Final Chapter

In the Fall of 2011, we started this little blog with the goal of sharing what photography has meant to me as I battle chronic pain associated with a failed back and psoriatic arthritis that has camped out in as many as 43 of my joints.PhotoremedyBlogBkgrndPhoto

I wanted to share that the creative pleasure, and frequent thrill, associated with photography and photo-based digital arts has been a near inconceivable tool for helping me to move my mind and focus away from the pain. My overriding goal has been for photoremedy.me to help those in comparable circumstances. Who doesn’t want to help others climbing similar mountains?

Hero Duck 3fapj (1 of 1)Along my blogging way, I have found that I also enjoy sharing my art with others.

Unfortunately, 2015 was a rough year for my pain levels and the medical procedures and testing have temporarily wore me down a bit. Compounding this, I’ve found that typing and editing posts like this are particularly brutal for my cervical and lumbar areas. As a result, I’m changing things up. I’m going to keep taking and developing (what I hope are) interesting photos, but this will be –for now– the final official chapter for photoremedy.me. As this effort winds down, I’m happy to report that a new pursuit begins.Home Page Photoj

My Grandpa Dude will be an electronic gallery of sorts for both my new and classic photography-based art efforts. I’m not planning on doing any of the writing that has caused me –and probably more than a few photoremedy.me readers– excessive pain. It’s simply designed to be a creative outlet, while serving as an example of where the pursuit of photoremedy might lead others. Where does the name come from? Check out my full explanation at http://mygrandpadude.com/about. Here’s a short bit of it:About photo

While My Grandpa Dude will consume more of my time, I plan on working with WordPress to hopefully change the current photoremedy.me site from one that begins with the “Blog Background and Initial Post” and follows with posts in the order they were created. I hope to make it read more like a book, while continuing to make it a resource for people looking for new ways to win their own battles with health challenges. And, hopefully, it will help communicate (in a small way) that people can gain new abilities as previous attributes fade away.

Photoremedy.me has been incredibly enjoyable for me. Thank you to all of my awesome family Greg1jmembers who have helped bring life to this blog and thank you to all who have encouraged me in my blogging and even suggested I had something valuable to share. God bless you; I hope to see you regularly on MyGrandpaDude.com!

– Greg (a.k.a. Grandpa Dude)

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The Heat is On

Mary and I have adopted a new approach this year to combating Arizona’s annual ‘fry your hands (among other things) on the steering wheel’ season. We’ve been ‘Rving it,’ alternating between roughly two weeks in the mountains about an hour to the north of our Anthem, AZ home and then approximately two weeks back home. It’s an ideal situation, as the temperatures generally drop significantly as we head north and we are close enough to make day trips back for medical appointments (there have been a bunch this year) and family matters.

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Not only has it helped us beat (and appreciate) the heat, it has also provided awesome photoremedy opportunities.

Clear Creek Church - Near Camp Verde, AZ

Clear Creek Church – Camp Verde, AZ

We have at stayed three different campgrounds and are happy to report they all have a lot to offer.

Quail Ridge http://www.quailridgervpark.com/

Zane Grey RV Park http://zanegreyrvpark.com/

Verde Valley Thousand Trails http://www.thousandtrails.com/arizona/verde-valley

Each of these parks are located no more than 20 minutes or so from Camp Verde. Even better, they are also a short drive from several awesome visitor destinations and extremely photogenic areas. Over the next few weeks, many of the photographs captured during our in-state summer pursuits will be featured. Stay cool and stay tuned.

Near Verde Valley Thousand Trails RV Resort

Summer Storm – Near Verde Valley Thousand Trails RV Resort

Note: photoremedy.me is published as a labor of love. Please feel free to share the site, or any of our posts, with others. Our Home Page always features an option for our readers to sign up to immediately receive new material as an email. We hope you will become a part of our photoremedy network.

