I Just Keep Doing It

The Whole Problem, I tell myself, is that I live across the street from Whole Foods. I can see the outside display from my kitchen window. And the things on their patio this time of year are just, well, too tempting to resist. I also can truthfully say that they are good for my mental health. So I keep buying them, because each month they have different ones, and I feel I need to add to my collection. It’s almost getting out of control, because I don’t have infinite space, given that I live in an apartment and all. But in fact, I think I exert remarkable self control, given how many different varieties there are. But, well, I guess that depends on who is making that judgement.

At any rate, here are of two my newest acquisitions. These Dahlias are annuals, so I need to revel in their short lived beauty.

Dahlias   Image: Zebras Child 2019
Dahlias   Image: Zebras Child 2019


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

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

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


Image: Zebras Child 2019

For the first few months after my husband’s death, I could think of nothing other than the loss of him. It invaded both my waking and my sleeping and was intensified by the bone deep exhaustion that permeated every cell of my body. But gradually, over the months, I started to notice that there began to be room for other things. I began to be able to eat with friends and stay still long enough to observe the fog slowly retreating up the hills in the mornings. It’s not that I hadn’t seen the color of the world in the early months of grieving, it’s that the color and beauty were merely observed rather than taken in. Somewhere around the seventh month since the fall that took the essence of him away, which was also the fifth month after his death, I began to notice that every once in awhile I would feel a flash of joy. I didn’t quite know what to do with that. Should I feel guilty that I was beginning to feel comfortable in the world again or be grateful for it?