Tag Archives: Photography

Meet me outside my comfort zone: “At the Falls”

After my Photo shoot with Abby, I am feeling quite cocky, maybe a little too cocky. I announce that I am going to Bushkill Falls, PA, by myself. To be comfortable outside of one’s comfort zone, you’ve got to go there daily. Eventually, what’s uncomfortable becomes comfortable again. That’s what I tell myself.


I’ve been there many times, hiked the whole thing with my camera and tripod, and taken beautiful shots. So, I know full well the challenge I am about to undertake.  There is no way I can do the hike. I won’t be able to do more than walk in and make it to the first lookout. It’s not far at all from the entrance and I’ll see the first fall from there. I’m sure it is there for old people to enjoy while their family hikes on. Genius! I’ll go THERE! I’ll take my real camera and carry my tripod over my shoulder. This could be a balance catastrophe. If it comes down to me, or my camera, I’m going down!

I make the hour drive high up into the Pocono Mountains. I arrive. Note to my local friends: the flashing light where you turn left is no longer there.

I prepare to get out. Two pound camera around my neck and five pound tripod over my shoulder, and off I go.

I am worried as hell. But I… “look so good”.

High in the Poconos, stream fed waters empty into the Main Fall which is a 100 foot drop, then travels though a 75 foot long gorge and empties into the Delaware River. It’s called “The Niagara of Pennsylvania”.

Gingerly, I make it to the first lookout which is my destination. SUCCESS! But, the shots I get there are lame. It’s just the top of the Main Fall. ANTI-CLIMATIC to say the least. Did I really just lug my camera and tripod here for this?? If I go home now, this will be a TOTAL waste of time.

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I had hiked the entire two mile trail and seen all SEVEN Falls, up close and personal. But…not today. I know my limits.

BAH HUM BUG! I’m going down! Which means going down more than 100 steps (I stop counting at 80) and walking additional trail to get to the bottom of the Main Fall and the top of the Gorge?

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Now THIS is beautiful, and there are six more falls over a two mile hike. Hmmm…maybe not.

The park closes for the season in November and the foliage will be AH-mazing. That does it, I’ll be back. I’ll make it to the second Fall and go home happy.

Push yourself. Go outside of your comfort zone. You’ll discover you can recover some of the old you, or if you’re lucky, you’ll discover something even better…a new you.

Comments: What are you doing outside of your comfort zone?



Filed under Mental Well-Being, MS and Exercise, MS and Fatigue, MS Symptoms, Riding Out a Relapse

Meet me at the Photo-shoot: Going outside of your comfort zone.


To be comfortable outside of one’s comfort zone, you’ve got to go there daily. Eventually, what’s uncomfortable becomes comfortable again. That’s what I tell myself.


Abby met us at the door. She was glowing, not because it was hot, and it was, but because she is a new mom giving birth in about 4 weeks. She’s one of my “Young Barista’s”. A group of young people who have worked in my favorite cafe’ over the past few years. They had taken very good care of me in my hours there, writing. They have also at one point or another, modeled for me, and I’ve told them all, “when you have your first baby, call me. I will do a photo-shoot for you.” So, I wasn’t surprised to answer my phone and hear Abby say, “Estizer, remember when you said…”

I’ve since learned to never tell anyone what I will do in the future. This could not have come at a worse time. I haven’t taken my “real camera” out in about 2 years, and was honestly just not strong enough to do it now. But…how could I tell her, no.

I mentioned this to a dear friend, Karen T., who has helped me before on photo-shoots.  She said, “you can do it with help though, right? I’ll be your “photo-go-fer”, for a day. I was overjoyed, this meant I could tell her, YES!

The day of the shoot came, and it was extremely hot. The heat was taking it’s toll on me but, my first concern was my pregnant Mom. Did she have water? Was she in the shade? Was she relaxed? While I was watching Abby, Karen was watching me. Do you have any water? Can you come into the shade? What else do you need?

