Home Safe

Home Safe

I’m home safe and sound. Paul and I left South Bend, Indiana, about 10am this morning and headed straight home.  It’s been a fun month, but I’m so happy to be home.

We left on September 4th, and here it is October 4th and our trip has come to an end.   In the last 4 1/2 weeks we have seen the sublime, the absurd, the funny, the sad and more.  We’ve seen president’s graves, and birth places. Temples of the Lord and old abandoned places were on our route too.  We’ve seen it all.

It is probably too soon to ask if I’d do it again, but under different conditions, I think I would.  One would be to have Elizabethe come with me.  Perhaps we’ll figure out a road trip where she won’t get bored to tears.

The Drive Home

The drive home started last week after reaching the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica, California.  We got up the next morning and drove to Scotts Valley, California.  The day after that we drove to Reno, Nevada, where we spent the night with my old high school buddy Jack.  After Reno we headed to my daughter Amber’s house in Saratoga Springs, Utah.  Our next stop was Cheyenne, Wyoming for the weekend.  (I served in Cheyenne 40 years ago in 1977!!!)  We got up Monday and headed to Omaha, Nebraska.  Tuesday we stopped in South Bend, Indiana, and now we’re home.

copyright 2017 db walton
Me and My Daughter Amber’s Family

Anxious to Get Home

Anxious to Get Home

I’m anxious to get home.  It is nice seeing friends and family, but I really dislike California.  I didn’t realize how much I disliked it until this visit.

There are just enough crazy people on the freeway that it becomes scary.  I saw two cars playing cat-n-mouse and endangering everyone in their path.  I saw a LOT of very aggressive drivers, and others who are simply rude.

Just the traffic situation makes me glad I live where I live.

Spending the Day

We returned the rental car this morning.  Enterprise gave A-1 service.

After returning the car, we borrowed the van (I figured it wouldn’t overheat going to and from the NutTree).  We picked up our See’s Candy to take home, and had lunch at Rubio’s (a Mexican taco place you won’t find in NY.)

We planned to take Elizabethe’s mom to dinner, but just before we were ready to leave, Jeff and Brenda came and invited to take us to dinner.  We ate a nice dinner (ice cream) at Fenton’s.  This is my last chance to have Fenton’s Swiss Milk Chocolate Ice Cream with Fenton’s Caramel Sauce.

To the Airport

After dinner, Marilyn took us to the Sacramento Airport.  We’re on our way home.

Foiled by the Rain

Foiled by the Rain

My plans to mow the law were foiled by the rain.  How could it rain today?  I was supposed to mow the lawn!

Well, it didn’t break my heart because I’m in a lot of pain today.  It will have to dry up comes Monday.

Most of my day was spent working on photos for clients.  Yes, I have a lot to complete and so I spent the day playing catch up and I think I’m there.

Hmmm… tell me if you’d do this…

If a Facebook “friend” continually posts contentious posts, post that encourage bad (sinful, if you will) behavior, would you un-friend them?

It’s an interesting question I kicked around.  I found myself asking, “Am I a good influence on them by being their Facebook friend?”

At length I came to the conclusion that I’m not an influence at all on the person.  And, by being their friend it improves the chance of their posts being seen by others.  And, while everyone has their agency as to what to do about those posts, I wouldn’t walk around with a Marlboro Cigarette sign on my back, so why would I allow propagation of  bad stuff via Facebook.

So, I concluded, the right thing to do was to unfriend them.

While I’m only one out of a million, I think if enough people did that you’d end up with two camps on social media — Those who embrace good, and those who embrace evil.

In addition, I’m working on being more positive in my outlook.  Too much on there is negative.  While, much of the negative from my real-life friends is directed towards bad things, it is still negative.  I’m going to try to “accentuate the positive”.

Making Friends

Making Friends

Making friends is good.  One can never have too many friends — good friends, that is.  A good friend is one who lifts you up and doesn’t drag you down.

This morning I wanted to go out and take more pictures with my X-T1.  I didn’t know what I should do.  Yesterday, I meant to actually get out and walk, but didn’t do as much walking as I wanted.  So, I thought I’d do some more today to help build my stamina.

A fellow photographer posted on the PPA web site that he would like to know what there is in Rochester to photograph.  I e-mailed him a list.  Then, Elizabethe suggested I offer to meet up with him and show him around.

I e-mailed him back and gave him my cell phone and asked if he’d like a “guide”.  He called and said he would love that.

The two of us met up at the Eastman House and spent the rest of the afternoon together taking pictures.  We had a wonderful time.  We drove downtown to the High Falls area and we both just took pictures.

