls to loosen the knots but let them untie the strings. The girls were eager to open the bags to see what they were inside. At some point, there were three pairs of hands trying to get a hold of the knot. Autumn was good at helping her little sister to open the bags but let Nora take out the presents.
The adults were sitting on the couches and on the floor while Autumn went under the Christmas to take out the presents. She handed the presents to the individuals to open them. For a while, the living room was full of wrapping paper, strings, bags, and boxes. New clothes unfolded and toy boxes opened. The excitement and laughter filled the entire house. During the lunch break, Mercy and I picked up the wrapping paper for recycling.
Whenever we visit my daughter, I offer to put Autumn to bed. On three nights, she asked me to read her five books, then colored four pages on her coloring books. The night before we left, Mercy and Will went on a date night. Autumn asked me to read ten books to her. I told her we wouldn’t have time to do coloring, and she was okay with it.
My husband, Lynton, and I arrived in Portland on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. It snowed overnight. We woke up to a blanket of snow on Christmas day.
After we opened the Christmas presents in the morning, they put on snowsuits and snow boots. My husband and I only had regular pants and boots on. There is a school across from Mercy’s house and we walked to the school playground to play in the snow. By the time we got there, some kids with their parents were there already. There is a slope from the upper playground to the field below. Kids and adults had fun going down the slope in their sleds. After they got home, they built a snowman in the backyard.
I didn’t do it on Christmas day because I didn’t want to get wet. But I went down on the sled the next day because it may not have a white Christmas next year.
It continued to snow for several more days. Many airlines canceled the flights to and from Seattle and Portland. They canceled hundreds of flights two days before we left. We have scheduled to leave on December 29th. We wouldn’t know if our flight was on time until the morning. I woke up every two hours to check the flight schedule, and the airline showed it was on time.
We had to leave around 6:00 a.m. I tried to call Lyft ride services to take us to the airport. I didn’t get a response for half an hour. Finally, one driver accepted the request and said he could pick us up in 19 minutes. It was reasonable, so I confirmed the request. When 19 minutes was up, there was another message showing the driver would be there in 21 minutes. We couldn’t wait any longer or we would have missed the flight. I woke up my son-in-law Will and let him know the situation. He got dressed in less than 5 minutes and took us to the airport.
What an exciting trip and fun Christmas we had. As soon as we came home, I booked our next trip to see them in six weeks.
For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136, we’re circling back to the alphabet. This time, Patti invited us to focus on the letter S. She quoted Mike Wilks who strung a sentence with all the words begin with the letter S and indicated on the shelves in his store stacked with stock of 1,234 Ss to see.
I don’t want to list some seventy-seven S-things. I only chose several to be included in this post. I simply tried to have samples.
“May you see sunshine where others see shadows and opportunities where others see obstacles.” – Anonymous
“Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine.” – Mario Fernandez
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” Helen Keller
“If roses tried to be sunflowers, they would lose their beauty; and if sunflowers tried to be roses, they would lose their strength.” Matshona Dhliwayo
“Millions of trees in the world are accidentally planted by squirrels who bury nuts, then forget where they hid them. Do good and forget. It’ll grow someday.” – Anonymous
“Little squirrel opens human heart because they have lots of practice with the nuts.” – Swapna Ch
“A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose.” -Tom Wilson
“Life is like a mirror. Smile at it and it smiles back at you.” – Peace Pilgrim
“Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of. You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there.” – Amy Li
“Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.” – Margaret Mead
This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107, Ann-Christine invited us to look at the difference in the winter when we compare the Northern Hemisphere with the Southern Hemisphere.
The first time I saw snow was my first year in Portland, Oregon. It was in November. I walked along the hallway from one classroom to the next. My eyes glanced through the floor to ceiling window. A thin layer of white stuff drifting down in the air. I stopped and observed. Each layer above seemed to get thicker and whiter. I realized what happened and called out while jumping up and down, “It’s snowing. It’s snowing!” Some male students walked by and looked at me. Probably the last time they saw and heard of it was from their little kids.
When I finished school in Portland, I went on to Seattle Pacific University for my second graduate study. The city welcomed me with seven inches of snow. When the snow came to a pause, I put on my knee high, custom made leather boots and my leather gloves to make the first snowman. The leather gloves got hard and stiff after they were dry. My boots were fine, probably they were made differently.
Is winter warmor cold? I think winter is warm because it’s the time for events such as Christmas concert, Christmas light cruise, Christmas parties with family and friends, and my daughter’s birthday the day after Christmas.
One New Year, we visited my sister’s family in Vancouver B.C. We couldn’t go skiing in Whistler B.C. because the heavy fog came in. We managed going to a nearby mountain for my husband, niece, and nephew to do snowboarding.
Back home in southern California, our chorale started rehearsing for the Messiah concert first week of November, leading to the two performances before Christmas. This is the highlight of the year for me.
The adult fellowship group at church has many Christmas parties. One year we had a catering dinner at a deluxe retirement home. The chef built a gingerbread village every year. He made one gingerbread house at a time throughout the year and froze them. By early December, he assembled the village with a train track and an electrical train going around it.
The last two years, we went on the Christmas Light Cruise and watched the Christmas Boat Parade.
Two years ago was the first-time snow and Christmas met. My husband and I went to Portland, Oregon to spend the holiday with my daughter’s family. I saw snow before the plane landed and was so excited to have a white Christmas.
Most exciting of all during Christmas time is my daughter’s birthday on the day after Christmas. Here, Mercy opened the birthday card from her daughter Autumn.
Is winter warm or cold in your part of the world? I would like to hear from you.
I came to Portland, Oregon in the US as a graduate student some forty years ago. It was November that year when I saw snow for the first time through a high ceiling window in the hallway of a meeting room. I jumped up and down and shouted, “It’s snowing. It’s snowing.” The local students walked by me and grinned. They might think, “What’s so exciting about snow? Silly.”
A month later during the winter break, I went with a group of students to Los Angeles and sat in the sun on Christmas day.
After graduated with my first master’s degree, I went to Seattle Pacific University to do my second master’s degree. That winter, Seattle welcomed me with 7 inches of snow. I was so excited and made a snowman with my leather gloves on my hands. Nobody told me that the leather would turn hard and stiff when it gets wet. I ruined the nice leather gloves.
I don’t do too well in cold weather, the weather in southern California seemed to agree with me and that is where I have stayed since finishing my study in Seattle.
My daughter is living in Portland, Oregon. She knows I love snow even though my body feels better in a warmer place. There was a heavy snow two years ago. The first thing she did was taking photos and sent them to me.
As far as southern California, it feels like summer is the longest season year round with a teasing winter and hair line period of autumn and short and sweet spring. The weather has been moderate besides the thunderstorm a couple weeks ago. I took photos of my garden today and have some beautiful flowers to share with you. Before I do that, just want to show you my baby hummingbird.
The baby hummingbird is eight months old. He is doing well and flying further away from the kitchen window. I know that the baby is not able to fly 900 miles straight to Mexico for winter, but I wasn’t sure if the parents were going. It’s December and the parents are still around. It seems like the family will stay for winter.