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A Year in Review-2016

Wow what a year! I have been trying to get here and write this mastiff of the past year for the past couple of weeks, but well life, as usual, gets in the way. After 56 years on this planet, you would think I could control, or at least predict when obstacles would impede progress. Alas, I am still learning that skill.

Now just a little about me, of course we all know this whole letter is my perception of the year gone by. I think the most significant gift I was given for Christmas was a nasty, nasty cold. It has ruled my life for the past week and I am only now beginning to feel a little better…read more energy here.

So here goes the year in review.



Last year, Christmas ’15 came too soon as usual, but we managed to enjoy it in our own way. Then came New Years and the Runtyun went out while I stayed home playing with my camera. I don't think anything real good came out of that session, but I enjoyed the time any how. As we all know, I am trying to learn how to take a good picture and as a result, my benefactors sent me cash for photog equipment. I combined it all and got a really nice lens.

The Runtyun is doing well in school this year, but she was seeing this boy who was a little sketchy in my opinion, she seemed to like him, so I did not interfere. After a few months they broke up and I had to try and make sense of it all. I threw up my hands and said, “Teens!”

About this time in early spring, I made the mistake of walking into Ball Photo and saw the camera body I wanted. It was a Canon 7D, a little old school, but a better camera than I am a photographer. With a little help from my  good friend Charlie, I was set to take a few pictures of my fav model Ashley.



That photo session was really long, too long really. We did get a few shots that were pretty nice. Then her boyfriend pulled out this old .22 revolver. What a beautiful piece it is—-with so much character.  So, after we finished with the portrait shots I got a hold of the pistol and got a fantastic shot.



                                  

Around about this time Mom had a little fall and ended up at a fantastic rehab facility called Stone Creek. Stone Creek is a mighty fine facility, one that fit the physical needs of my mother, but it was not home. Soon she got frustrated with the place and we had to bring her home. Dad was missing her too. I did take a picture of this flower, an amaryllis to help brighten up her room.

                                                                  

                                               
About this time, I found some of my old Corgi and Matchbox cars from days gone by and decided I wanted to learn about close up and macro photography. I thought this may help me to understand a little about lighting and how to control it.





The last day of school came and we had a bonfire and sleep over. We pitched a couple of tents in the yard and burnt the old pallets I had gathered throughout the year and had a grand time. A little while later, she broke up with her dweeb BF, I was happy.

The Cathedral at All Souls and Kyle Ritter and Milly Morrow in particular is a very wonderful out fit. Kyle asked Lauren if she would be interested in helping out with the summer camp and Lauren was thrilled. So we had one week taken care of. Then Milly asked Lauren if she wanted to go on a mission trip to Memphis TN. She jumped on that. I may not be religious, but I sure do appreciate the community that is All Souls.

About this time I realized that there was almost no circumstance in which either one of them, Mom or Dad, could  move to any facility, other than the one we call home. None could meet their emotional needs. I also realized that they could not do it on their own any more, so I pulled the Runtyun aside and asked her what she thought about moving back into their house. Basically she said, "What took you so long?"

A little while into the project, Mom fell again and had to go to the hospital. She spent a couple of days there and ended up at the Black Mountain VA rehab. Now this is a mighty fine place to go and get over ones' ailments. Mom liked it and the food was OK and  they took good care of her. They worked on her mobility and cognitive abilities. Alas again, it was time for her to come home. Again, Dad wanted her home too.

So my summer was tied up cleaning out the basement, building a room for her to sleep in and finally filling up the basement with our stuff. After finding out that buying and building a storage unit on the property would cost in excess of $2500-$3000, what with building permits and foundation work, we decided to rent a unit for the stuff we could not jam into the basement. We hope in a bit, to get a building on site, but that project is on the back burner for a bit.

Part of the deal I made with the Runtyun was to get a cat. And she did. She found a family which had too many cats and made a deal for Nova. Nova the cat, came into our lives a month before we actually moved into 2 Ridgefield Place, so we had to make some kind of arrangement to take care of her. Lauren followed through with her side of the bargain. But Dad, that “Hard assed” “My way or the highway,” guy stated that he did not want the cat upstairs until we moved in. He did not want to be bothered by the thing and let us know that he would bare the burden in stoic Turner fashion.

Well, that lasted about...a day.

