Word and Image

Cat

The Vet

Poor Feather. I’m hugging her close. We are not diligent about getting the cats to the vet. Her first time out she had a nail bed fungus and required Epsom salt soaks. She has/had a rash on her belly that required oral steroids off and on for years. It’s just getting better…. the new vet cautioned chronic steroid use is bad. Ah! I know/knew that! But it works. And, only this has worked so far. Trust me, it’s a very bad (!!!) rash. Plus, she tore her “pinky” toenail off on the day of her visit to the vet. Lucky! So, she got the “collar of shame.” No more scratching/licking her belly. And, she got a big bandage on her paw. And, she got strong time release cat pain killer. That’s just ducky. Feather promptly shed her collar. And, by the next morning her dressing was removed – by her. Yeah, yeah. My job was to put her collar back in it and the dressing was applied once more. Sometimes, I really feel bad for my “favorite” cat! Feather? The time release drug is still working and she’s “loopy.” I’m hugging her close. It really breaks my heart when the cats are sick, especially, since they don’t understand a bit about what we are doing to help.


1, 10, 100…

I use a photo catalog. Don’t you? It numbered 413k+ images at the time I composed this post. I don’t ask. It is a very large catalog. The catalog title/contents indicate the images are 2016 and onward. So, early slides from the seventies and digital images from 2004 onward are in different catalogs? Hey! I was always moving images around… but since 2016, there are roughly 413k images collected and (loosely) curated.

Are there redundancies? What constitutes first? What’s last? Here are the numbers: 1, 10, 100, 1000…  100k, 200k, 300k, 400k …on up to the last (see captions) Ok, the key: Me; lighthouse in Maine: Jules whitewater rafting in Maine; Jules shooting basketball in Saudi Arabia; Lulu my cat in Jeddah; Colleen and I vacation in Rockport, ME; Colleen in a restaurant in Scotland; cardinal on my deck; Dover, DE, autumn fair; kitchen renovation in progress.

So? I merely followed a line of curiosity. Random choice for pics to post. It is an interesting series of selections for me. Number one was digital. Number ten was a slide. Hey! It’s how it was in the catalog. The others are, indeed, digital. What to say? I have had an eventful decade as this collection spans images/pics 2007 (not strictly 2016) to present. There are no particular surprises in this potpourri. It reinforces the notion that I am more photojournalist than fine art photographer. Exactly. I picked the right name for my blog! Pictures/stories! Yup!


The worst shall be last

Did you ever have to do something and dreaded the project because it was too awful to think about? Have you ever been convoluted? My office was the last floor to install click lock floor. Daunting, there was so much stuff in the room with no where to go while I installed. I finally got the hang of it! It means that I should go back and re-do the other rooms. Ha ha! NO!! Meanwhile, the best (installed) is last, and, I will be able to use this floor for many years to come. And, my cats cannot make a mess that I cannot clean.

The hard part was dealing with a 45-degree cut. No problem on a chop saw. The Oscars – famous slap – occurred in the middle of the project. No problem. Just move the furniture around. Yeah?! Who doesn’t move all/everything out of the room before laying floor? … that would be this dummy.


Slow down

Though she tries, Colleen has been unable to filter me. Hey! Who doesn’t like the holidays? We like them though they are stressful and lots of work. Really? Ummm… well… we have lots to do. I am, sometimes, beside myself. Slow down! Let things unfold slowly and naturally. And, yet, we have a good time, too. That, there picture would be Charles Dickens great grandson performing a one man show of Christmas Carol. For real! Yes!

Strange things happen during the holidays. Masks were still in – style. And, the non sequiturs? Don’t ask, I take odd and strange photos, too. The pink juicer has been our unicorn for years. Buy it?!

It was the year of the gnome. What do our cats know from Xmas? Our youngest. It used to be, that you dressed up all formal for Xmas. No more. PJ’s are just fine! Cuteness is independent of fashion. Have I worn a tie since I retired?


Adventure

I have been afforded adventures one dreams about but never experience. Good? Bad? Leaving on a jet plane to Saudi from DC, you get the sunset over Long Island and sunrise over Egypt. The hot desert is a jarring sight.

Almost immediately I can dive beneath the Red Sea and its wonderous color and fish. Indeed, that was spectacular and special.

And, there were plenty of stray cats, largely ignored and mostly starving. The desert is cruel and harsh. A sandstorm? Several happened. I rushed out to see it. Disappointment. It was not the sweeping storm of Laurence of Arabia. Nope, it was more like dusky fog. From my vantage and perspective, it was curiosity and not too intimidating. My bad.


Doo

Neverending: short or long? Color? I persuaded Colleen that she is too young looking to go grey. But length? Short is so much easier to wash and dry. Her hairdresser does not mind change or experimentation. I get photo ops. I try to shoot every day. Cats only get you so far ….


How’s the weather?

Moonset, sunrise, sunset, clouds, jet trails, water – I get all kinds of weather into my memory card. The colors standout. It’s not every day I get a shot at spectacular weather. But, everyone talks about the weather. I shoot it.

I have lots of cats – ha, ha – and lots of cat pictures. But the number of yawn pics is small indeed. And, I have a smaller number of pics with Colleen in a hat. She doesn’t wear hats. She looks good in a hat. She’s a good sport. I was told to stick with weather….


How high?

After what I said about my cat, Feather, yesterday… I’d best follow up with Colleen, today. Or, else!

She gets tickled over the silliest things. Cuteness! It makes me giggle. Note: I do not giggle. Ever!

Yup, she makes me laugh! Snow! It’s a burden. I used to have to drive thru it to get to work – any time, any place, anywhere. Now, I’m retired. So, I just had to giggle. She was so “over the top!” Snow balls! I grant you we got a big (dump) lot of snow! And, she made a snowball and was in heaven. Can you have more joy and fun than that?


Feel

I feel better – ala – “I feel pretty,” West Side Story, the tune has been floating in my head for days. It’s cheerful with a painful twist right around the corner. Feather’s my cat, always has been, ever since she reached out and grabbed me with her claws and said, “I’m goin’ home with you!” in the pet food store. And, here I was just buyin’ cat food – (not really). Enough cats already! I don’t want this to become a cat blog…. Readers and followers come and go… I am not sure even my family follows. Friends, a few, but then, this blog was never about pandering to an audience. I photograph. Thoughts link up. Voila! It’s a post. Feather never smiles. She’s all serious. And, I am her “human.” Hers! Colleen’s jealous. But, hey!! It’s a cat?! Nope, female, competition. …  I love my wife.


Heir

I had eight cats, seven now, all lovable, cute, and huggable. Each was and is a unique character. Eight cats, nary a one the same. Seven. Odd number. Ha ha. I’m doing tryouts… Peas is Ray’s designated heir. Peas – so named for “Oliver” – “Please, may I have another?’ She’s a mutt ugly cat. Nay! Colleen objects; Peas is beautiful!! And she has taken over the role of cuteness among our seven. Her antics and curiosity – “I’ve grown accustomed to her face.” I just gotta smile. 🙂


Last

Who knew? Last shot? I was looking back… There was a NYT article – psychiatry now has a dx for prolonged grieving. It’s more than a year… not quite there yet, by a long shot. But then again, it’s morbid, but, the last time I photographed Ray was… He was happy. He was happy right up to the end. He played. He was playing. It’s was humorous and joyful to watch him take pleasure in the simple act of sitting in a box. Boxes amused him. He loved to be in them. Colleen found him in this box. I shot the pic. Who knew?


windows

We’re trying not to dwell… it’s hard not. Colleen has noted that Nutley, Ray’s brother, is grieving. I do believe she’s right. A cat? Yup. I apologize. I’m working out stuff myself. Ray was a cat. In perspective, the lives lost and property destroyed by Russia in Ukraine pales.

Apropos:

The Windows of the World – Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach

… The windows of the world are covered with rain
There must be something we can do
Everybody knows whenever rain appears
It’s really angel tears
How long must they cry?
Let the sun shine through

Keep busy: eat out, laugh with friends, do stuff. We will never forget. Each day I am working toward coping. This one time it has hit harder than ever before. I do not know why. Colleen comforts me as I do her. Photography has been a comfort. No, you cannot tell that it is Nutley; they were twins.


Restless

I swear coffee doesn’t keep me up at night. I’m sitting here composing this post at 3AM because…  and humming tunes from West Side Story. Oh boy! I have no deep thoughtful insight. Even my most faithful cats are passed out asleep near me. The more you worry, the less sleepy you feel. But, it’s all good. I am retired. A nap is no big deal. Just a few more random pictures … time for bed.


i…

iPhone.

It is not my primary camera. The current photo catalog (incomplete) has 400k images. There are about 3k iPhone shots – less than 1%. Dave uses it as his primary camera. I shot a few pics for rapid (instant) upload to family. I get an occasional selfie. Some pics are taken of me… occasionally. I put pictures on my phone to share. My point?! My last iPhone upgrade was the iPhone 7. We are up to the iPhone 13. I got the new SE to take advantage of the 5G network. The new SE looks exactly the same as the (good old/ancient) 7; the protective cases are exactly interchangeable. (The new box is smaller – ha ha.) Change comes slowly. If you want a better camera, get a better camera. My phone is not a camera. Oh! The cats (pics) are from my camera.

Ha ha! I am a confirmed “hoarder.” !!! Nuthin’ gets thrown away. ?? Will I ever need the box again? The last one (iPhone box) came out the closet from six years ago…. Nut! And, I shoot redundantly – to be sure I have at least one serviceable shot. Digital is free?! I’m tossin’ the boxes. (Cringe!!)


Click…

… lock flooring. I’ve been itching to try it. How hard can it be? Oh boy! Was I sore! Then I kinda sorta got the hang of it. Perfect? Far from it! Do I care? Colleen does! Hey! It beats the rug that was there. I have replaced three of four areas. I learned a lot along the way. I broke lotsa rules! Such as… take all the furniture out of the rooms. Or, how about running a chop saw in the bathroom? … and a table saw in the very room you are flooring? It’s chaos! Absolutely! Colleen is a good sport. We got a lot of stuff that’s gotta get tossed. A single shot? We’re gonna need a wider angle lens!

Ha ha! And you thought it was click, as in photography. Why! Why, why? Shhh… my cats have been peeing the carpet in the hall. Ewww! Then… I discovered it was not limited to the hall and included the rug in each and every room. Why!! … dunno. Sometimes life ain’t all fine photography.


Draw

Spinning, you draw out the wool and then the wheel twists it into yarn. Magical! It’s a skill. It’s not hard to master. It can be hard to do. Few, fewer people do it. There is a Zen to spinning. Meditation. Peace. Tranquility. Elle, our solitary cat, likes to sit behind Colleen. She will bide, until, she wants attention. It’s all part of the Zen process. Everyone should have a “weaver” kitty.


Fun and games

Renovation is hell! Why? Why are we doing it? It was due. To whit – the oven died. It just up and stopped working. It was old; it came original with the “born on” date of the house. Sale!! Half off (for the new oven)! How good is that!! So, the counters are clear; the measure lady was coming. You won’t see it like this again. Note: new garbage disposal under the counter; the installers will not put the old on back in – go figure. The oven dies and you do a whole kitchen makeover? Yeah, change is good.

New floor. ?? Nuts! I tackled this job. I’m cheap. I’m dumb. And, there are online instructions. You learn the mistakes as you go. So far there are two rooms done, two down, two to go. Nuts! And yes, I broke a rule somewhere. I did not, could not, move all the furniture out of the room. I worked around it. Did I say “nuts!!!” Flowers and gate? Yes, the cats are separated; and in the last iteration I did up things with fake flowers – lots of flowers!

Feather would “eat” Peas, if only I would let them. So, they remain safely separated, in different rooms now. And, they play footsie beneath the door. It would be nice if they all got along. Yes, it would. Nope! No peas for dinner, please.


