Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sunday, Last Day

It was 39F when I woke Sunday, so I again waiting until Greg's coffee was ready. After breakfast, we broke camp and headed south and east to paddle the lake side of the peninsula. Now, the Apostle Islands have SEA CAVES and Michigan has SAND DUNES. In Door County we have sea caves and sand dunes. So, we took a hike out to where there was enough water to launch.

Paddled south to the "caves".And played some (I won't even bother with the dune shots). It was a great weekend.Paddle Safe...


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

All By Myself

I just read where Wendy and Renee parted ways on their Italian paddle. I believe both of them had relationship issues of their own and that it was not a mutually beneficial match up. In any event, Renee was philosophical and did some solid thinking about what he needed in life. In the end, I believe, one needs to be happy with one's own company. So, when I woke up Saturday (it was 39F in the tent...but I digress) I was looking forward to paddling with my comrades and to also have some time to myself.

I took a walk later in the day and wandered off the paths and into wooded areas. The leaves were putting on a special show, but I wasn't interested in bright and pretty. I wanted some solitude and a chance to let go, meditate and stop thinking about me. Slowly, as I wandered amongst tree people of all ages, I became absorbed into the land. Then I began to see again. See in the sense of being mindful of the beauty and shapes around me.

I saw, once again, as a photographer. Bright and pretty lost their importance to shape and shades. And all around me were the images, the beautiful images, of the Master Painter. And they had been waiting for me all this time.Paddle safe...


Monday, October 29, 2007

Great Weekend
I drove up to Peninsula State Park Friday afternoon. It was a sunny day, and the 150 mile trip went quickly. The state park (in Door County...but I digress) was in full fall colors. We had 3 camp sites thanks to Greg (our leader in all camping) and Doug. Greg and I shared one, Doug and Bob another. The third, which Doug prepped early Thursday, was for Sheri. She worked Friday and arrived sometime during that night. Sue and Jeff stayed in a hotel with their aged dog.You think you know a guy, but it was only then that I learned Greg was terrified of chipmunks and would go to any extreme to escape them :) I slept like a baby that night and awoke to a gray, cold, drizzling morning. I stayed in my snug bag until I heard Greg getting the coffee. Dressing warmly, we had a quick breakfast, then all seven of us met on the Green Bay side of the peninsula for a paddle.

The designated kayak launch area has become a victim of the falling lake levels. We never used it. That's Horse Shoe Island, a favorite anchorage of sail boaters. It is well protected, except for winds out of the south (looking north). It doesn't show in the pic, but there were four-footers out there with gusts up in the 30's coming from the west. After making the island and catching our breathes, we found a smallish surf area and played. I got in a lot of practice taking beam waves without bracing.

A hot shower afterwards and the entire group found a restaurant for a nice gathering and evening meal. I slept like a baby once again. (To be continued).

Paddle safe...


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Misery Loves Company

(I know, I've used this pic of Sherri before, but it is just too apropos to pass on)

Some say that sailing is the art of going no where, slowly, at great expense and in much discomfort. Camping, I suppose, is less expensive but otherwise similar. Why, I ask myself, would I join three other suspect paddlers, leave a home with central heat, very hot water and soft beds to sleep on uneven ground in near-freezing weather with no heat and showers that are, at best, tepid?

I went sailing because of the great joy it gave me. I went in all sorts of weather and wide ranges of temperatures. I go camping because I like the simplicity, the quiet and the sense of escape. But to camp in the conditions I've described is a bit like tunneling out of prison and coming up between two rows of razor wire. Are you really better off?

Doug, Bob, Greg and I are to head up to Door County Peninsula State Park for a weekend of paddling, camping and gangrene. It is expected to rain Friday and Saturday before temperatures plunge to freezing Saturday night. We will not do much cooking, but Greg (a master fire builder...but I digress) has promised some degree of warmth. At least on the half of us facing the fire. I suppose we can turn around and melt the icicles as needed.

So, as I sit here in my little nook with the sound of the furnace warming the house, I ask again, why I would do this? I must admit, I don't know. Still, I will shop for some grub, pack all sorts of gear and warm clothes and give it a try. I will go because I am rugged and love a challenge. Now, where can I find a really long extension cord for my humidifier?

Paddle safe...


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Gestalt and Guernseys

I sometimes rush and, when I do, I sometimes screw up. Usually, this is because I "Gestalt". Gestalt is not actually a verb (but I used it as one...but I digress) but, rather, a school of psychology. In popular parlance, it refers to the human eye completing a picture that in reality is not complete. The brain fills in what it knows from past experiences and assumes that what it is seeing (but not totally seeing) is there again. So, when I "Gestalt" I assume facts not in evidence.