 

copyright 2015 db walton
Pencils

Yes, sometimes you just see colors and shapes and think… COOL!

copyright 2015 db walton
Kodak HQ Building Through a Window

While walking around Peter pointed out the view of the Kodak building from this old building’s window.  Again, COOL.

copyright 2015 db walton
Close up of an RZ-67 Camera

While he was setting up is RZ-67, I saw the markings on the side and thought, COOL!

copyright 2015 db walton
Old Factory Door – Rochester, New York

And, I learned a lesson today (hence this last picture).  If you find something old, stop and take a picture because it might not be there tomorrow.  This lesson was learned when I drove to show Peter this cool old building and what we found instead was a pile of broken concrete.  It had been torn down.  So, when I saw this old steel door I said, “I have to take a picture before it too is gone.”

Pics with Gary

Pics with Gary

I took pics with Gary Morse today.  The assignment theme is “friends”, and so I invited my friend Gary to go to lunch and pose for some pictures.

copyright 2015 db walton
Brent and Gary Having Lunch

We went to Tom Wahl’s in Newark and I set the camera on the tripod and used the self-timer.  Nothing burgers, fries and root beer… now that’s what friends enjoy.  The self-timer worked out great.  While this isn’t as exciting as doing a model shoot, it is the type of shot I needed.  (I’ll be glad when I can actually get on one knee to shoot.  I wouldn’t even attempt it at this point.)

I have no control over what the church magazines do with the images, but I’ll print copies for me and Gary to enjoy.  (Elizabethe will also enjoy scrapbooking the pictures.  She complains I don’t get pictures featuring me very often.)

Prior to that I had physical therapy.  They really wear you out.  I understand the concept, but what in the world did they do before we had such knowledge?  Perhaps people never fully recovered, but even at that, there’s no full-recovery guarantee with physical therapy.

We haven’t had much snow, just sub-freezing weather lately.  What snow is on the grounds is icy and crunch.  I really dislike ice now.  A lack of confidence in my leg being able to respond quickly to some slippage makes me very leery about walking where there might be ice.

Elizabethe spent the afternoon canning cheddar cheese in 8 oz. bottles and ground beef.  They both can very well.  She put up about 5 pounds of cheese and about 5 pounds of ground beef.  That’s a lot of tacos.

I asked about cream cheese, and she said she read that it cans quite well too.  So, the next time it is on sale, I think we’ll do some canned cream cheese.  Just call it triple-c.

Doctors, MRI and X-Rays

Doctors, MRI and X-Rays

 

Doctors, MRI and X-Rays filled my day.  I went to the orthopedic surgeon at 9:30am this morning.  After looking at my leg and asking me some questions, they took x-rays of my other body parts that hurt – my shoulder, my hip, etc.  Then, the doctor drained 55cc of blood off my knee.  Because of the amount of blood, he then ordered an MRI and sent me to Geneva, New York to get an MRI.

After the MRI, they set an appointment for 8:45am tomorrow to see the orthopedic surgeon again.

Since it was now afternoon, the Taylors took me to lunch at Macedon Hills, and then home.  I decided I was done of the day. I’m exhausted and hurting all over.

One of the sisters in the ward made dinner and dropped it off.  When she did, the elders were there helping with some of the house chores that I can’t do.  The elders drained the hoses and stored them in the garage for the winter, and took the trash out and set the can out by the curb.

I iced my leg and went to bed.  Injuries like this really take it out of you.

Then, I got a phone call from our Relief Society President.  She offered to have her husband (who is retired) come pick me up and bring me to their house where I could stay until Elizabethe returns home.  I thought there is a lot of wisdom in her offer.  I wouldn’t have to feel anxious about how I would get help if my leg got worse, or if I couldn’t get to a phone for help because I had fallen.

So, I told her that I felt her idea was wise and if I did not end up going in for surgery on my leg, I would take them up on their generous offer.

Coming Home Today

Coming Home Today

I’m coming home today.  After a week long tour in Tennessee, it will be nice to come home.

My shoes were nearly worn through and I had about 2 hours before I needed to be at the airport.  I went to the factory outlet mall near the Grand Ol Opry.  None of the stores were open yet, so I waited it out in the car until they opened and then went in and bought some new shoes.

From there I filled the tank on the rental car with gasoline and headed to the airport.  Once at the airport I noticed many of the airport shops had souvenirs that the stores in town did not have.  One was moonshine hot sauce.  It doesn’t contain any alcohol, but vinegar and peppers.  So, I bought a couple of small bottles — one for Elizabethe’s miniature shelves, and the other to actually taste the stuff.

