The Eye of the Sun

You can see my wordless Wednesday post for 06/10/2105 at A lot has changed in 4 years. We’ve gone from super dry with forest fires on this date in 2011 to above average snowfall and rainfall for the first 6 months of 2015. I also no longer have any Olympus digital cameras or lenses (I’m down to only two digital DSLR cameras and lenses), and I have gone from zero film cameras in 2011 to three 4X5 inch view cameras, two 6X7 medium format cameras, one 35mm film camera and a complete darkroom in 2015.

Originally posted on June 10, 2011: I got a new lens — an Olympus 80mm to 300mm zoom lens. It’s not fast 1:4-5.6, but it’s very light and compact. Since it was on special for under $100, I couldn’t pass it up. All the photos tonight, except for the bird, were done with the new lens. Since the smoke wasn’t as bad tonight, I got a photo of a yellow ball of sun behind a dandelion. There was enough smoke to get a clean edge on the sun, but the smoke wasn’t thick enough to turn the sun hot pink like that past few evenings. This morning I got an orange sun rising behind Iceberg. Queen Elizabeth looked great tonight despite the fact that many of her leaves were dirty and wilted from the smoke and ash. Rainbow Sorbet was in fine form for the new lens tonight. A lot more roses are blooming, and our garden is starting to actually look like a garden instead of a post -apocalyptic set for a Rose Warrior movie.

Queen Elizabeth
Ice Berg
Bird on a fountain at one of the gardens on the Corrales Garden Tour
Rainbow Sorbet

Sculpture: Corrales Garden Tour (part 3)

You can see photos of the first garden we visited on the 2015 Corrales Garden Tour at Remember that this is a blog I originally posted on this same date 4 years ago. I’ve been on an annual schedule for follow up visits to the oncologist for 2 years now.

Originally posted June 9, 2011: When I left the office at 6:00 pm, I could see the smoke rolling in from the west. The last photo in the series tonight is a panorama of the smoke in the sky from the parking lot behind the office. On my way home, the Sandias were clear to the east, as the smoke advanced from the west. I stopped by the grocery store about 6:30 pm, and when I came out a 7:15, I could not see the mountains and the sun was complete obliterated.  Laurie said she saw the sun go through its yellow-orange to dark hot pink shift before it faded to nothing.

I didn’t hear from the doctor today, so I assuming that the radiologist hadn’t looked at the scan or that he determined that it wouldn’t be easy to biopsy either node. The doctor didn’t say she would call either way. I think it was only if they were going to schedule a biopsy; but she could call tomorrow.

The first six photos show sculptures from each of the gardens we toured on Sunday.

Flowers: Corrales Garden Tour (part 2)

Photos from the 2015 Corrales Garden Tour can be seen at Interesting that the post for the 2015 garden tour coincides with part 2 of the Corrales Garden Tour in 2011.

Originally posted on June 8, 2011: The results of my PET scan last Tuesday are that, while most everything is normal, a couple of lymph nodes showed FDG activity. One had a standard uptake value (SUV)of 4.2, while the other was between 3.4-3.8. Anything over 3 shows excessive metabolic activity and is considered suspicious — however, the SUV is not necessarily an indication of cancer since an infection or inflammation will show increased metabolic activity.

My doctor is having a radiologist take a closer look at the PET scan to see if they can easily biopsy one of the active lymph nodes. She scheduled another PET scan in 8 weeks. If there had been no FDG activity, the next PET scan would have been scheduled in six months.

Our general feeling is that the FDG activity in the two lymph nodes is not a relapse, as a relapse normally shows FDG activity throughout the lymph system. However, since my lymphoma was very aggressive, we have to look at all suspicious activity closely; if it turns out there is indication of a relapse then we can treat it immediately.

The photos tonight are flowers from each of the gardens we visited on the Corrales Garden Tour on Sunday.

The Week: June 1st — 7th

Click here —> Photo of the Day, Etc to see the week of June 1st — 7th at a glance.


June 1st: Cute birds —

June 2nd: New kitten on the block —

June 3rd: Hot on weird & wordless Wednesday —

June 4th: Shot from the 16th floor —

June 5th: Hummingbirds —

June 6th: Middle of the road —

June 7th: Sasha after her first week with us —

Smoke From A Distant Fire

Smokey Sun Rise

We’ve had Sasha for a week now, so you can see annoying kitten photos at On this date in 2011, it was super dry and wild fires were chocking us out with smoke. There’s been many changes since 2011 — the power line in the 6th photo was taken out when we upgraded our electrical service in 2012.

June 7, 2011: I was awakened by a yellow-orange glow around 6:00 am this morning, grabbed my camera, went outside and saw a yellow ball of sun creating a yellow-orange glow in the smokey sky rising in the northeast. When I got home at 5:30 pm, the air was fairly clear. I hooked up drippers, then walked the garden to see what was blooming and if any critters were hanging around the garden.

There were a few more roses blooming, but, besides America, which has been putting out wonderful blooms under the canopy, only a few were looking good, with Christopher Marlow and What A Peach putting on their best faces.

About 7:00 pm, Laurie came in and said “you have to come out and see the sun.” The sun was just a reddish/yellow ball in the sky. I photographed it with the 70 mm macro lens, which is a pretty close to a normal view, then with a 400 mm telephoto lens. Not long after photographing the sun, the smoke and ash descended on us. After sunset, there was a strange yellow/orange glow that became more yellow just before it got dark. The color was difficult to capture, but I came close on “Smoked Dusk.”

I went out at 9:30 to check the name tags on Christopher Marlow and What a Peach and discovered the bloom on What a Peach I had photographed three and a half hours earlier had been transformed into a crumpled-up wreck by the smoke and ash. The ash looked like snow falling through the beam of my flashlight, and the air was thick with the smell of smoke.

Christopher Marlow
What a Peach at 6:00 pm before the smoke got bad
Smoked sun at 7:00 pm with 70 mm lens
Smoked sun at 7:00 pm with 400 mm lens
Dirty yellow sky at 8:15 pm
What a Peach at 9:30 pm after being in the smoke for several hours

Life in the Ponds: Corrales Garden Tour (part 1)

Today’s blog for June 6, 2015 was taken from the center at June 6, 2011 fell on the Sunday of the Corrales Garden Tour. This year’s garden tour is tomorrow, June 7, 2015, so photos of the 2015 Corrales Garden Tour should coincide with Part 2 from 2011 when I repost it on June 8, 2015. Confused?

June 6, 2011: We did the Corrales Garden Tour today. Six gardens were on the tour: three residential/commercial, three solely residential. What was most interesting for me is that all six had some type of water feature, from water gurgling over stones to large ponds with water lilies, gold fish, bull frogs, turtles and koi. So tonight’s theme is life in the ponds in part 1 of the Corrales Garden Tour.

The large ponds with critters were most interesting. The first garden we visited had two large green houses and a large pond as part of their garden. The owners were wholesalers of a variety of plants. Their pond had gold fish, turtles and bull frogs along with various aquatic plants. I discovered they had the bull frogs after a butterfly landed on a plant and a large critter jumped out of the foliage to get it. That critter was a large bull frog, who proudly floated for awhile after having his butterfly breakfast, which allowed me to photograph him. One of the turtles floated along the surface for a few minutes, then it would dive to the bottom of the pond.

The last garden on the tour also had a large pond which had koi and a lot of blooming water lilies. Koi are much more interesting than gold fish and, in turn, produced much more interesting photographs.

We’re sitting out on the deck listening to Luis Miguel in concert at the Sandia Casino Amphitheater. Dolly Parton will be there on July 20th. She’s sold out, but we will no doubt be able to hear her loud and clear. Santana is scheduled in September. He’s sold out, as well.

Kitty on a Cookbook

My regular post for June 5, 2015 has photos of hummingbirds. You can see it at This post was from June 5, 2011.  Stretch, lying on the cookbook, died of renal failure in 2013. We had treated him for renal failure since 2008, so he had a good life given his condition. Mama Manx, in the 4th photo, was Stretch’s mother. She died early this year from a bout of kitty flu. We had treated her for various issues for several years as well.

June 5, 2011: I  squeezed a cup of lime juice, and poured it into the blender with a cup of tequila and a cup of sugar to make frozen margaritas. I plugged in the blender and foosh, half the mixture was all over the kitchen and me. The blender had been turned on before I plugged it in, and I hadn’t noticed the switch was on, because it’s never “on” unless you turn it “on”. This is a big, 3.5 HP, industrial blender that sounds like a 747 when you turn it on, so it’s not one anyone would simply “unplug” to turn it off. It has two switches: one for the two speeds and the other for pulse. The switches are well designed so that they are not easy to “accidentally” turn on, so we’re thinking it was the cats or the ghosts that turned in on while it was unplugged. The margaritas turned out well despite coating the kitchen and myself with half the base before I got the ice in it.

After discussing the possibility of the ghosts turning it on, we turned on Coast to Coast AM and they were playing an old Art Bell show with two EVP specialists for his guests. The had recordings of ghosts that were pretty clear and understandable. Real or not, they were pretty eerie to listen to.

Laurie thinks I’m getting too good at making messes in the kitchen. Last week I experimented with using a side scraping beater in the Kitchen Aid to whip cream. All it did was get cream all over the kitchen. So I switched to the whisk beater, which does a really great job whipping cream, except it leaves un-whipped cream since it doesn’t touch the sides or bottom of the bowl.

Stretch was holding down the cookbook for use tonight. He figured if the ghosts were being ornery they might try to take off with the cookbook.  I found a tiny grasshopper on a dandelion this morning, and Carefree Spirit, a shrub rose, is putting out some nice blooms. Mama Manx was lying on the table, peeking through the leaves. Finally, we have a bloom on Berries & Cream that is “not even”, giving it an interesting shape.

Carefree Spirit
Mama Manx
Berries & Cream — Not Even!