Word and Image

Cat

Haircut day

Human again! We put our hands in Emma and she cut our hair. The girls had better WiFi reception for a while. I got my ears lowered. The cat was a passive observer. Yeah, it was a strange sight all day. In the end we all looked much better. I hope the next hair cut will come sooner than later.


Do what?!

I casually offered. They accepted. You learn new things every day. How about the cat tower? Hmmm… I had not thought about that nor had ever tried it. Cooperation? Hardly?!! Mike and Jen thought (innocently) they could hold all four cats for a single take. A single picture? They have seen Colleen’s pics. We did it with seven cats across the table. Easy! About 101 pictures later… They had great ideas and we improvised as we went along. Nut crackers, cat tower, oh my! Done! I’d do it again… no cats were harmed… a few scratches later…


Done

I don’t keep track well. The garden is done when? After the first frost, everything goes dormant. All the impatiens are gone overnight. The frost came late this year. How would I know that these pics a week or so before were the last from my garden till next spring. Bye! It was a good year!? I have a few pots that come inside… Meyer lemon trees, asparagus fern… I like the cycle of the seasons.


Fill time

It is a rare day that goes by without me taking pictures. Subject? Ah! Cats and flowers… they are available and do not object too much. Seven cats – only a few are cooperative. The rest avoid me.

Take a picture just to take a picture? Umm, I consider it a challenge. Get a technically sound image with some wrinkle in detail – water – that is a bit out of the ordinary.

Busy time activity? Boredom? Warding away the doldrums of retirement? Ha! Colleen fills her time with reading. For me, there are only so many times I can hit the refresh button on the NY Times.


Subject

It’s a hobby fer cris sakes! It’s pretty simple. I shoot what is around me. Family, birds, flowers, cats…. Easy. Edit. Choose. Blog and then post. You have no doubt guessed that I have/had a lot of cameras. I do not much collect old ones. I have lost cameras in various ways. I managed to “fry” on underwater even. Note: salt water is bad for camera electronics. There are even some times when Colleen uses my camera.

Subject? The only caveat to note is that I have cameras in multiple rooms and drive with one in the pocket or on the dashboard. And, still we miss opportunities now and again.


Back up

Describe in a few words how you back up your photos –

Ha ha. Multiply redundant hard drives. I currently use five. Count ‘em, five! Hard drives fail. Cloud? Nope. It could go away tomorrow. It goes, you are outta luck. Database. Ya gotta keep a written record of where what is. Funny? Try Scotland, we were there when? Yes, you can search Scotland and find out “when” in a few seconds after typing in the key word. It’s not hard. It doesn’t take long. And I thank myself every day for keeping track of where my stuff is. And then, it still ain’t easy. Back your stuff up. All I did was search “copy a.” Look what I got!?


Copy

I
 went

            back

Look up – search – “copy” on the hard drive. Hmmm. Hole in the head, not hole in the wall…. It seems that we shot a lot of group shots of our cats. Brilliant?! The years are different but seem to be annual more recently. I get the idea to do it again in November. It works. I guess I shall do it again and again. Meanwhile, the shots are ever more precious. They remind us of love found and love lost. Cats may come and go but they are ever in our hearts. We are so lucky to be together, one and all.


About a year

Three. Five. Seven. Six. Seven. Eight. Seven. We have gone thru many iterations of the number of cats in our house. Numbers five and seven were pairs. They grabbed me in the pet store and latched on to my sleeve until I relented and took them home. Yeah, softie! We lost Patch. Tillie came home until Colleen discovered the next day that Peas was her sister left behind. Eight! Following me? And, then we lost Ray. No more cats. I am used to feeding seven cats. Seven is a lucky number. Don’t ask. I have litter boxes on three levels of the house in four spots with a wooden gated barrier to separate warring factions. What have I/we done? Happy family? Oh yeah!!

Seven cats. Count ’em. Tillie and Peas got extras (pics). It’s their birthday. Our merry band has changed… wish that it weren’t so. Confusion reigns. Try to remember, who got fed, where?


Gee

Sometimes I surprise myself. I did that?!

Vent cover. I never heard of them. I took them for granted. I never look at them. You can buy them. It’s better than the old metal one. Ah! Finish?! You gotta do it yourself. Really?! I did that?! Yup! I finished it to match. Myself. Not bad. Yes, the cats were curious at every step. There is some skill involved. Ha! Undaunted. Edges, sill, vent, nail gun, oh my! Easy! Right! I gotta say… don’t try this at home. (Wink!)

I also gotta say that I took pictures as I went along. Gee, everything deserves a picture….


It’s a wrap

You go through the holidays. We got through the first leg – Thanksgiving. Christmas to come, it should be ever interesting. We managed to pull it off. Smiles! We had some. And there were members of the family who would have rather avoided the camera but reluctantly posed. Jen scrapbooks. A lot of the group shots are for her. And we will do it once more next year. I hope. Meanwhile my cats remain ever obedient and climb right up on the table whenever I call.


