About this blog title

I cannot tell you how many times I have shown up at events with a couple of cameras around my neck, a gadget bag full of odds & ends and a lighting kit and have been asked that question. If it happened once every few years, that would be one thing. But it happens a LOT. It's like getting pulled over by the police and he's standing there with uniform, gun, flashing lights and asking him "Are you a cop?" I would love to come back with a witty reply, such as "No, I am Jesus. Don't you recognize my beard?" However, I cannot be that rude.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ron Paul Revolution Sign: I Don't Get It

I recently went to photograph a job at a high school in Syracuse, NY. I noticed this sign on the door of a history class. I do not know what to make of it. Is the poster of this sign for or against Ron Paul and his ideas?. Maybe I am stupid. I would love to here comments about what any of you out there think or know about it.

Ron Paul is a conservative running for president of the United States, trying in vain to garner the Republican nomination. He has been vying for that position against Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Mit Romney.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

First Place Win For Military Drone Protestors Photos

Just found out I took First Place in Still Photos - Carl Single Award for Spot News Photos in the Syracuse Press Club Awards for photos of protestors at Hancock Air Field, Mattydale, NY, demonstrating against the military's use of unmanned drones.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

North Country Arts Council Muse 2012 Performance

Just returned from Muse 2012, a multi arts presentation of The North Country Arts Council. The entertainment was terrific & varied. I played 3 guitar pieces by Fernando Sor, but the most mesmerizing event was hoop dancer Jozette Borrmann accompanied by electric guitar played by Aaron Horeth. It gave me goos bumps at one point. It was INCREDIBLE. Horeth played his guitar through some type of effects box made by Roland. I cannot even begin to describe Jozettes dancing, but it was stunning. Stupid me, my camera was in my car which I almost NEVER leave behind. But I was wrapped up with setting up my sound system and helping out some of the other acts that it was too late to run back to the car because I would have missed most of the hoops/guitar act. Jozettes web site is www.whirledpeacehoops.org

Now for my part. I played 3 pieces by Fernando Sor, Spanish army captain, contemporary of Beethoven's, prolific composer of guitar music. They were selected from Andres Segovia's compilation of 20 Studies For Guitar by Fernando Sor. They were stuies #2, #4, and #5. For the most part I played them well. But I suffered from stage fright which caused me to sweat and have shaky hands. In particular my left hand. There were about a 150 people in the hall. They were dead silent as I played. I had a slight memory lapse at the very last measure or 2 of the 4th study. As best as I can recollect, the Study #2 came off very well as did the Study #5. I don't know why I wasn't more relaxed, but I wasn't.
What I need to do, and have thought about doing for years, is to set up a series of guitar recitals. Those situations where people actually sit and listen as they did this evening. I'm sure if I did 50, 60, a hundred or more of such events I would get comfortable with it. I just have to make myself do it. The problem is that the first few ( who knows the first dozen or more?) will be nerve racking and stressful until I find my way and settle into a groove.
One of my ideas is to set up a series of recitals in the local libraries here in the North Country. Between Jefferson, Lewis, & St Lawrence Counties I could book a lot of recitals. It's like every thing else, I just have to DO IT!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Strange Looking Spider

The weather continues to be unseasonably warm here in Northern NY. The photo I post here today appears to be a spider that has been encased or wrapped up in some sort of silk from another spider. I have never seen anything like this before. My brother R was cleaning out the basement of our mother's house when he came upon this attached to the glass of an old storm window. There were 3 or 4 other spiders in the same condition.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Flowers

I awoke early today, about 6:00am. Got up and put is some pretty good guitar practice. The Sun came up blazing in a clear sky. I painted a second coat of paint on one of the dining room walls. Then I spent about three hours doing yard work. Picking up tree branches, sticks, raking up old leaves and the like. That's when I spotted the Spring flowers. Just this one small group in the entire back yard. And, it is still Winter here in Chaumont, NY. The first day of Spring is Tuesday. The temperature out doors is wonderful 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

I am now going to grab a beer (I know, Lent is not over & I gave up alcohol, but my understanding is it's OK on Sundays), and play a littlle bit of guitar outside before going to my mother's house. Hope all of you are having a good day.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Home From The Hospital

There was a hail storm accompanied with tremendous thunder & lightning last night in Chaumont, NY. Everything was soaking wet this morning. But by mid morning the Sun came out and the rest of the day was beautiful.

My mother came home from the hospital yesterday afternoon. Hospice arrived earlier in the day with a bed, oxygen equipment and some other odd & ends. We quickly discovered that we needed to add an electrical outlet in the living room to accomodate it all. So brother Ron set about installing that. My celebrity brother went to the hospital to oversee Mom's discharge and transport home. She was transferred by ambulance as the accompanying photo shows. Meanwhile I went shopping for linen for the hospital bed. Not knowing what to expect I bought numerous flat sheets & fitted sheets as well as a mattress cover. When that mission was completed I set about making the bed. So, the three of us were busy prepping for her arrival and brother T was missing in action. (But he has his own things happening with a son that needs heart surgery). She arrived just as I completed the bed. Fifteen minutes later I had to head to Syracuse area to photograph a job for the Post-Standard. The following photo came from that shoot. It was taken at the Fayetteville-Manlius High School Observatory.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Trouble Sleeping

It is after midnight. I have been in bed for two hours and have not fallen asleep. I HATE IT WHEN THIS HAPPENS. This is night 2 of the problem. Last night I lay awake until 2:00AM, got up ate a salami sandwhich went back to bed & finally dozed of around 4:00. Got up at 8:30. Why I am not collapsing in a dead sleep tonight is beyond me.

This photo was taken by my sister C while she was in town from Arizona. It is me playing at Carl's Furniture Sunday brunch in Watertown, NY.

My mother will be coming home from the hospital tomorrow afternoon. (Well, actually today) She will be under hospice care with myself, my daughter, and three other brothers doing what we can to fill in.

I am basically miserable lately because my routine has deteriorated to no routine. Or at least a routine I dislike. The Better Half no longer works. That's wonderful for her. But, she is always home when I am home. I rarely have the house to myself. That never used to bother me a whole lot because I used to get up about 5-5:30 every morning and have until 8:00 o'clock or later to myself. I got my guitar practice in and other creative endeavors. Now it seems I can never get up before 7:00 Now the Better Half rarely sleeps in either. She is up about the same time as I am.
that combined with my my job schedule and my freelance work I have too little time of my own. One needs space. For the past 18 months or so I have been working evenings on Mondays & Tuesdays for the Post-Standard. So I can never get to bed before midnight on those nights. I know that overall I have had a blessed life and should not complain. And, I really am not complaining. I'm just tired of the way things are going and I must figure a more satisfactory way to spend my time. Maybe I need to make job changes.

Of course things are more trying these past 3 weeks with my Mother being hospitalized and at death's door for few of those days. Now she is entering into her own new routine. I doubt she will regain enough strength to be able to walk around and care for herself again. Add to that the rising price of gasoline and other expenses and it begins to make one's head swim.

On another note, it was terrific having both of my sisters here for a visit. THis past Friday we had a good time at my home in Chaumont. We had fish and various salads from Jeans Beans, a long time family owned deli in Watertown. But about 2:30 in the morning I woke up with a churning stomach. That moring I was sicker than a dog. I had to cancel my guitar lessons. I was much better on Sunday, but still not 100%, however, I managed to play my three hour Sunday gig at Carl's furniture.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mom: Day 15 In The Hospital

It is a gray and windy day here in Chaumont, New York. The temperature is 55 degrees.

It was two weeks ago today that Mom was admitted to the hospital. Yesterday and the day before she seemed very talkative and peaceful. She doesn't appear to have any significant pain, just some general discomfort. She seem to have accepted her fate. She is anxious to get home. My sister C arrived yesterday from Arizona. Sister S will be here tomorrow.

Yesterday the water pump on my 2002 Dodge Caravan went bad. The serpentine belt came off as a result while I was driving down the road about five miles from my house. I managed to drive it another 5 miles to a garage in Brownville, All Good Auto, where I have had good luck with car repairs. I often do my own, and am confident I could repair this one, but I don't want to. It would eat up too much time. They will probably have the job done sometime tomorrow. The price is $325.00 What can I do? I have to pay the man. That same damn van cost me $2,000.00 about 3 months ago for a new transmission. I hate it.

I snapped the above photo yesterday afternoon. It was Mom's 14th day in the hospital. This is not a flattering picture of her, but she was very talkative, very much at peace with her situation.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I feel like I am going crazy.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

That's The Way It Is

Late this after noon my Mother says, "I am sick of all this garbage." she is referring to the hospital routine. "I am just waiting for Suzie & Carol to get here and then I am going home. If they don't like it, they can shove it."

So that's the way it is, MARCH 4, 2012.

Mom In The Hospital Day 11


I awoke to some heavy, wet snow here in Chaumont, NY. The two photos here are views from each of my kitchen windows.

My celebrity brother A & his son & I had a chat with my Mother yesterday afternoon. Based upon talks with her doctors I informed her that there is no recovery from her condition. There is also no knowing how much time she has left. Days, weeks, months? No one can predict. I suspect it a matter of weeks. She has stage four congestive heart failure. Ther is fluid build up in her body. The heart cannot move enough blood through her system. Therefor her organs are not functioning properly. The doctors want to get the excessive fluid out of her lungs & system. Her cardiologist could better detrmine her condition if she can get rid of the fluids. This past Thursday he examined her and said there is just as much fluid build up that day as there was the day she was admitted to the hospital. So a week went by with no improvement. He also said that even if they do get rid of the fluid it may be to no avail. That's because when the fluid is gone it may cause her blood pressure to go too low to properly operate her organs. He said if that's the case then, "We are toast."
I began to weep I explained all of that to her. And then we talked as best we could about her final wishes. She would like to be cremated and her remains buried between her mother and father at St. Mary's Cemetary in Evans Mills, N.Y. "I think there's room enough for me there," she said. It was a sad but worthwhile chat.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Mother In The Hospital

My Mother is 79 years old and quite ill. She was admitted to the hospital a week ago today. She has congestive heart failure. Yesterday she was very chipper, talkative, appeared to be in much better condition than the previous days. However, last night she had more fluid build up in her lungs. Her heart is weak and her heart rate fell off. She was given more oxygen, more drugs, got stabalized and her heart rate was brought back up. I suspect that it's only a matter of time before her heart simply gives out all together. Is it days, weeks or months? I don't know. Three years ago she had a heart valve replacement. At this point, based upon my Google research, I think her only hope would be a heart transplant, and at her age and level of frailty, that simply isn't going to happen.