Monday, September 26, 2011

Some Nostalgia

At Beth's last week, I heard her musing about what her next You Capture subject would be. One of the subjects she mentioned was Rustic and we talked about it a little but then she decided on Industrial instead. For some reason, though, my mind latched on Rustic and I determined to try to catch some Rustic shots for the next You Capture.

Two days before You Capture day, I mentioned how hard I'd been working to capture Rustic pictures and Beth reminded me that the subject was Industrial. Rats!

As it turned out a family emergency distracted me from even thinking about a post so it didn't matter; but today, as I looked through those pictures, I wondered what to do with them. Finally, I decided they belonged in a post because the first place I sought Rustic was an abandoned farm where I'd spent many years and hours and happy family events.

The house is long gone, torn down after my dad moved to a continuing care facility but that old barn still stands - although barely.

When we first moved here, it was a dairy farm. This milk house, attached by a hallway to the barn, was where the milk was cooled after each milking, where it was stored until the big tank truck picked it up each day, and where all those milking buckets and accessories were washed.

The silo was where the cut green corn stalks were stored and allowed to ferment before being fed to the milk cows.

Eventually, the dairy operation proved to be too much work for a family operation where my younger brother was in high school, my older brother in National Guard basic training, my sister and I worked full time in Chicago, and dad worked full time so most of the work was on the shoulders of my overworked but ever optimistic mom.

But still the barn was a hub of activity. Dad had a workshop here where he fixed, fabricated, and invented everything from tools and cars to farm equipment and household items. He did it all and his sons and grandsons worked a lot here too, spending endless hours learning from a man who had a lot to teach and a personality that made everything exciting and hilarious.
It's hard to believe that it could have deteriorated this much so quickly but I guess it just shows what neglect can do. And, I think more than neglect punches holes through concrete block - maybe target practice but more than neglect.

It probably started with the roof. Once it was no longer patched, the barn was vulnerable to the effects of the weather and pretty soon nothing could have saved it. The lightning rods with their weather vanes on the roof fans are still there though.

In a way, I hated to take these pictures because I knew they'd make me sad but there's more than sadness in my heart when I look at them.

There are thousands of happy memories. I look at the pictures and see my mom and dad - happy, hard-working, and perfect! I see family get-togethers where our children played so freely and happily and learned to love their cousins like siblings.

The house may be gone and the barn might as well be, but the memories are intact. Sometimes it just takes a picture or two to bring them out.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

You Capture - Apples

Beth's You Capture assignment this week was to photograph apples. She didn't specify what forms the apples should be in so I had all sorts of ideas but most of them required more work than I could muster the energy and wherewithal to pursue. (That sentence even confused me.)

Anyway, on Tuesday I waited for the photographic golden hour and headed for the best known apple orchard in our area - Garwoods where I immediately started trespassing. I feared falling and dogs but nothing else and kept shooting until it was too dark to continue.

Here's what I came up with.

And here's what I learned. While some apple colors are quite vibrant and others might pale in comparison, either one can result in a pleasing photo.

For lots of pleasing and perhaps beautiful apple pictures, visit Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry and for even more fun, link up!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Am I Getting Allergic to Medical Interventions?

I'm starting to re-think my whole belief system and rock solid faith in modern medicine.

Back when I was a child, people didn't visit the doctor as readily as they do now and our family was even less likely than most to turn to professional help for routine illnesses. The main reasons for this were twofold. One, doctor visits were expensive and, two, my parents were very self reliant and resourceful.

Sure when, someone broke a bone (my little brother - twice), we saw the doctor. When my sister suffered a bad burn on her leg, she was taken in for professional help. And I remember going to the dentist for a painfully infected tooth - maybe twice.

When I became an adult, I tended to be the opposite. When my kids were sick, my first thought was to take them to the doctor and my children's pediatrician was always the miracle worker I believed he would be.

I felt the same way where my own health was concerned and until recently, that's worked well for me.

Then in December, I became ill, was under treatment from my doctor, and, as a result, pretty much spent the entire Christmas season sick. I wrote about it here.

After that illness finally passed, I had an MRI on my shoulder because of chronic pain in my arm. It never seemed logical to me that a pain that felt like it was in my arm muscle was because of a rotator cuff problem but the MRI revealed what appeared to be a small tear and it seemed logical to have it repaired. I mentioned that surgery in this post.

Asa result of that surgery, I've struggled all summer with the niggling suspicion that I had unnecessary surgery because 1) my arm still hurt, 2) I'd lost quite a bit of mobility despite physical therapy and ongoing exercise therapy, and 3) I'm constantly troubled by shoulder pain that doesn't seem to be getting any better.

Friday I had a routine check-up with my General Practitioner. We mutually agreed that a flu shot and a pneumonia shot would be in order. Although I questioned the safety of having flu shots too close together since it didn't seem that long since I'd had one, my doctor assured me that now was the time to get one.

About 3 hours later I started to feel ill. By late evening, I was wracked with chills, fever, and extraordinary muscle pain. And that's pretty much how I spent the weekend. I even greeted Monday morning with some lingering low grade fever and accompanying moderate chills and muscle aches.

I won't elaborate too much on my red, swollen, painful arm from just below my shoulder to my elbow. But it was 'over the top'.

So, I'm thinking of RE-thinking my penchant for running to the doc at the drop of a hat. From now on, I think I'll give it just a little more thought.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

You Capture - Back-to-School AND Summer Sunsets

This week Beth gave us a You Capture choice - either Back-to-School or Summer Sunsets. Of course, right away I chose summer sunsets because I don't have any back-to-school people in my household. However, since I happened to be at Beth's yesterday when the kids got home, I felt compelled to try to capture Back-to-School.

Here they are right after they got off the bus and as they ran up to greet Eli and I.

And it's incredible to me how much things have changed since our kids were in school. Back then, computers were only around for games and entertainment - today they might will be an integral part of a homework assignment.

As I drove home, I started making plans to capture a beautiful sunset over Lake Michigan and I just know if there had been a few respectable clouds, I would have nailed this challenge. Instead of clouds, though, there was wind and I tried to include some of the incredible waves while being sand blasted and never taking my hand off my camera bag and tripod for fear they'd blow away.

Obviously I wasn't the only one braving the incredible, relentless wind to capture the moment.

I took hundreds of pictures and I just couldn't quite get it right. If I captured the sky, the waves disappeared in shadows. If I got the waves right, the sunset colors washed away. So I'll just include a couple of samples of what I got (including the Chicago Skyline in the next one).

After pretty much accepting defeat at the lake shore, I headed over to the harbor and captured what I think are true summer sunsets.

Even here the winds were howling but since it was a much more protected area, the gales are not reflected in the photos. And I like them better.

For more You Capture - Back to School and/or Summer Sunsets, visit Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry.