One of the last photos I took of my cat Summer before she ran away/got lost/stumbled into a mole-filled heaven nine months ago alternately fascinates and gives me shivers. The background around her is crisp, while she is an ethereal beauty - glowing and planning other-worldly adventures (I'm sure it has something to do with the light or the aperture or something else technical, but that's irrelevant):
My aunt Susie is an artist - an incredibly talented, Belgian chocolate-loving personality whose work inspires those around her (and makes me crazy green with envy!). She and my mom have been best friends longer than I've been alive (they married brothers, but their friendship bond stuck even after their divorces), so she's always been a part of my life. The running joke is the time I babysat for her three kids (my cousins), but didn't pay attention as the toilet leaked and flooded their entire house with a foot of water. Hey, I was only twelve - you get what you pay for!
For my birthday this year, my mom sent a Summer portrait, painted by my Aunt Susie, who, fortunately, doesn't hold grudges:
I couldn't ask for a more wonderful gift.