I have been waiting almost a year for this day. It is officially 60 days away from my 40th anniversary of marriage to my sweetheart Julianne.
What a momentous time for us! The past 40 years have brought so many wonderful blessings into our lives and offered us so many wonderful opportunities to grow closer and to learn about life and love. I have cherished every moment, even the difficult and challenging times.
Over the next 59 days, I plan to post a different outlook on my sweet wife and what I cherish most about having been with her for 40 years. It has been a wonderful journey and I hope that it continues on for much longer.
Julianne and David – May 2019
All I want to say in this post, is that it has been a ride! In 40 years we have had five wonderful children, all of whom are, at the time of this writing, in their 30s. Four of our children have married and we have, through them, 10 wonderful and talented grandchildren, including two teenagers! In our 40 years we have lived in nine different cities, including four years in Oita, Japan. Both Julianne and I have had a variety of jobs, some full-time and some part-time over the years. Over the next 59 posts I will mention some of those as well. During the course of our marriage, we have owned 10 different cars, we have lived in 13 different houses and/or apartments, we have traveled all over the country both with our family and together as a couple. In 45 days from now we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of moving into the house that we currently reside in.
Through the ups and downs, the challenges and successes, the difficult times in the joyful times, ours has been an abundant journey. For this I can’t my blessings. I hope you will follow us over the course of the next 59 days as I spend a portion of each day celebrating The absolute love of my life, the woman and friend who is stuck with me through thick and thin over these 40 years.
Taking a selfie in San Francisco – photo by Carla Lockwood
Over the year 2015 I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to both coasts and a few other places. I also made a few trips to local areas to score some “joy points.” With camera in hand I took 1000s of photos and following are some of my favorites from the year, with a brief story behind each photo.
Among the 1000s of photos are selfies, family shots, friends, scenery, wall art, nature and an abundance of other photos. I will not include selfies in this collection as I do a separate post on selfies and the fun I have with those. Rather, this post is a collection of my favorites (and in some cases there are some viewer favorites as well).
Top Ten Photos from 2015
#1 – Horses Grazing in Fall Colors – This photo was probably the hit of the year. I posted this and a few others on November 3 in a Photo Gallery on Facebook (see original post here) and it had over 3000 shares. This photo was taken on a drive back from Louisville. I decided to take Old Frankfort Pike, which is one of the Bluegrass Area’s most famed back road drives. When I saw this variety of horses, I checked my rearview mirror and saw there was no traffic coming. I stopped on the road, opened the car window and took this shot, hoping it would come out.
#2 – Seagull Eye – We visited our daughter and her children in Port Orchard, WA in late July and early August. On one of the days we took a ferry across the Puget Sound into Seattle. While on the boat, some folks were feeding the seagulls and I was able to grab some nice shots. This one, in my opinion, was a doozie. I took this with my telephoto lens, so I was able to get very close.
#3 – Fog Over Golden Gate Bridge – During the Memorial Day weekend I had the unique opportunity to attend Woodflock, a music/camping adventure sponsored by singer/songwriter/poet/storyteller/artist Antsy McClain. It has been held for 6 years in a row in at a campground in Red Bluff, CA. I flew out there and was picked up by Carla Lockwood, who was kind enough to be my host for a couple of days and take me up to Red Bluff from San Francisco. Along the way, we stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge for a spectacular view of the bridge and also of San Francisco across the bay.
#4 – Geese in Flight at Sunrise – I make numerous visits to Jacobson Lake in Lexington. It is my “Joy Point Factory” as I can go on an early morning, catch a sunrise, look at the birds and just relax from the cares of the world. On one glorious sunrise morning, I caught this flock of geese taking off. I have many photos of geese in flight, but this one was different as the sunlight glowed through the translucent wingtips of the birds. It was a lucky catch.
#5 – Sunrise on Old Orchard Beach – In September we made a visit to my son Seth and his family on the occasion of the birth of our 10th grandchild. My daughter Marissa and her children accompanied us on this trip and, during the visit, we ventured on a two day trip to Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. We spent the night at Old Orchard Beach, south of Portland, ME and I got up early in hopes of catching the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. I capture over 50 shots of this amazing morning, but this one was the best of the lot. This was not filtered…it is exactly as it looked that morning.
#6 – Raindrops on Lilacs – We have a huge lilac bush that grows on the side of our house next to our deck. In the spring it is a wonderful sight to behold. One morning it had rained early and I went out on the deck and noticed droplets still remaining on the flowers. I was able to capture the simple beauty as well as the miniature reflection in the raindrop.
#7 – Blue Heron in the Morning – I have noted many times on my blogs that I have a fascination with blue herons. When I make my frequent trips to Jacobson Lake, I am always on the lookout. One morning, while driving close by the lake, there was a heron on the side of the road standing in low water. These are nervous birds and they typically take off. But, this one sat there. I rolled down the car window and was able to capture the closeup beauty of this magnificent bird. He/she was literally only 7 feet away from me and didn’t take off until it got aggravated by me sitting there for five minutes enjoying its beauty. I scored extra joy points that day!
#8 – Sunbeams Over Lexington – During 2015 I did a good deal of work in downtown Lexington. One morning as I parked in the Victorian Square parking structure, I saw a glorious sunburst floating over Rupp Arena. I took a few shots and was fortunate to capture one that really represented it well.
#9 – Sunrise at Jacobson Lake – I made 20 or 30 visits to Jacobson Lake during the year. Some mornings were not as vivid, but brought me the relaxation I desired. But there were the rare morning where the clouds and sunrise were phenomenal. November had two or three of these. The sunrise captured below was taken on the morning before Thanksgiving.
#10 – Full Moon – 2015 seemed to offer some amazing full moons, more than I can recall (perhaps we had more clear skies this year!) I had a couple of opportunities to snap some great full moon shots. This one was probably my best one, taken in the summer.
Of course, only 10 photos really does no justice for the year as there were many more good ones. Following are quite a few others that I would like to share. Just a title and the photo.
Sunset over Mt. Rainier as seen from the Puget Sound
A flower photographed at Tacoma Zoo
Turtle Family – Jacobson Lake, Lexington
A time lapse of Lunar Eclipse in November
Different textures on a flower
Sunrise on Ice…sun glow through icicles on back deck in February
A field of tulips at the Kentucky Arboretum near University of Kentucky
Clouds with a unique texture taken in March in Lexington
Sunrise as seen from downtown Lexington
Geese in formation flying over Lexington in November
Moon glows over a winter tree in January near Versailles, KY
Golden Gate Bridge in May
Fall colors in Horse Farm Country
Russian Thistle taken at Sundance Resort in Utah in June
A squirrel readies a nut for his food storage
Sunrise over Jacobson Lake in November
Pink clouds tinted by the early sunrise in Lexington
A blue heron gracefully glides over the ice on Jacobson Lake
February snow in Horse Farm Country
A turkey vulture spotted in a neighborhood takes flight
Seagulls in flight over Puget Sound in Washington
Gazing away on a lovely autumn morning
Tacoma Narrows Bridge at sunset
A lilac blossom prepares to bloom
Geese landing in the water at sunrise
Morning Dove as seen from a downtown office window in Lexington
Foggy Sunrise as seen from Delong Road near Lexington
Rocky Mountains of Colorado as seen from a plane
The eyes of a metal sculpture glow with the sunrise — taken at Singletary Center on University of Kentucky Campus
A couple of weeks ago, Julianne and I visited a new place called Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina that recently opened in Lexington. Always on the lookout for something yummy, fresh and healthy (hopefully), we dropped in and had a good meal.
While there, I noticed the poster which I have added on the left. At that time I decided I wanted to try their BurHEATo™, which they claim is the “World’s Hottest Burrito.”
This guy is made with the Guinness World Record®’s Hottest Chile Pepper: Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper® in partnership with the PuckerButt Pepper Company from South Carolina. The Reaper Sauce is packed with the World’s Hottest Pepper, and just the right amount of all-natural spices.
The Reaper Sauce made from Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper®
So, this evening we dropped by and I decided to try it out! They have a deal, if you video yourself eating it, they will give you a t-shirt. So, here is my video, in two parts…and there was no cheating. I devoured it with happiness!!
Sumoflam explaining the BurHEATo before indulging
The BurHEATo™ is made with grilled chicken, black beans, rice, pueblo corn salsa, tomatoes, cilantro, and only one tablespoon of Smokin Ed’s Carolina Reaper® pepper sauce. It was filling and satisfying…and really could have been hotter….
Part 1: The Beginning…Sumoflam vs. the BurHEATo™
Finishing off the BurHEATo
And here is Part 2: Finishing it off without a tear!
