Well, January sucked…

_DSC9456-smallThe last 2 weeks have been pure madness for us here in the Wizzer household.  Pretty much all of January has sucked.  I don’t mean that in a “Well my chip broke off in the dip so FML” kind of way.  I mean it in a “Wow, a ton of crap got dumped on me and my family” kind of way.

January started off with my Sister-in-Law being rushed to the hospital with a brain aneurysm.  Yes, a brain aneurysm.  She is 26 years old, and a month after it happened they still are trying to figure out what caused it.  On the plus side, she is back to 100% normal (well normal for Rachel) and is in good spirits.

A week after that, I hear that my father had to be rushed to the hospital for congestive heart failure.  Apparently, a large amount of fluid was building up around his heart and needed to be removed.

It was during a conversation about my fathers condition that I learned that my Sister was having quite a few health issues related to stress and has had to completely change her work and home lifestyle so that she does not end up in the hospital.  Given that the issues are all stress related, I can only imagine that having to change everything in your life would only cause MORE stress, while you are trying to DECREASE the stress.

Then the 18th happened.

On Saturday January 18th, Sarah and I went into DC to visit some of the museums with her mom.  While there I broke off to the Air and Space Museum to do some photography for a friend.  After that was done I met back up with Sarah and we went back to visit with Rachel and have dinner.  While sitting down and talking with Sarah’s family, I get a notification that my Dad had replied to something on Facebook asking if I had read an e-mail about photography insurance.  I briefly thought about video chatting with him, but figured I would just call him later.  It was a good thing I didn’t as I learned later that he was Video chatting with my niece and helping her out with some poetry.

After dinner Sarah and I headed home.  It was a full day with a lot of walking.  Both of us were pretty tired so I headed upstairs to take a shower before bed.  As I exited the shower, Sarah tells me that my phone has been blowing up with my sister and Mother trying to call.  She had answered but all she got was that something had happened and that my Dad was on his way to the hospital.  I quickly called my Mom to get the full story.

After a very good day of researching a school paper he was finishing up, and making some calls to Andrew, my son, and my niece Sarah (Littlest Sarah), my father was helping my Mom get ready for dinner when he collapsed in the kitchen.  My mother performed CPR while calling 911.  The EMT’s arrived and did everything they could, both on scene and in route to the hospital.

On January 18th at 9:55pm (EST) my father passed away

  • 10pm – I heard the news
  • 12pm – I had a ticket to Crescent City CA. (Closest Airport)
  • 1am – I e-mailed my work to say I wasn’t coming in
  • 2am – I arrived at BWI Airport
  • 6am – My plane left BWI
  • 10am (pst) – I landed in SFO
  • 1pm (pst) – I landed in Crescent City

I spent the next week consoling my Mom and helping her with all of the various details that go into this sort of thing.  I coordinated bringing in family, arranging sleeping accommodations, working with the red cross to help Andrew try and come out (Sadly, he couldn’t make it).  Essentially working non-stop for a week straight.  Any time I felt the emotions rising, I reminded myself that Petrucelli stands for “little rock” and I suppressed in order to get the mission done.

2 weeks later and I feel I still haven’t let go yet.

For the memorial I was asked to write a eulogy.  I would like to share it here, only because it pretty much sums up the relationship I had with my Dad, and I would like it to be a part of this blog.  You don’t have to read it.  I just need it to be here.

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  I am not really sure how to write a Eulogy.  The last few folks in my life that passed on did so while I was either really young, or while I was so far separated from them, both physically, and socially, so I guess you can count me as lucky as I have not yet had to experience this sort of loss until now. Thanks for breaking the streak there dad!

  My father was a stubborn, sarcastic, so-and-so, and if my Wife and my Mother are to believed, it’s apparent that I am truly “My Fathers Son”.  But, You all probably know him best as the Pastor here. This is a job that he dove into roughly 8 years ago and in one respect it made talking to him somewhat difficult.  Not for any bad reason, just that he was so excited about it, he just wouldn’t shut up about it.  “Hey dad, how are things up there?” “Things are great, I’m a pastor now!” “Yeah dad, we know, you’ve told us….a lot”. Now, one of the things I have always admired about him was his ability to put others first.  This is something that I have always tried to incorporate into my life.  The ability to look at a situation and see what it is that everyone else needs, and then when all that is said and done, what it that I need.  That’s just how he looked at things.  For example, my Mother and I were looking around the house at what he left behind and remarked about how little physically he had.  What was left was a few books, lots of papers, and a little bit of himself in every person in this room.  Knowing him, I am guessing he would be ok with you all taking that bit home and keeping it.

