Digital Destiny

Did I ever tell you why I got my camera? It wasn’t just from scouring blogs and seeing Ahh-mazing pictures, wishing I could take photos like those (that was part of it). But it was also because of my Dad.

He always had a camera. He always took pictures. Now, were they good pictures? Eh, not so much, but he loved taking them.

We have pictures of every cat he had, every dog, every weekend visit. When he was stationed in Germany, he took tons of pictures of quaint German towns he visited, and other places in Europe. Plus, every visit as adults with and without grandkids. Every one.

And he didn’t take them just of us, and his pets. He took them of every animal he ever found as well. His hog nose snake, Inky Stinky the skunk, turtles, lizards, and more. Any wild life he found or discovered, he was taking a photo. The last one I remember him showing me, with deep chuckles and grins, were of three baby raccoons trapped in a trash can at the local park. The pictures were found laid out on his desk after he died.

He had discovered the triplets on his daily walk, ran home and got his camera, then tipped the can low enough to take their picture inside. Then he called the park ranger to rescue them and waited until he did. He got the biggest kick out of that. Those baby coons in the trash. Little scavengers with thoughts of sweet nothings in their head having no idea they’d get stuck and be using their big eyes to peer up and spot my Dad.

That was my Dad. He loved wild life. He loved animals. He had a heart for rescue and nature. With all his might, he would try to capture those moments with his little disposable camera.

When he died, I used some funds from his insurance policy to buy my Nikon D3000; my first DSLR. A tribute to him. A camera that does capture what you want it to, in the way you want it to, without ever disappointing. It’s amazing.

It ignited a fire, a desire to learn everything about photography. And now, I have taken the next step in my journey. One year after purchasing my DSLR, and one year after my father’s death, I took my first class to get certified in photography, and not only know my way around the lens creatively, but technically as well.

I met my teacher last night. He is a wild life and landscape photographer. He volunteers at Fossil Rim (an animal wild life park), and at the local animal shelter (plus he teaches photography every night).

Don’t think I didn’t catch the significance in that. Don’t think I didn’t notice his love of animals. And don’t think I didn’t miss his teaching pictures are of meerkats and hawks.

Don’t think I didn’t realize how destined this class was. Oh Dad, my Daddy-O, you are here. In my heart and with me every step. I miss you and I thank you for the love you instilled. I know you would be proud, and just as delighted as I am.

If I did happen to miss all those important things, I certainly would not have missed the picture I took later that night for my 365 project.

I saw the “one” significance to my day. All the ones pointing up towards the heaven. Do you know there is a story that when it’s 11:11 all the Angels point their wings to the sky? I don’t know if this is a true tale, or a child’s tale, but I always think of that when I see 11:11. Yesterday not only was it 11:11, it was 1/11/11.

I saw my digital destiny and I can’t wait.

There is a story, for every day, of every year past.

Do you remember this time last year? What you were doing? Where you were going?

Do you have days when you realize…..Wow, that was a YEAR ago…….really? It stuns you.

You can’t believe the time has flown by, that it’s December, almost Christmas and New Year’s (again).

I have glimpses of those years past all the time. Maybe, it’s just having a good memory, or from the photos I take.

For instance, I came across this photo.

Two years ago, bowling with a broken right hand.

This was at the end of the seven weeks casted at my friend Karen’s birthday party. My cast was pretty grimy and I had (almost) mastered being a one-handed (with a non-dominate left hand) typer, writer, hair washer, and eater extraordinaire. Amazing what you can do when you have to. However, my bowling was not so hot – at all. I always remember my cast this time of year, because I could NOT put up the tree one-handed.

Last Thanksgiving, this is what the girls looked like together. Crazy cute, right?


This year.

Still crazy cute!

What’s funny about this is Brownie. Last year, Molly had a death grip on Fred; my mom’s Shih-tzu and our love of Fred is the reason we ended up getting Brownie Poo in July.

Molly holding Fred.

Yesterday was my Dad’s birthday. His last birthday.

A year ago today, was the last day I hugged my dad, and kissed his cheek.

We drove to Ada on Saturday. Sydney made her first loooong driving trip in the driver’s seat under our supervision (notice I was in the backseat). She was fifteen with her freshly printed permit.

Sydney with only her drivers permit driving to Oklahoma.

