A Progress Report from San Antonio.

There is an idea that your children are like little Buddhas that teach you so many things. I maintain that your parents are like bigger Buddhas who, in their decline, teach you to embrace patience and kindness; two things I have always seemed to  have been short of supply...

I've spent the last week as the primary caregiver for my father and his dementia can be frustrating, tough, emotional and daunting. I've been battling with the healthcare industries inefficiencies and leaning on the sage advice of older friends (including some here at VSL) and my attorney.

I'm finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.  We've located and contracted with the most highly regarded memory care facility in San Antonio for you father. He'll be admitted on Monday. I've finished funeral arrangements for my mom. Memorial to come a bit later. I've activated my power of attorney and all the other legal devices necessary to smooth the transition and work as an ongoing advocate for my father.

There are blessings. A wonderful housekeeper who has spelled me for three or four hours a day. Friends (even ones I've never met in person) who call from across the country and across the world to make offers to fly in and help. To fly in and substitute for me in the business until I can retake the reins. Even my good Austin doctor who was quick to call and counsel me through some tough steps.

Another blessing is that my parents worked and saved and we can afford to provide any level of care that my dad might need for the rest of his life. I'm blessed with a brother and sister who are hardworking, honest, kind and pitching in to do their parts without hesitation. We each have our duties and they haven't stepped on my toes nor have I stepped on theirs.

And then there is my own family. Ben and Belinda must come from some other planet where everyone is the personification of compassion, love and dedication. They are relentlessly supportive an comforting. Far in excess to what I deserve.

I'll be back to work next week but my Sundays will be spent with my father; hopefully for years to come.

Now, on to some photography chatter. I was alone in the living room at the end of a tough day and decided that I deserved a little photo treat. I remembered how much I like the Sigma 30mm f1.4 lens when I was shooting the Sony a6300. I looked on Amazon.com and, low and behold, they make it in the m4:3 mount!!! I couldn't get that credit card out quick enough. It's winging its way to my studio as I write. Good thing too. I have a job in January which will really leverage a fast, sharp and agile lens which is slightly longer than "normal."

I was actually a little bit thrilled that I haven't lost my passion for the art we all practice with such joy.

Go and hug someone in your family today. Then go buy a fun lens. Life is short....


  1. Hi Kirk,

    Good to hear things are progressing there in San Antonio for you and your family. After going through a similar situation with my wife's mother in Fort Worth it truly is ashamed we do have the will here to adopt a similar Health Care System like they have in Australia.

    All the best for the coming year,

    Larry C.

  2. I'm glad to hear that things are working out and that you have good support. I hope your future time with your father works out for you. My mother didn't know who I was the last 4 years of her life. That can be awkward.

  3. Delighted to hear the fog is lifting and some of the irreverent Mr.T is shining through.

    Hmmm .... wonder how that 30mm would work on a Fuji X series .... Hmmm.

  4. I see a new long term (hopefully) photo project called "Sundays with Dad". B&W of course using only one focal length for the entire project.

  5. Thank you, Kirk. Your readers have been checking in daily, not really expecting to hear from you but....just checking. Looks like your penchant for fastidious planning has served you well. Something else for the rest of us to learn from you.

  6. Hey Kirk,

    Glad things are going smoothly with your Dad's situation, and that you have so much support. And by the way, you DO deserve all of the love and support from your family and friends that you've been getting. You're a good guy, and have obviously been a great husband and father. So yeah, you deserve all of the TLC that you've been getting.

    Now, back to photography, you're gonna love that 30mm 1.4, it's just about the perfect length to be remarkably versatile at so many things. When I used to shoot Leica R and Contax slr's, one of my favorite lenses for each system was the 60mm Macro, combined with a 28 and a 135 I had a nice little kit that could do most anything. Now I have the 15 Pana/Leica along with the 30 and the 75 Olympus and have pretty much the same kit. Small, light, fast, sharp and versatile to do most anything.

    Please take care of yourself. Your family, friends and your loyal readers all really care about you.


  7. My condolences on the loss of your Mother. Your experience, over time, will be very similar to mine with one exception. You live in Austin and will be taking care of finances, etc. Your brother will be here in San Antonio taking care of Dad along with the memory care folks.

    I did both jobs here in San Antonio and it was definitely a challenge. Luckily, I retired early. My wife helped a lot. My other siblings did what they could.

    My experience tells me that your brother will need lots of support and respite. I was privileged to help my Dad and visited almost daily for 4 years until his death almost 2 years ago. However, the situation became an emotional, physical and family challenge.

    Do what you can as a family to help your brother and help yourself. From what I can tell from your blog, you have a very strong work ethic and seem like a workaholic. You're very talented and successful.

    Stop and smell the roses occasionally on your new journey. Best wishes.


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