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Friendship cake

Colleen recalled an old recipe that she had had a lot of fun with many years ago. It is called 30 day cake on the internet. It takes 50 if you have to make the starter. And so we embarked on a 50 day cake after our trip to Maine. We bought a crock. It was the container that triggered Colleen’s memory recipe. The mashed fruit was stirred once a day for…and finally we had a starter and two cakes worth of fruit. Fruit cake? Nope! Different! Good?! Hmmm, emphasis on good!!

And, of course, ya gotta have a friend. Friendship? After 50 days you have the fruit ingredients plus starter for future cakes. You share the starter and hence the term friendship. Lovely. It’s good to have friends.


Whoa!

Sometimes?! We are at the Christmas chorale and the choir lines up in the right and left aisle to sing the finale. The auditorium is dim. I glance right and do a double take. Did my eyes deceive me? Ok! I’m impressed. I’m puzzled. What is it? A speaker? Some device for hearing? What!? The internet says it can be done but give no comparable example. I would guess it is a wooden ring. Ok! To each his own.

Street photography. I got a shot. I never saw the guy on stage. I do not know if there is a matching disc on the other side.


How many

You would think I am obsessed with numbers.

At an event, my attention is upon the action. I try to capture the event as it unfolds. I do not know the order or what will come next. I am alert to random movements and out of the ordinary motion. I am looking at color and composition putting it all together to try to capture a “winner” “keeper” of an image. Editing comes later. Which one? We love all of our children. Eh?

How many is enough? And, “you already have that shot….” Subtle differences. One shot would have been enough. Sure! But, which one?

Digital memory has given me so many options. I could certainly afford all the film I needed. But these days digital memory is so easy. Yes, there is some skill involved in knowing when to press the shutter. I am happy to say that I consider myself above average. Not great. Not bad. Does it matter? It’s for me. And my most adoring audience, my muse – Colleen – loves my posts.


Ski

I’m cheap. I have money. The reason? I spend it wisely. 200. $200 a lift ticket? Per person per day?! And lines! How about waiting an hour on the lift line? No parking in the parking lot? Ummmm….if you are a skier, you know what it is to…

No! No one I know would do it. And still. it looks like millions get on long lines and pay for the lift ticket and a $20 burger. Awful! Improvements are coming. No lines. Plenty of parking. Right?! Two lift tickets – you gotta have a buddy – $400. Ah! Free parking. I think I will pass.


Strictly speaking

Diving is an activity limited to a few fortunate people in Saudi Arabia. Once again it occurs behind closed gated compound walls. It is the Red Sea for goodness sake! Nope. Not allowed! Somewhere else I described my encounter with the police and the order of the blue thumb.

Women are distinctly a minority. They must be covered at all times – unless you are behind closed doors outside of the view of the religious police. Lessons. Our surgical assistants all received lessons compliments of the orthopedic chief surgeon. There is much beauty and wonder beneath the sea. My friend/dive buddy related to me recently that much of the reef has been destroyed. Once again ignorance – lack of common respect for the fragility of nature was in play. His beloved reef was gone.


Disconnected

Myelomenigocele. It is a neurosurgically treated birth disorder that is largely preventable by Folic acid (vitamin) taken during pregnancy. I had not seen a case in decades until I worked in Saudi Arabia. I lived in a walled compound with guards. The poverty rate? The government hides its data but estimates of 30% unemployment are noted.

Needless to say it was shockingly sad to be treating a condition that was preventable by simple measures taken early in pregnancy.

In this land knowledge mixed with ignorance. I lived in a walled compound separated from the very people I treated in so many ways more than the mere presence of a wall. Yes, it came with a pool.  My hospital was no clinic. It was an upscale hospital in busy downtown with a well to do patient population. It meant the general population had poor health care knowledge.


Madhouse

Chinese New Year – New York City. Venerable Chinatown is located in a warren of narrow winding streets. The parade will meander thru crowds held back by metal barriers. Claustrophobic! Indeed! Colorful! For sure! It’s a spectacle. No Macy’s sponsorship it is a local event. Out in the hinterland of Flushing Queens there is a similar parade along Union Street, a wide venue lacking the charm and character of downtown Chinatown.


Where do you go?

Vacation. Do you go to factories? Ok, call it a fiber mill. They make cloth. How exciting. Yeah, it knocked my socks off too.

