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Archive for December, 2014

Engaged

julia jeffI don’t Facebook or twitter. On the day after Thanksgiving, my daughter got engaged. Whirlwind courtship. It was only in April that they started dating. But when you meet the right guy…

I heard about him in April when I visited Jules. But I will be the last to meet him. Everyone else has already met and approved. It seems my timing was off just a smidge. This is a camping pic from earlier in the summer. I guess you can see happiness all over.

So congratulations are definitely in order.

How did it happen? They were raking up leaves and jumping in the pile. One thing led to another and a proposal and a ring were produced. Hmmmm… a likely story. But is makes for good press.

Anyway it is a very happy ending.


Happy Ending

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It was a weekend from hell. It started well. I met a group of divers whom I knew and was welcomed to dive with them. After the second dive I came out of the water to find my dive bag gone. My work card, driver’s license, car keys, batteries, cell phones including my iPhone, and underwater flashlights were all gone with the bag. Another diver in our group lost a bag with his clothes. The disaster was the work card and car keys. We had set up our gear next to another dive group. They overlapped our dives and when we came out this group was long gone. No one had paid particular attention to them and we did not know any of their group’s names.

An intense hour of investigation got us the name of the dive instructor and the name of one of the group. We began to make calls. Of course we called my cellphone to see who might answer. And no, I did not have my iPhone finder app and location was off to preserve the battery. We got hold of the instructor. His phone was initially off. He did not find any bags. We urged him to call his group of students. He did so but it sounded reluctant. About five hours later and with three handoffs and plausible deniability I finally received my bag. I was told no one had opened it. But it was obvious that the zippers had all been resealed inside. And my bag with all the salt stains was now clean again.

All my stuff was present and accounted. Horray! We simply made lemonade out of the lemons and went ahead and did a night dive. In another post you will see a cuttlefish from that dive.

My woe was not over. My camera immediately malfunctioned at the start of the night dive. The flash would not fire. In the dark ocean water this is a serious handicap. I switched over to ambient light of the flashlights we were using. White balanced and my camera was not too bad although exposure and shutter speed bedeviled me. I got some decent shots. When I got home I discovered the cause was related to a water leak in the camera housing. The next morning the flash functioned flawlessly.

That day I took the camera into the water again and it is still leaking. It leaked only a few tiny drops but it is definitely not watertight. I have resealed the O rings with the hope that this will work.

Having been thoroughly rattled about losing my bag and ID, I was not quite right in my head when I packed to leave after the night dive. I was packing up next to a couple of instructors – husband and wife – whom I knew. In the confusion I did not pack my regulator. That would be the yellow hose equipment in the picture. It was either in the dive shop or with this couple. The next day the dive shop did not have my regulator set aside. They had about 200 regulators hanging up and each one looks pretty much the same as the other. No dice, not there, and then I figured my friends had it.

But if it was with other rental gear then I worried they would return their students’ stuff without noticing my gear. I did not have a phone number. The instructor was a friend to one of my patient’s father, another diver. It’s a small world. Unfortunately the father was in Jordan. More calls went back and forth and I was about to give up seeing my gear again. Then, out of the blue, I received a call from my clinic nurse. Bless her, she was protecting me from being bothered. She told me someone had arrived to speak to me. It was Khalid, my friend, who inquired whether I would like to have my regulator back. Oh joy! He had found it among his gear and deduced we had mixed our stuff. He kindly brought it to the hospital and I am reunited with my gear again.

Now to find out if my camera housing is repaired and will not leak. Cross fingers and keep thinking positive thoughts. So far so good. As bad as it all went, I am essentially back where I began. It was as I would say making some easy dives the hard way. Oh! I did see some pretty nice fish when I was able to dive.

 


Elkins First Ward

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For the next month or so I am going back to old photos. Jean sent me this photo. It is a group shot of my fourth grade folk dance group. We were named the A Cappers after our teacher Mrs Cappidoni seen at right. And to her right is Colleen. And at her shoulder is Anne. Both girls are married and maiden names are changed. This leads me to long story short. I searched for Anne on the internet many years after we were all adults. In the course of my search Colleen chanced to leave her maiden name on the high school website. We connected.

The costumes were as you see them. The boys wore vests and sash with a string tie. And the girls wore skirts and tops with a white blouse. My partner was Beverly center girl front row. In all these years I have been in touch with only Colleen. Well I corresponded with Anne by email once. She had nothing more to say. I can safely assume she will not chance across this comment. She was my neighbor growing up.

My search for Anne was merely a wish to know whether she was happy and her life had turned out well. You may surmise that of this group many of our lives turned out much differently than you might tell from this grade school picture.

And Colleen has told me she intentionally stood in front of Anne those many years ago. But I recognized her eyes. Yes, I am being intentionally obtuse. Who’s eyes?


Belfast

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No, it’s Maine. I haven’t been to Ireland yet. The town is charming and currently is competing with Portland for charm without the crowd. There is an interesting dining scene. Stores are nice to browse. And then there was an art exhibit. People made sitting space on corners to invite tourists to sit and stay a while. A couple examples were the tree and the drum set. Can I say more than it was inviting and we did sit on a few.

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Wabi Sabi

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I went to Maine to see some trees before heading back to the dessert. After a while trees are nice to see. And then I was hoping to appreciate some fall color. By and large it was a hit and miss. The week we arrived it was green and in another week it was past peak for a lot of trees. Green and color simultaneously did not leave many opportunities for those stunning colorful vistas of changing leaves I had envisioned. So you make do. We stayed in a B&B named Wabi Sabi. The internet states the term represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.

We found the place to be delightful. The innkeeper was gracious and breakfast was a treat. Best of all I had a tree that cooperated and gave me some of the fall color I craved.


Two Kids

 

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I don’t know who was having more fun. But these cute kids were vigorously waving hi to everyone who passed. Some folks actually ignored them. Their smiles was infectious. For some reason at that time and in that place a wave of shyness took me and I just got a sidelong shot after the fact. Yes, when they waved at me it caught me off-guard. But I did smile and wave.

 


Salt Cellar

 

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Portsmouth again. Funny. But a store devoted to salt? I mean I get mine – Morton’s. You know the one in the blue cardboard container, with iodine added. So off an alley and downstairs into a basement there is a store that sells salt. Blocks of it in slabs and even lamps of the stuff are on sale. The most practical is a slab for cooking or cutting. You salt as you prep. But there were flavored salts as well. Who knew? If you need to know they sell Himalayan salt blocks.

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