Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Humming Along

Hello there, how is everyone?!  Things here have been crazy around here, some good crazy and some bad...but mostly good.

We bought a hummingbird feeder, and that has been both good and bad.  I love seeing these delicate little creatures as they come to feed at our feeder, but man are they hard to photograph.

They are so darned fast and not keen on humans, so trying to take pictures from afar and in the evening light, when they seem to feed the most, is a bit trying on my patience.  I've decided that in the winter the swans are my photo nemesis' (or is that nemisi?) and in the summer these little buggers will do everything in their power to elude my lens.

Oh well, it gives me something to do, right...and it keeps me out of trouble!

The past few weeks have been filled with all sorts of things, like photo shoots until 3 am, and then right back at it the following morning.  Collaborating with a dear friend on some artwork...something I love doing these days, and working, working, working!


We also had some bad things happen in the past few weeks, friends and acquaintances who passed, some who had lived very long and interesting lives, and others taken too soon by the ravages of cancer.

Our dear neighbor George was one of those who lived a long and interesting life.  When we moved into this house 5 years ago, George was a spry 95 years young, living completely independently, driving his sweet dog to obedience each week, and tending to his beautiful garden.  I'll never forget that at our Christmas party he showed our son his itouch and told him that when the newest model came out he would sell him his old one for a good price.

Because George was one of the oldest living WWII veterans, I had the opportunity to interview him for a magazine, and what I learned was that George wasn't just any WWII veteran, he was the Forrest Gump of soldiers, having seen action in some of the most hostile and critical arenas of the war, and bearing witness to things most people only see in movies.  From there he ended up in India for a few years, and through all of his experiences he embraced moving forward, choosing not to dwell in the past.

He used to joke that he would make it to 100 or die trying, and it was that great sense of humor I will miss at our neighborhood gatherings.  George did indeed make it to his 100th birthday last December when his family hosted a wonderful celebration of his long and storied life.  In true George fashion, he made it to 100 and a half, passing away on the exact date that he turned that impressive age.

I don't think George ever really knew how much of an impact he had on those around him, how much of an inspiration he was, and what an example he set for embracing life no matter what age it says you are on a piece of paper.

He didn't complain about technology, but instead embraced it.  He didn't let a number dictate what he could or couldn't do, he simply lived life the way he wanted too and I firmly believe that it was that attitude that kept him healthy up until just a few months before his passing.  George lived completely independently until his 100th birthday when he decided to move to an assisted living facility, still tending his garden, driving, and caring for his beloved dachshund, and constant companion Hummel.

We could all learn a little bit from George as we frantically go buzzing through life like a little hummingbird.  He taught me to live the life I have right now instead of wasting time pining for the past or longing for the future.  He taught me to embrace change and to move with the times. But the most important thing he taught me was that no matter what your age, you can do anything you set your mind to, that the limit is not in the number, but in how we perceive the number.

If you don't believe me, that age is just a number, please read the short article linked HERE and watch a bit of the video which was shot at an obedience trial when George was 98 years old!!!  He was so proud of this video and showed it to us on his itouch...RIP George, though you are gone you have inspired so many and your legacy will live on forever, you will be greatly missed!


  1. What a sweet tribute to your neighbor and friend. We can all hope to live such a full life. Great hummer shots.

  2. Kelly J/Hunters HillJune 26, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    LOVE those hummer photos!

    What a wonderful, thoughtful tribute to your friend George!

  3. I watched the video with tears in my eyes. I hope that his dog went to a loving family! What a long wonderful life George led and it made me think about how at age 48 I think that I will NEVER learn how to use my camera on manual settings. George is an inspiration for me to quit making excuses! Your beautiful photography is always an inspiration to me too! Thanks for a great post! Meghan

  4. I love your hummer photos. We see lots of them here but almost impossible for me to ever capture them. George sounds great! My dad is like that...has an iPhone and since I just got an iPad and he played with it...no doubt he will have one soon. At 85 he has more energy than I do! I am sorry for your losses, always sad even if it is the "right time".

