In my past life, things were different in terms of holiday groupings. I have family. I have a different family now. I suppose there will be a family legacy passed on to others with good wishes and love. Groupings change. Nothing is absolutely known about the future in the present. Looking back retrospectively there is bittersweet memory. I miss family who are no longer with us. I am grateful for the time we were together. I am happy for the future in which I am living. Change is part of us. My secretary used to say that I would always say, “Something always happens.” Aptly, nothing stays the same. With lemons, be prepared to make lemonade. Bittersweet is the operative word here.
I opened my catalog to find an error. Oh boy! I had not copied a folder to my redundant array of hard drives. So much for being on top of things. There are always mistakes. This is pretty glaring. But from years of bookkeeping my medical practice, you know there are always errors along the line. And, you go with it, hoping the mistakes are minimal. I am glad to correct things. And, I am glad there was no catastrophic drive failure beforehand. Meanwhile, a view of Christmas past is always nostalgic. Nellie did climb into the box. I added the lid. Ha ha. My cats climb into boxes too. There are a lot of memories here. Those of you who know me well, will understand. I am fortunate to have preserved these pictures.
Wildlife. Animals (or insects) pop up during our travels. Some wild, some domesticated, I get the shot as the opportunity presents. We chanced upon a photographer doing a full on shoot of this dog on the ratty couch. Dog? Couch? The poor pup was totally bored and uncooperative. No posing, no looking at the camera, no interest in the least. Food! A treat! Distraction! Nope, none, nada. It was about as dismal as the couch. I kept my mouth shut and we quietly left. Photographer? She had the gear; she was mounted on a tripod… Um, close, but that ain’t how I’d do it. (See: I kept my mouth shut.)
I don’t work too much with a pose. But I get them. My key? Aim the lens – point the lens into the eyes. Nothing formal. It’s all done on the go. Ha ha. More lessons. Good light helps, especially the glow of an evening sunset. Ha, again. We are never up for dawn’s early light.
The last time we attended a parade was in 2016 in Rehoboth. I used to attend the mega NYC parade. They painted naked women in body paint just before the parade started. No, I have none (naked women) to show you. The parade was about what you would expect. Who knew what the future would portend. Yeah! That was a nightmare. But, like all bad dreams, it ended. Bye Don. Hmmmm… and that I watched the parade in the town where your successor lives. It’s funny how things can circle around to bite you in the ass. Maagritte had it right – surreal!
In NYC, a man with who walks with his nose in the air ends up with dog poop on his shoe. In the country, well, you know how it goes. We went to visit the sheep. Colleen arranged the visit. She had bought fleece from this farm and wanted to meet the source (sheep). Soay? Long wool Leicester? Familiar sheep breed names? How about Edwourd? French sheep, and didn’t know it! A sheep is still a sheep even if it is one or two. Soay sheep are shy. Soay (of course!!) originated in Scotland. Teddy the standard poodle stole the attention. A visit to the sheep farm cannot be complete without fleece. Yes, Colleen helped herself to … I might add that the shawl is felting over a lace curtain. That’s art!
I don’t keep pictures on my phone. Well, a few. Ask me for a “fall’ shot? I would look in my Lightroom catalog. And, there? Well, let’s say that it’s been a while since I scouted fall foliage. There is that moment in time when the leaves are in full color just before they wither and fall…. Color! Everyone wants that brilliant mesmerizing color! “Fall,” I’ve seen a few. I hope to see a few more. That would be sweet too. It’s the first day of fall. Bittersweet, the days are getting shorter.
Quintessential Maine, Somesville bridge. It’s not my best effort, but this was a long time ago and before I knew better. The first balloon festival (for me) had the searing memory of Lisa dipping her poison ivy covered arms in a bucket of ice at a soda vendor; no, not pictured here. How about a field of wildflowers they planted just for my camera? My dog Nellie, I loved that dog! One more summer image, fishing, the water was about 18 inches deep. But, you get the idea. Idyllic, childhood. It was a different time. Good. Better, that’s harder to say.
The saying goes: black cat in a room at midnight. Shooting (photographically) a black dog is near impossible – for me. Reggie defied many attempts to get a proper picture over the many years he lived. He was a sweet dog. And, I miss him. And, I don’t (miss him) because he was impossible to photograph. He would often appear as a black shapeless blob in my photos. And then once in a while – well, he was a sweet dog. Nuts! He loved to chase 18 wheel tractor trailer trucks. But sweet! Have I said that? Yeah, I loved that dog. A lot. Really!
