“Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters of our lives won’t have a title until much later.” ~ Unknown
You might recall that I had to cancel my Derby party this year, but I promised we’d get together in the summer. Stacy suggested we gather for the Belmont Stakes, which ran today. That turned out to be a brilliant idea as Justify won the Triple Crown. He ran a flawless, stunning race and we erupted in screams of joy as he crossed the finish line. We then retreated to the backyard where our salt water soaked grilled corn (John’s recipe) had cooled to perfection. We also took a few moments for the funny group pic. The only problem today was being reminded that I only see John once a year, and that’s just not enough. I adore him. I love all these people so much. Every time we’re together we laugh and talk and eat very well. What more could I want? They fill me with joy.
“Be selective with your battles. Sometimes peace is better than being right.” ~ Unknown
Dad has taken to sunbathing. He’s so not a sunbathing kind of guy, but there he is. He just sits in the sun. If he doesn’t have a chair, he’ll sit in the grass. I suspect that, if he didn’t have grass, he’d sit in the dirt or gravel or blacktop or whatever there was to sit in. He refuses to use sunblock even though he’s had one bout of skin cancer. He really can’t do much work anymore, and since he was always an outdoorsman, it makes sense that he’d be drawn to anything outside that fills him with joy. That would be the radiance of the sun. I often do the same thing when the weather turns warm in spring and the bugs aren’t yet unthawed. I’ll come home from work, park that same chair in between the apple trees, and soak up the warmth until the sun goes down. Yes, skin cancer is a very real threat, but our elderly have few joys left, so if he wants to bake in the sun, fine by me. It sure won’t be the thing that kills him, and if it gives him a little happiness, that’s just what the doctor ordered. Wally, on the other hand, prefers the shade.
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.” ~ Walt Whitman
I’m so proud of Edgar. He survived the night under the protection of the forsythia bush. I looked out the window first thing this morning and he was already up and hopping. I was utterly delighted. By the time I left for work he had worked his way down the fenceline – walking far better than just twelve hours earlier – and managed to climb up a small mound of sticks. All this under the watchful eye of the rather vocal parents. It was amazing to watch them coach little Edgar along without interfering.
When I got home this evening, I found Edgar on his stick mound. He’s balancing rather impressively, and he’s noticeably larger than he was last night. I believe he’s beginning to recognize his name, too. Each time I say ‘Edgar’, he turns his head to me and raises his brow. I neglected to mention yesterday that, when I got from home from work, St. Francis, patron saint of animals, had disappeared from his gas cap perch. Yet, Edgar, the fledgling crow, appeared in the backyard. Coincidence? There are no coincidences. Thank you, St. Francis. I hope Wally and I are worthy.
“Every now and then it’s good to stop climbing and appreciate the view from right where you are.”
~ Lori Deschene
This post is especially for my sista from anutha mutha, Crystal Heis. I will simply say “Mark II” and she’ll know exactly what’s up. We speak in code and hand gestures most of the time anyway, so why not blog it, too. For everyone, I hope you enjoy the photos I snapped this evening as much as I enjoyed snapping them. Me and The Boy had a lovely time in the very reasonable temps of the setting sun, and then I needed to snap some pix. Meanwhile, I chose the quote several days ago purely by coincidence. Crys turned me on to Lori Deschene because she’s super positive. It’s fitting that it’s today’s quote what with this being for Crystal and all. This is a new, better week for me. I hope it’s awesome for ya’ll, too.
“Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?” ~ Danielle LaPorte
I’ve had a beautiful, introspective weekend. I’ve mostly been thinking about photography and my role with it. I love pictures, but more than looking at them, I love making them. The point of photography for me is a way to explore how I see my world and the people in it. There’s nothing unique about that. I have tried a few times to do it commercially (weddings mostly), and every single time I come away needing a drink…. and I rarely drink, let alone drink to calm my nerves. Over the last week there have been a few nudges from the universe reminding me why I didn’t choose to go into photography as a profession. It boils down to this: With money comes expectation. I can go to work and follow orders no problem, but when it comes to expression, particularly the form of expression I hold personally close, I simply can’t do it. For lack of a better term, I find it spiritually difficult. I don’t mean to suggest that every hired experience I’ve ever had has been bad, far from it, but the few bad experiences I’ve had were enough to last a lifetime. I’ve had several conversations about this over the past few days, and each one has allowed me to let go a little more this idea of what I should be (a professional photographer), and be okay with who I really am. And who I really am is a photographer documenting my world, not a photographer for hire. There are lots of good photographers out there who want to do it for a living. I’m happier doing it for myself, and I’m extraordinarily grateful to everyone who let’s me photograph them as part of my explorations. I’m happiest when I’m just being me. Aren’t we all?
