Monochromatic and Moi

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/monochromatic/

I go to this photo all the time – it is special – not only is it my favorite but my wife was on the riverbank with me when I took this back in 2012 –

It was the first time I did any work in manual mode with my DSLR and of course later — some gratuitous and unrefined use of Photoshop

I made it black and white and then hit it with an orange filter to give it that “old time—found in the attic” vibe.

The contrast is stark and extreme because that is how the world looks to me—-everything hits my brain like this.

It will calm down (it’s starting to slowly subside at times) – and peace is back-filling into my absent conscious.

All things change and flow – and there comes a place when a life is not bound by the constraints of time —- all is a flood.

Yeah – it is like that today

 

 

 

Dodo

dodo1

The Dodo

I followed this blog from Mauritius because it seemed such a cool and exotic place — in the middle of nowhere — out past Madagascar (which seems like the true edge of exotic).  — No — keep going, there is more.

I looked and looked and gave up trying to re-find this blog that I am pretty sure I still follow —- sadly— I can’t get back. So this country in the middle of nowhere has a blog on it that is lost to me right now.

If you see this, nice blog person – please click me a like or something and I will visit.

Anyway

I just finished “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson (excellent book! — A cave 5 star rating!). And it has a bit about Mauritius because that was the home of the infamous extinct dodo bird.

So – I did a sketch.

I wanted to show the respect I have for this animal — not cool that it got screwed over.

Sailors just clubbed everything in the 1600’s — I know there were no resorts that served cold drinks with fancy straws in them at that time… but …. Seriously—– you just wipe this creature off the face of the earth?

And to add insult to injury – you gave it a name that makes it sound stupid.

This is not cool.

This bird was just chillin’ on a nice exotic location. It was not bothering anyone.

Why does history have to be so cruel?

This is my part to right that wrong.

I aim to make it more detailed and add color.

I also want to make it look respectable.

I feel some connection to this bird that is based on absolutely nothing – but is there nonetheless.

Coming out as a caregiver in a “C” family.

This is how I feel while working

I was asked to write a letter by the Center that my wife visits for the treatment of her cancer – the goal being to make some changes in order to help the entire family get through some difficult days. The disease brings with it all these satellite evils that conspire and gang up. This letter is not about what got you here and the person you love – it is about the mundane and stifling which can become debilitating.

Example: Your wife was moved to another hospital for a procedure, you answer a call from your work about a problem on the way down to visit and help as best you can (yes, you already put in a full day, no, you are not mad about it, work is work, health insurance is health insurance, money is money). You left no food in the house for your 17 teen year old who is hanging out with his friends in the living room and staying home—-the scene has a “Lord of the Flies” feel about it that disturbs you as a Dad (they will go to a garage sale and get a replica sword to complete this picture of mayhem!) but—-your son is a teenager and he is dealing with it the best he can—-and you have to let kids be kids—-they will be alright. And the whole group are good kids (you pray and you hope you have done the right things to this point- there is no teaching once 17 is reached).

It’s another trip thru a random Drive Thru for you and the 13 year old, who is an excellent navigator and will keep you from making a wrong turn in the big city, damn, that was a sketchy neighborhood on the visit last night…

You are not hungry but you are very tired – you want to cry but you have no idea what to cry about – there are so many entities competing for tears, they cancel each other out and you drive on.

There was a sense of comedy before leaving when you get out of the shower and there are no towels and no toilet paper on the roll —- you are missing the “automatic” ——- there is no automatic when it gets like this.

We get home – for some reason, the group of kids had to hose off the driveway and seem to be guarding something.

You don’t ask.

You check to see if the dog has messed in the house.

No—-looks ok.

(That was yesterday, and only the 50% that I feel only semi-awkward about revealing)

Note: I did not leave my wife and her condition out of this story because I don’t care—-this post and the following letter is about what it is like to be the husband and caregiver.

I pray everyday and I know we will get through this.


The following is the letter for the hospital.

Caregiver Resources does not exist yet.

My name is Wayne, my wife Marie was diagnosed with kidney cancer two and a half years ago and I am still learning as I go.