Eyes

If I have learned nothing else, it is all about focus and the eyes in portraiture. Cat, humans, whoever whatever you shoot, it is sharp focus on the eyes that makes the picture. If you can do that, then you break all the rules. Or, any rules….

I run around camera in hand trying to get pictures. The cats merrily romp. The never cooperate and mostly never look in my direction. I have lots of tricks. I make strange noises. Distraction or draw their attention? You would never know. Note: all cats did not cooperate for these pictures; none were harmed.

Got eyes? Ok! Try and get fur. You need texture in the fur. Black cat? It’s near impossible. White cat? Ditto! There is so much to remember while you chase focus on the eyes. Yes, comical – a grown retired surgeon making strange noises and hand gestures while chasing after cats who could care less.


Cookin’

You’re never gonna see my kitchen this neat again. The first frost. Dawn. The thanksgiving countdown. Covid is over. At least we are unrestrained and there has been a cooking explosion in my house in response to three years of deferred holiday celebrations. We got food coming from all directions. Cooking. Baking. Oh my! Colleen made mincemeat pie… and tarts. Ummm, no can I not have another, please, And, yes, of course, the cats help!

She baked bread. She laughed. I was so bowled over by the professional quality of her bread…. It tickled her so…. 

Meringue cookies. I had leftover egg whites. Internet! The NYT now makes you pay for recipes. No need! Wow! They came out phenomenal. I kid you not. Jane got a cold and stayed away. Lee arrived a day late. Eric??? Let the family games begin!! I should know better by now. We just got over the worst colds… No one, I promise, will go away hungry.  

When I say “neat,” it simply means you see empty counter surface. Ha ha. (Shhh… three big storage bins of food are in the elevator. Yeah, we got an elevator… )


What is there to say?

Happy holidays!

Family photo time! My timing was poor. Colleen said no and had a fit. We were just getting over severe colds and she was sleep deprived and still coughing. Plus, we were in a cooking frenzy a few days before Thanksgiving. Ha ha, it ain’r a pretty picture.

Take seven cats and ask them to cooperate. Right?! Each was frog marched up to the table and forced to look at the camera. Cooperation was at a minimum. Jen laughed at how happy Willow looked to be there. The passable shots were melded. Voila!

We got photobombed. Spice is over Colleen’s left shoulder. So, I got eight cats and didn’t know it.

Happy Holidays from our Family to yours.

If you are going to do this, then go for it. Multiple shots and poses. It took about 130 shots in all. And no, it was not perfect. But this is all tongue in cheek. Eh?! A few years back the ladies in the drug store giggled. The peeked at my prints and were impressed that the cats all lined up. With straight face I told them I have trained cats….

As you can readily see Colleen came around to my way of thinking. We truly do love our cats.

“Ok! All you guys, get up on the table and smile. Now!”


What’s in yours?

Ha ha. My Lightroom catalog reflects what is in my life. Of course! Family! Love. Life. Food. Sunrise. Sunset. Cats. Antique stores. Flowers. Sheep. Fiber. I state the obvious. There is so much. No going back. I wish…. I miss Lulu (Saudi). I love Feather and Spice. …and Colleen. Transformational. Colleen has made all of life worth living these days. I hope the day never ends.


Se vende

I dream. I compose posts. I cannot spell. Si vendre. Se vende.

Colleen snores. It carries. She is rooms away.

Meaning? To sell. Sell? The store for sale or sale in the store?

My cat Feather sleeps upon me when she can. She puts her paw on my face. Affection? I cannot hold her paw. Entrapment?

You wake up from dreams…. Funny. This op ed appeared the day 45 declared his new candidacy. Fascinating. The editor had a therapist while 45 was president. He did not quite realize his therapist admired 45. Oh! How Freudian!

Are you sleeping if your eyes are closed?

Try it! Oh boy! I need some therapy….

About time

It’s about time for the annual family shot – Colleen, me, and the seven cats. They march up onto the table and I shoot with the remote control and tripod. Simple. Easy.

This year the pandemic is over. Is it? To all intents and purposes it is hard to find many masks and precautions. We are not taking risks. But pretty much wherever we go there are few admonitions or masks. People are still hospitalized and dying. Our social exposure is slowly ramping up. For the first time in several years we will have a family gathering at Thanksgiving. Good luck to all.


Fast forward

Life is in fast forward these days. There’s no let up soon. We returned from Maine and flew to California. Day trips. Thanksgiving at our house. Ohio a couple of trips. We are on the go. In between there is a lot of fleece to wash, card, and spin. No boredom around here. Looking back at the first part, maybe that was the slow part?

Family, kids, nature, cats… repeat.


Composed

We have returned from extended trips – Maine and California. What do you shoot – when you get back? Cats! Of course! It was a welcome reunion with hugs all around. Who missed who – more? One of the favorite activities – eating grass and leaves on the deck. Ok! I hope everyone is happy. We are happy to be home.