Louisiana 101

I must admit I’ve struggled in putting together Photoremedy post number 101. Why? Because Louisiana is one of the most colorful and genuinely unique places Mary and I have visited. We delighted in the enchanting aroma of history and spice found as we pursued photoremedy in eclectic places from low-key Jeanerette to the authentic New Orleans Garden District to the celebrated French Quarter.

Volumes can be–and have been–written about the cultural gems of Louisiana. I found, however, that the place that most etched an enduring mark was the one that left me grasping to find the right words: the renowned Oak Alley plantation.

Oak Alley Plantation -

Oak Alley Plantation – Vacherie, LA

Ironically it wasn’t the beautiful people, lush vegetation or much-photographed Oak Alley Big House that took my breath away. It was the direct manner in which the attraction addressed the overwhelmingly somber aspect of its history – slavery.

This blog is intentionally more about photography than words. Nevertheless, I struggled in identifying the photos I took that best describe how this exhibit seemed to painfully sandblast my heart, while leaving me strangely satisfied. In the final analysis, this unusual mix of emotions was based on the relief of sensing that plantation attractions like Oak Alley have joined those of us wanting to guarantee that such an appalling part of history is never repeated (at home or abroad).

Heavenly Focus

Additional back issues and managing a small home improvement project at our house has kept me off of the PC for perhaps my longest stretch since the early 1990s, but I’m happy to report that I have been able to partake in a bit of photoremedy this year.

Granddaughter Isabella just before she turned one

Granddaughter Isabella just before she turned one

Deacon Paul Louderman

Deacon Paul Louderman

I’m hopeful that I’ll be back to sharing the fruits of my photoremedy efforts regularly this month. And, stay tuned for new grandson photos on, or around, St. Patrick’s Day! One of the highlights for me this year was to be able to travel to Denver’s Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception to see our longtime friend Paul Louderman ordained as a Catholic Christian Deacon. It was a beautiful experience; we are so proud of Paul and his family.

The trip then allowed me to partake in some much needed Christ-centered photography.

Denver’s Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

Collage From Denver Basilica j

Mother Cabrini Shrine

Collage from Mother Cabrini Shrine j

For me, photoremedy at religious places that speak to (and calm) my soul is the perfect combination. As a result, I recommend that others who have a similar orientation give it a try the next time you are focused on pain or feeling blue. Why not give it a shot? You too may find that a greater focus on heavenly matters–with your mind and, occasionally, your camera–is a great step towards bringing a little more heaven to earth.

Where We Never Forget

USA Weekend recently featured an entertaining look at multigenerational vacations – where retirees and Baby Boomers travel with their adult children and grand children. The article asserted that such adventures, “Create bonds that money can’t buy.”Ride_The_Train-1j (1 of 1)

The well-written piece primarily focused on picking up the whole gang and traveling on a cruise ship, experiencing a theme park, or going wild on a city safari. While those are all awesome recommendations, don’t forget that traveling close to home can produce similar bonds for a fraction of the time and price. Getting us away from our mobile phones, text messages, and computers often produces the kind of lift that children of all ages crave these days.

Mary, Katie and I discovered that conclusion this weekend when we journeyed about four blocks away to take Katie and Andrew’s Emmett and Amanda and Stephen’s Isabella–our grandchildren–for a picnic lunch and train ride at our community park. KtMitGmaIzzy-1

It was a great experience that left me with three major takeaways. 1) You can pack chicken nuggets, but sometimes a good thumb is all that’s needed.

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2) Standing in line isn’t fun for long.

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3) Human touch with those we love is always a great source of photoremedy – whether we actually snap a photograph or commit it to the part of our brains where we never forget.

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Note: The photoremedy mission is to encourage those fighting chronic pain and other afflictions to consider using photography as a powerful tool to move their focus away from the pain. In the process, we strive to enhance readers’ ability to see beauty and experience elevated joy in their lives. There are many gifts that can accompany health challenges; one of the greatest offerings is it frequently forces sufferers to set better priorities for their lives and assists them in seeing the world in new and more meaningful ways. 

Greasy Spoon Redefined

Langlois_Greasy_Spoon_Interior-3j (1 of 1)You just can’t believe everything you read online.

I know that may be a shocker to  those who have found themselves occasionally saying, “It has to be true. I read it on the Internet!”

The various “greasy spoon” designations offered by the many online dictionaries are great examples of where the Internet can fail us. Almost all of them have “greasy spoon” definitions that basically say, “A cheap and rather unsanitary restaurant.”

Who writes these definitions? People who have never left major metropolitan areas? Drink wine with their pinky fingers fully extended? Frequently find themselves craving “food” from brightly colored chain restaurants?Langlois_Greasy_Spoon_Exterior-1j (1 of 1)

I was born and raised in Kansas, educated in Texas, and have spent the last 20 years loving Arizona. All of these states offer a variety of what are lovingly known as greasy spoons. To me, a great “greasy spoon” is like the one Mary and I frequented for breakfast on our recent Oregon coast exploration. The restaurant is located south of Bandon in Langlois and it is, appropriately, named the Greasy Spoon Cafe. All of the photos on this individual post are from this charming restaurant.GP Collage 1j

I was going to try and write my own definition of “greasy spoon.” I found, however, that it wasn’t necessary. Online reviews of the Langlois Greasy Spoon best tell the story of why this cafe, and similar restaurants, are ineradicably etched on the hearts (and stomachs!) of so many. A few Yelp reviews are offered below.GP Collage 2j

My husband and I ate at The Greasy Spoon after reading about it in a USA Two-lane Greasy_Spoon-Pancakes-1j (1 of 1)Highway Tour Book. The sausage gravy and biscuits was homemade fresh to order and it was amazing. As well, the pancakes melt in your mouth and  our over medium eggs were cooked to perfection; thick tasty bacon was to die for. We totally enjoyed our server and we even got a chance to chat with the owner/cook. Truly good folks and great home cooking! – Jesse W. from Chino Hills, CA

I was passing by at lunch time on a summer road trip. The Greasy Spoon was perfect Greasy_Spoon-1j (1 of 1)road trip fair. I had the ham melt with fries. Thick slab of ham with gooey American cheese on perfectly grilled sourdough bread and the fries were good. My traveling companion had the tuna melt and these tater tot jalapeño poppers that I kept stealing off the plate. She is a self proclaimed tuna melt fanatic and she proclaimed it a great example of the golden sandwich. – Susan M from San Fernando, CA

From Greasy Spoon Cafe's Gardens

From Greasy Spoon Cafe’s Gardens

I’ve driven by the Greasy Spoon Cafe for years, but never when it was open. Today I got lucky; the open sign was hanging in the window…I ordered a cheeseburger and fries, and it was better than I expected. (Hmm, I’m not even sure what I was expecting.) A warm, soft bun with a thin but large enough patty topped with two slices of cheese, fresh onion, tomato, and crispy lettuce.  After the couple at the next table raved about their milkshake I wished I would have ordered one, but I’ll be driving past here soon enough to try one, and maybe some pie too…I give it 5 stars, but don’t confuse the rating with some yuppie San Francisco burger bistro. The name of the place says it all. And for $6.50 including a soft drink what do you want? The best part is the sign on the menu board that reads, “This isn’t Burger King. You don’t get it your way. You take it my way or you don’t get the son of a bitch.”   Ha!  Inexpensive food and a priceless sign. A winning combo for this Greasy spoon. – R.W. from Humboldt, CALanglois_Greasy_Spoon_Interior-1j (1 of 1)

I’m thankful so many personable online reviews are offered. I feel like such descriptive stories help better define what constitutes a “Greasy Spoon.” The reviews for the Oregon Greasy Spoon Cafe also help prove that much of what we read online can–in fact–be extremely reliable. This was a great stop!