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!
Last summer I got a full frame mirrorless camera and a real macro lens. Oh no! More lessons! No… But, I will show off my gardening skills. Flowers are great subjects. Instant garden – get plants. I pick the plants for the potential color and subject material. Macro has added a new dimension of interest. There is a fine line between focus, detail, and image.
And, my spider is back. It made a web in front of my windowpane once again. Macro?! Look closely. Do you believe I got a shot(s) as it was spinning its web!? Serendipitous! I saw it in the edit. But, I can say that I guessed it was weaving a web from its movement and behavior. Focus was a trick. But, hey!!
Blood moon – lunar eclipse. I am a failed Astro photographer. My attempt with a telescope ended in a return package to Amazon. It has rained for more than a week straight. Fog was present the past several days. A miracle occurred and the clouds parted at the appointed hour. I actually had fair detail of the moon in my camera. I was deceived. I thought I saw partial cloud cover as the eclipse covered part of the moon in the lower left quadrant. Then?!?!! My exposures showed the “blood moon!!”
Hey! It ain’t great. But I got an image (s). I shot at ISO 51200, 1/15, f6.3 400mm. Do you care? Do you understand the settings? I was surprised at the image quality myself. I was surprised to have anything on the sensor to review after I pressed the shutter. Cloud cover? Nope?! I did it! I can say that I did. My image was comparable to those in a casual internet search. The best news, this was my image. May 15.
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.
Not to forget the other child… (Lisa would obsess over forgetting the other child.) I remember chasing my kids never quite catching them and letting them believe that they were too fast for me, until they really were (faster). I never let them know the truth. But, I was proud that they surpassed the father and I could no longer catch them if I tried. Dave’s photographic talent has been better than me for many years now. I see it. I saw it long ago. There was that “je ne sais quoi” quality evident to early on after he asked for a Canon G10. Today, it’s iPhone. Everest! I shoot in quantity. Dave is quality. Proud? You bet.
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!?
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.
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.
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!
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?”
Remember Yogi (Berra)? He said, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” Nikon D70. The price was expensive but reasonable. Heretofore, digital SLR cameras cost upwards of $10k. Yikes! I got home from work and opened the box. Yes, I work late, really! And, I took pictures of the living room and kitchen. … and the family dog. I tried the built-in flash. The cow was a porcelain replica of large cows painted and distributed around public spaces in NYC. The ivory figure was a gift. It was used by women to point at areas of their body which were ailing. Modesty must be served. That figure was lost to me in the divorce. But, I can visit it.
How things changed! I timed the D70 purchase to use it for David’s graduation. It turns out that I never shot another frame of film from that point. Clean break! Complete. It was so abrupt. Done.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
The major benefit during my stay in Saudi – diving! Since there are no tourists, I was afforded nearly exclusive rights to dive with the local folks under the Red Sea. It was magical. The Saudis are not environmentally conscious. This magnificent white coral was eventually destroyed by local divers. It was a treat to photo the moray being cleaned by a wrasse. And, the little box fish neatly escaped my camera each time I saw it. As for brain surgery, it was a curiosity to come across this fish with part of its skull missing – twice! Yes, it was a grand adventure. For a while I published “fish” so often that Carol finally (gently) protested, enough!
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!
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.
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.