Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Wild Winter....


We have had an amazing winter here in Oklahoma. Not only did we have a white Christmas, but the snow that fell on Christmas Eve was on the ground almost 20 days. It helped that we got around 10 inches here at the house! About the time all of that snow melted off, we had another storm leaving 8 inches of snow. That fell 3 days ago and seems like it will melt off a lot faster. We do still have a lot on the ground, though. Interestingly enough, we are supposed to get another round of snow starting tomorrow evening.

I need to get the camera out and take more photos. I was hoping to get some time on the telescope but between the clouds, cold, and my scope acting up, I just haven't got it done. Here's to better weather!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Moving Right Along....



Wow...a lot has happened since I post the last post. I was still pretty hurt and angry at that point in my life. It is funny how many things can come unravelled at once in a person's life. When I left Lisa, I moved in with the best friend I have ever known. His name is Micheal Gouker. We met at work and had a lot in common and became quick friends. He became the older brother I never had. Mike is and probably always will be the greatest man I've know other than my father. By the way, this is likely to be a lengthy post since a lot has happened since July!!

When I moved in with Mike and his wife, Mike had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was not doing well at all. The primary reason I moved in was to help his wife and sister take care of him. To say that I owed him that is an understatement. Mike has done so much for me through the years and has always been there for me. One issue that existed was that Mike was subordinate to me at work. He was a supervisor and I his manager. I talked with our director and no one seemed to take issue with the move. If there were any decisions to be made concerning Mike, I would defer them to her. Pretty cut and dry, so I thought. About a month and a half later, I was called in to the director's office and give 3 days to move out. Needless to say, this is an almost impossible task to accomplish. Most upsetting was that I felt I was leaving my best buddy in a lurch.

I was able to move into an extended stay hotel and found a house within a week. I think it was the harder to make that move than the one before! I knew when I left that Mike was not going to survive his cancer and it was more than I could handle. To lose your wife and your best friend in less than a year is too much for anyone. Here is a photo I took of Mike one night when I was at his place playing a little pool. Mike died recently and it was all I could do to make it through his funeral. This photo is how I always want to remember this great man.

I think the only way I was able to handle all of this was finding Missi. We had started seeing each other just before I had to move out of Mike's place. She was my rock when I needed one. She is a wonderfully smart and beautiful woman that loves me more than I deserve. She is younger than I and has a great five year old boy that keeps me busy. I took her to meet my parent over Thanksgiving. We also had an incredible Christmas together.

The last six months has been a whirlwind of grief and happiness. As I emerge on the backside of everything, I am emerging happy. As painful as the loss of Mike was, I know he is in a much better place. It was incredibly difficult to see him suffer as he did. He was always the strong one who helped everyone else. He hated being seen when he was sick and in pain. I know that he is free of the body that failed him in the end. Missi, her son, and I are off to a wonderful start of our new life together. I can't image being loved more by anyone. I can't image loving anyone more than I love her.

Here are a few more photos that I took over the past little bit.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane....

Nah, I'm not going anywhere. The song title just seems like an appropriate title for this post. The song was written by John Denver (my wife's favorite artist). It was first recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary and later recorded by Mr. Denver on several of his albums. I've loved the song since I was a kid but it became even more special after I married Lisa because Mr. Denver's music was such an important part of her life.

If you have followed my blog for a while, you know what Lisa has been through over the past years and you also probably know how hard it was for me to see her so sick. You also know how happy and proud I was to see her recover and return to work as a paramedic. She loves EMS and it was so important to her to get back to doing what made her so very happy.

A week and a half ago, I discovered that she was having an affair and had fallen in love with someone else. One day later, I moved out to begin my new life without her. I can honestly say that I have never had anything more devastating happen to me. We had been married for twenty years and I had never imagined that this could happen to us. Before you ask me about working things out or counseling, please understand that she has no interest in pursuing any options like that. She had already decided to marry this other man before I discovered the affair.

