A couple of years ago, give or take- not too far removed from when I first learned of the “other/s” that Lynn was playing with, and all it’s associated heartache, I was finding myself in extreme pain. Physical pain, in my shoulder and neck. I went to the Doctor, who had been treating me initially for depression, and although he’d referred me to the P-Doc, he continued to see me pretty often, because he was way concerned about my extreme weight loss. Okay, okay, so when you’re already thin, dropping down to 122 lbs is NOT a good thing- especially when the doc tells you: “Gain weight, I’ll see you in two weeks- and if you’ve lost any more, plan on checking into the hospital.”
Anyway, I went to see him for this pain, and he diagnosed cervical ridiculosus. I thought that sounded ridiculous, and asked him what in God’s name that was; basically, I have arthritis in my neck, which is causing a disk to bulge, which is pressing a nerve, which makes my left arm and outer fingers go wonky. Wonky, if you don’t know, is the technical medical term (which I made up) for when your fingers refuse to work, and randomly start twitching and moving on their own. It’s a bizarre feeling, to look at your hand, and see it moving, and not feel it nor be deliberately doing it.
What it really means, as I respond when people ask “How’s your arm?”
“Same as usual. Some days, it hurts like hell. Other days, it just hurts.”
The secondary meaning, is that I can’t do some of the things that I used to, that I loved to do. Someday, maybe, I’ll be able to again, but for now, there’s no firefighting; no sailing; no golf, and little skiing. So, since obtaining my new camera , I have been taking photographs. Lots and lots of photographs.
I used to love using my good ol’ reliable Minolta X-370 film camera; I had multiple lenses, filters, a light and stand; I used tripods and shot for effects, and composition was a fun game. Unfortunately, it had gotten to the point where as much as I loved it, I could no longer afford it. Processing the number of photos I would take was prohibitively expensive, so I reverted to snapshots, now and then.
But, back in 2000, I was given a little point-and-shoot digital, a Fuju Finepix. I loved it. I was able to take loads of photos again, and even though I couldn’t print them all, I enjoyed it. When that one died, I upgraded to a Kodak, with a Schneier lens, with controls that let me do some minimal adjustments; not fully in my hands, but better than nothing. About that time, I started drooling over the digital SLR’s. But, single lens digital cams were running upward of $10,000.00- and that wasn’t happening, not noway, not nohow.
However, as with so much in technology, as time passes, the price comes down. I watched, I waited, and last year when the Kodak focus motor started to die (no manual focus on that one), I decided that the time had come. Yes, the prices had dropped to the point that I could go out, and spend too much, but get myself the coveted digital SLR, at last.
Much searching, much research, a lot of hanging out hefting cameras later, I ended up with my baby, my Canon Digital Rebel xTI. I love this camera. I’ve read a lot of people, saying things like “I outgrew it, it was limiting…” But with 100% manual controls, I’m not exactly sure what’s limiting. Canon has a huge range of lenses and speedlights available, and there are third-party manufacturers as well, so I guess I’m not sure what limited them. Perhaps, someday, if I get good enough, I’ll figure that one out. For now, though, I’m happy as can be with my toy.
So, I’ve been taking photos again, tons of them. Portraits are my favorite, and thankfully Lynn’s gotten more comfortable over the past few years, to pose and model for me, patiently- and in some cases, happily and with her own thoughts for fun poses, sets, looks. By the way, if anyone wants to come and pose, just let me know!
One of the things I found, though, is that it is in many ways, a solitary hobby. So I started looking around and found a group of people that were members of a photography group. It looked intriguing, so I joined them, back in the early spring, and met with several really great people. Initially, we just met, hung out at Panera Bread, showed each other photos, and had a good time.
But, circumstances conspired (Okay, so I believe that there was a reason for it, there is someone that takes care of me, undeserved as it is 😉 ), and I ended up being the organizer. So, I’ve been scheduling group outings, photo-shoots, monthly theme contests, and some other activities.
Today, some of us went to a county fair, and had a blast. We talked, we took photos, we laughed, we taught one another tricks- what fun it was. Lynn and I drove up, and spent the afternoon wandering this fair with three other members, and just talked, and looked, and took pictures, and had a mellow, grand time.
Couldn’t have asked for better weather, if you’re looking for crowds and rides, flowers and cows, people and exhibits and old machinery, and all the things that make up the “County Fair”, in the best traditional sense.
So, I may not golf anymore, or ever again. I may not put out your fires, or cut you out of a car wreck- perhaps never again. I may not sail the big boat, for a while- I sure hope that one isn’t never again- but if it is, it is.
But, I have found my new occupation, and I’m having a wonderful time with it now. And since I need things to focus on, so I don’t get dragged down again, I’ll take this, and revel in it. And, since I get to write what I want, you get to read all about it too, you few who read this, and will read this far!
Next up? I think we’ll do the balloon festival 🙂