Take a Shot … of Anything! But Take a Shot!

20 Feb

So, it’s been a week since I last posted to the blog. Funny how “inertia” is such a big deal with me. It has been most of my life.

In order for me to start something, I need a few jolts from a cattle prod, And once I get going, if I put that “thing” down, it takes an act of Congress to get me going again! From what I understand, that’s typical of complex PTSD sufferers … something about fear and paralysis associated with being in uncomfortable situations. For whatever reason, I was finally able to open up Notepad and start free-forming some thoughts this evening. So here I am.  ; o)

Part of my anxiety has to do with picking up the camera. Oh yeah, the camera arrived. Last Friday. Everything was in there that was shown in the posting, so I was pretty happy about that. (It truly was a fantastic deal!)  But try as I might, I wasn’t able to pick the damn thing up and actually take a shot of something. Anything! You just wouldn’t believe the anxiety surrounding that. Every morning, I’d get up with resolve. “I’m going to take my first photo today!” Only to sit down at the laptop, do my typical routine, get to around 10:00 and then say, “Oh well, I’ve missed my window,” knowing full well that I didn’t need a window, I just needed to take a freaking photograph!!!!

First photo

My first photo with the new Nikon D3200

So I finally managed to take one this morning. Here it is. Nothing fancy, just some branches in a neighboring tree that I thought looked interesting. When I sit at my laptop in my home office, the sun comes streaming through that tree (and hits me square in the eyes … it’s a really wonderful feeling [/sarcasm] if I’ve not had my first cup of coffee by the time the sun gets up that high). I got to thinking that perhaps it would be an interesting shot to have the sun gleam around the branches. And this morning, during Frank’s morning “constitutional”, I took it –  from underneath the tree, looking up.

One thing it showed me … I have a lot to learn. After I finish posting, I’m going to read about some of the things I did wrong (and had to correct for with some software).  Tomorrow morning, I’m going to see if I can’t take the same shot and have it turn out better. Knock on wood.

Aside from the anxiety, it’s been an interesting week. I ordered the cargo basket and mounting hardware for my car top from Rack Attack. I went ahead and placed an order last weekend because they were running a discount offer that saved a little more than $100! Of course, I promptly used that to buy a cargo bag to store my gear in. Took a while to find one that fit the dimensions of the basket, but they wound up having one over at (with a name like that, you’d have thought I’d have visited that site first!). It all arrived today (after a 2-day delay in Edison NJ because of the winter storm).

One thing that hit me was how low my car’s profile is to the ground. sells a little step-stool you can attach to your car’s rear tire in order to place gear in the bag once it’s on top of your car. Funny, but once the basket is installed on my Hyundai Azera, it’ll only be about head-high! One of the benefits of being tall (although I discovered today that I’ve shrunk about an inch from how tall I used to be – more on that in a minute).

I made an appointment to bring the car in for service next Wednesday. Once that’s all taken care of, I’m going to practice doing an install on top of the car. As an aside, I love the practicality of the Internet! As I’ve been gearing up, I’ve found a number of video reviews of different items I was considering for purchase. I also found some handy video installation guides for the mounting hardware and the basket. I’m a visual learner. It’s a helluva lot easier for me to follow someone along as they do it than trying to read a bunch of directions (written by someone for whom English is obviously not their first language). By the way, do you want to see something funny? Well, it struck me as funny anyhow … it’s the demo for the cargo bag I bought – basically, it’s a woman squirting water on the bag with a high-power hose, after which she opens it up to show how everything inside is dry. Not a word is spoken – I guess it’s true that a picture video is worth a thousand words!)

Down East Walking Stick

If you need a walking stick, this is the place. Ask for Barrie (tell him “Big Jeff” sent you)

I also bought a hiking staff today. I used to have a great stick years ago – it was a tree limb I found on a walk up in Lake Tahoe one summer. I stripped off the bark and really liked the way it looked … kept it for years. Anyhow, I was looking for something that reminded me of that stick. I wasn’t having much luck until I came across the Down East Walking Stick website. I emailed them, asking for particulars about sticks for guys that are carrying around my weight. Barrie, the owner, sent me a prompt reply and we wound up talking on the phone for about 15 minutes. Great guy! Anyhow, I’ve ordered a one-piece hiking staff made of cherry wood. The instructions were to measure the height of your shoulder and subtract 2 inches. Based on that, my staff should be 60 inches tall, but I’m limited as to how long a staff I can fit in/on my car, so I’ve ordered a 55-inch one … Barrie suggested that I should get a one-piece stick rather than the collapsible 3-piece ones they sell since it would be stronger. He said it would be better for me to just go with a little shorter staff, so that’s what I did.

Another aside – that’s how I discovered that I’m no longer 6′ tall. I’m a little under 5’11” now. I’ve always said that I don’t have a weight problem – I have a height problem! I’m too short for my weight! And with this latest measurement, I’ve discovered my height problem has only increased with age! ;o )

So that’s it for the latest chapter. Oh yeah … HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Red Sox pitchers and catchers reported to spring training today! If only the weather would make it feel like it’s baseball season instead of still being in the middle of winter (damned groundhog)! It was 25 degrees this morning here in Charleston SC, with a “real feel” of 14 degrees! At least I’m not still back up in New Jersey … a fellow in the men’s group up at my old parish posted on Facebook this morning – he was waiting for the train to take him into New York City that it was only 1 degree and the “real feel” temp was -14 degrees! Glad that’s not part of my experience anymore!


Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Planning


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2 responses to “Take a Shot … of Anything! But Take a Shot!

  1. Barrie Bichoff

    January 12, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Jeff,
    I am browsing the web this evening and came across your post where you said some kind and generous things about me and my work; thank you very much. I hope your hiking staff has worked out well for you.
    All the best,
    Down East Walking Sticks


    • ustabe

      January 13, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      Hello Barrie,

      The walking stick has been fantastic. I’ve used it quite frequently and have had a number of compliments on it. I’ve passed the website address along on a couple of occasions and told them that if they ordered one, to tell you, “Jeff, the big guy from Charleston, SC sent me.”

      Hope things are going well for you and that you’ve managed to stay warm this winter. We just broke camp this morning at Goose Island State Park, near Rockport, TX … right on the Gulf of Mexico. Tomorrow we’re setting up camp at Lake Texana, about 50 miles inland, where we’ll be for the next couple of months.

      Jeff Cox



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