I only had to “think”, I need the camera over here and Abby over there; Karen and “Dad”were on it. In this heat, it was tough for me to think everything through. The technical stuff, F-stops and shutter speeds, filters and sunlight. Ultimately, I had to let the thinking go.The technical stuff was overwhelming. I took a deep breath, relaxed, and let my inner photographer go free. I kept an eye on my watch because I was mindful of my pregnant mom. I wanted to finish and be out the door in under two hours. 1 hour and 45 minutes…SUCCESS!

Karen and I went to dinner. I was so exhausted that I cried in the parking, lot out of sheer gratitude and overwhelming fatigue.

I can push myself through the eye of a needle, but, the cost can be quite high. In this case, so was the pay off.

Push yourself. Go outside of your comfort zone. You’ll discover you can recover some of the old you, or if you’re lucky, you’ll discover something even better…a new you.

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What takes you outside of your Comfort Zone? What things have you changed to make that happen?

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Filed under Ilness and The Arts, Mental Well-Being, MS and Exercise, MS and Fatigue, MS and Pregnancy, MS and Visualization, Riding Out a Relapse, Uncategorized

“Meet me “Under the Bridge”:Going outside your comfort zone!

To be comfortable outside of one’s comfort zone, you’ve got to go there daily. Eventually, what’s uncomfortable becomes comfortable. That’s what I tell myself.

Not doing what I used to do has been driving me up the wall. My goal is to do even more than I did before. I want a job. Not just ANY job, but a job that is outside of my comfort zone. My strategy to achieve this is, to do something outside of my comfort zone everyday! Oh yeah, I’ll do some other things too, get stronger, do my exercises, meditate, get enough sleep, drink more water, blah, blah, blah. You know the drill.

It helps that I’m pissed off because I’ve lost some things, like my camera. I haven’t actually lost it, but I’ve lost the ability to use it. My balance and strength being issues, my 20 pound camera bag, plus my tripod is just impossible. I’ve been reduced to my CELL PHONE CAMERA! Nonetheless, “getting the shot” has always made me, walk further, squat deeper, climb higher, go off the road, and…under the bridge. Push myself.

This past week my comfort zone adventures were to the Palmer Riverside Pier Park, Easton’s Wed. Farmer’s Market, Bethlehem’s Municipal Walking Park, and Veg Fest in Bethlehem, PA.

I want to wrap this up by saying, please, go outside of your comfort zone, wherever that might take you.  Whether it’s white water rafting or going to the mailbox, do it…a lot. You’ll discover you can recover some of the old you, or if you’re lucky, you’ll discover an even better, new you.

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Links of interest for services/places featured in this weeks slideshow as well as “Pintlala Creek” Under the Bridge:

Bethlehem VEG Fest,

Bethlehem Municipal Park

Easton’s Palmer Riverside Park

Easton Farmer’s Market

Last Chance Animal Rescue,

“Under the Bridge”,” Back to Lowndes County-Pintlala Creek”


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Filed under MS and Exercise, Riding Out a Relapse

Focus Beyond MS

Do you have an unforeseen life situation that has changed the way you see your future? Is it time for you to find new focus? What will it be?


Excerpt taken from MS CONNECTION, NMSS Greater Delaware Valley Chapter 2009 Issue 1

Excerpt taken from MS CONNECTION, NMSS Greater Delaware Valley Chapter 2009 Issue 1

Managing MS or any chronic illness requires a variety of tactics. For me, one is to stay focused on something outside of myself, outside of my head. There is no MS out there.

Jobs are an excellent way to accomplish this. Unfortunately, when my job went away, so did much of the focus on something outside of my body.

Me, teaching Honors Anatomy and Physiology 2003. My last year in the classroom.

Me, teaching Honors Anatomy and Physiology 2003. My last year in the classroom.

Soon after this, I entered photography classes. Classes turned into an internship, and interns are not usually (ok never) as old as I am. The challenge made it more meaningful to me. I was learning new things. Out and about, doing things I had never done before. I was over the moon! Because of this new skill in my life, I was able to create a very emotional photo documentary and book, “Welcome Home”.

