Thursday, September 30, 2010

Waking Up is Hard to Do

Dooley Road
Grapevine, TX

Sometimes waking up is hard to do. (My apologies to Neil Sedaka.)   I was in the middle of really great dream but I ran out patience and woke up.  I had just won $331,000 on a neighborhood slot machine.  Crowds were gathering to see the lucky winner.  Why did I have to wake up?  Easy street was within my reach.

The euphoria and relief were palpable this morning.  All my financial worries were going to be put to rest.  All I had left to worry about was just living and getting my new business off the ground.  It's good to dream but it's harder than hell when you wake up.  The disappointment was very real.  

Euphoria and disappointment all within a matter of minutes; an emotional roller coaster ride that I didn't know I had tickets for.  I don't know what's in store for me today.  The range is between the two.  I would settle for something comfortably in the middle.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Steel Guitars and Randy Travis

Content Cowboy

It actually feels like fall in North Texas.  The mornings are brisk and afford you the opportunity to slip on sweats.  This morning's exercise was very invigorating.  You know the type of morning where you feel alive and in step with the rest of the world.

My headsets were gratefully working today.  For some reason I just wanted to listen to Randy Travis and steel guitars (that's pronounced gitars).  Something about his country soulful twang that just makes heart feel good.  Something about his songs' shades of blue that makes me feel good.  It doesn't which songs he bellows, I feel connected awake and ready for the day's journey.  In fact, I am plugged in to him right now as I am conjuring up words to write.

The tunes really don't matter.  They all speak to me:  "Diggin Up Bones", "Forever and Ever Amen", "Better Class of Losers", and "Deeper than the Holler".  His tunes for whatever reason truly do manage to "resurrect memories".  If you haven't listened to Randy, it might be time.

It doesn't matter who you are.  We are all searching for something:  love, joy, and money.  You've chosen to read this blog perhaps because you understand that what I am saying to you actually speaks to your heart.  Just maybe you feel that's something is missing in your journey and you don't want to give up trying to find it.  My advice is simply don't stop trying.

Excuse me, I've got to get back to my Travis...  I'm in the middle of listening to a "Better Class of Losers". I think I should find some friends who don't pay their bills online.  You know I should just step outside of my comfort zone and meet some real folks.... 

If this speaks to you today, then share it with a friend.  You would be surprised how many are truly looking.  Let yourself just be and reconnect.  Listen to the steel guitars.  There's a lot to be said about sharing a tune.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

You Can Feel Bad If It Will Make You Feel Better

A Bird Told Me So

There's something about country western lyrics that make you smile.  The lyrics are usually simple and speak to the heart.  We all can relate to something that tears us apart.  Most country tunes dwell on the so familiar.  

This morning I heard Patty Loveless sing "You can feel bad, if it will make you feel better."  I thought about the words for a while:  the irony of feeling bad to feel better like the proverbial good cry.  Why is it so difficult to understand that when we lose something or someone, it's ok to grieve;  that what we need is to truly feel bad and angry so that we can feel better.  

Somewhere along the line, we were taught to condition ourselves not to feel.  We told ourselves that it was ok and that we should just suck it up.  I think those people are wrong.  I think we need to allow ourselves to feel so that we can learn from the adversity.  

Let me share my secret, I've had my cry, my feeling bad period.  Now, I am angry enough to start all over again, without a company.  I am ready to venture on my own.  It's always been on my shoulders any way.  I don't need someone to monitor my phone calls and my emails and to tell me what time it is.  Quite frankly I sure as hell know what I am worth and it's a helluva lot more than most are willing to pay.

If you are one of my CMC friends and read this you know this to be true.   How do I put in a resume that I worked in an international marketing capacity pioneering and developing new customers, consulted the company on financial and banking matters, and also acted as a corporate photographer but was only compensated for one job?  Regardless someone thought they would save money by getting rid of me and other seasoned veterans.   I challenge them to find one person with as much talent and experience as me and who will work as cheaply and for as many years as I did.

Pain teaches us to avoid the behavior that hurts us.  I can learn from it by not making the same mistakes.  Think about it.  A relationship sours and you learn not to choose the same type of person again.  A job ends and you decide that you don't want to feel this way again.  You make a fundamental change in your life to avoid future pain.  You adapt and you cope.  You change your behavior and modify your choices.  It won't happen to you the same way again.

