Tag Archives: photography


17 Oct

Things change. I don’t always do well with changes, especially when they affect my health. Those of you with XLH know that sometimes things can change rather quickly as we age. They certainly have for me. This past week, I had to address my sudden rise in blood pressure, which of course, doesn’t have anything to do with XLH and isn’t a side effect of the medications we take, but can simply be just one more thing we can get in middle age. For me, I halfway expected it, since both my parents have high blood pressure. I assumed I had just gotten another “genetic thing” to deal with.

So, I went to my family doctor, at the strong suggestion of my endocrinologist, to get her wise counsel on this problem. Her first thought is that my allergy medication, Claritin D-12, is the source of my problem. “If you were a smoker, I would tell you to stop smoking,” she said. “If you used crack cocaine, I’d tell you to stop using crack cocaine. But I am going to tell you–no more decongestants for your allergies!” If any of you readers live in or near the allergy capital of the world like I do, then you know that this kind of change is a little scary. I mean, I get some bad sinus headaches, and I’ll take my bone pain over a nauseating headache any day. Seriously. I will do almost anything to avoid those headaches.

But, I stopped taking all decongestants. That’s it, I’m done. She prescribed another allergy medication to take its place. We’ll see if it works. My blood pressure has gotten back to normal, so far. Maybe those parental genes haven’t kicked in yet. The good thing is that Claritin D-12 was a large pill, so now I have more room in my pillbox, and if you read my post from a couple weeks ago, you know that’s important to me. Therefore, I added the fish oil pill back into the box, since it is supposed to help with–yep–blood pressure.

Some changes are GOOD!

And, one of my favorite changes are the changes of colors around here as we transition from summer into fall. Yeah, I know, leaf mold bothers some people, but gosh, it sure is pretty. I will leave you with some photographs I have taken in the last two weeks, to celebrate some beautiful changes I enjoy. Happy autumn, friends!

Mabry Mill

Autumn at Mabry Mill

Behind Mabry Mill

Behind Mabry Mill

Widow Falls

Widow Falls at Stone Mountain in Elkin, NC

Copyright 2014, S.G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, all rights reserved.


My Inspiration

21 Jul

Those of you who read my blog who have XLH know that our bones “act” older than we really are. Sometimes I feel like I’m aging at warp speed–not all the time, but sometimes. Of course, we’re all getting older if we’re fortunate enough to still be breathing. One of my dogs, Deacon the Jack Russell Terrier, has been a true inspiration for me in the last year. He’s an old guy–almost 14 years old by my estimation–and he inspires me every day. He is the most determined creature I know when it comes to carrying on with the daily routine of living. He makes sure he gets his walk and his food at the time he is supposed to get them. I can set my clock by him. If I try to stray outside the routine, he makes sure to get me back on track.

He is a rescue dog; his “owners” abandoned him in 2002 and he managed to “find” me. He was heartworm-positive and needed two rounds of treatment to recover. He also smelled so bad when I first took him in, that he had to sleep outside in a crate on the deck for the first night or two until whatever he had been eating off the streets had made its way out of his system. A bath could not rid him of his foul odor. I had another Jack Russell Terrier at the time, Pogo, who ruled the house (and me) and Deacon’s personality never really came out until Pogo died 2009. I discovered that Deacon had his own distinct personality and is very smart. Prior to that, I had my doubts. He lived in Pogo’s shadow. Come to think of it, I also lived in Pogo’s shadow!

Within the last year, I have been inspired by Deacon and how he deals with aging. It’s not always a graceful aging process with him–sometimes, he starts up the back steps and missteps and rolls back down–but he gets up, determined to make it back up. On those days when he’s moving slower than usual, he will ask for help. So, here’s my series of photos I have taken within the last year that I’ll call “Everything I ever learned about aging, I learned from Deacon.”

#1 Be open to new adventures, even if it involves riding in the back seat of a car.

Deacon riding in the car



#2 If possible, take time to sit outside in the sunshine.



#3 Observe the world around you. God’s creation can still amaze us, even when we’re older. Maybe we can’t see it or smell it as well as we used to, but we can still be amazed. And, of course, be on the lookout for squirrels.

Deacon on the alert


#4 Some days, you’re just going to feel like crap. Be extra good to yourself on those days, maybe even throw on your party beads and wrap yourself up in a cheerful blanket.

Deacon in his finest


#5 Try to make new friends, even if they’re very different from you. It might take some time, and you may want to chase them away at first, but you might end up liking them more than you thought you would!

Deacon meets the neighbor's cat


#6 Accept offers of assistance. (This one is really hard for me!) Sometimes, we just need a little help getting up those steps, or reaching things on the top shelf at the grocery store or picking up something we’ve dropped. Let someone help you. It might make their day!

Deacon and his assistant



#7 Take naps. Aging can be tiring. Also, there is nothing wrong with having a favorite blanket, if that helps you to take a good nap.

Deacon and his blanket



#8 Relax. Try to get rid of the things in life that cause you tension. Meditate or pray. Take time to just be still and perhaps get a new perspective.

Deacon rests



I love this little guy. I hope he will continue to mentor me through the aging process for a little while longer!


Copyright S.G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, 2014. All Rights Reserved.


Relinquishment and Adaptation

27 Jul

I have a confession to make.

