Our Christmas tree being returned to its constituent parts.
Monthly Archives: January 2012
In general I’m not a big fan of sunset pictures. I’m not entirely sure why.
Sure, sunsets are beautiful, that’s not the issue. Maybe it’s because everyone takes sunset pictures, they’re too common. Maybe it’s because in general sunset pictures are really just about capturing the color and don’t have a point of focus. They don’t stand on their own in terms of composition. A picture of orange clouds, usually without any thought to the rest of the photo and without any significant foreground really isn’t all that interesting. So why does everyone like sunset pictures?
I guess it’s because we’ve all seen sunsets and we all know how beautiful they are. Sunset pictures, even mediocre sunset pictures like this one, remind us of the real thing. I understand why people like to be reminded of sunsets, of course. It is more than their sheer beauty. I think their ephemeral nature adds to their attraction. For their very brief existence they can be almost painfully beautiful, and yet we know we cannot hold them. That sums up much of life’s struggle, I suppose. Think of a wry expression on a loved ones face, the taste of a cold drink on a hot day, the remarkably fleeting childhood of our sons and daughters (or ourselves). They are all enjoyed for a moment but all too quickly vanish to become cherished memories. Then even memories fade and become indistinct.
But that’s true not just of the obviously momentary. The time scales are different but the fleeting nature of all things seems to be the only constant. “Everything changes and nothing remains still…and…you cannot step twice into the same stream,” said the dead Greek, Heraclitus. Viewed from a distance, and it doesn’t take a particularly great distance, all beauty is ephemeral. “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls” (1 Peter 1:24).
Yet we shall not despair. For “…The word of the Lord endures for ever.” (1 Peter 1:25).
Sadly I was in a meeting today when the snow was coming down so I wasn’t able to get a picture of it. I did get a shot of the beautiful blue sky with clouds down low, though.
While sunsets are overdone, sunrises are sadly less common. They have, if anything, more beauty than their post meridian siblings but are considerably less commonly seen or appreciated. I suppose they share most other attributes with sunsets but are more private, somehow, and therefore somewhat more precious. Today’s sunrise was particularly beautiful, although this photo, like so many, doesn’t do it justice.
It has finally gotten a bit chilly here. The temperature was in the teens, although the upper teens, yesterday morning.
At lunch time I went out to the empty lot next to my office building and came across a jawbone with a few teeth still in it.
After writing that I’m not a big fan of sunset pictures, here I am posting another two days later. This was taken from Hadley’s Park on Falls Road. It was too nice for me not to stop and take a few pictures, despite the “No Use After Sunset” sign.
Maybe I should change the tag line for the blog from “Here and There…Now and Then” to “What’s This Guy Doing?” (if you’ll pardon the pun and with apologies to Jimi Hendrix). I don’t know if it’s a function of the time of year, when the sun happens to be coming up as I’m getting Dorothy off to school or if the weather pattern just happens to be right, or what, but we had another wonderful sunrise this morning.
Here’s a basketball score you won’t often see—one to nothing. Of course it was only two and a half minutes into the first period, but still, one to nothing. We left at half time, when WCA was up 22 to 16, so I don’t know how it ended.
Last night Cathy and I went to the wedding of a friend, the youngest son of good friends of Cathy’s parents, folks they’ve known since forever, more or less. The bride is of Indian extraction and was dressed traditionally. I knew that Dorothy would want to see her hands so I asked if I could take a picture of them. She had roses in henna (as well as her bouquet) in memory of her late father and the rose bushes he planted in their first home. She also had her late grandmother’s initials in henna but they don’t show here. Anyway, I was right, Dorothy was really excited to see this picture.
We had a great time and are thankful to N and Z for inviting us. May they have many years of joy together.
This is my old Nagoya guitar. I don’t play it much any more but it gets use when some of Dorothy’s friends pick it up.
We had our first real snowfall of 2012 today. It snowed quite hard back on the third but none of that really stuck on the ground. This evening the snow covered grassy areas and certainly made the rush hour traffic a little crazier, as the slightest suggestion of snow tends to do here. We thought about going to the grocery store to buy enough food for a week. Then we decided we would try to survive until tomorrow on what we already have. Tomorrow it’s forecast to be in the fifties, so our mini-winter is destined to be short-lived.
I didn’t have a chance to get out and take any pictures today so when Dorothy went out to run an errand this evening I brought my camera along. We stopped on the way home to take a few photos and this is our favorite.
Cold and snowy on Monday, a pretty beautiful day on Tuesday, then rainy and gray on Wednesday. Typical winter weather, actually. The rain was light most of the day but it started raining pretty hard in the evening.
