'scene' along the way, connections, coping, death, finding my way, grief, healing, life goes on, marriage, memories, perseverance, photography, sunrise

Questions without answers…

I honestly don’t know what Charley would have thought of my current camera obsession.  That I’m alone now is probably an advantage since I can hop out of my chair and into the car for sunrise photos at the spur of the moment.  He wouldn’t go anywhere until he was showered and dressed, and he always smelled heavenly.  Skunk-piss he called it, and I still have some and take a whiff now and again.  When the time has gotten away from me I’ve been known throw on the clothes from the day before and head out, and I don’t know that I even comb my hair when that happens.  It’s a factor of leaving the house in the dark when no one can see you, and then it’s light out and you head for home and want to hide.  With a little more preparation I’ve been known to stop at Panera for an accessory cup of coffee and a treat.  Yesterday after this shoot I got a cinnamon crunch bagel, which I had forgotten even existed.  I didn’t need the reminder.

So, it’s a toss up really.  Charley might have been annoyed with me over my endless photo shoots, or he quite possibly would have bought himself a better camera than mine and it might have been a competition.  It could have been fun, but I guess I’ll never know…03-24-19sunrise103-24-19sunrise203-24-19sunrise303-24-19sunrise403-24-19sunrise503-24-19sunrisefeature

coping, death, dogs, finding my way, grief, healing, life goes on, loneliness, marriage, memories, photography

U R Making me Comfortable…

That Charley wasn’t always a dog lover would come as a surprise to most people who knew him when I knew him, but not to the people who knew him before he met me.  They knew he was a cat lover.  That I had a cockapoo was something to be tolerated, but I can’t say that he was enthused about having a dog in the house.  But Barney grew on him enough that when it was time that Barney had to be put down he initially refused to go with me, saying that he didn’t want to go down forever in family history as the guy who took the kids’s dog to be put to sleep. He must have felt sorry for me though, because he did go with me, and he stopped and bought Barney an ice cream cone on the way.

But while Barney was still with us Charley instigated that we acquire Nugget, saying, “My mother never let me have a puppy”.  He had bought me a necklace shortly before that, gold nuggets on a chain which I still wear every day.  He would say to me, very dramatically and with his eyebrows going up and down like Groucho Marx, “Hey Neem, how’s your Nuggets?”, which the kids found hilarious.  The innuendo wasn’t lost on them.  Neem was a pet hame, if I stop to explain this post will be a mile long.  So we were at the Mall and in the pet shop window was a litter of mixed breed puppies, and upon seen a golden one Heather declared, “Hey Neemie, it’s another Nugget!”  We had her 18 years, I could measure the length of my marriage in the ages of the dogs which populated it.

Last week or so I talked about Charley, memories which had come to me because of this ropeysaliva

picture.  I took this when I first got my iPhone 7+, practicing using portrait mode and capturing Ozzie’s drool.  But happening upon that picture reminded me of when I first met Charley when he joined the dental office where I was working as a hygienist.  He was a brand new dentist on his first job, but even though we were the same age my schooling was so much less that I had 10 years experience in dentistry and he would sometimes ask me my opinion on things.  That anyone would ask me my opinion on anything was quite flattering, but especially a dentist asking me my opinion concerning dentistry made me feel important.  He asked if I had a pet peeve in dentistry, and I did actually.  I told him that what drove me the most nuts was… ropey saliva!  It would wrap itself around the prophy cup when you were polishing teeth and go flying!  That cracked him right up.  He loved that answer.  I wonder if he married me because of ropey saliva.

So, the feature photo.  Charley had been in the hospital a week, and he had become so dependent on the oxygen mask that he was reluctant to take it off to talk, so he was writing messages on the clip board I brought for him.  He had been moved to the ICU the day before, and I had been told that visitors had to wait until 8 AM and that’s when I got there. The nurse told me that he was upset that I wasn’t there at my usual 6 AM or so, but when I did get there he wrote “U R Making me Comfortable”.  He really liked the Arnold Palmer iced tea/lemonade that I had been buying him at Duncan Donuts.  But when he wanted some he wrote Jack Palmer, I assume he was thinking of Jack Nicklas, when he wrote that and I was looking forward to teasing him about that when he felt better.  I never got the chance to do that.

