Valuable quotes

"No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow." ~~

"The minute you start talking about what you're going to do if you lose, you've already lost." ~~

Cree Prophecy - "When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money." ~~

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Learning the Ropes

I'm dipping a tentative toe into the blog world with these first few words. I have not always tagged behind people, so this is really rather different for me. However, it's only one part not having the know-how and equal parts wondering if I have anything to say that might be of interest to anyone else besides myself. But then, I guess that really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things because primarily, I'm doing this for one person anyway, and that's myself. If I can help anyone along the way, that's a bonus. As I peek in and read other blogs I see it all comes down to that end anyway, so here goes! It's cheaper than going into therapy and we really want to stay away from those drugs now, right? Or hey! Worse..."natural supplements". They aren't even regulated. Ephedrine...or Ephedra is a supplement and not considered a drug.

As I ponder and contemplate the things that have occurred to me the last five years, I realized I needed a place that I could lay it all out to examine and analyze it's nuances. So many times when something medically immense has taken place in a person's life, we don't know how to deal with it. Because it's brand new and because it's not usually something we get the chance to practice on, we so often flounder and get it wrong.

 We are also 'directed' on how to deal with it by others who have no clue how to deal with it themselves, yet feel that they are because they have that medical degree and are armed with all kinds of text books and journals.

Or because they love you, they feel they're expert advisers for you. Right up front I have to say, until you've worn the moccasins, (as the saying goes) stick to suggesting, but don't try to tell me how I feel - or should feel. I already know that. And it's not even close to the way you might imagine.

Five years ago in May of 2001 I had an aneurysm. It ruptured. And it was heavy duty! Pre to that, I had been an extremely active person; I ran daily, biked and hiked weekends, climbed mountains twice a year...or as often as I could get to them.

I ate healthy and stayed fit in my own complete home gym. I didn't smoke and rarely drank but for the few special occasions such as weddings or the holidays. There never seemed to be enough time in my days for the things I wanted to do, but I crammed as much as possible into every 24 hours and loved it that way!
My life was generally full and not complicated with health issues of any kind.

Then May 29th 2001 arrived. I found I wasn't as energetic as I wanted to be in prepping for a busy Memorial marathon weekend. I needed something to keep me going without lagging. I knew with all the things we had planned, that I needed an energy boost. So I bought some Metabolife to balance my metabolism. Yesirree! I was going to get it done. Much the way Steve Bechler must have felt that day in 2003 as he was getting ready to pitch his game for the Baltimore Orioles. Steve was the 23 year old pitcher who wanted to combat fatigue & decided to try Metabolife to revitalize himself. But like Steve, that wasn't in my future either.

I say "like" Steve, but not quite, because I lived, Steve died.

At that time, Metabolife contained the Big E. For those who still haven't heard about this wonder herb, that's Ephedrine. The herb that people are trying to get put back on store shelves because they want to 'look good'. Gambling with their own lives for vanity. Russian Roulette for the buff body. All of which could be viewed very prettily laid out in a casket.

I took my first little pill in the morning of that first day, another in the afternoon and pill three before bed. I was feeling pretty good about all this; I was doing something healthy for myself and doing it "naturally" and not paying out money for prescription drugs.
So! The following morning I took my fourth pill and went outside to do a little gardening. That was the last thing I remember until I 'woke up' in hospital seven weeks later totally paralyzed on the left side. My good fortune and what probably saved my life was that I had two doctors living right next door to me and they were tending their garden as well, when I hit the ground. They ran to where I was laying on the ground and made an immediate evaluation. They had me medi-vaced to the hospital downtown in eight minutes.

That was to be the first day of my second life. The one where you find out you're incredibly more resilient than you ever thought possible; the one where you find out through sheer determination that you can amaze yourself as well as the medical world. The one where, if you look at things as a challenge instead of a disability, they are surmountable. And the one where you find out who your friends are and sadder, just how very weak your family structure is. Those people who 'love you' were all of a sudden way too busy to call or lend a hand. The ones who will 'try to get around' or if they find the time, they will pick up that item you're needing but can't get yourself. Have they always been that self-involved or have you just been too self-involved yourself to notice? New life; new questions.

Counter that however, with those you never noticed in your life before. They come forward and quietly sustain you as you plod along in your new life. Supportive, helpful, not just given to lip service as surprisingly, family members only seem to manage. These quiet friends are there to bring you out of the hospital for the day and take you for long peaceful drives and/or to a wheelchair-friendly restaurant for lunch. They run all the little errands for you that your loved ones are (sic) too busy to run and they sit and listen as you try to figure out what happened in your life literally overnight.

