Word and Image

Posts tagged “Family

Nothing stays the same

Change is inevitable. Platitude. You can’t go back. More platitude. I’m just spinning the image catalog going back in time. Wistfully, I gaze at memories that have been dredged back to the forebrain. Colleen laments change. We embrace it. It is subtle – change. Our kittens grew up. Our house changed. Oh! The clutter! Or….did it become more cozy? I have not used this iPhone selfie stick again. The beach is in constant flux – sand comes and Mother Nature takes it. Like the Farmer’s Market, every week has different offerings. Summer is here. Where’s my hat?


A day out

After a week of rain, fog, and wind, we ventured out into the world again. Stir crazy! Low and behold the beach was severely eroded. Wind and tides. I would say we lost 6 feet of sand. Well, as they say, I know where it went. Insanity! The police and beach people say they do not know when the government will be by to replenish the sand. Why? Would you? Should you? Meanwhile, Mother Nature sure is powerful!

After a week… we hit our usual antique stores. Strictly browsing. We still got stuff I/we did not need! But not this. Elvis? Fewer and fewer people remember. I carry a replica license. His pic and mine are similar. Retro hats? We still plan to attend another high tea. One simply must be properly attired! Yes, nuts. Us. But, fun!


Hype

While I dove in Saudi, the Sony RX100 was touted as the best point and shoot underwater camera ever! Ok, a bit of hyperbole, but, it was well regarded. I did not pull the trigger and get one. I was committed to my investment in the Canon G7. I succumbed to the hype in 2018. The first pictures: new car; selfie; construction in progress; flower; cat; food. It is a great camera. I wish I had been able to use it diving. It is certainly more versatile than my iPhone. Punchline? I’d do it again.


Downsizing

When I said to my wife – no names please – “We need another loom, like a hole in the head.” I meant it; and, I am, indeed capable (of drilling holes in your/mine head, as a retired neurosurgeon! Later that day a large heavy box arrived. A cat tower! It’s taller than my (same, present, nut) wife. What?! Wut?!! W#$hat#$!! The cats paid no attention. We had to put them on it. No, nope, never! Yup! Since then, they have been all over it! Darn! Another piece of furniture that I have no space for! (Would this be the proverbial “dangling preposition?”

No more!? Stuff!? No more stuff? No, more stuff! What a difference a comma makes. “,” one little punctuation point. No more cats?! Another loom? They were giving it away at the Thrift Store. Yeah, $550. Ok! Price reduced! We bargained down – way way down (under $100) – the provenance? It was made in Marblehead MA. It was a therapy loom – Devereaux, for insane people in recovery rehab. Oh! How appropriate! Bookstores?! No more! We just went through our bookcases…. A ton of books lie on the floor waiting to go to donation. Go!? No!? I don’t know. Magazines find us. And, books leap into Colleen’s arms. And magazines!! Still!? Yeah, it is a cute antique loom made centuries ago. A real antique. I have no room! It’ sitting in the hall landing. Help!?


Nature or nuture

My daughter – no names please – has been said to look much like me. And, I suppose it is logical her sense of humor…  I can vouch that her photographic skill is sound. Humor in pictures? Oh my! Ha ha. It is indeed comforting to know that some of my good character is reflected into the future. Poor kid, there is a lot to be said for smiling and laughing. Colleen still cannot believe Jules staged this. I got to say that I was surprised at the genius myself. And, I am proud some of the lessons turned out so well. Lessons? Nah! I just put a camera in her hand one day. Proud?! Yeah, it’s nice to see your kids surpass you.


Now

Nowadays. Life is still disorganized. Sure, why would it be different? Come as you are. Discover adventure as you go. We don’t work with a plan. I take pictures. Random discoveries, scenes, locations, cats, weaving, and selfies dot my work. You never know what reflection will present itself or what sunset will come next. Though life can be unpredictable, it has and is certainly a lot of fun.


Logic

Madness! I have always said that computers are very good at keeping lists. Anything! Keep track, a computer keeps lists. Photographs or digital images, a computer can organize and keep the list. GIGO – garbage in, garbage out. Of course… you have to keep an organized and logical list… Digital alone numbers hundreds of thousands of images. I have two catalogs – sort of – one before 2016 and another after. Don’t ask. It’s chaos. I just checked. Things before 2016 are in the 2016 and vice versa. Confused!? Yes, it gets very confusing in a hurry. I got a spreadsheet data base and redundantly copied backup files/images. In other words, you are organized, till you’re not.

Did you lose interest? Anxious? Do you keep track of your images? It’s important in the event you lose your pictures. Anxious now?

