Urban cowboy

8 01 2012

Presenting my father, a.k.a. the King of Texas

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The Painting Years: A little paint, a little paneling

31 12 2011

This family quote, “a little paint, a little paneling,” originated with my dad. He probably learned it from his mother, perhaps. I just did a Google search on that quote and believe it or not, the only two entries that reference it are on this blog!

On family vacations, when we would invariably pass by a dilapidated house or barn, held up with just a few boards and rusty nails, and showing sky through the roof, my dad would point at the structure and quip, “a little paint, a little paneling,” as if that was all it would take to make the hovel presentable. I still use that quote today and since we can safely assume my dad invented the phrase, I will give you permission to use it as needed. Just remember who invented it and give credit where credit is due. Or, you could make a donation through PayPal to the King of Texas each time you use it. The King says a quarter per use (he acknowledges it is a tough economy for his subjects) would be greatly appreciated. Donations would help with the upkeep of the castle (he is retired and on a fixed income, you know).

It would certainly be appropriate with this sketchy painting done in thinned-out oil paints on an 11×16 canvas. I’m not sure what I was referencing when I painted it—it could have been an exact copy of a painting or even sketched from a photograph in a magazine. I’ve always liked loosely painted subjects and that’s the style I tend to lean toward now when I do paint.





Hearing Loss Magazine: 2011 Recap

23 11 2011

The last issue in 2011 of the Hearing Loss Magazine (HLM), published by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), just arrived in member mailboxes. I design the bimonthly magazine and provide photography services to HLAA.

January/February 2011: I photographed Bill and his wife Mary Beth this past summer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was there as the keynote speaker for HLAA’s annual convention in June 2010. Bill is one of 15,000 people in the United States and 100,000 in the world with Usher Syndrome Type II, which is the leading cause of deaf-blindness. Bill has worn hearing aids since he was five years old, but in 1987 he discovered that he had been slowly going blind his whole life. Usher Syndrome Type II is an inherited condition. The vision loss is due to retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative condition of the retina, and the hearing loss is due to a genetic mutation affecting nerve cells in the cochlea. Despite their challenges, the Barkeleys are the most down-to-earth, upbeat and positive couple that I’ve ever met!

In his article, No Barriers, Bill wrote about dealing with hearing loss since early childhood, marrying Mary Beth and raising their three sons, then being diagnosed with Usher Syndrome Type II. By 2007 he had worked his way up to being a director of sales and marketing for a Fortune 500 company. He then decided he “needed a challenge and a vision to help take me on the next phase of my life.” At age 45, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, utilizing the latest hearing aids, FM systems and Bluetooth technology. He said it changed his life. “I retired from my 25-year career. I became a deaf-blind adventurer and storyteller, traveling the globe while sharing a message of inspiration, aspiration, hope and faith for those with hearing and vision loss.” Read Bill’s article here: HLM Bill Barkeley

Also in this issue: Mary Beth Barkeley’s For Better or Worse, Lise Hamlin’s The Future is Here: The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Jennifer Stuessy’s “Organic” Solutions, Sam Trychin’s How Were Your Holidays?, Get in the Hearing Loop by Brenda Battat and Patricia Krikos, It’s Good Business to Walk4Hearing by Ronnie Adler and Rebecca Lander, Hiding My Hearing Aids? Not Anymore! by Hayleigh Scott, and Is Auditory Training Effective in Improving Listening Skills by Mark Ross.

March/April 2011: The 2011 HLAA Convention in Washington, D.C. was the cover focus for this issue. Also in this issue: Come to the 2nd International Hearing Loop Conference by Dana Mulvaney, Cell Phone Inventor Forsees a Universal Ear by Larry Herbert, Small and Convenient: Today’s Hearing Aid Designs by Mark Ross, Lise Hamlin’s Standing Up for Movie Captioning, Walk4Hearing Keeps Stepping Forward by Ronnie Adler and Rebecca Lander, and author Jennifer Rosner’s At Bedtime, a story about her daughters, Sophia and Juliet. HLAA Executive Director Brenda Battat asked members to participate in a survey about jury duty in this issue.