This was definitely fun and tasty. It may not be suitable for some palates, but for mine…YUMMIFEROUS!! (OK – I’ll confess here that it did cause my lips to tingle pretty good…but oh, the capsaicin rush!!)
I have always enjoyed spending time watching nature. I enjoy the birds and the bees, the squirrels, the colorful flowers and trees, lakes and mountains. I am also fascinated by what I see in the skies and in the heavens.
Hidden Sun on a cloudy day in Lexington
Over the past year I’ve become enamored with what I am terming “Sky Art.” This represents the clouds in the sky and all their various shapes, the numerous crisscrossing of airline contrails, and the beautiful watercolor spectrum of sunsets and sunrises.
Jets look like meteors streaking across the sky
I have probably taken hundreds of photos of the sky over the last couple of years, and more specifically dozens of the contrail “Sky Art” that I see on an almost daily basis when the skies are blue.
Making Contrails – a plane flies high over Lexington
I have done some research on contrails just so that I can understand how these vapors form those nice straight lines across the sky and then the winds spread them out. Some people call them “chemtrails”, but the actual term is “contrails.” Contrails is short for condensation trails.
Wispy orange clouds
Spooky gray evening clouds
Of course, not all sky art is a result of contrails. I have seen numerous clouds that are wispy and that have been windblown and have these unique ghostlike shapes. I’ve seen cloud formations that look like a furrowed and plowed farm. Indeed, there are some formations that I wonder how they could form naturally with such symmetry.
Waterfall looking clouds
“Furrowed Clouds” over Lexington captured one early morning.
Furrows over downtown Lexington
Wind whipped cloud arch
But then it brings me back to flowers and other items in nature that also have symmetry.
Most of the contrail photos I have were taken above Lexington. Actually, they were taken from Lexington looking up!
Streaks criss-crossing in the sky
X marks the spot
Sky designs being created as a jet leaves its mark in the fray
Orange contrail spread across the sky
Wildcat Claw Marks across the Lexington sky?
Our world is blessed with many amazing sunrises and sunsets. And I have seen a great share of them myself. I have a friend, Antsy McClain, is a song called “Watercolor Skies” and there are times that I see just such skies.
Watercolor Skies at sunrise over Kansas
Purples and Pinks over Lexington (photo NOT adjusted)
Then, there are the fiery skies. Bright orange glows in the sky from this from the sun beaming off of the clouds. Indeed, the variety of “Sky Art” that we experience as humans is absolutely astounding! I truly feel very blessed to have eyes that are able to witness such natural spectacles.
Clouds at sunset over a mountain in Northern Montana
Sunset in North Carolina leaves a bright orange glow behind a silhouetted cloud
Sunrise glow over Jacobson Lake in Lexington
Steam rises in front of the sunrise on a cold winter morning
Evening sky looks like it is on fire
Fiery Orange sky as seen from North Lexington
After all the glorious sites there are the unusual and strange. For instance, how about this alligator trying to bite the sun?
Want to drive to Georgia in the evening one night we were approaching a rainstorm. Down the freeway from us was this giant cloud with two holes in it, that looked like a giant monster getting ready to eat the cars heading down the highway.
The Cloud Monster – taken while heading south on I-75 in North Georgia
A cloud looks like a Firebird over Lexington
The moon glows through the clouds making a “Spooky Eye”
Monsters aren’t the only creations in the sky. How about State shapes? I have two examples of “Kentucky” in the clouds.
Kentucky over Kentucky
Kentucky shaped cloud above the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico
Finally, there is the “Silver Lining” of clouds. People often talk about that, but here a couple examples of clouds with the silver lining. To me looking at the skies ALWAYS has a silver lining!
Silver Lining 2 as seen from the base of the St. Louis Arch
I want to close off with a few more unique shots of clouds, skies, sun and moon.
Streaky clouds hide the sun
Trees and Clouds
Gray streaks in the sky
Geese in formation below the clouds
Morning Moon in the blue sky
Sun over the clouds taken from an airplane (as we made contrails??)
The bigger story to me, is how Facebook has been a catalyst for the creation of new relationships. Anyone that uses Facebook knows that when you hook up with someone on Facebook you have “friended” them on Facebook. Currently I have 1468 friends on Facebook. I don’t say that to brag or to boast or for any other reason but to say that I have all of these “relationships”. It causes me to reflect on what the meaning of “friend” is now that we have Social Media.
