Monday, July 3, 2017
July 03, 2017 - "Abstract (Red, White and Blue)"
Walking through Stew Leonard's in Danbury this afternoon, these 'Patriotic Mums' caught my eye and I had to buy them to bring home and make them pose for my camera.
They remind me of Fourth of July fireworks... and, since we haven't actually seen any fireworks this year (though we have heard hundreds of them, all of which have had our dog cowering on my lap), these flowers just might be the closest we'll get to fireworks this Fourth of July.
God Bless America!
* * *
Sunday, July 2, 2017
July 02, 2017 - "Abstract (True Freedom)"
Some of us who believe ourselves to be free are actually quite confined, restricted, and restrained. We deny it, of course, but we have sacrificed true freedom for the sake of conformity.
Some of us who believe ourselves to be confined, restricted, and restrained are actually quite free. We don't realize it, of course, because we lack the faith - perhaps in ourselves - to reach out and share the beauty we know inside.
Share the beauty of what you know inside... share the seeds of what you know to be 'true'.
Yes - some of the seed will fall on the path and be eaten up quickly by the birds. Some will fall on rocky ground with little soil - it WILL grow, but will be scorched by the sun... wither... and die, because it did not have deep enough roots. Some of the seeds will fall among thorns and be choked as they grow. Yet some will fall on rich soil and will grow to produce an abundance of fruit... and, perhaps, encourage someone else to reach out and share the beauty they will then know... the seeds of what they will know to be 'true'.
* * *
Saturday, July 1, 2017
July 01, 2017 - "The Rosary"
Fourth Degree members of the Knights of Columbus who choose to become part of the Color Corps are permitted to carry the Fourth Degree Ceremonial Sword as part of their 'regalia'. It's an honor and a privilege to be able to carry the sword, and to be a member of the most visible and recognizable part of The Order.
The truth, however, is that all Knights, regardless of their Degree, are asked to carry a far more important and powerful "weapon" than a steel blade: the Rosary.
Of course, you do not have to be a member of the Knights of Columbus to carry and embrace the Rosary. All Catholic men and women should own a Rosary... and turn to it frequently. That being said, for Knights, the Rosary should take an even deeper role in their faith. A member of the Knights of Columbus should have his Rosary on him whenever he leaves his home. I've even heard of councils who do a "Random Rosary Roll-Call" at meetings - charging a penalty of sorts to any member who does have his Rosary on him. Such a Knight might find himself being responsible for supplying coffee and donuts for the next meeting... or have the nasty job of stuffing and licking envelopes when it's time to send out Membership Dues notices to 140 Brother Knights.
The Rosary is, perhaps, the most powerful prayer there is. It literally is the "Mother Prayer" of all Catholic prayers... and since we Catholics have thousands-upon-thousands of prayers to choose from, well... that shows just how incredibly powerful of a prayer the Rosary truly is.
For me personally, the Rosary has become part of my daily life. Every single day I pray it at least once. Sometimes I pray it in English... sometimes in Latin. Sometimes I pray it out loud... sometimes in complete silence. Sometimes I pray it while kneeling in my parish's Perpetual Adoration Chapel... sometimes I'm praying it while sitting as a passenger in a car traveling on the highway at high speeds. Regardless of the "where", "when" or "how" - I pray the Rosary each and every day.
Several months ago the Knights of Columbus Council of which I am a member began offering a monthly Rosary for all parishioners and anyone else who is interested in coming. It is held on the first Saturday of each month, as part of the "First Saturdays Devotion" to Our Lady of Fatima and the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I've been honored with being able to lead the Rosaries we've held thus far - including the one we held this afternoon. On average we have approximately 50 to 60 people attending... sometimes more.
It is a beautiful experience, looking out and seeing so many people coming together in prayer... knowing that each and every person has a prayer intention they're holding close to their heart as they pray. We all come together and, gathering our prayers into one, offer them with faith and with love.
It truly is a beautiful experience and, in my experience, it truly is the most powerful 'weapon' there is.
"Oremus: Deus, cuius Unigenitus per vitam, mortem et resurrectionem suam nobis salutis aeternae praemia comparavit: concede, quaesumus; ut haec mysteria sacratissimo beatae Mariae Virginis Rosario recolentes, et imitemur quod continent, et quod promittunt, assequamur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen."
"Let us pray: O God, whose Only Begotten Son, by his life, death, and resurrection has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant, we beseech thee, that meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen."
* * *
Monday, January 23, 2017
January 23, 2017 - "Abstract (Undecided)"
Pretty heavily, actually.
That has absolutely nothing to do with today's photo, however.
