A Flight of Fancy

bird-colorsI recently moved to an area near the ocean. It is a bit more rural than other places I’ve lived. A chance to get away from the hustle in an attempt to tame a tired and cluttered brain.

The house is adjacent to a large undeveloped area populated by an abundance of trees. An unexpected variety of wildlife shares the neighborhood. In my short time here, a backyard camera has captured visits by foxes, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, possums, deer, and even a mountain lion. Continue reading

Green Trees


Painting by Richard Gayton

Architecture… the assembly of materials by a variety of craftspeople into a unique building that becomes far more than the sum of its parts. Walter Gropius eloquently and romantically referred to architecture as frozen music. After eliminating several career options, largely because of my colorblindness, architecture became my path of choice. I was first exposed to it in a high school drafting course. I was good at drawing, and loved geometric puzzles… which seemed to be important skills of this profession. Continue reading

A Shrinking World

mattingOnce I chose to pursue architecture as a profession, I began looking for any related job to get me started. Architecture firms weren’t interested in hiring high school students, but I did find a job listing for a local company that specialized in building scale models for architects. In spite of my young age, I figured that my experience with graphics and architectural drafting would give me an advantage over most people that would pursue this part-time, low-paying assembly job. Continue reading

Color Separation

housepaintDrafting was my favorite class in high school. I took it all four years. While technically an elective, it was by no means an easy class. I enjoyed the challenge of meeting the high expectations of a very demanding instructor. I was something of a natural, and became quite good at drawing.

When a local businessman contacted the drafting department, offering some freelance work, the instructor recommended me. Continue reading

Water Colors

Pearl-Gourami-P-smlStarting in middle school, I became a tropical fish hobbyist. Not one to go half-in on anything, I gradually accumulated more than twenty aquariums in my bedroom. I bred, raised, and competed best-in-show gouramis. I coaxed varieties of catfish to breed that hadn’t previously spawned in captivity, which enabled me to start a business selling them to local stores. Continue reading

Feeling Blue

stackednewspapersMy father drove up to a convenience store, handed me some change, then asked me to run in and get a copy of the latest “Green Sheet”, which I found out later was what locals called the San Diego Tribune. Based upon his description, I assumed that the paper would be green (which, I’m told, it was). Not wanting to seem silly by asking for a more detailed description, I was confident I’d be able to pick out the right paper. I was fourteen. I certainly didn’t need help buying a newspaper. Continue reading


bonesSeveral decades ago, colorblindness tried to kill me…

My fingers were bones. Nothing more. Thin, knobby, reticulated mechanisms that generally moved at my command, but… they didn’t feel at all connected to me. I touched my hands together… and felt no flesh. I looked at them. My fingers looked longer than usual… and more like claws than fingers. Continue reading

Oops, it happened again

endoclipThis is the second attempt by colorblindness to kill me…

It started when I began feeling oddly dizzy in the evening. I was recovering from a bug, so thought nothing of it. Two hours later, I collapsed to the floor, unable to get up. I was panting, and completely disoriented. My wife called 911. Fortunately, the paramedics arrived within minutes. My blood pressure was dangerously low, so they rushed me to the hospital. Continue reading

A Single Shadow

558793​In my youth, I lived in a house with a tall pine tree in the front yard. Its base was about three feet in diameter. An expanse of coarse bark stretched from gnarled roots up more than forty feet, without a hint of foliage. There, a branch reached timidly out into the suburban sky. Only a handful of other limbs, sparsely needled, followed its lead for another fifty feet.

It was not a particularly attractive tree, but it did solidly convey its place in a history longer than that of the suburban homes around it.

Occasionally, on warm evenings…

Continue reading

Black and White


The majority of colorblind people face significant obstacles, the most universal and obvious being our often humorous inability to match clothing. Among the color inhibited, I experience the world’s visual exuberance on an even flatter plane, being almost, but not quite, completely colorblind.

I have been thoroughly tested by many specialists over the years. While some were eventually able to classify my deficiency, I pretty much failed every test… or that’s what it felt like…

Continue reading

Google Colors

8365193Duffy, our labradoodle, was enjoying his morning off-leash play in a field with seven other dogs. Always delightful… watching them interact. Every character is unique. Like people, but less inhibited.

Each day there is a slightly different mix of people and dogs. Regulars come and go.

One morning, a man I see about once a week was there. I had overheard someone talking to him, asking him what it was like to work at Google…
Continue reading

She’s So Cute!

4649705This weekend, I purchased a retractible leash for our puppy, Duffy. There are places on walks where I want him to be able to roam more freely.

I was perplexed that the pet store had several different rows of the model I wanted, even though they all were labeled as medium. I read and reread the boxes, just to make sure that there were no subtle differences between them. Nope, they all said the same thing, so I picked one…

Continue reading