When I was in high school in the 1970s I moved three different times and went to three different high schools. I didn’t have an opportunity to make what I would call “long term” friendships. But, in each of my three high schools (Charles M Russell in Great Falls, MT; Bozeeman Senior in Bozeman, MT; and Murray High in Murray, Utah), I was able to garner some good friendships. I was always an anti-clique friend to many, taking pride in the fact that I was able to cross numerous thresholds to become friends with members of the band, athletes and members of other groups and clubs in school. Nevertheless, each of my friends typically had something in common with me whether it was being a band member, or a cross-country team member, or a member of the journalism club, we always had something in common.
Currently I really have very few relationships with individuals from my first two high schools in Great Falls and Bozeman, but I have a lot of good relationships with many from my Murray high school days. I’m not sure what the difference was since I spent the same amount of time at each school, but perhaps it was that I graduated from Murray High and that I joined the LDS (Mormon) church in Murray that many of my friends, most of whom were Mormons, probably deepened the relationships that I had. To this day some of them are still very close friends.
David hanging with Brett and Scott in 1976
Back then our main means of communication was meeting and doing things together and talking on the phone. Very few of us wrote letters, and indeed, I was not a very good letter writer either. When I went to Japan to serve as a missionary for the LDS church, I did write a lot of letters and receive a lot of letters but most of them were from family members and not my friends. When I returned home in 1978, I once again hooked up with friends and we would go to movies, rock concerts and out to eat and other things that young twentysomethings did back then.
Writing Letters home in 1977
With the birth of America Online and appearance of email, the opportunity to hook up with friends via electronic communication became appealing to many of us. It was easier to start catching up with people and doing it via email. And, of course, in those days, we’re talking the 1990s, email was hip.
But then about 10 years ago this new Internet thing called Facebook was born. It was the birth of social networking as we know it today. Initially it was college students and high school kids that caught on and started using Facebook. Adults like me, then in my 40s, just didn’t get it yet. But, responsible parents started checking in on their children’s Internet activities which included Facebook. We then wondered about ourselves participating in Facebook. At the same time, there were other groups trying to do the same thing. MySpace was born, and MySpace ended up being for musicians and it still is out there but nothing like Facebook. Others tried as well, but Facebook always seem to be the one to get the thumbs up from everyone.
So, on June 12, 2007 I joined Facebook (as you can see from my video). I didn’t really begin posting much until around December of that year when my son Seth got married and I began using it as a photo news site. Since that time I have posted 1000s of photos on Facebook, including 100s of “selfies” that I have taken from my road trips. Many photos are with my friends.
Sumoflam with friend Antsy McClain – 2013
More importantly though, Facebook has seemingly brought about a new definition of “friend.” A search on Google defines friend as “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.” My definition of friend is close “a person with a common interest and one with a mutual affectionate relationship.” By affectionate I am not referring to the Touchy Feely kind of affection, but rather a relationship where you see someone or do something with them quite often. But, ironically, for many, some Facebook “friends” may be actually be people we have never met in person. Can you really become a friend with someone you have never met? That is the real gist of this post.
Well, much like my days in high school where I had friends across different spectrums of groups and organizations, I believe that I have been able to do the same thing through social networking whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Google+ or other forms of social networking. Indeed, I have what I would call different layers of friends on Facebook and these other social networks.
To be sure, I have a plethora of “friends” from all walks of life….Mormons, Catholics, Jews, Gays, Atheists, Right Wing Tea Party activists and left-leaning politocos, athletes, musicians, artists, photographers, vegans, food junkies, videographers, sports writers, authors, publishers, movie producers, truck drivers, computer nerds.
Not counting my family “friends” on Facebook, perhaps my first and biggest layer of friends are those individuals with whom I have day to day and/or week to week interpersonal relationships, whether they be through business, church, or other activities that I participate in at this point. These are people that I physically know, that I have seen, that I have shaken hands with or given a hug to. They may be work associates or friends from booster clubs and other organizations. These are my “close friends.” I can recall letting work associates that, in many respects, we were like family. They may have scoffed, but, in reality, we have forged relationships that go deeper than the job.
