The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts from the ‘Family’ category

Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day.

I am a Veteran.

I graduated high school in May 1974 and shortly thereafter enlisted in the Army under the Delayed Enlistment Program.  The 6-month delay provided me an opportunity to get ready for my transition to the Army. During this time, I became better physically and mentally prepared before departing for Basic Training.  The only prerequisite I remember having to fulfill before my 6 months were up is that I needed to lose weight in order to enlist in the Army.  I think I had to lose 30 pounds.  I lost the 30 pounds and more.  My Army enlistment began in November 1974, when I was 18 years old.  I served 3 years.

My basic training was conducted at Ft. McClellan (Alabama).


Ft. McClellan, AL
early 1975

I apologize for the poor picture quality.  It is the best scan I could get from a picture taken with 110 film.  This picture was taken on the occasion of my graduation from Basic Training.

From Ft. McClellan I would travel to Ft. Benjamin Harrison (Indiana) for Advanced Individual Training (AIT). I studied to be an Army Stenographer, known as 71C MOS (Military Occupational Specialty). From Ft. Benjamin Harrison, I would travel to Ft. Hood (Texas) and later to V Corps Headquarters in Frankfurt (West Germany).


West Germany
sometime between April 1976 and December 1976

I served in the military both during wartime and peacetime.  My wartime service was short lived.  I joined the Army in November 1974.  The Vietnam War ended on April 30, 1975.  I cannot recall even considering that the United States was at war, when I joined the Army.  I wanted to serve my country.  Remember earlier when I said that I needed to lose weight in order to enlist in the Army.  I met that prerequisite.  I wanted to serve my country.

Even though the majority of my military service was during a time when the United States was at peace, I was not out of harm’s way.  While assigned to V Corps Headquarters, I worked in the Abrams Building located in Frankfurt, West Germany.  I was at work during the June 1, 1976 bomb explosions.  An article in the New York Times reported that on June 1, 1976 “Two time bombs exploded … in the headquarters of the United States Army’s V Corps, injuring 15 Americans and a German civilian, two of them seriously …”.

One bomb went off on the main floor of the Abrams Building; the second bomb went off in the Officer’s Club located behind the Abrams Building.  I was riding a paternoster (translates to “our Father”) inside the Abrams Building at the time the first bomb went off.  A paternoster is an elevator which consists of a chain of open compartments that move slowly in a loop up and down inside a building without stopping. Passengers can step on or off at any floor they like, or stay on the paternoster and loop completely around. The sound of the exploding bomb and the vibration caused by the explosion was like a hundred file cabinets had toppled over.

Here is a video that I found of someone getting on and getting off a paternoster.

Kindergarten

Our granddaughters entered Kindergarten in September, this year.  Picture day was late September.  Yesterday I received prints of the girls that I ordered.  This morning I hung the girls’ pictures on our wall.

UntitledOur Granddaughters

The photograph in the middle is a picture that I took in September 2016 to commemorate the girls’ first day of the second (and final) year of preschool.  In that photograph Harper is standing, and Juniper is sitting with her back to the camera.  What a photo session that was!  On either side of the middle photograph are the girls’ Kindergarten pictures.  Harper is on the left; Juniper is on the right.

How time flies!  Harper and Juniper are growing up WAY too fast!

Speaking of Kindergarten …

00-Kindergarten-Image 0126
This is my Kindergarten picture 🙂
School Year 1961-1962
56 years ago!

 

 

 

Halloween 2017

It is October 31.  It is trick or treat night in our town from 6:00-8:00 pm.  This is going to be quick, as I am handing out candy AND penning this post.

Our first trick-or-treaters were our granddaughters, along with their mom.

Halloween 2017
Our granddaughters and their mom

The girls are dressed as Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.  Stacey is dressed as Joyce in the Netflix show “Stranger Things”.

The girls’ cousin arrived 10 minutes later.

Halloween 2017
Harper, Juniper, Stacey and Maddi

Maddi took a picture of Bob and me with our granddaughters and Stacey.

Halloween 2017
Happy Halloween!

