Keep drugged and carry on.

A day in the life of a cancer warrior.

A day in the life of a cancer warrior.

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A little work: a little reward

The other night after dinner there was a lull in all the action at our house. With two teenagers that is a moment as rare as a blue moon. In all honesty I didn’t know what to do with myself so I took my camera outside with the intention of finding something, some new way of looking at things that would  revel something fascinating. If I looked at a world that I have looked at through so many other filters, through the eyes of a camera, what would I see?

I have looked at this yard through the eyes of a mower, at this house through the eyes of a painter, at the garden through the eyes of watering can. But seldom through the lens of my Nikon. Other than a mass of mosquito bites, here is the brief result.

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Badminton net.

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Adirondack chair.

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Lightening bug just before takeoff.

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Same bug at takeoff.

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Not sure how this picture showed up…it was just there when I downloaded the shots…those sneaky gnomes.

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Another lighting bug just before flight.

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Same bug in flight. This became fairly fascinating and difficult to capture on with its tail lights on.

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Shasta Daisies that evening.

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Same flowers the next morning.

I have often found that it takes some effort to get the snowball rolling but once it does, the effort to initiate is forgotten. The hassle of loading kayaks on a car, the hassle of washing a bike, the effort to a hand-made cake, sitting still long enough to read a book like Last of the Mohicans. Peeling back the layers revels the real fruit.

Frankenstein by Design.

Just as Halloween was approaching I was in need of a book. I heard an interview on NPR that enlightened me to a new forward in the latest version of Frankenstein, I thought “perfect”. It’s taken me this long to progress past that and into the actual story. I didn’t get far before combining the message of authors actual preface with all that preceded it, and concluding that there is more to this than my preconceived notion of the tale.

Many associate the story Frankestein with the role played by Boris Karloff in the movie. This time of year most associate Karloff with the narration of the “Grinch Who Stole Christmas”:

Boris Karloff who narrated the story "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas".

Boris Karloff who narrated the story “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”.

The story of Frankenstein is in essence is one that summarizes the results of man messing with nature. What is amazing however is how well the story is written by the author who was only 19 at the time. Her insights on the innovation process deemed worthy of recognition to me.

 “Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos: the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances but cannot bring into being the substance itself. In all matters of discovery and invention, even of those that appertain to the imagination”…”invention consists in th capacity of seizing on the capabilities of a subject and in the power moulding and fashioning ideas suggest to it.”

Mary Shelly (age 19)

“Frankenstein” published by Signet Classics

What the author is suggesting is applicable to the design process. To better understand the circumstances that surround the proposed need. A problem well stated is a problem half solved. You can dive into the issue with a hypothesis but you must stay open to unforeseen insights that could drastically influence the outcome. Embrace the chaos, it’s messy, risky and scary.

Karloff as Victor Frankenstein's monster.

Karloff as Victor Frankenstein’s monster.

Not to be taken literally…

Something about street signs as always fascinated be. Many things fascinate me…in-fact it’s endless.

Over the last few months I have been working on not taking myself so seriously. I am fairly open about having the blood cancer multiple myeloma. What I am not real open about is the burden of carrying that weight. In 1981 I was on my first backpack trip through the Rockies. I remember the feeling at the end of the day when you took your pack off and you felt like you could fly. There are times when I feel that same sense of relief with my current situation. Sometimes in the freedom of the moment, the dog off the leash runs through the brier bush. Other times I look around me and relize that on matter what happens tomorrow, the days leading up to it have been so overwhelmingly rewarding that my life feels complete.

Today one of the news letters I track had this quote of the day:

lighten up

The timing was perfect. During the last week I have captured images of a few street signs with my iPod. Signs that if taken to literally, to seriously would not make sense. I know…having the luxury to spend time contemplating this is the result of a harvest from the blessed life I have lived thus far. As the son of a friend of my said, I have spent just about my whole life dealing with “first world issues”. I have never had to wait in line for 7 hours for a bowl of rice, I have never lived under a dictatorship, in my society women can vote, I have access to some of the worlds best medical care…I’m like you. So as a reminder…I share these photos with you. Especially in the time of year when we tend to indulge, in fiscal expenditure, food, beverage, longer then typical days.

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Children crossing slow…some are wearing skirts but all are carrying a purse.

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Access to vans…sponsored by those who look like a butterfly.

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Something so very poetic about this.

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We have all been guilty of being to close to our work at some point…this guy was hungry.

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George Simons Jr., a great friend of mine who resides in the Great Pacific Northwest forwarded this one to me…Thanks George.

So join me…lighten up, role with it.

A Season for Memories

This weekend, one of my oldest and closest friends…had to say goodbye to one of their family pets.

I have contemplated this episodically from the moment I found out. Their dog was part of their loving family. We don’t live in the same area so when we planned on seeing their family, the premeditated thoughts always included the pets. To say “their dog” seems so dismissive and inaccurate…for she was so much more then just “a dog”. When we got the news…it was difficult to respond in words that are appropriate. I seem to encounter this more and more lately. The reflexive response is to instantly offer words of support and apology…next people tend to share their own stories of loss or illness. Having cancer and being on the other side of the curtain has given me a different view of this script.

When I heard the news I was at complete loss. I wanted them to know that, although I feel their loss and pain…I really can’t like they do. Over the last 5 years we too have lost a few pets. I was completly caught off guard as to how much it hurt…what a void it created…and how much I took their presence for granted. Their dog was the exceptional example what I want to be when I grow up…patient, loyal beyond belief, happy, relaxed, content, adhered to the family life, and always excited to see you. She was Purina’s definition of the perfect Flat Coat Retriever…even true to her expected life span…she was the perfect companion. And she will be missed.

Today…as I was exiting my car to head into the grociey store…I discoverd this crushed toy in the parking lot…almost right under my own wheels. Seeing this was like hitting proverbal virtual wall. The rain we encounterd over night had brought out the deep rich colors in all things outdoors. I had gone on a walk this moring and was still searching…still open to the new music in my world that the weather placed on the turntable.

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I saw it…wondered what it was…and then was shocked upon discovering it’s original assembly. I tried to put it back together as if I could…as if I could through that gesture hold my friend…and put their world back together. I can’t. We take from losses like this, memories. The good ones will always dilute the bad. I had my camera with me becasue of the patterns in nature I had seen earlier and captured this photo as if it would subsitute for seeing her trot through the feilds again.

Season’s like this provide environments and surroundings that enable us to cherish those good memories and make more. Traditions that are recorded by all senses. Traditions that are challenged by changes that took place over the year. Changes that we have implemented on our own and some that just befall us. We keep moving on. We have to. But there is always room in our lugage for more good memories.

We all have a view of the after life…and mine is always changing. But for now…I view it as a place where there is no fear, a place where there is justice, places to gather with the ones we love, places to trout fish and places where pets like Kira, can run free.

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