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Posts tagged “sunrise

Sunup

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An early morning sunrise over a local swamp. The sun had just barely cleared the treeline before it was overtaken by an onslaught of approaching clouds, leaving the rest of the day overcast and dull. The entire shoot lasted about ten minutes and served as yet another example of having to “be there” before the event happens if you expect to capture it!

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Still Water

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I almost didn’t post this picture because the resolution is absolutely abysmal unless you click on the picture. I don’t know what’s up with WP, but this format is making me not want to blog. What’s the point if the resolution stinks?

This photo reminds me so much of the Adirondack Mountains that it makes my heart hurt. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there. I miss it terribly.


Testing! One! Two! Three …

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Anyone who has been reading my blog for the last year knows I went through a buttload of eye surgery and problems. I’m glad to report that a few permanent changes aside, the affected eye is doing good. Translated, that means it sees pretty well most of the time. Occasionally it hurts and I’ll get a day where it’s achy or feels like there’s a grain of sand in it. The rods and cones that make your eye adjust to different levels of light are significantly damaged. So, for example, when I come inside on a bright day it’s a bit like walking into a black wall. I’m trying to learn to give my eye time to adjust to changing light levels, but sometimes it catches me off guard and I get frustrated. Especially if I’m moving from room to room looking for something. But considering what I went through I’m relieved that I have any vision at all. I dodged a bullet there.

While trapped in the continuous loop of repeated eye surgery, I was forced to post-pone a couple of the  preventive tests that the average woman will routinely endure to assure optimal health. Let me just say one thing now and get it off my chest: Men, you have NO idea. None. About any of it. And I’m pretty sure there isn’t a woman alive who, in the midst of a mammogram or PAP test isn’t thinking the same thing. I know women are supposed to get used to having their bodies poked, prodded and palpated by complete strangers, but really, who does? So guys, next time you break out into a cold sweat at the thought of a five second prostate exam just know that no woman alive feels you or cares. Get over it.

Last week, like any well-trained middle-age woman, I went for my slightly overdue mammogram. I’ve been going to the same imaging office since I started this yearly pilgrimage eight years ago. I went somewhere else the first time and was totally and thoroughly traumatized. I mean, who created this torture anyhow? The radiology tech was young, impatient and rough, and it took everything in my power not to kick her in the shins. I promised not to come back and didn’t. Instead, I found an office with a slightly older than middle-age tech. Having been though a mammogram or two herself, Cindy is compassionate, professional and very good at her job. I’ve been going there ever since.

Over the years a few things have changed. For one, x-ray images are now digital, which means they’re “processed” in the same room where they’re taken, and it takes a lot less time to know if you’re done and can be off on your merry way. What hasn’t changed is how the images are taken. The patient steps up to a machine with two small, square plates that close together like a vice. One by one each breast is then stretched out and placed on the lower plate as the tech moves the coordinating arm and shoulder either into or out of the way. The idea is to get not only a picture of the breast, but as much of the surrounding chest wall as possible. This is not an easy feat to achieve, but try they must. Yes, its a little weird to have to watch a stranger manipulate your private parts. It’s not like you can look away. I mean, it’s easier to accomplish the job if you cooperate and …. well, gee … they’re right there under your chin! Sheesh!  When the tech finally has your body contorted into the right position she steps on a foot petal that lowers the top plate toward the lower plate and literally flattens your breast between the two plates like a pancake. Yes, it fucking hurts. And if that’s not enough indignity for you to endure, she  then has to take a second view from a different angle. This time you turn sideways and step toward the machine so it can squeeze your breast from side to side instead of from top to bottom. Good times, not. Then you get to repeat the whole procedure for the other breast.

The other thing that hasn’t changed is that the tech can’t tell you anything about the x-ray. Now I’m not idiot; I worked in dentistry long enough to know that the person developing the x-ray can probably read it just  about as well as the radiologist. Especially someone like Cindy, who’s been taking mammograms since the beginning of time. But her opinion isn’t worth diddly squat and by law, she’s not allowed to share it. But, that doesn’t mean every woman won’t ask. I did. I always do. And she kindly and compassionately deflects. It’s a game every woman probably plays to break the tension. Otherwise it feels a little too much like going to see a palm reader who pours over your hand, then smiles and says, “Thank you very much” and dismisses you without ever telling you what she saw. So we make small talk and babble about the hot weather while I try pretend the whole procedure is really quite routine. Actually, it’s not. There’s nothing routine about getting your breasts manhandled and smashed, then not knowing the results for a week or more. However, once the test is done and I’ve left the office  I’ve never worried about the results. I don’t have any real reason to be concerned and I’m usually just so glad to have it over that I tend to put the whole experience behind me for another year. I’ve always gotten a letter in the mail about a week later telling me everything is hunky-dory and they’ll send a reminder to schedule an appointment in a year. It’s kind of like going to the dentist only it’s booby recall.