Yes, I can see the merit of the tune...I think I will play it some more.  "You can feel bad if it will make you feel better."  I am already feeling better....thanks for letting me vent.  It feels so good.  The lyrics are catchy.  I think I will tackle Gloria Gaynor next.  "Oh no, not I...I will survive....I've got all my life to live."

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Bird on Table

It just seems like I couldn't get myself in the creative place.  Nothing wanted to flow either visually or with my pen.  I felt as if I had nothing to say and nothing to share.  Sometimes there's an internal struggle between living and survival as if we have to choose.

The struggle is rather simple.  Do I devote all my energy to merely subsisting or do I allow myself the opportunity to just live?  It seems that when I focus on subsisting and making a traditional living there's no room left for living.  It's as if the pressure of subsisting consumes me and I have no time to create and feel alive.

There's a dark undertow constantly ebbing in my life.  An unwanted current that has accompanied me my whole life.  It pulls at me and and the undulation keeps me from creating.  It keeps me at times from simply being.  It exhausts me and drains me of my creativity.

Even though the day is grey today,  the clouds have rolled in and fall rains have come, I feel energized by my creativity.  Today, I can just be.  I will enjoy it all today and just take it all in.  My creativity is my sunshine on a cloudy day.  I am connected again with my companion and friend.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Obstacles vs Opportunities

Hummingbird and Dinner

Our nature is to clearly see the obstacles.  In fact our survival depends on this ability.  Unfortunately, this mindset precludes us from seeing the opportunities behind those obstacles.

Suppose I tell you it's raining.  What comes to mind?  Oh...a dreary day right?  Did you think about how its a great day to sell umbrellas?  If you are in the body shop business it might even mean more business.  My argument is not the life gives you lemons make lemonade bit but rather that we don't see the opportunities.

We get hung up about the problem and not about what opportunities can result.  This is extremely difficult to do but it's not out of the realm of possibility.  

A friend of mine recently spent nine days with his wife in ICU.  During that time he noticed the mish mash of cables and cords keeping his wife alive.  He noticed how the nurses kept fussing over the confusion.  He came up with a solution, drew it up, engineered it, and is now trying to sell it to hospitals.  This is what I mean.  The obstacle is merely the stepping stone to finding the opportunity.

Take a look again at the challenges in front of you.  What you see may be the beginning of a new career.  It's a matter of changing your horizon.  Look beyond the obstacle itself.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Ballon With Perspective

Lately, I've been having trouble sleeping.  Falling asleep doesn't seem to be the issue.  It's the early hours of the morning that have been causing me some stir.  For whatever reason,  I have a difficult time putting it all in perspective.  I toss and turn until I can't sleep any more.

Transitioning from the reliance of a corporate paycheck to not knowing when I will see the next paycheck is not very comforting.  It definitely is something that I am not accustomed to.  I've never just lived in the moment and not worried about anything.  It's not my nature.  I am a planner.

Life throws us events that we cannot plan like an unanticipated curve ball.  The wrong pitch comes at us and we strike out.  At least that's how we perceive it.  Is it really the wrong pitch or just that we weren't prepared for it?

Today is one of those days that I really need to change my perspective.  It's all R&D, I've not made any grave mistakes.  Relying on my skills to survive is something that I've become unfamiliar with.  This time there's no profit sharing and no 401K's.  It all rides on my shoulders. The doubts creep in and so does the fear.

Got several things on my mind today.  Today, I need to sell some pictures to clear my ahead and restore my self-confidence.  Today, I have to target my new sales effort for the graphics company that I am representing.   Today, I have to pick up that heavy phone and just try.   Don't know what pitch will be coming at me.  I know I need to be ready.

As I sit here this morning, I pause and think about the hardest part of exercising.  You and I both know that the hardest part is simply putting on your shoes to get going.  Today, I need to put it all in perspective and lace up my shoes.  Care to join me?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Someone Like Me

Fallen Leaves on Park Bench
Norfolk, CT

The Mass of Men Lead Lives of Quiet Desperation
...Henry David Thoreau

I have always wanted someone to like me and that someone is me.  For years, I've tried to please him by offering sacrifices to the corporate gods.  Regardless of what I do nothing seems to appease him.  He nags me constantly and never seems to be satisfied with what I've accomplished.

