In my past life, things were different in terms of holiday groupings. I have family. I have a different family now. I suppose there will be a family legacy passed on to others with good wishes and love. Groupings change. Nothing is absolutely known about the future in the present. Looking back retrospectively there is bittersweet memory. I miss family who are no longer with us. I am grateful for the time we were together. I am happy for the future in which I am living. Change is part of us. My secretary used to say that I would always say, “Something always happens.” Aptly, nothing stays the same. With lemons, be prepared to make lemonade. Bittersweet is the operative word here.
We did it! We did! We managed to have Christmas in five locations! We are the seniors. They are supposed to come to us? Ha! We were in fours states. I believe we achieved a state of grace. (How about, altered state?) It was work. It was fun. Our parents were bystanders. We are not! Bring it on! We did.
We have an extended family. We managed to catch up with multiple family groupings this holiday. It’s been nutty. Covid and whatnot has conspired to make it hard. In a mere moment plans changed. I was so punchy I did not know where or to whom half the presents were destined. At every stop I was inaccurate. I had packed for groups that broke up and met as different parts in different places. Confused? You bet! We were sleeping in one spot and cooking in another. At least I got a haircut and changed shirts. There were a lot of moving parts. Fun? We all had a good time. We must have had fun for me to still be writing about it a month later. All that I can attest, looking back, it was easier to herd cats!!
Epilogue: Omicron is among us. We did not escape unscathed. Members of the extended family pictured herein caught it and were tested positive. So far, all are fine. Those shots really work. Or, we are just plain lucky. My (neurosurgery) department motto was always, “Better to be lucky, than good.”
PPS: All is well. We were, indeed, lucky!
The quest for the perfect gift is serendipitous at best. You would never guess and can never quite guess what will be a hit. Certainly, capturing the moment of surprise and joy is just as fraught. Sometimes a moment passes too quickly to capture. And, sometimes, you catch the moment perfectly. Certainly, the joy is apparent. It makes me smile as I edit. Have you seen the new plant based food? There is something disingenuous in making fake meat. Either you eat meat or you give it up for … broccoli. You simply can’t have it both ways. ??? So, fake bacon? It was enough to make me an instant vegetarian! The moment? Everyone had their phones out. I reached for my camera/flash. One shot. That was it. One chance. Perfect.
Minute by minute, plans change. ??? The Christmas virus! Who had it? Who got it? Covid! Omcron! Damn! Jess’s household had a run of the Christmas flu. It was a family secret, not so secret. We knew but ignored it until… we could not. Not going, going, ah!!! Christmas plans dashed. We got Part I; but Part II???!!! Oh my! There were tears! Crocodile tears!! Unhappy wife. 😦 By the end of the day we had a new plan; after several more revisions. There is a Plan B. Who knows? Will we make it? We’re gonna try. The windows in the house were done (secret!) with Jolly Ranchers. (Lisa was so proud of her ingenuity.) I have never seen nor eaten one (jolly rancher). And, I am signed up to do a lot of driving. I feel like Santa on his delivery. Hey! We are (delivering)! By the end of this post – happy wife – happy marriage. Pfewf!
…second day, different year…. How fast they grow! Darn! I just got newborn shots… and it’s time for another birthday. Time has passed so quickly! Slow down! I want to savor the moments. It is indeed a wistful feeling to watch little ones grow. I like ‘em when they are small. Colleen likes ‘em older; they are more interesting. I like ‘em when they are little and just getting used to the wonders of the world. No matter what, they just grow up soooo… fast. There is no going back. I will just enjoy, for as long as I can. Oh, and, don’t forget the camera. Cute? You bet. Happy birthday!
Colleen is so understanding. There is no competition. She’s a “good” person. No jealousy. Oh sure, there is protectiveness. Am I making sense? Another birthday! I love that iPhone sends balloons when you type it. Happy! I did not miss yours – birthday. It just took a moment to realize I almost passed it by. Have a great day!
Lives out of backpack, gathers no moss, do I, admire or regret? If you carry all your belongings in a backpack, you are exactly opposite to Colleen and myself. We are happily overloaded with clutter. What to say? It’s easy to shop presents. Get nothing that won’t fit into an already full backpack. Dave’s already Noa’s favorite uncle. I was gonna say, ‘only uncle’ but, that ain’t true. Prodigal son? Not strictly. But he sure has a lifestyle only a few can imagine. I worry, all the while wishing him the best. From my vantage, we all put aside worry, this day.
It’s a completely foreign sight to see your grown children reading to theirs.