The flights home went smoothly, and before long I was back on the ground in Rochester.  I didn’t realize how much better traffic was until I got back here.  It was so nice to be back home.

Elizabethe called me when I was in Egypt asking how far I was from home.  She then requested I call when I’m nearing the driveway.  Hmm… I was wondering what she was up to.

Elizabethe met me in the driveway and asked me to come with her to show me something.  I was wondering if a tree broke or something like that.

We got to the back north-east corner of the yard and she showed me a circular patio.  A while back I drew out my idea for a circular patio for a fire pit so we could sit with guests around an open fire and roast marshmallows and enjoy the fire.  I was blown away.

What blew me around more was she explained how she had asked friends and family to pitch in with both money and labor to get this built.  I was just blown away to the point where I teared up I was so touched.  She told me they have been invited to come tomorrow for a BBQ.

Tomorrow morning we’re going to Lowe’s to purchase the fire pit.  I’ll take pictures once it is all put together.

A Friend Retires

A Friend Retires

My friend, John Kidd, from California called today.  Yesterday was his last day at work.  He finally retired!

We had a nice talk, mostly about camera equipment — lenses to be exact.  It seems John has some birthday money and is looking to get a faster lens for low-light situations.  It will interesting to see what he decides to do.

I suggested to him that since he’s now retired he come spend a couple of weeks out here.  I could definitely keep him busy.  Plus, it is fun to see your surroundings through someone else’s eyes for the first time.

—–

There must be opposition in all things.  Lehi said that in the Book of Mormon, and it is a law of physics – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Sometimes news follows that pattern.  I was really brought down by the media touting how great it is that some parents in Southern California took their little girl in for a sex change operation all because this little girl had tom-boy tendencies.  Wow.  Where was Children’s Protective Services during all of this?

Nobody knows where our thoughts and feelings originate.  I’m not discounting that perhaps this little girl had some strong tom-boy feelings and a personality to go along with it, but to mutilate a child in such a way that they can no longer pro-create, and removing from them that choice at such a young tender age is just plain evil.  Yes, I’m sure the parents believe they are doing the best for this child and have no malice in mind.  When other hormonal changes kick in with this child, will her thoughts be the same as they are at age 5 when she’s age 12?  13?  16?  18?  30?

(At age 5 I wanted a pink bedroom.  I thank God I was not born in this era to some misguided parents who would have taken that as a sign I was meant to be a girl.)

As a result, I entered our stake conference feeling a bit down that we, as a society, have become so depraved that we would not only allow a doctor to perform such an operation, but it would be celebrated by the media and special interests group.  Some say we have evolved to a higher state as a society.  I disagree.  This put me in a mood where I didn’t know if I could be uplifted by the conference I was about to attend.

But, thank goodness for opposition in all things.  My down mood was lifted by the messages of conference.  It was repeated often we should have joy and hope.  After all, “men are that they might have joy.”

I don’t think Mormon and Moroni or John the Revelator or Isaiah would have had words to describe some of the bad going on in the world today.  Perhaps that’s what Isaiah was trying to say when he wrote…

16 ¶Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.
18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,
19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,
20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,
21 The rings, and nose jewels,
22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,
23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils.
24 And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.
25 Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.
26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.

I think Isaiah tried to describe the grim circumstances of our days (which will keep getting worse), and these were the only words he could find.

Fun Scanning Old Pics

A friend’s wife was posting some old photos of her husband.  I decided to go see if I could find pictures of him and upload them to Facebook.  It was a fun trip down memory lane.

Dave Lupton at Camp Harvey West
Dave Lupton at Camp Harvey West

The above was the photo I set out to find.  Dave and I spent every recess during junior high school talking about building a boat or canoe.  At Scout Camp, we took canoeing and earned our canoeing merit badge.  As part of an assignment for the photography merit badge, I did a photo essay.  This was the cover of my essay.  (Summer, 1970)

Todd Smith, Roy Howard, Jjon Mohr, John Kay, DeWayne Stephenson and Kenny Blankenfield - Dillons Beach, February, 1971.
Todd Smith, Roy Howard, Jjon Mohr, John Kay, DeWayne Stephenson and Kenny Blankenfield – Dillons Beach, February, 1971.

In December of that year, I broke my arm in two places.  I insisted in going on the campout in February even though my arm was in a full-arm cast.  I was cooking a T-bone steak on my reflector oven and the rest of the guys came up and were clowning around when I snapped this photo for my merit badge assignment.