Needless to say, I had a REALLY rough week. The good news is that I seem to be doing really well after less than two weeks. I think that is good news, right? I expected the hurt to last much longer than it actually did. I now seem to find myself feeling sad for Lisa and her new man. I'm not sure I can explain it and I'm not sure I even understand it myself. All the anger and hurt that I felt when I discovered the affair just seems to have vanished. There are still moments of pain but the constant assault is over.

I have been surrounded by my friends and family since all of this happened and I attribute my rapid recovery to all the love they have shown me. I have several sets of what I consider family. I have my blood family that is in Texas. I didn't tell them initially because they were in Colorado on vacation. I did not want to ruin their trip so I waited as long as I could to let them know. I also have a really close group of friends that are like family to me. I use the term "group" loosely. Really, it is three people and and their families. One of which, is the older brother I never had. I told him the day I found out about the affair and by the time I got off work, he had a moving crew (his son and one of my other close friends) at my house to move me to a spare bedroom at his home. Last, is my work family. They have been so supportive of me since this all happened.

I can't imagine how hard this could have been without all the special people I have in my life right now. I know I will be fine now. I know I will be happy again. Happiness is already returning to my life. Just yesterday, we had a very small get together. I am still easily overwhelmed by attention so it was just me, my buddy's family, and one other person that is pretty special to me. I'm not emotional anymore but I get pretty anxious and somewhat cranky when the conversation stays focused on my marriage and the affair very long. I'm also a bit sensitive about people wanting to "fix" something or making me do stuff to distract me. I have to do this my way at my pace. Anyway, back to yesterday! I spent most of the day cooking on the smoker while my buddy's wife and sister prepared side dishes. We had an incredible meal and then played pool, drank, and enjoyed life.

In many ways, yesterday was my "jet plane". The only life I had know for 20 years ended yesterday and with the help of some very special people, a new life took off for destinations unknown. What I do know, is that I will be happy where ever life takes me. As long as I have people in my life like those there now, I can't be anything but happy.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Moonscape

Spent some time taking photos of the moon and stars the other night. This was my favorite! I was surprised at how much detail showed. I will have more to post soon.

Moonscape

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Zoo Safari III

Thought I would post a few more photos from the zoo trip.

This is one of the two rhinoceroses at the Tulsa Zoo.
Zoomed in Rhino

They have beautiful flowers in the Tropical Rain Forest Exhibit.
Arrgg!

Another flower from that exhibit.
Tropical Flower

The always majestic lion.
Lion Portrait

Meerkat!
Posing

Be sure to visit my Flickr site if you want to see all my photos. Speaking of sites...I just joined Facebook! I never really thought about it until one of my coworkers urged me to join. I am amazed at how many of my friends are on Facebook. I'll add a link to my page later today.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Zoo Safari II

I'm pretty pleased with the Canon XSi. The zoo trip was a good measure as I have taken photos of the same subjects with my two other DSLRs and I knew I would be able to compare the differences. The Canon is a 12mp camera and my D80 was 10mp so I didn't know if there would be an discernible advantage. In my opinion, the Canon's 12mp sensor did a better job and showed a noticible resolution advantage. To me, the photos from the Canon are just more pleasing to the eye than those of my Nikon. As I said below, I have always been a huge Nikon fan so it is not easy for me to admit.

When I would take the D80 to the Tulsa Zoo for a day, I would usually come home with about 60% of my photos "postable". The other 40% had noticible focus or exposure issues that were beyond fixing in Photoshop. I was amazed to see almost all of my photos from the XSi usable. I would guesstimate that about 90% of the photos were correctly exposed and had good focus. This is in spite of the fact that I accidently had my EV setting two full stops in the negative for the first half of my photos!

All of that said, the Nikon D80 and Canon XSi are both wonderful cameras. You can't go wrong with either camera. Knowing what I know now, I would choose the XSi above the D80. Here are some of my favorites from last weekends photo safari at the Tulsa Zoo.

All Aboard!

Stretch!