Or does it?
I don't know.
I'm still undecided.
* * *
Sunday, January 22, 2017
January 22, 2017 - "Abstract (One Shot)"
To be honest, I'm not really feeling up to doing much photography today... so I've only taken a single shot - this shot - of a stack of vintage drink coasters I found at a tag sale a few months ago.
Now I'm going to bed.
* * *
Saturday, January 21, 2017
January 21, 2017 - "Self Portrait (Seeing Red)"
There's always a bright white light that shines on my right... yet I'm always aware of the presence of a dark red light flickering on my left.
The bright white light tries its hardest to guide me away from the dark red light...
... while the dark red light tries its hardest to turn my gaze in its direction.
Even when bathed in the beauty of the bright white light... the dark red light dances at the edge of my peripheral vision, trying so desperately for me to notice it... trying so desperately to get me to come to it like a moth to a flame.
As beautiful as the bright white light is... sometimes I find that I give in to the red light's dance.
Then, in tears, I fall.
Yet the bright white light is always there to surround me and to show me the way back up again - without question.
Today - though the red light flickers brightly at the corner of my eye, I'm desperately reaching towards the white light... begging to be pulled from the darkness.
Desperately reading towards the white light...
...begging to be pulled from the darkness.
* * *
Friday, January 20, 2017
January 20, 2017 - "Inauguration Day"
Today I pray for our nation.
Today I pray for our government.
Today I pray for our exiting President and Vice President.
Today I pray for our new President and Vice President.
Today I pray for all of our elected leaders and officials.
May they fulfill their duties with wisdom and with compassion.
Today I pray for our nation...
I pray for all people...
I pray for an increase in faith, hope and charity...
... of love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness and understanding.
Today I pray for our future...
... may it be bright.
Today I pray for our future...
... may we never lose hope.
Today I pray for our future.
Today, I pray.
* * *
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
January 18, 2017 - "Abstract (Softness)"
"Softness" comes in many forms.
Sometimes it's good to be "soft".
Sometimes it's not.
Sometimes we surround ourselves with softness with the best of intentions.
Sometimes we surround ourselves with softness for all of the wrong reasons.
"Softness" comes in many forms.
I should know... I've got rolls of it in my closet.
* * *
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Monday, January 16, 2017
January 16, 2017 - "Abstract (Temporary Fix)"
A temporary fix for the situation with the skirting on our house that needs to be replaced. Hopefully this helps to keep out at least some of the cold winter air until the replacement skirting can be installed.
* * *
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Saturday, January 14, 2017
January 14, 2017 - "The Dash"
My father's "dash" lasted for 75 years, 8 months and 10 days.
As I stand here staring at that fact - literally written in stone - I cannot help but wonder how long my own "dash" will last. I can't help but wonder what a strange feeling it might be for me if I am blessed with the experience of seeing a "75 years, 8 months and 11" days mark as part of my own "dash".
As I stand here staring at the stone by my feet... and the mark on the ground that still shows the outline of his burial - I can't help but wonder...
I can't help but wonder...
I can't help but wonder.
* * *
Friday, January 13, 2017
January 13, 2017 - "Abstract (Criss-Crossed-And-Diagonal)"
Two nights ago I had a very detailed, very bizarre dream. That's not really that odd... and I've been having such dreams almost every night for quite a while now. Usually there's something that ties it all together... but this time the entire first half of the dream just made no sense to me.
In the beginning I was sitting in a park, cuddling two baby giraffes. They wouldn't stop trying to lick my cheeks.
A while later I was talking with a one-armed astronaut who, for some strange reason, was wearing his space suit and trying to ride a bicycle that didn't have any pedals - so he wasn't getting anywhere.
The next part had to do with sitting in a restaurant eating Mexican food while watching Charlie Sheen movies - and I seem to remember there being something to do with Ostriches trying to get into the restaurant.
It was the last part of the dream that was the important part though. It was the last part of the dream that really meant something.
In that part of the dream I was at some sort of a carnival with my Dad. It was just the two of us - I don't even remember there being any people walking around or on the rides or anything like that - but it was night and the colorful carnival lights were on and the rides were all running as if there were people on them.
My Dad was in his wheelchair - but he looked really good... he looked really healthy, like he did about 15 or 20 years ago. He wasn't frail in the slightest... his features were "full". He was smiling like crazy and was extremely talkative, but we weren't really talking about anything important.
He was "glowing". I can't really explain how that looked... it wasn't like there was some sort of glowing light or aura around him or anything like that - he was just noticeably brighter than he should have been in comparison to me and everything that was around us. It was like someone had edited him Adobe Lightroom with the brush tool - and made his exposure a full stop brighter than everything else.
