by Lorin Michel Sunday, February 19, 2017 9:09 PM

Wondering. Analyzing. Anticipating. Worrying. Every day brings something new. Every day, every hour brings another OMG, another slap the head and sigh, another boil over with anger moment. I used to wake up in the morning and check the weather first, followed by email just to make sure nothing needed to be addressed before I got to my office and officially started my day. Now I open the News app, afraid to see what’s happened while I had the audacity to sleep, maybe, to relax if just a bit.

I don’t recall ever feeling such visceral fear. I know I’m not alone. I know there are a number of us who wonder and worry, who anticipate and analyze, who think and absorb everything and who question. When will someone do something about someone who’s doing such obvious damage? Will someone? Can anyone?

And then I realize that it isn’t up to someone or anyone. It’s up to me. 

I woke up this morning to rain. I slept badly, up worrying and wondering and fearing, on and off all night. Once, in the darkness, I heard the rain on the skylight. It was soothing, grounding. This morning it was much the same. The skylight pinged and pattered; I knew it was raining before I opened my eyes. When I did, I was facing the window. The day was gray, the sky heavy. Obviously. It had to be. But I found quickly that it also reflected my mood. I hadn’t even gotten out of bed and I felt gray, morose, weighed down by too much and yet not enough. 

I heard the coffee pot gurgling and realized that Kevin was up already. It was 7:30. I took stock of my feelings and as I did, I found myself burrowing. I don’t like waking up in a mood like that. Even when I’ve had trouble sleeping, which happens more often than I’d like, I’m usually nothing more than tired when I get up. But this morning was different. It wasn’t the rain. It’s not work. It’s a little bit of school but I can work through that. No, what it was and is and will be for quite some time is uncertainty. From a personal standpoint, it’s uncertainty about work, making money, saving money, maintaining health and being able to get health insurance. It’s the environment. It’s happiness and maintaining that. 

But it’s not just about me. The uncertainty I feel most deeply is about our once great country, a country I was always proud of. We were strong, we did the right thing for the most part. We became a beacon in the world for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning for …

Yearning for more than freedom. Yearning for hope and possibility and meaning and ability and wonder; for safety and security and opportunity. Yearning for more. I have realized that I’m yearning for more, and that in order to get it, I must do something. Personally, I have to challenge myself; I have to push and persevere. For the country, I have to get involved. I have to challenge the status quo, to do something that I taught Justin, something that he often rolled his eyes at when he was young but that he now regularly quotes as being a mantra: Question everything. Unless you know something to be true, question it. And even then, question it to make it better. 

Unless I know it to be true…

I’ve been wondering, analyzing, anticipating, worrying. I’ve been waiting. I’m waiting for me.

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Against the wind

by Lorin Michel Monday, February 13, 2017 8:14 PM

I lived in Columbia, Maryland in 1976, and one the great joys of the very brief time I spent there, was a venue called the Merriweather Post Pavilion. Frank Gehry, the renowned architect, along with his partner David O’Malley, designed it back in the mid-1960s and it opened in 1967 on the former grounds of the Oakland Manor slave plantation. Named after Marjorie Merriweather Post, the American Post Foods heiress, it was supposed to be a venue for the National Symphony Orchestra but it quickly became popular for performances, instead, by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, and The Who, among other rock icons from the late 60s and early 70s. 

By 1974, Howard County, home of Columbia, banned certain types of rock and rock musicians from appearing at the Pavilion. Bands like Alice Cooper and Edgar Winter were deemed unacceptable. But certain artists were still OK. The summer that I lived in Columbia, I went to the Pavilion a number of times, and saw such artists as Jackson Browne (his Running on Empty album was partially recorded there). I saw the Doobie Brothers pre-Michael McDonald. And I saw Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band during the tour following Live Bullet. Live Bullet was one of my favorite double album sets and I would blast it day and night. I still have my copy of it on vinyl and it still plays well. 