Warren County Fair

Late last month my friend Nokomis asked if I would be willing to take pictures of her daughter at the Warren County Fair Queen Pageant on Monday, August 7. Honored to be asked to take pictures, I readily agreed to do so. Nokomis gifted me two fair passes, good for free admission all week long, for taking the pictures.  The gift was unnecessary, but welcome.

The Warren County Fair was held the week of August 7.  Bob and I attended the fair three times.

On Monday, August 7, we attended the Warren County Fair Queen Pageant.  We arrived at the fair grounds around 5:30 pm. I thought we might have difficulty finding parking because admission to the fair was free Monday evening.  We easily found parking. Shortly before the pageant was to begin I took a picture of two of six princesses who would be crowned during the pageant.

_LG23121
Two pretty princesses
The girl in blue is my friend Nokomis’s daughter.

My main focus during the pageant was photographing Nokomis’s daughter.  Here are some highlights from the Warren County Fair Queen pageant.

_LG23144
My friend’s daughter presented…

_LG23154
…and crowned.

LJG23188The princesses did very well in their dance routine.

LJG23196Each princess was asked one question.
My friend’s daughter was asked what is her horse’s name. She responded “Tinkerbell”.

LJG23202This year’s fair queen and runner up.

My favorite picture of the evening, though, was not on stage.  This was my favorite picture, which is both a candid and evocative portrait of a princess and her daddy.

_LG23161A princess and her daddy

The Warren County Fair Queen Pageant ended at 8:20 pm.  We returned home by 9:00 pm.

Bob and I went to the Warren County Fair again on Wednesday, August 9, after Bob came home from work. We spent about 2 1/2 hours at the fair. We ate dinner, supporting the Zem Zem Hornets with our food purchases. Bob ordered a hot Italian sausage sandwich; I ordered a Steak ‘n Cheese sandwich. We found seating at a picnic table and enjoyed a picnic-style dinner.

After dinner we began to check out the barn animals. We had only reached the rabbit barn, when Nokomis found us. She said that a show would soon be starting at the Equestrian Show Ring.  At first the riding was just for fun, giving the horses some exercise.

XZ091315My friend’s daughter, riding Tinkerbell

The corral was cleared after a short time, in preparation for a performance by the Equestrian Drill Team. Nokomis’s daughter was part of the drill team.  Here is a short video of the drill team performance.

If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for a direct link to the video.

I took this picture at the conclusion of the drill team performance.

XZ091334Nokomis’s daughter is the young girl riding the smallest horse.

Bob and I left the Equestrian Show Ring after the drill team performance and visited the barn animals. We saw cows, more horses, chickens, more bunnies, goats, sheep and pigs. We checked out the commercial displays inside some of the buildings, as well as food, quilts, crocheting, art and photographic displays.

Bob and I attended the Warren County Fair again on Saturday, August 12, the last day of the fair.  We arrived around 12:00 pm. We ate lunch, supporting the St. Luke Roman Catholic Church of Youngsville PA with our food purchases. Bob ordered a meatball sub combo meal; I ordered a 3-meat sub combo meal. Besides our sandwiches lunch included beverage of choice, pretzels and a chocolate chip cookie (Bob) and chocolate peanut butter fudge (Linda). We found seating at a picnic table and enjoyed a picnic-style lunch.

After lunch we went in search of Nokomis to see if she had a better handle on when the costumed horse show would begin, rather than her earlier in the week “sometime in the afternoon” response (the best that she could give us at the time). Bob and I went to the Equestrian Show Ring, where we stumbled upon our friends, Doyle and Sheila B.  After a brief chat, I left still looking for Nokomis. Bob stayed behind and continued chatting with Doyle and Sheila. I saw Nokomis’s dad (Scott), who was looking for Nokomis too. After a brief chat with Scott, I walked to Tinkerbell’s stall, which I found empty. The empty stall told me that Tinkerbell and Nokomis’s daughter were participating in a horse competition. I walked back to the Equestrian Show Ring, on the opposite side from where Bob was sitting with Sheila and Doyle. I spotted Nokomis, her daughter and Tinkerbell in the staging area of the show ring. There was an ongoing horse show but not the costumed horse show, at least not yet. I walked back over to where Doyle, Sheila and Bob were seated. Sheila and Doyle’s son Brian and his family had joined Sheila and Doyle. Bob and I didn’t stay for long, upon my return, as his daughter Stacey messaged me around 1:00 pm stating that she and the girls had arrived at the fair.

