Tag Archives: Blog Life Crazy

My Favorite Tree

My favorite tree against a brilliant blue sky this past week...

My favorite tree against a brilliant blue sky this past week…

I was running errands today and looking for a few autumn leaf type decorations to add to my Thanksgiving décor.  Do you know what I discovered?  Halloween décor was 80-90% off at the stores I went to and Fall/Thanksgiving décor was nowhere to be found!  Or, if I “did” find it – it was off to the side in a small section surrounded by Christmas décor!  By the third store, I was just sad.  What happened to fall?  I love fall…the colors changing, the cooler weather and it felt like we went from pumpkins straight to jingle bells!  I know this sounds like it has nothing to do with the title of my blog post, but bear with me just a moment.

I love fall.  Every year, I look forward to the beginning of fall by the changing of one tree in my neighborhood.  I couldn’t even tell you what kind of tree it is.  All I know is that it is the most beautiful tree as it turns from green to orange and yellow and gold each year.  For me it marks the beginning of fall and cooler weather.  Of course, at this moment our state is in a stage 4 drought as we haven’t had rain in over two months so the fall colors were becoming questionable to those of us who love fall and the changing of the colors.  I was a little concerned about this tree myself.

My first photo of my favorite tree this year...the sky was a bit overcast but I was just excited that this tree turned this year with the drought we are having!

My first photo of my favorite tree this year…the sky was a bit overcast but I was just excited that this tree turned this year with the drought we are having!

But then it started…as I drove by it on my way to work one morning I noticed a spot on the green tree beginning to turn yellow and orange.  It wouldn’t be long now until the whole tree was orange and yellow!  I waited until the perfect moment to stop my car and take my yearly photo.  Naturally, the day I chose there was a lot of traffic on the main road in front of the tree, so I drove around the block to get photos from a different angle.  The sky wasn’t as blue as I would have liked, but still…the color and the fullness of the tree was beautiful and impressive.

The tree...from the back side after taking a ride around the block to photograph in less traffic...

The tree…from the back side after taking a ride around the block to photograph in less traffic…

A few days later I took a quick photo on my way out of the neighborhood against a brilliant blue sky.  I could see the leaves blowing and falling to the ground because of the wind that morning.  I knew it wouldn’t be long before all the trees were on the ground beneath this magnificent tree.

Two days ago, the shedding began.  The back side of the tree is looking pretty skimpy but the ground beneath the tree looks like a golden quilt.  For a moment, I had a glimpse of my daughter Anna Marie as a child.  One year, we raked up all the leaves in our yard and suddenly she just jumped into them and started laughing and giggling and throwing the leaves in the air.  I witnessed pure joy on her face and such a great memory for her mama…

The leaves begin to fall...

The leaves begin to fall…

I know by next week the tree will be bare and I’ll begin the wait for it to turn green again and then begin its fall journey which I will photograph once again.

Happy fall y’all!

My Altars…

Day of the Dead is over…but I’m not sure when I’ll take down my home altars.

IMG_7447I started putting my altar together on my dining room buffet but realized quickly that I would run out of room.  So I expanded to my dining room table and finally to my living room coffee table…creating three separate but cohesive spaces.  My Zúñiga family was heavily featured on the buffet…my dad along with his pilot record books, his rosary and a handkerchief he once gave me to use when I was 9 years old and had the sniffles going to Catholic school one morning – along with a photo of him in his beloved T-Bird car that he had while in Cambodia.  The photo of dad with his siblings and parents is so special – they are all gone now, along with their spouses.  My mother is the only living spouse…

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Dad in his T-Bird…

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Dad (center) with his brothers Felix and Lorenzo – front row – his sister Gloria, and parents Apolonio (Tata Polo) and Norberta (Nana Beta).

 

IMG_7443On the other side of the buffet – my in-laws, the Odoms – Johnnie and Glen.  I placed a copy of one of Johnnie’s cookie recipes next to her photo.  I found the recipe on her refrigerator – in her own handwriting – after she passed in 2011.   Next to my in-laws, my sweet sister-in-law, Rhonda, who passed unexpectedly this summer.  One of my favorite photos of her too – arms outstretched and welcoming everyone to Thanksgiving dinner at her house on Smith Lake.  An added feature – a Christmas sweater – because Rhonda loved to wear her seasonal sweaters!

 

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IMG_7441On the dining room table, pictures of the Odom and Zúñiga families scattered about…beautiful photos of mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, sisters and bothers, sons and daughters…

And finally, the coffee table with photos of the Stone family – my mother’s parents  – my grandparents, my sweet Aunt Gail, my uncle and my great-uncle, great-aunt and cousin.  I remember the times when we would come to Alabama during the summer for vacations and they were all here.  I miss them all dearly.

Artificial marigolds were scattered on all three altars…next year I want to use real ones.  Those were the finishing touches I used on Saturday night.  This was after going to see the animated movie , Book of Life, with my girls.  I cried at the movie ending and yes, I cried as I placed the candles and marigolds around each altar.  As cold as it was outside Sunday night, the house felt warm with the memories of our ancestors and the lives they led.  Viva la Vida!

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