May/June 2011: This month’s cover feature was my dear friend and HLAA member Lynn Rousseau. Lynn’s love of dance and performing garnered her several “15 minutes of fame” moments—in her teens she was just one of three girls chosen to perform every Saturday on the Rick Shaw Show and the Saturday Hop Show in Miami. She performed at legendary Miami Beach hotels and her first television show was with Paul Revere & the Raiders, Simon & Garfunkel and Neil Diamond. She also had a small part on the big screen in Smokey and the Bandit, starring Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason, had the opportunity to dance with the June Taylor dancers, and was an extra on the movie, Doc Hollywood, with Michael J. Fox.

In her feature article, The Beat Goes On…, she shares both the sad and funny moments in her life concerning hearing loss, introduces us to her incredibly supportive family (husband Joel, three children, and eight grandchildren), and reveals her diagnosis of and subsequent recovery from breast cancer in 2008. My father, H.M. Dyer, co-authored and edited the article. He also has a blog—thekingoftexas.com. I photographed Lynn at the HLAA 2010 Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for this cover. You can read Lynn’s article here: Lynn Rousseau

Also in this issue: Living Well with Hearing Loss: Professional and Consumer Collaboration for Hearing Loss Support Programs by Patricia Kricos, HLAA Convention 2011 by Nancy Macklin, Mark Ross’ On the Job: The Effects of an Untreated Hearing Loss on Workplace Compensation, Sam Trychin’s Making Changes: Tools from the IDA Institute, At Work with Hearing Loss by Kathi Mestayer, Judy Martin’s In Complete: Walt Ivey—Musician, Audiologist and HLAA Member, and Lise Hamlin’s Emergency Preparedness—Once Again.

July/August 2011: This month’s cover subject is my friend and fellow blogger from Oslo, Norway—Ulf Nagel, accompanied by his handsome son, Oskar. I discovered Ulf’s very insightful, well-researched and painfully honest blog, Becoming Deaf in Norway, on Abbie (Cranmer) Hlavacek’s blogroll a few years ago. With editing and compilation assistance from Hershel M. Dyer and beautiful photos by Anne K. Haga, Ulf’s story—From Silence to Sound: My Quest to Hear Again—debuted in this issue. Ulf works as an IT consultant. He and his fiance, Mette, recently added a baby girl, Joanna, to their family, which includes sons Oskar and Gabriel. You can read Ulf’s article here: Ulf Nagel Feature

Also in this issue: From a Body Hearing Aid to a Cochlear Implant by Mark Ross, A Look Into the Mind and Heart of Caring Physician by Barbara Liss Chertok, Pam Stemper’s We Finish Only to Begin, Penny Allen’s The Important Stuff and Lise Hamlin’s Jury Duty: Will You Serve?

September/October 2011: Michael Eury’s article How My Hearing Loss Made Me a Superhero was the cover feature for this issue. Michael approached Barbara Kelley (the editor-in-chief) and me this past spring and proposed writing his story for the magazine and pitched an idea for a conceptual cover. With the help of fellow photographer Ed Fagan and set assistance by Michael Schwehr, we captured his superhero spirit! Eury wears binaural hearing aids and has been a member of HLAA since 2005. He is the state president of HLA-NC and is a 2011 recipient of the Spirit of HLAA Award. He lives in Concord, North Carolina, with his wife, Rose, who has loyally stood by his side during his journey through life with hearing loss. Michael is the editor of Back Issue, a comics history magazine published eight times a year by TwoMorrows Publishing of Raleigh, North Carolina. He is also a prolific published author. You can read his article here: MichaelEurySuperhero

Also in this issue: Unbundling: A Way to Make Hearing Aids More Affordable? by Stephanie Sjoblad and Barbara Winslow Warren, Decibels and Dollars: A Look at Hearing Aid Features Across Price Points, Lise Hamlin’s Make Hearing Aids Affordable: Insurance Coverage in the Workplace, and Peter Yerkes’ Listening Closely—A Journey to Bilateral Hearing. Hearing Loss Magazine‘s new Seen & Heard column debuted in this issue with profiles on HLAA members Danielle Nicosia and John Kinstler.

November/December 2011: Senthil Srinivasan’s article, Opening Up, is our cover feature for this issue. I met Senthil online after discovering his website, Outerchat, and asked him if he would be interested in being profiled for the magazine. I first met him and his parents at the HLAA Convention 2010 in Milwaukee. He flew to Washington, D.C. in September so I could photograph him for the cover. Senthil lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and for the past six years has worked as a web designer for PowerSports Network in Sussex, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Visit his blog at OuterChat.com. You can read his article here: SenthilSrinivasanOpensUp

Also in this issue: Carleigh’s Story by Syndi Lyon, Brad Ingrao’s 21st Century Connectivity in Hearing Devices, Barbara Kelley’s It’s Football Season! Where is Reed Doughty Now?, Scott Bally’s The Indomitable Spirit of the Kennedy Center’s Betty Siegel, Lise Hamlin’s The FCC, HLAA and Technology, and Seen & Heard with HLAA member Judy Martin.