I have no idea who turned me onto Live Bullet. But I do remember seeing Seger and the Band and loving the concert. After that, I bought Bob Seger albums whenever they came out. Night Moves and Stranger in Town; Beautiful Loser that came out pre Live Bullet. And Against the Wind in 1979.

The album was a huge success and Seger won a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The album was also harshly criticized by Rolling Stone magazine that wrote: “I'd like to say that this is not only the worst record Bob Seger has ever made, but an absolutely cowardly one as well … (with) failureproof songs that are utterly listenable and quite meaningless.” Ouch.

I loved it. And especially the title track which featured Glenn Frey of the Eagles on background vocals.

It’s supposedly a song that looks back, a bit longingly, at days gone by, when he was young and strong, and running against the wind. And then seeing the days of now, when things aren’t as good as they were then. In fact, one line from the song – “wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then” – sums it all up. When you’re young and don’t know anything about life, you can be free. Then you get older, you have experiences, and suddenly you know too much about life. And you don’t really want to. 

I thought of the song today. I have no idea why other than the fact that we took Riley for a walk this morning and the entire time we were walking it seemed to be against the wind. It was harsh and cold and strong. It made us work for every step. And I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe that was the whole point of life. You’re often moving against the wind. It’s hard to make progress; you get tired and want to quit. But you persevere. Because you do know now what you didn’t know then, namely that it can be very much worth it.

In my wind-blown opinion. 

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The old person’s video game

by Lorin Michel Saturday, February 11, 2017 7:05 PM

In 1972, Atari came out with a game called Pong. It was essentially an electronic ping-pong game. They first put their console in a bar called Andy Capp’s Tavern. Within days, the game was acting weird so Atari sent technicians to find out what the problem was, fearing that it would hurt their success potential. The technicians discovered that the reason the game wasn’t acting correctly was because the console was overfilled with quarters from people trying to play the game. Success. Soon after, in 1975, they created a home version and sold it through Sears. My dad bought one and we learned quickly how to maneuver the now antiquated controls to knock a small ball back over the ‘net so the other player could do the same. It had various speeds, and someone would eventually not be able to get their “paddle” – a square block of technology – into the right position. The electronic ball, just a round white disc, would sail past. Point. 

The game was in black and white, if it could be called that. The screen was black but the extremely crude game pieces were white/blue. It was like an old computer, which is essentially what it was. I remember playing it, but never being addicted to it. I think eventually Atari made more games and I’m sure my father upgraded the system. He was also one of the first to buy a VCR. I wasn’t a game person but someone in the house must have been. Maybe my brother, and perhaps my dad. 

Video games progressed to Pac Man in the early 1980s. We had Pac Man game consoles in the restaurant where I worked in college. They were always populated with frat boys who would place their mugs of beer on the side as they hooted and hollered while eating up whatever stuff as they maneuvered their game guy through a maze. I don’t know that I ever played Pac Man or Ms. Pac Man which was the same except pink. 

Atari begat Nintendo which begat Play Station. When Justin was little we had Play Station. He was also completely enamored with Game Boy. He had several versions, beginning when he was fairly young. He never went anywhere without it, including camp. I picked him up one day after they returned from one of their excursions, maybe to Disneyland or Magic Mountain, pullin up in my BMW to find him in tears, sitting on the curb. It wasn’t because I was late; I wasn’t. It was because he’d lost his Game Boy. I sat down next to him, put my arm around his quivering shoulder and asked him to tell me what happened; where he had lost it. He looked up at me through his enormous glasses, his eyes rimmed with tears. He was maybe 8. Evidently when he’d gotten out of the bus, someone hit his arm, and his Game Boy crashed to the ground where it proceeded to slide down into the drain. The drain that was right beneath us. I got down on the ground and looked and sure enough, there it was, in all of its bright yellowness, resting on a bed of leaves. 

“Let’s go get a handle and see if we can fish it out,” I told him. This gave him hope. We buzzed home. I grabbed a broom handle, the small shovel and a roll of duct tape. We drove back, I attached the shovel to the broom handle with the tape and then laid down on the road to try to fish it out. Justin was squatted next to me, watching with great anticipation. 