So dogs and ropey saliva, Ozzie has it in spades.  Gleason could drool, but I think Ozzie has him beat.  I may not be cleaning teeth anymore, but I’m still dealing with ropey saliva.

bulldogfaceCruisin' DudesCharleyandOznuggetandnorts

connections, grief, growing old, life, life goes on, live and learn, loneliness, marriage, memories, old dogs new tricks, on closer examination, photography, the big picture

It’s just a number…

Nothing fits anymore. Not my clothes, although I’m not really complaining about that. I’ve taken tons of clothes to donate, and now I need to find out where I can donate all this extra skin. But that’s really not what I’m talking about either. ‘I’ don’t fit. All my life I seemed to know where I stood in relationship to the rest of the people around me. But now that I’m really, seriously, old, I can’t see it. Older yes, wiser no. Is it because Charley is gone? When I was going through life with him and I saw him getting older, is that what made me recognize my own age? Because he isn’t here anymore to provide that link, and I seem to be stumbling around a bit.

It started with a chance encounter with a man when I was photographing the sunset one night. He said that I ought to be dating, that there are a lot of lonely men out there. I responded, “I’m not”, lonely I meant. I told him that I have nice conversations with people every day, and then I go home, and that I like my privacy. And I meant that 100%. What I didn’t expect was that after few more conversations with him over the next several days that wasn’t altogether true anymore. He left to go back home and took my 100% conviction that I was 100% happy with him, and I haven’t been able to resurrect it. So now my chance encounters with people have a different sort of edge to them. The last time I was a single adult I was 20 years old, and I see now that I wasn’t as much of an adult as I thought I was at the time. In a lot of ways I have reverted back to that person, in my own mind anyhow. Maybe this explains something that Charley said about working at Publix at age 63, after having worked at the A&P right after high school and all through college. He said that he felt like he was 18 again, which might have been a good thing, but the problem was that he acted it too. He kept getting sent to the office, in trouble for a remark made to another employee, never to a customer. Not reported by the person he was talking to, but reported by a busy-body employee who overheard him. I told Charley that he wasn’t hired for the comic effect, but he couldn’t seem to resist making a wise-aleck remark when the opportunity presented itself. But you know what? I think I get it now, I get that he would momentarily actually be that 18 year old again.

So you happen to have a nice conversation with the guy who sits next to you in a photography class. Nice class, nice company, feels good. In the moment you are just yourself, a generic ‘self’, just enjoying the conversation. Later on you figure out that he is 13 years younger than you are, and get taken aback. Why couldn’t I ‘see’ that when I looked at him? That he was closer to my kids’s ages than he is to mine I mean. ‘Act your age’, they say. How exactly do I do that? Will I wake up one day and not be able to resist sticking a tissue up my sleeve? Or maybe I’ll buy support hose and start rolling them into little donuts around my ankles. Probably not the best look with capri pants and flip flops. I don’t recognize myself anymore. I’ve lost my place. Age is just a number, or so I’ve been told. Step on the scale why don’t you, then tell me that ‘just a number’ doesn’t matter. I’m going to have to try not to embarrass myself while I figure this all out…

PS… I wrote this a while ago as an ’emergency’ post in case I’m stuck.  And since I was hanging onto the post it gave me a chance to retake the photo if I saw a lower number on the scale.  This is at least the 4th incarnation of the photo.  So there I was at the pool the other day and an 80-something year old guy told me, “Just making it back and forth across the pool is a good thing for people our age.”  Evidently I’m the only one having trouble realizing how old I am…

blessings, childhood, connections, coping, death, family, finding my way, grief, healing, life, life goes on, marriage, memories

Lost and found…

I’ve been up since 2 AM, thinking. About a lot of things, but mostly about Charley. Thinking back to when I met him. I was talking with my aunt and uncle the other day and I told them that when I met Charley I had the most overwhelming sense of re-connecting to someone I already knew, someone I treasured and had lost track of. I had found someone who had been missing. And what popped out of my mouth next was something that hadn’t occurred to me in the entire 34 years we were married. That person was… me!