There is some help available at the center for my specific needs but there is no central “point of contact” place for a caregiver to start.

We need that (especially the husbands).

Here is why:

When a diagnoses happens – we are in shock – you guys know that – you see it all the time.

It is not a simple “deer in headlights” moment – it is “deer in headlights” structure that quickly replaces everyday existence — the way we live and the way we think is completely blown up and all we hear is something coming right at us on a dark rainy road.

And you say – “Keep everything as normal as possible.”

I know I am a loving supporter of my wife while she fights this battle –that I understand.

But this comes with more responsibilities:

  1. A politician among all of my family and friends – How do you deal with stuff that well-meaning people are going to say to you? How do I let them help? Do they really want to help?
  1. Chief financial officer for a family. Now, we have less money and more bills = much stress. Serious problems that can be made much worse unless we do the right things. How do we keep our jobs and insurance? What happens if we lose them? What about Short Term disability? What about Social Security Disability and Medicare? FMLA? When do these things kick in? Am I eligible? Can you help with paperwork?
  1. I got kids – What about the kids?

 

  1. My role is changing in the family – You might think things like laundry and meals are simple to adjust to —- and for a guy that does it sometimes – it should be – but wow – it is not.

 

  1. I still have to take care of myself – not because I want to but because I have to – this is the toughest. If I have learned anything —–The luxury of being mad at yourself and feeling like you should do more or do something different is off the table. Move forward as best you can – you have no time to waste in self-pity.

 

So I ask one of these questions as we check in on a random day last month – like who do we talk to about our health insurance and what happens if we have none? And the answer I get is “We don’t have that here – Let me see if I can find you the number for some person from this place or something or other—no, can’t find it”. Keep in mind that we have been seeing the same people at the check-in desk for two years and they know us and want to help—-there is no mechanism for them to use. How much easier for them to say: “Go to Caregiver Resources—they can help you”

The second part I want to stress is that even though some of the help might be available at this Center already – it is difficult to understand. The hospital website has the psychologist listed close to spa services – the financial help looks like it is just for bills that are already in the system. The look of the site is very clinical and cold –—-We need to be led by hand by a friendly person – we don’t know where to start and we are in trouble —- like if you just got off a plane in a foreign country and are looking to get somewhere —that is exactly how it feels. Lost in a strange world as a caregiver. I may very well need to speak to the psychologist – but I don’t want to click that link – I don’t trust it…

The American Cancer society has some excellent and targeted information on its website – as a suggestion; maybe linking to some with specific help that a caregiver needs?

Again and again – all the help and resources are largely already out there – the problem is not the supply – it’s finding out how to connect to it.

I have no issues with the excellent care my wife receives – or with the staff who I admire and respect as they do God’s work every single day.

Most of the resources are directed at the patient, as well they should be.

But we have to get that patient (in this case, my loving wife) to and from the best care they can get.

We live this with our loved ones 24/7 – when we arrive for care – we need to make the most of our time – how great would it be if there was a place we could go to get questions resolved?

And we have to keep our families strong and healthy as we all fight together.

So please – give us clear, concise and accurate help to guide us through this

Now for two things meant so much in the beginning:

The Family membership at the Y you gave us for six months was a true blessing. The kids, my wife and I could work-out. It kept her as strong as she could be. The benefits of being able to melt stress away cannot be overstated. The downside — it was for only 6 months and the application of it was clunky—–they weren’t exactly sure how to process it but were not going to argue with a cancer patient – So they put it through. In the future, if you do this —Please— an activated membership ready to go for a whole family would do wonders. They need this and would not abuse it.

And making us the family to be sponsored by the Center for that first Christmas after diagnosis was a monster help. Removing the burden of the holiday is what the spirit of the season it all about. Forever thank you for that.

I am writing this because you asked how to make things better for the caregiver from a caregiver perspective.

I will never forget when I was in the hospital recovering from G.I. surgery myself last year and the nurse wrote on my board. “Lives in a C family” She put a circle around the C. – It was when it truly hit me that I was in a different place with a different mission and better do it right. So any help I can give to making Caregiver Resources work for other people – I am all in.

Thanks for the consideration to want to make the Center work better for everyone.

