My companion of fourteen years is suddenly, unexpectedly gone, and my home and heart are empty.

I hope no one finds this maudlin; it is an effort of catharsis.

We had a previous siamese named Pearl.  When that Pearl I died during my wife’s prolonged illness our daughter, Sigrid, set out to find a replacement.  She did and it became Pearl II because we knew that in moments of frustration we’d be blurting out, “Pearl!”  We acquired her from her mother in December, 2000, and she became a comfort to my wife, Marty Lou, until her death in August, 2002.  Thereafter and for the next fourteen years Pearl became my 24/7 companion.  This week she became severely ill and it became necessary that I put her at peace which Sigrid helped me do.

Sigrid immediately worked to rid the house of all signs … food, litter, warming pads, scratching post.  She couldn’t remove what’s in my head, and I am sad.  I walk by the bedroom and reflexively look to see if she’s stretched out on her side of the bed.  That was a concession early on, to provide an electric blanket with dual controls so that she wouldn’t be snuggled against me for warmth all night.


This picture shows that we had a working relationship early on.  The old monitor and the early version of Photoshop reflect her age as well.  In later years she deeply regretted the development of flat panel monitors which deprived her of another warm place.



We had daily moments together.  Upon rising I would feed her and then retreat to the sun room with my coffee and morning music.  As soon as she finished she would join me on my lap and we would contemplate the day ahead.  Other daily moments included lap time after my breakfast, snuggling against me during my afternoon nap, and lap time during an evening’s TV time.  She would also frequently jump onto the desk during the day to ask what I was up to and to seek a few minutes of lap time.

Similar rituals took place at the shore house.  This picture also shows a frequent  sign of affection from her, tucking her head under my chin.  I will miss this.




On other mornings we would just sit and talk about life and things.



I’ve always loved this shot of her which has previously appeared on her own web page.  It’s entitled, “Yes, girls, I’ve trained him to put the seat down.”



She wasn’t always sweet and gentle (nor am I).  She was a cat with a cat’s moods, but I prefer to remember her running to the door when I had been away for a few hours (“Where’s my dinner, Dad?”) and I prefer to remember her head butting while taking the morning sun together.  And other things that I will be reminded of as days go by.


I shall miss her sweet face and her (mostly) sweet manner.  I am greatly saddened.



Several years ago she asked me to create a web page for her.  With her help, I did, and you can see it by clicking here.





In preparing for a recent craft show appearance I came across this Christmas card which I made and sent eight years ago.  You people probably think this kind of thing is easy:  It’s not!  This one took an hour of negotiation and a bucket of fish before he’d cooperate.  And he insisted on retaining an interest in the image.


The original was made in Chincoteague.  I’ve always liked the image and I thought why should they disappear after one use.  So, I printed and framed it and I’m enjoying it on my wall for the holidays.  This also made me take a look at other past cards in the file, and I found that they, too, deserved another moment of fame.


A few years ago two friends from the yacht club were speculating one night (over wine, of course) about having a view of the club under a full moon.  It is reckless to say such things in the presence of a pixel machinist.  Things happen.


This was, admittedly, over the top but I think it was used that year sans Santa.  The moon shot was from a summer beach; the sheen from yet another.  I had photographed the tree in 2001 at Pittsburgh’s Winter Garden, and it enjoyed a life in many other alien scenes.  Perhaps the strangest was on the Holyoke Avenue jetty during a snow storm.  One friend, showing her confidence in us, asked Barbara if we had actually run an extension cord out on the jetty.  Of course we did.  🙂



But it also had a more tender moment standing by the old shack along the causeway onto Long Beach Island.  Sadly, both the shack and the tree left with Sandy.



That wreath around the heron’s neck has also had other assignments.  On a winter trip to the Catskills I found it floating in this stream.



In yet another year it served as a frame for my Box Hill home.



And here, decorating a race course marker under a guiding cormorant on the sailing grounds.



A couple of years ago I experimented with photographing the Milky Way. The LBI beach is not a dark sky location but I had fun and produced a couple of creditable images.  Then, come December, this image fell into my head and stayed there.



I once sent this picture to a friend, claiming it was evidence that Santa spent his summers at Beach Haven.  In the original he was surrounded by his pots of tomato plants.  She replied, “Oh, yeah, where’s the Christmas Tree?”  Wrong question as the revised picture showed.



I don’t always mess with the pixels.  Here is a scene in a hallway of the Melk Abbey in Austria.  I hope they had floor polishers, and that the nuns didn’t have to do that floor.



I’ve always loved this winter scene with its pictures of my family on the window seat at Box Hill.  Lots of eye-filling memories here.  Even some of those pictures had served as past Christmas cards, dating back to the last century.  Of the girls on the left, Maddy’s now out of college, and Gretchen will finish in 2017.  How did that all happen?



Finally, in recent years I’ve been sending out a montage of my year’s work and art and fun with photography.  Here it is for 2016.  You can see the thumbnails better in a larger version by clicking here.




Where would I be without my family and friends?

So, Merry Christmas and love to you,

and to all friends, Happy Holidays,

and “To All A Good Night”.