The local’s got together for lunch today, ahead of the winter storm that was headed our way. We had a nice time walking though the halls and enclosed, connecting breezeways between the buildings. I took a few photos of one of the long breezeways as well as some photos of mom’s artwork, on display in a case in one of the buildings. When we were back in her apartment, I took a few photos of Kai as he played with his trucks. Silas was asleep by then, so I didn’t get any of him, but I need to make a point to photograph him. He’s really getting big, sitting in a highchair at lunch.
Tagged With: Portrait
As predicted yesterday (and since I wrote it after the fact, there wasn’t much chance of it being wrong), we celebrated Christmas at our house in the morning and then in the early afternoon went to mom’s apartment for our family gathering. For quite a few years, our tradition has been to go to Cathy’s parents’ house for breakfast and opening presents there. Because Margaret has moved here, we had the same breakfast but in our house. That consists of pancakes, poached eggs (steamed, actually), and bacon. There is butter, syrup, and jam to go on the pancakes. Many years it has included sausages but I didn’t have any this year. It’s a pretty satisfying breakfast.
At about 2:00 we went to my mom’s and gathered with the rest of the family. I got a few pictures of Tsai-Hong with her two grandchildren but decided that I’d post this one of Dot with her two great grandchildren (the same two kids, Silas and Kai, in both cases, obviously). Getting a good picture of both kids, with both of them looking at the camera is a crap shoot, and this isn’t perfect, but they’re cute enough to make up for it.
The final picture is after Steve and Kai blew out the candles on Kai’s birthday cake, to celebrate his recent birthday. It’s a pretty happy moment. Naturally, the candles came back on, because that’s a family tradition, as well.
We had our annual holiday party today. It was a bit different to recent years. When I worked for Mike and his group had diminished in size, we began going to the holiday party with the project group we worked with. That is a bit group and while I know a small fraction of the people in it, many of the people I know and work with here are in that group. I generally sat with the same people each year. This year, the various teams of technical workers who are under her in the corporate organizational structure were asked to come to a holiday party together, instead of either a smaller party of their own or the project area party. I know a reasonable number of folk in that larger group, but it was a change, none the less. Still, we had a good time, eating and bowling. This is Marsha (on the left) and her right hand, Ivanzetta. I can’t say I know either of them very well but Marsha sat at our table during the meal and I spoke with them both more today than I have in total up to this point.
We had a family dinner night and I took a bunch of pictures of Kai. In some of them he is being held by his great aunt Cathy and in others by his grandma, Tsai-Hong. Those are grandma’s hands in this picture. The wheel in front of Kai is actually spinning but to get that with some blur would have required a tripod and a little more planning, so just imagine it spinning and catching Kai’s attention. He’s a pretty easy going little boy, at least from what I’ve seen of him Maybe his parents would say otherwise, but he doesn’t really fuss much when we’re together or if he does, he’s easily satisfied.
I thought I’d post a second picture from our walk at Lake Needwood this afternoon. In the woods, behind the boat house, is this sculpture of a bear. It’s a cool, laid back sort of bear, wearing flip-flops and sun glasses. Cathy figured it was a good day to kick back and watch the world go by, so that’s what she did. There wasn’t a lot of world going by, as it happened. There were occasional walkers but not really enough to keep you interested for long. So, we continued our walk, crossing the dam and walking on a smaller trail around to the Gude Trail before returning to out car.
There was a lot of coming and going at our house today but I mostly stayed out of it. Kendra and Jacob came over, and I talked with them briefly. Justin and Judah also stopped in for a few minutes and I didn’t do much more than say hello. I spent much of the day either doing crossword puzzles or sorting books in my reading room. I did get out a little in the heavy rain, which turned out to be a bad idea. I went to mom’s because George had left his coat at our house yesterday and I wanted to return it. I also brought a few of mom’s dishes. On the way, however, I went through a reasonably deep puddle and the serpentine belt came off again in our old Grand Caravan. Apparently it’s a known problem, although the van’s mileage is over 267,000 and it’s only started happening recently. Cathy came and picked me up and I had the van towed to the garage again.
We celebrated Thanksgiving on Friday this year. That’s fairly common for us, as it makes life easier for all involved. It also allowed us to have that great trip to the art museums yesterday, when crowds were a little reduced. George and Carmela drove down and we all gathered at our house this year. With mom in an apartment and Cathy’s mom living here, the two family homes were not available to us. Getting fifteen people (all except Silas) around our dining room table was a little tight. Next year, he’ll be old enough to sit in a chair, so we’ll have to figure out something to get one more at the table. In the evening we took our standard family gathering photo.