I am very sentimental. I am sentimental about people, pets, and STUFF. Stuff, as in, it’s hard for me to throw something away if it is something that someone special gave to me. I’ve seen the television episodes of shows like “Hoarders” and I’m pretty sure I have not gotten to that level of sentimentality about things. I have found that with aging comes forgetfulness, and some things I have been able to get rid of because I just couldn’t remember how in the world I got them and why I held on to them. So, forgetfulness can sometimes be a good thing and an antidote to sentimentality.

A couple weeks ago, on a Saturday, I was rummaging through my old, I mean, “vintage” camera equipment. I was an art major in college, even got my art degree, and I still have my first 35mm camera that I bought in the summer of 1979, which got me through my photography classes. It is completely manual, and it still works. Plus, I still have my second camera that I bought right after college, also completely manual and it also works. And then, there are the extra lenses and filters and accessories that went with all of that stuff. I’ve still got ‘em. They still work. (I even still have my old Brownie camera that I started using in 3rd grade, since I’m confessing. I don’t know if it works or not, since film for this camera is now $14.00 for a 12-exposure roll. Being a tight-wad is also an antidote to sentimentality.)

The only problem with having all that great old equipment is that hardly a soul uses film anymore. Everything is digital. I even gave in and bought a digital SLR camera a year and a half ago, and haven’t looked back. Well, until a couple weeks ago, when I got out the old equipment and started looking at it and thinking about the old days, and all that. I thought I might sell all the old film cameras and lenses and really move on into the 21st century. You know, let go of a few things. I even found a guy on Craigslist who offered me a whopping $8 for one of my telephoto lenses. “That’s ridiculous,” Professorgrrl said. “Don’t sell it. Keep it. Buy a roll of film instead and go take some pictures with your old camera. That will make people think you’re really cool using vintage equipment to take beautiful photographs. It’s all the rage now. Edgy.” She had gone on the internet and found out all of this. I am so old fashioned, but I was relieved to know that there was actually a “cool factor” to using vintage equipment. I am back in style!

Later that night, with the old camera equipment still spread out all over the living room, we watched a movie called “The Artist.” It is a fictional account about a silent film actor in 1927 who was very popular and well known for his silent films until the early ‘30’s when “talkies” or films with sound became popular. He refused to change over from being a silent film actor to a talking film actor. He just couldn’t make the switch…it just wasn’t “real art” in his mind. “Talkies” were just a fad, he felt sure. Hmmm…how ironic that I was watching this film on the day that I was struggling to let go of some old stuff and completely commit to the new.

Then, on Sunday, the next day, at church, one of the priests at my church (Episcopal) preached on the verses in Matthew where Jesus told his disciples to pick up and leave their hometowns with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the shoes on their feet and go share the good news of God’s love with everyone. Our priest shared with us how difficult this would be for her…that packing her suitcase just for a vacation was hard enough. Trying to decide what not to take was a real challenge for her. She said that Jesus had pretty much established a “Theology of Relinquishment”…of letting go, of only making our life’s journey with the bare necessities. As a result, our lives would be freer, our burdens lighter.

Upon further reflection, I pondered how challenging this must have been for the followers of Jesus, who were fishermen. Hey, I’m a fisherman or an “angler” as we like to say, and I have to tell you that when I go fishing, I’m hauling a lot more to the water than I am hauling out of the water! Waders, boots, tackle, 2 rods, in case one breaks from catching “the big one” and let’s not forget the snacks! The disciples weren’t even supposed to pack SNACKS!

That weekend was a challenging one for me…pondering the “theology of relinquishment” and letting go and moving on and all of that. In the meantime, Professorgrrl had found some lens adapters online that I could purchase so that I might try to use my old camera lenses on my “new” digital camera. We did a lot of reading and there was some question in my mind as to whether or not they would really work, but hey, for $3.95 plus shipping, why not give it a try?

Later that week, I received the first one in the mail. This one would allow me to use the oldest lens I have (around 35 yrs. old) on my digital SLR camera. I screwed the adapter to the old lens, put it on my camera and went out into the backyard, hunting for something to photograph. I took a shot of the bird house and, oh my gosh! It worked! It really worked! I could take digital photos on a digital camera with my old telephoto lens (that someone special gave me, I might add.) I was thrilled. I thought, “The adapter did it! It really works!”

And then I stopped. That’s it. It’s all about adapting. I need to learn about adapting. Yes, I am learning about relinquishment, too. I have pretty much relinquished my idea that I have to have a brand new, expensive lens for my digital camera and instead, I choose to use my old ones, with an adapter. I will continue living in the digital age, but I can still adapt some of my old, traditional equipment to today’s world of digital photography.

And, in life, I want to learn to relinquish and to adapt. As I age, I am relinquishing some ideas that I can still do things the way I used to do them. But I have to face the facts…I simply cannot work as hard, cannot move as fast and cannot eat as much ice cream, as I used to. And I am trying to learn to adapt to the older, wiser version of me. I am slower (especially in the mornings!), I am working less and delegating more to my assistant, and I am constantly aware of trying to eat healthy. I even take naps occasionally. I notice that a lot of my friends are adapting to this whole aging thing along with me, so I’m certainly in good company.

But really…I miss the unlimited ice cream the most…


Tucker the Beagle, as seen through a vintage Argus Camera. Captured by a vintage photographer with a vintage Pentax lens mounted on a Canon EOS digital camera. Processed in Adobe Photoshop.

Copyright S.G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries, 2012-2017