My son Nick, his girlfriend Summer, and I each have incredibly busy schedules, so it wasn’t until last Sunday evening, February 5th, that we finally got together to celebrate my birthday, which happens to be on December 26th!

Better late than never. ❀

First stop was the AT&T Store, where they added me to their family smartphone plan, and gifted me with a lovely Samsung Android phone. All free to me. Wow! πŸ˜›

It was too early for our dinner reservation, at a very swank restaurant (they are foodies, luckily for me!), so we came back to my place while they tried to explain to me some of the basics of smartphone usage.

You see, I had had the very most basic of dumbphones before this, always.

Actually I’m still having a bit of trouble answering phone calls on this smartphone–really–I’m not kidding!

Of course, one of the features I really love about the phone is the camera. In fact, it’s so much better than my Canon Elph, and easier to use plus more megapixels than the Fujifilm DSLR I borrowed from Nick, that I’m pretty sure it’s going to be my main camera for my Iceland trip coming up this spring.

Here are some photos from the restaurant:



And one of Summer while we waited in the lobby for Nick to park the car:


A note about the dinner, which was excellent in every way. I had the ricotta gnocchi, quite lovely, but what really knocked me out (aside from some truly unique and yummy appetizers) was my dessert: a mango trifle. I love mango! And it is so unusual to find a trifle anywhere on an American dessert menu, at least in my experience. This one had white spongecake, lemon curd, mango mousse, persimmon glaze, all layered with heavy whipped cream. I think I even left out a layer. It was decadence supreme! I loved every bite. ❀

A couple of days later, my SCA friend Melinda, who I know better as Lady Babette, took me to the Franklin Park Conservatory for the annual Orchid Show. Talk about fertile ground for photos! First, some of her, and a couple she took of me and of us together:

What fun! Now for some flowers. They’re not all orchids, because there are so many lovely things there:

The Franklin Park Conservatory is one of the few old glasshouses remaining in the US. Here are some views of its Palm House:

There’s quite a bit of Dale Chihuly glass there, too. Here are some of my favorites:

Another traditional favorite area of the Conservatory for me, and especially for my son Jason, both when he was little and as a grown man, is the bonsai garden. Since it was winter when Lady Babette and I were there, the bonsai courtyard was empty:


Here it is about five or six years ago, when Jason and I visited it while he was on leave from the Army:


Boy, you can really tell the difference in the cameras. The photo with Jason was taken with my Canon Elph, with 7 megapixels, whereas the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 camera has 14!

But I must tell you that my favorite thing about the Conservatory is the carp pool in the jungle room, just like it is for this little boy:


Here is a short video clip I took, yes, with the smartphone!, of the carp, with one of the many waterfalls of the jungle room at the very end of the clip:

My further smartphone camera adventures include some snaps of the cats when they were outside day before yesterday:

Ophelia swishes her tail; she is not pleased with the leash or the camera!
Sissy pauses for a portrait
Black Bean on the lookout
Kiwi at the back door

Finally, my friend Sarah Moon came over after church yesterday for sweet potato chili. I got a bunch of tulips in her honor:


Oh, the hilarious cat card is my birthday card from Nick and Summer. πŸ˜› And the little blonde girl in the old photo on the bookcase in the background is me at age five.Β On the shelf above it are portraits of my parents right after World War Two when they got engaged. πŸ™‚

Enough smartphone camera adventures for now!