…We can’t return, we can only look
Behind, from where we came
And go round and round and round, in the circle game… – Joni Mitchell
Mice or mouse? Twas’ the Night Before Christmas – “…not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…” The concept of mice or mouse, or, are they their names, plural vs singular, ah, that is the question?? Did it matter? Every night I read to “my” kids, and, Jules would stop me right here, without fail! “Which is the mouse? Which is the mice?” Without fail, we would pause. I gave my explanation. Jules expressed her doubt and confusion. We could never quite communicate our thought. It persists even now. Mice or mouse? It tugs at my heart to see my kids all grown up. A new dress? – universally beloved by little girls.
It is said that we are just “staff” to our cats. Ha! They certainly have free reign. Free range? Do as you (my cats) will. They are, for the most part, careful to step around all things breakable. Only Willow has a tail that has a mind of its own. He knows how to walk about with chaos in his wake. Have I ever considered that we might have one cat too many? Nope.
The original post scheduled was too negative. (It comes later today.) Instead for a while, focus on the humor of family. Colleen has two ditzy sisters.
dit·zy: adjective – (informal)- silly or scatterbrained (typically used of a woman). — herein, used in the most loving of ways. (they don’t tune in to my posts…)
Ha ha. I got the best one (sister) though there are times… Let’s be positive and say Colleen is nearest my age. (no, not ditzy, either) Enough! No names please. One, who is unnamed here has eyes bigger than her stomach. Or, rather, I goaded her into ordering a Shepard’s pie off the menu. It arrived, bigger than her head (and her stomach). Close your eyes and pretend she ate and enjoyed it all, (instead of taking it home to discretely trash it later). Eyes? Yes, she, still, ordered dessert, too!
It’s summer! It’s the family gathering of Colleen’s extended clan (at our house!). A good time is had by all. I get to watch and be endlessly entertained. The smiles are simply priceless. Happiness. Family. Joy. … and Shepard”s pie.
Another random stroll through the catalog… I came across a biker on the road with a French road sign (Sortie). Oh!? Canada! Did we really eat in this place? Pop-up store in a truck? Gee, memories fade. My pictures are the anchors. I have forgotten a lot of stuff. This would all be lost without a record. It was not memorable? Enough?
It seems the beginning of my catalog has some highlights – shots over the years that were “keepers.” At least that is my opinion. They were pretty much unplanned shots that turned out surprisingly well. You may readily disagree. I like them. A very early effort was the child at a street market in London. The shot in the pool was a blurred image – wrong exposure, nice shot. Moonrise? It ain’t easy without adjusting the exposure. Motion blur (waves), moon detail, not bad. Wedding? I was a guest. It was a “grab” shot. The couple enlarged and kept it as a highlight. Panning – I learned with a San Francisco cable car. Reading about it is one thing; I gotta do it in order for the lesson to stick. Candid family? There are shots, and, there are shots that make you laugh out loud. Exhausted? Or, no turkey, please! Jules did not cook the meal… What else to say? I simply stuck the camera out the window and pressed the shutter once. Surprise!
I opened my catalog to find an error. Oh boy! I had not copied a folder to my redundant array of hard drives. So much for being on top of things. There are always mistakes. This is pretty glaring. But from years of bookkeeping my medical practice, you know there are always errors along the line. And, you go with it, hoping the mistakes are minimal. I am glad to correct things. And, I am glad there was no catastrophic drive failure beforehand. Meanwhile, a view of Christmas past is always nostalgic. Nellie did climb into the box. I added the lid. Ha ha. My cats climb into boxes too. There are a lot of memories here. Those of you who know me well, will understand. I am fortunate to have preserved these pictures.
I’m perfect. And, I’m the first person who will tell you so. Not, nope! Your family keeps you honest. In this case, my wife, Colleen. She said the pic we printed was not good. Color balance was chiefly the culprit. She could not articulate all the mistakes. I’m perfect and argued, “How can it be bad?” Wrong! She was right. I improved composition and color. It’s not perfect. Yeah, yeah. But, better. It was hard to get those cats to jump up and sit for another photo. But then again, I’m the dad.
Resolved: no more cats. Really? Well, we have not been to the pet store recently. (I was banned.) Healthy eating: ha ha. Seafood diet? – see food, eat it. Take more pictures? For sure – everyday. New year? It’s like a reset or restart? Way back when, I was here in Woodstock. I was an unwitting witness of history. Things changed. Things remain the same. Humbly, if I were asked – no reset, more of the same please. Because, I am happy with my new year and life as I know it, now. Happy new year, again.
