Dad’s apartment 

This is all that’s left. Today is the last day I’ll be here. There were supposed to be many more days because my dad was supposed to get better. If only he had gotten his bone marrow transplant when he was in remission, instead of having the dental work done, we’d almost be thru his recovery from that. These cancer doctors were idiots, in my opinion. They didn’t make him aware of the urgency to get the marrow treatment ASAP. They didn’t tell him that if it came back he wouldn’t go back into remission. There was so much confusion and intentional non-communication and vagueness about the whole thing. I wouldn’t recommend anyone go to LGH for cancer treatment.

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instagram, tools, black and white photography.

i have pretty much removed all social media from my phone. it’s a slow process that i started a few years ago when i read the book: the shallows. after years of using technology the way we do, it’s hard to make those changes, but some of them may actually be necessary in our salvation. watchfulness is an essential matter in salvation, and digital culture takes us away from that (this includes things preceding the internet, like tv!). i do like to look back on things i posted on instagram years ago, and recently i’ve found an interest in trying to make a photo or two in black and white and post it, but use some actual self control and not spend all day scrolling thru other people’s photos or checking my “hearts” (who cares about that, really?! i do, but why? the book the shallows explains that; essentially, hearts and likes tap into our reward mechanisms that developed to allow us to evolve and survive over so many hundreds of thousands of years and it becomes addictive even though we don’t need them to survive, though digital detox may make us feel like we wont!).

i only check facebook in the mornings from my laptop and maybe once in the evening. it is a helpful discipline. not a lot of good things go on on facebook anyways, so why spend so much time arguing about clinton or trump (barf and barf!)?

this photo was from yesterday (edited on snapseed. i think that’s the best iphone photo app for b&w) and i love this little screwdriver that i found in a toolbox i got from bill stoner about two years ago. i wish it was shot on a 4×5, but i don’t have one and i may never. you also can’t realistically take 4x5s on a drywall or paint job every day.

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why?

i wonder why a few months ago i was so interested in what glenn beck had to say?

There are things far more worth being concerned about. A few weeks ago, I happened across some youtube interviews of a priest from Oregon named Fr Seraphim Cardoza. I listened to a few of them and maybe this is the one, or maybe it’s not, but he spoke of how we have no heroes in our culture; that is, no heroes actually worth emulating. Our athletes are our heroes and the Super Bowl our sacred day of worship. I can tell you a lot about the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins, but not much about the holy men and women who’ve come before us. I have statistics memorized but not scripture or prayers or the lives of Saints. So, maybe it is time to go back to not watching football on Sundays?

reformation day is nigh

october 31 used to be an unofficial holiday for me. the reformation! martin luther! rebellion! victory!

but victory over what? over the Catholic Church? over corruption? what the heck was i celebrating? that i wasn’t Catholic? i think so…?

to my shame, i only recently learned that there were many reform movements within the Catholic Church for roughly 300 years before luther. and perhaps those reforms were more “successful”. why? because they didn’t splinter the western church into 50,000 fragments. how can the Church be one, yet 50,000?

there is a saying that i love, spoken by a Catholic cardinal, i think?

“to be aware of history is to cease to be Protestant”.

amen, say we Orthodox. amen!

7 years ago

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I was embarking on a trip into the midwest to photograph farmers on industrial farms in Illinois. Wow. I didn’t have an iPhone then (praise God) and I navigated the midwest quite fine.

That was a grand trip. The weather was a blanket of grey. And it was perfect. I think I stopped in Pittsburgh on the way back? I can’t remember. My memory is no longer as precise as it used to be.

Today, things are so different. The idea of taking photos for a living literally makes me feel sick. I still love to take photos, but as a job… oh my. No way. I’m gonna go paint some baseboard in a retirement community today up in Mount Joy. Then i’ll go over to Old Philly Pike and paint a kitchen and make sure the cabinets are all taken care of. The couple is a nice older couple who are about to sell their house and move to New England. They know the Bittermans (they live across the way).

We have a 16-month old. And my goodness, do i love her!

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Life is better when you’re not full of arrogance thinking you’re the absolute best at something (photography) and that you deserve to be compensated richly for it. I prefer my blue-collar present to my attempted white-collar past.

approval

pap schrott’s funeral was july 31. my dad, as sick as he was, made the trip to west-pa. i think that, in and of itself, was a heroic feat. he was so sick and so weak and he didn’t have a good relationship with his dad. and yet, he went. and when the rain was pouring down like some hollywood movie, he draped himself in hospital blankets, trudged thru the downpour and sat at the grave site to receive pap’s flag. gosh. what a moment that was. what a man he was. to endure all he did as a child and a young man, all the difficulty and strife and to still show up and respect his father like that. incredible.

i can’t imagine how much he wanted his dad’s approval. there was a conversation going on one day at lgh – i can’t even tell you about what – but i chimed in saying something like “right, dad?” or some-such thing. my dad was sick and dying and probably wasn’t leaving the hospital, but i still wanted his approval and acceptance. i needed his love.

i will make sure my children get that love too.