Word and Image



In lieu of a group composite shot – the table is completely covered with stuff – I hunted down each cat and got a shot. Eight cats. Yeah, nuts! They don’t take up much space. They don’t demand much. We have our own individual relationship with each. They are dependent upon us. We get lots of love and affection from them. Characters, one and all. No group shot?! We got a selfie instead. …no posing was involved with the taking of these pictures.

Old typewriters

I shoot old typewriters and Republicans too. Oops! Did I just type that? No no no, I say, I did not type that. I get three views of a typewriter now: top down, keys, and logo view. I shoot sewing machines and adding machines. I shoot Republicans too, if you would count Ginny… with a camera! Duh! Telephones? Not so much. Who has one any more? – roatary, touch dial, and no key. I once had a 4 digit phone number when we lived in Elkins. And the operator came on the line to connect you whenever you picked up the receiver. My my, that’s old. None of our kids currently has a hard line phone. We ditched ours years back when we got rid of the cable TV company for poor service. It’s all iPhone nowadays. Wow! Suddenly, it is unusual for anyone we talk with to not have an Apple phone. Yes, there are plenty, but they must mostly be Republican.

Snow Day

The weatherman and the New York Times have been on for days…. It’s gonna snow!! Big! All over the United States, coast to coast, a deluge. A storm for the ages! Eh!? When was the weatherman right? Ever? Last? … not this time either. Here is our snowy day. Early spring is in the air everywhere I look. No snowflake? There is an insult in this somewhere I fear. But, alas, no snow.

Just like a broken watch is right twice a day, it did snow!

Lap top

Laptop? A play on words? Nope. Cat in my lap. Ha! Their closeness is apparent, and they fidget. Try and hold a squirming cat whose claws are extended. Fun!? It was a photo op I don’t usually have. Eh? Do not end a sentence with a verb or preposition?

There is little in the world better than having a cat in your lap. It’s calming. It’s better than meditation. Or did I mean mediation? No matter. Try it! I consider myself one lucky guy!


Are you/am I …composing a blog post before I shoot? Or, are my posts inspired by my shots? Hmmmmm? Chicken or the egg? Do I/you care?

You see a shot… try to capture it. Technology lets me capture much of what I see. Given enough time… good enough equipment… I can get a picture of anything. Do I give up too soon? Sure. I did not get the shot of the spider web. It would have required a macro lens and manual focus. I did not have sufficient motivation to get up… but the cats in front of my laptop…. Shoot it with … flash!

There is luck involved. For sure. Subjects do not sit around waiting for me. I have to be quick. Camera at hand, I am fortunate to snap a few shots before everything changes and the moment is gone. I miss a lot of potential shots. I get a lot of shots I did not deserve to capture.

Colleen says I write well. Do I? Or is my writing inspired by her encouragement? Or, it is my photography? Do I like photography or writing more? Chicken or the egg, again? My blog was suggested and inspired by long lost cousin Amy. We are long since out of touch. I write from the heart as was pointed out by my freshman college instructor who was seduced by my words. Interesting to know and to observe, but nothing came of it until I used words to shamelessly woo Colleen decades later. I was already an accomplished photographer then.

And now I write and photograph, or perhaps, the other way ‘round. Colleen remains my muse. I am inspired to connect with an audience I do not know. But you readers are all appreciated. I have been at this since 2011. There is a lot of water under that “bridge!” Thank you all. I toil and persevere.

Squirrels gotta eat…

…too. Bird feeders, a free meal for the… squirrels. Smart creatures, they have broken into every bird feeder we have. How? Ingenious?! Ya gotta laugh. Hey! Squirrels gotta eat too.

We have trained cats. I whistle. The musical notes beckon Nutley and Tillie to come to the door. Out they scamper to chase the squirrels to no avail. But the cats know the drill and come right to the door. The squirrels run. The cats get exercise. The birds eat. All is right with the world order. How did that squirrel get inside the metal cage? Really?!

Cardinal in flight? Try it! It ain’t easy. Purely a lucky shot. I must have had my eyes closed.

Quick… how old?

I need a shot of Ginny. She’s retiring. How old?! Old enough. We … I know her for many more years than I care to admit. We are… not young. There have been many hospitals… too many to count. It seems like we followed each other…. Yes, it has been a good deal of water under and over the …. And there’s Don and Pat… and Terry. He and Terry have split. Colleen and I are joined. Ginny has been the glue, holding this motley group together and keeping us all in touch. Sentimental? Happy birthday kid!


