A tale of three cameras

On the left is my D40. It’s the first digital SLR camera I bought in 2008. I was in love and I immediately mistreated it by letting it fall off the over-the-bed table in my mother’s pre-hospice care room. All that tumble did was disable the flash and I bought an external flash for it. After my mother died, I sent it away for repair, and Lindsey loaned me her camera when we had my mother’s memorial service late summer of 2008.

The D40 has logged a lot of joy and sorrow, and it was the camera I was using when I began photographing RPM’s dogs and cats in 2013. I knew I was using it a lot. A LOT. I worried about how long it would last.

In stepped Tim. When he bought his second Nikon, he gifted me the middle camera here, the D60. His generosity was a lifesaver when my D40 had to be repaired. Once it was good to go, the D60 was my backup camera. Then the D40 had to be repaired again. These are not cheap repairs, and I made an agreement with myself. I couldn’t keep fixing a camera just because of my sentimental attachment to it. So when it was fixed, the D60 became my primary camera and the D40 is my backup.

Last Thursday at transport, we were about halfway through when I felt something happen inside the D60 and it stopped working. I ran for my D40 and finished the job.

SO… Of course I’ll have the D60 repaired. After all, it was given to me and hasn’t cost me anything yet. It deserves its repair. But it will take a while to get that taken care of, and the thought of depending on my poor exhausted D40 to shoot anywhere from 300 to 500 photos at transport was unnerving.

Enter the camera on the right, my new D3400. It’s an economical little thing compared to so many other Nikons, all my lenses will work with it, and I can take my time getting D60 repaired. People ask why I don’t spring for a more professional grade camera. I’m not a photographer. I’m just a girl with a camera who likes to take photos. The more complicated the camera, the more intimidated I am. These little workhorses are the right choices for me.

Unless I win the lottery. =)

Photo Friday, No. 560

Current Photo Friday theme: Golden

I love this bracelet my mother had for her five grandchildren because it’s simple and old-fashioned. In order here, not by age, are charms for Sarah, Gina, Josh, Daniel, and Aaron. Their birthdates are engraved on the backs of the charms. Aaron came along more than two decades after the first grandchild, Daniel, so his is different from the other two boys’ charms. It took me a while to find a place in Houston that carried them, and I don’t remember what year I gave her the charm to complete her bracelet.

Button Sunday

Today Tom, Tim, Jim, and I tried a new-to-me restaurant in the Heights called Lola. (That’s right, L O L A Lola.) The food is all locally sourced so of course that appealed to my hippie-ish vibe, and even better was how the decor was very Keith Haring and Tim just happened to be wearing a Keith Haring T-shirt. Here are a couple of shots I took inside.

Our table was next to the window. At one point I glanced out and a bird, probably a grackle, was sitting on a half-wall outside the restaurant keeping his eye on us. I pointed him out, saying I was having a kind of Hitchcock moment, and Tim reminded me to fight him off with my purse. (That sentence is making me think of two things: a poem Mark Doty wrote about Houston grackles and Mattel’s Tippi Hedren doll. I feel like a Gemini going off in all directions mentally.)

ANYWAY, later we went to the Menil Museum and I swear, every single damn work of art seemed to have a bird or an allusion to a bird or a bird shape somewhere in it. Birds became the theme of the day, and at one point I did say, “Bird is the word.” Thus today’s button.

Later, I snapped a photo of Timothy and Jim under James’s favorite Tree of Trees. How I love my tribe and making new memories to join the old ones.


How is it possible that in all the times I’ve been to New Orleans, I never knew about the French Quarter Gem and Lapidary? Tom and I stumbled into it by accident. Actually, we didn’t stumble into it. We found it and I pressed my nose against the glass kid/candy store style, and I think they opened a few minutes early to stop me from drooling on their window.

Seriously, if you love stones and crystals, do NOT miss this place when you’re in New Orleans. The staff is wonderful, the merchandise is amazing, and the jewelry they make is extraordinary. I could have stayed there all day and been happy. Tom and I came away with a couple of new friends to take with us on vacation.

Moony and Jas.

Button Sunday

I’m a somewhat lackluster Pink Floyd listener. It’s not them; it’s me. Still, there are some songs I like a lot, and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is one of them. There are specific people the song makes me think of (though the band wrote it as an homage to their bandmate, the late Syd Barrett, as all good songs should, it taps into its listeners’ own feelings, in this case of loss and regret).

Though the following three people are not part of my Crazy Diamond Crew, certainly they were all jewels to me and the people who love them. I honor their memory and am grateful to have known them.

It was my good fortune that the best friend I made at twelve, Lynne, had a whole family of sisters, a brother, aunts, uncles, and cousins who took me in as one of their own. Lynne’s mother Elnora mothered me and I loved her. Elnora had two sisters: Audrey, who fed me, tolerated me, and taught me progressive rummy; and Lil, pictured above trying to hold onto Jess, who was the aunt who got right down amongst us.

Lil was a friend, an accomplice in our shenanigans, and she made the best chocolate pound cake and fried potatoes (we call them “Lil Fries”) ever. Her home was always open, her heart was always giving, and she had the best laugh. Many qualities of these ladies were borrowed for Phillip’s aunts in Three Fortunes in One Cookie. Lil was the last of them. Though she lived far away, her son kept up our tradition of sharing Christmas cards to keep me updated on her declining health. The sisters are all reunited now, and I’m going to imagine them enjoying fish fries with catfish, corn, Lil fries, and Audrey’s divine hushpuppies, long-running card games, and snappy conversations like the ones in my memory.

We knew him online as “Rob,” “Really Rob,” “Cody Frizbee Jr.,” and “Smiling Bagel.” His friends and family knew him as Bob and Uncle Bob. I dubbed him St. Louis’s Ambassador because his posts and photos about his home city made me want to visit there so much. He loved opera, books, and art. He had a talent for growing things and liked to cook and bake. During the time that I knew him, he loved his dog Nickie DaDoggĂ© and his cat Oskar LaChat. When they were gone, he adopted his fabulous dog Mlle. Renee in 2009. I absolutely loved his stories about and pictures of Renee. In addition to being online friends, we exchanged many letters, cards, and gifts through the years. Though I never was able to meet him in person, I’m grateful he became part of our online group of friends and my life. I’m not sure who has Renee now, but I know Rob, Nickie, and Oskar will be her family again one day at the Rainbow Bridge. Thank you, Rob, for your many kindnesses, your friendship, and your loyalty as a reader.

Some people coast through your life for a brief time and change it forever. I was a bit player in this story, and it’s not mine to tell. But this gentleman had such a profound effect on our lives that I borrowed part of his name for one of my characters. The character, though unpublished, is still with me always and is one of my muses. The person whose name he took has been gone from our lives for a long time; he actually died a couple of years ago, but we only just found out. It’s not really a goodbye when you remain so alive in my memory and my work, but I do mourn on behalf of all those who lost you as a daily presence in their lives.

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun. Shine on you crazy diamond.