I thought that was the point where we launched, it had so many of the same features. Fact is, I want it to be the point, and my eyes take in what is similar to the original place while my brain fills in details that aren't there. But, it isn't the same point, and I am lost.

I see people do a similar thing with their beliefs such as assuming you or I are like them. I don't know when this Gestalt spills over into prejudice, but I have to wonder. Do you and I want to see one another as being very much alike? If you are just like me, I can trust you. If you are just like me, I am comfortable with you and can anticipate how you will react to things. If you are like me, then you think like me and that, of course, is the right way to think. If you are like me, you believe in what I do and not something that I don't like or understand.

But when I am the one who is not like everyone else I may feel neither comfortable nor safe. I cannot know how you will react to me, my thoughts and my actions. At such a time I am in danger of trying too hard to fit in. At such times I am in danger of hiding some of my uniqueness and, when I do, I lose part of myself. At such times it is hard to be the one black cow.

Paddle safe...


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I haven't been this sick in ages

It is just before 6 am. The house is cool, it is dark outside and my throat hurts like hell. By my calculations, I have produced enough snot to lose 12 pounds of weight. All this thanks to young Joseph who, for the past 4 days, has filled our house with joy and viruses. From this pic, taken yesterday (with Lady Linda's Mother...but I digress), he is satisfied and proud with his work.

There is a strange silence in the house this morning. Absent are those wonderful sound that only a happy well fed infant can make. Also, there are no play mats, infants chairs or other goodies strewn about the floor. Warm memories have crept in to fill the void left by the departure of family. Warm memories of a celebration of unlimited joy and the gathering together of friends and family.

So, I sit here in the quiet knowing that that day is over and that I am not fit to go onto the water today. Anyone have a throat lozenge?

Paddle safe...


Monday, October 22, 2007

Sick, Sore And In Bliss
The wedding was all and more than I could have wished for, and I have another wonderful son in law. My daughter was radiant, and all her plans went off without a hitch. Family and wonderful friends were there for the ceremony and to enjoy food, talk and dancing. The celebration , at times, bubbled over with joy. By evening's end, I was physically exhausted from dancing and laughing. At my daughter's request, I got to blow a few tunes with the excellent band which brought back that indescribable joy I've always felt while playing jazz with good musicians.

The virus distributed here in the Midwest by my grandson, Joseph, has taken over most of my respiratory passages. No matter, life is good.

What an evening it was. I am so happy for my daughter. I am so grateful to friends and family. I am so blessed.

Paddle safe...


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Home Stretch...
Beauty every where

Today is the wedding. I still don't know who is where and even who is here. Things have evened out in that we all now have a cold due to the virus that originated in a day care center (my grandson, it seems, is the Midwest distributor...but I digress). Nature continues to put on a fine show, and the weather man predicts sun and 75F today. So far, so good.

By far, the finest sight I've seen this fall is that of a man fathering his son.

Paddle safe...


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Warm Winds...
Big Water...
I'll Be Ashore

Normally, today is exactly the kind of day that would see me rushing to launch out onto the big lake. The conditions are great. BUT, conditions here at the house are unique and even more enticing.

The house has been abuzz for the past 36 hours with friends, family, a cast of dozens and Joseph, our grandson. Last night we had the wedding rehearsal followed by a great Italian dinner (thank you David and Vicki) with enough food (tarimisu to die for...but I digress) to feed most of the third world. Later, various bodies were asleep on beds, sofas and floors as daughters, one son in law and one brides maid slept over. Joseph chose the crib. There may be others in other rooms.

There will be lots of running around to day. Tomorrow will be nutso with pictures, last minute heaven-knows-what and the actually nuptials. Tomorrow night, Linda and I will share diaper duty and revel in the joy of the marriage of our daughter and the new life in our family.

So where, you may ask, are all the pics of the baby. Well, the little pixels are still on the card in the camera as I choose to spend my efforts elsewhere. But, don't worry, eventually I will be boring the hell out of you with more pics.

Paddle safe...


Friday, October 19, 2007


Actually, it isn't a pig call. It is a nick name for Dr. Robert Seward, presently residing in Oregon. Right now, he is here in Wisconsin to attend my daughter's wedding.
We met in 1963 as freshman med students. The class was divided into groups of 4 from an alphabetic list (Paul Strang has since died. I do not know the fate of the 4th man...but I digress). We were the only quartet of all bachelors, and three of us (me included) were nuts. Sewie and I both (not so secretly) really wanted to be jazz musicians. When we took the week allowed during senior year to visit possible internships, the two of us went to New York, took a room at the old but famous Algonquin Hotel and visited zero internships. We did, however, hear a lot of very fine jazz. We also caught hell when we returned to Madison and our itinerary was discovered by the faculty.