But, you do what your wife wants. I do. You might. Might not. I do. It’s better for happiness. And sometimes you are pleasantly surprised. Me? It was a photo op. For better or worse. Better? I have to admit an industrial sized bobbin is big! Ok, not factory, fiber mill.


Fun

Looks like… we get out and about. An island full of gnomes. Seal. Defibrillator with instructions confusing enough to stop you in your tracks. Rent a bike. Castle. Foreboding sky. Rain, but of course. We saw this couple in the pub with a pitcher each. Alcohol? Oh boy! Soda? I don’t drink that much. What the…?

It’s not the travel or the location. It is the adventure you have with the one you love. We had a good time. We have good times. We have had good times. We will have good times.


Street photography

The streets are not exactly teeming with folks. But there are subjects in view and fair game for my camera. People? Animal? Life, activity, bustle and hustle? Ummm, well, maybe a bit laid back and less hustle, but colorful and interesting, nonetheless. It is a glimpse into daily life. Mundane it ain’t.


Keeps good record

GIGO – old computer term – garbage in garbage out.

As good a photographer as I am and I am not… one takes pictures and looks back to realize that I really did not take pictures worthy of remembrance. They are “snaps” of poor quality that capture the idea, an anchor of the memory of the moment without really capturing a sharply focused image.

These images recall a moment and a memory. I coulda done better. But I have them. They make me smile and remember what happened once upon a time. No one’s gonna hang anything on the wall. Family friends events, some smiles, mostly imperfect. But hey! I got something to show. And I got better? Maybe? Or not!


Whimper

I recall vividly that the last slide I shot was at Dave’s graduation. Little did I know or suspect film would so suddenly be gone in my life. I just simply never went back. I did not look back. And I have not shot a roll of film since my Nikon D70 arrived late after I got home from work. Who knew?!

Nothing of import was on that last roll of slides. The deck, my dog, Dave, the school play and some flowers numbered among the mundane subjects. Interesting to see. I had never really checked until now.


Friends and family

No matter. We drift apart. I got family I have not spoken with in decades. Friends? It is so much easier to get lost and never be in touch again. Think about it? Do you? Do I? I have my regrets. There is too much guilt that wells up. But I do have one big do over if ever there was one. Family is forever. You are bonded whether or not you see them. Friends? I think so too. It’s harder to make family than friends. It’s hard to hold on.


Incomplete

Information? What? I have a Lightroom catalog titled Images 2016 – meaning 2016 onward. This is distinguished from “all digital images” “slides” and so forth. It is a rough divider to allow for easier search of the many many images in each catalog. This catalog has nearly 500k images. Repeats? There are not supposed to be any. It is a one way – forward – catalog.

So, the beginning of the catalog is anything but 2016.

It seems that I took stray photos/slides/images and just mashed them into this catalog. Logic? I do not know what logic. The end of the catalog – now – is current images, digital, of course.

What?

My first digital camera – Canon G3. The Nikon D70, my first digital DSLR, and a pictrure of the digital clock; I was working late (neurosurgeon) and got home to open the new box and shoot the clock among the first. I dropped Dave off in college long before 2016. Jules helped build the slide cabinet I would not need. Drawers – we built a lot of drawers on the deck. Of course, with digital, who needs drawers to store slides any more? The drawers are full. But more than half are not slides.

Julia and dad at her track meet; gee I was a good attentive dad. The rope swing was lost when the tree trimmers cut down the branch above it. We never spoke about it (the swing) again after that. Face painting – they were but kids. A dramatic graphic of tulips – striking against the tile floor of the Long Island kitchen. Nice. Iconic for me! … English child, street photography in the ‘70’s.

It was, this is, a hodge podge of a collection of photos digital and scanned. I suppose they followed me from computer to computer on each successive hard drive to form a core of what I could store given the supplied hard drive memory with each laptop.

I am so organized. And not! All the images slide and digital reside on multiple redundant hard drives. I wonder who will sort thru them when I am gone? Will anyone bother? Historical. But worth preserving? Ah! An external drive is so small nowadays. Who knows? I won’t.


Cracked

Maine craft weekend. We ended up in a glass blowing place. It took about 15-20 minutes to blow a pumpkin in glass. The artist promptly dropped it in a trash can to crack into bits. !!!??? It had a crack. Imperfect! No seconds! I know how she does it. I could not do it. But, knowing is fun.


What’s in your day?