Guilt

I am racked with guilt. Even when they were both with us, I could never tell the difference between Ray and Nutley looking at them head on. There was a white collar of fur on Ray’s neck. Flowers look the same too? Right? You don’t mistake your kids? Relatives? Friends?

Ha ha. Freudian? I started to list the cats as “family” in the category and tags.


Kondo marie…

Backwards. Opposite. … we are not… neat and organized.

We do pack our days. Upon our return from our recent trip to Maine it took about an hour to unload the car. Slow?! We had a lot of stuff crammed in all the nooks and crannies. How about a linear foot of books beneath the front seats. Exaggerate. No, I was merely cautions. There was a lot of glassware or pottery too.

Waiting were my seven cats. It took Feather a day to forgive my absence. Wating too, were a slew of Amazon fairy packages. Neat! Colleen would spy a book she had to have. I would find it discounted… or that tea pot. We need another like a … and I found it on Amazon and had it shipped. Ha! More room in the car. Thank goodness we do not have a van.

We managed a visit to the beach. The erosion from the recent hurricane had pretty much decimated the beach. I started to spin. There’s a lot of fiber processing to come this winter. And Feather made it to the vet.

Neat comes later. Organized? Colleen got a new pocket book and transferred the contents from her old one. We never did find the old one among our bags. Hmmmm? And a bread box? Yeah!? I did not know we needed one. Books? Every other available space … used and second hand. It seemed every library in Maine had a sale going. You borrow, right? Nope, you can buy gently used….

It’s all very topsy turvy confusing but there is organization to our happy chaos. Umm… and another spinning wheel… like the proverbial hole in the head. Ah! Ha! It folds compactly to travel in the car! Yup, it would be great if we had any room in the car. Did I remember to mention the large bags of sheep fleece?


What’s in your day?

I am so fortunate. I have a deck to sit. The beach is a short ride away. The soundtrack of “Jaws” plays gently on my mind. Cats! I never cared much for cats till Colleen…. I got no complaints. I got worries. Don’t we all? Charmed. I have been indeed “lucky.”


What do you shoot?

I got about eleven cameras in rotation. I shoot regularly with four right at this moment. Other cameras are in closets or on the shelves having outlived their usefulness giving way to the newest latest greatest technologies. I have several iPhones. Only one is in current use. So?

The question arises: what camera do you use? It depends on the circumstance. For events like an Indian Powwow I want to use the “big gun” and the “big lens.” It’s nice to have choices. I keep a camera on my desk: clouds, moon…. I have a camera on the dashboard of the car. You never know. Colleen is a good sport about taking pics rather than my handling the camera while driving. Good! I have a camera in the dining room to get grab shots of the cats when they are frantically trying to be cute or to avoid me. I use a macro lens for my flower garden and otherwise I am zoom lens on pretty much everything. I tend to the maximum zoom. So, why not a prime zoom at that focal length? TMI!

It was a simple question. I download to five redundant external drives under the assumption that everything electronic breaks down – eventually.

What do you shoot? What do I shoot? Mainly it breaks down to fitting the camera to the need. It is nice to have choices.

Now, to wives? There is only one!! One! One and only?!!! Different day different camera, but only one wife!


Best boy

How long is mourning? Not a day goes by lately that I don’t miss our departed Ray. I guess it was his sudden death? Nutley, his brother, is identical in photos except for the color of the fur around his neck. It’s hard to tell. Trust me. I edit and it’s hard to tell Ray from Nutley. Our other twins – Spice and Feather – are equally hard to distinguish in pictures.

Storm’s coming. Here’s a neat trick. I have trained the cats. I clap hands and say, “Go!” They trot to the door and come in off the deck. Yes!

You will notice the clip and rope around Ray’s neck. He and his brother staged frequent jailbreaks over the fence of the deck, hence, the restraint.

As I said before, we miss Ray.


Tea

High tea. It’s referred to:

“English High Tea usually involved a mug of tea, bread, vegetables, cheese and occasionally meat.

What is difference between afternoon tea and high tea?

Delectable scones, tea sandwiches, and cakes are the hallmark of an afternoon tea, which is served in midafternoon. A high tea, however, includes much more substantive fare…

“Tasha Tudor: was an American illustrator and writer of children’s books.” Beloved!

Colleen has loved her books and illustrations long before I met her. We have bought several of her books which are collectibles from antique stores.

And, I have become introduced to the Tasha Tudor society. Yes, a fan club! On her 107 birthday we attended a Tea in her honor far from our home in Lancaster PA. I won the door prize! Imagine that! We had a splendid time. There were speeches. There was a tour.

Yes, there are cults that promote good. We met people who had met Tasha during her life. Some folks have pursued celebrations like this for many years. It is indeed humbling to see living history pass as the participants grow ever older and the tenuous connection to Tasha fades.

The day started in fog and ended with a spectacular sunset replete with rainbow. Nutley, as ever, did not want us to leave him for the day. Colleen ate in a favorite restaurant as a coda. Perfect! Priceless!