Lucky Says Goodbye

The day Dad and I have been dreading since I collapsed two years ago in Colorado's Rocky Mountains has come - it's time for Dad to send me home. 

     Although Dad and I love each other very much and will always live in each other's hearts, this old heart of mine is tiring out and no longer gives me the strength I need to stand on my own or to swallow all of my food. So Dad and I talked today, and we agreed it's time for me to cross the rainbow bridge. 

Our last minutes

 

Thank you to everyone who responded to me with joy and love, and to all who welcomed me into their home, business, or at the dinner table. Thanks to [Aunt] Jill Aguilera of Jack Russell Rescue, God rest her, and to Jack Russell Rescue of Southern California for saving me from a premature death at the shelter after my original human abandoned me in 2003.

       Thank you to my holistic veterinarian, Dr. Debbie Decker of Westlake, Ohio, for spending two hours with me during some visits and for teaching Dad to work with me (see video below) so I could live to help Dad celebrate his 62nd birthday this year, and begin our twelfth season at Eddie's Grill in Geneva on the Lake. 

      Special thanks to our friend John Rehner, who I know loves me, and whose gallery in Lakewood has been like a second home for the last ten years. Thank you to everyone who supported the Kickstarter funding project for my book, A Lucky Life, and to all who bought a copy of my book.

      Thank you to my devoted pet sitters at Yuppee Puppee, especially Sheila Schreiner, who took the picture of Dad and me talking at our home (Dad's not taking his camera to the veterinarian's office tomorrow) and reminded Dad to save some of my hair. 

      Aunt Jill will take care of me until Dad comes to join me again. Only God knows when that will be, but like the first time Dad had to leave me alone after adopting me almost fourteen years ago, I'll be listening for his footsteps and waiting by Heaven's gate. 

 

       Photo © 2017 Sheila Foster Schreiner - All Rights Reserved 

      Text © 2017 Lucky the Jack Russell Terrier and Bob Soltys - All Rights Reserved

 

What we're reading: In Eight Days

In Eight Days weaves a series of intriguing coincidences into a tale of enhanced awareness, an opening heart, and why love is the answer.

Author Lawrence Liebling donates fifty percent of the proceeds to charities that help alleviate hunger.

We hope you find it as inspiring as we did. 

 

 

What we're reading ... Washington: A Life, and A Woman of Interest

As the inauguration approached, Dad wanted to brush up on his American history, and as luck would have it, ran across David McCullough's 1776 at the library. (When the student is ready, the teacher appears.)

That book inspired him to learn more about George Washington. So he's finishing Ron Chernow's Pulitzer Prize winning tome, Washington: A Life. An avid reader, Dad enjoyed learning more about the Marquis de Lafayette, and resolved to emulate our first President's gentility and letter writing skills. 

Like most of the pen community, Dad was saddened to learn that handwritten letter champion, Penworld magazine columnist, and speaker Cindy Zimmermann had passed away. Her words and wisdom live on in A Woman of Interest, whose subtitle A Memoir in Letters perfectly describes the book.

From her childhood to a trying murder trial to sending letters in Cloth Envelope Company envelopes to her DVD Sincerely Yours, Cindy's book of letters will enchant you and inspire you to draw from her strength as she confronted so many challenges.

We hope you enjoy these books and learn as much from them as Dad did. 

Thanks again to our kickstarter supporters

Thank you to those who believed in the book and generously supported it on Kickstarter.

Thanks to your support, the project successfully funded a year ago today, and A Lucky Life became a reality last June.

At least one reader has told Dad it inspired her to adopt a dog, and we're glad my story and the photos have brought smiles to so many people. 

Thank you again for your support. 

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Embracing silence with the analog antidote

We live in a noisy world. Leaf blowers, loud car radios, phone alerts, junk mail, LinkedIn and FaceBook notifications and endless stream of social media posts and "suggested" popups almost every time you look at a commercial web site. Remembering the time when one went to a talk and quietly listened (people didn't feel the urge to say "I 'like' that" when attending a lecture) - and that he did his best photography before he owned an iPhone - as the shadows begin to lengthen for me, Dad embraced silence to remain peaceful and centered, since I take my cues from him. 

How did he escape the prison of availability? Dad turned off notifications on his phone, ended monthly financial fealty to AT&T Wireless and went prepaid sans data plan, and installed a "silence" ringtone on his phone. Silence is the default for all contacts (except the veterinarian, pet sitters, and galleries showing his work). Want to use a silent ringtone? Click here

Photographing with black and white film allows Dad to craft traditional silver prints in a wet darkroom, and spend less time looking at screens, giving his eyes a much-needed break.

Using Tweetbot eliminates the notifications about "likes" that Twitter forces on those accessing it via the Internet or the official Twitter app. Tweetbot also lets him temporarily mute toxic posters and political ranters, and those who abuse Twitter by @ messaging him. FaceBook Demetricator doesn't prevent the popups that shout at you when logging on, so Dad spends very little time on Facebook. Setting boundaries makes surface mail the only way to reach us. 

