Zebra's Child

Living With Common Variable Immune Deficiency and It's Autoimmune Friends

Miraculous Advancements

When I studied biology in high school, we were only the second class to use the textbook. That was because the electron microscope had been invented and all of a sudden we could see inside a cell. We were only the second year to study the parts of a cell and how they worked. My mathematician husband, 5 years older and 6 years ahead of me in school, went out of his way to never take a biology class. When I asked him why, he said that biology was nothing more than the memorization of long names for small things. My reaction was along the lines of, “What? Are you CRAZY?????? That’s not even remotely what biology is!”

Then I thought about the 6 years difference in when we attended school. That meant that even in his first 2 years at MIT, there were no textbooks that showed, or taught, what a cell was like and the miracle of how it worked. But adding to my complete fascination, my basic biology course at university was taught by a cellular biologist. It was supposed to be a general biology course, but to my delight, he emphasized the workings of the cell in his lectures.

Fast forward all these decades, and we now have high resolution digital photography, which can capture details with such precision that when we enlarge pictures, it is as if we were looking through a magnifying glass, or perhaps even a microscope. For me, photography has the ability to show me the miraculousness of the world, much as the electron microscope did all those years ago.

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All Images: Zebras Child 2019

Dandelions Are Considered………

Flaws in one’s beautifully manicured lawn. If one has such a thing. But even if one doesn’t, they are still considered undesirable. However up close……..


Dandelion Flower                                                    Image: Zebras Child 2019

they are rather marvelous.

A New (or perhaps old) Take on Street Art

Over the last few decades, the term Street Art has come to refer to a very specific, stylized, and quite professional form of art which is painted in common spaces such as fences, walls, and freeway underpasses.

Late Sunday afternoon, however, as I was returning home from the walk with the dogs, I came upon these delightful chalk drawings outside an apartment house just up the block. I suspect it was drawn by a child as a present to her or his mother for Mother’s Day. I remember making similar chalk pictures on the driveway or the sidewalk when I was a child. We all did. Perhaps this is actually the original Street Art here in the States.

In Honor of Mothers

Here in the States it is Mother’s Day. But I want to expand the definition of what it is to be a mother. You fulfill a mothering role if

  • You are the beloved Aunt or Grandmother helping to raise a child
  • You are that favorite teacher to whom a child turns when their home life is in chaos
  • You are a foster mother, adoptive, or step mother

I want to especially wish a Happy Mother’s Day to those whose

  • Children are far flung and none of them are able to spend time with you today or call
  • Children have predeceased you, and people are afraid to wish you a happy Mother’s Day because they don’t want to bring up painful memories

I want also to acknowledge mothers whose children are critically ill.

And I want to add to this list perhaps the most forgotten category

  • Mothers whose child was born still, died shortly after birth, or was born too early to survive. To you, especially, I want to acknowledge that you, also, are mothers.

I want to honor each of you, wish you the best, and offer a collage of virtual bouquets.


All Images were taken at our wonderful local flower shop on Grand Avenue in Oakland, California. It is an oasis of calm, and has the comforting feel of a French flower shop.


All above images: Zebras Child 2019

Unexpected Colors

One normally expects to see bright red and russet hues in the fall. This plant surprises, though. It has been bright red all through winter. Only now, in the spring, has it begun to bloom…………


Image: Zebras Child 2019

and will turn a deep yellow.


Image: Zebras Child 2019

The Greater Honeywort

Any guesses?

No, it’s not a wort type skin disease that oozes a honey like substance.

And it’s not a monster under the bed that ends up being cute and who likes honey. (Although if I could draw, it can think of a very very cute monster who ends up liking honey and becomes friends with a small child.)

It is something beautiful with a very odd sounding name. And which also, quite frankly, also looks a little odd at first glance. Sort of like a weird kind of cabbage. But it’s well worth taking a second look.


The Greater Honeywort                        Image: Zebras Child  2019

Juxtaposition of Old and New


An old lamp post and a new building in Oakland.     Image, Zebras Child 2019

Oakland, California is an old city for the West Coast. Not as old as San Francisco, but still, it’s a little over a century old. The San Francisco Fire and Earthquake on April 18, 1906  was disastrous and terrifying. Not understanding the science of earthquakes 100 years ago, and not knowing that Oakland and Berkeley also lay on the San Andreas fault line, people in San Francisco moved over to the East Bay in droves. They brought their money, their civic interests, and their influence. Almost overnight, Oakland and Berkeley became respectable in their own right as cities.

You’d Think It Was Fall


Fallen Flowers                                                      Image: Zebras Child 2019

But these are only fallen flowers and buds in the Spring. Some flowers fall before they’re completely withered, and some buds fall before they’ve even had a chance to open.


Imperfect Opportunity                                          Image: ZebrasChild 2019

What if, instead of fighting against our imperfections, we use them, as gold, to show us the imperfections of others, and thus arrive at understanding and empathy. ~Author Unknown

I couldn’t find the author of this exact quote, but according to my handwritten notes, it refers to Kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold. The results are often more spectacular that the original pottery piece.

I took this photo at our local Whole Foods, even though I couldn’t get the shot without a label showing in the background. And the faint presence of a spider web at the top? I think that only adds to the beauty.

Shade Plants

People on the other side of my building face west. That means they get the afternoon sun, which means they can grow practically anything that is colorful. My balcony, however, faces east, and only gets the morning sun. In fact, only ⅓ of it gets any sun at all. And I like COLOR. But it’s tough to find colorful plants that will thrive in the ⅔ of my balcony that is in full shade. I finally realized that surely there must be some shade plants for this climate that had leaves that weren’t 100% green. So I set off Sunday afternoon on a determined mission: colorful shade plants or bust, to tweak an American phrase. Below you can see the results. I was quite pleasantly surprised.


Three varieties of Coleus plants*                                     Image: Zebras Child 2019

*Not all varieties of Coleus do well in the shade. Some, in fact, need full sun, so read the directions. 😉