This was 2019, the pandemic was right around the corner. Xmas. Groups!? I use my tripod and gather groups together. Somehow everyone seems cooperative. Pictures were taken. Do I remember? This was a random spin through the catalog and we were in a lot of homes gathered together with family and friends.

Logic? Logical? Just when you think you have a viable system, a good list… you discover chaos. I have a method to my madness. Anyone following me will have chaos. All the information is stored. Nothing has been lost. I can still make a coherent list. Maybe. Ha ha. Christmas in June, oh my!


A new beginning

2021. I read about the Canon G3 profiled as an early innovator in digital cameras. And, it was available used for not too many $. Ok! Why not? Nostalgia! My original camera was long lost – perhaps in some move over the years? My first images? ID – my driver’s license – in case someone found the lost camera and was good enough to return it. Lost cameras: I left a Canon G12 on the table in a mall in Saudi… or… I dropped a Canon S100 as I got into a car…. Selfie, cat, home, what else would you shoot out of the box with a new camera?

Digital has changed so much. I use a Nikon Z5 and there is such a world of difference between now and then. It’s simply amazing.


In the beginning

2003, my birthday, I was gifted a Canon G3 from Lisa. She had gone to B&H and gotten the recommended latest greatest (at the time) without breaking the piggy bank. Cutting edge technology for the future. Yes, she was, and I acknowledge, good to me sometimes. The first images? My kitchen? Why not? It was there that I received this life changing gift. I just reviewed the meta data and it is all wrong. Don’t overthink. I am happy to have the image. We used the flash and Lisa took my picture. These are two things rarely done from my cameras. Ha ha. It feels so long ago… so much has changed. My mustache is now white.


First

I looked over my catalog. If you get a new camera, there is a first image on that new memory card. It’s exciting! What? My Canon G7X was in my hands November 2015. It appears I had just flown back to the United States and we were in Washington DC. The occasion and purpose? I do not remember. The camera had been delivered and these were the first images. Fall color was still present. We went past Chinatown to eat and then on to a show. It appears I was on a plane next day to visit Jules in California. That is the sequence. Do I independently recollect? No. Ah! The pictures show that this is the trip I met Jeff’s father – the future father in law. My first words were political. The FIL is republican and politics were forbidden by warning from Jules. It’s nice to have that memory loop closed.

Dim sum, Jeff’s first time. Ha! One Chinatown to another. Did I tell you I love dim sum? And Laura came to visit too. FIL and best friend, how good can it get? The first images were certainly eventful!


Intrigued

Puzzled? Me. The picture in my catalog stopped here. A kid skateboarding. Nice. It’s Christmas time. Shorts. Warm weather. Ummmm… got it! We were visiting California and my favorite daughter. Ahem, technically I have several daughters now…

Walking the dog? I guess we did. I would never have remembered without the proof of a picture.

California? We have visited more than once. I have no other context in which to remember which trip? Clues? Breakfast!? It’s always sunny. There are always flowers in bloom. We have never been during summer, so, the beach is relatively uncrowded. I like California… to visit.


Smile

Indulge me. I have forgotten this memory. Memory? I get my haircut by Emma. We drive to West Virginia. Yes, it’s a long drive. For a haircut? Yes. And, it is a long time between haircuts since the pandemic hit.

Why? Don’t ask. She’s my daughter in law and Colleen’s youngest. She’s good!

It’s always fun to visit. What other excuse do you need? I don’t know. It’s a 600 mile round trip. We don’t see Emma often enough. Oh! The guilt! And, right about now, I need another haircut! I got a question? Why was Emma riding on the center console? Yes, we always smile when we see Emma!


Update

No, no, we did not get another cat! This is a long frustrating tale of woe that has a twist and happy ending. Sort of. Back up your stuff… on your computer. Everything fails, eventually. I have had external hard drives (more than once) go south for no particular reason within the two year warranty – mostly Seagate – and I got replacement drives no questions asked. Go figure. I back up my Macbook Pro with an external drive, one only. I backed up on 4/2 and 4/5.

Apple cheerfully offered to upgrade OS from Big Sur to Monterrey for free. The upgrade downloads from the internet and then Apple installs the new OS. There was a catastrophic glitch that occurred at start-up after the upgrade. No upgrade. Complete crash. Dead! Recovery mode, I followed the steps. I loaded up the backup external drive. Disk Utility repaired the Macbook hard drive and external. The files and backup on the external disappeared. Major catastrophe! At least one year’s data just disappeared from my Macbook. Weeks! Weeks later, I recovered the external backup using Free! Recovery programs. They are free until you try to recover a file, then they cost $$.

Happy ending? After weeks, I got all the recovery backup files from Time Machine onto another external drive. Ready to recover back to 4/5? I plugged in the original external backup where the files were lost. Voila! The files were back!?? Another six hours ensued. The Mackbook was recovered to 4/5. I lost data and changes for about 20 days. Pfewf!

