Steve McCurry's Blog

They are everywhere, these individuals of undaunted humankind,
irrepressibly optimistic and proud.
The Carpet Wars, Christopher Kremmer

Kabul, Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan

Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Baghlan, Afghanistan

Yet even at their most turbulent, the Afghans have tended to impress
travellers with 
their dignity and hospitality
as much as their fierce independence.
– William Dalrymple,  author of
Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1839–42

Afghanistan

Kunduz, Afghanistan

Kayan, Afghanistan

Baghlan, Afghanistan

Afghanistan

This is Abdul Hadi. He is a teacher in the woodworking school of the
Institute of Turquoise Mountain, in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he teaches jali woodwork (latticework). He was a woodworker at the court of the last king of Afghanistan, and then for some 35 years did not have a chance to practice his skills, due to the successive conflicts.

Parwan, Afghanistan

Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan

Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, you don’t understand yourself solely as an individual.
You…

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In response to reading Parade Magazine’s notification that “the CIA has used cats for missions.  In the 1960s, they trained felines to spy on Soviets.” I thought of the poem….by Sandberg of how the fog crept in on cat’s feet. Hurricane Irma has moved on…8 bags of debris from our garden have been collected and the aftermath of the storm will soon be just a memory. And as for the ferns, they will return as will the birds.

 

Ponytail ferns

Ponytail bands parade

Front yard gardens in Florida

The leaves gently grace the wind flowing softly with the breeze

As we drive by or idle on foot, bike, car watching from windows

Blurring good and bad memories

Sometimes slipping past

Oblivious and indifferent to our glances

Like the memories of yesterday’s friends

We hold fast and sometimes they become sublime

In our memory bank depositing themselves bluntly

Until  division blurs

Between the truth and illusion

They move past like cats pounding the cement pavement quietly

Without notice until the memory of an event disappears and

We prepare for the next chapter.

 

Hurricane Irma is on the way to Florida and predicted to come near Tampa. The winds are projected to be 150 mph by Sunday afternoon. Today is Saturday and we sit inside our home with our friends nearby alternating between watching the latest news and the football game. I finished some lesson plans for my work at the private school; send in a short story; facebooked my anxieties with some friends and out of the corner of my eye watched our neighbor mow his lawn. I guess the best time is always the present which is why I send in the story. I listen to my husband and his best friend speak about the possibility of us leaving tonight or early tomorrow morning. The problem is we are not sure which direction to go. First, the hurricane was heading East and then West and now the entire state seems to be in trouble.

The lady is fickle unable to make up her mind. Our guests are Michael’s military friend, his teenage son, and his wife or ex-wife. It is a strange relationship but they left the beach side area as they had to evacuate when the police knocked on their door the other day. It is good we are all cohabiting peacefully.I realize the strange relationship between him and his ex-wife has nothing in common with me and my husband, so I try not to judge something I don’t understand. The last time he and his son stayed with us we were working at our store and there were many anxieties. Life continues and the lady continues with her plan. We are at her mercy.

So I watch our neighbor mow his lawn with urgency yet determination and I realize that Floridians are a strong and resilient group of people. My husband is also. Yesterday he learned from the VA that his cancer is a rare form and there is no sure treatment for treatment is only experimental. So every two weeks, he has to have a MRI to see if his cancer has progressed. Will he need radiation? Patients with his type of cancer live from 2-8 years. It is a roll of the dice, so for now the hurricane seems a much safer bet that we will survive than that he will survive cancer successfully for a decade or more. We can rebuild our homes and soul but not our physical body. Yes,Tampa could be in the path of Irma but we must stay strong and resolute. Our windows are boarded and our generator is working. Many of our neighbors are staying. The Florida governor says everyone should prepare to evacuate and it is listed as a category 4 storm downgraded from a category 5.

The lady is a fickle unpredictable stranger that we fear but I fear the cancer more.

Thanks for listening.

Sometimes I wonder how God plans our path or rather how we try to navigate and then life comes along and takes control overstepping our boundaries causing us to re-evaluate and sometimes begin again. We begin again because of the information posted below.

Stage 4 colon cancer (metastasized) beginning in the small intestine but it was caught early and there are many treatments available. Where it began is unusual. Life expectancy is increasing. We are reading up on it. If he hadn’t had the colonoscopy for the experimental group (when we owned our store-2015), he would have a much shorter expectancy.Thank the Lord for the VA.There is only one right now and it is small.We will know more on the 24th

An unexpected blimp which makes me less prone to pretending that I have time to tolerate people who don’t speak straight to me. My monitor for shallowness has been up 10 fold since one of my Facebook friends stated, “I wish I had cancer.” She needs attention. I didn’t know what to say or how sorry to feel: should I feel more sorry for the fact that she was so needy or just plain crazy.

This week has been crazy and I am often scared of the week ahead but my new job gave me the day off I need to sit with my husband at the VA as the tumor is cut out. For this, I give “thanks” and to him above, I say “Thank you for listening.” I feel we are strong for now and things are ok. Thank you for placing me with people who prayed for the welfare of my husband and understood our situation.

Seize the day!

Originally posted on PUMABydesign001’s Blog: YouTube in the latest of its latest faux attempts to “combat terrorist content on YouTube,” dog whistle for non-Progressive content has declared war on Donald Trump supporters, Lynnette Hardway and Rochelle Richardson aka Diamond and Silk. In their quest to rein in what YouTube, according to its blog deems…

via YouTube Censors Diamond and Silk. — hocuspocus13

Mike left for the ball park with his friend, Scott so I have today to myself which is good. I don’t mind. I have some things to prepare for next week and I like the quietness of the house. It feels as if I can breathe and relax but I know by the end of the day, I will be happy to see my husband again. We have learned that the cancer has returned and it is more serious as it is in his blood stream. The Doctors told him that the cancer he has is very unusual and only 4 other patients in the VA Hospital in Tampa have it. Eventually, he will be referred to Moffitt Cancer Center. He isn’t on chemo yet but there are some options they are considering and as new discoveries are happening all the time, he may live easily for the next 5-20 years but nothing is a sure shot. The day to day effects are that he is tired and so, am I. Sometimes I get so tired with anxiety over being so healthy.

We don’t know what caused the cancer: he doesn’t smoke or is a heavy drinker and for the most part, we eat healthily. When I am troubled, my husband likes to remind me of this saying he lives by, “Look 360 degrees and 5 layers down.” This is something he was told to practice in training with the military and something he practiced daily as he studied charts, information, photographs looking for information about the Middle East, Korea, and Africa. So, I look at the possible consequences of him dying early and picture the 5 layers deep. It calms me down as we prepare for something one doesn’t know how to prepare for.

I don’t know how to relay information to people I know about the cancer. I started to on my facebook page but I was afraid that I sounded weak, indecisive, and melancholy. Then I was afraid of giving the wrong information and that his family (my stepdaughter) would become upset. So, I end up with saying little because I truly don’t understand even the name of the cancer he has. He doesn’t either. As he left the Doctor’s office, he forgot the name of this rare cancer he has. Half of me feels guilty that I should have gone with him to the VA, but he didn’t want me to. I am happy he is at the game today with his best friend for many years beginning in the military. When I am not sure how to handle something, I get mad quickly and then I blow it off by over compensating. I am sure some of my students figured this out about me. Sometimes the best thing we can do is “swim with the current” and I guess “360 degrees and 5 levels down.”