A “selfie” with my former work colleague and continued Facebook friend Colin
Visiting with my friend Keith in Idaho. We served an LDS mission together in Japan and are now Facebook friends nearly 40 years later
Visiting with my friend Froilan from Cebu, Philippines. We worked together in from 2005-2007 and visited with each other in Lexington in 2013. We are still Facebook friends
The next layer is what I would call my “long lost friends.” Hereafter, I may use first names of many of these individuals, and these will be their real first names. Let’s take Sue for instance. I first met Sue in person in 1973 in Bozeman, MT. She was with her family visiting from New Jersey for a large Airstream Rally. I hung around with Sue and her sister and her family for the few days that they were in town because I was doing a article about the Airstream rally for my high school paper. After they left, we did not have any communication per se. But in 1975, I joined the LDS (Mormon) church and a year later left for my mission to Japan. After I returned from my mission in 1978, I moved to Provo, UT and, on my first weekend in church in Provo, lo and behold, I ran into Sue. It was obviously a shock to her as well because, at the time I met her in Bozeman, I knew nothing about the Mormon church. But she and her family had told me a lot about it because they were very devout members. Needless to say, she had a profound impact on my life and she didn’t even know it. After many years of searching, I finally found her and contacted her via Facebook, in a private message. And we have since become Facebook “friends.” Like me, she has since been married, had children and even had grandchildren. Today we rarely, if at all, communicate, even through Facebook. But Facebook offered us both something that other friendship opportunities may not offer. We get to be a “fly on the wall” of our friends and keep up with them, even when they don’t know it. That is, the opportunity to “lurk” on someone else’s life via their Facebook page.
No the word lurk is an unusual word. In computerese it basically means “to read or observe an ongoing discussion without participating in it.” In the past it seems to have referred to something a little bit on the shady side, something that was a bit secretive. But for a site like Facebook many friends do their lurking via the now well known “News Feed.”
I have a lot of “friends” and not a lot of time to read all of their posts. So, occasionally I “drop in” on them and see what is going on. If I like a post or a photo I will add a thumbs up so that they know I had dropped in. I see many of those as well from “lurkers’ to my Facebook page.
Back to my friends…. Indeed, I have rekindled friendships from the past such as with Pat and Sam from Bozeman, Maggie and Penny from Salt Lake, John and JP from Cebu, Gerhard (from Germany but now lives in Singapore) and Mark (from Lexington but now in Singapore), friends from Japan, Puerto Rico, China, Ireland, Australia and more. It is fun to keep up with all of them.
Social Media Friends
I then have that thick layer…general acquaintances…friends of my children, people I have met along the way like Samantha and Lindsey from Camp 31 BBQ in Paris, Ontario or Lori from the March Madness Marching Band in Lexington (after I shared dozens of photos from parades in Lexington) high school coaches I met through an employer, people that want to share a part of their lives.
Then comes the most interesting layer of all…the “Social Media” friends. These are people I have met online or have become acquainted with through other common friends or interests. Some of them I eventually met, like my friend Mari, a struggling author in Lexington; Dan, a Lexington photographer; or Ione from California (another Trailer Park Troubadours fan whom I met on a Troubs’ cruise). Others I have become good friends with and communicate with at least weekly, such as Ed in California (who came to me through Antsy McClain and has since discovered our myriad joint interests), Michael from Georgetown, TX (another Troubs fan) or Tui from Dallas who writes a travel blog about quirky places and is currently publishing a book or even Doug (from Somewhereville, USA) who runs the Roadside America website. And there are dozens more that have “friended” me for one reason or another.
The World is Smaller
So, on the week of Facebook’s 10th birthday, we can thank Mark Zuckerburg and his friends for their ingenious way of making the world smaller and having (in general) a profoundly positive impact on the world. I know that Facebook (and my other Social Media sites) have really provided me with a richer outlook on life and the world I live in.
And to thank you for being a friend I am going to use one of my favorite musicians from 40 years ago – Andrew Gold
Couldn’t resist! Twitter follower @fuzzygalore posted about the current Polar Vortex that has turned most of the U.S. into a walk-out freezer.
She tweeted today: “If you think the polar vortex has been bad, imagine a bipolar vortex!!”
I also decided that I could go sunbathing in Juneau, Alaska today. While Lexington, KY hovered at -4° with wind chills of around -23°, Juneau was at a balmy 37°. Who would have ever thought that any place in Kentucky would be colder than any place in Alaska in the middle of winter??