Bob and I made our way to The Midway, where we found Stacey and the girls. Bob and I hung out with Stacey and the girls while they rode rides.

_LG23256Harper and Juniper on the “bug ride”.

Harper, Juniper and Stacey rode the Carousel.

_LG23259Stacey, Juniper and Harper on the Carousel

In the preceding picture, Harper is in the forefront, just before the carousel ride began.

_LG23260Here is Juniper, enjoying the carousel ride.

_LG23262Harper and Juniper on the helicopter ride.

_LG23269The girls liked the “frog ride”.

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The majority of The Midway rides were included with the fair entrance fee. Some of the rides, though, cost extra. Bob and I paid $5.00 for each girl so that they could bungee jump.

Juniper did the bungee jump first.

_LG23275Juniper gets buckled in for her bungee jump.

And here she goes …

If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for a direct link to the video.

Harper’s turn was next.

_LG23283Harper is buckled in and ready to begin her bungee jump.

And here she goes…

If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for a direct link to the video.

After a while the girls tired of riding rides.  We went to the Equestrian Show Ring, after stopping for water for the girls and a sandwich for Stacey (Harper and Juniper were not hungry). We arrived at the Equestrian Show Ring toward the end of the costumed horse show.

_LG23291My friend Nokomis and her daughter’s costumed horse entry

_LG23293Some of the other costumed horse entries

If we had arrived at the beginning of the costumed horse show, I would have photographed each contestant.  All of the costumes were very creative.

_LG23295Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey,
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

I didn’t capture Miss Muffet being frightened away by the spider.  She got up from her tuffet and ran to the bleachers, screaming all the way!

_LG23297My friend’s daughter won first place for her “Little Miss Muffet” entry in the costumed horse show.

Harper and Juniper enjoyed the costumed horse show.  I wish we had arrived in time to see the entire show.

We left the Equestrian Show Ring, after the costumed horse show, and checked out some of the barn animals. Harper and Juniper met Nokomis and her daughter.  Nokomis showed the girls the big white draft horse that her daughter would next be competing on.

_LG23298The girls liked that Nokomis said it was OK to pet the horse.

.

Leaving the barn area, we parted ways with Stacey and the girls.  We caught up with them again later at the Fire Fighter show.

_LG23301Fire Fighter Show

At the end of the show all children were invited to crawl on the floor through a building that had “real, fake smoke” inside.

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Juniper emerges from the smoke-filled building.

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Harper emerges from the smoke-filled building.
The boy with his hands raised up is the girls’ friend, William.

 

We left Stacey and the girls after the Fire Fighter show and went to find seats for the Terry Lee Goffee concert. Stacey and the girls went with William and his grandmother to The Midway to go on more rides.

The Terry Lee Goffee concert is a tribute show to Johnny Cash. The show was awesome. All the songs one would expect to be heard at a Johnny Cash concert were performed by Terry Lee Goffee. He sounded just like the real deal! We sat in lower bleacher seating, which ended up being great seating for taking pictures with my Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera and 75mm prime lens.

_LG23337Terry Lee Goffee, as Johnny Cash

Here is a video clip of one of the songs Mr. Goffee performed.  Listen and you, too, will think he sounds just like the real deal!

If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for a direct link to the video.

What a great week we had at the Warren County Fair!  Thank you, again, Nokomis for the complimentary fair passes.  We very much appreciated your gift.

 


 

 

Grandpa Bob and Grandma Linda’s Special Day with Harper

Bob and I spent one-on-one time with our granddaughter Harper this past Saturday.  We like spending time with both of our granddaughters at the same time, but we also treasure the one-on-one times that we have with this as well.  We spent one-on-one time with Harper’s sister, Juniper, in late April.  This past Saturday was special time with Harper.

We picked up Harper at her house around 8:30 am.

We arrived at the Erie Zoo at 10:00 am. The line to get into the zoo was long — longer than I have even seen it.  It was Big Equipment Day at the zoo, but it wasn’t crowded like this last year!  We decided to come back later in the day.