You would think that someone who has pulled himself up by his own bootstraps would feel more accomplished.  That furthering his education, raising three fantastic children (now young adults), scoring large business transactions, receiving ample bonuses, and having numerous friends would  all put these doubts to rest.

That nagging pushing critical parent simply does not let me be.  The parent sits on my shoulder looking to find fault, never satisfied, always pushing.  For this reason,  I have trouble accepting not only who I am but what I've achieved. 

You might wonder why I would even bother to disclose this to you.   My motive is pure and simple:   some of you might think that you are alone in your feelings.  You are not alone and I am breaking the silence for both of us.  We have to talk to each other.  We simply are not alone.

The nag while real is simply not true.  It dwells on microcosms of reality and does not ever see the total picture nor puts it in context.  Measuring our value by expectations that can't be met does not prove our self worth.  There's something truly wonderful about you and me, if we learn to lead a life where you will be missed of making a difference.  Shift your definition of your success.

That's it...lead a life where you make a difference.  Make it full of meaning for you and those around you.  Touch someone's heart with your compassion, kindness, and love.  Be a true friend, to your family and those around you.  You've always been worthy of at least your own love.  Take that step forward.

In an age of iPhones, iPads, internet, call waiting, and call forwarding there's no need to feel the "quiet desperation" referred to by Thoreau.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What Keeps You Going?

Closed for Business

Several years ago I had the good fortune of reading Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning".  If you you've not read this and enjoy reading my blog, I highly recommend it.  While the book relates his concentration camp experience, it actually reveals more.  In the process of surviving the horrific ordeal, Frankl discovers his purpose:  writing a book.

Regardless of what brutality he endures during the ordeal, he sustains his belief that it was his destiny to complete and publish his book.  That belief he recounts kept him alive while others allowed themselves to succumb to the physical tribulations.  Frankl concludes that the key to survival is finding and living one's purpose.

Early on as I started blogging, I deliberately called my blog "The Daily Journey".  By design, I didn't call it the Daily Journal.  No, I felt then, as I do now, that I am on a journey.   While it's been one hundred and fifteen blogs since then, I am beginning to understand what my purpose is on this journey.

I am compelled to communicate and create.  This is who I am.  I am an imperfect work in progress who has elected to share his thoughts along the journey.  By opening up and probing my own thoughts, I challenge you to let go of your fears and do the same.  The key to personal growth rests in mine and your hands.  We control our own destiny, it is not by chance or fate.  We were born with intelligence.  How we use it is our discretion.

Since March, I've been trying to find what really drives me.  Searching for my own happiness has lead me full circle to where I started.  The answers have always been within reach.  In fact the answers have been inside me.  My writing, my creativity, my photography, and my business skills will all serve me well.

This brings us to what we commonly refer to as "faith".  Faith however without action is pointless.  If you believe in something, you ultimately have to act on it.  Knowledge is simply not enough to get you there.  Nothing happens just by thinking about it.

At this stage of my journey, I recognize that it is time to take my knowledge and act on it.  Most of you already know, I am a thinker.  Unfortunately, I am also a ruminator.  I play the same scenarios over and over.  Like photography, composition is great, but you still have to take the shot, develop it and print it.  There's the physical component of acting.  You can think about it all you want, but you have to take the camera out of its holster and shoot the son of a bitch.

Every word, I've published, I've lived and I believe.  I've not told you anything that I've not experienced or tried.  We help each other out along the journey.  There are no GPS coordinates along the way.  Listen to omens, let your senses experience what you feel.  Listening to your heart may be the best gift you have ever received.  Find what sustains you and makes life meaningful to you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Make It Better

The Writer

When things hurt, I revert back to my child self.  There's a part of me that wants the comfort of my mother and father.  "Can you please make it better and can you make the hurt go away?"  We know that our parents can make it better;  they always have.

The hardest thing as an adult in the age of mid-life discovery is that there's no one who can really make it "all better".  For most, our parents are gone and we have to console ourselves.  So how do we make it better?  How do we make the hurt go away?

If we observe life around us, we notice that over time things manage to work out.  It's a matter of letting go and learning to let go of the paralyzing fear.  There really is no hurt that we can't overcome.  Observe the hardships of others and you will learn from them.  

