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?
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.
Pictures help clear the muddled mind. It is 2017, January. Spice and Feather latched onto me at the pet food store and are now part of our family. They were so little. Were they ever so tiny? Two fit in the sink. Can you imagine? I have trouble remembering the year they arrived. Photos help.
Two egg yolks over … what? Snow geese, a first (the very first) glimpse for me. The National Enquirer, ah, shit! We are in a tunnel – driving – don’t try this at home… There is a radar detector, a GPS device, phone holder, a dried rose bud…. So, it is the new Subaru. Technology would change. Nowadays the phone is plugged into the dash and GPS comes via the car screen. I don’t speed any more – ha. No GPS, phone holder, radar detector, rose. There is a lot to be learned from a picture. And there are pictures that make you wonder, “I took that? For what?”
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.
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.
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.
How’d I get here? In the absence of anything else, I shoot cat portraits. Simple. They pose?!? Nope. I put the camera in their face and point the lens straight at their eyes. It works.
Finally, a new oven! The old one – dead. Built-in obsolescence. Better one? It had to fit the hole of the old one. Pain!!! Major pain, supply chain issues, we snagged a clearance model at less than half price from retail. Lucky! You bet!! It clearly said on the box – in big black and white letters – the oven was too large for the hole – ¾ inches too large. Really!! So, it fit right into the hole of the old oven. Go figure.
And, within moments – carrot cake. I add (my mom did it) a cup of grated carrots; the cake rises…. And, a few days later… a sour cream apple walnut pie. We wasted no time in making up for lost time.
Pizza? Well, I gotta say, “Who doesn’t like pizza?” Gluten free crust. ??? Oh! Well, Colleen is also vegetarian (off and on), so, two pies – mine had sausage. It was a good pie! Yeah, it’s good to have an oven again.
One more step – to product. I spin – wool. We process. … ‘cause I don’t wash. The one and only time I washed, I felted. (If you don’t spin, the joke went right over your head.) Straight off the sheep, the fleece is polluted – grass, dirt, poop, etc. The fleece is opened up – picked. Then, it is washed, carded and prepared into bats, ready to spin. Spin, spun, it looks rather fine and refined, ready to go – cloth, shawl, scarf, and so forth. This would be here to there. Yarn!
Photography? No, I think I was more photojournalist. I documented events – birthdays, holidays, food, family. Photography came later. I was parsimonious – cheap! So, I shot more than most people and way less than I do since digital is “free.” Boy, oh boy, was I bad (photographer) way back then. Hey, I knew how to focus and take a picture. Fine art, it wasn’t! Food photography? I shot dishes we prepared for big family dinners. The turkey was not styled for a good photo. It tasted far better? (It looks overdone.) And the holidays were a documentation of the litany of presents bought, given, and received. Funny, I still do that. I did it this past Xmas. It’s a record. Someone might find it nostalgic in a few decades from now. But photography? I do both. Now. History or art? I don’t try to overthink it. I am happy to say there are plenty of pictures. I do not look back too often. Like time, I am always in forward mode. (Shhh… Lisa took the pics of me.)
Though she tries, Colleen has been unable to filter me. Hey! Who doesn’t like the holidays? We like them though they are stressful and lots of work. Really? Ummm… well… we have lots to do. I am, sometimes, beside myself. Slow down! Let things unfold slowly and naturally. And, yet, we have a good time, too. That, there picture would be Charles Dickens great grandson performing a one man show of Christmas Carol. For real! Yes!
Strange things happen during the holidays. Masks were still in – style. And, the non sequiturs? Don’t ask, I take odd and strange photos, too. The pink juicer has been our unicorn for years. Buy it?!
It was the year of the gnome. What do our cats know from Xmas? Our youngest. It used to be, that you dressed up all formal for Xmas. No more. PJ’s are just fine! Cuteness is independent of fashion. Have I worn a tie since I retired?
If you take enough pictures, a few will be good. It follows: Even a blind squirrel gets a nut sometimes. Selfies? The easy way or hard way? It’s probably not good to say I go both ways. Beer? I don’t drink beer! Heresy! As you can see, we do have some good times together.