It was the Italian thing. Funny since Charley wasn’t Italian, but he may as well have been. His mother had been raised in an Italian neighborhood in Baltimore, and his step-father was Italian. The first place that we went together was an Italian deli in Baltimore, Trinacria’s, and when he opened the door and I walked in I was stopped in my tracks by the smell of the place. I had just walked into my grandmother’s kitchen, or so you’d think by the smell. That he ripped off the end of the loaf of Italian bread and handed it to me was such a familiar gesture. Something lost was found. I was whole again.

Thank you Charley…

coping, life, life goes on, marriage, memories, moments, on closer examination, photography

Second thoughts…

This is our wedding picture from April 13, 1980. We were so young, even though we were both over 30 at the time, which doesn’t sound so young but it sure looks it to me now.

There are several ways this could go from here but I guess I should choose just one. This was a second marriage for me, first for Charley. I quickly discovered that it’s not a matter of problems in your first marriage and no problems in a second marriage. It was more like which problems would you rather deal with? And what was life like in between the bumps in the road? And I have to say that life was more fun the second time around. Not all the time, but enough of the time.

I miss having fun. Or maybe I miss having fun with another person. I didn’t expect to feel this way because I was convinced that being on my own, which was a novel idea to start with, was always going to be enough. Perfect even. Now I especially notice older couples shopping at the grocery store where I work, with their heads together as they choose a treat from the bakery. I tend to want to think that they are going to enjoy that treat together, but on the other hand they might be stressing over stretching their budget to afford that treat. Husbands commonly comment, as they buy a donut, “My wife would kill me if she knew I bought this”. I tell them that what happens in the bakery stays in the bakery.

 

It seems like the wife is always the one playing the role of the spoil sport. I wonder if I was like that, I can’t remember. I was leaving work when one older couple that I had noticed as they shopped, brought out their small bag of groceries and were climbing onto a three-wheeled motorcycle and drove off. Looked like fun… for them, not me, motorcycles would constitute more of a worst nightmare for me. But the unexpected.

So as I was leaving Pine Island not long ago Delilah was on the radio. She asked for a caller’s story and the woman described her husband as the love of her life. She sounded older to me, and she said that they had met online, which is a cringe-worthy thought to me. But it made me think. Then the church bulletin was sitting on my table and what jumped out at me was an ad for catholicmatch.com.  But when when I saw a pop up on my Facebook page for Senior Singles I had to wonder if someone was sending me a message, so I clicked on it. Naturally you had to create a user name and password to enter the site, so I pondered that for a couple of minutes, and put in the user name Photonut. Evidently that wasn’t going to work for them because they came back with suggestions for me, three of them, HotPhotonut, WildPhotonut, and Photonut Fun. Um, okay no, I don’t think so…

 

marriage, photography, Pine Island, sunset, unintended images

Say I Do to the drums…

From Wikipedia;

A drum circle is any group of people playing (usually) hand-drums and percussion in a circle. They are distinct from a drumming group or troupe in that the drum circle is an end in itself rather than preparation for a performance.

Last night I went out for the sunset at Pine Island. I have come to think of it as a place for people watching as much as the sunset, and last night didn’t disappoint. I had heard comments from time to time about a drum circle at Pine Island, but this was the first time I encountered one. Not a large group of people, but a nice group, enjoying the drumming and the ladies in flowing costumes dancing in the center of the circle. I still feel uncomfortable taking pictures at times, but many people were photographing the proceedings, and it was a performance of sorts, so I got out my phone for photos and a video. If there is a further significance to the drum circle I’m unaware of it. Just people enjoying themselves.

 

And if that wasn’t enough people watching there was a wedding photo shoot going on also. They were wading in the water, and it was a distance away so I couldn’t be sure, but I think the ceremony was performed in the water also. There were people with banners nearby, but it was hard to say if they were related to the wedding. It was windy, which always makes going out for the sunsets pleasant, even after a very hot day, but maybe a little bit too much for the purposes of wedding photos. So the bride’s hair was being whipped around, and they were posed kneeling on one knee which drenched her dress a bit more than just at the hem. But not as much as when she lost her balance and fell in, and was soaked to the waist. I wonder if it was what she had in mind when she planned a sunset wedding at the beach.  I think it’s a good metaphor for marriage, better be ready for whatever life throws at you.

 

But I really was there for the sunset, and it was also quite pretty, but I’ll get to that in another post.