Below: A production of Public Broadcasting Station 39 (PBS39)

As my MS changes, so must my focus. What’s important is that I have one.  My current focus is this blog. Because my blog is about MS and me, I have to be very careful. As long as I keep my focus on educating and inspiring others, I’m safe. Admittedly, this is difficult to do at times, hence the need for other focuses.

Acting in “The Vagina Monologues” has become my focus during the spring of each year, for the last 5 years. The reason for this play is to raise money to help stop violence against women and girls, worldwide.

"Vagina Monologues" written by Eve Ensler. Performance, Doylestown, PA 2011

“Vagina Monologues” written by Eve Ensler. Performance, Doylestown, PA 2011

Over time, I have become aware of just how important this is in my life. I am putting much thought into my next focus. It will have the power to educate, motivate and inspire ME. I have to get stronger, physically and build my endurance. I must engage the social aspect of me, I’ve become a bit of a recluse. For my next focus to be able to do all of those things, it must be huge!

I’ve GOT it! Bike MS 2015! Training began yesterday. I walked to the corner and BACK! I’m a beast!

bigstock-Autumn-bike-riding--intention-24879752Comments and Thoughts: What have you used to stay out of your body? Outside your head? Has it had to change with your illness? If so, how?

Focus Beyond MS

Focus Beyond MS

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Filed under Mental Well-Being, Mind-Body Connection, MS and Exercise, Riding Out a Relapse, Stress Management

It’s a Wheelchair kinda day!


Its 86 degrees out side and a gorgeous day. We spend 8 hours on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. Our daughter is here with her college Rowing Team, Univ. of Pittsburgh, to compete in the DAD Vail Regatta. We are very happy to see her Row!

Phone call to Dad last night: “I’ve been to the race sight and it is HUGE, I think you should think about bringing mom’s wheelchair.

Slightly frantic phone call this morning:”Dad, I am here again and I am sure Mom will need her wheelchair. Are you definitely gonna bring it? There’s NO WAY she’ll be able to do this without it!”

Of course we put it in the trunk, and I am grateful that she thought of me.

But…we get there and we have a problem! My husband drives a wheelchair like he drives his car, like a TWELVE YEAR OLD. Needless to say, I am not happy with this. This place is in no way wheelchair friendly. Technically, it is handicapped accessible, there’s even a Handicap Port-O-Potty.  The rest is only good if you want to roll in a straight line, up and down the sidewalk all day.  I have my camera and this’ll never work! Huge loss of freedom. We are rolling along with the crowd, and everything I see around me is beautiful. If I were walking, I could stop on a dime to get the shot. I could turn around to check things out from a different perspective. You can’t do that in a wheelchair. I struggle with the guilt of having him stop. Finally, I can’t take it anymore and I say, “Stop, pull over”, and he does. Now it’s time to use ALL of my marital diplomacy. My daughter and I lock eyes and I see in her expression, fear of the unknown. I slowly rise from the chair and go around the back of it. I hold my husbands’ arm and speak softly in his ear, “Honey, I want to get out and walk. I love you and I really appreciate you doing this for me. I know it’s hard in this heat and with all of these people but, I really need to get out and walk. I am miserable in the chair. Taking pictures is impossible. I need to be able to turn and move around for the shot, and I can’t do that in the chair. It’s killing me.”

Husband: “But Bay, that’s crazy! In this heat, with everything so spread out, there’s no…”

Cut off by me:”I’ll be fine.  I feel very strong and Estizer will be with me. I’ll stop when I’m tired, and rest. We’ve even got our cell phones, so I can call you when I’ve done enough.”  I think this is a great idea and with an affirming kiss I turn and join Estizer in front of the chair. She holds my hand and we begin to walk away.

But wait- WHAT’S THIS?