Join the Hearing Loss Association of America!
Do you have a hearing loss or know someone who does? Consider membership in the Hearing Loss Association of America. Student annual dues are $20, individual annual dues are $35, and family/couple annual dues are $45. Fees outside the U.S. are slightly higher. All memberships include discounts on hearing-related products, convention and special event early bird discounts, AVIS and Alamo car rental, and the award-winning Hearing Loss Magazine. Sign up for membership here.





Praise from the King of Texas

30 06 2011

In response to my recent posting, Six degrees of separation, my father (aka The King of Texas), offered this comment below:

A beautiful magazine, professional in every respect, and I am very pleased to have been part of its creation—a part perhaps no bigger than a mustard seed as your grandmother Hester might say, but still a part of the whole.

Moonlighting as your father? Moonlighting?

Being your father has always been and will always be a full time job. All those years since you stubbornly insisted at birth in presenting the soles of your feet to the world first instead of your head, have been a full time job. I will admit, however, although presented last instead of first, your head was beautifully rounded, and certain features such as the temporarily flat noses that were presented by your siblings at birth were absent in your case. The flat noses were caused by the long slide, of course, and soon rebounded.

My moonlighting since then has consisted of incidental tasks such as making a living to keep food on the table and shoes on everybody’s feet, assisting my country in losing two wars—Korea and Vietnam—working overtime to staunch the flow of illegal narcotics and illegal aliens into the US, detouring harmful plants, animals and vegetables away from our fields, cities and tables and documenting the outflow and inflow of US citizens.

Yep, I had a full time job just trying to keep up with you, an effort in which I failed miserably. Six degrees of separation? That leaves some 354 degrees of separation between your mastery of so many varied skills and my success in trying to emulate them, so much separation that I officially surrender.

I give up, but I am exhilarated by the fact that you could not have done any of them without me. I take full credit for your creation—okay, half the credit—okay, okay, let’s just say that I suggested to your mother that we should have a second child—I guess one could say that I planted the seed, so to speak. Of course, I only suggested that to her after she announced that she was again in the family way—folks didn’t use the word pregnancy back in those days—they said in the family way.

Nice work—kudos to you and Barbara for an outstanding publication.





Revisited: Lone gull, lone cloud, lone man

24 07 2010

A recent comment from my father, a.k.a. The King of Texas, on one of my posts in December 2009:

I have been very remiss in not commenting on this posting and I extend my apologies! Obviously I’ve been very busy—too busy to acknowledge the photographic expertise reflected in these photos, particularly in the shot of that handsome chapeau sported by the handsome dude seated directly below said hat.

How I loved that hat! I remember chasing it in Arizona when an unkindly wind removed it from its wearer and sent it rolling and tumbling toward Canyon de Chelly with its wearer in hot pursuit. Had providence not placed a small bush a few feet from the precipice of the canyon, I may have followed that hat to the canyon’s floor, a sheer drop of 600 feet. However, thanks to providence, the hat’s forward progress was stopped by a strategically placed bit of flora, an indigenous plant equipped with thorny branches that stopped my hat in its race and in its tracks—and me in mine. No, I did not run into the bush—I wisely skidded to a stop when I saw the bush reach out and capture my hat.

That hat and I were inseparable for several more years, but one day it became conspicuous by its absence—it had mysteriously disappeared without leaving the slightest hint of how, when, where or why it left me.

I suspect that my hat felt—even though it was a straw hat rather than a felt hat—from the beginning of that windy day at Canyon de Chelly that its future was inextricably intertwined with the canyon floor, that because of its lightness and its ability to drift with the wind, it would wind up undamaged by the 600 foot drop, and would ultimately live a long life, squared securely atop the head of a person of the four-state region, either New Mexico, Arizona, Utah or Colorado, possibly a direct descendant of the greatest chief in Navajo history, or one of the Apache tribes, Geronimo or Chief Sitting Bull or another of the native American Indians immortalized in literature and movies and television, and still living in the tales told by the most respected elders of various tribes in the great Southwest. Tales of their exploits are also told in the great state of Texas, fantastic recitals that dance—precipitously, so to speak—on the rim of the unbelievable.