Socks? Everyone needs socks. These days, I’m retired. My socks retired too. I wear ‘em about three cold days a year now. Colleen? – adores socks. And, she adores the Pemaquid lighthouse!
Sheeps? Why is it sheep? I did not go to Maine for the art. Did I? Spinning wheel? Colleen arranged to pick up a signature spinning wheel that I found online. She brought $$. And, now, I use this wheel. Was it a plot? Planned? I love this wheel – to use; it’s sweet! I love my wife … more!
Another birthday. Dave visited earlier this year. He comes and goes. I am not at liberty to say how and where. We were glad to have him. And, then he was gone once more. We are in touch. The internet allows everyone to be in touch no matter where we may be. Dave is just fine. Mysterious? Ha ha. He left; we went to the museum. We will miss him. He is a very good house guest. I hope he comes again soon.
We’re trying not to dwell… it’s hard not. Colleen has noted that Nutley, Ray’s brother, is grieving. I do believe she’s right. A cat? Yup. I apologize. I’m working out stuff myself. Ray was a cat. In perspective, the lives lost and property destroyed by Russia in Ukraine pales.
The Windows of the World – Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach
… The windows of the world are covered with rain
There must be something we can do
Everybody knows whenever rain appears
It’s really angel tears
How long must they cry?
Let the sun shine through
Keep busy: eat out, laugh with friends, do stuff. We will never forget. Each day I am working toward coping. This one time it has hit harder than ever before. I do not know why. Colleen comforts me as I do her. Photography has been a comfort. No, you cannot tell that it is Nutley; they were twins.
Spring. I don’t have to get photos of flowers from my garden. I can do it at Winterthur. We are members. Someone else does the hard work and gardening. I just take the pics. How sweet! We are so lucky to be able to wander and enjoy. Of course, dinner out is a great way to finish. We skipped dessert. And, in the car, I dipped randomly into my M&M stash to pull the Ukraine colors. Nuts! Staging a selfie without a tripod takes a bit of skill. It recalls the cover for some indy rock band, in this case, absent a title. Eh? “Mom and Dad rock – on.”
Today, it’s story more than pictures. What to do for your “anniversary?” Eat out! Of course! We had a splendid meal. There was a talking parrot. Colleen smiled from start to finish. The food was excellent. And, crème brulee for dessert! That is Colleen’s favorite. Yup, still married. Happily married! It’s no oxymoron. Nope, indeed!
… doing the same thing over and over … hoping for a different result. We got another fleece to wash … spin. Yes, nuts! It’s spring, time to plant. Eating out is good. Colleen took flight on St Pat’s day. We had a reservation. 30 minutes later we were seated. It was a local place, definitely not worth the effort. Dinner with the cousins, priceless. And, the cats keep getting images into my camera.
It was an interesting birthday on many levels. My side of the family is far and wide. Colleen’s family has taken me under their wing. Word got out and the list of folks coming to dinner grew and grew. I got cards, gifts, and a slice of cake too large for me to eat alone. And, family shot me from all directions. And the pics were sent to my phone before the cake was eaten! It’s a first for me. The world has changed. It’s good right? Shhhhh… they still believe me when I say I am fast enough to press the camera shutter, and, be in the picture too!
Time is slipping by too fast. The decades go and I don’t have many to go. Maybe, none? No complaint. I’ve had a good ride, a charmed life. There were tragedies. Many. There has been great joy. Sometimes, the fries are great, others, not so much. Overall, I can only add, a happy ending is the preferred ending. Yes, it’s my post and today is my day. Happy. Happy? Happy! Yup, yep, yes!
Grand Canyon – grand: setting, view, restaurant, food, fun… Why not? The first time we tried; the kitchen was closed – broken. A year later we succeeded in having a fine meal. Grand, indeed. Colleen loves dessert – flan. And, she loves beer. No Bud, craft beer, and, let it be dark beer, more flavor. To me it is like bitter beer medicine. She laughs; such a sweet woman. You can sometimes order a sample of beers – it’s called a flight. Fun! I watch. I photograph. That way you don’t get to see my face scrunch when I taste the beer. No!