She did very, very good. We drove straight to the hospital where dad had checked himself in about a week or so before. He had a hernia that perforated part of his bowel and they had done surgery. I had talked to him on the phone, his birthday, and he sounded pretty weak. But fact is, he had worse things happen health-wise in his life. This wasn’t anything. But…in all the hustle and bustle of this time of year, I opted to just stop, and spend the day traveling to Oklahoma to see him. Just in case. IF something happened, I didn’t want to have any regrets, or I should haves….

We arrived to his room and he looked a little more worn than I expected, but better than what he had sounded on the phone. He did look older. Jason, Sydney, and I sat and visited for a while. I don’t like hospitals. I, especially, don’t like Valley View. My grandpa died there, my second cousin, my step-dad…..I just don’t like the place. The only thing good from Valley View was the memory of seeing my favorite aunt, dad’s sister, there. She used to work at the front desk and as a crazy teen I would stop by to see her. But she had moved to Houston many, many years ago.

Dad was watching football.

Dad was a man with nine and half-lives.

Dad was going to be fine.

I left the hospital room with a squeeze and a kiss fully knowing, I would see him again. At home, in front of his big screen TV, watching OU, with his trusty Buddy dog at his side.

We went to the local Mexican food place for my fill of queso with mushrooms from Polo’s. The only place that makes it just the way I looooves it. When we go to pay, I realize, I don’t have my purse. Now, you know what happens when a girl realizes she doesn’t have her purse, and all her worldly possessions on her persons.

Yeah.

It’s panic mode. I searched the car, the restaurant, the sidewalk……everywhere….and came up with only ONE place it could be. My dad’s hospital room.

Huh.

Isn’t that strange? Because, I never lose my purse. Or forget it.

Never.

At first, I was a little irritated. We had said good-bye already. We were ready to hit the road for the long three hours of driving. What was this?

Then, I gathered my thoughts. I listened to my instincts. One thing I wished I had done was brought dad a present, or a card. In our rush, we had just taken off from Texas and came to the room empty-handed. So we went to the local Wal-Mart and I shopped for my dad’s Christmas. I shopped to cheer him up in that dreary white-walled hospital room. And I brought him his favorite things – OU stuff.

I also, picked up a Christmas fern plant in substitute for a Christmas tree, just in case, he was stuck there until close to Christmas.

Dad's OU blanket and Christmas fern.

He brightened up when we returned. It wasn’t just the gifts either. It was the surprise, the second visit in a day. I didn’t even mention my purse sitting on the empty hospital bed in his room. He kept wanting me to hold his blanket up so he could see all the colors (he is color blind like me). Reds he DOES see. The furry bear guy – which I have no idea what he has to do with OU – reminded him of his Buddy dog. He loved it. He had me lay it out on the bed next to where he was sitting. We admired the blanket. We admired the Christmas fern. We watched some football together, talked, and laughed. I left happy I had gone back. I needed that time and his smiles. No regrets. I knew, I just knew, he was going to be fine and recover – like always.

Dad passed away about midnight the next day of major heart failure.

My last-minute trip to Oklahoma. My return to that hospital room. It was no accident. It was a gift. My Christmas gift. From God, from dad, from the world of father’s and daughter’s. It was my last good-bye. My last memory.

Oh, how I cherish my favorite blanket.

Merry Christmas Dad. I miss you. I remember this day…has it really been a year?…and I’ll never forget it.

Moments of Thanksgiving

For some they are more tender than others.

For some, it’s about the people around you and not the food.

My mother-in-law got a day pass on Thanksgiving day; to leave the hospital and be surrounded by loved ones. If you’ll notice, she rarely looks at the camera, because she is too busy looking at her children and grandchildren.

Sue has a surgery this morning. The Doctors will finish filling the aneurysm with coils. Please have her and the family in your prayers. This is the final step in her return home where she can continue to miraculously improve and enjoy these moments of thanksgiving without a day pass.

In Remembrance of 9/11

Nine years ago today, I remembered where I was, and what I was doing.

I remembered the fear.

I remembered the love uniting us – one nation under God.

But mostly, I remember the patriotism of the strong, and the brave. Lives were lost, and lives were saved.

To the heros, and to the perished. I remember you.



    Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
    What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
    Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thru the perilous fight,
    O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
    And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
    O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?



    On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
    Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
    What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
    As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
    Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
    In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
    Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!



    And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
    That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
    A home and a country should leave us no more?
    Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.



    O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
    Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
    Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
    Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

(Composed by Francis Scott Key, “In Defense of Fort McHenry” in September 1814. Congress proclaimed it the U.S. National Anthem in 1931 — history follows.)

Never Forget.

*Photographs taken in Arlington, Texas, on this day, in remembrance of September 11th.