Insanity

… doing the same thing over and over … hoping for a different result. We got another fleece to wash … spin. Yes, nuts! It’s spring, time to plant. Eating out is good. Colleen took flight on St Pat’s day. We had a reservation. 30 minutes later we were seated. It was a local place, definitely not worth the effort. Dinner with the cousins, priceless. And, the cats keep getting images into my camera.


Random

Iconic, shots of my life, random, culled from previous posts. Inspired? I was. I was not allowed to publish a shot we made in the museum. Copyright. Ok, I will respect it, though I have it already, too late. It was (not this one) an Andy Warhol classic too. I am inspired ala Rocky to hold up my bike on the closest I ever got to a “Century” on that day – 96 mile ride. Beloved Patch, a heilan coo, spring tulips, Whistler’s mother in Paris. I have lived a pretty nice life. It’s not how you start… yada yada. I do not deny that I have been very lucky, very fortunate… very, you name it. I have seen beauty. I have loved beauty. I have lost. I have loved. I love. If there is forever, I will love you Colleen.


Inspiration

Pictures? I don’t try to overthink. Good pics seem to stand out. A story? Feather’s mouse. The cats all seem to have habits. Some of my cats have favorite toys. Other cats are oblivious. Feather has battered the stuffing out of her favorite mouse toy. She brings it to us as well. It’s all part of her game. There’s no telling what the cats are thinking. I hope they appreciate that we love and care for them. Feather and Spice are identical except for their paw markings. Behaviors and favorite spots can sometimes help distinguish one from the other. I have no complaint. I get hugs from both.


Habit

Practice and habit: we called it (in medicine) – the usual order, the way of doing things, how things went in our household. And, of course there were always exceptions in the way our cats went about things. Ray liked to sleep in containers and on the rug in front of the TV. He did not sleep on the loom, until, he did. I find that a lot of the pictures I have of the twins were taken sequentially within moments with one twin here and the other in a different location. Telling which was which was still a trick, sometimes. Nutley? He loved to burrow under the rugs. Yeah, he would nestle right under them, sometimes a mere lump, bump, in the rug. These pics are in my catalog and will always make me smile.


Ritual

So much to say, I could write an essay or an editorial. No! It’s not my mission…

We buried Ray (next to Patch) in a box shipped with sheep fleece. Smell? The cats loved boxes – to climb/play in them. And, Ray had a favorite gerbil/toy and I had recently found it behind a cabinet. He would hide his toys and not tell us so I could retrieve it for him. Ray was so happy to have played with it again. Mike brought over a rose. We (God) had a special sunset that day. The ceremony in the backyard was simple – Ray in a packing box with his gerbil. Grief, grieving, it’s a funny thing. We miss that little cat so much. Cats grieve too. Yes, that’s Nutley with the sad sad eyes. He misses his brother. We are hugging Nutley extra close.


Snap(shot)s

Random today… selection of pics. I have evolved from a single pic and story. Too many images, too little time. Good? Cats are our – Colleen’s and mine – life these days. We share much love with them. Yes… she loves to eat out, water view preferable. A frog, a duck, the sky, the moon, a grasshopper, all are fair game. Imerfect, (sic) true. Ha ha. I’m glad to have had the opportunities. A single shot/picture? Maybe once again, someday, but, not today.


Who do you love

It’s always rhetorical. Which of your kids is your favorite? Favorite cat? Answer: You love them all. Equally? Answer: You smile. Favorite time? Favorite place? Favorite picture? In the moment, I like/love everything. Wrong! You love your wife, elsewise, you will not live to take another picture. Ha ha.

I’m just randomly flipping thru the catalog today. Monhegan Island. Just like that, I could recognize and recall the meal, restaurant, and setting. How? Memory is a funny thing. Pictures are my trigger to open up the past for me. Otherwise I have monarch butterflies scattered liberally in my catalog. Good luck finding a pic easily amongst the lot. Ditto, sunset. Sheep? Yup, I do not recall any particular sheep. This is all a random draw.

Cats? It’s still raw to recall Ray, whom we recently lost. Colleen will say we have favorites. Less favorite? … to which I say, I love them all. Need I say, she is my favorite wife?