Monday, December 31, 2018


I've seen fire and I've seen rain.
James Taylor
So I'm ending 2018 with a fire and a cozy time. It's been a year of change and renewal. But it's been a good year.
Let's hope 2019 brings as much.

James Taylor, 'Fire and Rain':

Sunday, December 30, 2018

What I See

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
-Sir John Lubbock

So as we approach the end of the year, I find myself taking some steps that are familiar yet unfamiliar into 2019. After traveling on a group tour through Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein, Switzerland and France, I found myself wanting to renew my relationship with photography. There were two things that occurred that made me aware of that....attempting to get pictures with just my phone and longing for a DSLR and finding I was almost always the last one on the bus as I was attempting to get just the right shot (this also taught me group tours are not for me).

When a came back to the US I stumbled onto two synchronistic events that told me I was walking the right path. One was having a chance to purchase a Nikon D7200 (sorry Olympus, you left me behind when you went to micro two-thirds) and discovering the PICTAR device for my phone.  So I'm going back to the beginning so to speak and renewing my technical knowledge while also working on my creative vision.

So I'm committing to a photo a day from the PICTAR or my Nikon D7200 through the next coming year in a project I'm calling "What I See". Crazy maybe but I need the commitment to push myself. All I've read pretty much sums up, you need perspiration for inspiration.  It's not going to be about getting great photos or feedback, it's about taking the photo and seeing what happens.

So this blog will continue in much the same format with the exception some days may just be a photo and not much else. But I'm hoping as I explore the relationship between darkness and light that makes up photography, I learn something about myself.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, 'Straight Into Darkness':

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Castles in the Air

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
-Henry David Thoreau

So 2018 will go down for me as a year of change and renewal. In June I booked a trip to take my first group to do Alpine Christmas Markets. In July I found out my condo was being sold and so had to move after years of living in the same complex. Luckily I found another one but it moved me to a new area of town and a total new decor which I had to plan for.

In August I began my travel frenzy. I flew to Arizona for my birthday. Then in September I flew to see friends on the East Coast. Came back and moved 3 days later. It took most of October to settle in. November saw me on the road to see my family again for Thanksgiving holiday. Shortly after that in early December I left for Germany, Austria, France, Lichtenstein and Switzerland. Just got back last night and next Friday back to Arizona for more holiday visits.

While in Germany I used my Note 8 to photograph and while it did wonderfully, it still wasn't an DSLR. My Olympus DSLR is ready for retirement. So after the disappointment of Olympus going totally micro, instead of embracing micro/macro so to speak lead me to Nikon. I have a mid-level one on the way. My dreams of being a good photographer may have seemed like a castle in the air, but haven't lost it. Now I'm putting some foundations under them and seeing what happens.

Don McLean, 'Castles In The Air':


Monday, June 11, 2018

Suicide or Weariness of Life.

The whole notion of pain, and how every individual experiences pain, is up for debate. We don't know how another person experiences pain - physical pain or psychic pain. Some of these clinics where assisted suicide or euthanasia is practiced, they call it 'weariness of life.'
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The whole notion of pain and how every individual, experiences pain is up for debate. We don't know how another person experiences pain-physical or psychic it "weariness of life".
Miriam Towes

Ironically the last post I did in this blog was entitled, 'Wild and Precious Life'. Why? Because in the last week, we have lost two public figures who many had connections with: Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. We are rift with opinions on what happened. Confusion, judgement and condemnation have been among some of the most common (we'll leave the conspiracy theorists out of this one). I'm going to add a bit because I deal with this on a regular basis.

First of all, what I think suicide isn't...cowardice, courage, selfishness. So what I do think is suicide is? It's the response of someone who is in pain and who has reached a point of what to do with that pain. It is ultimately physical, psychological and spiritual. And none of us have a microscopic view into the moment of what happens when the person is there and makes the choice to stop living. I have sat with about 30-40 people when they have died. I have been with countless with others when they have struggled with the reason to live. Both when they were relatively healthy and when they were not and facing the end of their life. One thing I have learned is a weariness of life can arrive at any moment in both states of being.

The lesson for me is compassion. Compassion that they took that path, compassion for those left behind who were intimate and knew them and compassion for those who thought or felt somehow they knew them. Most of all compassion to those who are struggling not to take that path. 'The one belief I have is in the force of love with that compassion. And I'm no Pollyanna. I've lived with the weariness of life, I've even skated the edge of it a time or two.

What I will conclude with is that we don't understand the full scope of how to handle 'weariness of life'. It cannot be solved by a pill, it cannot be solved by counseling and it cannot be solved by any religion/spirituality/legal means. It will take all of these parts working together to see the whole person in need.  And to accept that despite all of this that some of us will go over the edge of weariness of life. When that moment comes may we all practice the force of compassion and love.

Because Anthony Bourdain was a huge fan....I'll share some Ramones.

Ramones, 'Needles and Pins':


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Wild and Precious Life

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
-Mary Oliver

So today at work I learned that sometimes you have to pay a price for your ideas on how to live your life. It stings a bit, but I'm forging on with the vision for my "one wild and precious life". 

That life includes the purchase of my first electric guitar. I'm learning to do riffs, bend strings and generally having a ball. It is encouraging me that the left path is the right path for me. My ideas for my life may not agree with others around me, but it is my life and what is left of it,  I will live the best I can....I won't back down.

Johnny Cash, "I  Won't Back Down":

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Rock and Roll Soul

Rock and Roll has no beginning and no end for it is the very pulse of life itself.
-Larry Williams

I love all kinds of music, and will vary what I listen too, but rock and roll is my core. Especially when tinged with the flavor of the south. I've alluded to my love of Alice Cooper and why he meant so much...but Tom Petty, well his music was what I turned to when I was working on issues, when I was driving long distances...just a rock and roll soul brother whose seeming simplicity of lyric, hide a profound view of the experience of life,  and it was what helped me make sense of so much of what went on in my life, especially in the 90s.

Losing him was like losing a family member who had meant so much in years past, but events kind of pulled you away from them. And now you delve back into your memories and revisit the relationship.  I've been listening to him a good deal on his channel on Sirrius Xm. A song that became my lifeline during a break-up of a long term relationship and some other events connected to it, was 'Waiting for Tonight'. As it was a song that was hidden in the Playback don't hear it much. And it faded from memory for me. I heard it yesterday for the first time in a long time. It was surreal...I'm still not settled.

So here it is one of the songs of all that he wrote, that really touched me, and helped me survive. I am grateful to him and  to all who keep rock and roll's pulse going.

Tom Petty, 'Waiting for Tonight':

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Left Path or The Road Less Traveled

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
-Robert Frost

    Starting a new year is interesting. Somehow in western culture rather than seeing it as just another day on the road, we seem to view it as taking a turn onto a new road. And since that is the mindset that I exist in I'm really aiming to turn on the left road or path. In ending 2017 I took some very active steps to contract my role at my work. The wanted me on an expanding career path of leadership, but I chose a contracting path to focus on my clinic and avocations. They weren't happy, but for the first time in my work history, I really am saying no. Usually I do say yes eventually, but there was an internal shift in recent months and I know that I will not.

    I am preparing to retire from clinical social work and work in other areas including life coaching in the next few years. Although not required I am taking a certification course. I'm also increasing time spent with my music, art and when I can photography (not as active as I once was, but still will on occasion take up a shoot, like my sister's wedding).  I'm not sure where these roads will lead, but for me they have been far less traveled and I have a feeling choosing them to go down in 2018 will make all the difference. And no, to answer a question a friend asked about it,  I'm not scared...I don't scare easy.

    Scare Easy, 'Mudcrutch':


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