Jaguar

Flamingo Eye

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend. Don't forget to honor those who died so that we could be free. This post is dedicated to my grandfather, Lonnie Ables, who served in World War II.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Zoo Safari

I spent a couple of hours at the Tulsa Zoo yesterday taking photos. I ended up with around 260 photos! I an using a Canon XSi that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I believe I took some of the best photos I have ever taken. Don't get me wrong, I have had 3 DSLRs (Olympus E-330, Nikon D80, and now the XS-i) and they have all taken some wonderful photos. But, I don't ever remember getting output that was this consistently good. I have used digital cameras since the beginning and have always been a Nikon man but I think this Canon is going to change my outlook significantly. I used my 55-250mm EF-S IS lens for the entire day and just captured one great photo after another. I know that some of it is my increasing experience and the studying I have done. Mostly, I think it is my new equipment, though.

I will be posting photos to Flickr and the blog starting tonight so keep your eyes open. I will probably post in sets of 10 to Flickr and follow up with post here. It takes forever to process 260 RAW images!

While you wait, here is something recent I took.

Night Driving

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Clouds

We have had rain in Tulsa for twenty two days straight now. The good news is that it has presented a lot of weather photography opportunities! I sold my tripod because it wasn't what I wanted so I ended up trying to take handheld night time lightning photos. That failed miserably. I did get a few interesting photos but no good lightning shots. Here is a night shot of the clouds as a thunderstorm rolled in last night.

Storm

This is cloud to cloud lightning lighting up the clouds.

Cloud to Cloud Lightning

I took this photo looking straight up. I really like how it turned out!

Cumulus Clouds

If you get a chance, check out this new website. Photocrati is a very nice site about photography. To be honest, it is one of the better websites I have seen. They cover a lot of news on DSLRs and software that is of interest to me. Check it out! Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sorry!

I can't believe that it has been nearly a year since I last posted to this blog! I am ashamed. I don't have a good excuse other than it has been a busy and trying year.

Here is a quick rundown of the past year's events. My wife and I moved to a new home. She is still working as a paramedic....and she is still on an opposite shift from me. It suck having no seniority! She caught meningitis from a patient and spend a couple of weeks in the hospital. I am still at the same job and in the same position. I have not done any geocaching in a long time. I sold my beloved Nikon to help finance our move. To be honest, it was not so beloved as I wasn't completely satisfied with the camera. My MS is status quo and I haven't had much progression! My chronic back pain due to my MS is worse than ever. Winston and Delia (my two Dachshunds) are still terrorizing anyone they come in contact with. I bought a Canon XS-i a week ago and LOVE it. I discovered Oklahoma casinos (specifically, Cherokee Casino in Catoosa). I think that is it!?!

Since I bought my new camera, I should be posting a lot more often. I made it to Woodward Park at lunch the other day so I will leave you with a recent photo.

Pretty Blooms

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Busy, busy.....

Wow, it's been a crazy month! We are closing in on the end of our fiscal year at work which means it's budget time again. Combine that with the fact that we are coming in right at our annual goals and it is just utter insanity at the work place. Where I work, meeting our goals is not an option. Peoples lives depends on our ability to meet our goals and commitments. It seems to get harder and harder as each year passes. While I struggle however I can to help meet our goals, I'm also responsible for putting together a $9 million dollar budget. All of this equals a lot of stress.

The wonderful news is that my wife is back working and loves her job. Unfortunately, she ended up with a shift opposite the hour I work. That means we end up with about 12 hours a week together. She is so excited to be back at work and loves the work so I don't think she feels the impact of our time away yet. I had grown used to having her to come home to each day. She balanced my life. I really miss her being here.

Hopefully, I will have time for some photography and geocaching here in the near future. It hasn't hit that miserably hot time of the year yet so it is still pleasant outside at times. Although, the humidity can be a killer with all the rain we have received!

I did get a nice photo a couple of weeks ago of the new arena they are building here in Tulsa. It will be nice to have a place where bigger name entertainers are willing to come.

BOK Center