I am learning so many valuable lessons in my second life. Some I wish I hadn't ever needed to learn; others I am eternally grateful for learning.

As Maya Angelou so eloquently stated:
"Courage allows the successful woman to fail & learn powerful lessons from the that in the end, she really hasn't failed at all!"

At any rate...bear with me here...I'm still learning. Now there's this blog thing! ~*wink*~

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Second Obsession...Nikon!

  It all began with the FE....Well really, my interest in photography itself began a long time before the FE beginning with a little Brownie Hawkeye I received as a Xmas gift as a kid. But my obsession with Nikon came much later after that and after a Zeiss Ikon and a Yashica Minister D which I loved and lost in a house break-in.   

Yashica Minister D circa 1972

Mourning Dove taken thru' a screened window with Nikon D-80
Yellow Swallowtail taken with Nikon D-80

Brown bird taken with Nikon D-80

  That little Minister D was the greatest little learning tool anyone could own, to teach how to use a big girl camera while still having the camera take decent photos if you weren't knowing what you were doing. All that scary stuff like depth of field, film speeds and lighting. I wish I still had it so I could bronze it!  I would almost do that...hehe.

 But I'd always wanted a Nikon. Somewhere in my head I had it that this was "the" camera to use. Perhaps paying attention to photo journalists snapping pictures at news and sporting events on TV, or looking at photos in my numerous photography books and seeing the credits under them. If it wasn't Hasselblad or Seitz, it was Nikon. 

My role model at the time, Ansel Adams owned a Hasselblad but when he went out in the field, he preferred his Nikon FE and Nikon F3 for his work. So, that impressed me and pretty much cemented my choice when it came to purchasing a camera. And oh, was Ansel right! This camera, the FE became an extension of myself. And fortunately for me, there were no more house break ins and I still have this sweet jewel.
Nikon FE circa 1976
Top view of Nikon FE
I took this camera with me everywhere. Being before digital and being poor meant I always had to wait until I could afford to have my film developed, but that was really the only drawback for me. It was what it was. 

I took an art class at the local community college just so I had access to a dark room for a year and that was beneficial. The FE too, was a great teacher. It had 'auto'! Meaning if I got frustrated or I was in a hurry to capture something, I dialed it to auto and I got my darn good picture. In many ways as I look back at older photos, I think some of these will never be duplicated by digital, but then I could be wrong. Maybe I just have a bit of the purists blood in my veins. I certainly can't complain about my digital cameras product.

Time and tide wait on no (wo)man and digital was here to stay and I wanted to be there. What to get! I looked at the Nikon F4, feeling if it was good enough for NASA it was way good enough for me. But cost was prohibitive and I was going to be learning again...always that learning curve, so I settled on the D-80. And fell in love for a second time!   Was it the best on the market? Who knows? Who cared. It was me who would be using it and it was me who loved it - good enough for me.

I got so many terrific photos from this camera! Happy, happy! Easy to use, tho' the manual was a bit cumbersome. Nikon still needs to attend to that. If you're a beginner the menu's a bear! But a small criticism overall. If you play with them, you'll learn everything you need to know.


From there, I have become a collector of sorts. I found a somewhat obscure Nikon while living in Las Vegas...passing a pawn shop one afternoon I spied a Nikon camera baking in the shops window. Oh how disrespectful! How bloody sad!

My purchasing that one was more a rescue mission than anything else I went in and asked about the camera. "$10.00 and it's yers" sez the man! Nikon #5...the Nikon N75 (aka F75 or U2) which was only sold for 3 years and then discontinued. Not a great camera but not a bad one either...especially for $10.00 But a victim of the digital age...who wanted it anymore? 

Also was what I refer to as my celebrity, a camera and lens that was actually given to me by a good friend who knew my penchant for Nikons! It's a Nikkormat ELW circa 1972 with a 400mm zoom lens. It belonged to a photo journalist for the Philadelphia Enquirer. What stories this old guy could tell, I bet! I am thrilled to have this but am pretty sure it is retired...

Nikkormat ELW

400 MM Nikkor lens
My beautiful visitor...taken with the Nikon D-80

Do I need this many cameras? Oh lordie no! But boy is it fun to be able to grab a camera with a different lens on it without having to change them out. My family consists of eight Nikons now...