It came to me as I awoke – idea!! I would be in costume – well, not exactly, but scrubs. My (personal) PJ’s, working gear. We were to demonstrate at the local fiber show. Ok! I am not a volunteer. Colleen volunteered me/us. A local newspaper came by to get a pic and a story. We will be in it – the news. (WITSEC) Witness protection beware. Ha ha. And of course, pizza and a beer for dinner. Colleen had seafood lasagna. Note: be careful what you wear in public, especially if you don’t have the figure for it. She took mine (pic); I took hers.
Maine. Colleen would move there in a heartbeat. I don’t have another move in me. Where I am is just fine. We can go anywhere. Been there, done that, I lived in Maine. It’s a long way from family. The healthcare is not the greatest. It’s nice to visit and then go home. I will admit that I was never in the Co-Op store while I lived there…. ditto, the yarn store. Damarascotta was a pass-thru town for me – Colleen’s favorite. “Pop” went to U of M. Fall colors – minimal. Red’s? We never ate there and never have. Runaround Pond, my refuge of peace and tranquility, sharing it is a very personal thing. Very! I’m glad we could and we did. Yes, we live to eat. Today? I ran backwards in my catalog to choose. Too many pics, not enough time. But, we try to make every moment count.
You are going along all happy and content – and – you are hit by a truck. It’s a joke. But. I feel the other shoe is always about to fall. Gloom? Reality? Are we ever really, just happy? I dunno. Escapism?
Colleen’s lifelong dream has been to visit Scotland. We did it! We got here while we were able. We got sidetracked by Covid while planning the return visit. We await for travel restrictions to abate. It was a splendid visit. Tea, golf, sheep, scenery, countryside, city, views, did we miss anything?
I am sure more adventures await with another trip. … happy to say we are following her dream.
The pandemic is over (?). We went to a family event. The cousins have not met in two years – since 2019. I was still reluctant. But… pot luck. What to make? Our oven decided to go south. I did not know what temp I was baking. And the first coconut custard pie was lost to a serious burn. The mushroom strudel fared better. I got raves for the (second) pie. And, the cousins met for the first time in a long time. We have/had all been in touch. But it was an icebreaker to meet in person without masks. … all this on the night of the start of the Ukraine war. Memorable.
Home is a catalog of your life. In this case we had separate lives and have a joint life. It’s quite a mish mash of stuff. In making up for lost decades we have collected a lot in a hurry – old typewriters, old sewing machines, old spinning wheels… old beer steins. Colleen weaves. That shuttle is sitting on a Revolutionary war era barn loom. Yes, we basket. And, I built/constructed the bobbin display rack to hold spun skeins. We got old art and new art. The old wheel is our TP holder in the half bath. The master bath has too many cosmetics. I hid them in a nearby backpack. Yes, it’s all jokes in self-defense – we are out of room for stuff. Ditto, my pantry sits partially on the counter. We did not start out this way. They have shows about hoarders.
Us? We? Nah!!
Today, is it story or picture? Things go missing in our house. Ha ha. We live with projects in progress, progress being the operative word. It’s a nice way of saying “mess.” It’s us. It can be overwhelming… sometimes. Can you lose a 3-hole punch? Sure, it’s easy. Just stick it behind something in a place you hardly look. Yeah, it would help if it were where it’s usually kept… A yoga mat? This is about 6’x8’. It ain’t small! We got another; don’t ask. Now we have two. The first? It was standing behind an open door. Oh yeah! “ Look behind the milk.”
Another story? Fake cheese? It’s milk product. It’s not cheese. Oh, but you knew that? I like cheese. Shitake mushroom? Why do they come packaged dry? I was an adult (middle aged I might add) before I ever saw a fresh shitake. Fake duck? Yup, they got that too. It’s good. Colleen won’t touch it. It is all in fashion now. Fake – plant based – meat.
I would look harder for missing things, but, then that would take away the fun from having put things away. …nary a surface is open. Some folk are just destined to have things all about. That, would be us. Oh, and my photo catalog is so crowded, it was easier to photograph the house (again) than to cull a picture from the catalog.