…take your dog…. Wow! She did it! She had the dog with her at a black-tie concert. She must know….?? The dog got a lot of attention. It (dog) didn’t seem to mind – attention or the surroundings – no noise. I kept waiting for it (the dog) to pee on her. In the second half the woman did leap out of her seat? … to walk the dog? But, alas, no, the husband and dog remained seated and she did not return till the end? A mystery it seems, that shall remain unresolved.
Just sitting at the light, we were right up parallel with this dog. We stared at each other. Passing ships. He was striking enough to make me pause and then grab my camera.
Lest anyone forget… (did you ever know)… I miss my ol’ dog. I’ve got cats now. I hate cats. Don’t laugh. I do love them. But, not as much as Nellie. I once told my kids I liked her better (than them). She was the screensaver pic on my phone… till I got a new love (human). Cats are grand. They don’t need to be walked and they are easy to care for. They (cats) don’t come when I whistle. Okay! There are pros and cons. I still love that ol’ dog! This is a young picture of Nellie. How do I know? I don’t. But she looks like a young dog in this picture. Not a puppy, but…
Don’t mention dogs. Now that I have seven cats, they remind me every day why I love cats. I think.
I only had one black dog. Ha ha. I only had two dogs in total. But Nellie was white. The trouble with black dogs is that they don’t photograph well. Camera meters don’t like to calculate the exposure for a black dog. Oh, sure I had pictures of Reggie. But mostly there was a black lump sitting there next to my kids. He was not photogenic at all. This is one of the rare times the light was good to him. It’s one of my favorite shot of him. I’m way better (photographer) but I’m still wary of a black dog. No, (ha ha) we don’t have a black cat.
My cats like to curl up and sleep in our game boxes. Geez, the boxes are small. They don’t really fit. Why? It’s a puzzle to me. Ha ha, a game maybe. Anyway, I don’t have a ready image of the cats at hand. They also sleep in our baskets. Any available basket is fair game. I came across this slide of Nellie. She’s curled up in a Christmas box. Content. Oh! The top is why I thought of the title for this post. Contrived. Which? I miss that dog! But then there are seven crazy cats in my life now.
Who knew? Who’d have guessed? Fish, cats… It’s not a year since…it’s been quite a year. But back in February 2016, Lulu came into my life. This year it’s Spice/Feather. Cats! I don’t like cats.
I like dogs. I loved Nellie. Just about the time when I really needed a friend, Lulu came in. And when I had to leave Lulu behind, Spice and Feather have entered. I miss Nellie. Who wouldn’t? And there are still Elle, Willow, and Patch. Characters, one and all.
Cute. I think there was a dog show later after the parade. Dogs were everywhere along the parade route and in the parade. When you see horses at the parade in NYC there are official NYC sanitation workers who walk behind to clean up. They always get a round of applause. Do people at the parade pick up? Do they pick up on the beach? Ah! See? On the King Charles spaniel, there’s a plastic holder for dog poop bags. Clever. How about horses on the beach, do they have scoopers there?
Timing. It’s crucial for action shots. You cannot depress the shutter and the motor drive will just get you an actual perfect shot. Nope. It’s done by old fashioned work. Oh, luck too. Ha! Yes, luck too. But mostly it is anticipating the action and then firing the shutter at the precise moment. It’s helps if you visualize and then plan your shot. Or, you just press the shutter and let fly. Didn’t I just tell you that doesn’t work?
I did it. Sure. I’m good. But Jules did too. Ah! She’s as good.
Not me silly, the dog, Molly. We’ve had a dog pretty much Jules’ whole life. And she inherited Molly from her cousin when she could not devote time to Molly and her first born.
So the dog is a prelude to Jules engagement and future family? It’s an interesting circle to begin again. I’m sappy that way. Meanwhile back at the beach…Molly the dog is rambunctious and full of energy so we ran her till she collapsed.
We ran a lot. Molly just did not quit.
One broken ankle later, Jules is running again. She ran a marathon the year before she broke it. So I am enormously relieved that she is running again. She is not competitive at least from the point of beating anyone because she must. She is her father’s daughter. She likes to win. And she was good. The ankle is still swollen. But she walks and does not appear to have major limitations. Yeah, I’m relieved she healed up.
My dog Nellie was always anxious whenever anyone was out. She would sit by the door just dozing. And the moment there was noise in the driveway, her head would raise and she would perk up to see if the missing member of our family was home yet. Somehow it was easier when Nellie worried. She did enough worrying for both of us.
And this is the screen saver on my phone. My kids were unhappy when I told them I loved my dog more than them. I was kidding of course. Nellie had a knack for blinking whenever the flash fired. It was quite a trick. But she could do it consistently. How the heck do you distract a dog?