So now I’ve crossed one thing off my “to do” list and in two weeks when I go to see my doctor for my semi-annual PAP test (another wildly enjoyable event) I can say I had my mammogram done. Dr. C will be so pleased. And I was pleased too, until yesterday when I came inside from riding and found a message on my answering machine. It was the message no woman ever wants to get: the hospital asking me to call and speak to Lesley in radiology. Shit.  Your mind just kind of wigs out. You have to call, but you don’t want to call. Finally the suspense is killing me so I dialed back and asked for Lesley, who, after the initial pleasantries says I need to come to the hospital to have “more views” taken. “Why?” I ask. Lesley can’t say. “Right” I think, “you’re scaring the crap out of me, but you can’t say why.” Makes no sense whatsoever. Leslie patiently went on to explain that this is not uncommon and it happens a lot.  “What … so this is some kind of breast lottery and my number just got picked?” There’s a small pause in the conversation while Leslie thinks about that. “No” she says finally. “Sometimes the breasts are dense (as in stupid?) or sometimes the radiologist wants a different view.” (Ding! Ding! Ding! Red flag alert! I’m not fooled! How many different ways can you squeeze a breast? I’m guessing that means they think they see something and they want to clarify! ) Leslie didn’t know what my specific case was, but those were the two reasons she gave to help alleviate my fears. (Not!) I scheduled an appointment. They could see me the very next day and oh, by the way, the radiologist will read the films right then and there so I’ll know what’s going on before I leave. Nice touch.

I really don’t have any reason to be worried. Thing is, I’m sure plenty of women thought the same thing and were wrong. But worry never made anything better, so I’ll put on my big girl panties and get myself over to the hospital today to have my boobs assaulted. Again. After all, how much fun can a girl stand?


Beginnings

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New year, new beginnings. Lots of stuff going on here right now. My father-in-law has been in the hospital since early Nov. That’s wearing everyone down. No idea if or when he’ll be moved to a nursing home or if he’ll recover enough to come home. Lots of stress and anxiety for the family around that. We’ve had his elderly sister, niece and grand-nephew visiting from Croatia. I’ve yet to see his sister but word has it she’s got some sort of nasty upper respiratory bug. Being here on a visa means no insurance and one more thing for Mom to worry about. Mom’s acute sciatica has run it’s course with the doctor-ordered physical therapy …. to no avail. Basically, they just put off doing what I’m sure they knew needed to be done and let her suffer for two months while trying to cope with her husband’s health problems. I’ve tried encouraging her to push for an MRI so they can move to the next step, which will probably be an epidural injection. She can’t stand or walk, so something needs to be done. Yes, getting her to and from the hospital (daily) has been a tall task.

The animals have all been great … thank goodness for small favors! Gus is fully into his “terrible tweens” and is a chewing machine. (Minor destruction of small abstract objects included) I was contemplating getting him into another basic obedience class … mostly for the benefit of proofing some of his training, but I’m not sure if I can juggle it with my schedule right now. The class I’m thinking about starts tonight, so I’d better decide soon!

I’m starting a new nutrition program with my long-range goals set on getting certified to coach the program somewhere down the line. I’ve been lifting weights and staying fit for 33  years, but like anything else you do long-term, my goals have changed and my routine has grown stale. I’ve been thinking about doing this program for a good four or five years and I’ve finally decided this is the year to take the steps in that direction. I’m doing the course as a participant first, because it’s my opinion that’s the  best way to learn it … from the inside out! With my own training and nutritional program needing some tweaks and new enthusiasm, this  should be a lot of fun. Besides, I don’t feel I can authentically help others unless I’ve walked the walk myself. So wish me luck … I hope to be in even better shape in just a few months!

