Thursday, December 31, 2009

Phew, I'm glad that's over.


It's been a really interesting year, some very tough experiences as well as some delightful and exciting times. Being the last day of 2009 it's time to take stock again and see where I want the next year to go.

Photography: Aperture is no longer a mystery and is my main mode of shooting. Lighting is also not the horror it used to be. Learning greenscreen was one of my goals for last year and it proved to be loads of fun. I will soon be posting some wild shots done with the Eris clan last month. Oh what the heck, I'll put one here just for grins. I'm hoping to do some more of this stuff so if I can get any volunteers... Goal: shoot more and more and more.

Health: Didn't lose ten but am down five from where I was last year. Hoping for another seven in the next few months. One of my best Christmas gifts was having to exchange clothing for smaller sizes. Oh yeah, oh yeah, I'm bragging! And while we're on that subject, Zeus was able to come out of his spring treatments with a clean bill of health. There were a couple of rough months but he is doing great. Hats off to modern medicine. Goal: more running, less ralking.

Quilting: Not much accomplished last year, just a few baby quilts and tops. Probably about 20 neonatal blankets were delivered. I really need to get that machine humming again. Goal: one sewing finish per month, not necessarily a quilt.

Travel: We made a couple of very nice trips this year although tropical islands weren't in the itinerary. I'm still hanging on to my Puerto Rico scrapbook paper. This next year will probably find us back in Arizona a few times as well as CA. Goal: take that trip with Jan.

Running/ralking: Just a reminder to all those who signed on for the 5k. You have approximately 18 weeks to get in shape. Click here. Goal: Just do it.

Family/babies: We were expecting four or five babies when 2009 began. As it turned out we happily welcomed six new little ones, most of whom call us Grandpa Zeus and Grandma Numi. And surprise, so far we know of two more on the way for next year! Goal: spend lots of time with each of them.

Along with the happy times often comes the sad. We lost a dear brother this year and he will always be missed.

And one more thing, if you look back at last year's New Year's post you will see that Littlest accurately predicted the arrival of another English baby. The gender was a little off but the prediction was correct. Maybe I should chat with her about the coming year...


(I love the sign, Jodi!)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post-holiday Peace on Earth

Thirty minutes ago I sent the last gift out the door. I know, they are a day late, but those two little girl's dresses had to be tried on before the final stitches were put in. They didn't need them until tomorrow anyway. The fabric was gold and red crushed velour and all I could think about while sewing them was a couch from the 70's. The girls love them because they are swingy and ruffly. Eris loves them because they can be wadded up in a ball with nary a wrinkle.

The holiday season was great at the Numi house. The big log cabin party on Wednesday night was as much fun as always (photos in two posts at the Shooting blog). A big thanks to all friends and family who came to share in the good times and eat all of the tasty food. Christmas Eve and morning was as expected, chaotic and noisy. Pajamas were handed out, a new Christmas story was read and the kids went to bed. The problem every year is that Eris and Athena want to stay up all night talking and giggling. All the beds in the house were filled. Couches and floors were also littered with quilts and sleeping family members.

The morning festivities started at 6:30 and by 9:30 all presents had been opened, Zeus' breakfast casserole had been devoured and cars were pulling out of the driveway. Ahhh, time for our relaxing day to begin. No cooking, no kids, no phone, just quiet. Leftovers for dinner, new electronic gadgets to conquer and way too much chocolate to eat.

It's been a busy month. As usual, I look forward to enjoying a slower pace. I know that isn't going to happen for at a few months. Three short trips are scheduled (so far) and the calendar is being updated constantly.

Life is good.

$?.?? (I did go out yesterday afternoon but haven't counted.)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fa la la la la

Last evening Zeus, Mom and I attended the annual holiday concert of Sound Choice, a mixed double quartet that has been performing locally since 1982. For sixteen years I was a founding member of that group where I played the piano and keyboards. My exit came in 1998 when going on a stage and my right peddling foot became incompatible. I remember well sitting at the keyboards during a performance and suddenly realizing that my KathrynHepburn-esqueness had finally taken over and it was time to turn in the sheet music.

Planning and rehearsing for the holiday program began every August. After sixteen years of this routine and by the time I "retired" the melodies had become monotonous to me. The joy that others felt at hearing them was like fingernails on a chalkboard to my ears. It took months to get used to being home on Wednesday evenings instead of at rehearsal. The first December was also strange in not rushing from work to a performance. And it was especially difficult the first time I sat in the audience watching someone else play my songs at my keyboards.

It's been eleven years. This year I can finally listen to a few songs without breaking into a sweat. The concert last night was basically the same as it was back when I was a part of it with the exception of a couple of new numbers. Even the choreography hadn't changed much. Two new men really added depth to the group. The two original guys blushed when I told them after the show that they should consider ditching the women!

Eris and Athena are the two on the front right. They also performed with us for the first few years and were adorable on the stage.

Fa la la la la.....


Monday, December 14, 2009

Your contribution is welcomed


It's finally here! Get out your aluminum poles!
And don't forget to send your contributions to the Human Fund!
(feel free to send them directly to me and I'll try to remember to forward them on.)


Note: If you are unfamiliar with this tradition click here and here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

No panic

Finally, it's a little warmer. Today it got warm enough to dump snow. Only about four or five inches at our house, but then we are in the valley. Benches got about double that amount. It is beautiful. And quiet. And light.

Tomorrow I will get a good start on my shopping. For weeks I've listened as others have bragged (yes, that would be you, Athena) that their gifts have all been dutifully purchased. For some reason I haven't been phased at all by the approaching holidays, almost like I'm denying that they are coming. There is a stack of flannel waiting for transformation into the beloved pajama pants and the day has been set aside for this to happen. A few gift certificates have been purchased but that's about it.

Perhaps the fact that I'm not worried should in itself cause panic.


(No, that is not our house on the left, or the right.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Terror in Red

It's that time of year again when we have the opportunity to terrorize our toddlers.

Whose brilliant idea was it to try to get innocent little two- and three-year-olds to not only accept candy from a weirdly dressed old man but then to go sit on his lap?

We were all prepared yesterday afternoon to watch the Princess and Little Man screech in horror at their first encounter with St. Nick. The Princess did not disappoint. She hung onto her daddy for dear life and couldn't escape fast enough. Little Man walked right up to him and gladly took the green candy cane, then even sat on his lap... for about two seconds. But the brave little soldier didn't whimper, just said "Bye Santa" and headed for the cookies.

Unlike last year when Littlest Ms. treated us to hysterical screaming, this year she was hesitant but compliant. Little Ms., skeptical at age seven was I think checking out his beard to see if it was real. Mr. Eris, Jr. was simply a good sport to get the candy cane.

$ .62 (it was 2 degrees on our front porch at 7 am with icy roads. ugh.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

True Colors

It's that time of the year when the days all begin to run together. The calendar that Zeus and I share is carefully tracked so that we don't miss anything. (Still regretting that forgotten soccer game last week Mr. Eris, Jr.)

Last Saturday was one of those days. Seven appointments were carefully lined up beginning at 8 am. Breakfast with friends, an open house at the Nature Center, two soccer games, a church dinner and a bunch of family portrait sessions. It all went surprisingly well with no hitches. Our great room/kitchen had been converted to a studio the night before and the kids were a blast to work with. Some little ones are naturals when they get in front of the camera and do all that is asked effortlessly. They make this hobby of mine worth it and I always look forward to playing with them again and again.
Those kids come in all sizes. While firing some test shots these "kids" showed their true colors.

Culling through the raw images it has become clear that personalities can be accurately captured when I ask for "the goofiest faces". The photo below wordlessly describes each individual.

Right now it is 16 degrees outside with a nasty, wicked wind taking the chill factor down to 6. The roads are icy and the snow is drifting. A good day to stay in and edit.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Move over Ansel Adams!

Early in October Little Ms. informed me that in her first-grade classroom all the students were required to enter the Reflections Contest. She chose photography and asked if I would help her. Whoo hoo!!!!

I strapped my heavy DSLR around her neck, set it to AUTO and showed her how to zoom the big lens. We were busy for about 90 minutes in four different locations while she shot 145 images. Back home we looked at the images. She chose the milkweed as the one she wanted to enter. It was hard because they were all pretty good!

The only post-processing done to her image was cropping (required) and she did it herself after I showed her the steps.

Tonight we proudly watched as she accepted an Award of Excellence for her photograph. It was also chosen to advance to the next round of competition at the district level.

Oh yes, this is one proud Grandma!