He’s still here. I turn and say, “Honey, you can go and I’ll just call you!” He says, “No, I’m going to stay with you”. I’m mortified. I say, “What? You’re just gonna follow us with the chair? We’re gonna look retarded!” He looks away from me and with a defiant tone in his voice says, “YES”.

We start walking and he stays with us as if this is perfectly normal. I walk about 100 meters and in THIS heat, it feels like a hundred miles. I need to stop and rest, but I’ve pushed it (determined to show him that I can do this). I don’t see anywhere close to go, and I need to sit NOW. I turn towards him and we connect.  We do that mind link thing, that married couples do.

Without a word, he says to me,” I knew I was right! It’s too hot and you shouldn’t be doing this”. Also, with no words, I say to him, “I love you and yes, you were right. Thank you” Then, I sit.

whol.team-MY002-416 copy

Comments and Thoughts:

How does the heat affect you?


Filed under Long Loving Marriages, MS and Family, MS and Marriage, Riding Out a Relapse

When MS gives us apples, make APPLESAUCE!

Student: “Miss Estizer why do you sound like that?”

Me: “Like what?”.

Student: “It’s gone now…NO! Like THAT!”

Me:”Oh…that. Well, I have something called MS, and sometimes it makes me talk funny. But, don’t worry, it’s not contagious.”

bigstock-Applesauce-being-made-using-a--30407207B-Smart after-school Photography class for At-Risk elementary school children, held at “The Banana Factory”. Provided by ArtsQuest, a non-profit arts organization that celebrates the arts in Bethlehem, PA.


Student: “Why does it do that? And how come it goes away so fast. I thought you were doing it on purpose.”

Me: “Nope. It’s something that I can’t control. MS messes with my nerves. Do you know what your nerves do?”

Student: “Yea-uh. Well, sorta. They make your body move, right? But, they don’t have nothin to do with you talking.”

Me: “That’s half right, but they do soo much more! Blink your eyes, now swallow, now pull your hair. Did you feel all of that? Good, then your nerves are working great. Nerves do almost EVERYTHING in your body. They send messages to your brain and you don’t even have to think about it most of the time. When dust or smoke is around, your eyes just blink, right? When you want to drink a soda, you swallow, right? Did you have to say…ok throat, swallow now?”

Student: “Ewww, how about when you have to pee?”

Me: “Yeah…that too. When your bladder is full, you have nerves that take that message to your brain.”

Student: “And what about #2?”

Me: “Ok, ok, ok…I think you got it!  Sometimes my MS interferes with the way my nerves send the messages to my brain. When you hear me talk like that, my brain received a messed up message from my nerves. Or, the message was broken up, like your cell phone does sometimes, and my brain is confused.  Then, my nerves go, “Oh snap”! That wasn’t right, and then my nerves send it again- the right way.”:)

Student: “When, when, when you talk like that, you sound like you got applesauce in your mouth!”

Me: Laughter. When I try to speak again…it happens.

Students:  “Hey, hey, hey, SHHHH! There it is again! It DOES sound like applesauce!” The students that didn’t hear it before are now amazed.

Me: “Wait, wait, wait for it… it’s gone again, my nerves are working just fine now:). Yay! We can get back to work.”

The next time it happens, a few minutes later, the kids close to me hear it.

Student:  “Hey, hey, hey!! It’s here again! SHHHH and you can hear it too!”

The class goes silent and the kids and I make a deal.

Me: “When ANYONE hears it, they’ll tell the rest of the class, and everyone will be quiet and wait for it to pass. When it happens I can’t teach right, because I can’t talk right. If you guys keep talking, I’ll have to wait for you to be quiet EVERY time, and that’ll take forever. We’ve got cool things to go out and do! So how about you all just be quiet EVERY time it happens, and wait a second for my nerves to get straight. THEN I’ll keep going”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt became a game, it was genius. I couldn’t have planned it better if I had tried!