Please accept my abject apologies for my failure to respond sooner. I would also be remiss if, driven by my use of the word sooner, I failed to say that the word sooner reminds me that there are also many tall tales told in the great state of Oklahoma.

I do so say.

Reposted from 12/12/2009
Seagull on Chincoteague Island, Virginia; lone cloud somewhere in Colorado; and Dad during our road trip—Great Adventure #678—in 1990 (which he writes about in his recent blog posting, “Arizona apples & cheeseburger briefs” here). 35mm slides scanned by ScanCafe.com

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





How my father became the King of Texas

9 07 2009

As a birthday gift one year, my dear friend Debbi wrote and illustrated a fairytale for me. Here is her story.

Once upon a time in the far away Kingdom of Runnymeade lived a beautiful and kind Princess named Cindy. Princess Cindy loved to garden. She was very happy in her little castle, planting seedlings and bulbs and collecting yard art.

Her father was the King of Texas and Princess Cindy loved him very much. Her father came to visit Princess Cindy and was very disturbed by the Kingdom of Runnymeade. “Daughter,” he said, “you live in a tiny Kingdom of cracker boxes. There is no land in which you can grow Texas-sized plants and vegetables. Your neighbors and friends are colorful and strange. Your Kingdom feels like…well, the Projects! I shall forever call your Kingdom ‘The Projects,’” the King of Texas proclaimed.

Princess Cindy was very sad. She knew she had strange and colorful friends but she loved them. Her father, the King of Texas, didn’t understand that the Kingdom of Runnymeade was part of the land of fruit and nuts called Washington, D.C., where everyone was a little crazy.

Princess Cindy looked around her little Kingdom of Runnymeade and realized that her father, the King of Texas, was right about all the royal subjects’ gardens. They were a mess. She summoned two of her loyal friends, Maiden Barbara and Maiden Debbi and told them of her plan to beautify Runnymeade. They loved their garden and thought Princess Cindy had a royal idea. “I will start a Garden Club and beauty will spread through Runnymeade,” said Princess Cindy.

Princess Cindy went to see the Queen President of Runnymeade, Sue. The Queen Prez loved her garden and was excited that one of her royal subjects would volunteer to help the Kingdom. The Queen Prez loved volunteers. “Go for it!” the Queen Prez said.

Princess Cindy printed beautiful flyers, inviting everyone to join her Garden Club. She and Maiden Debbi distributed them throughout the Kingdom. Princess Cindy and Maiden Debbi saw lots of castles that needed help. “I hope they come,” said the Princess.

Princess Cindy was very happy when she realized that there were many subjects who were interested in her Garden Club. They started to meet in Princess Cindy’s castle once a month. Princess Cindy lovingly became known as the Head Cicada because it was Cicada season in her Kingdom and there were millions of them flying all around.

Princess Cindy went to visit Maiden Debbi one day after the cicadas had finally all died. Maiden Debbi’s husband Sir Tom announced Princess Cindy.  “The Head Weed is here!” he proclaimed. “Head Weed….” Princess Cindy thought to herself. “I like that name.” It will be 17 more years before the cicadas return so Princess Cindy decided that Head Weed would be her official title throughout the Kingdom.

Everyone in the Garden Club liked the Head Weed. The Head Weed gave everyone lots of information about gardening. The Garden Club made cement leaves, painted windows, and topiary cone heads. The royal subjects in Runnymeade started caring about their gardens. Beauty was spreading through the Kingdom thanks to the Head Weed. Everyone was happy in the Kingdom of Runnymeade, and they all lived happily ever after.

Moral of the story: Even one little weed can make a difference.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to get to know the King of Texas? Now you can! He actually takes time out from his royal duties to blog. Read his letters to the editor of the San Antonio Express-News. Learn about the time he scolded Axel Rose for being rude at the San Antonio Airport. Discover how he met the Queen of Texas. Uncover entertaining stories from his childhood and his service in the Air Force, too. He’ll teach you proper grammar, offer cinematic reviews, brag about his three princesses and delve into politics. You never know what subject he’ll cover from one day to the next—from Boy Scouts to cats to Vietnam to chihuahuas to wayward M&M’s. Pay him a visit here. And please feel free to comment if the urge strikes you. He loves getting feedback from his subjects.