Through decades and miles of separation, Sewie and Silbs have kept in touch. Now, because of the joyous event, we are together for a while. It was nice having breakfast with him yesterday.

Paddle safe...


Thursday, October 18, 2007

More of the same...
but different
(follow the numbers, if you can)

I know. I've been musing about my walks and dumping pics I've taken along the way on these pages. Oh well. I'm in a transition mood with little in the way of desires or ambitions. I am, it seems, happy to let things unfold as they will for the next few days.Last night, daughter #2 arrived signaling the beginning of her big weekend. Tonight, daughter #1 and Grandson #1 are due to fly in from Ohio. As there is a possibility of severe thunder storms, I am concerned.

Late Friday, son in law #1 (who has a lighting gig in Chicago...but I digress) will drive up. Around that time, future son in law #2 is due to drive up from Chicago (where he and daughter #2 live...but I digress, again). Are you following all this? No matter. This is for me as much as it is for you.

While all this is going on, families will be gathering from various states in anticipation of daughter #2's wedding Sunday evening.

So, in the end, it isn't even about me. Ah, family.

Paddle safe...


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Eye Candy

As most of you know, I like to walk. Sometimes I have to because Ansel needs to go out and Lady Linda is unable to escort him. Other times I do it for exercise, and sometimes I do it to relax, get away and meditate. You also know by now that I often carry a camera which, in turn, makes me see more; and what I see I call eye candy.

Sometimes I am drawn to something because it is silly or bright or unique or because it makes me smile for reasons I don't need to understand. Often (as with all three pics here...but I digress) I find these nuggets within a block or two of my house.

I see pictures everywhere. I see things that touch me artistically everywhere. And, always, people look at some of my pics and ask if that is how it really looked. I tell them that it is the way it looked to me. I have no idea what you would have seen or how you would have interpreted the scene...or even bothered to photograph it. Different people like different candy.Paddle safe...


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Swords Into Plow Shares

On Milwaukee's north side is a huge tract of land which is, in fact, a state forest. No longer able to enjoy my passion for long distance running, I often go there just to walk and enjoy the quiet and the vast variety of plants and trees.Although there are several trails, a center, a windmill generator and stone roads, the vegetation itself is pretty much in its natural state. I enjoyed all this yesterday as a large white tail deer played hide and seek with me (he won, therefor no picture...but I digress). As I often go in the middle of the week and on days with marginal weather, I saw only one other person. Pretty exclusive, wouldn't you say?And that's pretty much it. Nothing fancy. Oh, by the way, back in the 1950's (when I was in high school) you weren't allowed to set foot here...because it was a Nike Missile site.

Paddle safe...


Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Today is the day many of us bloggers will be writing about the if no one has been doing that up to now. I am sure there will be excellent pieces on global warming, toxic this and toxic that and the disappearances of plant and animal species. These, of course, are all important and timely issues which I leave to others who can discuss them with more passion than myself. My humble contribution will come from a different angle. For me, this pollution business is also an issue of art, soul and the collective unconscious (or am I committing word pollution...but I digress).

I choose different environments for different aspects of my life. When I did work in the heart lab I kept things meticulously neat and clean. I could do a catheterization or a heart biopsy without leaving a drop of blood anywhere. When I messed about in my darkroom, however, I chose to be in a chaotic mess that fostered thinking outside the box and welcomed experimentation.

But those were my personal spaces, one for work and one for fun. The environment, on the other hand, is our collective space. The environment offers its own chaos, orderliness, drabness and color naturally. We can avail ourselves of what we need by choosing in which of nature's endless settings we wish to spend time. We can select snow, mountains, forests, valleys or even tar pits. It is there to be enjoyed. We enter and, hopefully, leave the environment we have selected the way it was before we were there. Many, like myself, seek a certain something by going out onto the water.

On the water I can escape the daily buzz, scare myself and satisfy a primordial need for adventure or just paddle quietly and listen to what it is my soul is trying to tell me but has been drowned out by the noise ashore. This is when and where I heal. This is when and where I can be alone or share the moment with a friend. This all occurs in no small way because of what that particular environment has to offer, and a large part of what it offers (in my soul's view) is what I see out there.