I was very determined but ultimately would have probably been unsuccessful. Thankfully, two guys in a pickup truck pulled up and asked if they could help. I told them what was going on. They had a crowbar in their truck. They pried up the manhole cover leading to the drain. Justin scampered down, retrieved his Game Boy, and all was right with the world.

Kevin and I have never been fans of video games. Justin upgraded his Play Station. He may have had something else as well, though I don’t think he had a Wii. He still plays video games on his computer and can sit for hours doing nothing more than that. He’s 26 now, but still loves it. 

Kevin plays a game on the iPad. It’s solitaire. The old fashioned card game created for one person. He opens the app, shuffles the cards, and proceeds to play game after game by simply touching the screen. He loves it, and I can’t help but laugh. Justin slays dragons and progresses up through levels as he kills or whatever. Kevin turns over cards and occasionally tackles the daily challenge.

It’s the old person’s version of a video game. And I think it’s worth celebrating.

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Braking bad

by Lorin Michel Thursday, February 9, 2017 9:16 PM

Kevin’s Classic needs brakes. The 1992 Range Rover, that we bought in July for a mere $3000, has some issues. We knew it would. It’s 25 years old and has 188,000 miles on it. It was only three grand, and it’s British. In those days, British cars were still known to be somewhat problematic.

A roommate of mine in college had a 1967 MGB. It was a fabulous little car and a total broken down little piece of trouble. Her dad had a number of MGs, including Bs and midgets. They were continuously in the shop because they weren’t always running. The British aren’t necessarily known for building cars that are mechanically sound. They are, however, known for creating some truly ground-breaking, breathtaking and classic cars. Witness the James Bond Aston Martin, the fancy Jaguars. And the Land Rover.

We have had five Land Rovers over the years including the current Sport and now the Classic. I love my Sport, and Kevin loves his Classic. He wanted a truck to be able to carry around dirt and rocks and weeds and twigs and cement blocks and bags of cement and whatever else needs to be trucked. I didn’t want him to using the Sport. It’s our only “nice” car, having sold the Porsche. Enter the Classic. 

It has quirks. 

It’s in pretty good shape, even though to open the passenger door you have to pull the handle while simultaneously pushing on the door just below the window. 

A couple of weeks ago, it needed a new muffler. Kevin found a place that could replace it for $300. 

The brush guards need to be re-painted. 

The seats are fairly trashed and so they are hidden beneath cheap seat covers I got at Pep Boys. It’s a temporary fix. Eventually, Kevin is going to reupholster them. 

The dashboard was in some state of disrepair, but Kevin took it apart, fixed it and put it back together. It now works great. The two cigar lighters – yes, that’s what they’re called – aren’t in place yet; ditto the center cubby that is a bit askew. Kevin is in the process of rebuilding that. 

But it’s a great truck. The paint is decent; it has great bite on the tires. 

However the brakes aren’t so good. The rotors or something need to be replaced. There are pads and feet and calipers and bearings and other stuff that need to be changed/fixed/whatever. I don’t quite understand. So Kevin tried to explain to me why he needed to replace certain aspects in order to get the truck to stop properly without issue. This is how I heard it: 

Blah blah blah blah, the peddle, blah blah, fluid, blah blah blah blah blah blah, rotors blah calipers blah stop. Blah! 

My understanding of how a car – or truck – brakes is much more simple. Push the peddle. Car stops.

I like my explanation better. Blah blah blah.

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Let the chips fall where they may

by Lorin Michel Monday, February 6, 2017 8:02 PM

I am a chip fiend. I can't think of a single type of chip that doesn't seduce me with its promise of salted excellence. Excellence being a relative term. Chips and I have a relationship that goes back nearly as long as I can remember. When I was little, we used to eat Wise potato chips. They came in a blue bag with an owl as a mascot. My mother often included Fritos in my lunch. I had Frito Bandito erasers on my pencils in school.