Zen. I could go on for a long time. I won’t because I favor brevity.

The “…” you put on this morning…. Take wool. It starts as a sheep. The sheep is sheared which becomes fleece, which is washed, which is carded, which is spun, then dyed, then woven…. Socks!?

It’s a “zen” thing to spin. Repetitive, sameness, it gives you plenty of time to ponder. Wonderful! I am not patient! I am type A personality – go, go, go. No sitting and pondering please! Sorry, it’s just my nature.

I seek the “zen” of spinning, that rhythm, the rhythmic movement, repetitive moment, the constant peace one achieves as the yarn spins out ….endlessly between my fingers.

You may skip to the end and just don the socks to your feet. Or, you may shear the sheep and process the fleece through the many multi step process – fleece, to roving, to yarn, plying, and then weaving.

I am party to the process, partially, and wholly in the presence because Colleen has taken this as an avocation in her retirement.

I spin. I seek the “zen” of spinning, the conversion of a “mess” into a spun yarn which is then woven into “product.” Product? None to illustrate, we use it or Colleen gifts it. Ha ha.

As I have said in a few words… it is a process. Mastery? … a lifetime. Ommmm….


I met Colleen. I had never had a cat. Well, for about ten minutes when I was a kid in Elkins… I had a black cat named Pepper. My parents made me give it back.

But… three, five, seven, six, eight, seven, eight – cats. Colleen came with three cats. Feather and Spice came as twin Maine coons. Ray and Nutley followed when Ray latched onto my shirt at the pet store. Patch died. Tillie arrived to take Patch’s empty bowl and Peas came the next day when we found out the sister had been left behind in the pet store. Ray died. And now… tryouts… Mozart had joined the band of cats. He is on probation. Stay tuned. Colleen has doubts. He passed tryouts in the pet store. But… it is a long way to discover whether he fits into our home full of cats. Seven was a lucky number! But, I had eight bowls to feed. Somehow… But we are whole again.

Try and catch your cats. Get a picture. Yeah, right! I chased them all down. Easy and hard. But I got a shot of each, one the same day, within the same hour. It was quite the feat. They don’t exactly cooperate. No one smiles on cue. In fact, chasing them down led me on a merry chase around the house. I gotta clean. We got a lotta dust.

Eight!? It also happens to be the number of years we’ve been together…. oops, it’s nine. But, it is our anniversary, married – our fourth. Happy anniversary dear! (shhh! I almost forgot.)


Back on February 20 in the dead of winter the temps were running in the 60’s. Do you believe that?! Not here! We got cold!! Nope! And the daffodils did not know it. So, they popped up and bloomed. Februrary!! Nope, there is no climate change. …. There is no climate change.

We live next to a little pond in the backyard. When we first moved in there were tall grasses – phragmites, a garbage invasive weed grass. One January I decided to cut the grass down to enhance my pond view. And there between the pines was a bench! I never knew it was there. Yes, we were surprised! The previous owner had left us a little “Easter egg.” Thanks!

Fun with food

We finished the meal so fast that there were no pictures of the food or the guests. Sort of. Ah! Sweet potato, scalloped and stacked differently.

The prelude was a different story. It was not a good day – to cook. I stuck the ham in the oven to hold it somewhere off the counter till I was ready to bake it. Colleen had the kitchen till noon and made a pumpkin pie for dessert. She preheated the oven. (You can see where this sad tale is going – South!!!) An odd smell wafted thru the kitchen. Yup!! The plastic wrapping for the ham melted all over the oven. Thick smoke filled the room for the rest of the afternoon. I/we still had to bake. Melted!! The ham juice and plastic were everywhere on the bottom of the oven. Great! (Grrrrr…!!) Colleen blew the pie crust. I had to go for more ham and return once again to the grocery for another pie crust. The meal from hell!

Don’t laugh. She also mistook a frozen phyllo dough for puff pastry. No harm, no foul. I recovered to make another spectacular dessert. Healthy! It was full of fruit! – and whipped cream.

Non sequitur – we were out to eat and came across a shop window. Mo’s art – ha ha. See, everything was not lost. No cats were harmed in the production of this meal….

Air tag

Technology. Don’t laugh. I came up with the idea because Mozart, the cat, likes to hide under things and can’t be found. I wanted to know where he was in the big house in order to protect him and the other cats from each other. Voila! Air tag!