  5. What a great post, Kat. I had a "George" in my life, too, and your post brought back wonderful memories of a friendship that was give and take. George is up in heaven smiling, I am sure.

    Keep up with the good work on capturing the hummingbirds. These are excellent pictures!


  6. What a SPIRIT that man had!

  7. I have been snapping hummers for two years now and they are not easy as you say. Our hummers are used to us pretty much as we place eight feeders all over our deck where we are all the time so they must be where we are. Your friend was special and lived long and well.

  8. George just looks to be the neatest person.... participating at age 98 is quite a feat. Thank you for sharing this video... it gives us each an insight of what to strive for in staying active into our later years. We should all be so lucky to live the long life that George did. May he rest in peace.

  9. Loved the video. I have to ask, who has his doggie and is the doggie okay without him. He looks amazing, walking and running. What stories he must have told. Great tribute.

  10. What an incredible man. I wish I had a George in my life. How fortunate you were to know him. The video of him & his precious pup is adorable. I hope that little guy has a loving home now. I also hope people know that pets grieve for their losses too & he is given extra love & attention during this time. As for your hummers, give them time. Mine practically land on my head when I'm changing their feeders!

  11. What a spry man George was and what a well trained dog (not at all like Juno, I might add).

    I love your hummingbird photos. Your hummingbirds are your photo challenge, not nemesis. I love photo challenges, because when you finally get a good photo it is so satisfying.
    Just thought I should put a different spin on things.

  12. Look at that darling man!
    I got such a kick out of seeing him run with his pup!

    Yep, we could all learn a lot from George. Beautiful post.

  13. We can all learn a lesson from George. The video made me smile.

  14. wow...a double treat: great pics and great story.

    Thanks for posting both.

    In Him

  15. what lovely words you have written about your sweet neighbour. we all need a George in our lives to remind us of whats really important and whats not.
    Lovely images too!
    After a not so good day I feel extremely inspired after reading this post.
    Bec x

  16. what a wonderful tribute....i had tears just reading bout George, so glad he had a long and healthy life and was able to impress and instill such great memories onto loved ones. great pics but i am sticking my tongue out at you for the life of me i can't get hummingbirds to come to my feeder's i gave up this yr!!!!

  17. What a sweet video.....so sad to loose someone you care about....smiles

  18. Great shots of the hummer, Kat!!
    What a nice tribute to your neighbor.
    We could all take a lesson from this humble man. Your appreciation of his spirit blessed the rest of us.

  19. What an inspiring post, Kat...he was a special man and I am sure he will be very missed! Watching Hummel...I am thinking my dogs are definitely underachievers lol!

  20. Kat- your photos of the hummingbirds are simply amazing-- maybe the best I've ever seen!!

    I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend- he was certainly an inspirational and motivating person-- love both the video and article. He makes me want to be a better person.


  21. I don't know what's more amazing about this video - watching George scurry along at 98 or the dog who loves his master!

    What an inspiring man, how fortunate you were to have such an amazing neighbor and friend!

    Rest in peace George!

  22. Hi Kat....just a hello and thank you for your wonderful posts!


  23. I loved seeing him run with his dog. I can see why he will be greatly missed.


  24. I love this post about your neighbor George! I admire and respect people like that! It is ashame that more people aren't interested in listening to their stories. I applaud you for interviewing him and being such a great friend. I know you will miss him!
    Your hummingbird pictures are awesome!

  25. Kat, this story was
    exactly the right
    one I needed to
    read to start my
    day out right.

    Off to watch the
    video, but I am
    already a George
    fan just from your
    tender words!

    xo Suzanne

  26. Hi, Kat -

    Thanks so much for visiting my new blog. That was so wonderful of you (and Meg). I'm delighted to find your blog.

    Leaving comments here as I really enjoyed this post, and learning about George! He was amazing!

    And, your photos are amazing. WoW! I've never been able to get close enough to photograph them.



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