My father suffered from bouts of depression his whole life.  His body chemistry and genetic makeup simply worked against him at times.  Dad, however, learned to work through the nervous breakdowns and the anxiety.  Dad learned to make it better for himself.  He knew there was no turning back.  He knew that his family counted on him.  Dad did not succumb to his genetic makeup.  He chose to face life challenges head on.

Some of his experiences scarred me.  I didn't want to ever encounter failure.  I never wanted to make a wrong decision.  What if I failed?  What if I lost everything?  What if....what if?

Photography and computers have taught me a lot.  I recognize now that I will not break it, that I can fix it.  My mistakes in photography are really not mistakes.  They become R&D.  Mistakes potentially become masterpieces later in life.  We learn from them.  Ultimately we learn to self medicate by teaching ourselves that we are continuously learning.  The hurt will only last a short while.

No, I don't enjoy hurting anymore than you.  However, if I know that the hurt will go away and that mistakes are no more than my personal R&D; I've nothing to fear.  In time, I will make it go away and it will feel better.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Salesman

The Salesman

Over the past 30 years, I've worked in both financial and sales capacities.  My work has taken me though out Texas and its neighboring states.  My language skills have served me well in Mexico and Puerto Rico.  I've sold successfully for nearly three decades changing companies and industries along the way.   Last year, I even had the pleasure of seeing my images displayed on four floors of Commercial Metals Company and published in their annual report.

In business, triumphs are short lived.  Large corporations seldom celebrate personal victories.  They exploit talent, reward them briefly, and when they finish exploiting them, they discard those who helped them achieve their corporate objectives like waste.  This treatment is not reciprocal of the loyalty they demand.  There is no virtue in loyalty any longer.  There are no retirement gold watches.

Like a good companion, photography  provides me with support.  Ultimately, photography will always be at the core of whatever I do.   Not only is it my principal motivator;  it remains a factor of my serenity and key  to my success.  Creativity spawns more creativity.  While I can't count on companies to honor their commitments;  I can count on my creativity to see me through most issues.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Salesman

I've hit the road with my business partner Craig. This partnership seems very promising.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Our Friend Joe
Full of Life at 92

We have our Sunday morning traditions at our house.  Usually my father-in-law knocks on our door, stirs the dog and puts us into motion.  We chat a spell and when we are finally awake we head for our breakfast.  On our way to Roanoke, we pick up our 92 year old guest and friend, Joe.  He adds just the right amount of sweetener to our mornings.

Joe is proof positive that we can have a healthy productive life as we age.  He is a cheerful crooner, a ladies man, and full of good stories.  One thing is certain, Joe gives us back more than we could possibly ever give. him.

At breakfast the show really begins as the two older gentlemen decide what they'll have that morning.  It's usually two eggs over easy with three pieces of bacon, wheat toast, and decaf coffee.  We get extra special attention.  Joe likes to flirt with the hostess.  He says she makes him feel like he's fifty.  "Miss, can you help me open my creamer?", he says.

A very wise man with a lot of life left in him, Joe takes every opportunity he gets to socialize.  Joe makes a difference in our lives.  I can't imagine Sundays without him.  I wonder if I will be like Joe.  Will I make a difference and who will miss me?  There's still plenty of time for me to make a difference but I better not waste time.  There seems to be less time ahead of me than behind me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


O +
Near La Grave Field
Fort Worth, TX

We may have differences and our skin tones may have unfamiliar shades, but if you are O+ more than likely, at some point, you will become my best friend.  You are the universal blood donor.  You make me less dependent on my own blood type A+.

That's right all my prejudices are laid to rest by your blood type.  The world becomes smaller and you become literally my blood relative.  My misfortune will awaken my desire to need you pulsating through my veins.  The coarseness of your hair, the slant of your eyes, and the pigmentation of your skin wont matter then.  Exceptions will become the rule that day, democrats, independents, and republicans  but all i want is type O+.

Long before this event pulls us together don't you think we should get acquainted?  What really makes us similar?  Tell me about your family and your friends?  Tell me about your dreams and struggles?  I want to know you before your blood pumps through my veins.  It seems that we might have more in common than we truly know.  Why not be friends before then?