I came into the house one day and there she was plopped right there curled all around herself with one foot stuck straight up in the air, licking herself clean. I asked Dad what was going on and he said Nova was setting at the stairs when he opened the door and she bounded in. "You know Dad, we can put her back down stairs if you want." 

"No, it's OK," he said as he reached out to scratch her ear. She curled into his finger, purring. "But she needs to go down stairs when I go to bed," grumbled the old man.

"Right, Dad."

At any rate, I finished the room and she painted it. Finally we moved in and settled a little. I took the room Mom was using as an office and left the other open for Dad and I to use for what ever paper or office work we needed. Also, I use that room as an ad hoc Photo studio on the weekends. I am still taking pictures of the Corgi cars and other miniature tableauxs. 

I made the mistake of going into a store which had a used macro lens for a really great price. The dude and I talked a bit and I got him down about 30% off the asking price. Now, I have a really good macro lens in my collection. It has opened a whole new range of photographic possibilities, it also works as a nice portrait lens at 90mm telephoto.



When I first got my camera I joined an on line photo club called The Ugly Hedge Hog. It looked like a place I could show my pictures and get an honest critique for improving the craft. It truly was that, but with the good always goes the bad. I did get some really good advice, but there were a bunch of frustrated people who vented their rage and I did not like that. I left and tried to find another site which could show me the light in photography. But had no luck. All the while I was taking pictures of things in my make-shift studio, but getting no feed back for improvement. I ended up rejoining UHH and look forward  to building a better understanding of photography and building friendships.

About this time the Grinner, my motorcycle, broke down. I am going to fix it soon, but right now I have other priorities.

Life goes on and we kept getting more comfortable in our new living space. The Runtyun had started seeing a new guy a while ago and their romance seems to be going well. She smiles and giggles more than I have seen in a long time. Ian seems to be OK. 



Halloween and Thanksgiving came and went. And Christmas reared its joyous head. We finally got the tree up and decorated. I got us a Charlie Brown tree and just like in the show it filled out nicely and added some nice colour to the house. I was surprised that Nova did not try and attack the tree, we hear all these of cat stories about Christmas trees, but she barely took notice of it.



The daughter got her a bunch of stuff for Christmas and I got a cold. And oh boy what a cold it is. I am finally getting over it but there were a few days there when it was an effort to even get out of bed.

The other night Mom needed help getting to bed. Dad and I got her into bed OK, but we were both worried. The next morning came along and she did not want to get moving. Again this is unusual for her. Luckily, Thursday is a day when the CNA is scheduled to come into the house. She saw there was more to this than merely being tired. Mom ended up in the ER and finally the ICU for a couple of days. It turns out she has a number of embolisms in her lungs and other blood clots in her legs. One Doctor said we had a 30-40% chance of recovery. They ended up using an aggressive treatment to break up the clots. 

Right now she is doing well and we plan on transferring her to the VA Rehab facility in Black Mountain. Soon we hope to get her home, but there is no set date as of yet.

And finally

I took the Christmas tree down the other day. As I was doing so a couple of ornaments called out to me. One of them is a felt angel. Last night, I started to set up the table for my portable studio. I rigged a stand to hang the angel from and will try and create an image for Mom's room. I'll mount it and bring it to her at the VA. I hope the Angel will look over her shoulder and help her to feel better soon.





Happy New Year! and Let’s hope this one is even better than last!!!
Neil.



olc

P.S. Well as of this sitting , Mom is doing well. Dad has gone up to visit her many times and is happy when he gets home. Friday night we had a little snow storm and the roads were a little sketchy, so I drove us both up to see Mom. She looked pretty good and is in high spirits.



Sunday, Dad got up and tried to go to the 7:45 service at All Souls and ended up at Brueggers instead. After a cup, he drove himself up to see Mom in Black Mountain. When he came home he said she was doing well. I saw that he was too.




P.P.S One more thing: of the two Angels above, which one would be a better choice for Mom’s room at the VA?

Later Y’all!!

P.P.S. Martha came to help out with various details in life, you know to guys with no clue!,  She spent a week here and we ended up ended up having a wonderful dinner over at the VA with Mom. 

Thanks Martha!

Here are a couple of snaps. People who know about photography will lambast me about the tech issues with these pics but I like them and know what to do in the future!.






                                  

                                  

                                  

                                   
olc


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