Just another caregiver among many doing the best they can.

Wayne

Middle Age Angst

I had a road rage incident recently that scared me.

Mainly because after all the years of driving and experiencing every kind of foolish transgression possible to experience

I thought I was immune.

I am not immune and I harbor deep wells of anger

What?

Bad day – happens all the time – it doesn’t matter what I was doing or where I was doing it. Enough to say that on this day I was giving it all I had and seemed to be getting nothing but aggravation back.

But this does not make me special or unique- many people have tougher paths to walk and life is not fair

I know this – I embrace this – I live this

There is nothing I can do about it

So somebody passing me on the road just to pass me should not bother this beat-down hombre

But it did

I punched the pedal to catch up to the offender – I did not know that my poor engine could respond like that – I am surprised that it did not blow up –

Then when he/she (I don’t know who was in that pick-up truck of doom) pulled in to a convenient store I almost pulled in right behind them (thankfully, I did not).

So I could go eyeball to eyeball with the offender.

This would have been bad – logically I knew that nothing good could come from this

Logically, I knew that there was nothing I could do about all the bad stuff that happened to me earlier in the day

But on the road I could –  two vehicles going mano a mano – I have control and I do matter.

This scared me – because I have not felt this anger for 30 years – not since I was a young nerd/punk at a Clash concert – not since I started to know better.

But when we are beat-down and unable to express it we lash out in other ways —–

I get pro-wresting and looting now – I am not above both if my situation was different.

And all of this got me thinking about Paul Westerberg  and how he proclaimed on one summer night when no one was listening.

“Here is one more song —–  if anyone cares”

And The Replacements played this classic.

the crowd was not impressed.

But I was.

And still am.

They were just the warm-up band for Tom Petty – who would follow and play for the faithful and I left early. To this day I still don’t like Tom Petty.

I have angst.

Last of the Buffalo

buffalo-header

The last great buffalo herd was shot in 1898 yesterday.

I saw it on the news before I went to work – 15 bison running next to the highway in frantic formation.

A taste of what we lost.

I know this is a just a small glimmer of what these beasts once meant.

In a former time they were free to roam and they were legion.

And now we got a few “escaped convicts” from a local meat farm answering their instincts and on the run.

They swam across the Hudson River. They ran across interstate highways.

They moved as one – the adults and the young – these tremendous artifacts of a bygone era.

I have to admit when I saw them running – it made me feel good.

This is what they are supposed to do – run from place to place – in a big country that lets you go forever – they are made for this – battering-ram-monsters of freedom.

“Give me a home where the buffalo roam”

This is friggin’ awesome!

But the wheel has turned

Their time is done.

The farm they escaped from employed a few hunters to gun them down (as was their right, according to officials on the scene) – The State police called it “an ugly affair”  – with one hunter possibly facing criminal charges for refusing to “finish off” a wounded animal. In all, 22 animals were slaughtered if you include a few shot earlier. All agree– there was no other choice – these animals are too big to contain and too dangerous to let run free.

The meat could not be cared for and got to the buffalo butcher for three months, (not many buffalo meat cutters around, I guess) – so it was deemed no good for human consumption.

This is shades of Buffalo Bill and the other wranglers that forced the land to submission by killing and leaving the skinned carcasses to rot where they were dropped.

No food and clothing – no life for the native people that depended on this animal for countless generations.

Build the railroads and build the new America.

The wheels are turning – progress – industrial might and other stuff all coming to a suburb near you.

But first the buffalo had to go.

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/15-buffalo-killed-in-albany/

The last remaining landline will be at my fixed location

“I am not going quietly into this mobile era of constant and instant availability.”

I am not cool with it.

Everyone I know except me has ditched their landline. I am the last of the Mohicanslandlinians.

When you reach someone on a home phone in a fixed location – they just might have time to connect and have a discussion in a very human and important way – at least they could have – in a bygone era.

That is gone.

“OK Cave guy, you sound like a Neanderthal now – progress is progress – either get on the bus or get run over.”


Here is what we got with the smart mobile era:

First – what is a “good” number for you? They change so often, it is impossible to keep current unless you are in the “circle” who gets the “new number update” – which I didn’t get because I am still on three numbers ago — My bad.