Tell me about you.  Your dreams and your passions are what bring us together.  Our final destiny on this journey remains the same.  None of us will leave this journey alive.  We have so much to share besides our blood to spare; it's time to put our differences aside.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Man's Best Friend

Charlie:  Man's Best Friend

Pets have always played a part of our family.  Our children have always yearned for them.  I had a difficult time saying no.  Well, I said it actually many times but it did fall on deaf ears.  It was hard for me to deny them that joy.  Typically, I put aside my feelings and fell prey to being a Dad.  Logic went out the window.  We had cats, dogs, and even a goat.

When I look back, I am glad that I gave in.  There was always something special about coming home to a pet that liked me regardless of what had transpired at work.  As long as I fed them, they thought I was smart and they never went out of their way to put me down.  There are plenty of reasons why we love our pets.  They provide us with an outlet to love without conditions.  I many not be their biggest fan, but I sure appreciate the comfort and companionship they provide.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Until We Meet Again

A Soldier's Embrace
Grapevine Train Depot
Grapevine, TX

Some images speak volumes all by themselves.  This happens to be one of my favorites.  I interpreted the image differently and isolated the subjects deliberately.  In my mind the image of the embrace is more poignant.  We are drawn by the embrace and can relate to the emotion of the moment.

Life is filled with hello's and goodbyes.  Culturally, I abhor goodbyes.  In the Spanish culture we really don't say it.  Instead, we say "hasta el luego" (until we meet again).  Or we say "adios" which literally means God be with you or God's speed.  We live with the hope of seeing each other at some point down the road.

Even the Christian faith has it's fundamental tenet that those who die in the faith will at the resurrection see each other again.  The fact is whether we are Christians or not, we all hope to see each other again.  We want that to happen.

If by chance we don't, and I hope we do meet again, I just want to say that I really will miss the companionship of all my friends that I've made along this journey.   Each has given me more than I've given them.  

When the time comes for me to depart this journey, I want a very simple epitaph on my tombstone.  One of you please remember this:  "Here lies Eliazer (Al) Hernandez who lived his life fully:  friend, father, and husband.  Everyone he met; he touched."

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Pressman

The Pressman

One of my  close friends since high school has had a love affair with ink all of his life.  To some  extent, I've shared that graphic arts fascination all of my life as well.  I still recall that my most favorite class in four years of college was an elective poster making class.  The idea of creating moods with ink, shapes, and letters intrigued me.  David Lasko taught me well.

Over time that fascination spilled over into photography where I could see and print complete images that I created.  I enjoyed the three distinctly separate processes:  shooting the image, processing the image in the digital darkroom, and printing it on different types of media.  Being involved in the complete process is extremely enjoyable.  Playing with all of the variables remains equally as enjoyable as taking the image.

The pressman above represents a person passionate with both ink, process, and art.  He is part of a history and a process that will soon be obsolete.  Once he leaves there will be no one else to to do his work.  We will lose another craftsman to change.  The new craftsman work in a different environment, a digital one.  They duplicate the old processes and enhance them digitally.  One day they also will become obsolete.

We enjoy what each craftsman brings to the table.  Each creates art in their own way.  I am proud to be an artist and part of that change.  I try to keep changing  but still work on always being a craftsman.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Almost Human

Charlie:  Almost Human

Charlie is an old english sheepdog.  Please don't tell Charlie.  My wife, Kim, calls him the happy toddler.  Charlie was raised like a human.  This really should not surprise anyone since my daughter, Justin, has always treated her pets like babies.  As a little girl she would dress up her dog and place her in a stroller.  Life as Justin's pet was always good.

This was simply one of those happy occasions that I could not miss.  I caught this image with my iPhone.  Charlie the happy toddler has his master pinned to the sofa.  "You love me don't ya"?  Play with me, scratch me, do something, he thinks.

For those who don't know me, I've never been a real pet fancier.  Charlie, however, changes everything.   He is an exception, but then again, he's almost human. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

On the Fly

Punk Female Bartender
Monroe, NC

It was a truly tiresome day yesterday.  I was up at 4:30 and didn't hit the sack until 11 that evening.  Today may prove more of the same.  The fire alarm went off at @ 4:00 AM at my hotel.

Had an opportunity to demo the iPhone on the fly.  The bartender above would never stay quite still so that I could take a decent portrait of her.  She was punk the whole way complete with a tongue piercing.  At best I could do was to capture an iPhone shot.  For the most part the shot worked.

I am tired its 5:30 EST but it's 4:30 AM CT.  Road trips are always hard for me.  I never get adequate or peaceful sleep.