So Long 2011

This has been quite the year.  I’ve never experienced losing so many friends as I have this year.   I’d attempt to list them all, but I’m afraid I might forget someone.  The last time I counted, it was 8.  Since then, I’ve lost 2-3 more.  Yeah, it’s been about one a month this year.

My faith in God has been what has kept me thinking positive regarding their deaths.  I know this life is just a small point of time within our existence.  Each of those who have moved on still live.  And, no, I do not mean they live in our memories; that’s obvious.  They also live in another realm hidden to us.  They will some day rise from the dead as resurrected beings – never to die again.

All of this has made me more conscious of my own mortality.  I try each day to live as though I may not have tomorrow.  I also try to live in such a way not to speed the process.  God will bring us home when he’s ready for us to return.

It has been a milestone year for me too.  Of all the birthdays I’ve had in the past, 2011 marks probably the most monumental mile stone.  It is the year I turned 55.

Why is 55 important?

A tax accountant can tell you, but I will too.  If you’ve put in at least 20 years in a job, and you are over 55, you can retire without tax penalties.


2011 has also been a dramatic year when it comes to world events and politics.  These are scary times.  Recent news reports say that in the U.S.A., 48% of the people are on welfare.  Several cities experienced protest where people were demanding entitlements from the government.  Yes, in so few short years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, people in THIS country are demanding the government take care of them.

Apocalyptic Preparedness - Model: Rebecca Holtz

I do not think I’ve ever seen a period of time when so many politicians cannot be trusted.  I recall the shock of walking the halls of my high school when someone yelled, “Hey, Agnew resigned!”   That was shortly followed by the resignation of Richard Nixon.  The irony is I now look back and say to myself that Agnew and Nixon at least had the decency to quit.  Now, nearly 40 years later, I find myself saying, “Those were the good ol’ days.”

On a brighter note, 2011 has been the busiest year I’ve ever had – professionally and personally.  Working hard has always felt good.  If you’ve been following my blog you know I like shoveling snow because I like that you can see the results of your hard work right away.  Well, 2011 started off with a lot of snow shoveling, but Elizabethe and I also canned a lot of food from our garden, worked a lot on the house, and we both feel a great deal of accomplishment.

I guess 20 years from now I’ll look back on 2011 and remember all those dear friends who left this life.  It won’t be with sadness, but fondness that I knew such wonderful people.

May 2012 be a good year.  May each of you turn to God for wisdom before you make important decisions.  There will be many before you in this year to come.  May we all work together to make the world around us a better place.

Here’s to a bright and prosperous 2012.

Elizabethe’s Last Day at Work

It was Elizabethe’s last day at her work.  They invited me to her farewell luncheon.  It was kind of funny to hear them talk about what a great worker she is, yet she’s the one being laid-off.  Oh well.  As Elizabethe put it, she would have rather it been her than some of her co-workers.

In the mean time, if anyone has a need for some computer work (Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, Access, etc.) I’m sure she’d appreciate the work.  You know … no job too small.

One of her co-workers calls her “Wizard”.  I jokingly said to him, “She takes Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover.”  (Well, she really does.  At least, she’s prepared to if she gets any contracting jobs.

The lunch was nice.  They sent out for Dinosaur BBQ.  I had a brisket melt, and Elizabethe had the pork-bello.  Hmmm… my impression with Dinosaur BBQ is this… eat at the restaurant.   BBQ and fixings need to be hot out of the kitchen.  When they cool down too much they just don’t have the same appeal.


I had a steampunk-theme shoot after work.  This young lady is an actress and seamstress.  She had the most amazing collection of wardrobe.

Steampunk - Model: Rebecca

Just a reminder… If you want theme-style portraits, contact my studio.  We have wardrobe items that can be used along with your wardrobe.  We have props.  But, more importantly, we have a fun time.  I take my time with clients so that I can capture their best.  As my tag line says – Capturing Beauty!   That’s what I do!


My wife is as short-timer at her work.  Her last day is tomorrow.  She came down the the car with boxes full of plants and stuff she’s had at her desk the last 4 years.  I commented, “You must think my car is a truck.”

Not much going on today.  The weather has been strange.   All that snow they keep talking about just isn’t coming.

Wyoming Type Snow

I’m not talking about Wyoming, New York, I’m talking about that high-plains state in the west.  I remember living in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and getting these snows where the wind just blew and the snow fell, and there was nothing left on the ground.  That is how our snow was today.

My thermometer read 32F, but with this wind chill, I’m sure it felt a lot colder.  It was hard to tell if it was new snow, or just snow from Canada just passing through as it made its way south for the winter.  It was not a day for being outside.  Brrrrrr

I had two shoots today.  It was an extended family and they were a fun and joyful bunch.  The grand-daughter was a cheerful 6-year-old who not camera-shy.

Elizabethe has two more days of work after today.  They have done away with her position at her work.  She’ll be helping me around the studio and taking some temp work, but she’s looking forward to spending a little more time at home.

Rainy with a Chance of Snow

Today was wet and nasty outside.  It was more like a San Francisco winter day than it was a Rochester winter day.

It was really difficult getting back in to the swing of things at work.  Hardly anyone is around, and it is hard to coordinate work if there is nobody to coordinate with.

I picked up Elizabethe after work and we headed to the temple.  About the time we got there, the rain started looking more like snow.  It is still to warm for it to actually snow.

We had a nice evening at the temple, and we had quite a few patrons.  Things moved along rather quickly.

Boxing Day 2011

Well, that’s what the people north of us call it.  For me, it was another quiet day.

I managed to take a couple of walks.  One down to the village to photograph the front of the Village Hall.  The other out at the Smith Farm and a short one at Hill Cumorah.


Technical trouble fixed.  Somedays I just hate computers.  This time, a blue-screen-of-death hit after updating a printer driver.  But, after many prayers things are working now.

Palmyra Village Hall


Merry Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

Our Sacrament Meeting was well attended this morning.  The bishop and Brother Grier talked, the choir and Primary children sang, and we had a congregational hymn.  As I was playing the postlude, Sister Green sat down at the piano and began playing along.  I told her, “I think this is the first time I’ve ever jammed during postlude.”  LOL

We rushed home and got things ready for the missionaries.  The first thing we did was we gave them their stockings…

Sisters Carver and Thomas and Elders Priesendorf and Teichert

We then moved to the kitchen for breakfast.





French Toast



All the trimmings

Scrambled eggs, waffles, syrups, and more were there for this Christmas morning feast.  We had more than enough food.

Missionaries Ready to Eat

While we ate we talked about Christmas traditions and memories.  We had a nice visit, and then we sent the missionaries (full) on their way.

We made a short visit to Enrico and Louise, as Enrico was feeling ill.  We then spent the rest of the afternoon texting and talking to kids and grandkids.

Winter for a Minute

We actually had some snow again.  Not a lot, and it didn’t stick around, but it was enough to make it look like it should be Christmas.  It’s pretty pathetic how little snow we get, and then to get even less is disappointing.  After all, I have hardly had a chance to use my Man Plow (yes, that is what it is called.)

I spent a good portion of the day getting ready for the breakfast tomorrow for the missionaries.  I got the eggs all mixed up and took food out of the freezer to thaw.

I’ve also been making some creme fraise.  You heat 1 cup of heavy cream to 104F and then stir in 1T of cultured buttermilk.  You then let it sit in a warm place for 24-48 hours (until it is very thick).  Mine was started yesterday and is starting to thicken.  It should be ready by tomorrow.

Elizabethe had me take her to Walmart at the last-minute.  There was hardly anyone out shopping. (Which is the way I think it should be on Christmas Eve.  In fact, it wouldn’t bother me a bit if stores were closed.)

Tomorrow’s the big day.  We’re calling it quits for the day.

Bang, Bang, Bang, click, click

This was a strange day.  It started out kind of gray and drizzly.  Then, about the time I was supposed to go shooting with some friends, it started raining.   I took advantage of the rain and went to Walmart to pick up some last-minute things.   After coming home and eating some lunch, it cleared up.

I called my friend and said, “Hey, it’s clear, let’s go shooting.”

Just then, it started to snow.

A little later, he called back and said it looks like we have a break in the weather, so I jumped in the car and drove out to our friend’s place to shoot.


On about my 4th re-load, my gun went “click”.  I popped the shell out, and the primer was peened just a little.  So, I put a new round in.  “click”  Again, it peened it, but it didn’t fire.

Ugh.  I just had it in the shop too.

I guess the good news is, when it is cold, it fires.  When it is hot, it doesn’t.

You can hear it click in this video.  <– click on video

I’ll clean and oil it and try again.  If it still fails, it is back to Stoeger… again.

Sherlock Holmes

Today was a day of errands and catching up on computer work for the studio (retouching and that sort of stuff.)

So, about 4pm, I reminded Elizabethe we wanted to go see the latest Sherlock Holmes movie.  So, she called Louise and asked if Enrico and her would like to meet us at the Canaltown Cinema.  (You’ve got to love that place – best movie theatre around.)

They did, and we enjoyed the latest Sherlock Holmes.  Very action packed and suspenseful.

I actually got my morning walk in.  I took some postcards I’ve been collecting with me and I set out to find these historic Palmyra buildings.  Here’s a preview of the type of stuff you might see in my next Palmyra book…

Church on NYSR 21 - Before


Reform Church - After

As you can see, this one has not changed much.  I’ll save the rest for the book.  After all, I don’t want to spoil the surprise.