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July 4th

We don’t. We don’t July 4th. Not much anymore. I have mixed feeling, since living in Saudi and having gone thru the Trump years. For us the flag is now associated with the conservative “big lie” Republicans. Sure enough, we ran into a bunch in our conservative town on this day back years ago. Frankly, it’s sickening. Rah rah. Democracy is demonized and the flag never felt more like the connotation of “love it or leave it.” I don’t feel much like a part of that “gang.” When did America stop opening its arms to the “tired, poor, and huddled masses? It’s just so hard to cling to any hope. Colleen is an optimist. She will never give up believing in “good.” I will do so because she is my hope.


Reconciliation

I would never say, “We won. You lost!” (The trump presidency is still raw. We’re in DC together – a few years back.) Ginny never lets me forget her birthday. She always calls a few days ahead. Ha ha. So, Happy!! She’s one of my only remaining Republican friends. She knows that too. We speak infrequently of politics. This is not the closest Colleen has been to a Republican. Colleen lived in rural West Virginia. But since she no longer lives there, her encounters have been fewer. Colleen allows me to stay in touch. But, nowadays I wear a mask and sanitize after every encounter outside the family.


Push pull

The Amish are odd because of their habits – no buttons or zippers on their clothes. And they do not use electricity or machine power. The hay baler is not powered, I guess. We all live amonst one another in peace. No pictures please. You know me. There’s never been a rule I didn’t try to break. Sorry. The rule in “Street photography” is that in “public” you are fair game for photography. It doesn’t mean I will photograph if you are in an embarrassing position. But otherwise…. that weaving device was one of the few I did not buy. What is it? Dunno. It would’ve been a good conversation starter.


Heroes

It’s a small field. There are about 3700 neurosurgeons in the US, not too many more than the average daily kill from covid. It’s unlikely you have heard of any, much less, those who are heroes to me. Yasergil, Heifetz, Cloward… Ransahoff. Yasergil and Heifetz pioneered early aneurysm clips that revolutionized how we treated the berry (time bomb) aneurysms in the head. Cloward pioneered the anterior cervical decompression and fusion. He kept his donor bone in his refrigerator in his home at one point. Ransahoff, was my training director. His contribution was to teach me judgement – when to operate, how far to go, when to get out. He famously had a penile implant, facial plastic surgery, and finally committed suicide when his memory was failing. I saw these men in their later years too. Fame had been pushed aside by younger surgeons for progress as they were left behind to grow ever more frail. It’s life’s cycle. But once upon a time, I walked among giants. I never expected to be fortunate enough to be among them. They were authors and teachers in places far from me. Yet, here we were, once.


Tyler group

Friends – not any more. I’m too lazy to seek out another pic. We went to the Tyler Place in Vermont for a bunch of years when the kids were small. This group hung in and persisted as fast friends for more than 25 years later. Two of four couples are divorced now. The end ladies, one a liberal democrat and the other a conservative republican are no longer friends (of mine). One chose my wife over me in the divorce. The other did not like my liberal rants against trump. She defended herself saying she watched the news – Fox news. Oh! Times change and old republican friends just get older…. and fewer. Yes, and they sold the house (in the background) too. Everyone one is on another path. Better? Worse? Was the split because of politics? We all met at the Tyler Place a long long time ago. No regrets. Friends. Republican friends in a time when it was ok.


External hard drive

I could use an alternate brain. It’s simply amazing the number of things I have forgotten. I don’t throw things away. I simply put them away… in places… and then promptly forget until… here’s an example. Back in 2007 Carol gave me a gift that I kept safe and never used. I found the card, box, and all, the other day. We are still in touch, so I thanked her again. … yup! It’s back in the box. I’ll find it in another ten years… and thank her once again.


Santacon

“This must be what it felt like watching the moon landing. It was a historic scientific achievement that you just know a bunch of idiot jabronis are going to say was faked.” — SETH MEYERS

“You know that 2020 has been weird because I’m looking at a person in a face mask getting injected and I’m thinking, ‘I cannot wait for that to be me.’” — JAMES CORDEN

“This is a relief. I would hate to start another week of shows without talking about the same election results we’ve all known for the last month and a half.” — JAMES CORDEN

“At this point, Joe Biden has won the election so many times, he’s our 46th through 51st president.” — STEPHEN COLBERT

“This is also big news because this means after six agonizing weeks, the election is finally over. Stick a fork in the president; he’s done. Also, keep that fork handy because poking him in the butt might be the only way to get him out of the White House.” — STEPHEN COLBERT

SantaCon. I was there once. Look it up. It’s an enormous bar crawl. It sure is colorful. Halloween style costuming in December. It’s a guerilla event, a pop-up. Everyone knows but no one does. It’s quite the thing. I went once. Yeah, yeah, I (famously) don’t/can’t drink. I went for the pictures.


