The days before Christmas brought with them a cold, fierce wind. There were whitecaps on the lake, and the wind whipped them into strange and beautiful ice sculptures on the shore...
Friday, December 28, 2007
It's a mark of desperation — or just a sign of how far my digital camera has gone downhill — that I pulled out a good old-fashioned film camera for snapshots on Christmas morning. And I rediscovered something: I like these old cameras for a reason. They just plain take better photos. I don't think I can afford the roll-a-day habit for long, though. So, Santa: how about a nice digital SLR for next year?
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Around here, whenever you take your kids in for any sort of appointment — doctor checkups, WIC, etc. — you get BABE coupons. These are good for all sorts of things; you can get a dozen diapers for one coupon, or children's snow boots for two. This year, we also got a letter with free tickets to the Festival of Trees, which is an annual fundraiser where people sponsor and decorate about a hundred trees for charity. You voted with your cash (a penny per vote) for the best trees; I presume there was some sort of prize for the contestants. You could also sign up to win one of the trees. So, a few weeks ago, we walked over — it was scarcely off our block — and took in the displays. The variety and creativity were wonderful. They had other things for the kids, too, like rides on a miniature train, crafts, and a live reindeer.
A week later, we got a call saying that we'd won one of the trees! No one knew which one yet, but they asked some questions about the kids' age and interests, and said they'd pick one out.
We got the Little House on the Prairie themed tree, complete with Lincoln Log cabins, and covered with farm animals and plastic period-piece people planting, hitching up wagons, hunting, etc. There were also gifts to go with it: Little House on the Prairie picture books, boots in the correct size for each kid, some drag-racing trucks for Aiden, and a hopping-frog setup for Fiona.
There were, also, the leftover Lincoln Logs in a big Ziploc bag. The cabins under the tree had been strung together with fishing line to keep them together until their decorative usefulness was over, but the rest of the logs were available for playing. Incidentally, these weren't the American Lincoln Logs, but a Chinese copy, which are still made of real wood and, in the case of the little chimneys, decorated by hand. Someone in China has the job of drawing a stone pattern on little wooden chimneys.
Paul, in typical fashion, set to figuring out what was the tallest possible structure that could be made with the available logs:
Aiden, also in typical fashion, knew exactly what to do with that.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Fiona has had about three haircuts in her entire life. One, when she was just a few months old; another, at the beginning of this year; and now that her hair is almost to her waist, a third that she did herself. Oops. Fortunately, it doesn't show much. You notice it most when she has a braid, and little tufts of shorter hair stick out in odd places.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
See if you can figure out what I'm making....
This is the first year we've both gone out trick-or-treating with the kids; usually, one of us stays home and takes care of the people coming to our place. Thing is... I bought the same amount of candy as I have on other years... and no one was around to hand it out. So we've still got a lot of it. I think we have a year's supply of Nerds left.
Monday, December 10, 2007
If there was a song for Sunday, that would be it. Paul called early in the morning to let us know Church had been canceled due to the ice storm. And with that, we flopped back onto our pillows and reveled in our laziness — or, at least, until the kids claimed to be hungry. I don't think I even changed out of my pajamas until late afternoon, and that was because I had gotten us tickets to go see Over the Rhine up in Goshen that evening.
It seems strange to think that we could drive all the way to Goshen when we could barely stand up on our own sidewalk, but the main roads were clear and smooth all the way there. We found that plenty of people we knew had made the journey, too, including half a dozen people I know from work. The Goshen Theater was a lovely place to have it; small, cozy, with much character, some of the latter due to some much-needed renovations. We got seats just a few rows from the stage and acted like teenagers on a date. Which we were, aside from not being teenagers anymore.
The opening song set the bar high:
And I certainly didn't feel like my time was wasted. They had just released two albums in the space of a few months, neither of which I'd heard yet, so it was a treat to hear them live for the first time. The title track off of Trumpet Child was electrifying:
Of course, If you only listened to the albums, or read the lyrics, you'd think the band was all sadness and longing and poetry. I hadn't counted on was the humor. Linford Detweiler, (keyboardist/songwriter) has a sense of humor so dry it could be used for kindling. The drummer — aside from having the worst haircut I've ever seen on anyone — comes off as the irrepressible prankster who you need to keep an eye on lest he run away with things. The singer, Karin Bergquist, would just shake her head in a way that said, "Boys!" ...and that was part of the joke, too. Possibly the only person on stage who was playing it completely straight was the bass player — but one can't help but suspect that the corners of his mouth were twitching.
All too soon, we were calling for an encore, and all too soon, that was over, too, and we were on our way back home, the tires hissing in the quiet night.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
In Winona Lake, for as long as I can remember, the first appreciable snow of the season has, more often than not, occurred on Thanksgiving or the day before. This year falls right into line.
We had a fairly quiet day; since there were only two adults, we (again) eschewed turkey in favor of something simpler, in this case, steak. We've been married for more than 10 years now, and we've never made turkey. Ever. Grilling duties fell to me, and everyone got their order just right... once I got the fire started. For some reason I have abysmal fire-starting skills.
We did go around the table and share a few things we were thankful for; Aiden, when asked, said he was thankful for "that" — a bowlful of cranberry sauce. Fiona was thankful for necklaces. I was thankful that all the bills were paid, we both have jobs we like, and everyone's healthy.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I tend to batch-process photos for my blog, and when I'm writing, editing, and trying to fit the words and the pictures together, inevitably a few good pictures get left out. Which isn't to say that they're bad pictures; they just didn't fit the post, for one reason or another... So without further ado, seven pictures from the cutting room floor: