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Two Of A Kind

Last night I promised the “Natalie” nickname story, but before I get into that I wanted to explain my choice of title and subject for this evening. Two of a kind. As I  explained the other day, as a child I looked just like my dad. Neither of my two children look exactly like me. My son resembles Dan’s family much more than he does mine, although my Dad claims that Brian looks like him. (Of course, because he is handsome. See Natalie story at the bottom of the page, it will explain everything) Brian has my teeth, famously known around here as “Osmond” teeth, they’re big, Osmond big. When I was younger I could do a mean Marie. She and I are only days apart in age, although my face still looks like me. (Just saying..) Jessica is a real mixture of her Dad and I. When she was younger she resembled him more, now I see a lot of myself. I bring this up because the piece I painted tonight is from a photo Jessica took in Ireland. In 2009 my Dad wanted to take all four of his daughters, their husbands, and the eight grandchildren to Ireland.  I didn’t go. Love my family dearly, but me on a bus with my family for ten days would not have been pretty. Fortunately my lovely husband and I were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary.  Oh, so sorry, can’t go to Ireland because I’m going to Paris. (Have I mentioned how much I love my husband?)  I had also been to Ireland twice before, and had dreamed of going to Paris my entire life. No question about which trip I was taking. So, while my children were in Ireland with my family, (Ha ha) I was in France with the love of my life. This is where the two of a kind part comes in. I took more than two thousand pictures in France, Jessica wasn’t too far behind in Ireland. Two different countries, two different photographers, the pictures? Interchangeable. We take the same shots the same way. Same angles, same detail shots, same composition. The only difference is that she occasionally allows humans into hers, mine are landscape only. (I even photo-shopped an unfortunate tourist out of one of my pictures, sorry. She really shouldn’t have been wearing those sweat pants.  And, because no one told everyone to get off Monet’s bridge over the water lilies in Giverny….gone, sorry once again)  Jessica is also very artistic, a graphic designer by trade. Beautiful work and I’m not even biased.

When Brian was small he began to paint, he was three. He would watch Wile e Coyote and the Roadrunner and then paint desert scenes. I was thrilled. Then he grew a little and realized we might have something in common (God forbid!) so he quit. I think he spent years denying he actually had a mother. One of the nicest things that has happened with this project is that my son now wants me to teach him how to paint. I’ve waited nearly twenty years to hear that lovely request.  I might also add he has a good eye for photography as well. I’m a proud mother OK?

The “Natalie” story. Here it is… my Dad, as I have stated previously is quite a character. He is also quite narcissistic. He is a good-looking man, even now at eighty he still looks good, and since he sounds like he just got off the boat, (he got off in 1956) his brogue is quite attractive to the ladies. Since I looked like him as a child he gave me the nickname Natalie. No it isn’t my middle name, that is Frances. (I’m named for Jackie Kennedy, middle initial F., last initial A. Get it? J.F.A….J.F.K.? We’re Irish Catholic need I say more?) Natalie is for the beautiful Natalie Wood. Why? Because I looked like my Dad and if he were a woman he would look like Natalie Wood. Really. I wouldn’t lie to you. Slightly twisted, but you have to admit entertaining. By the way, my artistic talent isn’t mine, its his. He told me so. It’s kind of like osmosis, his thoughts, his ideas, my hands, I kid you not.

So in honor of my slightly strange Dad, and because I love him, a little watercolor of his favorite place on Earth, Ireland. Photo by Jessica, painting by Jackie (alias Mom)

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