After the FE as stated came my beloved little D-80.  The photo here shows how battle worn my baby is already...lots of use, lots of travel.

Nikon D-80

From there it was the D-90 which is very similar to the D-80 above, but having the video option.
Nikon D-5100

 And then the D5100. This is truly an amazing camera when moving from the D-90.

This camera's highlights  -- 

16.2 MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor
3.0" Vari-Angle 921K Resolution LCD   

1080p HD Movies w/Full Time Autofocus  

Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens  

35mm Lens Equivalent: 27-82.5mm 

Fast 11-Point Autofocus System
In-Camera HDR  Special Effects Mode
ISO Sensitivity 100-6400  
Built-In Speedlight Flash With i-TTL
 And just last week a new baby joined the family. This one has me really excited...another gem? Well yes, once I get a better lens on it, I think maybe yes! There is that learning curve tho'...always the learning curve.

Nikon D-7100
The very first photo taken with the new boy was taken by my husband right after he handed me the manual...he still doesn't have faith in my ability to learn by playing.  I admit with each camera there is always something new...this is good. Buttons like Effects and Pet photography, these will be things I play with soon. With six cats in the house, I think I can make good use of that second feature.

Effects, which I've already whetted my taste for with my D5100 will expand now too and I'll be adding photos as time goes on for others to either enjoy or snicker at.

Nose in the manual - here we go again!
  Matters little to me 'cuz  can't hear!  I have two last photos for this post. One using the Effects feature of the D5100 and the other is my first photo with the new D7100 using nothing but my instincts and my eye...ability to  point focus and shoot!
Martin 12 string guitar taken with Nikon D-5100
My kitty Spencer is an amazing subject! I used no effects or special settings here...just aimed and snapped. I will leave you with this one...for now! But stay tuned...there will be many, many more!

Spencer - early morning shadows - Nikon D-7100


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

God Bless the U.S.A. -- A Nation In Denial....

Here we are again with another mass murder situation. These days, that's almost like saying, 'well, here we are again with another rainy day!' So common matter of fact...

We have become desensitized to it all, just another day in America attitude, which is so shameful when you think it doesn't have to be that way. We cannot control the weather, but we sure as hell can control our laws! If Americans misbehaved on Jan. 15, 2013, as they typically do, then there were 30 gun-related murders and 162 people wounded by firearms in the country, based on the most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 On top of that, another 53 people kill themselves with a firearm each day, according to the CDC. 

Over 30,000 people die every year in gun related deaths. The number of gun related death in this country is expected to exceed vehicular deaths by 2015. We are constantly demanding safer vehicles but we just keep our mouth shut when it comes to gun controls...I don't get it! Well, yes I do...let's look at that.

So why don't we just change the laws, you might ask? Well, that's because we allow ourselves to be owned by gun lobbyists and gun manufacturers. These are the people who are interpreting our outdated and
'much in need of amendment' Constitution for us. The ones who have everything to gain and nothing to financially lose by doing this for us. And we allow them to. We allow them to because they work on our fears...they are fear mongers and they have both politicians and network people working with them to scare people into thinking that without guns, the government would crush them! Paranoia, cowardice, mistrust, gullibility, or dare I say just good old fashioned stupidity? Yes, maybe at this juncture that's pretty much exactly what it is.

Look at the most recent incident for instance. A man who slipped past...nah, not slipped passed, but was allowed to own a gun because our laws weren't stringent background check to stop him even though he was right under everyone's nose and had a history of mental illness!!
Aaron Alexis killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, he had a history of mental health problems and firearm arrests but fell below a level that would have brought a serious response! Adequate laws? Background checks working? That's like saying 'Pass the bullets please, Wayne'.

Yet people still argue that we don't need tighter gun control laws or background checks, that the laws we have are adequate and that this talk of gun control is really an evil disguised method by the government to take all their guns away!!!

And will this change anything this time? I'm willing to bet, looking at the odds, that no, not a fat change in hell...Adam Lanza, mentally ill, James Holmes, mentally ill, Jared Loughner, mentally ill, just to name a few recent 'celebrities'. One way or another they all managed to secure guns for themselves very easily in this ever increasing Land of Lax'.

Adam Lanza
Jared Loughner
James Holmes

Aaron Alexis
And now the country can add yet another name to that ever growing list...Aaron Alexis.A man known to be obsessed with violent video games among other things.