Unless the weather takes a sudden turn in the right direction I don’t expect I’ll be posting as many photos. Certainly not landscapes. It’s been several weeks since we’ve had a photo-worthy sunrise and I’m not going to get out there at the crack of cold dawn unless I really think the payoff is going to be good. Of course that can change tomorrow, but be forewarned that a few days might go by with no new posts.


White

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Finally some white stuff, but no spectacular skies or great light yet. So  …. meh. I got out and shot a few frames only because it’s been so long that I needed the practice … use it or lose it and all that rot. I’d forgotten how cold my fingers can get in a matter of minutes. Spring and fall are my favorite times to shoot. Freezing cold winter and the heat of summer … not so much! While sitting in the comfort of your home it’s pretty easy to forget what a good photographer must often endure to catch a great photo op!


SunStar

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I’m a little behind getting a photo posted today. Yesterday was (overall) a nice day with family and friends. I was blessed to have been able to talk to all of my siblings in one day, which always makes me feel kinda warm and fuzzy. It’s been 30+ years since I’ve been “home” for Christmas, so talking with each of my sibs on the phone is the next best thing.

Unfortunately, we started our morning with a trip to the hospital to visit my father-in-law who’s been there since early November. It was probably the worst I’ve seen him since his initial operation over six weeks ago. Since then he’s had multiple organ blowouts and failures, fevers, infections, high blood pressure and the inability to eat anything by mouth. A feeding tube was placed late last week and it’s taken several days to get him up to speed with it’s operation. Just when we thought he might finally be able to get downgraded to a rehab facility (oxymoron, since he’s not going anywhere from there) he developed yet another complication. As it stands, I don’t think he’ll ever come out of the anesthesia-related dementia/psychosis. He had a touch of moderate “forgetfulness” going into this, but now ….. well, he can’t comprehend what’s going on or communicate a thing. The family imported his 85 year-old sister from Croatia in hopes that might bolster his reserve, but this has done little more than add another stressed person to the chaos. I vocalized my disagreement about this decision when it was in the process of being made, so now I just need to shut up and stay out of the way.

While this isn’t one of my best pictures, it’s a reminder to enjoy each day as it comes. Our time here is fleeting.


Green Christmas

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It looks like it might be another a soggy, foggy Christmas this year.


Hunkered Down

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Winter 2010.


Liftoff

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Morning Fog lifts off a swamp.


Clearing

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Once the clouds move out it should be a nice day!


Remains

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The remains of a light snowfall last week.


Swamp Sunrise

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This was a challenging spot to try and shoot. I was perched on a steep bank only a few feet from a busy and very foggy highway. Thick ropes of invasive vines wrapped around my feet and tripod, making it hard to move, and thorny brush ripped at my clothing. Broken bottles and discarded garbage lay scattered in the foreground. I hoped the sun would break clear through the fog. I’d seen several better views on my way to this spot, but none offered me a  safe parking spot for my car. Today, this will have to do.


Dusting

 

 

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We had a light dusting of snow yesterday that’s sticking around today.


Snowbirds

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A bluebird house, vacated for the winter.


Peaceful

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I feel like this is the calm before the storm. Tomorrow morning my father-in-law will undergo a surgical procedure that we hope will stop the advance of his cancer. It’s going to be a grueling, eight-hour operation that his eighty-two year old body is not likely to tolerate very well. Still, there are no other alternatives.

 Cancer was around when I was young, but it was much less prevalent than it is today. Even so, I remember overhearing adults whisper about the horrors of cancer and how some day they’d find a cure for it. And people said this with such conviction! I mean, if we could progress from using horses, to automobiles, to putting a man on the moon, why wouldn’t we be able to solve the mystery of cancer? My parent’s generation watched modern medicine chase and tackle so many challenging health threats of their day that it was just natural to think science and medical research would come up with something to prevent and treat cancer.

But they never did. And at the risk of offending anyone, I submit research has never wanted to produce a “cure.” Think of the financial flood that would suddenly seize and dry up if some poor slob stumbled on a cure! So fools that we are, we pretend to believe there will be an end in sight. In a vicious cycle of co-dependency we hold fundraisers and write checks to support a hopeless cause while the researchers frantically try to keep the collection plates spinning. Meanwhile, a very sweet elderly man will most likely suffer a miserable and unfortunate end to a much cherished life while his family looks on helplessly. Again.