Lena

One and only. This is the one and only image. Once. We never spoke, I don’t even know how I knew her name. This lady sat in this doorway for years while we lived in NYC. She would always smile at my kids when we came out of our building. One day I snapped her picture. Finally! Her demeanor changed in an instant. It was clear she did not want her picture taken. She was a “character” in my neighborhood. The doorway? I do not know if it was a home or storefront. I never saw beyond the darkened entrance. One day she was gone. … but not forgotten.


So many subjects…

… not enough time. Two guys decided to make a spectacle of themselves as much as play golf. Hmmm, they are only a letter away – as(s). Meanwhile, Colleen went into the garden and made a cut flower arrangement. Ok! Successful! Wow! Really, I am being complimentary. I am less destructive and would not (couldn’t bear to) ordinarily cut them myself. She’s got a good eye. Cue, the applause.


2005

2005, February, Central Park, New York City, “Gates,” Jeanne Claude and Christos. Christos passed away recently. Jeanne Claude died in 2009 of a brain aneurysm, no less. Their signature art installation for me was “Gates.” My database and Lightroom catalog got me to the images in about five minutes. My memory got me to the only frames in which I caught the artists inspecting their work. My memory also recalls that I did not walk the park with Lisa. Strange. I persuaded Charlie to fly over Central Park in the helicopter. Alas, the (aerial) pictures were not memorable. Carol framed and hung a few of my “Gates” pics. I wonder if they are still hanging? No one else has tried such monumental works. Somewhere, I have a sample of the ‘Gates’ cloth. No, I will not find that anytime soon.


Ride by

“Drive by… shooting” came to mind as the title. Humorous? …perhaps in another time. “Shooting,” as in photography. Not today. We rode by to say “hi” and to check on the cousins. There was plenty of yard work and planting going on. Biking. It’s good for you.


Butt face

I hate it, when they change things. WordPress, the sponsor of this blog site has changed the format for creating and editing a post. Yay! By now everyone has had a chance to try it. I hate change. I just got used to editing and creating…. What if one had to change wives every…. Oh shit! I’m in deep shit….. Please forgive me honey, I don’t know what came over me. I’m so terribly sorry! 🙂

Butt soap – for Ginny, or Emma – there’s a side for your face and one for your ass. Don’t get mixed up? Please. (You know who you are.)


Random acts of kindness

I was on the hunt for a hard drive that held missing image files from 2007. Right?! Things disappear. Certainly, memory fades. I am always appreciative that computer memory is forever. GIGO – garbage in garbage out and all that. And, hard drives fail – always. But, until they go bad, what’s stored is there. My memory decays and degrades and I forget. I wonder what the memory of the human brain…. 2.5 million gigabytes.

Which brings me to – stored in a random storage bin: surgical telescope? I never called them that. “Loops.” It was magnifying lens through which you operated with a magnified surgical field. So, it was binocular magnified vision that was soon supplanted the operating microscope. They were popular just before the microscope took over neurosurgery as the go-to instrument. Dr. Fred Epstein, my pediatric neurosurgery mentor bought every resident a pair. It was his kind gift to us all. I just want to remember his kindness and remember him today as I look at the glasses I hardly used. They were a significant expense and much appreciated. When I graduated the program Fred also gave me the latest (at that time) six volume set of Youman’s second edition (now 6th). He was a brilliant surgeon, teacher, and mentor. In my own career I never forgot his kindness and often I gave back in small ways to people who worked and trained under me.


Once

2409 32 Susan Bob Kevin

The story goes like this. I remember Susan’s birthday because she told me and I made this post on the spot back in May. Otherwise I’m a lost cause. Of course, I can/could write birthdays in a list somewhere. I didn’t/don’t. My bad!

The pic? Susan’s husband and his buddy are making out in a hot tub….. we were staying in a rental. Apres ski, the boys walked in on my (former) wife and Susan in the hot tub. You do the math…. I’m just sayin’ I wasn’t there. No harm no foul. It was a few decades ago. Thank goodness memory fades. Happy Birthday! My odds are not good to remember next year’s date.


Social distance

The first warm sunny day? Yes, we did what everyone else did. We were out and about in the time of corona! Don’t! Nah! It was simply too beautiful to resist temptation. At least we weren’t at the beach or park. We dropped by to check in with the cousins. Andy got a haircut. Kathy did it. He claims he still has one ear. He succumbed to danger. He didn’t like wings. There’s a reason to take doubles. One always has eyes closed. And I don’t ask people to pose often. I should. It’s a better photo. But then again there’d be nothing if I didn’t ride with a camera around my neck. Ummmm? Do they distance inside too?


On the move

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Dave’s been in one location for too long now. Kathleen’s sister had a child – Gio. I won’t comment upon the name. You look it up. “Noa” is pretty rare to hear too. On the go… Dave’s traveling again. Restless? Maybe west? There are a lot of options and there aren’t. But, as the country reopens, the possibilities are endless. And, he’s had Corona, we think; we can’t get him tested, but probably. No social distance if you are living with someone. I get to kiss Colleen but not hug Dave. No handshakes. They came to say good-bye. They’re headed to see the new baby. Risk? There are choices. Relaxing?