After my recent fiascos with Mexican food, you would think I would lay off for a while. I don’t much like Mexican food. Sorry! What it lacks in taste it makes up for in hot sauce. But… Colleen remembered burritos. Her fond memory was akin to Proust’s Le Madeleine. Ok! Off we went. The restaurant at the first address from the internet – was closed, permanently. Aha! Someone else has the same idea as me. So, we drove a long long way… far away. And, it was a typical “joint.” The margharita was half the price of that overpriced unnamed place we ate in last. The food was otherwise typical. I love the taco bowl for my salad. What can I say? We had a Mexican meal like all the others I have had in my life. Considering all things, that’s not so bad, sometimes. Ah, the memory of – salsa and chips.
… nor the food; nor the music. It’s the one you share it with. Boy, I’m lucky to be married to Colleen (finally). I probably say this too often in this blog. Hey! It’s my posting. We all have doubt. She asks me if I like her. Ha ha. She liked me first. Men! I was so dumb (unconscious) it took me nearly fifty years to figure out she liked me. Thank goodness there is still time to appreciate all of this, and, to share more than a beer. I hope the music never stops.
My visitors/followers come and go randomly. There is no requirement or subscription other than my ability to capture your attention and entertain you for a few moments. Family, friends, visitors, and followers all alike will drift in and out. Some of you follow all of my posts… hey! I preaching to the converted. Thanks for being here. I’m musing, randomly, too. Colleen hates Indian food; she told me. We eat Indian food. Standard fare: papadam and condiments. Note: anything that tastes good is bad for you. The essential fact: Colleen loves to eat out. She likes Thompson Island (restaurant). We go to the beach: I get a selfie; I get a wave shot. Here’s a shot you don’t try while driving; I was stopped at the light. What was this happy couple thinking?? After all the above nonsense: my point? My dear wife faithfully reads my posts. There are dear friends who read too. … and acquaintances. Others: one time visitors; alas. To all of you: thank you. I’m still here and hope to be if should you return another day. Daily thoughts and photographs. Free! That’s the (my) price!
But, of course! From our family to you and yours, we wish you a safe and healthy holiday. It’s been another eventful year. We lost a cat – Patch. We gained two cats – Tillie and Peas. Peas was an afterthought. We mistakenly left Tillie’s sister behind at the pet store. My bad. You cannot replace a lost cat – for (darn) sure. …but we had an extra food bowl…. Now the table is full once more. Happy and merry to you all. We are both fortunate and happy to wish you all the best. YES, they all jumped up on the table and lined right up. Didn’t you realize? I herd cats!
To all of you, my audience, visitors, followers, family, and friends – Thank you. You check off “likes” and comment on my posts. All the best to all of you this Holiday Season. Happy New Year. I admit I am shy and lax about thanking each of you individually when you tell me you like a post. But I appreciate that there are those of you out there in the world who stop in and look at what I have photographed. All the best to you all. And, thank you again. The lump of coal is a joke, of course. I lost all of my ornaments in the divorce. Colleen and I have begun our own collection and traditions. Santas abound. We are simply nutty – in a nice way. It’s amazing how we are making up for lost time in such a short time. Fun? There is love in each and every goofy thing we find and do. Merry Christmas to one and all.
A lot changes. A year ago during the height of Covid we went on a quest for a Christmas tree that took us to the perfect tree in a tree farm. We cut it down. Guilt! On many levels this was such a nice tree that lasted a month and was then taken to the curb. We went artificial tree this year. This has its own associated guilt. We’ll see. During Covid I made an estimated 26 Nantucket style baskets. They make/made me happy. I have had mixed reviews on their quality. In looking back, it has been a long and eventful year.
Hey! I just built the giant bookcase! That one! The one behind us. Do you remember when Ray was a kitten? Well, you can tell. How do you know? I can (tell). Don’t we look the same. No one has aged. We are at that certain age when you are between young and old. We’re old. I don’t feel old. I’m glad I don’t?? look old. Can you believe I built that bookcase moments ago? It took a while to find a pic of the finished product. Can you imagine going through 400 thousand pics one at a time? … me neither.
Sometimes, many times, I am humbled by my lack of photographic skill and how it has grown as I grew older. Ego?! I was born perfect. I lived in a bubble. Not, nope, nada. But, in the looking back, I am amazed at my ego and ignorance. I did get a good camera early on. It would be a long long time before I overcame mistakes to be a better photographer. I believe volume (many photos later) has saved me. if you take enough pictures, there is bound to be one among the clutter that is serviceable. This follows the theory – eventually, even a blind squirrel gets a nut. Thankfully, there are bad images in my collection. Some people do not have a collection to cull. This is remembrance and happy birthday. At least there are choices that I have. When your birthday falls so close to Christmas, it is so unfortunate. You have nothing to look forward to, for the rest of the year. Furthermore, you get one present to cover both events. Cheated! John was born on December 19.