Amazon was slow to deliver. We actually drove 100 miles to the Apple store… not really: we were passing the mall…

Brilliant!? It works. The tag chirps. I know where Mozart is withing the context of the house. It chirps. The first morning… the collar and Air tag were lying on the floor at Mozart’s feet. Good trick!

Mozart found “bird TV!” Fascinating! All the other cats shunned him. Nutley hissed. (see photo) And poor Tillie was hysterical!! As in, she jumped three feet in the air and ran! Yeah, this is going real well. (I just hate it when Colleen is right!! And, she’s always… right!)

The upshot?: Mozart never hid under anything anymore after he was released into the main house. Everyone else ran from him. Shunned. He wanders at will. Feather – she got the air tag; she’s always a fraidy cat. And, the tag was on the floor shed unceremoniously by my favorite cat. The first time it chirped when she wore it? She was insulted and had a “what the” me??? look on her face. Yeah, it’s a good trick to have a look like that on a cat. Colleen laughed out loud.

Old friends

…Can you imagine us years from today
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange to be 70…         Old Friends, Simon & Garfunkel

Andy is my high school buddy. Colleen? We met in the third grade and orbited together `for five years without truly knowing one another. But, I never forgot her. And, never will…  Chicago, AANS national meeting. Ethiopian meal with the cousin. When did we lose our hair and get old and fat? Who’s fat!? American Gothic, Van Gogh’s bedroom? Classics! I have seen them?! I was in their presence?! Memories fade. Colleen still checks the weather constantly. Me? I forget to wear socks.

The last time I…

September 16, 2016. … the last time I dove. Underwater, Red Sea. The Red Sea dives. It was a week before I left Saudi forever. Good? What? Which? Answer: Complex. On many levels. Let me be obtuse and confusing.

As Carol says, ‘feral cats.’ Two, I had to leave them behind. Were it otherwise, I would have braved the red tape to bring Lulu and Casi home to the USA. But they were Arabic speaking cats…

The last dive shot? Hmmmm…. I have a dive log. It says 9/16/16. And my catalog? No pictures – no dive pictures for that day. What!?!! Somehow, there are – pictures of diving on that day.

The absolute last dive picture? Nudibranch, nothing special, yet, it was. Special. Last. Out with a whimper. The shrimp is almost too small to see with the naked eye! Blenny poking out of the coral? Dragon nudibranch! Hermit crab ‘en’ shell? Flying ‘whatever!!’

Oh boy, despite my failing memory, these shots are embedded…. I’ll never do it again. I was good! Oh, the skill! Wistful? Regret? Do I miss Lulu and Casi?

It was but a chapter in my life. I have moved on. You cannot go back. I am glad I have the memories. Colleen is glad I am home every night safe and snug in our bed. She worries a lot. This is one less thing to worry over.

Last picture of the last dive. Thank goodness it was a real subject and in focus.

Out of the blue

Colleen is my “laundry fairy.” All my clothes disappear and return to my drawer clean about once a week…. She makes me go to her guild meetings. She has me demonstrate spinning at her fiber festivals. I get to wear the product of her weaving skills. She let me have another cat (eight). …loves to eat out.

Ginny called Colleen. Ginny, too, is reading my blog. She called – out of the blue – to thank Colleen for taking care of me. Did I mention Ginny is the “little sister” who gets kicked to the side and ignored by Don and myself? Don? Don’t ask. Big girl panties. He once got Ginny a pair – size 99 extra large – as a joke(cheap, at Walmart). We do love her dearly, but we would never ever tell her. (Shhhhh…)

So, out of the blue, Ginny called Colleen to thank her. Touching. Sweet. Touching. Have I, did I, mention that all love is appreciated. Thanks kid.

No harm

…no harm in making these shots.

Mozart is a tuxedo kitty. Colleen says. I get it. Black suit, white shirts, and tie! Neat!

Perhaps you want more story? After all this blog is about the story behind the picture(s). It was purely by chance that we found Mo in the pet store. He had failed to be adopted for a while. One never knows why? And, we certainly did not know what we were in for when Mo came home. I have mixed feelings. Mo is still fitting in among seven other cats, who, so far are not welcoming him into the mix. Alas! We now have eight cats. Eight is our number. In this case it feels like we got eight the “hard way.”


I’ve never been inside. Guild meeting, John Dickinson plantation. Colleen cajoled and put my true love to the test demanding I attend and spin with her. So, she did not demand… but it was the same as a command! Ha! A coven! Tour groups come through and are fascinated with the process. Ho hum? To me, yes. They were fascinated. Colleen was thrilled… I was there, too. Donna brought an E-spinner, battery operated spinning wheel. It almost seems heretical in an old historic plantation….

One hour

Valentine’s Day. Colleen picked the venue. It was all decorated up for the day. The lobby had a resident parrot who greeted us. We arrived early. Mistake. The restaurant was running far behind and our wait was more than an hour past our reservation time. Did they run out of food? We were nearly past closing time by the time we were seated. Dinner was superb right down to dessert. Colleen loved every minute of  the evening including the quiet fireside sit in the lobby.

Spin doctor II

Lazy. I got someone to shoot us together spinning away. And the local newspaper did not send anyone to cover the event. We were back for another round of demonstration at the fiber expo. A gal came by, whipped out her drop spindle and began to spin away beside us. All, welcome! Yeah, it was fun. No one asked about the scrub shirt. They sure asked a lot about spinning. Fun!? You bet!


Timing, it’s everything. If you want to shoot waves, you need to be on time. Not. I simply pan the camera as the wave is breaking. Voila! The lesson I learned took. I can shoot waves. Our beach washed away last fall. The sand is down about ten feet. In a few cycles my home a mile from the beach will be waterfront. The federal government keeps spending money to replenish the beach. Millions of $, no, tens of millions $. Nuts! Since when did anything make sense? Meanwhile, I shoot waves.

Day two

After the first day, it sure looked like Mozart was on thin ice. As in, he was getting sent back to the pet store to find another family. The next morning was like nothing had happened. Mozart had forgiven me??! Really!?

I have not taken more pictures until today. As I readily admit, I am in it for the photo ops. Of course, it helps if the cat in question is adorable and cute?! So far things have not progressed smoothly. Duh! The other cats have all shunned Mozart. So far no fur has flown. The big cats, the Maine coons, have been largely ignoring him and have told him to stay away. The boys have not welcomed Mozart either. But they are tolerant of him in their house. So far so good. Ha ha, did I say that I wanted a big happy family? Was it this hard the last pair of cats we got? I guess my memory is fading with age.

Meanwhile, Mozart is cute … and photogenic. I hate black cats. They are hard to photograph. I like a challenge…. This saga has been most challenging… so far. My cuts and bites are all healing… so far.


Did I say ‘softies?’ Yeah, helpless. I did not, was not, had no inkling… but Colleen saw Mozart and was taken immediately. Everyone, family, friends, simply everyone cautioned against adopting one more cat. In truth they don’t take up much space. Eight…cats scatter around the house with nary a meow. We find them sleeping in all sorts of spots. They come around for a hug once in a while. No one minds sharing. The food adds up to $$. No one cares much for cleaning litter. Mozart had a rocky start. I got clawed, bit, and scratched – badly, blood loss… my bad, I scared him, don’t ask. As you can readily see he likes to be hugged and he hugs back. Close to being ex-adopted, he melted our hearts.

I get great pictures. Priceless!

Oyster mushroom

Would you believe…? Colleen got this to grow! She sprayed it faithfully and it grew to a giant!

A recipe? It’s an oyster mushroom. Flavorful! Our new antique egg beater was pressed into service. Home fries. Sauteed mushroom. And then one fine egg omelet with mushroom, pepper, and cheese. A feast! One mushroom… a whole lotta fun.

Happy Anniversary

Four weddings and a Funeral – movie.

Tragedy averted. Boy meets girl. They end up happily – ever after.

Ok! I met Colleen again … nearly fifty years later… it’s a long story… ha ha… we met in the third grade.

After a courtship… we bought a house, lived together, etc etc… she finally said… we need to be married. I was slow moving to finally complete the divorce.

But… finally! We’ve been happily married – no oxymoron here! Since 2019!!! Wow! I wish it had been 50 years. Then again, a happy ending beats all other endings. It’s been long enough – married – that we forgot the day and did not plan anything special. Colleen’s cousin reminded us. We are having a dinner party for their daughter’s birthday. Ha ha. No, I made a reservation in Colleen’s favorite restaurant of the moment and we will celebrate a day earlier. Things change, it’s not the same restaurant as pictured (before) – fortunately, the same husband (me). Meanwhile, how do I get her a card when she is with me 24/7?