I am also not a religious person, yet this did not stop my dad and I from having a number of conversations about mankind and beliefs.  Most of the time this was while I was driving home from work and had a few min (or hours, traffic in VA is kinda hit and miss).  These conversations would usually start with the usual how you doin, and then from there lead into various topics that really ranged from simple photography, to in depth philosophical analysis of why humans are on this earth. (There may have been some about aliens too). Most of these had us on opposite sides of the fence, but, being “My Fathers Son”, I am pretty sure I was right, especially since he is not here to contest it now.

One of the latest conversations we had was about his degree program.  He was desperately trying to get his Bachelors degree in Divinity, something he has spent many many years working on. You all may think that he wanted to get his degree to be a respected member of society and be looked upon as a scholar in his field. In truth, he and I have been in a race to be the only ones in the family to gain our Bachelors, and he was just trying to catch up.  Although, I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting that his final assignment would have been an in depth analysis of the hereafter.  Well, knowing him the way I do, I am pretty sure he passed that final exam and as far as I am concerned, he and I are tied.  Now, if we can just get mom to dissect that frog so she can catch up.

My father had a favorite joke.  He told this one to pretty much everyone so I am sure you have heard it.  Socrates was a famous atheist, But, It’s rumored that whenever he would pass a church, he would do the sign of the cross.  People would come up to him as ask him “ If you don’t believe in God, why do you make the sign of the cross when you pass a church?”  To which Socrates would reply with a shrug “Meh, I may be wrong!”

So many of our other conversations stemmed from our religious differences. And while personally, I may believe that until it happens, none of us really know what goes on after we pass, I know that my father truly believed in heaven and I know that, if he was right, he will meet me there with a warm hug and a hearty and well meaning “I told you so”.

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He will be missed.

dom1

Project 365 status: Complete!

Reflections (P365-31)What a year!  As you have probably read in my New Years post, this year has been quite the roller coaster.  So many ups and downs that I probably would not have even remembered them all if I hadn’t been doing this project.  On of Dec 31st 2013, I took my last Project 365 picture.  It was one that we had planned, probably from the beginning of the project.  My buddy Louis and I both started P365 on Jan 01 2013 and have had lots of conversations through the year about “What should I take a picture of?” and “I am out of ideas!!” also “Why did we agree to this!!”.  In the end I am glad we stuck with it though.  I look back on some of my earlier shots and can actually see a lot of progression in technique and style. (Quick Edit: Louis wrote up his post about P365 over on his site: http://www.gamutofgeek.com/i-need-to-figure-out-my-picture/ )

There are a number of types of shots that I don’t know that I would have done had I not been forcing myself to take something every day.  By the end I really started to see myself shooting in 4 different categories:

  • Life event – Something significant happened that day and I wanted to document it.  Usually this was something like a concert, or event we went to see, but occasionally was something like “we went to see a movie”.
  • Outdoor Artistic - This was when I wanted to capture something outside in good lighting, and usually had to travel to get, or at least spend some time getting the right shot.
  • Indoor Artistic – If weather was a limiting factor, or I just couldn’t get out, I typically went for a new style or technique. These shots often involved a lot of set up and there is a certain style to them.
  • Lazy – Let’s face it, getting a shot every day is tiring.  Some days there just isn’t much to shoot and life has beat you up.  So I would just grab the camera and take a picture of something/anything.

We had some pretty lenient rules set in place before we started:

  • Using the DSLR was primary, but falling back on a Cell phone was ok (Sometimes you just don’t have your good camera on you)
  • Midnight was not the cut off, before you went to bed was.  (When we started, Louis was working a late shift and would often be up till 2-3am)
  • Try and do something different each day

One of the big issues I had in the project was the time change when I was going to and from Kuwait earlier in the year.  There was actually a huge scare involving day 35.  You see, I apparently suck at numbering.  I was constantly getting my day number mixed up (until I found this website to help me with it) so I would usually use the picture from the day before as a reference.  Well, with dateline crossing and time shifts, also being up after midnight, my numbers were always getting messed up.