As some point, Lays became my chip of choice and it remains so though I have been known to not discriminate. I like Ruffles and Kettle; I even like the no-name grocery store brands. I like homemade chips, too.

I'm a purist at heart, just regular old potato chips for me, in keeping with my general love of all things potato. Still, I have been known to dabble in jalapeño and barbecue flavors; sour cream and onion and salt and vinegar, not so much. I like dip but don't require it in order to polish off a bag.

Yes, you read that correctly. A bag.  An entire bag.

When I was young, I could literally sit down, pop a tape in the VCR, open a bag of chips and a bottle of white wine – see? This shows you exactly how young I was because I was still drinking white wine. I’d eat the entire bag. I should also say that even though I would eat like this, I remained slim and trim. In fact, I sometimes even lost weight. I no longer have that kind of luck which is why I also don't tend to eat chips at all anymore. 

Also cholesterol. And salt intake.

We rarely have chips in the house and if we do, they tend to be of the gluten-free tortilla chip variety. They're good but not nearly as good as the stuff in the bright yellow bag.

Sunday, at a Super Bowl party, I indulged in some chips. There were many kinds of dips and many types of chips including tortilla chips which are very tasty especially with chili con queso and guacamole. I didn't have too much; I've learned to be good.

“Let the chips fall where they may” is an idiom that basically means, do whatever without worrying too much about the consequences, as in: I’m going to take the job even though I probably shouldn’t and let the chips fall where they may. Or we’re going to jump off the cliff and let the chips fall where they may. 

If I eat chips these days, I have a reverse weight problem. Now, they mostly tend to fall around my mid-section, much to my consternation. Probably why I don’t eat them anymore. But during the first minutes before the Super Bowl, I did partake a bit. Then had nothing else for the rest of the game.

Except for that one Tostido dipper and some of that homemade guac. It was my way of celebrating a stunning win for the team that I still love, even though I hate myself for it.

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The self-loathing involved in loving the Patriots

by Lorin Michel Saturday, February 4, 2017 9:26 PM

1985. That was the year one of the worst teams in football (so sayeth The Bleacher Report’s Doug Baker), actually made it to the Super Bowl. It was my first year in California. I was living in San Diego, with my boyfriend, the one would eventually become my first husband, and we were invited to a Super Bowl party. We had made some friends, none of them close; none of them the kind that would prove to be lasting. It was the year of the Super Bowl Shuffle, William “the Refrigerator” Perry, and the 46 defense. The Chicago Bears went 15 and 1 that year. In the Super Bowl they met the New England Patriots who were aging and not very good. Steve Grogan was under center. He remains one of the few names some people still remember from the team. He threw one touchdown pass to the other somewhat memorable name, Irving Fryar. The rather lopsided score was 46 – 10.

I was a Patriots fan, having spent my high school and college years in the land of jumbled consonants and flattened vowels. The land of Kennedy, John Adams, and Jed Bartlet, the fictional president who would come much later. I remained a Pats fan through the many dark years that followed. When the oughts finally arrived, a new era seemed to arrive with them. It was as if having double zeros and the start of a new century gave my hapless team a chance at re-birth, and what emerged has been fairly successful. Starting especially with the 2001 season, when a then second-string quarterback took the team to the Super Bowl, it has been a ride we New Englanders enjoy to the point of distraction. 

I remember watching the Patriots take the field in 2002 in their silver, red and blue as a team rather than with traditional single player introductions. I was so proud. This was after the horror of September 11, 2001 and seeing a team named the Patriots take the field as one seemed symbolic. We were all patriots, Americans, one. New England went on to win 20-17. The dynasty was born. 

Tomorrow the Patriots will take the field again, their seventh with Tom Brady under center. And I have mixed feelings. 

Most people not living in or from New England hate the Patriots. They think they’re cheaters, they think they’re arrogant. They hate Brady and his super model wife. They hate coach hoodie. As Jack Hamilton, a writer for Slate magazine, wrote yesterday in his article How to Pull for the Patriots in the Age of Trump, “hating the Patriots is perhaps the last truly bipartisan pastime in America.”