You visit Maine. You go to Freeport. You visit LL Bean. Colleen used to look at the catalog with longing. Now we visit to get stuff to fill out the wardrobe. Fun?! Along the way we always have fun. The leaves are changing. The season is changing. Our humor remains high. Great photography? Today was about fun.


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.”


Photo op

When there is no rain, there are a lot of opportunities for images. Look!? Place to place, there are images everywhere. I have realized that I must focus. Camera focus is automatic. No, I must concentrate upon the subject and the content of my image. Keep to one thing – color, pageantry, motion, detail….

It was a privilege to be at the event. We learn new things each time we attend. You cannot be everywhere at once. I wanted to feel like I got the essence of the event. I’m shy. At this event I was permitted to photograph, free to capture images uniquely showing people celebrating their heritage and culture.

I think I smiled the whole day. While I enjoyed my day job (neurosurgeon) and its challenges, I think I might have been a photographer if circumstances were otherwise. For me, this was a fun day.


Raindrops

I hate it when Colleen is right. She’s always predicting weather based on the weather report. When is the weatherman correct? Drat! Rain was predicted to fall right as the festivities began on Day 2.

And it did! Right on schedule. Right as predicted. When is the weatherman right?!

Uncanny! We went for pizza. Yes, we left. And, came back. The opening flag ceremony was just beginning. Few dancers were in attendance. Or, they were getting Chinese food? But the rains resumed – poured! There was a stampede to the exit.

Yup, raindrops… no one is getting their feathers wet. Do you wear your finest clothes in the rain? And, there was no audience.

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

I am glad we were gifted with a spectacular Day 1.


1916

My personal record of images shot in one day. It’s not bragging. It is wonder to me. It would translate to roughly 52 rolls of slide film shot in one day. That would amount to nearly one half year’s worth of film shot for me before I converted to digital. I would take about 40 rolls of film on a major trip (two weeks) to Europe. I am amazed that life has progressed for me in this way.

Things turn out so different from what I had ever imagined. One picture. Two picture… it was not video or movie. I don’t shoot video. I never look at it. I resolved a long time ago to stop shooting video. There is plenty of video shot and saved from when the kids were young. Now, it’s for me. I shoot digital and embrace the technology but not too much. Digital tech changes – in order to sell more cameras. I am too old for “camera lust.” New technology?, is something to get me better images or to get images impossible to get any other way…..  shhhh, ha ha, a telescope (inside joke).

1916 images in one day, it was a record I did not set out to make. I am otherwise in awe of technology that would allow me this feat within the budget I set.

Explanations: Yes, the waiter was giving me horns. All day, 1916 pictures, and, only 4 selfies. “They” Colleen pronounced it a “they.” Astute! I was not paying attention but it had a full set of armpit hairs and a man’s face. Transition or unsure? Color and pageantry! Action! Cute! Kids! Birds! That hornbill was catching a grape mid-air. The vulture was stalking. Yes, they do.


powwow

Pageantry, color, people, costumes, politicians…. Colleen laughs and joins me reluctantly. I am drawn to the photo opportunity. We go. We learn. Images are everywhere.

Senator Carper showed up. I have not seen him for several years. Shocked. We were stunned by how old he looked. Stooped gait and cracking voice he had seriously aged since we saw him last time. Sad.

Color and pageantry were all around. Fun! We learned about dance, drums, and song. It was a grand day. I feel so fortunate to have attended.


North

Colleen and I were puzzled. We giggled. Women! The women in my life all are directionally challenged. Jules had her Garmin GPS device upside down on her dashboard because she was driving south. Ditto, her mother, who holds a map upside down because we were driving south.

So it was with the Aztec dancers from Philly at the Indian powwow. They consistently pointed in the wrong direction as they paid homage to the four winds – NSEW. Oh my! It was comical. It was solemn. Are you still blessed if you are looking the wrong way?


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!


Canceled

Our boat tour of three Scottish islands was canceled for wind and inclement weather. The tour took off from Oban which as you can see was bright sunny and without much wind to see. Lemons? Make lemonade.

Oban is a lovely town to walk and explore and eat a meal. Cullen skink. Don’t ask. We found it in the guidebook and Edinburgh and then we chased it all over Scotland. I just photograph it. We did have an excellent time on a very pleasant sunny afternoon.

The tower is “McCaig’s Tower, also known as McCaig’s Folly, is a prominent tower on Battery Hill overlooking the town of Oban in Argyll,” And yes, we walked to it.