It’s that time of year again. “What time of year?”, you may ask. Operation Christmas Child time of year, that’s what. Cathy scaled back this year. Last year when I asked how many boxes she was going to make she said “six, maybe seven.” She ended up with twelve. That was a lot and there was a fair amount of stress involved. I suggested she only do six or seven this year and actually stick to that. She decided that was a good idea, so the fact that she “only” did eight is pretty good. She was also a little less worried about making them all the same this year, and she finished a week early. We turned them in this afternoon after church. In this picture she’s holding five of the eight.
Last year we got a photograph of children receiving boxes that happened to include some that Cathy had packed. You could see the picture of us that Cathy had included in the boxes. That was pretty neat. We’ve had letters from recipients before and that’s always fun, too.
I asked Cathy if I could take her picture this evening. She agreed but then when we got around to actually taking them, she was in something of a silly mood. I know that’s surprising to anyone who knows her because silly isn’t really her. Well, it is, but then only sometimes. She posed in various ways in front of a blank wall, which is good for portraits but those aren’t as good as this one, I don’t think. She sat on the end of the sofa and took off her shoe. In stead of putting it down, she put it up to her ear and I took this picture. I can’t see that and not think of Maxwell Smart, of course, but as you can see, her shoe phone works differently to his, which had the phone part in the bottom of the shoe while hers works right side up. When I showed the picture to Cathy just now she said, I’m holding my shoe the wrong way ‘round, meaning the toe should be at her chin. So, I guess I don’t really know anything about how her phone works. I like the colors in this picture and think that’s a big part of what’s so nice about it. The color of the shoe and the curtains and all of it just works. Silly, of course, but as I said, that’s Cathy.
We had a family gathering this afternoon. Instead of getting together for dinner, though, we had brunch together, which was a nice change. Of course, the centers of attention at these gatherings are the two children, Kai and Silas. Silas slept a fair amount this visit, so I only got a few pictures and they are fine, but not as good as this smile from his older cousin Kai. The weather has finally turned cool and autumnal and we had talked about taking a walk but everyone felt like staying indoors this afternoon instead.
In the evening I did a really stupid thing. I took everything out of my pockets and carried a few things to the basement to do laundry. Because I knew I’d want my phone downstairs, I took it with me. Unfortunately, I left it in my trouser pocket when I put them into the wash. I know people have had success drying out phones that have been dunked but (and I’m writing this more than a week later) after pulling out the battery and drying it in silica gel for a couple days, it’s dead. Still, 4½ years isn’t bad for a cell phone (which is sad in itself).
Our first full day visiting Dorothy was a busy one. We had breakfast in Beverly at Cityside Diner, then back to the campus for a convocation in the chapel where Dorothy was one of the students being presented an award (and yet we still don’t know, specifically, what she did to earn it!), and then a walk in the rain while Dorothy was in class. We visited the chicken coop that Dorothy and two friends got approval to build behind the road halls. After that we walked to Gull Pond and back and the color of the light was very nice. As you can see in the reflections, the trees are just starting to turn colors. It was also quite a bit cooler than what we’ve been having at home, barely getting up into the low 60s.
It was raining quite hard when we left for church this morning. So hard, in fact, that we used umbrellas to get to the car. Generally we don’t bother for such a short walk but it was hard enough that we’d have been quite wet if we hadn’t used them. After church it was still raining but we decided we wanted to be outdoors. We parked across from Old Angler’s Inn and walked up the tow path to Widewater. It was raining lightly as we went and we stopped fairly often to look at wildflowers and other plants as well as rocks and the river. This was taken on a rock beside the path high above the Potomac River just a little way up the tow path from the Angler’s Footbridge.
I took a pair of photos like this and then switched to the wide angle lens. Those pictures show the river as well as lots of trees and rocks but aren’t as good of Cathy. I like this picture quite a bit better.
We went to see our good friends Jean and Maria this evening and had a wonderful time. Maria is recovering from some fairly substantial surgery to her hip and seems to be doing really well. She’s getting around with a walker and should be back on her feet in plenty of time for her wedding next year. We’re really looking forward to that and talked quite a bit about their plans. I fixed panang curry with chicken for dinner and we also had peaches and whipped cream for dessert (it’s hard to go wrong with peaches and cream, unless the peaches aren’t ripe, of course). Mostly, though, we just visited and talked and got caught up on what’s going on in our various lives. We missed Lexi, of course, but we’ll do it again when she’s in town.