Hang tough, Papa Dino.


Frost

 

 

 

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A frosty fall morning.

 

 


It’s Back!

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We’re getting our first real snow of the winter season and it’s hard not to feel sorry for myself. After all, a week ago we were getting T-shirt-warm tropical high winds. Today it’s another high wind warning and polar fleece jackets, hat and mittens. Opposite ends of the spectrum! I certainly feel for the folks who are still displaced and without power from Hurricane Sandy. Seems like they just can’t catch a break. Meanwhile, it’s piling up out there!

Speaking of broken ….. our president stuck. So I’m wondering what happened to all those folks who kept yapping about needing a change and taking this country back? Well, time to shut up and get to work. I don’t think sitting around bitching about who’s in the white house will change anything for the better.

Speaking of better … I was hoping I’d have new glasses by today. I don’t, but maybe tomorrow?


Drifts

 

 

 

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I can almost feel the sting of crisp air, see the sparkle of fresh powder. Makes me miss skiing, skating, sledding, making elaborate snow igloos or forts in high banks and drifts, then forming teams for epic snowball wars. Do kids even do that stuff anymore? I doubt it. They’re too busy, sitting huddled over their electronic devices, thumbs punching furiously at keypads. Sad, that.


The Dock

 

 

 

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Thanks to all who left comments or wrote to encourage me to keep blogging. I have a very large catalog of pictures that I’ve taken over the last two years, so I’ll go back and dig around to see what I can come up for this blog. I apologize ahead of time if I post a repeat. It’s doubtful that I’ll post the exact same picture, but I often take several photos at each shoot, which leaves me with a pretty good assortment of shots that I can use. I’ll try my best not to get too repetitious, but unless conditions improve I don’t expect to be taking new photos for at least a few more weeks. (And even that might be wishful thinking.)

Both my parents grew up on lakes. My father was raised on the shores of one of the Great Lakes (Lake Ontario), my mother on one of the smaller lakes in the Finger Lakes region. (Conesus Lake.) As a consequence, both parents felt it was important for all of their children to learn how to swim at a very young age because they knew we would grow up spending a considerable amount of time at either lake. I don’t recall how old I was or how I got my feet wet, but I was a proficient, if not highly skilled swimmer well before Kindergarten. My mother enrolled each of us in formal swimming lessons, though I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps she felt it was important for us to achieve our Red Cross swimming cards or maybe it was just her way of showing off? Whatever her reason, we smoked every kid in each class that we took.

By the time I was in sixth grade I was waiting to be old enough to take Senior Lifesaving. If I recall, you had to be a certain age to enroll.  At that point in my life we lived in the suburbs of the city and we had an in-ground pool in our back yard. Swimming was as natural for us as any other childhood game or sport and given this advantage, I’d advanced well ahead of the curve. In fact, my formal lessons had come to a screeching halt a few years prior as I had passed all but the two final tests: Junior and Senior Lifesaving. As a young man my father had earned money working as a lifeguard at a public beach in Charlotte, NY., so naturally he expected that his children would take (and pass) the lifesaving courses. And as mom pointed out, with a pool in our back yard, the more card-carrying lifesavers around, the better!

My older sister was exactly eighteen months (to the day) older than me, and when she reached the age to enroll in Senior Lifesaving my mother somehow managed to get me enrolled in the class too. This meant that I was the smallest and youngest in a large class of mostly boys and a few girls. While my sister was a strong swimmer she was by no means a tough girl. But I was, and that more than made up for the slight disadvantage I had going into this class. I don’t remember all the details of this experience, but I do remember having to swim lots and lots of laps and having to tread water for a ridiculous amount of time. None of that bothered me the least, but what did bog me down was the amount of reading and reciting that we had to do. I remember sitting poolside and reading our Lifesaving books, yellow hi-lighter in hand. Often, my sister and I would jump into the deep end of our pool to practice something we’d just read. I’m sure this gave us a huge advantage over other students in our class.