A couple of years went by, and I wanted a photo to send a girl I had met at Squaw Valley.  I took this picture of David…

Dave Lupton Sitting on my Bed
Dave Lupton Sitting on my Bed

 

Then he took this picture of me to send to the girl.  The button I’m pointing to says, “Try Me”.

Me Sitting on My Bed
Me Sitting on My Bed

More time passed, and my cousin offered to sell me his van for $150.  I bought it.  It took me a few cans of bondo, a lot of sanding, and then I had Earl Schwibe’s paint it.  Originally, it was going to be two tone – butterscotch and brown (it was the 70s), but they were all out of those colors, so it ended up slate blue.  The pin stripes were my doing, along with the solid oak bumper.

 

My Van - My 1st Car
My Van – My 1st Car
Back of My Van
Back of My Van

KZAP was the heavy rock station of Sacrament at the time.  I had to have a KZAP sicker in the back window.

Me and Jay Bortoloto
Me and Jay Bortoloto

Band was my life the last 2 years of high school.  Jack, Jay and I were the Three Trumpeters and thought we could rule the world.

Senior Prom (Karen Viviene is my date)
Senior Prom (Karen Viviene is my date)

Senior ball came around, and I asked one of the waitresses at Bumbleberry to be my date.  I don’t think she was too interested since I was the night manager at the pie shop and that made her feel awkward.  (But, she was really cute as you can see.)

Graduation Night - Jay, Me and Jack
Graduation Night – Jay, Me and Jack

Graduation night came along, and there’s the three of us surrounded by red gowns.  You wore a red gown if you had a GPA higher than ???   (I don’t recall the number.)  Needless to say, Jay, Jack and I weren’t in that crowd.  How we ended up sitting with them… who knows, but it makes for a great photo.

Making Progress

Plum Blossom
Plum Blossom

Last night, I received two phone calls. The first was from a man I met in 1977 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The other from a friend I made while working at AT&T.

In 1977, I was a Mormon Missionary serving in the Colorado Denver Mission, and stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming. My companion and I had an old Temple Square visitor’s slip. Every time we went by the house, nobody was home. Every time we were on that street, we would stop and knock, and nobody would answer.

A member of our church lived next door. We were at his house having ice cream (he kept a freezer stocked with ice cream just for the missionaries), and as we were leaving, we saw a lady pulling in to the driveway of the house.

We immediately ran over and introduced ourselves and asked if we could share a message. The lady politely explained she was in a hurry, but she’d love to talk to us.

After that initial contact, we went back several times only to be told, “I’m sorry, I’ve got to go to…”. She had kids that were involved in after school activities, and a husband who worked for the railroad, and so it was going to be difficult.

Finally, one night we saw her car in the driveway, and we stopped and a man answered the door. We told him who we were and I was fully expecting to be told, “Buzz off”, but he invited us in. We taught them, invited them to be baptized, and they accepted.

This was the start of a friendship that will last for the eternities. I remember the feeling I had when I was asked to give their 7 year-old daughter a blessing because she was feeling left out because everyone else got to be baptized. That single event prepared me so much for fatherhood responsibilities.

Over the years, I have connected with their family several times.  Last night, Brother Gerle called to say they would be in Palmyra at the end of May.  We invited them to come stay with us.  It will be really nice to see them.

Here’s a related video… (click here).  When I watch this video of my friend Al Fox, I am reminded of people like the Gerle’s.  There is a connection between a missionary and the people he/she teaches.  And, there is a connection between the convert and their missionaries.  It is a relationship that cannot be explained in words.  It is humbling.  It is joyous.  It is one of gratitude.

The 2nd call I got was from a lady I worked with at AT&T.  We shared a passion for mountain bike riding and fish tacos.  She called to say they want to come out and spend a week with us.

—–

Elizabethe and I bought fabric for one of my projects. (see http://projects.dbwalton.com )  Since we were near Trader Joe’s, I had to stop and buy some goodies – S.F. Sourdough Bread.

We then had dinner at South of the Border in Newark, NY.  Perhaps I’m spoiled having actually dined in several regions of Mexico, or perhaps I haven’t tried the right item from their menu yet, but it just doesn’t feel taste like Mexican food.  This is not to say their food is not good.  Their food is fresh, but the seasonings do not remind me of Mexican food.

The new owner of South of the Border also owns the Pontillo’s further east on 31 in Newark.  We met him briefly. They were quite busy so he didn’t have time to hear about Get It Done on 31 ™.