Cathy and Jean went to high school together and lost touch after college. They reconnected in the late 1990s and have been best friends again ever since. We visited them in 1999 when she and her family lived in southern Germany and the girls were not yet in grade school. I just went back and looked at those pictures and it brought back some pretty good memories.
On Easter Sunday I took a photo of this handsome couple and it was pretty well received by those who know them. I’ve known Michael for quite a while but that was the first time I met Tanya. Since then they have become husband and wife and it was good to see them today at their church picnic. I crashed the picnic (technically, I was there as a guest of Cathy’s mom) and enjoyed seeing lots of old friends and acquaintances, including Michael and Tanya. It was a hot day but it wasn’t raining, so that was something. We enjoyed burgers and (even more so) sausages made from Rocklands Farm meat. If you aren’t familiar with the farm, check them out and give them a visit (http://www.rocklandsfarmmd.com/). I often walk off and take pictures of animals and flowers when I’m there but wanted to stay out of the sun today so didn’t. I did get a picture of a Commelina communis flower (Asiatic dayflower), which is a pretty blue flower with only two petals. I also took a few nice pictures of some of my friends’ children, which is generally easier than photographing adults. Nevertheless, this photo of Michael and Tanya turned out pretty well, in spite of the bright background.
We had a family dinner night this evening at mom’s new apartment and dining hall. I don’t want to give the impression that I only enjoy these get togethers because of the two grand nephews (and it isn’t strictly speaking even true). Nevertheless, I do enjoy seeing them. Kai is such a cute little boy. He wouldn’t smile for me until his mom said, “Kai, can you cry for Uncle Henry?” This is the grin we got from that request. It’s when he smile that he reminds me most of Ralph, which is good, but also hard. I love this little guy. He’s his own person, obviously, and he has a lot of his mom in his looks, but there are moments when he looks just like his grandpa at that age. Not that I remember his grandpa at that age. When Ralph was Kai’s age I wasn’t quite two months old. But there are pictures.
Jessie and Erin, two of the vocalists in the church youth band and (of course) Dorothy’s friends.
All evening Nate tried to photobomb my pictures but I managed to avoid him every time. He did “strike a pose” for me and I thought I’d reward him for his efforts by using that as my photo for today.
I didn’t take a lot of pictures today but even if I had, I think I’d like this one best. Stephanie was home on a brief visit from college so we got to see her this morning, which was a treat.
We found an excuse to visit Lyla at school this afternoon.
The results of an interesting party game.
I get this a lot. We were out to dinner with some wonderful friends. I wanted to take a picture to post here. The reaction was as fast as it was unanimous.
I guess this is what I look like to a lot of people. I thought I’d post something a little different today. I did go out in the early afternoon, since it was such a beautiful day and there is a picture from my wandering in Extras. This is a self-portrait I did as I came back to the building. It’s a reflection in the mirrored glass door to my building (and then flipped so as not to be a mirror image).
I asked Dorothy for help picking a picture for today and this was her favorite. It’s hard to argue with her — these are two adorable girls. That’s the secret to taking good pictures, by the way. Only take pictures of attractive people. Hard to go wrong with this pair.
We didn’t really do anything today but it’s the beach, nothing is what you do there.
This picture makes it look like it’s cold but it’s actually been quite hot here. Dorothy had just gotten up and was still wrapped up from being inside (where it IS pretty cold, particularly first thing in the morning).
I came home today to find a girl at my house who looked a lot like Dorothy. But something was different… Actually, I quite like it.
We picked up our weekly share of vegetables at Rocklands Farm this morning and enjoyed a visit with the folks there, including Lissie, Anna’s sister, who posed for me with a small basket of produce.
But this is not your run of the mill Iris. Among other things, she’s one year through med school.
We had a wonderful time with our good friends Erin and David this evening and were especially happy to meet their one year old son, Levi. What a charmer.
Ellen, Sarah, Jenny, Anna, and Dorothy.
We had a terrific afternoon with our friends Ben, Michelle, and their beautiful daughter Lilias. She only smiled for me in a couple pictures but I think this one is pretty sweet.
We went out to lunch with our mothers (and Dorothy’s grandmothers) today. A nice time with two of the best moms in the world. Thanks for everything, mom.
We don’t get to see Karlee nearly enough since her family moved to Virginia but she came and spent the night with Dorothy, which was a treat for all of us.