We were roaming around the carnival together, and suddenly I seemed to come to the realization that he wasn't supposed to be there with me, because he has been dead for almost three months now. There was a brief moment of me remembering what he looked like after he died - when his body was still in the bed at the nursing home. I looked at him sitting there in the chair smiling at me, and told him that he was dead. It seemed to be kind of surprising to him... and he realized that if he was dead he had no reason to be sitting in the wheelchair anymore. He stood up without any sort of strain or effort... and his wheelchair disappeared.
I heard a noise coming from behind me... a loud, muscle-car-like engine. A red 1970s Corvette Stingray pulled up next to us... and when the driver stepped out, it was my brother Peter - who died over a year and-a-half ago. He was glowing too - jut like my Dad. He looked really good, actually. He was all dressed up in a suit and tie. He looked a bit younger and thinner than he was when he had died. His hair wasn't gray at all... and it was long, but he had it pulled back. He was clean-shaven, and didn't have the little soul-patch that he had when he died.
He looked at me and gave me a really goofy smile - then he nodded towards my Dad, saying "You ready, Pop?". My Dad reached over and hugged me... then got into the Corvette, which was now white instead of red.
My brother looked at me again... smiled... gave short little giggle-like laugh, then got back into the car. They drove off - and as they drove away I could see the license plate very clearly. It was an all-white plate with blue letters that said "ANGEL" - which is my sister-in-law's name.
Suddenly I was standing in an empty parking garage that was very bright. There was no carnival or anything else around me... just the emptiness of the parking garage.
Then my alarm went off and jolted me awake. That was the end of it.
What does any of this have to do with today's photograph?
Absolutely nothing. The photograph is just a close-up of part of the domed indoor sports complex between Danbury and Bethel. Nothing special. Nothing significant.
Or is it?
* * *
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
January 11, 2017 - "Abstract (Caged)"
Feeling kind of caged.
Feeling kind of stuck.
Our roof leaks...
Our house skirting has been ripped apart, and the cold air blows right under the house...
Our pipes froze and burst, partly because of that issue with the skirting...
Our insulation is horrible...
Our front door is broken and needs to be replaced, but the house is so old that in order to do it we have to actually cut a bigger opening and re-frame things to be able to fit a new door...
Our porch is about to collapse...
Our shed is in the process of collapsing...
Our dryer takes eight to ten hours to dry a load of clothes...
Our fridge doesn't quite work right, so the produce drawers fill up with water that needs to be dumped a couple of times a week...
Our heating ducts are so old and falling apart that most of the heat escapes before it makes it to the floor vents...
Our car is having electrical problems...
One of the taillights works one moment, then not the next...
The passenger side door locks and refuses to unlock - and you can't manually unlock it, so you end up having to crawl across to the driver seat to get out of the car...
The trunk handle is snapped off, and it sometimes takes two people to open the trunk...
The gas cap door doesn't open, so you have to stretch yourself across the side of the car, using one foot to lift the lever that's beside the driver's seat - while you reach with you hand to pry the cap door open...
My meds are not working like they should...
I found out today that one of my main doctors is leaving the practice - and I was just getting used to her, as she was the replacement for the doctor I absolutely loved - who had to leave the practice last year when she became a mom...
I'd give anything to be able to move... but we can't...
I'd give anything to be able to get a newer, more reliable car... but we can't...
I'd give anything to find a med that actually works, but it's a very long and frustrating process...
I'd give anything to have a doctor that I don't have to worry about losing once I get comfortable with them...
I'd give anything to be able to go back to what I used to love doing so much - but it's impossible for it to happen the way that I'd "need" it to...
I'd give anything to be able to not care... but I do.
Our house is falling apart around us - but we still have a house. Every month I meet people who would do anything to have a house half as good as what we have.
Our car is falling apart to the point that I want to scream - but we do have a car that gets us where we need to go. Every month I meet people who would do anything to have a car half as good as the one we have.
My health is not good - but I am alive. Every month I meet people who have it so much worse than I have it, health-wise, and who would do anything to have access to medical care that is half as good as what I'm able to receive.
My faith and my love, however, are both very strong and very deep. I have everything I truly need... and am so incredibly grateful for all that I have been blessed with in life.
So why on earth do I feel so "caged"?
Why on earth do I feel so "stuck"?
Lord, I accept what I have been given. I will not ask for more. I accept what I have been given, and offer up my sufferings to you.
I offer up my sufferings to you.
* * *
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
January 10, 2017 - "Icicles and Rocks and Rocks and Icicles"
Had to leave the house early this morning to go for blood tests.