Therein lie my mixed feelings. I have loved my team for a long time, through the very bad and through the exceptionally good, but this year, the fact that Tom Brady had a Make America Great Again hat in his locker bugs me. The fact that Belichick wrote a letter to the man who fancies himself king bugs me. The fact that Robert Kraft considers the toddler a friend bugs me – less than the Brady thing bugs me but it still bugs. Like most New Englanders, I am not a fan of the current occupant of the White House. Every state in New England voted for Hillary Clinton; Massachusetts, where the Patriots live and play, was the only state in the country where every single county was blue. It’s hard to support the team when they support the travesty that has overtaken our once great country. And actually, that’s not fair. Not all of the players support the toddler. Martellus Bennett, the star tight end in his first year with the Pats who has become a fan favorite, has already said that if the Pats win today he won’t be making the ceremonial trip to the White House. Brady didn’t go to the White House in 2015 when they beat the Seahawks. It bugged me but I managed to excuse it. It doesn’t look so good now. 

Hamilton wrote: “So not only is there a high probability that the typical Trump supporter hates the Patriots, there are an awful lot of Patriots supporters who hate Trump, too.” Count me as one, though I prefer the word “loathe.” It’s more guttural. 

So what’s a Pats fan to do when the men at the helm of the beloved team appear to support a man I loathe? A man so utterly contemptable and cruel? Honestly, I don’t know. I realize that this is only a game, but it’s such a symbol, so symptomatic of a bigger issue. Democracy versus authoritarianism. The Patriots, like all teams in football, have an authoritarian bent. Belichick is king. What he says is law, in the locker room and on the field. The players fall in line or they get kicked to Cleveland. It has worked for 17 years. 

But now, here I am. Today we’re going to a party. In Arizona, the Toddler in Chief isn’t as universally reviled as he is in Massachusetts and New England. But the Pats are reviled for all of the reasons stated above. Since I’ve lived here, I have proudly worn my Patriots attire in public and I’ve taken a lot of guff about it. Today I’ll pull my #12 NFL jersey over my head but I won’t have the same joy. I love my team and I hate myself for it. 

As Hamilton’s article said: “… rooting for the Patriots feels like rooting for the Joker in a Christopher Nolan Batman film—they’re psychotically single-minded, amoral, gallingly narcissistic, purveyors of opportunistic, meticulous chaos. 

To me it feels a little like this:

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Anadotal. The evidence is in.

by Lorin Michel Saturday, January 28, 2017 8:47 PM

My husband loves to mispronounce words. He does it on purpose, mostly to aggravate me. And mostly I let him do so. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, and an English major before that, but I’m a stickler for proper spelling and proper pronunciation. I strive to do both; sometimes I succeed. Usually when I don’t it’s not on purpose, as opposed to the husband unit.

We’ve been engaging in this dance for quite some time. Whenever I bring it up he usually tells me that it has something to do with some comedian named Norm Crosby who evidently made a fairly decent living mispronouncing things. In fact, Crosby was known as a master of the malapropism, the use of an incorrect word resulting in a “nonsensical, often humorous utterance.” So sayeth Wikipedia. So sayeth my husband, too, a man well-practiced in the art of the malaprop. 

Yesterday, in the shower, he started talking about anadotal evidence. I don’t know what the original conversation was about, and it was probably about politics, because as soon as he said anadotal, my mind went blank and my brain started to steam. 

“Anadotal,” I said in a tone so flat as to be shoe leather. 

“Yep,” he said, scrubbing shampoo into his hair. “Ana Dotal. She sat in front of me in 4th grade.” 

“Anadotal. Ana Dotal. So… the c is silent?” 

He grinned and stepped under his shower head to wash the suds away and down the drain. 

So we have anadotal evidence of things that aren’t necessarily true or based on fact, much like our current administration. There is no truth or fact because we are living in the world of alternative facts and truthy truths. 

