With summer now over, I've learned a thing or two.

It's tough breaking old habits. Even tougher to break bad ones.

But it's oh so easy to create new habits and especially so when they might be considered bad by those around you.

I'm actually not talking in riddles, but there is a "rest of the story."

You see, I'm a habitual flower photographer, not to mention a snake or two. Perhaps even a bird or deer, or, well, the list goes on.

While on vacation, I stop constantly to take close-ups and wide views of pretty yellow, purple, blue and pink flowers. Especially those along roadsides, mixed in among all the thistle and smooth brome that infests the countryside.

Turn me loose in a pasture and I'm a holy terror.

It's bad enough when I venture out into the countryside for work, en route home or venturing out for a story -- or just looking for one.

Give me a day off or vacation and look out.

Rather, I should say my family should look out. They've become accustomed to it and simply roll their eyes when I spot brightly colored petals.

This year, they started fighting back.

Now, when I slam on the brakes nearly throwing them into the closest solid object in the car, they grab a camera as well.

Except, they don't photograph the flowers. They take pictures of me photographing the flowers.

My wife Tami said they're doing it because that's how they see me, stooping down for one more close-up. Daughter Emma has now joined the fray as well, chastising me for all those stops I make along every county road I drive, sometimes four-wheeling in the wife's Camry.

But they put up with me.

Sort of.

Now, however, with the advent of the iPhone, I've found another vice: taking panoramas of scenic spots, Monument Rocks, Damar's St. Joseph Catholic Church, Mount Sunflower and even Scott State Lake and Cedar Bluff Reservoir. The list goes on.

Tami quietly suffers, but Emma is quick to chastise me for again taking a panorama. She's a kid after all, even though I'm not sure where she gets the dry humor and quick wit.

They both, however, cringe when I jump out of the car for a snake on the road. Emma flatly doesn't want to stop for a rattlesnake, something I had been missing until just this week.

And then, five in just a bit more than a mile.

The twins, as I suggest they are, just shake their heads, and say I'm crazy.


I figure, let them laugh. I'm enjoying it and I give them something to enjoy, something (rather, someone) to laugh at.

Suffice it to say, I'm not thin-skinned and can take the jabs. Besides, I could easily pick up some really bad habits.