We don't do the news or watch TV. As Dad's friend Thorsten Overgaard says, "You turn on the television and they tell you what to think." Too many radio and TV news shows seek to create controversy. If something's true and its important enough, we'll eventually learn about it. We've learned to not fear missing out, and to experience the joy of missing out (JOMO).

Dad just said no to junk mail by getting Prohibitory Orders against junk mailers. The U.S. Supremes ruled that prohibitory orders are not limited to sexually oriented advertising:  "... no one has the right to press even 'good' ideas on an unwilling recipient." (Rowan v. U.S. Post Office, 397 U.S. 728 (1970). Fill out the form, attach the junk mail, and mail it to the address on the form. Don't ask for a listing, though - that puts your address out there for more junk mail. 

Reading paper books avoids the Audible app's popups about reaching whatever status (who cares?), and reduces eyestrain from computer screens. Using pen and paper to add and subtract, and a slide rule to multiply and divide instead of a calculator gives the brain a workout and avoids depending on a machine to do what we all learned in elementary school. 

Instead of listening to music on an iPhone, Dad plays compact discs on his stereo system. He gets the weather from NOAA Weather Radio on a 1970's Regency Police Scanner, bought on eBay. Where do you get crystals? Click here, or search eBay. 

Listening to music on a stereo system lets us enjoy better quality sound on what we already have instead of buying something we don't need. Getting weather from a police scanner harkens to back in the day while avoiding the alerts some iPhone apps force you to endure. And NOAA weather radio's computer-generated voice reminds Dad of the Talking Moose

Dad wrote A Lucky Life on paper with his Pelikan fountain pen, and prefers handwritten letters to email. 

We hope some of these ideas for avoiding digital insanity - and practicing daily meditation - help you embrace silence, and experience inner peace and the joy of missing out. Want to learn more? The Power of Off is an excellent start. 

Peace, love, and all green lights. Namaste.

What we turn to in times of trouble

One of Dad's friends expressed dismay at the low energy emotions such as hate and exclusion that have taken over the headlines and pervade social media lately. 

Coincidentally, today's prescription in Dr. Bernie Siegel's 365 Prescriptions for the Soul recounts his great-grandfather's conversation with his rabbi about why the Cossacks were slaughtering Jews. Dr. Siegel later concluded that if such things didn't happen, God's creation might be interpreted as a magic trick instead of creation.  

In his audio book 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace, Dr. Wayne Dyer notes the overwhelming responses of love to terrorism and other hateful acts; thus, he says, people who do bad things are doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing. 

While those words of wisdom don't soften the blows or lessen the wrongfulness of terrorism and hate, for us, at least, they help us understand lower energy acts, and remain peaceful ourselves while responding in a positive, loving way.

We hope their words are helpful to you, too. 

  

What we're doing ... therapy for a dog

Dr. Debbie Decker of Synergy Veterinary Care came in early today so she could look at me after Dad noticed I've been having trouble sitting and standing. In addition to making sure Dad gives me only natural treats like sweet potato skins and other vegetables, she gave me an injection to reduce inflammation, and showed Dad how to work with me every day to improve my standing. 

We learned that the salt in even a small bite of hamburger from a restaurant or in a bite of salmon loaf made with low sodium canned salmon can aggravate my heart condition and push me into fluid overload. Dad and I are grateful Dr. Decker added an appointment for us today. 

My healthy diet now includes a natural diuretic from Standard Process; Krill oil; and a tablet of Dad's Catlalyn - another Standard Process supplement his holistic chiropractor, Dr Bryan Ruocco, started him on as I wrote about in Chapter 20 of A Lucky Life.  

What we're reading ... Mona Lisa

When in Paris, Dad goes to the Louvre and joins the 9 million visitors a year who admire the Mona Lisa. The crowds make getting close to her a challenge, so Dad approached photographing her differently.

                                                  © 2013 Bob Soltys All Rights Reserved

                                                  © 2013 Bob Soltys All Rights Reserved

 

In the library's biography section yesterday, Dianne Hales' Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered caught his eye. He's learning a lot about La Joconde, as Parisians call her, about la bella lingua, and enjoying the book's great stories.

We think you will, too.  Bonne lecture. 

Have You Tried Audio Books?

Dad drives to his assignments so he can take me along, and we like to listen to audio books instead of the radio.

They're a delightful way to pass the time, learn, and remain peaceful while avoiding political ads, commercial advertising, as well as the controversy that so much of the news seems to generate lately.

One of our favorites is Dr. Wayne Dyer's 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace. It's inspired Dad for years, and he renews his inner peace by listening to it once a week (it's less than two hours long). Just yesterday we listened to it on the way to Vermilion and back. 

A Lucky Life is now available as an audio book from audible.com, and from iBooks

No time to sit down and read a paper book? Give audio books a listen during your commute, or in a plane, train, or automobile. 

 

 

 

What We're Reading, January 2017

Paris - The Novel, by Edward Rutherfurd.

Dad's been a fan of Mr. Rutherfurd's books since a friend gave him a copy of Russka in 1991. 

Part history, part geography lesson, part trivia, this novel takes you from the early days of Cathedral Notre Dame to post-World War II Paris, stopping along the way for the construction of Eiffel Tower, and Gertrude Stein's salon. Dad read most of it on flights to and from Paris, put it aside reluctantly when my heart condition canceled his trip there, then quickly finished it. 

Filled with trivia that will delight any Francophile, Paris - The Novel is a must for anyone who wants to learn about The City of Light. 

Eiffel Tower photograph above © 2007 Bob Soltys All Rights Reserved

Books We Recommend

 

Books have inspired Dad since he learned to read when he was three years old. Here are some of our favorites that have fueled Dad's passion for photography, writing, and learning - and kept him doing the right thing.

We're confident some of the books on this list will inspire you. 

TURNING PRO, BY STEVEN PRESSFIELD.

The guide to overcoming Resistance and creating your art. 

THE EYE OF EISENSTAEDT: HOW A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER SEES.

The book that inspired Dad to become a photographer. The emphasis is on vision, not gear. 

 

HOW TO THINK LIKE LEONARDO DA VINCI, BY MICHAEL J. GELB.

A world-renowned innovator teaches you to tap into more of your brain power by honing your observation skills, and with a series of self-assessments and exercises. Dad continues to delight in the companion Notebook and Workbook.

 

GOD IS AT EYE LEVEL: PHOTOGRAPHY AS HEALING ART, BY JAN PHILLIPS.

The title says it all. 

 

WALKING WITH JUSTICE, BY DR. MOLLIE MARTI.  

A psychologist, lawyer and popular servant leader describes what she learned from one of the most respected appellate judges in the country - a true gentleman we wish we'd had the chance to meet. You can, through Dr. Mollie's heartwarming book.

 

THE GO-GIVER, BY BOB BURG.

The bible of servant leadership. 

 

THE BIG PICTURE, BY DOUGLAS KENNEDY.

We all dream of fleeing the dreaded day job and living a simpler small town life like lawyer Ben Bradford.

 

UNBROKEN, BY LAURA HILLENBRAND

Great flying stories and lessons in perseverance abound in this biography of Olympian Louis Zamperini.

 

JON LEWIS: PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE CALIFORNIA GRAPE STRIKE, BY RICHARD STEVEN STREET.

A documentary photographer gave his all for photography and the cause he was covering. 

 

HIGH PLAINS TANGO, BY ROBERT JAMES WALLER.

An epic tale about craftsmanship, dealing with bureaucrats, and standing up for what's right. 

 

BORN TO RUN, BY BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

Whatever your artistic talents are, his description of growing up and making music will inspire you; along with the Big Man's Jungleland solo, it inspired Dad to  start the saxophone lessons he's always wanted to take. 

 

SPARK YOUR DREAM, BY CANDELARIA AND HERMAN ZAPP.  

Get inspired to follow your dream by a husband and wife who followed theirs driving a 1928 Graham-Paige car from Argentina to Alaska. 

Power vs. Force, by David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. 

A world-renowned physician shows how the energy in our thoughts affects our health and the well-being of those around us. 

Happy reading, and thank you for your support. 

Thankful for and Enjoying Each Moment as Summer Comes to a Close

 

The weekend of September 10 and 11, 2016 marked ten years going with Dad on his trips to make pictures at Geneva on the Lake. 

       My summer sojourns began when Dad read about Eddie’s Grill in a Cleveland magazine article touting Northeast Ohio’s best hamburger joints. The staff let me sit with Dad at the sidewalk counter during our first visit the next weekend, beginning what has become a summer tradition.

       Eddie and Anne Sezon (the owners), the staff, and repeat customers remember me patiently sitting on the sidewalk, and I devoted a chapter of my book to my summers at the lake. Because Ive slowed down a bit due to an age-related heart and back conditions, Dad carries me from the parking lot to the sidewalk counter, and I don't walk as far down the strip. After a taste of a cheeseburger and a drink of water, I rest while Dad makes pictures.

      Our trips to this Saturday night mecca for cruisin’ out East have been a photo op for Dad. “Once in a while the photo gods smile upon you,” he says. One night last summer, as he waited with his camera loaded with Ilford Delta 3200 high speed black and white film, a magic moment presented itself. 

    You can view the 11 x 14 artist’s proof of Dads timeless image at John Rehner Fine Art and Framing on Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio. 

    As the weekend of September 10 approached, Dad and I were sad that this chapter of good times was about to close.

   Savoring each moment Sunday evening with gratitude and making pictures got us through our sadness. 

    We're grateful for every moment and for all the friends we've made over the years. God willing, we'll return next May to open another chapter of good times and our eleventh season at the lake.

 Photos © 2013 and 2015 Bob Soltys All Rights Reserved