pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out

19 April 2016

Now in living color


Sunset
Williamsburg, Virginia
24 March 2016

Sorry, things got busy. As they will again.

Anyway, the black and white photo in its original (more or less) color state.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D7000.
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15 April 2016

Struggle with the words then give up


Governor's Palace gardens
Williamsburg, Virginia
23 March 2016

I rarely rerun posts. But sometimes I've already said what I want to say perfectly. In between doctor's offices and labs, I've been in a very creative place, working with the idea of story. Story isn't always words so much as a sense, an atmosphere, a feeling. A photo, a measure, a few seconds of film. Not easy to describe. Then I found something I wrote six years ago and yup. This was it.

And I fell in love with everyone I saw...

We have a secret, you and I. We are neither of us sure what the other thinks, but something lives there, in the space between. Something happened, at some time, though no one can pinpoint the moment. There were eye witnesses. Tales were told, conjectures were made but the story lives between us. And we wait and wonder what the other saw, what the other thinks.

If anything.

And then it all sort of fell apart. I had an idea and I knew what I wanted to say and I had my device and framework, and it just wouldn't work. I was following the cards, and for the first three, it was ripping and then...nothing. The words came with difficulty and awkwardly and didn't say what I meant to say.

I dreamed. I dreamed about a house, grey, stone or concrete, an older style. I walked through the garden and you were there, arm held out to me, and as I approached, your hand settled in the small of my back, guiding me along, without constraint. The air was soft and filled with flowers, and the moment seemed quite real, no feel of dreaming. There was a sense to it of the dreams I used to call the road dreams, where I was driving down the same road, but it was in varying degrees of decay or in good repair. The road was infinite, and I never dreamed of starting the drive or ending it. They went on for years. Oddly, this night, I felt like I'd reached my destination with your calm and wordless welcome.

I am prone to wild bouts of joy. Everyone may be; I don't know since I'm only me and can't speak for the rest of the world. I will suddenly be taken with the desire to laugh, for no reason other than just random happiness. It's hit me in the strangest places: at work, in airports, as I start a morning walk, up on a mountain, in the middle of a crowd of people. The world suddenly seems limitless and I have a clarity of vision that is quite perfect, the feeling of being transported. If I were a believer, I'd suspect it to be mystical, a bout of religious ecstasy, but I'm not, so I accept it as a gift of joy. It happened that night, as the wind blew my hair around my face, and I was filled with a warmth I didn't recognize and when I pushed my hair out of my eyes and looked around, there you were, filling my vision. By then you were already precious to me, but the emotion in that moment was so enormous, so transcendent, that I fell in love with everyone around me.

Turn the card toward what might be. They look content, don't they, in their sunshiny colors? There is nothing sweet here, nothing sappy. It's communion, real accord, commitment and communication. They know their cups are full. When I ask myself what it is I want, this is what comes to mind. When I tell my friends that I cherish them, it is the long conversations and moments of contentment that I am thinking of. The sense is not exclusive of love. It is instead inclusive of what makes love possible.

On Mad Men, Kitty, a minor character, is lovely, but bereft and only just beginning to realize that something is very, very wrong with her husband Sal, poor sad man. "I don't need much," she said to him, "but I need tending." Her words resonated, but her courage was what surprised me. I don't need much, I ask for little, but I am clueless about how to voice what I want. I have been responsible for so much, so many, so long that my desires sound awkward, more like demands, and I handle them more like bargaining chips instead. It hasn't quite occurred to me that the only bargain you are looking to strike is that I return your regard.

But here, now, it's the fall of the light, late summer or early autumn, as the sun slides behind the trees, that I think of you. This, the light, reminds me of you, of the way you laughed, which made me laugh, too, and I fell just a little in love, just enough that it showed in my face. Just enough that I still seek the laughter as it looked on your face, the lift of your eye that matched the curve in the corner of your mouth.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D7000. Go listen to some good music: "Spitting Games" from the album Final Straw by Snow Patrol. From the original "liner notes:" This started out life as a very different bit of writing (and I've been interrupted how many times?) but ultimately, I think I like where it ended up. I'll know when I read it again in a few months (N.B.: or 6 years later). But really, the problem was how exactly do you describe a sensation wracking your body and mind, something that doesn't exactly allow for words?
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14 April 2016

Of infinity


Dust storm at sunset
Death Valley National Park, California
24 November 2015

A professional photographer I met some years back made the case for artistic photography with an iPhone. While I consider mine the utility knife of point and shoots (hey! it makes phone calls, I can send email and play games when I'm bored), his point is well taken. I do have fun experimenting with it, though it doesn't have quite the facility of the larger cameras (or it may be user error. I'd vote for the latter, personally). And there is always Hipstamatic, which I accidentally upgraded (the old version really was better) for filters and weirdness and green pictures.