Second – are you a talker or a text-er?… “Oh, I don’t talk anymore or answer voice mails –  Pls txt me btch.”

Third- if I make it through those first two hoops and don’t get a response … now I am being ignored … which means insulted.

And I still haven’t talked to you.

Yeah – this new system is so much better.

And I just want to talk – you know because we are family or friends and that is how we stay that way.

I JUST WANT TO TALK

(sorry, I’m yelling now)

And here is what happens when you do finally get to the mighty castle of “Connection”.

“Oh Hi Wayne, what’s up – I’m just sitting on the toilet at a thruway rest stop, but I saw it was you so I picked up – no problem, just a little stomach bug – go ahead –  what you calling about?”

“Dude- I was just checking in, nothing important”

“Oh-then you should just text me”

“Thanks-I’ll remember that for the next time (which will be never) – sorry to catch you indisposed”

That is how it goes for me so I have basically given up talking to my friends.

Talking on the phone is a lost art.

Gone.

It is replaced by this endless barrage of texting.

And by texting – I think I mean gossiping with words.

We get inane texts to interrupt our work and become inefficient – then while we are enjoying free time – we get inane texts from work to interrupt that. We are always working and always texting. There is no separation of church and state in our lives.

And it is driving us all mad.

This is so much better – “here let me show you another cat video and I just got this app that makes my face look like a squashed pumpkin- this phone is so cool – my whole life is on it.”

I love this phone

I hate this phone


I just wanted to talk– you know about how things are going for you and how things are going for me, and then maybe we feel more connected – and maybe we can help each other if help is needed. You know life – and how to get through it and stuff – but only when you have a few moments.

And that can’t happen anymore – soooo

That is why I blog…It is as close as I can get.

Here is a 5-pack of my favorite Telephone songs.

 Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman

Jim Croce – Operator

E. L. O. – Telephone Line

Rikki Don’t Lose That Number – Steely Dan

Lady Gaga – Telephone

Am I insane on this? And did I miss a great telephone song for my 5-pack? Would love to hear what you guys think.

Can we still be friends? Blogworld

Can we still be friends?

wpworld

This post is about a failure – I cannot get this sketch to full color illustration (at least, not yet).

I can shelve it for now or throw it out to the world.

Wait!

Nobody is paying me here  – in fact, this blog thing is done mostly as a way for me to journal the progress of me, a regular guy, who likes music – and also takes some photos and draws a little.

Does that make me a music critic or photographer or artist? —-No! … It makes me a blogger in a sea of bloggers doing the same thing.

We are many and we are taking over the world.

This sketch was my attempt at figuring out this crazy world we bloggers operate in.

All these awards, likes, follows and prompts falling from the clouds of blogland.

Brand new bloggers with no clue in their tents writing one simple post and waiting for the magic to happen – here is a hint: It won’t happen by itself.

BUT – that brand new blogger that lights a little campfire by leaving some comments and spreading a little joy by throwing “like” buttons like candy from a parade float.

That guy has a chance.

Looking around this sketch – you might find my website in the neighborhood with the other friendly music bloggers (many thanks to them for letting me move in). 🙂

Here is another hint: If you make your blog about something—-anything—- and tag it as such—the other folks that do that same something/anything will try to help you if you let them.

Let them and visit them.

They will become your friendly “shire” in this crazy world – you will be like Winnie the Pooh having Tigger and Eeyore stop by——-you will move from your tent to a neighborhood on WordPress —NOW- you have a great chance at finding your voice and becoming a real blogger.

Whatever that means?

I think it means that you feel at home with your site and move forward with conviction and passion.

“It’s not much of a tail, but I’m sort of attached to it.” – The wisdom of Eeyore explains how most of us feel about our sites.

So whether you are: music, photo, flowers, conspiracy theory or erotica. Whatever you are – there is a place for you here.

AND – thank you my friends – I am not going to list you and leave people out because this post is about inclusion. But you know who you are!

This sketch will need a follow-up post.

Hopefully I can add some color.

Cheers from the cave!