Which leads me to today in the desert. I was in the bedroom, making the bed, or cleaning up or doing something worthwhile when I heard Kevin call to me. He sounded full of angst and/or pain. I came out quickly, wondering what could possibly be the matter. He was grimacing, standing in a weird position, with his body thrust forward, his butt pushed back. 

“What?” I asked, concerned. “Are you ok?” 

“Is there something…” he turned around… “here?” Stuck to his pants was a rather chunky piece of cholla. 

“Yep,” I said, laughing. “Want me to remove it?”

He glared at me. I grinned back.

The cholla I pulled out of the husband-unit's butt

Anecdotally, the husband unit had a piece of cactus stuck to his butt. It meant something, likely that he should stay away from cholla, and that he shouldn’t put his butt in places it doesn’t belong.

Anadotally, of course.

Duck hunting

by Lorin Michel Thursday, January 26, 2017 9:28 PM

I am not a hunter. Not only am I not a hunter, I don’t like hunting; I don’t approve of it. Once upon a time, hunting was done to feed a person’s family. I still don’t like it, but I do understand that. However, to feed your family these days, you go to the grocery store. There really isn’t a reason to hunt.

Most people hunt for fun. Big game hunters hunt for trophies. As an animal lover, I am appalled. I know that many animals in the wild are dangerous. But they’re dangerous because they need to protect themselves; they need to assert their place in the kingdom. People like the Toddler’s sons who hunt for fun make me physically ill. The dentist several years ago that shot Cecil the Lion was a source of visceral anger. I know I was – am – not alone.

Years ago, when George W was president and Darth Vader was his veep, the latter went duck hunting and shot his friend in the face. It seemed to define the very sport, and I use the term loosely. Duck hunting where the duck wasn’t shot but the perpetrators – or in the case perpetrator – were. Perfect. 

Duck hunting is the practice of hunting duck, geese or other water birds for food and sport. In western countries, like our oh-so-fine US of A, water bird hunting is prohibited and duck hunting is simply an outdoor sport. 

Which leads me to today. 

Riley has a stuffed duck. He got it a while ago and I have no real recollection when. He has opened it up several times, dutifully pulling out the stuffing and depositing it in a pile to the side. Kevin has then dutifully restuffed the duck and sewn it back up. 

Today, Riley took Duck out onto the deck. Every morning, after we return from our walk, he grabs a toy while I grab a cup of coffee and runs to the door in my office, requesting access to said deck. He pushes out the door before it’s even open, and whips his toy back and forth while growling. Then he usually drops the toy and settles down. For some reason, today the toy – Duck – found its way off the deck and down onto the rocks below. I went out to retrieve the dog and his guy, but there was no “guy.” I went to the railing. There was Duck, down below. 

“I’m going Duck hunting,” I announced as I came back in only to go out the front door. I made my way down the swale to retrieve duck and brought him back to Riley. A while later, Riley and Duck went back out onto the deck. I went down the hill to take care of my neighbor’s dogs. It was 12:30. When I came back, Riley was standing at the railing looking at me and then looking down below. Duck. Down.

I went duck hunting twice today. Both times I was successful. I admit that I liked it. If everyone hunted ducks like I did and do, the world would be a better place.

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We did it

by Lorin Michel Monday, January 23, 2017 8:54 PM

Yesterday, we had a fairly normal Sunday morning after a chaotic Saturday. We woke up and decided that we’d stay in bed for a while. Kevin got us some coffee and tossed me the remote. We watched AM Joy on MSNBC with Joy Reid, who we really like. We bopped around to some other channels, and finally got up around 10:30. We did some stuff around the house, fed the dog. I started laundry. We made another pot of coffee. After we had brunch, I turned on the television so we could watch the NFC championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons. I punched in channel 11, Fox. And got a screen that said the channel was unavailable. I called DirecTV and asked what was up and they told me they were in negotiations with the networks and that the games wouldn’t be available. 