But this was just the camera, a view taken on the fly from a moving car.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6. By the way, I just found out some of you don't realize that you can click on the photos to enlarge them. I have real size limitations in the posts, so clicking will allow you to see details.
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13 April 2016

When the world turns grey


Williamsburg, Virginia
24 March 2016

No subtext here. Just fiddling with a photo. Title inspired by an intense conversation this morning.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D7000.
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12 April 2016

Then again


Governor's Palace
Williamsburg, Virginia
23 March 2016

Years ago, the daughter asked me, "Have you ever seen a ghost?"

I saw a ghost in these gardens when I was 14.

So I told her the story.

I still believe I saw something uncanny.

Things happen in old places. I don't think the things that happen are necessarily sinister. Maybe echoes of a long forgotten past. In college, I lived in an attic apartment in an old house. More than once I awoke to the sight of a figure at the end of the bed but it was comforting more than frightening. As a kid I read a novel that posited ghosts might come from a parallel thread in time where the fabric of space is thin. I always liked that explanation.

A woman standing quietly in shadow.

A whiff of pipe tobacco.

The piping sound of a young child's voice from behind a closed door.

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Shakespeare got it.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D7000. I am smart enough to know that I don't know everything.
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11 April 2016

Shooting RAW


Haunting
Williamsburg, Virginia
24 March 2016

Minds out of the gutter. I'm referring to the file format.

I'm terrifically lazy when it comes to learning the finer points of DSLRs. I learned to shoot on film cameras, learned to process film, learned to create photos in a darkroom. I won an award! All well and good, but I have learned to love the instant gratification of the DSLR since I bought my first real one about 8 years ago. The instruction manual for the D7000 is sitting on my washing machine.

Someday I'll read it.

Anyway, I've been encouraged to shoot using RAW because it creates a better image (and an enormous file), so I decided to set up the camera to shoot both file formats and I played a bit while in Williamsburg. This is the result. I shot with available light and this is unedited except for the water mark. Because really, I should have taken the streetlight glow out from the upper right.

So, wanna hear some ghost stories? We got some...

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D7000.
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07 April 2016

The good, the bad, the really exasperating


Virginia from a train
23 March 2016

Mainly a rant, so enjoy the photo and move on.

So, I was in a relatively happy mood until about 3pm.

The phone rang and after I identified myself, a woman said, "This is Radiology. I am calling to schedule your scan."

And I replied, "What are you talking about?"

Friday night, after my last doctor's appointment, I got a brief rambling message from the doctor I'd seen that day who said he wanted to discuss something with me, not urgent, would be in touch. I was exasperated. I'd been sent home with self care instructions and the number for another doctor if stuff didn't improve. Also, Friday night, so there would be no news until at least Monday. That sort of deflated my sense that news had been good that day. So waited through the weekend. Heard nothing Monday and at close of business Tuesday, called the office to ask what he'd wanted.

"We'll message the office. Someone will call you," I was told.

Wednesday passed, no call, and today, with no explanation, Radiology calls. So, I called the doctor's office again, explained yet again what had happened. His nurse called me. The message she'd gotten had been completely incorrect, and I explained the situation for the umpteenth time.

"So," she said, not exactly politely. "What is your question?"

"Why I'm being sent for a scan for something that was never brought up in the appointment."

And I got an earful about "doctor never does anything without reason, blah, blah, blah."

To which I replied, "That's fine, but I need to know why I'm being sent for a scan that was not discussed with me during the appointment."

The underlying question is, of course, how do I know this scan wasn't intended for someone else and my name ended up on it by accident? That isn't exactly unheard of in the annals of medicine.

So, she said, "I'll message him and have him call you."

Which still hasn't happened. Sad, because I really liked this guy. So, if I haven't heard from him by Monday, I'm cancelling the scan.

And of course, I'm on tenterhooks again.

Sidenote: when I got to the doctor's office last Friday, my blood pressure was blow-an-artery-through-the-roof high. It was 30 pts. lower at the end of the appointment (I'd vented my spleen about the previous doctor) and since then (at least until 3 today) has been completely normal. And to think I was starting to worry I had high blood pressure, too! Nope, just angry about dealing with incompetents and a totally screwed up medical system.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.
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