Filed under Ilness and The Arts, MS Symptoms, Riding Out a Relapse

Ringing Rocks

Needless to say when I awoke from that dream I was depressed. Heck! You were depressed just reading about it. Don’t worry, we’ll have more fun with that in my post on MS and Depression.
What’s most urgent right now is that I’ve got to take matters into my own hands! I just woke up from that nightmare and I’m going to Ringing Rocks right now dammit and nobody is going to stop me! Not even…ME. I use to just jump up and go do things because I loved the outdoors and adventure. I’ve decided…I’M GOING TODAY! So what if I need a cane, so what if it might rain all day, so what if it’s a long way and I don’t know where I’m going, just don’t drink ANYTHING(or I might have to pee in the woods and there’s poison ivy) and use the GPS. And for God’s sake, take my camera! NOW LET’S GO!
Destination: Ringing Rocks Park, Ringing Rocks Road, Upper Black Eddy, PA 18972

Mission Accomplished: My goal was simply to GET there! To not let a few obstacles keep me from going out the door. Here’s the report, after a long treacherous mountainous drive (that did make it more fun) I could go no farther than the parking lot. Problems were, one hand held the camera, one hand held the cane, one hand was still needed to balance on rocks as I climbed across them (maybe two) and still another hand to hold camera steady for shooting photos.
For today…JOB WELL DONE! and in my best TERMINATOR voice “I’ll Be Back”.

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Filed under MS and Depression, MS and Exercise

The Farmers Market 2012

Ahhh, the Amish girl is in her spot like she is every week in full garb with her fresh breads and pastries. Yes! and my friend from the Caribbean spot that has the Vegan food I like. They’re all still here. Kevin has brought me back to the farmers market.
He says “look honey, here’s the corner, you’ve got to get out here- quick (he says gently) there are cars behind me and the lights gonna change. I’ll park and be right back!” I can’t think about it or I know I won’t move fast enough or AT ALL so I just do it! Before I know it I’m on the sidewalk by a tree. I’m not hugging the tree (I realize how crazy that would make me look) but I’ve checked it out and I’m close enough so that if I need to use it for balance it’s there. I don’t move an inch.
Kevin finds me. He’s moving fast “Honey I need you to SLOW DOWN” How often does a woman say THAT to a man? (wink, wink) He’s been running, I could tell from the couple getting up off the ground. He was in Mario Andretti Mode trying to get back to me. I take his arm and we walk across the street like an 80 year old couple.
As we carefully step up onto the curb of the farmers market I slow down even more, I stop to get my bearings. It’s all coming at me at once. I try to keep moving, I feel his hand gently pushing me into the crowd but there’s so much to manage. First there’s the sidewalk and it’s unevenness in the changing gradation of the concrete while at the same time there are these feet walking down there. Then there are the children and the dogs on leashes and people sitting in the grass near us, or is that far away? I can’t tell. They seem to be sitting on the ground to me, I may step on them, Oh my goodness I am, they’re there! I stumble, reach…Kevin. The flowers, the tents, the colors, the tables, the crowds, the food, the smells, the talking, the music! OMG…Please just get me out of here!
I don’t know what I said to him. I think nothing but he leds me to a clearing. Last year I would have been all over the place with my camera, and without Kevin. I’m a Photographer, you don’t bring you’re husband…that’s lame! We have the best farmers market in the world. Every week we have special events, tomatoes, or garlic, and every week special activities for the kids. It’s a photographer’s playground.
Our Sat. mornings were so different. I’d kiss him and go rushing off to the market with just my camera and change for parking. He’d be off to yoga with a mat and a water bottle.
Today, I’m exhausted. He takes me home for a nap. He hasn’t been to yoga in a year.
We’ll be back next week.


Filed under Riding Out a Relapse

Giles Duley: When a reporter becomes the story

One of the MOST inspiring stories I’ve seen and I want to share.
Giles Duley gave up a life of glamour and celebrity as a fashion photographer to travel the world and document the stories of the forgotten and marginalized. While on assignment in Afghanistan he stepped on a landmine, a horrific event that left him a triple amputee. In this moving talk Duley tells us stories of peoples lost and found — including his.


Filed under Uncategorized