This blog went live on January 1st, 2016. It was created to keep a photo journal about my relearning photography after my battle with brain cancer. I’m doing well after my stem cell transplant in July 2016. I’m still fatigued but that was expected. I can drive again! In April I drove us to the start of Cape Cod. Juliet had to drive us home. Small steps but moving forward.
As for my photography, I’m shooting weekly and I’m going looking at my old Nikon D700. Gulp. In a few weeks, I’ll be trying again. The D700 was too complicated with all of the lenses. Wish me luck.
Today, you’ll notice a new theme. What do you think?
Thanks for all of the support,
It’s time to reflect. I started this photo blog about a year ago as the result of battling brain cancer. I post a new shot every Monday, while Thursday is a photo from my photo library. When I launched this blog, I was still very weak, my speech was garbled, and I was starting to drive again. I was seeing my oncologist every other month but there was not a neuro-oncologist in the entire state of New Mexico. I needed on-going care. We decided to move to Boston for better treatment options. I was strong enough to move in May.
That’s when we found out that I needed a stem cell transplant. In July-August that was done. It’s supposed to give me 10+ years. It took my immunity to zero and I was unable to leave the house for 90 days. It zapped me and I am still battling fatigue. I may be tired for a year!
During the course of my fight against cancer, I have had to relearn how to walk, read, feed myself, etc. So my photography skills were affected as well. I had to buy a new camera that was simple – Nikon D900. It is lighter and easier to use. It’s become my go-to camera – with just enough power to shoot distant shots as well as clear close ups. I’ve always been attracted to landscapes, nature, and flowers. The camera is great for this.
Without any lens changes, I can shoot while traveling, quick and effortlessly. Over the last year, I’ve visited South America, New England, England, and Jersey, with a trip to Ohio for Thanksgiving. Because we are trying to buy a home, our trip plans are up in the air for now.
For more casual photos --- often showcasing my love of food, travel and Maui (our dog) – you can also see my Instragram feed.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” -- Eleanor Roosevelt
A few weeks ago we drove three hours to northern Vermont. We never had the chance to mourn Bambi due to my illness and our move. I found the Dog Chapel in St. Johnsbury. It was built by Stephen Huneck, the artist known for the paintings that hang in most vets’ offices.
We thought we would have closure. All we did was blubber more. A few miles later, we pulled over the car and remembered Bambi as we stood next to Echo Lake. It was beautiful and fitting. (Maui had a blast drinking from the stream.) We’ll always love our sweet Bambi. There will never be another like her.
5 Quotes about Patriotism
“What we need are critical lovers of America – patriots who express their faith in their country by working to improve it.” ~Hubert Humphrey
“Freedom is never granted. It is earned by each generation… in the face of tyranny, cruelty, oppression, extremism, sometimes there is only one choice. When the world looks to America, America looks to you, and you never let her down.” ~Hillary Clinton
“The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.” ~Frederick Douglass
“We are called the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had stopped with the first thing we ever invented, which was human liberty.” ~Mark Twain
"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." ~ Harry S. Truman
My 5 Best Shots of America
For more photographs visit my Flickr feed.
Celebrating the AIDS Lifecycle. It was this week in 2007. I rode 545 miles from San Francisco to LA. The group raised $11 million that year alone. One of the biggest achievements of my life.
To commemorate Memorial Day, I recently visited the gravesite of my 10x Great Grandfather: Nathaniel Billings. He was the first Billings to set foot in America.
King Charles I of England came into power. His reign was called "Eleven Years' Tyranny" (June 1239 – 7 July 1307) was rocked because his wife was Catholic and the Scottish rebellion was brewing at the same time. Eventually, he was beheaded.
It was at that time that Nathaniel broke camp and sailed to New Hampshire with his wife, Jane, and three brothers (or first cousins according to some records). 90% of the Billings in the US are descended from these brothers.
He and Jane settled in “Lincoln” now a part of Concord, Massachusetts. They produced two sons, one being John, my ancestor. Jane was killed in a home fire after Nathaniel died in 1673.
Buried: South Burying Place (also known as Main Street Cemetery on Keyes Road).
The Billings Family plot from the back. We noticed there were two sets of stones. At first we thought they were for infants but then we realized that they corresponded with the headstones. In Pre-Revolutionary times your headstone was paired with a footstone. You could tell a family with wealth because they could afford to have both stones carved. You can't always go by the date on the stone because they were sometimes carved later, because the family couldn't afford it sooner. Months or even a year could pass!
There’s a section of London called Billingsgate. It’s famous for its fish market. On my first trip to London, I visited. Then I found out the original market was moved. Read about it here: Billingsgate. Or see this sketch from 1859 of the market, by James Abbott McNeill Whistler.
The first US Census was conducted in 1790. Mostly it was just names, not much info. Books became the most common resources for genealogists. In the late 1800s it was a craze to write down personal histories within families.
If you have a Billings connection, please email me!
On May 22nd, is National Maritime Day! Because it's on a Sunday, we're celebrating early!
A few shots of Salem and Derby Wharf.
The Friendship of Salem is a 171-foot replica of a 1797 East Indiaman. It was built in 2000 in the Scarano Brothers Shipyard in Albany, New York.
The Light Station was originally built in 1871 and used an oil lamp shining through a Fresnel lens. For many years, Derby Wharf Light had one of only 17 sixth-order Fresnel lenses in the United States. Today, the light is solar powered, and the light is a red flash every six seconds.
For more photographs visit my Flickr feed.
On April 26th, 2015, I was deemed cancer free! To celebrate my one year anniversary, I posting my iPhone photos of my journey with brain cancer.
The opening shot on the main page is always taken during the previous month.