Leaving the zoo, we drove to the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC).  The highlight of our visit to the TREC was being on top of the observation tower.  We rode the elevator to the top of the 75-foot tall tower.

_XZ31137

Harper on top of the observation tower
The bit of blue you see in the background is Lake Erie.

IMG_20170603_104621Harper and I on top of the observation tower
Lake Erie and Waldameer are visible from the top of the tower.
(photo by Bob)

Inside TREC, we quickly walked around the exhibits.  Harper pushed buttons on some of the exhibits and showed some interest in other exhibits.  We probably spent half an hour or less inside the TREC.

From TREC we visited Presque Isle State Park. We made two stops on our drive around Presque Isle: at North Pier Lighthouse and at Waterworks Playground.

XZ031140
Harper enjoyed walking with us on the pier to the North Pier Lighthouse.

The Waterworks Playground is located adjacent to the Rotary Pavilion and across from Beach 7 (Waterworks Beach).  Bob and I have passed by this playground many times.  I always thought it would be a good playground at which to take our granddaughters.  We didn’t take Juniper here during her one-on-one time with us because it was raining.  It is a very nice playground, but the climbing ropes were somewhat scary for Harper.  A bumble bee flying around didn’t help either!

XZ031141
Harper on one of several climbing ropes.

IMG_20170603_121130This is all the further Harper climbed.
She was frozen in place.  I helped her down.

From Presque Isle State Park, we drove to the local McDonald’s Restaurant and ate lunch.  After lunch, we returned to the zoo.

It was 1:30 pm, when we made it back to Erie Zoo. There was still a line at the entry gate, but the line was at least a quarter of what it was at 10:00 am.

We had a good time at the zoo seeing the animals, riding the Wildlife Carousel, and riding the train. I put together a slideshow that highlights our day at the zoo.

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This picture slideshow personalized with Smilebox

Also a video of the zoo train as it departs, with Harper and me on board.  We are in one of the last cars; you should see Harper waving at Bob, who was recording the video.

Please click here, if you are not able to view the embedded video of the Erie Zoo train.

It was 4:15pm, when we left Erie Zoo. We stopped at Country Fair for cold drinks, before making our trek back home.

We returned Harper home at 5:45 pm. Juniper was excited to show me that she got her fingernails painted. While Bob and I had one-on-one time with Harper, Stacey had the same with Juniper. Stacey said that she and Juniper had a good day, except for the hour she spend arguing with Juniper over why she can’t go to the mall. Harper and I had “a moment” too. She was not going to sit with me in the zoo train; she was going to sit behind Grandpa, not me, on our way home.  Harper was mad at me because Grandma wouldn’t let her sit on top of the bronze statue’s head at the zoo. Through no effort on my part Harper did sit with me on the zoo train, and she sat behind me on the way back home.  Life with 5-year-olds….

It was a long, but fun, day.  I think our next family adventure will include both of our granddaughters.

Our Twin Granddaughters’ Fifth Birthday Celebration

Harper and Juniper’s 5th birthday was earlier this month. Yesterday, Stacey hosted a party to celebrate her daughters birthdays.

The girls’ birthday party was held at Betts Park, here in Warren PA, from 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm. Bob grilled hot dogs, which were accompanied by light refreshments. The party had two themes: Trolls and Beauty & the Beast. If I remember correctly, Juniper chose the Trolls theme and Harper chose the Beauty & the Beast Theme. Both girls, however, like Trolls and Beauty & the Beast. Stacey’s choice of pavilion was excellent, as it was close to a playground. All the children had a great time playing on the playground equipment, while waiting on the hot dogs to cook. Highlights of the birthday party included a pinata filled with toys, an appearance by Belle & her Prince, and the opening of presents. The party was well attended by all three sets of grandparents, as well as other family members, and Harper and Juniper’s friends.

I created this collage to provide you a glimpse into our granddaughters’ birthday party. Each photograph in the collage may be enlarged by clicking on them individually. Enjoy!

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A picture collage by Smilebox

Preschool Graduation

Our granddaughters graduated from preschool this afternoon.

_LG21331_LG21334_LG21335-senior-pic-advantage-05
Congratulations Harper and Juniper!
Job well done!

Harper and Juniper will enter Kindergarten in September, this year.  My oh my!  How time flies!

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