Baseball Cake Birthday

Daryoush’s Eleventh Birrthday

Daryoush travels to Grandma and Grandpa’s to build his cake, assemble it at his house to celebrate with family. Theme: Baseball Diamond with players, spectators (Twix bars in Rice Krispy Treats), and scoreboard. Grass is buttercream frosting/vegetable dye. Ground is coconut sugar. Bases are “Licorice Allsorts.” Cake base is gluten free yellow sponge. Cupcakes are Grandma’s special chocolate cake recipe, gluten free.

Music credits: Emotional Underscores, Vol. 3, composer Yuri Sazonoff (SOCAN) “Don’t Panic,” “Dream Girl,” “Blessing.”

Copyright 2023 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Halloween

Pam talked me into putting on a sheet and walking out in public for blocks and blocks to meet our daughter-in-law and the grandchildren. At the moment we were captured by the staff photographer for The Ithaca Voice, Casey Martin, I was telling Pam, “This is insane.”

A consolation is no one could possibly recognize us, even the grandchildren who we conspired with their Mom to give a scare.

Until we were sucked up into the Bio-containment vortex.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Harvest Festival

A Photo Essay

Commerce

Family

Fun

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Bog Bodies

In the the long view

On this occasion we will explore a time machine found four miles south of Kells, County Meath, Ireland.

Step into this pool and you, too, can emerge 4,000-odd years later, skin intact, to achieve fame and fortune, a place in a museum and the record books if such exist 6019 AD. Reference the Cashel Man from Cúl na Móna bog near Cashel in County Laois, Ireland who now resides within the National Museum of Ireland.

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True, post mortem fame is hollow for the individual. Maybe, attaching your life story engraved on a gold plaque with a gold chain encircling your torso will offset the loss of your bones (dissolved in the acidic waters) and life itself.

The water of this pool is colored dark by long decayed vegetable matter. Beware of walking the bog surface, it is dangerous and destructive to the environment. Pam and I visited Girley Bog on our tour of County Meath, Ireland.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

French Tourists at Kennedy Space Center

In the Rocket Garden

A group of French tourists…

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…posing for a group photograph….

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…in the Rocket Garden….

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….of Kennedy Space Center, March 2017.

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Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Leprechaun Home Invasion

Saint Patrick Day Family Humor

In a previous posting we hiked through the only European Union Leprechaun Preserve on Slieve Foy above Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland.

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This home was lower on the mountain, on the way to town.

Entrance with Calla Lilies, Carlingford
Caring touches to a well tended home entrance along the Tain Way, Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland.

You will not find Calla Lilies thriving in front yards here in Ithaca, New York (43 degrees north latitude) as they do in the Temperate Oceanic Climate of Ireland, pictured in Carlingford on a June day.  At 54 degrees these Calla Lilies are growing at a latitude 800 miles north of Ithaca, in the middle of Quebec Province, Canada.

In spite of this, here in Ithaca we keep March 17th, Saint Patrick’s Day, warm.  In the home of our three grandchildren (3, 4 and 6 years old) who live in Ithaca they celebrate by playing tricks on Leprechauns.

This year, we visited Saint Patrick’s Day eve and reviewed their bag of tricks with the Leprechaun in Chief, their Mom.  In response, the Leprechauns leave them letters to make it clear the tricks did not work.  On top of this, the children have big laughs on the tricks played in return.  A favorite is finding their socks taped all over the mirror.

Mom pulled out a few of the Leprechaun letters and we read them for the children to great laughter as they remembered tricks of previous years.  Afterwards, when alone with Mom, Pam and I recalled the tradition in Chicago, to color the river green (a well as green milkshakes, etc), and suggested to the Leprechaun in Chief to put green food color in the toilet.  It was a winning idea.

The next morning Mom, on hearing the toilet flushed repeatedly, found her 4 year old daughter totally appalled.  “The Leprechauns used our toilet (and did not flush).  YUUUUKKKK.”  She then ran upstairs hoping for a “clean” bathroom up there.  Well, green milkshakes are off the menu.

Treasure

Gold on display for the permanent exhibit “Treasures of the Girona,” Ulster Museum, Belfast. It is not Leprechaun gold, certainly.

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-24

Santa Elf Spotted…..

….on paddle board.

She was captured via IPhone coming…..

….and going on the Cayuga Inlet off Cass Park, Ithaca, New York, on a December afternoon.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Passing…..

….strangers on the beach

After 2 pm check in we interrupted unpacking for a sundown beach walk, IPhones and Sony Alpha 700 camera in hand on the last evening of 2019. There is a business on A1A, the main road through town, advertising “beach weddings” and “elopements.” Here, using the 18 – 200 mm f3.5-6.2 lens, I spied this grouping of a mature couple holding hands, minister in attendance, for a wedding ceremony witnessed by young adult children on the right, parents (?) left. The groom’s shorts contrast with the bride’s white gown.

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Sunlight, low in the western sky, was perfect for mirror-like reflections in the retreating surf.

A given of the Atlantic beach is the late afternoon light, best for capturing figures against the ocean.

Written below the high tide mark, a message inscribed, impermanent in spite of the deep cuts.

I have practice framing sunsets against beach development. Cannot complain as we enjoy our beach side condo.

A slide show of these images.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Drying Butterfly…..

….on a Sonic Drive-In Order Station.

On Tuesday, December 17, 2019 a caterpillar dropped from vegetation to crawl across the parking lot of Sonic Drive-In, 2140 N Courtenay Pkwy, Merritt Island, FL 32953, crawl up an order station, affix its tail to the kelly green semi-gloss enamel, to form a chrysalis.

The afternoon of New Years Eve, 14 days later, we spied the Retro theme of this fast food business, finding it appealing, stopped for a hi-fat lunch of hamburgers, onion rings (“highly recommended, very delicious”) and (ha, ha) diet sodas, choosing this same order station where the emerged Brush-foot butterfly, of the family Nymphalidae, clung, drying in anticipation of flight.

Captured here with the Apple IPhone 8. I cannot identify the exact butterfly species this is. Source: wikipedia article on Nymphalidae.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills