Festive was the challenge and I had some fun this month taking photos, both with my regular camera as well as my iPad, which I use for my Instagram shots. The quality isn't quite up to par with my iPad, but I wanted to test it out thoroughly this month. You'll be able to tell the difference of the two since the Instagram format is square, whereas my regular camera will be more rectangular. Anyway, here's my five shots for the month of December.
1. Christmas wreath
When I first started with Instagram, I posted quite a few shots from it on Flicker. As noted above, I don't think the quality is nearly as good as my regular camera, although there are a couple of images that I've really liked, this one being one of them. I found this wreath hanging on a gate of a neighbor's house. It was one of the first signs of Christmas I'd seen, so I wanted to include it here.
I don't really like the way the wreath's bow blends together into a red blob, but I guess that's part of the appeal of Instagram. Perhaps appeal isn't the right word to use, but it's the best I can come up with for the time being. The filter I used however, Lo-fi, did a nice job of bringing out the details and textures of the fence the wreath was hanging on so I'll give props for that.
2. The Spirit of Christmas Present
My parents have an entire Victorian village they put up under their Christmas tree every. Usually one of my nephews who live close to them help put it all together. Each of the bisque porcelain houses has lights inside them to give it a nighttime glow to it and the set even has the characters from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol.
This Instagram shot, shows Ebeneezer Scrooge encountering the Spirit of Christmas Present who will show him things that are including how life is like in the Cratchett household, who celebrate Christmas the best they can even on the meager salary Scrooge pays his employee Bob Cratchett.
The story reminds us all that what's past is past and no matter how much we'd like to, we can't go back and change things. We can only move forward and if we have regrets, or things that we'd like to change, we can only do so by changing what we do and say in the future so things will turn out differently.
My parent's village is always displayed differently every year and it's always a festive addition to their holiday decor, so I've included it here.
3. The Santa Claus bank
This is a bank that originally sat under my grandparent's Christmas tree in Indiana. My dad was the baby of the family and inherited the bank sometime before his mother passed away in 1961 when I was three years old.
It then became a fixture under our family tree while we were growing up. About 10 years ago, my parents gift wrapped it and gave it to me and it now sits under our tree every year. Some time in the future, one of my three children will inherit it and the cycle will continue. The bank is probably close to 70 years old.
I've always liked this bank and it gives me a connection to my grandmother, who I never really got to know. It's a connection to my past, or more importantly, my father's past, one that I am familiar with, but have no memories of, so this gives me some consolation. The bank also keeps the festiveness going beyond the actual day of Christmas, because it reminds me that even Santa Claus needs to take a day off now and then.
This is Jack, our dog. Jack turned 9 years old early in the month, which roughly translates to 63 in people years if you subscribe to the 7 dog years theory. If this theory holds any water, then Jack is very spry for his age and all I can say about it is I hope I have as much energy as he has when I'm 63. Of course, Jack also sleeps many hours of the day. When he's tired, he takes a nap, which I think we should all subscribe to as a regular part of our daily regimen. I think the world would be a better place if everyone took a nap every single day. Unfortunately, we can't, but I think it's still a good regimen to follow.
Jack went to the groomers about three days before Christmas and it's our groomers policy to put a bandana on the neck of each of her clients that represents the time of year. We have bandanas for Jack from every time of year and this particular bandana had a very festive look to it, both in color and style, so it's included here. He'll wear the bandana for another week or so until it becomes too dirty and then it will have to be removed. We keep all of the bandanas as keepsakes, so I could probably find another one that's been washed to replace this one after the season is over.
5. Happy birthday
Christmas Eve is my dad's birthday. This year, the family celebrated it on the 28th, because it was convenient plus it made it a little easier on everyone since it was also one of those milestone birthdays. My dad turned 80 a week ago.
We gathered at my sister's house last Saturday to celebrate his life and wish him well. He was very appreciative of the time we spent with him, both on that day and on all days when we've been able to get together as family, either as a small unit, or a much larger unit as was the case this past weekend.
My sister cooked a couple of pineapple upside down cakes as his birthday cakes for this year. Both of my sisters and I noted at the time that none of us had ever attempted this type of cake in the past. It turned out rather well and if dinner hadn't been so good, I might have been tempted to eat a second piece, but I refrained and my waist thanked me for that decision later on.
My uncle (Dad's oldest surviving brother), turned 90 two days before Dad did, so there's some longevity in the family. My uncle came out here in July for a visit and both of them noted at that time that having a birthday around Christmas isn't a bad thing at all, especially if it's before Christmas. As my dad said and uncle agreed with, "Everybody's in the giving mood." I will never get tired of him saying that.
Well, there you have it, another challenge accepted and delivered. Please comment below and also please check out P.J.'s photos and the link at the bottom of his blog to see other's interpretations of the theme festive.
That's it for this year. 75 posts, which fell a little short of the 100 that I thought I could write when I started this blog two years ago, but still well over the 28 I posted in 2012, so I would call this a success for this year. I hope to continue with this on a regular basis next year. Here's hoping you all have a very prosperous and happy 2014. Thank you all for reading this and for all of your comments. They are truly appreciated.