The sunrise was absolutely beautiful! I tried to get my daughter to pull over so I could take a photo of it - but she wouldn't, because she had already passed the spot that would have been good - and didn't want to turn around (she's cranky in the morning). Plus she said that "everyone" was posting photos of the sunrise on Facebook and Instagram and the Snapchat and such - so "it's already been done".
So I we continued on our way, and I went to morning Mass at my church, before heading to the hospital to have my stress test done. As we were pulling in to the hospital I saw these amazing icicles clinging to the rock cliff behind one of the buildings. I made a mental note to make sure I took some photos of them after the test... which is exactly what I did. It was very, VERY cold though - so I only took a few shots before heading to the car so we could speed off in search of coffee and bacon.
* * *
Monday, January 9, 2017
January 09, 2017 - "Two Minutes To Midnight"
The hands of the antique clock that belonged to my grandparents have frozen at 11:58... so naturally my all-time favorite band's song "Two Minutes To Midnight" is playing in my mind as I take this photograph.
"Two Minutes To Midnight" - by Iron Maiden
Kill for gain or shoot to maim
But we don't need a reason
The Golden Goose is on the loose
And never out of season
Some blackened pride still burns inside
This shell of bloody treason
Here's my gun for a barrel of fun
For the love of living death.
The killer's breed or the demon's seed,
The glamour, the fortune, the pain,
Go to war again, blood is freedom's stain,
But don't you pray for my soul anymore.
Two minutes to midnight
The hands that threaten doom.
Two minutes to midnight
To kill the unborn in the womb.
The blind men shout let the creatures out
We'll show the unbelievers
The napalm screams of human flames
Of a prime time Belsen feast, yeah!
As the reasons for the carnage cut their meat and lick the gravy,
We oil the jaws of the war machine and feed it with our babies.
The body bags and little rags of children torn in two
And the jellied brains of those who remain to put the finger right on you.
As the madmen play on words and make us all dance to their song,
To the tune of starving millions to make a better kind of gun.
It's all night!
It's all night!
* * *
Sunday, January 8, 2017
January 08, 2017 - "Abstract (Three Brothers Diner)"
Went to Mass for the "Solemnity of The Epiphany" at Noon...
Served my Holy Hour in the Adoration Chapel until 2:00...
Then went to Three Brothers Diner here in Danbury for conversation and a late-lunch with my very best friend, my wife Holly.
It has been a while since we've been able to go out to eat - just the two of us, without at least one of our kids being present. I could be wrong, but I think that the last time might have been for our anniversary last year. Even though it doesn't get to happen very often, it's still one of my very favorite things to do.
On the way out of the diner I had to take a few shots of the "classic diner style" siding they installed when they renovated this place a year or two ago. It's my way of "capturing the moment", so to speak... and locking in the memory of a wonderful afternoon.
* * *
Saturday, January 7, 2017
January 07, 2017 - "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie"
Leica is a very sleepy dog today.
Then again, it IS a very snowy, very sleepy kind of day today.
* * *
Friday, January 6, 2017
January 06, 2017 - "Abstract (Epiphany)"
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage."
When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel."
Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage."
After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
- The Gospel According to Matthew - Chapter 2 - Verses 1-12
* * *
Thursday, January 5, 2017
January 05, 2017 - "Abstract (The Rack)"
I'm absolutely exhausted today... and not feeling up to much, photography-wise. So I grab my camera and take a few shots of the first thing that catches my eye: The metal rack from our roasting pan, which is sitting on our kitchen table.
That's it. Nothing more.
* * *
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
January 04, 2017 - "Sixty-Six-Pills"
A glass bowl filled with sixty-six pills.
This represents just a weekend's-worth of my meds... and these are just the prescription ones. It doesn't include the over-the-counter meds I take for minor annoyances like aches, pains and allergies.
This is life.
But you know what? I'm OK with that.
There are many people with far worse conditions than mine, who need to take far more medications than I do.
There are many people with far worse conditions than mine, who don't have access to meds that could help.
There are many people with far worse conditions than mine, for which no amount of meds could help.
There are many people with far worse conditions than mine...
... so I'm OK with what I've got, even if sixty-six pills eventually becomes ninety-six pills.
This is life.
Life is good.
* * *
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
January 03, 2017 - "Collecting Time"
New (to me, anyway) watches.
I don't even know how many I have anymore... but it doesn't matter. The collection will keep growing... as long as there's time for collecting.
* * *
Monday, January 2, 2017
January 02, 2017 - "Grandpa's Light Meter"
Christmas lights reflect off of the glass of my Grandfather's handheld exposure/light meter on what would have been his 102nd birthday.