“Without rain nothing grows, learn to embrace the storms of your life.” ~ Unknown
The last day of March has been wonderful. Catherine Brereton and I had a little business proposal that went swimmingly (stay tuned for that news). Me and the boy above got some overdue yard work out of the way. I played a little music. And then Stacy and I tried a great new Mediterranean restaurant. What a great day. Also, you might recall I mentioned Debra Faulk a few weeks back. She did her Tedx Talk rehearsal that we were all so excited about. I promised I’d let you know when it was available to see, and et voila, here it is. The talk is good, she’s still funny, and the message is always important. So, friends, enjoy the talk, enjoy this last day of March, and may it have been as awesome for you as it was for me and Wally.
“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” ~ Henri Nouwen
Someone from Aunt Millie’s shop sent this photo via text when Wally was done with surgery. Is he not the cutest thing ever? He didn’t have an abscess as originally diagnosed. Rather, it was the root of a baby tooth that did not fall out or be absorbed by the body. It was an easy excision and he got to keep his adult incisor. Millie also suspects that he’s barely four years old, which means he was still mostly pup when I got him. Have I mentioned he’s adorable? Meanwhile, Leo had his stitches removed and is also aw some. Millie Hardigree is a great doctor and an incredible human. I’m glad to know her.
“I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. To stand for something, and to have made some difference that you lived at all.” ~ Leo Rosten
I’m running about six weeks behind on everything including taking the pets for their annual vaccines. It was not a good day for them, and it would have been awful(er) for me if Stacy hadn’t gone along to help. Let me just say that taking all three pets at once was not one of my better ideas (note to self: don’t do it again). I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned that Lilly (the black cat) has trouble riding in a car: Anxiety like you wouldn’t believe and I’ll just leave it at that. On Friday, I stopped in at Aunt Millie’s for some Kitty-Kalm-Down drugs. Next time, I’m going to double the dose because the prescribed amount did little more than lessen the yowling from the back seat. Poor thing is just a wreck on vet day. Meanwhile, Wally, who has exhibited zero distress other than gaining weight because dad doesn’t understand that table food is really bad for him (that’s a whole other issue that was addressed today), has an abscessed tooth. He came home with antibiotics until the tooth can be removed because that bit of unfortunate news was hardly the worst part of the visit. Oh yes, it got worse. Poor Leo, the kitty in the carrier on the floor; my beautiful, affectionate, sweet-as-can-be orange tabby boy, has a tumor in his eyeball. Over the last few months I’ve noticed his pupil was a different size from the other eye, and the iris was changing color. What I couldn’t see, until Aunt Millie showed me today, was that the color was actually a three-dimensional tumor rising from his iris. If it wasn’t so awful it would have been totally fascinating. (You can thank me for not taking a picture of it.) So, on February 22, my beautiful green-eyed boy will lose his eye. This will be the second orange tabby I’ve had that has had only one eye – one-eyed Jack being the first. As I learned today, this is not uncommon among orange tabbies. In fact, they’re quite prone to cancer, and eye cancer is not at all rare for them. Who knew! After we get him patched up, we’ll get Wally’s tooth pulled unless the antibiotics don’t help, then we might have to address it sooner. Lord help me if I have to take them both in for surgery on the same day. All things considered, Lilly wasn’t that bad. This is the price one pays for unconditional love. I’m glad I’m able to provide for them, because it’s the least I can do for all the love they give me.
“Sometimes the strength within you is not the fiery flame all can see, it is just a tiny spark that softly whispers, ‘You got this. Keep going.'” ~ Unknown
Wally’s eyeliner was on full display in today’s new snow. Just a few days ago I was complaining that we’d been denied a healthy snow after all the buildup produced hardly more than a dusting. Then, suddenly, overnight, we got a good snow when only a dusting was predicted. Ah, Kentucky, how I love your fickle weather ways. UK called off classes and work, so Wally and I enjoyed some (more) time together in the great outdoors. I shoveled snow. He watched. Any extra time with him is alright by me, even if I do all the work.
“As we move from one year into the next, let us heal this hurting world with love and beauty. Let us live in hope instead of fear. Let us do the work we came here to do with peace as our guide. Let us shine for one another. Let us allow the movement of grace. Let us dream into one another’s hearts, remain open to possibility, and remember our true selves.” ~ Lori-Lyn Hurley
My faithful companions spent New Year’s Day with me. If we treat their ages as thoroughbreds, turning another year older on January 1 regardless of their actual date of birth, then Lilly is 10 years old today. Leo is an estimated 13 to 15 (it’s really hard to know with him, even for the vet), and Wally an estimated 6. I was scrolling back through the outhouse and found the day I got Wally in December 2014. He’s still as adorable and lovable as I’d hoped he’d be after we got to know one another. I wouldn’t take anything for him. I wouldn’t take anything for any of them. We four are off to a great start for 2018. I hope the same for all of you.