Saturday, August 29, 2009

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover....

Just a quick post to remind everyone that you can't fool Mother Nature but she sure can fool you.

In my garden, I always planted Zinnias and Sunflowers near the tomatoes. They attracted birds and insects that eat insects. One of my favorites to watch is the Hummingbird Moth.

It flies just like a one inch long hummingbird would, flitting from flower to flower. Recently I learned a bit more about the Hummingbird Moth. It seems, my favorite little pollinator, when in its larva state is THIS!

The dreaded enemy of all tomato growers!

So now we know......Mother Nature has a sense of humor.
I believe I can hear the trees snickering.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Fruits of My Labor.....

Two or three months ago I posted about planting my annual garden. Last month I posted (whined) about caterpillars. Today's post is about the good news.

My garden has done well and is producing loads of GREAT tomatoes and an abundance of flowers for Superwoman's weekly flower arrangement.

For years, every Sunday, I have tried to cut flowers and do an arrangement for Superwoman to take to work on Monday.

This accomplishes three things:
  1. It makes Superwoman happy.
  2. It makes me look better than I am to her co-workers.
  3. It causes her co-workers to give their husbands grief about the husband of the lady at work that is so loving that he gives her flowers every week.
Truth me told, I've saved a fortune. Seriously, it was always relaxing to walk to my garden after a tough twelve hour day at work and commune with nature. Recently I've cut way back to ten hour days, but I still enjoy the garden. I still cut the flowers but my arranging days are coming to an end.

This year I planted more perennials so they'll be flowers after I can no longer plant. I'll sure miss those homegrown tomatoes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I grew up in a Dark Room....

I grew up in a darkroom. Really!

My father had many careers including Sports Editor of the local newspaper. Part of the job required taking sports photos and developing them quickly enough to have them for the next days edition. This career branched out into taking team pictures at the local little leagues, charity golf tournaments, and special events. We had a film processing darkroom at home and I spent much of my childhood slaving away under dim red light to meet deadlines and fill orders.

I learned about exposure, contrast, cropping, and the effects of chemical temperatures on photo paper and film. But I wasn't allowed to touch the cameras! At least not until I got older...... much older.

This experience gave me an unusual perspective on photography. By the time I finally began to acquire my own 30mm cameras and lenses I had solved the secret to good photography. I'll tell you the secret at the end of this blog.

I have taken hundreds of rolls of film and when I switched to digital thousands more shots. We have about thirty family photo albums containing memorable moments frozen in time. (Superwoman loves scrap booking).

The photos in this blog are 99.9% mine. The trouble is...... they don't make left-handed cameras. For that matter they don't make one-handed cameras either. It is becoming increasingly difficult to change shutter speeds and F-stops given the small dials and buttons. Sometimes I miss the shot that I knew I wanted.

I will miss this hobby when it's gone. Like everything else connected with this dreaded disease, the bulb doesn't burn out, it slowly dims until it is too dark and cold to provide comfort. Its ironic that I started in a room with a dim red light.

Here is some samples from my garden.
Click on images for full resolution.


PS. The secret to good photography:
Take lots and lots of pictures!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


There have been so many things I have felt I needed to post about that I have not gotten around to any of them. I feel guilty about that. In fact I feel guilty about a lot of things.

Guilt, by definition, requires the act of doing something wrong. "Feeling guilty" is suppose to be a feeling about the commission of a wrong. I feel overwhelmed with guilt for letting people down.

Meeting the expectations of others, or my perceived version of their expectations, has been a driving influence in my life. Whether it was parents, employers, lovers, wife, or children, I worked hard at being who they wanted me to be. I believe we all do that to some extent.

As my physical abilities deteriorate, I find I lack the ability to meet what I think others expect of me. The buddy that wants to play golf, the son that needs help working on his car, hell, even the UPS driver that wants a signature are all instant reminders that I can no longer do what people expect.

My wife cuts my food for me now. It is humiliating.

She cried the other night from the weight of many burdens. I am one of them and I feel guilty about it. I wanted so badly to tell her everything was going to be okay, but they won't.

She is trying so hard to be Superwoman (and doing a great job except for the flying) but she has an impossible task. She can not heal me. I feel guilty about that too.

I ran cross country and track through high school and into my 30's. I loved to run and I was good. I won a LOT of races. What drove me was not that I loved to win, but that I HATED TO LOSE. Winning was not joyful to me, it was a relief from fear of failure. I've carried that my whole life.

Now I face the ultimate failure. The inability to take care of myself.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Departure for Neda....

WARNING: I am departing from the theme of my blog for this post. In essence, however, this post may have greater value than all my others and in turn add greater meaning to my blog as a whole.

Several weeks ago I, along with millions of others, watched the cell phone video of the murder of a young girl on the streets of Iran. It haunted me that we witnessed her final breaths yet were powerless to do anything about it. In a country that has, for centuries, suppressed a woman's basic rights, we watched them squeeze the very life from one. Her family was prevented from having a memorial service.

Yesterday, I got an email from a long time friend who has, over the years, become a world renowned sculptor. She too had seen the video. She too wept. Then she took action the best way she knew how.

Please visit her web site at:

Fine Art by Paula B. Slater - Works in Progress

By doing so, we make a small statement that We,the people, will not stand by silently.We must not!

Neda Agha-Soltan,

philosophy student, an accomplished singer and was passionate about music and travel. She was also studying to be a tour guide and had traveled to Dubai, Turkey and Thailand.

Neda was engaged to be married.