This was a very nasty surprise! And, it is a cautionary tale. “Backup your stuff.” Of course! I was stupid. I did not expect my back up drive to fail. Mistakes were made. I won’t do this again. My photos are backed  up on five redundant external drives of different brands. Nuts! Who knew!?

After that long tale of computer woe, it is only still spring as I write and lament. “Instant garden” in my containers does not happen without work. It costs $$$. But the color and beauty lasts for many months. It is definitely worth the effort. Each year brings new arrangements depending on what the nursery has when we visit. Marigolds are featured this year. Colleen dyes with the flowers. Last year I upgraded my macro lens. Let the photo ops begin again!


Free to be…

Out in the desert, Jules was free of her abaya – no religious police. Camels in the wild! And, sand dunes! Once you leave the big city, it is pretty remote and desolate terrain. Fun?! Adventure?! I was smart enough to bring along food and water. A good time was had by all. (No camels were injured in the making of this photo op.) So, went an adventure of our lifetime!


Once

Saudi is a beautiful country? Hot desert sand, no rain, every day over 100 degrees, strict religious rules… yes, uniquely totalitarian. Good?! Hmmm… let’s say I am happy to be home again. Did I mention everything stops for “prayer time” five times a day?

Dave learned to dive in Saudi. His sister joined us and we adventured together. They did their first night dive together with me. Scared of the dark? Nah, they were just holding hands because…. Yes, Jules had to wear an abaya! It’s a man’s world in Saudi.

No matter what, my kids can say they visited Saudi and experienced the culture for a brief time. I feel fortunate to have given them this opportunity. What memories!


For a little while…

Abruptly, it ended – my adventure in Saudi.  Colleen was relieved. Very! We reconnected while I was still there. She never got to visit. Saudi law/rules prohibit casual visitors. My daughter was family – ok! Can you say culture shock!? I was lucky. Photo ops! Did I say Colleen was relieved? Can you imagine being trapped there for a couple years during Covid? Colleen worries. She has a vivid imagination! Relief!


Recovery

Instant garden. Color! It’s good for the summer into fall. I try to choose flowers that bloom all summer and will provide cheer and photo-ops. The Asiatic lilies will fade quickly, but the bang is worth it. Marigolds are for Colleen. She will do natural dying with the flowers. Eh?

Part of recovery has been getting out once again. We combine it with one of Colleen’s favorite activities – eating out. I am just getting better – slowly. Spring rolls! There is/was something appealing on that day to eat some crispy hot ones. Shhhh, while I was still ill in bed, Colleen got me McD. Yup! Big mac and chocolate shake. Hey, it helped.

Colleen was busy. She’s good. And, fast. She wove a baby blanket. She picked the fiber and color pattern. She wound the warp, picked out the weft, and wove this gorgeous blanket for our new granddaughter in just a few days. If you ask me, that is simply just amazing! Me? I watched with utter admiration for the process.


Quinn

It’s an interesting juxtaposition, the headlines and the news in our house.

Quinn – name meaning and origin.

Quinn is a gender neutral name with Irish roods that means “wise,” “sense,” or “reason.” It comes from the old Irish word Ceann or Conn, meaning “head” or “chief.”

So there you have it. A new granddaughter. We were in the dark about the name up until birth. My daughter also named her after my mother (middle name). Her sister got the other grandma’s name. There is a lot of emotion tied up in all of this. Obviously, there was a lot of thought and consideration. We were kept in the dark right up to the birth. Since my posts are scheduled ahead, the birthday was some time ago. I am still processing the early morning news. Why are “babies” always born in the middle of the night?

Equally, birth and abortion are not simple either. I do not wish to open more controversy. But, life begins at fertilization. There are exceptions to the considerations – rape, incest, and birth defect. I, heretofore, considered a viable fetus the nexus. Colleen rightfully points out that it is not so simple. I am forced to reconsider and not at all sure where the nexus should be. I, intentionally, remain vague as I ponder anew. Meanwhile, Quinn has come in this backdrop of philosophical discussion. Her name is not common but has become more popular of recent times. I believe her parents have made a brilliant choice and I wish the best for them all. Now, onward, to the store, girl clothes!

Middle name?: Deanna. It was my mom’s name. It is a personal (to me) and touching choice.


Physician heal thyself

Do you treat family? Symptom, diagnosis, treatment. Surgery? As a surgeon, I operated on family and friends and colleagues. Interesting. There’s a lot of trust. I have operated upon my nurse, PA, father in law, mother in law, aunt. And many more. It’s controversial. And the arguments go back and forth. I know that I have done the very best I could on each and every occasion. Trust was mutual.