When it finally came time for our water tests the instructors did their best to try to intimidate us. We were each tested alone; nobody except the crew of instructors and their hand picked “drowning victims” could watch. Each test for every student was different, created spontaneously as the student was ushered from the bowels of the locker room up to the pool. We nervously waited our turn, then as each student returned from their test we peppered them with our questions. “How was it?” “Was it hard?” “Did you pass?” “How many tries did it take?” Unfortunately, each student was sworn to secrecy before being dismissed, and so we learned nothing. Two or three students were injured in the process. Dislocated fingers and broken toes seemed to be the catch of the day.

My sister was called to test ahead of me, leaving me for last. By then, word had it that several students had failed their water tests. I was shocked to learn that several of the biggest, best swimmers had failed to “land” their victim in the allotted amount of time. I worried that my non-aggressive sister might not fare well and I hoped the best for her. When she returned, she looked defeated (she had, in fact passed) and subdued, and she wouldn’t catch my eye, afraid perhaps that her big sister concern would tempt her to share more information than allowed. I remember the chill as I walked up the long tiled corridor, followed by the strong smell of chlorine as the warm humid air hit my face. I was quickly introduced to my ‘victim’ before he jumped into the deep end of the Olympic size pool. By all accounts, he was huge. Tall, muscular, very long-limned, and I had no idea how I was going to “rescue” him. I knew for certain that he’d be doing his best to try to drown me in the process, especially since “Realistic” was the only description I’d managed to cajole out of any of the other students.

My test was explained to me. I was to perform a direct front in-water approach and a classic cross chest carry. Once I got out there anything could happen and I would be allowed to make my own decisions on the fly, but that was what I was supposed to attempt. I nodded that I understood, glanced at the clock and walked to the edge of the pool. There were ropes with life rings attached, long poles and other implements that we could use as we deemed necessary, but only after our prior assignment had failed. The whistle blew and I dove in. A strong under water swimmer, I didn’t surface until I was just out of reach of my victim. I called to him and he lunged directly toward me, mimicking a full blown panic! I dove deep, grabbed his legs, spun him around until his back was against me. I crawled up his body, gripping him like a vice, terrified that he would get turned around again. I knew I didn’t stand a chance if he wrapped one of his spidery arms around my neck. My lungs were about to burst. I kicked hard, surfaced, threw an arm across his chest and locked my elbow down. We headed toward the edge of the pool, but his long, heavy body dwarfed mine and I had to fight to keep us both afloat. Meanwhile, my victim was doing everything in his power to sabotage my rescue. He repeatedly tangled his legs in mine and tried to break free, but I rolled him like an alligator and kept working toward the make believe shore.

I was one of four students who passed the Senior Lifesaving water test that summer. I never applied to be a life guard anywhere, but swimming has remained my strong suit. Many years ago I joined a YMCA and swam laps on my lunch hour. Something about the steady rhythm of the crawl appealed to me. I found it calming. When I was young my parents used to pack me up and send me off with my older sister for a two week stay with my mother’s mother. Grandma didn’t spend much time worrying about us or supervising our every move. We knew what was off limits and what the rules were, and were were pretty much on our own. One of my fondest memories was waking up at the crack of dawn so we could swim while the water was still calm. The cool morning air made the water feel bath-tub warm and the only sound we could hear was the soft slapping of the occasional wave against the sides of the rowboat that was moored along the dock. I remember the long, stringy, green seaweed that clung to the wooden ladder at the end of the dock. It looked like cooked rhubarb as it waved back and forth, pulled by an invisible current. I remember doing handstands, my feet kicking in the air and my fingers pushing against the ripples of sand on the shallow bottom. My sister and I swam or rowed to a float that was secured some 150 yards or so from the main dock, where we planned our  strategy for swimming across the lake. (Accompanied, we thought, by one of us rowing the boat alongside!) We were young … probably seven and nine when we were doing all this, and totally unsupervised. Like many memories from my childhood, I’m so glad we had the opportunity to do these things, unfettered by parents who thought better of our crazy schemes and ideas.


Daybreak

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Morning by Karen Matheson, from Time To Fall


Dawn

 

 

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Happy Birthday to my sister! May the dawn of a new decade be as bright and beautiful as the lovely woman, born this day many dawns ago.

PS. It’s all downhill from here, sweetie!  😉


The Cove

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This is my 400th post!


Moon Set

 

 

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Hard to believe it’s February 9th and we’ve only had a small amount of snow on the ground once or twice. Not that I mind!


Magenta Morning

 

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A magenta sunrise.