We arrived at the zoo. Simon and Garfunkel, it ain’t. It was early and we were the only group, the only people, visiting. It was pretty small and to me, pretty lame. I admit that I did not see this picture first. It was on the internet when I was doing my homework on Taif and it’s sights. Dogs!… from USA! Imagine that??!! They do not like dogs in Saudi Arabia! They are considered unclean. Cats, yes; dogs, no! But there was even a cage with cats. Meanwhile a stray cat wandered by… You’ve got to be kidding me, right?? Please don’t stick your fingers inside.
Last day in NYC and Julia and I were looking for a restaurant we’ve yet to try. No luck today either, it was closed. Lunch was just done. as we walked by, I got low and shot the hound at dog level. The dachshund barked and the owner appeared. It was my only shot.
To make a long story and out of order with my blog, I relate the following saga. Here’s the picture sent to me by email for potential adopted Cavalier King Charles spaniel puppies – Billie and Lillie. Cute! And generally worth thousands of dollars, the owner is listed in New Zealand and is giving them up for adoption because her mom just died and she doesn’t want to care for them. So for the price of shipment, she will send them to me – from Doha, Qatar to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia all for the paltry price of $420. This includes travel crate, shots, documents, papers, microchip and more than you want to know. After a few emails back and forth. She agreed to send both dogs and would make arrangements with a pet courier who would deliver the dogs to my doorstep.
No muss no fuss. Here’s the problem. I found the ad for puppy adoption on a website for expats advertising free dogs. In fact English bulldogs were first on the list. No dice – they weigh in at 50 pounds – too much for me. But seeing several ads, I responded and waited.
Here’s where it got dicey. The responses to the three ads that I received all sounded vaguely similar, as though it was the same person who responded to me. The New Zealand response used grammar of the Middle East as opposed to Kiwi. I tried to get some info regarding the background of the owner – no success. She simply said, “Do you want them or not?!” And of course if you know the value of two cute purebred puppies, who’s gonna get picky? I’m close enough to buy a plane ticket and escort the dogs myself – “No.” Mrs Pamela said.
Saying “Mrs Pamela” as she called herself is a Middle East style as I am frequently called Dr Victor. I don’t know why. But they use the title and your first name. It’s just not a Kiwi kind of thing. And then there were grammatical phrases more Middle East then elsewhere. My suspicions mounted, but there was always that ‘free lunch’ that was promised.
Well, after some more back and forth, the only information I had to reveal was name, address, and phone number. No one asked for a social security number or other identification. No background check and no identity theft warning signs. So, I said ok, go ahead, send them.
The response was, “I’ve sent the info to the courier service and they will contact you.” And they did. First by email, but I wasn’t home. So they called my cellphone. And I was told to send $420 from a Western Union place to a post office box address. Since I was at work it was some hours later that I looked at the email. The color title identified the courier company complete with testimonials and confirmed phone number… just no address. So I tried a look up for the phone number. Isn’t the internet great? At least it’s in Doha. But there’s no “Animal Pet Courier Services.” In fact the first three internet search listings are for pet scam notices. It seems that folks send a small amount of money and then get sucked into a spiral of sending more and more money, all the while never receiving a dog. There was a Youtube story of a man who ran a legitimate courier service and the scammers used his logo and website to make a bogus site.
I guess you could call this a close call. But this scam like so many others will work on someone else. The ads are all over the classified ads in the expat websites. There’s no disclaimer and no warning. But even on the internet, you gotta have a traceable address. It’s just that if you have an address, then you can be caught and prosecuted. Anyway, getting a dog into Saudi is a load of paperwork! I’m having enough trouble just getting my kids into the country on a visit. They had to produce a copy of their birth certificate for the Saudi embassy. As for free lunch… it was too good to be true indeed! Oh, and since this is a photoblog, there is no meta data on Billie & Lillie’s picture. So the alleged owner stripped out the info intentionally from a photo copied from somewhere else.
In fact, as I write, they are calling again and again from Doha. But I have caller ID and it seems that they keep using this same unknown, unidentified phone number. Give it up guys…
This is Nellie our second Cavalier King Charles spaniel. She frequently traveled with us. On this occasion we were in Mystic Connecticut taking the kids to camp. She’s a good dog. Doesn’t everyone say that? Nellie tends to be fidgety and likes to run away. So how it is that I got her to sit still and not chase the kids is a mystery to me. She was always a whole lot better as a subject than Reggie, our first. He was black and just never photographed well.