Emergency Breakfast! (P365-35)Some time in August, I went into the Flickr set and did a manual count, only to find that my pictures were off by 1 day.  Not just the numbering, but the actual total count was missing one.  I was crushed.  I traced the issue all the way back to Feb 5th.  This was the day I traveled back to the states from Kuwait and apparently lost almost an entire day in the process.  I freaked out and started looking everywhere for any pictures I may have taken.  Thankfully I found that I had taken a picture of my breakfast that Sarah made me.  The time frame matches up and I was saved.

After that I was much more diligent about numbering.

So now that I am done, I am planning on taking a small break from carrying my camera around everywhere I go. (Even though Sarah bought me an amazing new camera backpack). Now it’s on to projects that I can focus the theme.

Some advice to anyone willing to try P365?  Do it, but go out and explore!  Work on something new each day, be it a location, a technique, a style, etc..  Explore Flickr and find some types of shots that you want to try and then do them.  Most importantly….. document your life with it.  Lots of stuff happens around you, grab a picture of it, but don’t forget to experience it too.  When you have the picture, put the camera down and enjoy the show with your own eyes too.

Enjoy the pictures!

 

DONE! (#P365-365) #Photography

DONE! (P365-365) by wizzer2801
DONE! (P365-365), a photo by wizzer2801 on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
The last photo for Project 365. It’s been quite a run. I’ll have a blog post up about the whole project soon.

New Years Resolution

Sarah and the Sunset - (P365-43)This past year was not a great year. I kept thinking through the year that “man I wish this year was done” and “ 2013 was incredibly shitty”. That being said, when I look back on it, and especially in comparison to some other folks I know, it was not as bad as I originally thought.

So instead of focusing on all the crap that went wrong in the year, I decided to focus on the positive and highlight some cool things that happened this year. With the help of my Project 365, I can actually look into the way-back glass and see where I was at what time and what happened. NONE of this could have happened without the wonderful people in my life.  Friends, Family, and this amazing woman I know who somehow, despite all my misfortune, still manages to want to be around me! (most of the time).

So yeah….when you look back on it without the doom and despair eyes, 2013 wasn’t all that bad!  Yes, Bad things happen all through the year, it happened to us, and it happened to lots of friends we know.  But we need to not look at just the bad!  I would encourage all of my friends and family to look back on the year and not focus on the the bad that happened, but look for the good.

JCCC3 Day 1 Random PicturesOh, and my New Years Resolution?  Well, I thought about this one quite a bit.  I used to always see other people, be it celebrities, or artists, or even just folks that people I know know, and think “Man, it would be awesome to be friends with that person, I bet we would have a lot in common.”  Well, the problem with that is that I am not currently friends with them, and really there is no incentive for that person to be friends with me.

So I resolve to not try and be friends with people I don’t know, but to be a person that the people I don’t know want to be friends with.  I think I would much rather focus on someone that other people look at and think “Man, it would be awesome to be friends with that person, I bet we would have a lot in common.”

Happy new year everyone!  Lets be friends in 2014

The Prodigal Son (#P365-364) #Photography

The Prodigal Son (P365-364) by wizzer2801
The Prodigal Son (P365-364), a photo by wizzer2801 on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Andrew came home for the holiday, so I thought it fitting that he be included in the next to last photo for this project. Countdown continues as this is the 2nd to last!

Guapos (#P365-363) #Photography

Guapos (P365-363) by wizzer2801
Guapos (P365-363), a photo by wizzer2801 on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Was planning on visiting the festival of lights in Manassas tonight to get my picture for today but for some reason they closed. Went for dinner instead. 2 shots left!

U-Pick VG (#P365-362) #Photography

U-Pick VG (P365-362) by wizzer2801
U-Pick VG (P365-362), a photo by wizzer2801 on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
I was invited out to take some pictures for the U-Pick Video game charity drive. Still managed to work in the day number count down! This was day 4, only 3 more to go!

Paparazzi (#P365-361) Photography

Paparazzi (P365-361) by wizzer2801
Paparazzi (P365-361), a photo by wizzer2801 on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
One of our friends from LA was in town visiting family and we got the chance to catch up this evening. This also marks the last 5 photos of the project and so I am going to try and incorporate the count down number in the next few photos. This was 5.

Half Off (#P365-360) #Photography

Half Off (P365-360) by wizzer2801
Half Off (P365-360), a photo by wizzer2801 on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
It’s that after Christmas time!

Carols (#P365-359) #photography

Carols (P365-359) by wizzer2801
Carols (P365-359), a photo by wizzer2801 on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Lovely Christmas music brought to us by Josh and his Dad.

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