"Despite his being investigated by police departments in Seattle and Fort Worth, for firing a gun in anger, no charges were filed that would have shown up in his F.B.I. fingerprint file. Despite mental health issues — he twice went to Veterans Affairs hospitals last month seeking treatment for insomnia — he was never committed and so was legally able in Virginia to buy the weapon the police said he used in the shootings.".
Those who seek to find what they want to find in the Constitution, are quoting their findings constantly, all the while ignoring all other portions that are equally as antiquated.

This is one thing that has always bothered me about debate and deciding what is right and what is wrong. People spit out “well, it says so in the Constitution”. Aah, that is not an argument.  It’s a fact, to be sure, that it's in the Constitution, but facts need the addition of logic and reasoning to become arguments. Quote a statement in the Constitution all you want if it supports your viewpoint but it still doesn't mean it's right! It only means you've found something you agree with. Laws don’t make things right and wrong! Right and wrong should be making the laws. 
Those men who penned that noble document were very wise men. No question. But they also lived over 200 years ago and had no possible way of foreseeing the future and knowing that we would not continue to amend the documents to suit our own times...the generations we lived in. 

They also had no concept of assault weapons. Hell, they didn't even have a concept of zippers for god sakes, or dentures, hearing aids...phones, cars, aircraft, submarines, shuttles that could shoot men into the stratosphere, radios, TV's, computers, furnaces, air conditioning, etc! They lived in the era of muskets! Guns that took typically 15 seconds to load and another 20 second firing separation between shots.

And even the most accurate marksmen were still not that accurate with these weapons because most bores got warped from gunpowder explosion or were never straight to begin with. Range was minimal...about 50 meters at best. the musket didn't really become accurate until rifled barrels started to be used.

When the invention of the MiniĆ© ball happened, it sealed the barrel behind it and the spin of the ball was then somewhat better stabilized. After that the accuracy increased out to several hundred meters but you could still almost outrun a bullet. 

And these inventions all came long after the Constitution was written and the Second Amendment was added.
We are living by the standards of their thinking which is purely asinine today!!! Those Founding Fathers wrongly assumed there would be continued wisdom in the nations future. That was their first and worst mistake.

 What I want to know is why...(loose interpretation of Second Amendment aside) why should a gun owners right to own a gun be any more important, or any better protected than my rights are? Any more than my right to be safe in my own country, in my own city, in my own home, in my own workplace, in my own school? Or at my church, a park, a mall, a theater, walking my dog or jogging? Running a marathon or visiting a friend in hospital? There are a lot more rights being violated by the Second Amendment than there are being given. 

This country is owned by gun lobbyists and the sadder part of all that is we're dumb enough to be proud of all that.
the amendment really has nothing to do with guns. No, it does not!  The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies - the militia - would be maintained for the defense of the state.  The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires. Sorry gun lobbyists, but not everyone is sucked in by your fraudulent lies.

Dr. Janis Orlowski, the trauma unit doctor at the Navy Yard hours after the latest shootings said 'how unAmerican' this act was...really doctor? I say it's about as American as the Stars and Stripes, the National Anthem and apple pie. She said 'this is evil and we have to find a way out of this'...we know the way out of this, we just aren't doing it. We have politicians bought buy gun lobbyists and the NRA. We have gun owners that want stricter gun controls too, but it's not happening because it's big business...very big business that gets politicians elected and keeps them in office. We are a nation of eternal deniers...deniers of rights to people because of greed.

One last observation...we like to think of ourselves as the best country to live in, we like to think, compared to other countries of the world, that we're much superior, that we are perhaps socially and technically higher evolved because of our accomplishments - but honestly, are we? We certainly aren't when it comes to looking after each other. We are inferior in education, in health care, in how safe we are on our own soil. We are constantly under threat of being, not by foreign terrorists, not by our government, but by ourselves. By our neighbor, by our workmate, our spouse, a religious zealot, a disgruntled most of all our stupidity and our gullibility! Do our accomplishments derive from a superior brain? Or is it merely because of our opposable thumbs?

Because from what I've seen of the human brain so far, it still leaves an awful lot to be desired. We don't learn for our mistakes - we don't learn from history - we are easily frightened into believing anything big corporation tells us, in order to keep them rolling in money. That's not using our "superior" brain. That's not even exhibiting a brain! At least not for what it was meant to be used for...right now the American brain just acts as matter to fill the skull and keep our nose from echoing...