The water environment offers me glassy surfaces, waves, ripples, endless vistas, shallows visible through clear waters and much more. I cherish these things, and I don't take anything from the lake nor do I put anything into it that is harmful or doesn't belong there. Like the cath lab or my darkroom, I am clear about what I am doing there and what my responsibilities are to keeping things right for others. When someone puts something into that environment that doesn't belong there they destroy part of what the lake has to offer. That, in turn, denies something that my soul seeks to find out there. That, in turn, diminishes us all.

I may welcome you into my home where you can enjoy our light-hearted style and a meal. You will be treated with respect here, and a thank you is all that will ever be expected in return. We would, however, be upset and feel a personal hurt if you left your garbage laying around after you left. Mother Nature expects no less.

Paddle safe...


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Obligatory Fall PicObligatory Fall Tree Close up

Obligatory Part Color/Part Desaturated-Artsy-Fartsy Fall Pic

I'm off to the big lake.

Paddle safe...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Eyes Have It
As people spend more and more time out doors, and as the atmosphere allows more and more UV light to reach the planet, we are seeing more and more cataracts occur at younger and younger ages. Go out on the water where the reflection gives you an additional dose of the rays, and you have an even worse scenario.
This disorder is due to changes in the lens of the eye from repeated UV dosing. The usually clear structure becomes irregularly clouded and, although the person seldom realizes it, there is a subtle shift in color perception. The diagnosis is easy to make by inspection.
Most paddlers are conscientious about using sun screen (although they often don't replenish frequently enough...but I digress), however, some are still not adequately protecting their eyes. It is essential that our glasses block UV light. It is desirable that the lenses be polarized in order to reduce glare and allow seeing down into the water.
Fortunately, cataract surgery has evolved to a high and surprisingly simple art. The clouded lens is replaced by an artificial one which has been made specifically for the patient. Many who have this procedure enjoy 20/20 vision without glasses.

Paddle safe...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Getting Out There
Cloudy this morning with the clouds making for interesting light at South Shore.
The air is 40 degrees F. colder than one week ago. Dry suits have become the dress of the day.
Greg and I managed to get out for a few hours and enjoyed the 2-foot seas that were left over from last night's wind. There was still a mild breeze out of the NE.

As we all know, it is hard to show swells in a photo. They never look as large as they do to the eye. I swear, Greg is in a kayak. You can see the tip of it on the left.

Paddle safe...


Thursday, October 11, 2007

To Color
Not To Color

Some where during my photographic studies I remember being told that the first thing to decide was whether or not something was worth photographing. The next thing to decide was whether to do it in color or gray scale (black and white).

Too often folks just take for granted that all pictures are to be in color. Think back to the last time you purchased black and white film (or any film...but I digress). Your digital images are captured in color and presented as such. To be sure, we see the world in color and presuppose that it should always be represented that way.

Who, after all, would not prefer to see the rich red in the berries on the left as apposed to the blah image when the color has been extracted?Truth is, it is prettier. Besides, how many of us have ever learned or know how to manipulate the gradations of gray or the characteristics curve of a B&W image?

So, maybe everything should be in color (anybody recently buy a B&W TV?).

Paddle safe...


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sweet Sue...again

local gossip piece #1 Alex temporarily took the lead in the I-got-a-new-boat-headlines with his purchase of his Nordkapp LV. Alas, it was not to last. Sweet Sue has just showed up on the shores of Lake Michigan with her new Skim which is, to my knowledge, the first in the area.

Item 2: It's happened again. Two kayakers have died of hypothermia. They were not properly dressed (what a surprise). I learned of this via Kristen's blog this morning. She has a link to the Toronto news paper's report.

Item 3: Temps around here dropped into the 40's during the night and are not expected to make it into the 60's today. Dress for it when you go out there.

Item 4: Four of us are hoping to get a weekend camping-paddling trip in at Door County the weekend of the 26th. This is perfect timing as it comes after the weekend of my daughter's wedding. If it turns out to be unusually cold, we have our eye on the option of a campsite with yurts.

Walking Ansel the other morning, I discovered a new genus of trees that seems to grow a stringy cellulose-like fruit. More info when available. Enough nonsense.

Paddle safe...


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Circumnavigating the Neighborhood
Chop wood, carry water. There are things that just have to be done each day because they have to be done each day. One of those things is walking Ansel each morning. Although this ritual is usually carried out by Lady Linda, the job sometimes falls onto me. I, in turn, tend to get out much earlier than she, and I sometimes carry a camera along...just in case. It is interesting how carrying a camera often makes me more aware of details I might otherwise have missed. Sometimes the humidity and early hour help out as well (as seen above, 200 yards from my home...but I digress). Sometimes I see possum, coyotes and other denizens of the night on their way home. Sometimes, I discover a crime because the neighbor has done a poor job of hiding the evidence.Paddle safe...