There is the saying: a physician who treats himself is a fool… to which I say around here there are a lot of poor docs. So… when I fell, I naturally refused to go to the ER to learn what I knew as I lay on my back on the garage floor. Neurologically intact, dizzy, nauseous, ataxic. I had a concussion. I had a basilar fx, hence the black eye(s). No further clinical progression, I would heal with bed rest. Over the objections of wife and family, I have slowly healed to where I am sitting once more. Five days. Later. I know what I am doing. I knew what I was doing. Falling backwards is a dumb thing to do.

To caption the photos: The fan spun (for me) though it wasn’t on. Jules sent comfort food. Mmmmmm. It’s a running joke between us. The black eye showed up – the hallmark of a basilar fracture – and progressed. The good news is five days later I am finally sitting again. I am slowly slowly better.

Epilogue: Two weeks later, give or take, I am human again. The last few days felt like being on a swaying ship. But! Healed! Normal? Ha, that is a matter of opinion – and Colleen is always right!

Post epilogue: I have some residual mild cerebellar dysfunction – dizziness. It is less and clearing up. I have carried stuff, planted the garden, and laid/installed hardwood floor. So far so good. Treatment was successful and the patient lives.

June 4, 2022: The recovery has been longer than expected. (I’m old now.) Ha ha. Nonetheless, we smile. I have come full circle. I feel about as good as I look – now.


Predictable

High school offered computer programming. It was novel at the time. I hate computers. I sit before one for hours on end. I am an avowed end-user. Computers do not think as fast as I do. They always screw up or make me wait. Wait, waiting, ahem, tap tap tap your knuckles on the desk…. You live with a smart phone and wish they were dumb. They take great pictures. Pick a necessary function: see or talk?! Digital photography is a pinnacle of computer tech. That (technology) much is seamless. Meanwhile, I gotta make a call… So many subjects (thoughts), too little time.


Some day

Will it be me? Us? Old? It’s stockings? Huh?! Yes, live art – it depends upon your pronunciation, or, interpretation – of the word or picture. A jacket – for high tea! And rain gear? Well, it is Scotland, emphasis on IS. My SIL – sister in law, no (gene) relation to me – has affected my behavior in every proper museum since she accused me of being irreverent. Oh! My! Yes!! With pleasure my dear, no names please! Honestly, I never thought I would have so much fun in Glasgow. It was the company!! For sure!!


When

I compose about one post a day. I admit to being ahead of myself. It’s still April was I write today. Ha ha. Colleen laments that I do not compose long emails to her since I returned from Saudi (years, ago). Oh well. Things change. Or not. I still find that I write for you – Colleen – now. You are the inspiration, the muse, of my posts. I never did expect to intertwine my life so completely. Ginny pointed it out. Letting loose is not so easy. Or, you just let go. Either way, there is that weight that pulls with gravity and that feeling of falling free to wherever life takes you. Heavy? Ponderous thinking? I am just recalling your recent lament once again. No regrets. These days I go with the feelings. No one orders me and I am not at the random utterly chaotic beck and call of the ER. I still (occasionally) sleep restlessly because my id persists in raising unbidden anxiety. It’s hard to relax when I have always been wary and on high alert.

Peace reigns… after a fashion. There is beauty and serenity in the world. You will read my thoughts in about a month. We will smile. I will hug you. That is the best part, to be able to hug you at will, now.


High tide

Bay of Fundy, it’s the high tide. I cannot, could not, photograph its grandeur and immensity. Sure, I can document, but no photograph I took conveyed this force of nature. Fall color? Sure! The scale of high tide and its sheer height difference is easy to show. I simply lacked the creative idea of how to make a remarkable picture from this opportunity. My bad.

The tide comes in a wave; and folks surf it. Cool. We were there. Saw it, photographed it, experienced it. Colleen is such a good sport. We drove madly from place to place to see the tide. Surfing the tide? Imagine that!


Get closer

Unrelated shots. My aunt compiled my family tree shortly after Jules was born. I forgot. I came across the pics I took when Jules sent this to me. My immediate family is small and scattered. We have not gathered in a long time. It’s Eric and I. We don’t see each other because his dog does not get along with my cats. Silly reason. Yup, it all makes about as much sense as me reading Chinese. I got the shots. The paper? That would be the debate – book vs pdf? Pixel or paper? Closer – there are so many levels of discussion up for grabs here.

Silly? How about a $6,500 camera lens? Envy? Craving? Desire? Ummm… you just have to walk up closer and the subject gets bigger. Ok, there are some subjects that won’t come closer. The moon? But, sorry, for the money $$$, I can live without the lens. The weight and $$ of the lens vs walking (closer to the subject). Oh boy…