Games? GAMES? What do you mean games? What about my Patriots? Is that not going to be on either? I grabbed the remote and turned to CBS. Same screen. 

I melted down. I ranted and raved. I screamed and yelled. Now I realize in the general scheme of things, not being able to watch a football game is minor. There is certainly enough happening in the world – hell, just in the country – that is of major concern. Not seeing the Patriots is very small. I know that. I knew that. 

But it was the last straw. Every month, I pay DirecTV a lot of money. And in return, they give us a bunch of crappy channels. And we’ve been taking this abuse for too long. You may recall that I threatened to get an antenna and do away with all of this corporate bureaucracy. 

Yesterday, we did. 

After my rant – also posted on Facebook – Kevin went to Radio Shack and bought an HD antenna, brought it home, put it together and then, to test proof-of-concept, hooked it up to a 13” flat screen TV we usually keep in the shop in the garage, and turned it on. We got nothing. 

Then it occurred to me that I probably had to reset something in the menu items, so I did, and then set the channel scanner which recorded a number of channels that were available via the antenna, most in high definition. Once it finished scanning I turned to CBS, and there was the game. My Patriots. Who had a helluva game which, I’m sure, is completely coincidental to the fact that I got to watch it via antenna rather than satellite.

I said to Kevin that maybe the reason that DirecTV was being such jerks was just the catalyst we needed to finally do what we’ve been threatening to do for months. We now have an antenna. Granted it’s in the living room, but it’s a start. This week, we’re cancelling DirecTV, and on Saturday, we’re going up on the roof to remove the satellite and replace it with the antenna.

But we did it. We bought an antenna. And it works. Soon we’ll be watching “free” TV and living it out loud.

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Is that deer wearing makeup?

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, January 18, 2017 9:52 PM

For Christmas, Kevin got a new camera. When we were in Paso Robles for Thanksgiving, Roy – who is a photography genius – had Kevin use his Nikon Coolpix to see if he liked it. Both of them also have regular big Nikon cameras, but this is a uni-body, with an amazing zoom, and a large view screen. It puts the old Coolpix, which Roy had, too, to shame. 

At Christmas, Roy and Bobbi gave Kevin his own Coolpix. It’s even the same color as Roy’s, kind of a metallic dark purple. It’s just a great camera, something I could probably even use should I feel the need to take photos with anything other than my iPhone, which works pretty well for me. 

Ever since Christmas, Kevin has been experimenting with the camera, figuring out different settings, and how best to create clear, beautiful photos. He loves it, it’s easy to use, and the photos it takes are really remarkable. The zoom feature is actually better than the zoom lens he currently has for his other Nikon. He’s like a kid in a candy store. 

The other day, we had tremendous fog and he was able to get some wonderful photos of it as it drifted in and up to surround the house. The next day, when it was still cold and damp, he took a great shot of a power plant’s steam as it rose up through the morning and into the clouds. The plant is 15 miles or so away. It looked like a bomb had gone off (a reality that seems to be coming more and more likely… at least after the horror that happens this Friday). 

The following morning, we had deer. At least five of them traversed the back hillside, slowly, deliberately and elegantly. Every time we see them, and it happens fairly frequently, we stop whatever we’re doing and watch them. They’re just beautiful creatures. While Riley whined and wished to be out there with them, Kevin grabbed his camera. He took a bunch of photos as they meandered across the hill, munching and enjoying they day. 

I hadn’t seen the photos until this morning when he downloaded them onto his computer. He called me in and we looked through them. Some were out of focus, some were hard to decipher, others just showed the deer butts as they ascended the hill. But then he happened on one and he stopped. He started to laugh. 

“Is that deer wearing makeup?” he asked. 

I got closer to the screen and it did, in fact, look like she was all deered up for a day on the town. Or hill. 

“It looks like she got ready this morning and is just out, strutting her stuff, showing off how pretty she is,” he said.

She was pretty, and definitely something to celebrate.  

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