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Have you ever had a day when everything came together – light, smiles, background…?


Grocery

It’s not always empty. There are people about. The shelves are not bare. There are. But not every aisle sold out. Things I find are spontaneous purchase. A few things are planned. Mostly it is food association. We associate food to my appetite. I have discovered the frozen food aisle. Who knew you could photograph so much appetizing food to appeal to your imagination? The picture is usually better. But I have to give a shout out to Barber raw stuffed chicken breasts. Get ‘em. They were good. We can’t find them again.


Town

Post office. We have two nearby. We chose the one less frequented. There was no one inside when we pulled up. Two other cars came while I waited in the car. Colleen got the local news – free. The beaches are officially closed. The police patrol to keep it that way. People walk and exercise. Blue sky on one side and storm clouds from the other. We got a drenching downpour complete with thunder and lightning about an hour later. It’s just another exciting day in lockdown.

The dichotomy of the view – you chose – Corona or death – hoax? or real? – Republican? or – One could speculate a storm is coming or, it has passed.

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…two months have passed since I scheduled this post. Corona came and never left. The beach opened. Corona is worse around us. Danger! There are folks everywhere. …follow the money.


The last time…oops

It looks like I have already published this post a few days ago. We’ve been kind of distracted. I didn’t notice my error till now. Oh well, stuff happens.

The last time… we ate out, we had dinner guests, our house was clean. Well, now might be the time to look back. Ha ha! I compose posts long before published. I am trying to stick to the one/day rule Jules imposed. This is/was being written in early May. Poignant! Literally the day/same evening we ate our last meal out as DE closed all restaurants.

We only clean up when we invite dinner guests. This was the last clean up before Jen and Mike came for St Pat’s corned beef. And the very next day… no toilet paper to be had. It’s been a while. No, no, no, there’s a new normal. Little did I know. Our house will not be tidy again, for a long long time. It’s a good thing. I do so love my life and my wife. Eh? What did I say? … I can’t remember when I last saw TP on the shelves! …  and I love my wife.


The last time

The last time… we ate out, we had dinner guests, our house was clean. Well, now might be the time to look back. Ha ha! I compose posts long before published. I am trying to stick to the one/day rule Jules imposed. This is/was being written in early May. Poignant! Literally the day/same evening we ate our last meal out as DE closed all restaurants.

We only clean up when we invite dinner guests. We have not seen uncluttered tables in quite some time. This was the last clean up before Jen and Mike came for St Pat’s corned beef.

And the very next day… no toilet paper to be had. It’s been a while. No, no, no, there’s a new normal. Little did I know. Our house will not be tidy again, for a long long time. It’s a good thing. I do so love my life and my wife. Eh? What did I say? … I can’t remember when I last saw TP on the shelves! …  and I love my wife.


Rollergirl

2191 30 Rollergirl

What can I say? Skate around the streets of Manhattan in practically no clothes. It might not stand out on the beach. But, really! Killer outfit!. I was stopped at the traffic light. My camera was on the seat. I lifted it and got off a single shot. Somehow, she sensed I was there. She rolled on past the van and took refuge in the doorway of the next apartment building. She looked warily at my car but my camera was already down on the seat once more. Spooky. Some weird guy shooting you while you exercise (in practically no clothes). How weird?


Diary

Dearest. It’s a slow day on quarantine. Good? You bet. Boring is good. No disease. It’s abstract. I choose to believe so. The map is abstract. Unfortunately, no. But, we talked of reading fantasy. Everyone has gone back to comfort foods – junk, but childhood security. Campbell’s soup? It does feel like Alice n Wonderland. Cheshire anyone? Sleeping cats, ours have a routine oblivious to the chaotic world outside. Innocence! Social distance. But, of course! Beer and spirits? Yes, to that too. We finished off the last of our personally imported Scotch straight from the distillery in Scotland. How’s that for dropping names? The beer? From Belgium imported and plucked from the sale bin at the local liquor store. Good stuff! Yes, indeed! This recalls the only French drinking song I ever learned in class: Chevalier de la table ronde. Gouton voir si le vin est bon? And so it goes… Pretty amazing! Seventh grade French -Msr. Steindler.

Note: I originally composed this post nearly two months ago. Not too much changed. It’s still apropos. What’s worse, we are now embarking on the second wave. This post is as though two months passed like it was merely yesterday. Damn!


there but for the grace go I

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see…..

Look it up… our fearless leader is golfing.


San Luis…

Obispo

Summer market, famer’s market, teeming with people out to get fresh produce or a good meal. Ya gotta love the kids. There’s nothing better than a hot ear of corn on the cob! And beer? We settled in at BBQ joint and Colleen got a flight (of beer). San Luis Obispo was such an exotic faraway city when I first came across the name back in the early ‘70’s while working in a publishing house. My niece later married here. And now, Colleen and I have dined. I never actually thought I’d ever be here. Funny how life intersects with my reality.