Most of the Christmas lights in our neighborhood are down. There are still some white lights out but all the elaborate decorations have come down, with the exception of one house that still has them all up. I don’t mind, actually. Lights don’t really convey Christmas to me as much as winter, anyway, so what’s the big deal. This yard has lots of color and they are pretty intense, bright colors, too.
I took Dorothy to her art class today. I enjoyed a little time at nearby Montpelier Mansion. I haven’t actually been inside but I’ve walked around the grounds a few times. Here is a sampling of the pictures I took.
I had to run a few errands at lunchtime today and when I went out to my car, there was this orange in the parking lot, just sitting there. Contemplating its navel, I assume.
We stopped at Urban BBQ for carry-out this evening. It was hopping. This picture has Kendra and Cathy looking at the menu. Dorothy sat down as I took the picture, so that’s her knee. This is the Urban BBQ that used to be Urban Burger.
It’s gotten cold again and was a beautiful winter day today. Cathy and I went for a walk in the neighborhood this afternoon. We talked mostly about the things that are bugging us at work, but you certainly don’t want to hear about that. I stopped a few times to take pictures of ice.
Many of us are familiar with Major Grey Mango Chutney. Well, who knew they made this? Major Simone Chhutney!
Of course, dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones really refers to human bones and these are from a deer, but you get the idea.
Have you ever looked up at planes overhead and wondered, as have I, where they are going? Do you think about all the people, somewhat uncomfortably crammed into their cattle-class seats, wondering, are we almost there? Does it make you think of far away places, exotic smells, wonderful food, or the sounds of a foreign tongue? Or do you ever wonder whether “blue” or “yonder” is the noun in that phrase? Perhaps not.
Actually, I’m not sure if this really qualifies as a lowering sky. It was actually the sun shining through, which is a much more cheery. Still, it looked dark and threatening. It was actually a nice afternoon. Not too cold and a nice day for a walk.
Let’s face it, you’re either going to get this or you aren’t. If you do, you may find it hilarious. If not, well, then you almost certainly will not. This is an original drawing by Kendra on the white board in our kitchen. Spoiler alert! No. 3 is the Horse Chestnut.
We started scraping wallpaper in Dorothy’s room last weekend. Actually, we started a long time ago but then didn’t work on it forever and we started again last weekend. We’re making good progress, as evidenced by the wallpaper that needs to be cleaned up.
I printed this map for a co-worker last week. In all there were 150 pages, although the pages that were only ocean were left off. She spent considerable time putting them together and even more time going over each marked location, categorizing them, grouping them, and figuring out what she needed to figure out.
These are just photos of four random items at Cathy’s mom’s. The two wood blocks were used to print their curtains, which I think is pretty cool.
I’m working with a friend on the front and back cover for his upcoming CD. It’s piano music and we decided to go with the obvious “hands at the piano keys” for the back cover. This is the image we picked, with lots of room for white text.
We picked up Dorothy this evening after her retreat with “that other church” and were excited to run into Megan. It’s nice to see friends. Note: Cathy’s telling a story, she isn’t just waving.
For Christmas I got a book of essays by G. K. Chesterton. I’ve only read a few of them, because I have a long shelf of books I’m trying to get through and I add to it faster than I can read them. I think this one is next on my list, though. The second essay in the book, and one which I have read (I sneak one now and then), is called A Defence of Skeletons, written in 1901. In it, he talks about the skeletons of trees, as well as our own skeletons. You can read the whole thing here. Anyway, I was thinking about that as I looked out the window of my office at the skeletons of trees outside. I think they are quite beautiful.
We each had a set of “Buckyballs” in our stocking this past Christmas and we’ve really enjoyed playing with them. One set was plain steel, another was darker (listed as black but as you can see, they aren’t, really), and the third was multicolored. Dorothy managed to get her colored set back into its cube configuration, which is how it came. Mostly we make a tube or sheet with them, though.
It is spirit week at school and today was Wacky-Tacky day. So, here’s the girl’s get-up.
Traffic was a bit heavy coming home today and I took this picture in my rain spattered rear view mirror.
The clouds were nice all day but as the sun headed westward, they were dramatically lit and quite beautiful. This is the view from my office window shortly before leaving for the day.
I think the title says it all.
There was another beautiful sunset this evening. I saw it coming but was driving when it was at its best so couldn’t get a good picture of it. I did get the sky before it started to turn orange. Not as pretty, I suppose but there you are. I do like it when airplane contrails cast shadows on lower clouds.
My good friend Ruth loves to draw and occasionally she’ll work from one of my photos. As you can see, she’s done a great job here with Julia.
This is the back entrance to my building and the way I usually enter and exit. I like the changing reflections through the year. In the spring it’s a very green reflection. Some days blue is the predominant color. Today gray and brown were in force.