Of all the skills I never acquired, the ability to cut through the dreaded recorded message: “The staff are currently assisting other customers. Please hold on. We appreciate you patience,” is a major failure.

telephone hold

I would have more patience if I weren’t trying to reach my doctor’s office. Because I’m not feeling well. I figure I shouldn’t need an hour plus who-know-how-long to get a live person on the telephone.

waiting for

Then there’s the muzak. I know offices buy special music so they can leave their customers — in this case patients — on hold indefinitely. They count on the music to soothe the savage beast slowly boiling over at the other end of the line.

To me, it’s closer to fingernails on a blackboard. Each unmemorable phrase makes my blood pressure rise.

Customer Service waitingWhy am I calling? Because my doctor is an arrogant prick and I need a different doctor. ANY different doctor. I’m not that picky. I just want a doctor — or nurse practitioner — who won’t blow off my medical issues because he has decided — without reading my medical history — that I’m just an old, hypochondriac looking for drugs and attention.

This is a stunning leap of logic.

What gave him the clue that I’m nothing more than a crank?

Was it the bi-lateral mastectomy? The heart valve replacement or the implanted pacemaker? The emergency bariatric surgery? The spinal redesign and subsequent massive arthritic takeover? Does he think such procedures are performed to satisfy the morbid neuroses of one demented old bat?

Whatever his reasoning, it has to end. My trip to the oncologist a few days ago (he is one of the good ones), revealed I’m now seriously anemic. Been here before, but I’m back and shouldn’t be. Simple monitoring of blood vitamin levels and appropriate vitamins could easily have prevented this.

I haven’t been able to get this guy to even acknowledge there is anything to monitor, so I’ve been trying to figure out what I need to take to fix the problem. From information I found on the Internet.

insane doctor cartoon

Suddenly, in a blaze of clarity last night, I realized I have no way to know how much B-12 I need. I used to get monthly injections and I shouldn’t be self-medicating while my hair falls out and my skin dries up and tries to leave home without me.

It’s 10:29am and I’m still on hold. I have been on hold — off and on because I’ve called back several times — since 9am. I can tell by the clock on the computer.


I wonder which will run out first? The battery in my telephone or my patience?

Garry says I can’t give up, that this asshole is going to kill me.

The good news? It’s pouring outside. Finally, the rain has arrived. It was late, but this morning, when I got up, it was raining and since then, it has gone from raining moderately to a blinding downpour.

I sit here. Listen to soothing music and the recurring “The staff are currently assisting other customers. Please hold on. We appreciate you patience.” I think how all this water will seep into the aquifer. The well will fill with fresh water. I will be able to take a shower without fearing it’s my last.

There must be some magic formula that gets a person through the wall of electronic non-answering. I need to learn this skill. Soon. Today would be a good time. Before I got completely postal and rip out someone’s throat with what are left of my teeth.

I don’t believe for a single moment that they really appreciate my patience. But I’m such a cynic.


30 SEPTEMBER 2015: Loose change with flowers

It’s Frisbee Wednesday again and it is the last day of September. It is supposed to rain today and I would feel better about that if the sun weren’t peeking out while the clouds disperse to expose patches of lovely pale blue.

amazon payment Sep 2015-redacted

These are the moments that make authorship so satisfying. To put this in perspective, I got double the royalties this month over last time I sold something (January).

I believe we might order something from MacDonald’s dollar menu this afternoon assuming the creek don’t rise.

72-Aldrich Creek_015

Which is looking unlikely as the sun just came out, and the sky is bright blue. A light wind dispelled the promising cloud cover from a couple of hours ago. There will be no rain today.

The leaves should be changing, but are refusing to take this whole Autumn business seriously.

Finding myself at loose ends — which is to say, not venturing out to shoot glorious fall foliage — I defaulted to shooting macros of a lovely bouquet.



Macro lenses work best when there is plenty of light to create contrast. However, reality bites, especially indoors. Available light is not always up to snuff which makes it difficult to convince the lens to focus.


Difficult. Not impossible. The results are interesting with irregular (unpredictable) areas of focus. Lots of bokeh.


It’s a challenge to sharpen specific areas without losing the soft background. To correct one color without changing others.


They offer great subjects for creative post-processing.


I took these shots with an eye toward using them with effects. These include color contrast filtering, textures, plus detail and edge enhancement.


Should you decide to accept this “challenge,” you may use any picture I’ve ever published — and there are thousands of them — or one of your own. Write something about the picture or make something up using a picture as your jumping off point.


This is the easiest prompt in the world. Happy Autumn and may you get some rain, even if we don’t.