I think of my Grandfather every single time I pick up a camera. How could I not? After all, my Grandfather is the one who gave me my very first "real" camera - a Canon "New" F-1 professional 35mm camera - about a quarter-century ago. It's a camera I still own and still use from time-to-time.
"Happy Birthday in Heaven", Grandpa!
I love and miss you so very much!
* * *
Sunday, January 1, 2017
January 01, 2017 - "A Blank Sheet"
A very simple image... Nothing very exciting, photographically-speaking. The essence of it, however, IS very exciting to me!
I know that - in the great big scheme of things - not much changes between "December 31st" and "January 1st" - and yet looking at the blank calendar for this New Year, I cannot help but feel hopeful for the possibilities it brings.
Having a blank sheet... a clean slate... an empty canvas - it all just feels so fresh and new!
I wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year! May 2017 be a year full of happiness and blessings for you!
* * *
Saturday, December 31, 2016
December 31, 2016 - "Praying After Midnight"
It's almost 1:00AM on the very last day of 2016... and there's no place I'd rather be right now than right here - in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel at my parish - St. Marguerite Bourgeoys in Brookfield, CT.
I'm the only one here - other than the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament on the altar in front of me. It's very quiet... very calm... and the whispers of my prayers seem to echo back at me.
I pray - giving thanks for the year that is about to end... and for all of its ups and downs, smiles and frowns, happiness and sorrows. I give thanks for all of the lessons I've been blessed with learning this year...
... and I pray for tomorrow. I pray for the New Year - hoping for a year of blessings... of more ups than downs... more smiles than frowns... more happiness than sorrows. I pray that no matter what the New Year brings, I will have the faith, the courage and the strength to take up whatever crosses I might be given... and to walk faithfully towards the Lord.
I pray... for all of us. I pray for you... I pray for me. I pray for all people...
"Pater noster, qui es in cœlis... sanctificétur nomen tuum... advéniat regnum tuum... fiat volúntas tua, sicut in cœlo, et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidiánum da nobis hódie, et dimítte nobis débita nostra, sicut et nos dimíttimus debitóribus nostri. Et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem... sed líbera nos a malo. Amen."
* * *
Friday, December 30, 2016
December 30, 2016 - "The Gift"
I collect religious art/objects.
Or, as my wife Holly and quite a few of my friends would say, I collect "Freaky Religious Stuff".
The collection ranges from things like statues and framed artwork - to Rosaries and Last Rites/Sick Call sets. I have items that are almost 100 years old... and items that are relatively new. The collection keeps growing and growing... and I sometimes joke that I'm going to take over one room of the house just to display it all - and maybe get an old organ and lots of candles and sit in there at night playing "Amazing Grace" - sort of a mix of Margaret White from the Stephen King book/film "Carrie" - and Esmeralda from the Tim Burton movie "Edward Scissorhands" - but a much "happier" and less "demented" version of the two.
Anyway - my very dear friends Lenny & Kristin know of my love for such things... and have contributed several pieces to the collection over the years. The subject of today's photo is one such piece... which was my Christmas gift from them this year. It's an AWESOME 3-in-1 image that changes based on the angle from which you view it. The main scene is an icon-like version of The Last supper. The second scene is of The Crucifixion. The third scene is of Christ the Shepherd. If you look at the piece from just the right angle, you get hints of all three scenes at once - superimposed over one another.
It's an absolutely wonderful addition to the collection - and pairs very well with the non-religious, yet equally AWESOME "Velvet Elvis" they gave me for Christmas several years ago. I don't think Holly is very happy about it though... so, who knows - I just might be one step closer to getting my own room full of "freaky religious stuff"!
Now if only I could find a nice organ!
* * *
Thursday, December 29, 2016
December 29, 2016 - "Abstract (Grain)"
A small section of the woodgrain on the lid of the beautiful wooden box that was a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law.
* * *
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
December 28, 2016 - "A Vintage Gift"
One of the wonderful Christmas gifts I received from my wife and my children: a vintage pen and pencil set with the Knights of Columbus "Emblem of the Order" on the ends.
As the Parkinson's meds/treatments have helped my handwriting to improve dramatically over the last year, I'm hoping that this gift will see a lot of use in the coming months!
* * *
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
December 27, 2016 - "Abstract (Glowing Gift)"
The soft glow of the huge Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp which was my wife's Christmas gift from our kids.
I'm not sure about all of the "cleansing" and health-benefit claims associated with these lamps... but I know for sure that it looks really beautiful when it's glowing!
* * *